Bampton's History

History - Reminiscences

Got any memories of Bampton in the past? Why not share them with us? You can email them to the webmaster here...

Thank you very much for letting me know about the church video, Tom. It is very good indeed, and I've looked at a few such in my time! I note that you had something to do with the making of it, which doesn't surprise me (good for you!) and also your Webmaster. Who is Geoff Thomas? The narration is excellent - clear and well-paced - a special boon to those of us who are somewhat deaf. You've all been very busy! It is good to know that there's such a record of Bampton's beautiful church. Everything was well covered, nothing overlooked, and all so interesting.

As you can imagine, it brought back SO many memories for me. I've sat in those pews hundreds of times, as a child, frequently gazing at and wondering about the various carvings and so on the camera pans to, instead of paying attention to Mr. Frayling's sermons. Of course, I did pay attention to him, when he married us many years later! In that respect, it's especially good for us and our children to have the video. I had walked up that aisle before, when I was aged about 8, in a white dress carrying a sheaf of corn at the Harvest Festival service. There were four little girls, dressed in white, each carrying something representative of the four seasons. It was thought it would be welcoming if one of the recently arrived evacuees could be one of them so I was persuaded. I remember the sheaf was quite heavy and the stalks of corn very slippery so I was relieved when we made it to the altar without mishap. I know I shall be looking at the video many times more. Thank you again. Joan

Many thanks for the links to the videos.  I've been wallowing in nostalgia!  I especially enjoyed the railway one and I'm pleased that someone had the forethought to film the Exe Valley line before it was axed.

I recognize the chap handing over the key thing-y to the driver at Bampton station, so that the train could proceed, (I think, the signalman's duty) as Frank Manley, who used to meet every train. I'm going to go through the films when I have time with finger on "Pause" to see if I can recognize anyone else.

Frank Manley, by the way, is in photo of the Rifle Club, on page 128 of Caroline Seward's book on Bampton. Whilst on that page, I remember some of those shown very well: Michael Rendell used to stand in for Miss Gertrude Vicary and play the organ for church services on the extremely rare occasions she was away;   Evan Collacott was Sheila (now) Hill's father, of the White Horse (I went riding with him once, on Red Robin, one of his horses stabled in the yard);  Humphrey Weston was Mrs. Vicary's brother, and lived at Barton Farm;  Reg Yendall - a very pleasant chap - was frequently in the Vicary kitchen, having a natter. Reg had a sister, Laura, and the family lived at Leburn House, Luke Street. People often seemed to congregate in the Vicary kitchen, enjoying the crowded, convivial atmosphere.

I note your Webmaster lives at Station House.  In my day, the Station Master was Mr. Ivens.  I can't remember him well, but I do  recall his wife. Mrs. Ivens did a bit of sewing on the side and I went to the house a couple of times when she was making dresses for Gillian Vicary and me.  I dare say the house has been altered since then.

Kind regards, Joan

I lived in Bampton from 1932 until 1945 .My father had come from Leeds to work at Scotts quarry - his name was Fred Dunbar although he was always known asTED. We lived in what was called TOLL house at the top of Brittan street, moving at a later date to number 2 New Buildings. I started school in the old infant school which was opposite the station and backed onto the graveyard. I moved to the new school, the headmistress was Miss Cliff. At age 11 I moved to the big school, the headmaster Mr Rundle. We had quite a lot of evacuees in school, also at some point there were a lot of American servicemen billited in the town. I can recall some of the bussinesses in town: Mantles dairy and Blamneys store on the mainstreet. Quite a lot of German planes came down on Exmoor and I can remember standing with many other children outside the police station when a German airman was brought in after being caught on the moor. I have only been back acouple of times but have many memories of my time in Bampton. WYNN WILLIAMS NEE DUNBAR

Our family,  the Woolfendens lived near Bampton from 1962 - 1968.  Our parents Harry & Hilda Woolfenden were caretakers of Westbrook House owned at the time by Captain and Mrs.Kennard from Cheltenham.  My brother Chris myself Sandra and later my youngest brother Andrew,  attended Bampton Primary School and my two older brothers Billy and David went to Bampton Secondary School.  When I was of age I attended Bampton Secondary School, until we moved to Tiverton in 1968.

We had the most wonderful childhood, surrounded by the beautiful countryside around Bampton.  The river Exe was a popular haunt during our summer holidays, the woodland surrounding Westbrook House, the farms and fields behind us and the never ending wildlife on our doorstep.  Mr Seward the grocer from Bampton delivered groceries to us twice a week and was a very welcome visitor.  Sometimes he would let me go on his rounds with him to Oakford and surrounding villages and I could have anything I wanted from his selection of cakes and sweets - it was heaven!  I remember the winter of 1963 when we were snowed up until March.  Dad sent us with the sledge he'd made us to Bampton for food supplies and it took 6 hours to get through the drifts but we did it.  We had to take down the log cabin we had built in the woods to cut up for firewood and we all cried.  I can also remember Dad sending us to school on foot in the snow and we were renamed "The Walking Woolfendens" by Mr Edwards our school headmaster.  Mr Edwards was the most amazing person and apart from my parents has had the most amazing influence on my life.  I remember he only had one lung but he was so fit and he was our sports teacher, English teacher, Maths teacher, he did everything with the utmost enthusiasm and things he told us then I still remember and they were correct and true.  I never met another person like him again in my life.

My grandparents, Harold & Alice Woolfenden, lived for a while in Frog Street in Bampton and we used to visit them every week and pick vegetables from their garden.  My friend lived in Bamtpon for some time in my adult life, so I used to go back regularly and my job took me to Bampton also, so I used to see the changes. In 2006  I moved to Crete, Greece which is where I am living at the moment.  Now I have more time on my hands, it has been interesting to look at the various websites with so much informaion about Bampton, which still holds so many happy memories.

Sandra Fowle (nee Woolfenden)


Bampton Heritage & Visitor Centre