History of Stourton Caundle

Early Childhood Memories

By Phil Knott

St Peters Church

I was christened at St. Peters Church in the April of 1947 by Cannon Delahay. The Church still had a strong influence on village life in the 1950s and all children were expected to attend Sunday school every Sunday afternoon from an early age. We were given a stamp to stick in a book every time we attended and each year a prize was awarded to the child with the best attendance record.

Improvements to the chancel took place in 1951, as the result of a gift from the three daughters of Mr and Mrs Fernandez, these included the replacement of the ornamental screen above the altar, and replacement of the choir stalls. In the same year A.E. Barritt was appointed as the vicar, followed in 1954 by F.L. Uppleby. In the winter months a coal fired boiler, installed in an external boiler house and connected by means of a two-inch diameter pipe to cast iron radiators in the church provided heat. Mr Cecil Orchard lit the boiler every Saturday morning, in readiness for the Sunday services, but as it became older and less efficient, the heat it generated made very little difference to the temperature inside the church on a cold frosty morning. Finally in 1960, on the recommendation of the Churchwardens Miss Doris Ludlow and Mr Foxwell, the members of the Parochial Church Council agreed to install wall mounted radiant heaters fuelled by propane gas.

The Church Fete in 1957

Following the appointment of the Reverend F.L. Uppleby the annual Church Fete, organised by the Parochial Church Council, was held every summer in the Rectory gardens. The annual Fete was one of the highlights of the village social calendar. There were various stalls, children’s sports and fancy dress competitions, and teas were served from the kitchen window of the Rectory. The format changed little from year to year, and the event provided one of the main sources of income for St Peters Church.

St Peter's Church Fete - 1957
Back Row Left to Right: Mrs R Bealing, Mrs Bugg, Mrs Stainer, Mrs Ashford, Mrs Loader,Mary Guy, Revered Uppleby, Nancy Bond, Pat Gray, Mrs Padfield, Mrs Bond, Mrs R Knott.
Front Row: Eric Bealing, Pauline Ashford, Mrs Osmond. Eva Loader, Roger Loader, Mrs Baverstock, Mrs Parsons, Lena Bond, Lesley Evans, Kathleen Knott.

In May 1958 the Reverend S.J. Osborne who was a master at Sherborne Boys School was appointed as the vicar for the parishes of Stourton and Purse Caundle. During his seven years in the post, he actively encouraged the participation of the younger generation in the activities of the Church, with the formation of a Youth Club, reforming the Church Choir, and for those of us who could not sing an introduction to bell ringing. Fred Priddle and Fred Baverstock were experienced ringers and during the late 1950s taught Rosemary and Helen Julius and Ted Foxwell to ring. Along with several other village lads, including Michael Harris, Michael Screen and Dennis Reddicliffe I started ringing in 1960, initially receiving tuition, in bell control, and ringing a bell up and down, from Ted Foxwell. I have continued to ring church bells throughout my adult life and fifty-four years on I am back ringing again on a regular basis in St. Peters Church. I also pumped the organ for Sunday services, following the retirement of Miss Oliver, for a payment of 6d a service. Mrs Burch was the Church Organist and the position, between two markers, of a lead weight, suspended on a piece of string, indicated the amount of air in the organ bellows. Failure to maintain sufficient air in the bellows was immediately apparent, with a sudden change in the tune of the organ. Furious pumping of the foot pedal by the Organist was required to recover the situation

I also cut the grass in the Cemetery at Drove Road and at Purse Caundle Cemetery. In 1961 I took over the daily responsibility for winding of the church clock. The clock, located in the middle stage of the tower, was driven by weights, which required raising every twenty-four hours, connected to the tenor bell. The clock would only chime on the hour, as it did not have a face or hands. An iron skeleton face was erected during the 1902 restoration, but the provision of clock hands, and connection to the clock mechanism was never completed. I have to admit being responsible for the damaging the teeth on a brass cog, which formed a part of the clock’s winding mechanism. The clock remained silent until the 1977 Silver Jubilee project, when the clock was restored and converted to electric, with a clock face and hands connected to the drive mechanism.

During the winter of 1960 I attended weekly evening confirmation classes at the vicarage, with separate classes held for boys and girls, followed by a confirmation service, held in St. Peters Church, conducted by the Bishop of Salisbury.

The Reverend Osborne and Mrs. Peel ran the youth club, which met on a weekly basis in the village hut. Games such as table tennis were played, and records featuring the recording stars of the day were played on a Dansette record player. As well his pastoral duties for the parish, Mr. Osborne was also a mathematics teacher at Kings School Sherborne, and during the summer months he arranged for the club to have the use of the schools swimming pool and tennis courts on Friday evenings. Free transport was provided and after the evenings sporting activities were over, fish and chip suppers were purchased from Jock Quirks at Higher Westbury.

The Church Choir 1960

St Peter's Church -1960
Front Row: David Collard, John Foxwell, Eric Bealing
Middle Row: Marina Shapland, Jennifer Swaffield, Pauline Ashford, Jane Collard, Kathleen Knott
Back Row: Suzanne Reddicliffe ? Mrs Peel, Reverend Osborne, Mrs Burch, Miss Oliver, Gloria Preston

Harvest Supper

The harvest supper was first held in 1961, organised by Mr. Ted Foxwell on behalf of the Parochial Church Council. During the early 1960s the harvest supper was most notable for the after effects of the home made cider, provided by Mr. Sam Harris of Brunsells Farm. The supper consisted of traditional bread, cheese, cold meats and pickles, and apple pies of numerous varieties covered with local cream, followed by music provided by Dennis Holloway from Stalbridge with traditional ballroom dancing. Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Liverpool sound had not yet arrived in Stourton Caundle.

The 1961 Harvest Supper in the Village Hut
The 1961 Harvest Supper in the Village Hut

The Reverend Osborne retired 1965 and there was a lapse of six months before the appointment of Mr. L.G. Inge