Fred Deely - Chapter Three - More Memories of Deddington

Dorothy E Clarke

Recorded and published as 'Tangled Tapes' by Dorothy E Clarke and reproduced here with her kind permission.

Chapter Three - More Memories of Deddington

Eric Dodswell's Grandfather was the Sunday School Superintendent, and at the Christmas Party the first thing he did was to go round and see if he could get anyone to play him at Draughts. Titchy Clark played for a while, but soon got tired. Eric's Uncle Bernie was a Butcher. He used to kill the animals down in the Tchure. Where the Estate Agents Hayward & White are now the sheep were hung, and some of the pegs are still there.

The 'Cons', as Fred calls it, was always crowded, especially at Harvest Festival, people were even sitting in the doorway. Miss Obed Parker left a house to the 'Cons' which they sold to Mr. Spencer for £7000. Mr. Wells the draper, whose shop was where the second-hand furniture store is now, was also a 'Cons' man and, of course, Eddie Lines was always one of the leaders. His brothers, Alf and Bert, used to come to see their Aunt, Mrs. Rogers, at Hempton, and Alf did an engraving for the Church. He also carved a stand for the F.A.Cup.

More recently Eddie Lines asked Fred if he would help him to bring a piano from Somerset. Eric's Aunt had died and they wanted to give the piano to the 'Cons'. Always 'game' off they went, and when they arrived Eddie brought out an armchair as well with 'a twinkle in his eye' saying "We can saw off these legs!" But Eric's wife was 'on the ball', "Oh no you don't". So that was the end of Eddies little joke, but the piano is now well and truly installed and used on occasions. Before Eddie, Farmer Smith, who owned Tomwell Farm up by Hempton, ran the 'Cons'. They called him the 'Whistling Farmer' because he was always whistling; he lived across the road from the Butchers. Albert Fox was inducted three or four years ago; his old Dad used to charge up batteries. He had a motor-bike and sidecar to deliver them. His wife sat in the sidecar and Albert sat on the back. Eric Dodswell's Dad was also a big man at the 'Cons'. He was a Baker and made the hot cross buns. People reckoned he stood on the tower and shot the currents in from there, but "'E wasn't a bad ole chap."

There was a house on the Bullring called 'Whichway House' because it had two doorways. It's made into flats now, but painted on the side in big white letters were the words 'Cheapest House for Blankets and Flannels' but they sold everything, even groceries. They had two horses and carts, the horses were kept round by the surgery. Before 8 o'clock on Saturday mornings round they came loading up with two cranes one on each side. One cart went to the villages South, and the other to the West and North. You can just see a little of the white lettering left on the wall. The name was Smith, but they went broke, and when they cleared out Fred and his Dad cleaned out every room. "I found a bran' new chopping axe, but our Neil lent it ter 'is mate, an' that's the last I saw of it" said Fred. He went on "I believe Churchills 'ad the place before Smith, and they went broke. Must 'ave sold too cheap. Wouldn't do that today!"

The hall in the Tchure - offices now - was used for The Ancient Order of Forresters. ''Me Dad once put out a fire there with 'is coat. Mr. Wells 'ad a drapery then and gave 'im a new one." Fred's Father was a teetotaller and belonged to the Racobites, but Fred likes a drink now and again when he goes bowling. He is in the Oddfellows, his Uncle was Secretary, but there's only Fred and Fred Wilkinson left in Deddington now. There were thirty or forty members who used to meet at the Three Tuns [Crown & Tuns? CR], but the numbers diminished and they amalgamated with Hook Norton, although the Headquarters is at Stow-on-the-Wold. "It's a good club, you don't pay after 65, but you get 'elp with teeth and glasses, and an almanac at Christmas."

Fred did three journeys a week from Aynho with a truckload of coal and had to tip it through the big gates of the Manor House in New Street to dry. The house has the front at the back, and if he missed the spot he got 'a clip over the 'ead'. Captain Holford, a grand man, lived there then, and after that Major Roberts moved in. He had a son who got shot down over France in the Second World War and he never got over it. He shot himself - just over the wall!

Before that, about 1930, Colonel Beckwith-Smith took it over and a lot of the lads used to get in there for coffee. Old Quartermaster Webb (he was Manager of Durran's the jewellers in Banbury Market Place) came round for signatures to join the Territorials. "What about you Fred?" Fred had two big lorries by then and said "What about my business when you go to camp?"

"Oh no, that's voluntary."

"You sure" queried Fred.

"Yes, Fred, quite sure.'' So Fred signed thinking it would make a bit of a holiday for him. Dr. Turner tested the recruits in the school, and Fred came out 'as fit as a fiddle' but he always remembers Albert Sanders who served petrol in the Archway Garage. He was born with tiny hands, and the Doctor said "You go home my boy.'' Later on Perce Churchill asked Fred about going to camp. ''Oh that's all voluntary" said Fred.

''No it's not, it's compulsory, they were pulling your leg, you've got to go.

Fred couldn't leave his lorries so he went to see Major Edmunds at Bodicote A nice man, had a Brewery down at Banbury. "What's the matter, Deely?"

"I come to see you about the camp Sir."

"What do you mean?"

Fred told him he had joined the Territorials thinking the camp was voluntary, and explained he couldn't leave his lorries.

"I'll see what I can do" said the Major, and about a fortnight: later Perce Churchill brought him a paper 'Discharged on Business Grounds'.

There were two Banks in Deddington, Barclays next to the Estate Agents, and the Midland, where the Delicatessen is now. Tuckers was the Post Office then. Stanley Hall kept the King's Arms and ran a bus service during the war - Utility Buses - which he later handed over to the British Legion 'lock, stock and barrel'. A mail van used to come through from Banbury, pick up the mail bags and straight on to Oxford. A dozen or so debutantes from Oxford came down to the Castle Pavilion in the winter. It was a beautiful thatched building and up to a few years ago a block of concrete could be seen, marking the spot where it stood. Unfortunately it got burnt down. The girls danced to midnight, then came back to the Unicorn to sleep.

There was an American lady who used to swear 'like a trooper', her name was Miss Emmett, but she married Lord Denby and became a 'Lady'. They lived at Clifton and she had a chapel built in the house. One day she asked Fred to take some furniture to her Lodge at Sunningdale, and Mr. Harmsworth (former teacher) went along with Fred asking him if he would go via Camberley to see his brother. He and his brother married two sisters. Fred grinned ''E went 17 or 18 stone and 'is brother were about 8 stone!"