Hullavington

Granny Wicks

SARAH WICKS known as Granny Wicks lived with her husband, and her three sons, Richard, James and Jack, and three daughters, Elizabeth, Eliza and Polly. She was caretaker of the General Baptist Chapel in Newtown Lane. She always entertained the preachers to a meal after the service. She was greatly loved by all who knew her, no one else seemed to equal her in all the good deeds and kindness.

Granny Wicks was “Granny Wicks” to the villagers, she was never called Mrs. or by her Christian name. The people. were very poor indeed in those days, but Granny was a little better off, or so the people thought, as they had a hurdle making business. The sons worked very hard to keep things going. When poor Granny Wicks’ husband passed away Granny also kept her part of the business going; she was far too precious to the villagers to give up.

Granny Wicks went to Chapel regularly. She wore a little black bonnet and cape, and in her cape was a pocket which she filled with little biscuits which were called ‘Little folks’ when a little child was restless out came a few of these biscuits. Needless to say – all was well as long as the Little hits lasted.

Granny Wicks was nearly as good as a doctor she gave a lot of her time and life caring for the poor of the village and was called upon night and day. She always carried a little bag with her – cotton wool, Beechams pills, castor oil, goose grease and some white rags and some brandy. She never forgot to take her candles and matches; perhaps when she had walked a long way there was no light there, as people were very, very poor. She was always sending soup and other things to all she thought needed them.

Granny made a shroud, which she always carried under her cape, and this did a lot to soften the bereaved family’s sorrow. But Granny could not afford to let go of it, so the undertaker would take it off and it was returned to Granny for the next poor soul.

Granny was called out one very cold, wet night to someone who had passed away. When she arrived at the house and went upstairs alone to start laying the person out, the woman said, “I’m not dead yet, we’ve only had a row!” Granny was shattered!

Her body was laid to rest on June 21st 1907 at the age of 77 years, on top of her late husband, in a bricked grave, in the Chapel burial ground, the General Baptist Chapel, where she worked and laboured to God’s calling.

Written by her 77 year old grand-daughter,
Mrs Marjorie W. Dolman, Hullavington, Chippenham, Wiltshire

*****

HULLAVINGTON BY MOONLIGHT

0, silent village as you lie
In silent shadowed peace
With ne’er a sound, nor yet a sigh
Your sleep will never cease

Nor years on end you’ve slumber’d
But you’re still just the same,
With cares we are encumber’d
You’re oblivious to our pain.

You stay unchanged in a changing world
A placid, Moonlit place,
Frowning, as if a mighty thing had hurled
The smiles from your sad stone face.

The Church looks grimly down on me
With dignity and pride.
The tombstones, glimmering stonily,
Soon to try their age to hide.

And further down the quiet street
The pool lies calm and still;
Without a ripple – silent sheet
Where cattle drink their fill.

Dear place ! Your name is not unknown
There are many far away
To whom you are a Home-Sweet-Home,
And they’ll return some day.

They will find you haven’t altered,
Though a few dear ones have gone;
Your foundations won’t have faltered
You will still be “Hullinton”

Maurice Wicks 1914-1966

*****

Latimar Pond – Hullavington

So Latimar is to be filled in,
Well I do think it be a sin.
With the news a pang in my heart did rend;
Tis like saying goodbye to a dear old friend.
Though to school I aint been for many a year,
Oh the memory comes back very clear.
Of wintery days when the frost held hard,
We never played in the old school yard.
The schoolmaster would say with a genial smile;
“Now off thee all go to play a while.
All the boys and girls now run away quick,
And have your fun while the ice be thick.
There’s never nothing half so nice
As sliding about on the smooth clear ice.
It always makes thee nice and warm;
A few bangs and bumps won’t do thee no harm.”
So with gladsome laughter and merry shout,
From the school we’d all come tumbling out.
Down the street to Latimer off we’d go,
An soon we’d be standing all in a row.
First boy’d take off and strike the slide,
Then one after t’other off we’d glide.
We felt like the swift moving birds that fly
Up above in a clear blue sky,
Except when we came down with a bump,
And sat on the ice with a gert big thump.
But what did we care if we fell?
We just slid again till we heard the school bell.
And back to lessons off we’d go,
Dearie me didn’t time go slow
Untill it was time to go home for tea,
Which was gobbled down then off we’d go.
Hurrying off a down the lane,
Back to our fun on the pond again.
And then would come our dads and big brothers,
Our grown up sisters and maybe our mothers.
We’d all slide about, oh how the time flew by!
Ah! we couldn’t tell where the minutes fled,
In no time at all we were called ‘ome to bed.

In the spring it were a pretty sight,
When the clouds were sailing high and white
Across the heaven’s expanse of blue
To see them sailing old Latimar too.
And see the white ducks swimmin’ by,
Floating both on water and sky.
And the tall elms bent like a winsome lass,
To see themselves as though in a glass.
And when the moon rose over the trees,
Round and full like a chedder cheese,
It made I think of those old tales
Which be known in all Wiltshire’s hills and dales,
Of the moonraker and the excise men;
For some of us were smugglers then.
And how they laughed at the village fool,
Who was trying to take a cheese from the pool.
But the fool was clever; the excise man did miss ‘im
It sure did happen in a pool like this one.

Ah, well yes, I must admit,
That the old pond it stinks a bit.
But what be a bad smell here or there?
It aint hurt I; I be pretty fair.
Why Lord bless thee, I be good as new.
And I’ve dwelled in Hullington all my life too.
Well, at any rate, I’ll be still alive.
Eh, how old be I? Why eighty five!

By John Wicks Aged 85 of Hullavington

Last Verse added by Auntie Mary

By chance I came across this rhyme.
And as I read, the hands of time
Reverted back and I could hear
The old familiar brogue, so dear.
With out a doubt it’s Father John.
So now another verse I’ll add,
For my Wiltshire brogue is not so bad.
Now this thir pond be covered o’er,
With green green grass for evermore,
And not a seat for old folk to sit.
I wish that they had waited a bit.
Dear Father John be passed away,
And there’s no more for me to say,
Except that they’ll be memories fond,
Of that old filled in Latimar pond.

13 April, 2015

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