HISTORY OF STOKE GIFFORD
Edited by Adrian Kerton
See Also the Stoke Standard for a collection of Memories
See also photographs contributed :by
At a recent talkof the history I gave, a resident recounted a little saying.
“If you stand in the centre of the village green and look towards the church you see salvation, turn to the school rooms for education and then towards the Beaufort Arms for damnation” -Adrian.
Caroline Clark North Road.
The family remember Hill house being bought for somewhere between £150 or £170 in 1915. [It was sold to Mr. J Dent at the auction for £160 – Ed.]
Just north of Knightwood farm was a pond that used to have ducks.
T Wigmore born 1854 was the tenant of lot 48
The Barn at Field Farm on Rock Lane used to be used as a Chapel before the Baptist chapel was built.
She remembers buying her sweets from the shop at top of Rock lane. [Now called Rock Lane farm it was called Beaufort House when it was the village shop and off license- Ed.] and the cider press located on Rock Lane opposite the footpath to Barn Owl Close.
On the corner of Rock Lane and North road is a collection of cottages at one time occupied by Mrs. Cullimore, Mrs Ockwell and Mr. O. T. Wigmore. Curiously Mrs Cullimores’s kitchen was located across the yard next door to Mrs. Ockwell’s cottage, and Mrs Cullimore could often be seen carrying the meals from the kitchen, across the yard to the house.
Mrs, Cullimore’s cottage and kitchen
See George Hartnell for his memories of Harry Stoke.
Mary Date April 1966 onwards
I was born at 56 Rock Lane, Stoke Gifford. My parents house backed on to a cow’s field. in which was a derelict house (we called it the barn) and played there constantly. The barn has now been demolished and the field built on, this is now Field Farm Close.
What is now Brinn’s Close used to be a farm.
At the far end of the village is Ashman’s farm and they owned the land that is now Oxbarton. When the Winterbourne road was built, this also went across their land, so in order to get the cows back and forth for milking, an underpass had to be built by the contractors. This underpass has now been cleared of cow dung and is the underpass from Stoke Gifford to Bradley Stoke North.
At the top of Rock Lane was a lane, which went by the side of Pearce’s, past Gales Farm, over the railway bridge to Hambrook. The lane is partially there, but has opened up considerably due to development at Bakers Ground.
Each summer St Michael’s School (OSR) held the Rose Fair and there was a ‘Rose Queen’. She was chosen by the pupils from the Year 6 girls (bearing in mind each year group consisted of approximately 15-20 children, half of which were girls). There would be a procession through the village with the Rose Queen and her assistants (all the other year 6 girls) on a float at the head.
Sports Day took place in the playing field (by the Trust Hall). In the playing field was a very tall tree called a Poplar tree, after which the Poplar Rooms was named. The tree became unstable, due to its size and was felled. It had always been there in my life time and due to its size I noticed its absence and felt sad.
A catastrophic event transpired on July 21, 1938.
An Account by Tony John Williams
Ripples were directed through the village of Stoke Gifford that Thursday and made history. The scorching sun rose over four Fairview Cottage. Cliff Williams stood in the front garden putting on a helmet and gloves before mounting his Triumph Speedtwin motorcycle. He waited patiently for Ken Ockwell to climb onto the bike, before they embarked on what would become their final ride together.
Cliff remembered his brother as they passed the railway yard, four years had gone by since the last casualty. Reverend Jones waved as they passed the vicarage. Children were chasing one another on the village green, and women were pushing prams nearby. Little did anyone know that tragedy was waiting in the wings.
They soon reached Station Road, where a Morris Cowley was parked outside Patchway railway station. The driver, identified as Sidney Bennett Dent, slowly pulled away while the motorcycle approached. It drove on the wrong side of the road and gave no signal when swinging to the centre.
Cliff slowed down and pulled to the crown. The incident took place when the motorcycle collided with the car. Both riders were hurled in the air and landed opposite the vehicle. All were injured; however, Ken was able to regain his footing and staggered over to the police box at the end of the road.
The police soon showed up on the scene followed by an ambulance. The car driver looked shell-shocked as he sat behind the wheel. A friend of his, identified as Cecil Parker, knocked on the passenger window, but got no response. Another witness, revealed as Christopher Kendall, saw the crash from his halted locomotive. Cliff showed no signs of consciousness and was driven to Bristol Royal Infirmary. He spent five days wrapped up in bed while in a coma. He died on the morning of July 26.
An inquest was later held at Bristol Coroner’s Court.
“We approached the railway station bay at about thirty-five miles an hour,” explained Ken.” I saw the car pull across to its wrong side of the road.” He clarified that Cliff was aware of the vehicle, but claimed not to know what happened to him afterwards.
“My boy had only just purchased the bike,” said Jack, the father of the deceased.
Cecil appeared for the car driver and expressed that Sidney said “I did not see you coming” after the accident. “I saw the motorcycle go by with the two young fellows on it,” Said Kendall. “It was going at a reasonable speed. I then saw a car moving very slowly from its wrong side of the road. The crash was inevitable.
“He alleged not to have seen the collision, but heard the impact of it. Kendall was cross-examined by Cecil, “They ought to have their heads knocked together for the accident happening.” “It was my intention to swing the car round and leave it facing the same direction as I had come,” said Sidney, who lived opposite Clifford at Ivy House. “I was coming up Station Road and was pulling slowly into the station when the motorcycle hit my radiator.” He continued to explain that he was collecting Cecil from the train station. “There was plenty of room to turn, and I kept on the correct side of the road at all times” said Sidney.
A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned by the jury.
A conflict between the Williams and Dent families turned unpleasant in the aftermath. The funeral was held at St. Michael’s Church, many residents of the area attended to pay their respects, including the wife of Sidney, who expressed her sorrow to Jack and Kate Williams. Cliff was buried in the same grave as his younger brothers Ken, Herbert and Frank. The wake was held at The Beaufort Arms public house, where Sidney made an appearance. Jack confronted him, before he offered his hand as a sign of forgiveness. There’s no morality or dishonor, just your own lonely code. Until your race is run.