Oral History Marjory Raynor [née Webber] October 2007

Compiled by Jane Hedge

I was born in Coddington, my mother Eleanor [née Lee] and father William Webber lived in the mill cottage that was just down the lane that passed the mill. My brother Richard and sister Ann Elizabeth were also born in the cottage.

The cottage had three bedrooms but one was only the size of a box room. No heating and only a candle for light. The water was taken from the well, I would watch my Mother drop the bucket to the bottom, let it turn on its side and fill. It was beautiful water. We washed our hair in rain water from the butt. The cottage was not connected to the Mill.

We all went to school in the National School. If it was a heavy winter we could take a tin of beans to school for our dinners so that we didn’t have to walk home. Mrs Naylor would put them on top of the beautiful old black stove to heat up. We would walk on the top of the hedgerow to get to school in the snow. Someone would test the moat and if it was safe we were allowed to skate on it.

Miss Gomer lived at Almond Cottage and Mr Black was next door.

We went to Sunday School at the Methodist Chapel. Mr Harold Taylor was superintendent, he lived in the cottages on the right hand side of the road opposite the Old Forge. Mrs Colly lived next door. As we passed Mrs Taylor would call us in and take down the biscuit barrel that was full of sweets and offer us one, then we walked on to Chapel.
We had an anniversary each year and you either sang or did a recitation on the stage. The chapel was packed.
We had a celebration day, races and all sorts. The ones we enjoyed most were when we went to town on Mr Taylor’s cart. The sweets were ordered at Woolworths and we would pull up outside and each child was given a bag of sweets.
I was in the choir at Chapel and sometimes went 3 times on a Sunday. Mum used to sit at the back of the Chapel and I remember one day we had a preacher who stuttered and my friend and I were very naughty and couldn’t stop tittering – my mother came and fetched me back to sit with her. It really was very naughty but we had never heard anyone who stuttered.

We children would play in the paddock at the Mill house. We would build tents with brushes, sticks and blankets, with Bunty, Aunty Mabel’s daughter. Aunty Mabel would bring out Tea with homemade bread and homemade butter. I had such happy times at the Mill house.

At Hilltop Farm lived Mr And Mrs Robinson with their daughters Mary and Betty [who married Mr Sheldrake the chemist]. When the Bramley apples were ready to be stored they were put on the floor of one of the bedrooms and the smell was wonderful. Then Mr Atkins lived there,

When I was 17 yrs old I joined the Land Army. I was a shy person but I enjoyed it. The first farm I went to was at Hockerton it was a mixed farm and it was there that I met my husband Leonard. He was the herdsman. Then I moved to Walkers farm at Averham.

When I came out of the Land Army we decided to get married and went up to Sheffield to Leonard’s family and were married there, then we came back to the village and lived at Greenfields when it was a small cottage..

William and Edith Lee lived in Stone Cottage with their daughter Olive, on the same side of the road as the Mill, it was nearly opposite the drive to Daybell’s Hill Farm. Sam Lee and Joe Ward, who married Mabel Lee, worked the mill, when they left Sam Lee stayed at the Mill on his own. We would have bought the mill if we could have afforded it.

I think the land was sold to Mr Kirton and Mr Daybell. Reg Hutchinson bought the Mill.

When we left Greenfield Cottage [it was getting into a terrible run down state] we went to a new council house on Morgan’s Close estate and lived next door to Jill Proctor. Leonard had gone to work on the new motorway [A1] and then later we moved to Balderton and Leonard worked at Staythorpe Power Station before it closed.