December 12, 2017

Oral History and Folk Songs

We have an extensive number of oral histories recorded by our secretary, Sue Chaplin, and edited by Diz Minnit. To listen to extracts, click on the files below.
Seething Mass of Rats, Chris Holden;     Stone Hill bomber crash, Cliff Cheshire;     Willow Branch Fences, David Midwinter;
Bombs Under Sheaves, Cliff Cheshire;    Last Man out of the Wheatsheaf, Chris Holden;     WW2 Tank in a Pond, David Midwinter;
 Relaxed Village Life, David Midwinter;     Spider Tattam & the Tattams, Chris Holden;      Ted Anstiss and his bowler
hat, Cliff Cheshire;    The Village Constable, David Midwinter;     Land Girls, David Midwinter;     Village Shops, Chris
Holden;      School Multiplication Tables, Chris Holden;      Charringtons Beer, Cliff Cheshire;       School Dentist, Cliff
Cheshire;      Lessons and toilets in the 1930s, Chris Holden;     Italian Prisoners and Chips, David Midwinter;     Steam

Threshing, David Midwinter;   Oil Bomb on Oving Hill, Chris Holden;    Sending Milk to London, David Midwinter;   

Airman at Potters Farm, Cliff Cheshire;    Slaughterhouse in Portway, Chris Holden;    Sheep Scab, David

Midwinter;       Prince Edward’s Broken Arm, David Midwinter;     Mr Stevens Dying of Flu at The Wheatsheaf, Cliff

Cheshire;     School staff in the 1930s, Chris Holden;     Garage Gambling, David Midwinter;   Henry Anstiss and his

Vintage Car, Cliff Cheshire;     Peter Bartram et al, Chris Holden;   Jeep Repairs at the Old Forge, David Midwinter;  Mr Clifford the Lodger, Cliff Cheshire;    

The Sheldrakes and the Grays, Chris Holden;     Raffling Tractors in WW2, David Midwinter;    

Police, ARP & Home Guard in WW2, Chris Holden;     Churchill’s Toy Factory, Cliff Cheshire;

Granborough Road Station, David Midwinter;     Will, Felix, Walter, Wilfred & Mr Cox, Chris Holden;

Grandmother marrying Ted Anstiss, Cliff Cheshire;     Dumping wheat at sea, David Midwinter;

The Gun Carriage and the Balloon, David Midwinter;

We also have a 1950s recording of a couple of folk songs; the first is “The Blackberry Grove”, sung by local man Eddie Lambourne. To hear the song click here.  The second song is “The Prickelly Bush” sung by another Marston man, Ted Keen. To hear Ted’s song click here.

Recorded in the 1950s by folk-song collector Seamus Ennis, these songs are part of a CD that provides us with a glimpse into the rural tradition of folk songs filtering down through the generations. As mentioned above, two of the singers, Eddie Lambourne and Ted Keen, were North Marston men; Amos Beckett was from Winslow and Mary Bennell was from Hyde Heath. None was a performing artist: collectively they were a window-cleaner, a roadman, an agricultural labourer and a housewife. To see the playlist from this CD click here.

WARNING! Some of the lyrics may not sit easily to the modern listener but they reflect a language and a culture that would not have raised an eyebrow sixty years ago. It is precious to have the voices of ordinary folk from decades ago captured like this, many thanks to Sally Burton (Ted Keen’s grand-daughter) for the loan of the CD.