Edyth White’s recollections of her father

William Henry Anson, Head teacher of Churchill & Sarsden School
from 1st October 1894 to 31st August 1929.

My Father – the late W. H. Anson,
Head Teacher of Churchill School 1892 – 1929

My father came to Churchill, I believe, in 1892 and for a while before marriage stayed at Sarsden Woodyard with Mr. & Mrs. Williams. In 1894 he married my mother Louise Liner at Desborough, Northants, and they set up home in the School House in Sarsden Rd. Churchill where they lived until my father retired in 1929. Then they moved to ‘Two Ways’ at the bottom of Kingham Rd. still in the village. They had a family of 6 children — Muriel Louise, Andrew William, Mary, James Bernard, Edyth, and Frederick Charles Edmund.

Far many years the school came under the Sarsden Estate, which included Churchill, Sarsden and Lyneham, some 9000 acres. The estate agent lived at Sarsden and in my day was Mr. James Blair.

Under my father Churchill school became well known and pupils came from Kingham, Idbury, Fyfield, Lyneham. Rollright, and Kingham Hill. The Cornwell children came daily by Pearce’s bus and said it always stank of paraffin? Carrier Pearce as he was called, went round nearby villages selling cotton, thread, needles, laces, candles, and the paraffin was in a large can on the cratch of the bus – hence the smell!

My father was in full charge. In my time the Infants dept. was attached to the house where we lived. The teachers names then were Miss Croxton and Miss Peachey, in the infants. In the top school my father always had a male assistant, and I vaguely remember Mr. Claridge and Mr. West. Other teachers were Miss Gwinnel, Miss Stringer, Miss Matthews, Miss Thorns — still alive in her 90’s, Miss Lundars, Miss Duester and Bertha Hope. The Rev. E. Johnson came once a week and took prayers and the scripture lesson in the top class. Churchill was very definitely a C of E school, and that may be why children from other villages attended. I can well remember seeing 150 being marked on the attendance board.

In the first world war my father was a special constable and in the Volunteers who were duly drilled in the playground by Mr. Blair. I still have my fathers truncheon from the 1914 — 1918 war.

As well as being shoolmaster he formed a Coal Club, a Medical Club, a Clothing Club and a Pig Club. Lots of villagers kept a pig including the Ansons

The Chipping Norton Doctors )- Kelly, Russell, O’Shea and Berts all had clubs for their patients who paid so much a month — another job for my father.

The church, the choir, and the organ were very special to him. When I married ~ 1936 there were 10 men and 12 boys in cassock and surplice in the choir. During father’s lifetime I remember he put on a Cantata in the church. The Estate were always helpful and they erected 2 platforms in front of the pews, and there was an orchestra of violins and cellos etc. Mr. Edgar Smith the Ch. Norton Church organist came and presided. As father was conductor the church was packed. Mrs Tuson, the Rector’s daughter had a superb treble voice. She sang beautifully.

I have not forgotten my dear mother. She was the hidden power behind my father. She was somewhat shy but her heart was in the right place. I well remember taking puddings, special cakes etc. to the very elderly who lived alone.

Before I end this somewhat disjointed account, I must add that my father was a founder member of the Stow Choral Society, and Churchill Choral had a wonderful reputation. The Rector’s daughter Mrs. Tuson, already mentioned, was a great asset as a soprano, and the late Miss Flossie Treweeke was an accomplished pianist

Those were happy days at Churchill, where everyone knew everyone, and there was for many years my dear father to help the villagers along life’s way.

Edyth White.

1985 (date written in pencil)

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