The Laurels

From Clifford Chambers
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Photo:Homes and Buildings: The Laurels taken in 1951

It is not certain if this large house was ever owned by the Manor. Mr. and Mrs. Black lived there. He was a farmer who rented land at Cross-o-the-Hill, Steeles, Forge Farm, a bit of Burrows land and Stanleys land (then under the name of Griffin) the land at Springfield, and some of Clifford land.

Not quite the sort of person one would imagine being a tenant of a large house like The Laurels! He was very well liked; a respected Churchwarden who, in his retirement, bought some land on the Banbury Road opposite the two James' sisters, daughters of Mr. James (another Churchwarden) and lived there until his death.

After the Blacks left 'The Laurels', a Mr. Pearce moved in.

By the time of the 2nd World War, a Mr. and Mrs. English lived there. Mr. English was a Bank Manager at Lloyds Bank, and wealthy enough to own a fridge! When Edie Hastie became seriously ill and very near to death, Mrs. Black supplied her sister with ice cubes to cool her forehead. Their children were Elizabeth, Marcus and Timothy and also, Kenneth Patrick.

Kenneth served in the RAF, and frightened the villagers when during one of his training sessions, he flew extremely low over the Laurels. It was a memorable day for the children playing in the Rec! A row of poplar trees lined the brick wall that ran along the tarmacced path alongside the village street. There was a little gap in this row where the gate leading to the Rec was. Then the poplar trees continued along the gardens of Nos. 43, 44 and onwards.

Ken's spitfire appeared from The Nashes across the Recreation Ground and as he approached this row of poplar trees, he dipped one of his wings quickly and lifted the other, so his Spitfire could 'squeeze' through that gap. Adults in the village street watching this, just stopped breathing – and the children's mouths were open in fear and amazement. But it was noticeable that Seth Smith dived into a hedge, for cover.

Ken was killed during the 2nd World War.

Mr. English also dealt very kindly with the villagers when, during extremely icy weather, insisted they did not cycle to work, but instead travel in his car to work. The family attended the Church services regularly, but otherwise did not mix much with the village. Elizabeth, their daughter, ran the Cubs, meeting in the village school.