Tenants at No 47

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THE TENANTS OF NO. 47

In No. 47 lived Cuckoo Hewins and his family – and they were quite some family. For a start, Mr. Hewins was there as a lodger, living with a widower Mr. Ivens and his daughter. But things can go a little haywire when a young man moves in as lodger and the daughter of the landlord is an attractive red-haired young woman. She became pregnant and had a son Geoffrey. On his birth certificate, Geoffrey's surname was Ivens. But his parents married later, and for some reason or another, never had his surname changed by Deed Poll. Maybe it was too expensive!

So the rest of the children who came along after that, had a different surname to their older brother – Hewins. But somehow, their Dad acquired the nickname Cuckoo – supposedly because he had 'cuckold' the daughter of his landlord – in other words, had laid an egg in someone else's nest – as cuckoos usually do!!.

And this Mrs Hewins had a fiery temper, and did not seem to mind all the neighbours knowing when her will was crossed; in fact I think she made sure they DID know! It seems she had arguments with quite a number of people – including the formidable Miss Wilding who was so frightened of coming up against Mrs. Hewins, she selected to go to the school every working day from her house, along the footpath at the back of the houses, rather than face her. Jack, the Hewins second son was a real scamp who caused Miss Wilidng so much trouble, she had to send to the Manor for help – and Jack was horse-whipped by a Col Bagshot who was living at The Manor then.

When I was told this, people spoke in awe about Jack – for he was the only scholar of that school who dared to defy Miss Wilding. Both he and his older brother Geoffrey Ivens, as soon as they left school, went into the forces, Geoffrey into the Navy and Jack into the Army. Both boys were killed during the 1st World War, but Jack, coming home on his first leave, felt the need to go to Miss Wilding, and in front of the pupils, apologise to her for all the trouble he had caused her. Miss Wilding was so thrilled, she encouraged him to give the schoolchildren a soldier's drill, out in the playground.

But it shows that despite her fierce temper and shouting, Mrs. Hewins was a good mother at teaching her children respect, and the need to apologise when wrong had been committed.