Tenants at No 38
THE TENANTS OF NOS. Nos 38, 39, 40, 41
In the early part of the 1900's – and probably before in the 1800's - these cottages were where the farm workers for Home Farm lived. While Mr. James was tenant of the farm, the Simmons boys lived in these cottages. When Mr. James died, the tenancy of the Farm house was taken over by a Mr. Bluck, and the Manor Estate from then on, employed David Simmons to work on the Estate.
The cottages were formed together in a back-to-front 'L' shape. David Simmons and his young wife lived in the top section; their front windows looking over a lawn with fruit trees in it and beyond the village street, their back windows looking on to their back yard with, beyond, that, part of the village school playground.
Soon a family came along, Arthur, and Renee. After Arthur's birth Mrs. David Simmons was often seen walking with Arthur in the pram. She was a very quiet woman, and didn't make friends easily, but seemed to be quite happy. However, when Renee (Irene) was born, things went bad for her. Nowadays it would be called very severe post-natal depression and be treated with success. Then, it was “Just cope with it as best as you can. Concentrate on your beautiful baby and look after little Arthur!”
It didn't work. She never left her house. If anyone came to the door, she would open it just a little, so one eye could be seen, and that is all anyone ever saw of her. It was tragic for both children, for although they could go out and play, they could not invite any friends in. No-one knew how the children were fed, but they seemed to be well looked after in that direction, and their clothes were always clean.
Mrs. Rees-Mogg had some very attractive houses built in The Nashes for her workers, and moved David, his wife and children to one of these much larger houses, but it didn't help Mrs. Simmons in her illness. She still stayed behind her door; never coming out.
Arthur, their son, acquired a motorbike – and a little dog – and it was quite amusing to see Arthur drive from his house and along the main road, with his little dog sitting on the engine, enjoying the ride immensely. He married Sheila Lunnon from Springfield Cottage on the Shipston Road and Renee found happiness in marriage to a Mr. Hartwell where they lived in one of the houses at The Nashes where Renee was able to keep an eye on her mother and help her with her problems.
David, in the meantime, found himself working alongside Mr. Hebburn in interviewing future staff for the Manor Grounds, and one of the ways these two men decided on who would be good for the job, was to examine their hands – both sides!. And they did this before asking any questions!
Eventually, Jack Radbourne and his wife, Dorothy moved in to the top part of the 'L' cottage, when they left The Pub, living there until their deaths. Dorothy was a dear soul, cooing over babies in their prams, and talking about her childhood to the Mums. But she and Jack never had any children.
As for Jack, after working for the Manor as a lorry driver, he became a general 'oddsbody' working at the Churchyard; cleaning at the Clifford Working Mens Club etc. However, it always seemed that when anyone saw him, Jack was always either leaning on a spade or a broom. Just leaning? No-one ever seemed to see him actually working!
The other part of the 'L' comprised three cottages. Nearest to the village street lived Austin Simmons and his wife, but with no children. Austin was another farm worker who, when the tenancy of Home Farm changed, became under the employ of the Manor. It was when the 2nd World War came, and Landgirls were around – one rather attractive to Austin – that things changed for Austin. For his wife did the most natural thing. She told his employer about Austin's discretions – though no-one really knows if it was just a flirtation – or something more!
Austin had the sack!
Rev Pippet (or his wife by then) employed Austin, and the family moved nearer to Red Hill House, where he looked after the large garden there
Austin did have another love - bell-ringing - and was captain of the team for years in our Church. He was so enthusiastic, he always throughout the years, had a good team working with him, with sometimes a waiting list of eager boys wanting to join.
When Austin and his wife left, a Mr. & Mrs. Lively moved in; one of their daughters marrying Mr. Lee, living in a cottage on Orchard Hill Farm. Two of their sons worked at Mr. Steeles' Farm – Forge Farm.
By 1967, the Manor had changed hands. Mr. Bradshaw had exchanged the Manor for Sweet Knowle, and the owner of Sweet Knowle, Major Pagan-Taylor, now became the owner of Clifford Manor. He brought with him, not only his wife and his three sons, but also their Nanny. Nanny Wise. And she lived in this end part of the 'L' until her death.
In the middle section of that 'L' lived Frank Simmons living with his Mum and Dad, his elderly Dad mending shoes in a shed in the back yard. When David and his family moved out of the 'L' cottages, Frank moved in to take their place at that cottage, his mum and Dad having died by then.
Frank had no children. He eventually moved to No. 51 which, at that time was owned by Seth Smith, and Frank worked for him as a gardener.
In that middle section, soon came Chubb Wiltshire. His Christian name was Geoffrey. No-one seems to know now, why he was given the nickname of Chubb. Maybe, with the River Stour so near, he went fishing often with friends, and that was all he could catch! But that is only a guess.
His wife, was the sister of Alf Rolls, and she took on the job of School caretaker, enjoying the work and the children. Chubb in the meantime joined the team of bell-ringers. But it was quite noticeable that his bell often clashed a bit with the others because he pulled at the wrong time. So it was possible he did not become a bell-ringer until after Austin's death! Austin would have suggested to him that he be 'reserve', and only use him as a last resort.
And the other end nearest to the school, eventually housed a Mr. & Mrs. Cross whose daughter Rita, married Alf Rolls. They must have been a very devoted couple, for when one of them died, the next day the other died – joined together in holy matrimony – joined together in death.