In Context

Appleby In Focus

Alan Roberts' History Articles

Memories of Appleby

A Tour of the Village


Parish Records & Censuses

Search the Site


Contact Us

Appleby Village Web Site

parchment logo

Appleby History > Memories > Memories of 1920

Memories of Appleby Magna in 1920

Sarah Wilkins nee Coldicott

Sadly, Sarah Wilkins passed away on Wednesday October 12th 2005 age 99 and a half years old. Her daughter Margaret tells us that as a result of this article, she has been contacted by relations and many other people who were interested in Sarah's story of Appleby. We are grateful to Margaret for allowing us to keep this fascinating insight into the past for all to see, and dedicate this to Sarah's memory.

On April 2nd 1906 I was born in a little village in Leicestershire called Appleby Magna. My mother Emma had always lived there. I think she and her husband Ernest Coldicott lived with her parents (George and Catherine Jordan) after they were married.

After leaving school Mum worked at Bates' the village bake house and general shop, later going on to work for a relation of the Bates' in Burton on Trent, where she met my dad. He was born a mile or so from Stratford upon Avon in Warwickshire. I don't know how he got to Burton in those days. He worked for Worthington's Brewery, and lodged and worked with Mum's brother in law. That is where he met Mum.

And now about Appleby…

I think I can remember who lived at almost every house and everyone who went to school at that time.

There is a lovely building, the Grammar School, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, where the boys from the age of 7 go to school. It was originally a boarding school. I of course only knew it as the village school for the boys. It was also used for village functions.

Now, we will start at St Michael's Church which is a beautiful building. I don't know how old it is. There is a big graveyard round the church and the gravestones are very old. Opposite the church stands the Infants' and Girls' school (we left at 13 in those days) - the cemetery on one side of the school and a farm on the other.

Now we move along Church Street. The shop that comes after the church is run by the Smout family. Next comes a cottage. Then we come to “The Crown" public house.

Alongside the pub is a path (Hall Yards) leading to a brook running beneath the "Kissing Gate" and a field in which stands The Moat House. Through the gate at the top of the field and on the right-hand side stands Garton's farm with a very big orchard. In early spring the ground is covered in snowdrops. I remember picking snowdrops to put on my baby brother Charlie’s grave. He died in a flu epidemic in 1919. On the left live Dessy Fish and Miss Stokes. Turning right out of Hall Yards lives Mrs. Booton the dressmaker. In the next house lives Mr. Mellors. Then come 3 adjoining cottages. The Misses Yardley live in the middle one. In the third cottage lives the widow of a soldier killed in the Great War. Next stands a detached house where a Mr. Beadman lives. (He later married the war widow from next door.)

The Jordan's farm comes next. Several sisters and their brother Will farm this. I used to play with Will's daughter, Lily. I was about 8 years old when one summer I slipped in the cow shed whilst playing with Lily and broke my leg. I was in bed all through the long school holidays. Old Dr. Davidson set my leg at home. There was no rushing off to the hospital in those days! The maids from Appleby Hall and the squire's daughter, Miss Elsie, were very kind to me and used to bring me little delicacies and grapes, which I had never seen before.

Beyond the farm are allotments, and a path across a field back on to Church Street. (Will come back here later on. )

After the allotments is the house where the Garret family lives. On the left hand side of the road is the chapel "Eternity, Where?" run mainly by the Rowlands. I shall mention their farm later on … it is in another direction.

The Grew family live in one of the next two houses. We have to go up steps to the following two houses where the Taylor and Roach families live.

Saddington's farm is the next place we come to. There are several sons, one a teacher. Now we arrive at the grammar school where for many years Mr. Riley was the master.

After the school comes a house and next to that the Mason farm. Next door is the path to the yard where a lot of the work such as sawing wood is carried out for the hall. Sometimes there would be 5 or 6 men working in the yard. This path is also the back entrance to Appleby Hall itself. The front entrance to the Hall is beyond the wood. The Squire and Rector are brothers.

I forgot to say that nearly opposite the grammar school stands the Gas House where the gas for the hall is produced. My uncle, George Jordan, was in charge. Most of the villagers only have paraffin lamps and candles.

Further along New Road we come to Overtown. We come to a path leading to the "Bothies" where the hall gardeners live. On the corner of this path stands the Round House - there is a pillar-box in the wall. From here the main road continues to Norton.

Also in Overtown is the farm belonging to the Misses Lilley. My dad worked there at one time. I would often go with him on a Sunday afternoon when he went to milk the cows and I would have tea with the Misses Lilley. The " Moore's Arms" pub, Ron Hatton the cobbler and Dr. Davidson are also in the village of Overtown.

Shortly after the doctor's house on the right we come to Bowley's Lane which eventually leads us back into Church Street. There are several houses in Bowley's Lane. Mr. Harper lives in one. He used to go to Burton every Thursday (market day). He always took a basket of vegetables to my mother's sister, who in return would send the basket back via Mr. Harper, filled with sweets, biscuits and other items off the market that she thought we could not get.

The police house is in Bowley's lane, also a family named Till. I used to play with May Till, the daughter, who was about my age. and so back to Church Street.

In Church Street opposite Bates' shop stands another pub, the "Queen Adelaide". Next comes the Blacksmiths and several other houses, these include Booth's, Gothard's and the Lee's, followed by another Chapel. On the other side of the road beyond Bates' stand 3 or 4 more houses. In the second one lives Mabel Joyce who is about my age. The Tunnadine's hardware shop is here. Church Street then winds round on to New Road. On the bend stands a lovely house called "Beeches". Walking back as far as Jordan's farm we come to Bott's Lane on our right.

Jack Saddington and his family live in the first house on the right of the lane. He has two daughters, May and Sybil. The Bott family lives in the next house (I don't remember much about them), I do remember Mark Smith moving into the Bott house when he married.

The Smith family live in the next house in Bott's Lane (the one on the bend). They are a big family, all adults, including Jack, Sid, Fanny and Wilfred who was killed in the 1914-1918 war, their father was the postman. On the opposite side of the lane are three more cottages. Two elderly gents, John Stretton and Harry Bowley, live in the first one. My Grandparents and Parents - George and Catherine Jordan, and Ernest and Emma Coldicott, (and of course myself and my younger brother George) live in the middle cottage. (We also had the third one until I was in my teens). There is a bake house in the row, and beyond the third cottage a wash house complete with a brick copper. We wind all our water from the well in front of the cottages. The Kendall family also have to get their water from this well. We have a very big garden complete with lovely apple and plum trees.

Just across the lane and opposite stands the house where the Kendall family live. There are three sons and a daughter. One son, Tommy Kendall, distinguished himself during the Great War and was awarded the Military Medal. Sadly he was killed. I remember Tommy well. Mrs. Kendall is the village midwife.

At the top of Bott's lane we go on to Snareston Lane and almost facing Bott's lane is Sandy Lane. My granddad George Jordan used to take me for regular walks along there. One day he said I couldn't go with him, I suppose he wasn't feeling too well, and later on that day he was found dead along the lane.

The Stevensons and Fishers live on the right. Further along Snareston Lane stands the Mill House, and then down a long lane on the left is Barnsheath Farm. The Varnum family farm here. Their daughter Sallie married my uncle, Fred Jordan.

Back over the road and quite a long way on and we come to two farms, Davis' and Ward's. From here we eventually come to Snareston Station.

We will now go back to where Hall Yards joins Top Street. Turning left out of Hall Yards Dessy Fish lives in the corner house. Next comes the Mortimer family. Several cottages followed and then up the steps to the Wards. The Black Horse public house comes next, standing on the corner of Top Street and Black Horse Hill.

Crossing the corner of Black Horse Hill we are at the Post Office managed by the Mundys. After the Post Office live the Quinneys. They have one daughter "Allie". Bert Greasley the undertaker lives a few houses further on and shortly after we turn left into a lane with a brook running on the left and the Parker farm on the right. This bit of lane is called Duck Lake.

We are now back on Black Horse Hill. From here we will pop back to the Post Office where on the opposite side of the road Jack Garton lives. Joe Beadman, who has several sons and a daughter, Alice, live in the next house. After the death of his wife, Joe's young son Norris lived with my Mum and Dad for many years. There are one or two more houses before we come to Rowland's farm. About one more house and we are at the brook again. This area is known as Old End. Stoney Lane joins here down which if we turn right we are in Measham Lane, and if we turn left there are a few houses on the right on the corner of Rectory Lane. Part way along Rectory Lane we come to the allotments on our right, and also a chapel. Further along on the left hand side and well back from the road is the Rectory .The Moore family live here.

I remember going to Sunday school parties that were held in one of the Rectory fields. On Christmas Eve I used to walk to the Rectory to collect a joint of beef, and on Christmas afternoon I went to the church to collect a two-shilling piece for my grandma. One year I lost the coin in the snow as I was crossing the field between Top Street and Bott's Lane. To this day I wonder what happened to that coin. …. I searched and searched but never did find it!

These are my memories of a happy childhood spent in Appleby.

Back to Top