“They drinked and drinked till they had drinked it all up”

Now the war was over, William Hallam was hoping to retire back to his birthplace in the Vale of White Horse. On a reconnaissance trip he saw German PoWs hard at work.

22nd April 1919

Up at 7 this morning and went to Uffington by the 20 past 9 train. I walked up to Fernham. Looked over the churchyard and the church (modern) was locked. Just under churchyard a piece of ground occupied by the ruins of 2 old wattle & daub cottages which would do to build a new house on, I thought, if it could be bought cheap. Here an old man who was chopping the hedge tidy told me it was a sharp frost this morning, and if we had many more like it, it would do a lot of harm to the fruit.

I went on to Longcot and when I got there went into Pub to have a drink but the hostess said they hadn’t a drop of anything, she said you know Sir we had a wedding yesterday and they kept it up, yes, and they drinked and drinked till they had drinked it all up.”

I enquired of her where the houses were which were for sale and then went and looked at them. One was too big and another too small (one room down 2 up), another property was a block of 3 cottages – but I don’t want neighbours when I get into the country. I’ve had enough of their borrowing and gossiping ways here in Swindon. This property had high sounding names for instance the little cottage was Priory Glen, the 3 cottages Priory Place and the largest house the Priory, but all this is misnamed for I don’t believe a religious house or property ever existed there. However none of it will suit me.

I then went and looked round the Churchyard. I quizzed some of the stones – must go and copy them down. At the SW corner of the C.yard is a little house or room where they hold the Church… over the door is date 1821 & initial. Then I walked on to Shrivenham.

In a garden at Longcot I was 2 German prisoners at work planting potatoes- working very leisurely and smoking cigarettes. As I had plenty of time before getting to the station I went into Church & churchyard. Sat down in a pew and rested……..”

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

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A splendid crop

It was good news all around.

Florence Vansittart Neale
10 August 1918

Still good news. 24,000 prisoners. 300 guns.

William Hallam
10th August 1918

I went up to Uffington by train at 5 past 2 then walked across the field (and nearly got lost) to Shellingford. Had a good look over the church. Very nicely kept – then copied down all the Inscrip. in the Ch.yard on the E & N. sides- many old ones obliterated and walked back to Uffing. station by the road.

Terribly hot. A lot of harvesting being done quite a lot of beans, oats and wheat cut. And the men at work I stopped talking to say it is a splendid crop. I was tired when I got home. I can’t walk about now like I could 10 years ago and only 50.

After I had my tea and a wash I went along to Bath Rd reading room to see the latest war news and it is still progressing favourably.

Diary of Florence Vansittart Neale of Bisham Abbey (D/EX73/3/17/8); and William Hallam (D/EX1415/25)

Noisy bomb throwing practice

Draycot (later known as Chiseldon) Camp was a few miles away from William Hallam in Swindon.

21st September 1916
Last night the soldiers at Draycott [sic] were practicing with bomb throwing and the noise was so audible here it woke me up. Made up my mind to go to Uffington, in the holidays we are to have at the end of the month; and go to Shellingford and copy down the Inscr. there.

Diary of William Hallam (D/EX1415/24)

Cranbourne’s working party is highly spoken of

Women in Cranbourne joined the national effort to make clothing for soldiers and refugees. Gian, Lady Mount Stephen (1864-1933), a lady in waiting to the Queen, was a relative of the Glyns who was married to a wealthy Canadian peer. She grew up in Uffington, and was the daughter of a Naval officer.

SEWING MEETING.

The working party, in aid of Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild, has now closed for the summer months. It was started last August under the direction of Mrs. Maxwell Williams. She and Miss Maxwell Williams cut out all the garments- no slight task. The cost of the materials was £55 and was given by the Lady Mountstephen, to whom our thanks are given for affording us the opportunity of supplying some of the needs due to the war. About 1100 articles have been forwarded to the Guild Headquarters, which are at St. James’ Palace. There they are dealt with by a large Committee of ladies, who forward the various garments and other work to our soldiers at the front, our hospitals in England, the Maternity homes for the wives of Soldiers, and the needy Belgians.

Mrs. Maxwell Williams will be very pleased to continue meeting in the early Autumn, if it is still needed, and thanks all the members who have worked so hard and attended so regularly. It is gratifying to hear that the work has been much appreciated at the Headquarters of the Guild and highly spoken of.

Cranbourne section of Winkfield District Magazine, May 1916 (D/P151/28A/7/5)