LIFE AT BUTLERS - 07

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Year 1950

By Martin Edgar

7. YEAR 1950

I turned 14 and left Alleyn Court to go to Felsted on a classics scholarship. I was a ready learner and had been well taught. Bill had already been through Felsted - he was even there at the end of the war when Felsted had taken Goodrich Castle, on the Wye in Herefordshire and had just completed his year's course at Writtle Agricultural College. Robert was ahead of me at Felsted, where he was a house prefect. My scholarship was £100 a year, but Robert had won the top scholarship, also in classics, of £120. As we had also passed the 11 plus Father was paid £72 for each of us by the Government as we were not being educated at State expense. So nearly half of our fees of £400 each were paid for us.

Father was very ill with angina at the time, and we had to creep round the house quietly as we packed to go to school. Charlie drove us up there in farm pick-up, and then a week or so later I was called into the housemaster's study to be told Father had died. I don't remember Robert being with me - he must have been told separately. We then went home for the funeral.

The impression of the following weeks seems to be of a certain air of crisis. The key question appeared to be whether the Tabors would renew the tenancy. They did of course, but it had been by no means certain that a new tenancy would be granted to a 19 year old farmer and his widowed mother, with five dependants still to complete their education. The arrangements made were, I believe, that Uncle Jack (Baigent) would come down from Hampshire once a month to keep an eye on the farming, and that Grandpa Brock would guarantee the rent.

I certainly remember Uncle Jack's regular trip down. There was always a slight air of trepidation beforehand as he always seemed to expect things to be done well. He was a very successful and efficient farmer and shot clays for the English team, but in reality he was kind and helpful. The first thing he used to do on arrival was to go up to the Creek, for its extraordinary sense of peace, particularly of a summer evening. There would be this expanse of water (or mud at low tide) and the enormous bowl of sky overhead. You could see for miles. Hardly a bird stirred, and then a solitary redshank two hundred yards away would get up, fly a few yards, and settle again. Silence would return. We have all come back repeatedly to this haven of stillness.

Chapter

Chapter title, click title to go there

01How we got there
02What was there
03Early years
04The war
05Peacetime
06Christmas
07Year 1950
08Year 1953, and working at home
09End piece - clay soil and what to do
10Years 1954 to 1957
11Postscript
12Editorial postscript
all chaptersLife at Butlers - the complete 12 part article 
This page was added by Bob Stephen on 14/09/2018.
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