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Memory Lane

Wartime at Chapel Anthony Bungalow

 We moved to Chapel Anthony Bungalow in the autumn of 1940.  We came there from Brushford, where we had lived in a small cottage while my father worked a farm whose owner was laid up with a broken leg.  Our mother looked after us two children;  our parents were thirty years old, I was five and my sister was three. 

When the farmer was back at work we had to find somewhere else to live.  At the far end of Brushford was Dulverton Station, from which my father took a train to Tiverton to visit the estate agents.  There were two firms, Cockram, Dobbs & Stagg and Knowlmans, not yet amalgamated.  Knowlmans were letting Chapel Anthony Bungalow, a desirable detached residence in open country with three bedrooms, a living-room, kitchen and bathroom, and a fair-sized garden.   It was an improvement on the cottage at Brushford which had no bathroom, only one downstair room and one bedroom.  The bungalow, being in open country, would be relatively safe from enemy bombs. 

Our father was driven there by Frank Hamilton, who ran a one-man taxi service from his workshop on Lowman Green, set back from the street opposite what was then the Prince Regent Hotel.  The bungalow seemed adequate, and after seeing it our father returned to the town to catch the next train back to Brushford. 

The bungalow was owned by Mrs Dodington, an elderly widow who lived in the big white house, Chapel Anthony, a hundred yards away.   Her daughter Mary, who lived with her, was around our parents’ age, but unlike our mother (or hers) she wore slacks, drove a car, played golf and smoked cigarettes.  

The Dodingtons were evidently satisfied to have us as tenants.  It may have helped that both we and they were Catholics.  During our time at the bungalow Mary often drove us, with her mother, to Sunday Mass at St John’s Church at the far side of Tiverton.  She can’t have taken all four of us together;  it was usually my mother and us children while our father stayed at home. 

 The author Martin, age six and a half. He is standing in the field 'Hill Slade' opposite Chapel Anthony  behind him is Lower Warnicombe taken in 1941.

The aerial photograph on the website dates from the 1960s, long after we had left;  the only outbuilding in our time was a corrugated-iron shed that may have been a wash-house.   Where the photograph shows a garage there was an earth bank, pierced by a narrow gateway with a path down to the back door.   The bungalow was built of asbestos sheets, inside and out, on a timber frame, with weatherboarding below the windows.   The photograph shows the front of the bungalow which faced south, away from the road, with the living-room on the right-hand side of the front door and the main bedroom on the left.  Behind that bedroom were two smaller ones, and behind the living-room were the bathroom and kitchen.  The back door opened into the kitchen through a small lobby with a cupboard for food on one side and a coal store on the other.  The single chimney-stack served both the coal stove in the kitchen and the open fireplace in the living-room, which were set back-to-back although I didn’t realise it at the time. 

My sister and I were allotted the main bedroom;  our mother had one of the others, and our father’s bed was in the living-room.   There was no electricity.   For lighting we had candles and paraffin lamps, and there was a Valor paraffin stove to take the chill off our bedroom.   Another helped to warm the living-room, as dry logs were unobtainable, coal was scarce and was often ‘slack’, a mixture of coal-dust and small lumps.  To supplement the kitchen stove, which was often not hot enough to cook on, there was a paraffin camping stove called a primus, which had to be started with methylated spirit and then pumped to produce a ring of blue flame like a gas-ring, which it was, burning paraffin vaporised initially by the meths.  Our mother could manage it but not our father!   Once when she was away he tried, pumping too soon or too vigorously and causing the primus to burst into yellow flames which threatened to set fire to the ceiling.   He threw it out of the window and then rushed out to kick it, still belching flames, away from the weather-boarding.  This was a rare treat for the Evans children, big children who were fond of watching our activities from their side of the garden fence. 

My sister and I often suffered colds, which our mother treated as serious illnesses, putting us to bed and summoning the doctor.  If she was ever ill she didn’t let it show but just kept going.   Our father, though, was often ill, as rheumatic fever in his mid-twenties had driven him out of farming and had weakened his resistance to infections.  During one of his illnesses he banged on the wall by his bed to summon our mother, punching a gaping hole in the inner skin of asbestos which was then covered with a blanket to try to keep out the draught.  He was too short-sighted for military service but was able to be an Air Raid Warden, patrolling Post Hill after dark in search of chinks of light escaping the blackout. 

Caryl, Martins sister holding 'fierce bunny' taken on the original Devon bank at the entrance to Chapel Anthony Bungalow 1941

When spring came our parents cultivated the garden, planting potatoes and sowing vegetables.     There was no lawn then, and the garden was shorter than in the photograph.  It was separated from the Evans’ ploughed field by a wire fence, and on the other side by an earth bank which we could scramble over into the grass field beyond.  It belonged to Pool Anthony, farmed by Cecil Glendining whose son Colin was older than me, already six while I was still five.   The field was bordered at its bottom side by the railway, on which a single-coach train plied several times a day between Tiverton and Tiverton Junction, and there were also long, slow goods trains.  At the far end of the field was a muddy stream where my sister and I built dams and islands and floated the boats we had been given at Christmas. 

Our mother used to buy eggs from Colin’s mother, and we sometimes had a rabbit to make into a stew.   For other provisions our mother took us to Tiverton on the bus from Putson Cottages – Devon General, grey in the war instead of red.   Because of some regulation we could not use the grocery shops in Fore Street but had to tramp down to Parsons’ in Westexe. 

At Brushford I had attended the village school, almost next door to our cottage, but with no school so conveniently close to the bungalow my mother at first taught me at home.   Later I went to school at Tidcombe Hall, which then housed Our Lady’s High School, evacuated from Dartford in Kent and run by nuns.  I was taught by Sister Cecilia in Form Two, which shared a room with Form One, under Sister Aquinas, in the basement next to the kitchen.   I had my midday meal at school;  I remember tough liver which had to be parted from a thick membrane, and being compelled to eat hateful tapioca pudding. 

In fine weather my mother walked me to school with my sister, sometimes crossing the railway which was generally free of trains (anyway they were slow and could be heard well in advance), then continuing up a field to the canal and on by the towpath.   If it was foul she might telephone for Mr Hamilton to take me there.   We had no telephone but could use Mrs Dodington’s.   The Tiverton exchange was changing from manual to automatic, and Mrs Dodington had two telephones, one on the hall table and the other – with a dial! – underneath.   When the change came, everyone had a new number which was 2000 plus their old one, so instead of asking the operator for ‘double-eight please’ our mother had to dial the Hamiltons’ new four-digit number, 2088.   After the change Eastmond’s, the drapers, had the number 2004;  they must have had only the fourth telephone in the town. 

The war seemed to have been going on so long that to my sister and me it was the normal state of affairs.   There was a popular song ‘Yes, we have no bananas’, and I could remember the time when there were bananas, before the war.   The wartime substitute was ‘banana spread’, made from soya flour with artificial flavouring.  

From the bungalow we could hear the air-raid siren but it made little difference to us, and we thought we could tell the different sounds of British and German aeroplanes, the steady sound of British planes and the d-d-d of enemy ones.   There was often gunfire that sounded like thunder, and one night we saw the glow in the sky that was Exeter burning.   Our parents used to listen to the nine o’clock news on their battery wireless, read by Alvar Lidell or Frank Phillips, and when they heard that Japan had entered the war we ceremoniously tore down the Rising Sun from the array of flags made of economy labels, coloured with crayons, that decorated our bedroom wall. 

To our parents the worst thing about Chapel Anthony Bungalow was not the possibility of asbestos poisoning, which most people knew about only vaguely if at all, but the damp, to which they ascribed our frequent illnesses.   Early in 1943 we moved from there to a brick-built house in Uplowman Road where we lived for the rest of the war. 

Martin Allen

Martin has given permission for this delightful article to be added to this website, his brother Hugh lives in Tiverton. Colin Glendining's son Richard visits weekly to help out in the garden of Chapel Anthony Lodge which is the name of the house that replaced the old cold and yes very damp bungalow.

                                                                                

                                               Chapel Anthony Bungalow date unknown possibly 60s


News from South Korea

I have just been contacted by my eldest daughter, Claire Shearman, who is now 24 and an English teacher is South Korea. Claire needed info of her past for an essay she is writing in her learn Korean class. After emailing her I went down memory lane and found your site.

 

We, my ex husband Dudley and myself, purchased Chapel Anthony Bungalow as it was then known, a little astbestos bungalow, from Nina Evans.

Dudley myself Claire and Lara (Lara born in Tiverton Hosp) lived there for 5 happy years. (1992-97)

 

I use to walk with the girls who were both pre-school for most of the time, to Colin and Ann Glendennings farm (Pool Anthony) along West Manley Lane and we would spend the afternoon helping feed the calves.

 

Though living in an asbestos home gave us great problems and we felt best to move away, I always felt privileged and rather special living in West Manley.

 

I wish you every luck with your campaign.

 

Julie Shearman

Chapel Anthony Bungalow in the 1960s this had now been demolished

 


A WALK ALONG WEST MANLEY LANE    Circa 1974

Leaving Blundell’s road at Putson’s Cottages we enter the westerly end of West Manley Lane. At this time the lane was not named and was simply a country lane near Tiverton. The cottages were earlier known as Pudson’s Cottages and are mentioned in the first detailed description of the route of the 7mile ‘steeplechase’, The Russell, devised for the boys of Blundell’s School (see Links). This began in 1879 and the tradition continues annually as the lane is still used as part of it’s route. As we progress along the lane there are farm fields on either side, with two large dutch barns storing Colin Glendining’s  hay and straw.  All the land here is part of Knightshayes Estate and is farmed by Colin from Pool Anthony Farm where his family have been tenants for over 200years. 

The first property we reach is a red brick house built in the early 1900s occupied by Colin’s stockman. Down the sharp slope, with tall elms to the left we reach Pool Anthony Farm with the dairy and milking parlour above the lay-by used by the milk tanker.  Colin and Anna and their children Margaret, Richard and Peter live in the farmhouse with the old enclosed cobbled farmyard to the rear. The house dates back to the 16th century and was restored and remodelled in the 18th century. Within is an array of inglenook fireplaces and Tudor panelling. At the farm Colin milks the Pool Anthony herd of Friesians and farms pigs, sheep and chickens.

Taking the sharp left hand bend we enter a winding section of the lane enclosed by high Devon banks. To the right can be seen the old orchard with its gnarled and leaning fruit trees. Continuing along the lane, with the hedgerows dotted with old oak and elm trees, we reach a wide gateway on the right.  From here there are clear views to the south over the railway footpath, at the bottom of the field, to the Grand Western Canal on the far slopes and the trees of Warnicombe Plantation on the skyline.  This field is indicated on old maps as the site of a chapel.  

At this point Chapel Anthony, a large white house, can be seen in the north east corner of the field. It was built by General Doddington in 1932 in a move from Tidcombe Hall which is visible from here between the trees to the south west.  The house was built in colonial style with long corridors, servants’ quarters, stable block and croquet lawn to the south. The large sliding doors to the garage are painted blue as are the steel windows and woodwork. The chimneys are dark grey, unpainted since the house was built. The bare front is broken up with an old steel rimmed wagon wheel leaning against the wall and there are no trees around the stable block. The Bliss family have departed for a new life in Australia and the house sits empty. Ahead on the sharp right hand bend is the entrance to West Manley Farm, home of William and Nellie Cole and their daughter Rachel. To the right of the gate is the concrete milk stand where the milk churns were placed for collection. Willie no longer milks due to lung problems caused by his service in the desert in WW2.

Looking to the left, the old Waggoner’s track leads north flanked by high hedges and large trees. 

This marks the easterly boundary of  Knightshayes Estate. Turning to the right the sides of the lane are steep and the road slopes down to Chapel Anthony Bungalow, built in 1935 as the groom’s house for the Doddingtons but now the home of Ken and Nina Evans and their sons Roger and Nigel. To the right a stand of tall elms shades the lane. The bungalow sits back on the plot with a short steep drive to the garage at the front. Turning sharp left here the hedges run uninterrupted to Prowses Farm with the the old thatched cottage facing south across the lane to the barn and farm buildings. Mr Evans (snr) and his wife live in the cottage and Ken, their son, runs the dairy herd farming the fields on either side of the lane.

Beyond the thatched cottage the lane is enclosed in a tunnel of trees. In the overgrown copse on the right a ruined cob barn is barely visible and roe deer wander unseen. Emerging into the light at the end of the tunnel the old stone buildings of Copplestone come into view. The old buildings to the right, house the dairy and further on is the rather grand but somewhat neglected façade of the farmhouse. Beyond this, slated lean-to sheds, holding bygone farm implements, open onto the lane. From here the lane opens up and leads to the red brick house dated 1902 where Harold Maunder and his wife Dulcie live – both of whom worked at Chapel Anthony when younger. 

This is Shamel’s End and marks the end of the lane and the point where it is believed residents of Halberton left food for the people of Tiverton during the great plague.

The lane is quiet and peaceful. The milk tanker and post van pass through early each morning and the milk van delivers bottles of milk three times a week. Mrs Evans drives out to collect newspaper and provisions and Miss Farrance cycles into town. Nellie Cole travels into town two or three times a week and old Mr Evans trundles out in his old black Ford Prefect. Otherwise a small farm tractor or a milking herd moving to its pasture is all that disturbs the lane.


A 1960's Memory

Dick and Joy James lived at Chapel Anthony with their two children from the early sixties to 1971.  Dick was the local vet.

Joy wrote the following:

I first came to know the lane when we bought the house Chapel Anthony, from the owners the Doddingtons.  They had named the house so because they had seen that the remains of a chapel had been marked on an old map and the land had been given to Sir Anthony del la Pole for his help in the Norman Wars. 

Coming down the lane from the main road the first cottage on  the right was lived in by Mr and Mrs Maunder, as he worked on the farm.  On the corner the farm, Pool Anthony, was lived in by Mr Glendinning and later worked by his son Colin.  Along the lane was Chapel Anthony on the right hand corner and opposite, on the left, was the farm lived in by Mr & Mrs Cole and their young daughter Rachel.  Around the next corner was a cottage with Mr and Mrs Evans, son of the man further along the lane, who ran a small farm and who used to trundle up and down on a tractor.  One of the first words my youngest son said was ‘tractor’, as he was always being pushed past there on the way to the canal. 

One evening in November 1961, when we fortunately were not at home, a plane ditched in the canal killing all the crew, but hence missing all the adjacent houses.  My children remember walking along the lane in thick snow almost up to the hedges. 

At this time we had deliveries by the grocer, the greengrocer and butcher.  When we first lived at Chapel Anthony the train ran from Tiverton to Tiverton Junction just at the bottom of the field several times a day. 

[Extract from British Rail timetable:  TIVERTON JUNCTION and TIVERTON (One class only)

                   4 ¾ miles – Time on journey about 12 minutes

Tiverton Junction to Tiverton on Week Days only at 7.32,8.23,9.35,11.30,11.54

   12.35,1.40,2.32(Sat only),3.33,4.15,5.5,6.50,7.35,9.12 and11.53 (Sat only)

         Call at Halberton Halt 5 mins after leaving Tiverton Junction ]


Prowses Farm house in West Manley Lane

Farmhouse. Probably C16. Rendered cob with stone rubble plinth; water reed thatched roof; stone end stacks including
external stack to left. 2-room plan plus lean-to possible extension on the right and former probable cider loft at rear
left rebuilt 1993-4 as domestic wing.
EXTERIOR: 2 storeys plus lean-to on the right; 3-window range with doorway approximately central to the 2-storey part. Old
planked door; 1993-4 casement windows.
INTERIOR: has original smoke-blackened purlins and some rafters above an otherwise probable C18 roof structure.
Room on the left has large partly-blocked C17 fireplace and a broad-chamfered oak crossbeam.
Room right of entrance hall has a hollow-chamfered oak 
crossbeam and probable re-used head of C16 former muntin and
plank screen as end beam on the right; C17 fireplace with later oven and re-used chamfered oak beam (with blocked joist
sockets) as replacement lintel.
Prowses Farmhouse has the superficial character and appearance of an C18 house, but as with many Devon houses, on closer
examination there is evidence for a much older fabric.

Going Going Philip Larkin 1972

 

Going, going

 

I thought it would last my time -
The sense that, beyond the town,
There would always be fields and farms,
Where the village louts could climb
Such trees as were not cut down;
I knew there’d be false alarms

 

In the papers about old streets
And split level shopping, but some
Have always been left so far;
And when the old part retreats
As the bleak high-risers come
We can always escape in the car.

 

Things are tougher than we are, just
As earth will always respond
However we mess it about;
Chuck filth in the sea, if you must:
The tides will be clean beyond.
- But what do I feel now? Doubt?

 

Or age, simply? The crowd
Is young in the M1 cafe;
Their kids are screaming for more -
More houses, more parking allowed,
More caravan sites, more pay.
On the Business Page, a score

 

Of spectacled grins approve
Some takeover bid that entails
Five per cent profit (and ten
Per cent more in the estuaries): move
Your works to the unspoilt dales
(Grey area grants)! And when

 

You try to get near the sea
In summer . . .
        It seems, just now,
To be happening so very fast;
Despite all the land left free
For the first time I feel somehow
That it isn’t going to last,

 

That before I snuff it, the whole
Boiling will be bricked in
Except for the tourist parts -
First slum of Europe: a role
It won’t be hard to win,
With a cast of crooks and tarts.

 

And that will be England gone,
The shadows, the meadows, the lanes,
The guildhalls, the carved choirs.
There’ll be books; it will linger on
In galleries; but all that remains
For us will be concrete and tyres.

 

Most things are never meant.
This won’t be, most likely; but greeds
And garbage are too thick-strewn
To be swept up now, or invent
Excuses that make them all needs.
I just think it will happen, soon.


 

 

                                                                          

 


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