Bradford Abbas

This is a list of various historical articles, items and photographs on display on the walls of the Rose and Crown, September 2003.

Concert Programme August 14th 1888

Bradford Abbas cum Clifton Mabank

Ye roof of ye Church hathe worne out, Wherefore ane Afternoon Concert of Music

Will be given to mend the same at ye Vicarage at 3.30 o’the Clock on ye Fourteenth dai of August under ye Patronage of The Marchioness of Westminster The Honble. Lady Ponsonby Fane

Mrs Albert Clayton

Mrs Godden

Mrs Harbin

Mrs Lloyd Jones

Mrs Lyon

 Seates reserves at 3/-.  Family Ticket admits 4, at 10/- .  Unreserved 2/-

To be held at the Vicarage

 Where at will sing and play

Signorine Ponti     Mr and Mrs Regan   Mrs Roxby   Miss Egremont  And others

 In ye year 1888


The Coronation Parade in North Street, 1937 (3 photographs)


Coronation festivities, June 22nd, 1911

Bradford Abbas, Clifton Maubank and Wyke


Programme of Events

 6am A Peal on the Bells. The Bells will be rung at intervals during the day.

12am Special Coronation Service in the Church

2pm Sports in the Cricket Field, by kind permission of Mrs WILLS and The Cricket Club

4.30pm Presentation of Commemorative Coronation Mugs, by Mrs DANIELL, of Clifton Maubank.

Tea for all under 16

6.30pm Supper, consisting of Roast Beef, Boiled Beef, Ham, Boiled Mutton, Pickles, Salad, Cheese, Bread – Beer and Minerals. In a field adjoining S. Mary House, by kind permission of the Rev. Gordon WICKHAM, for all over 16, each person to bring a Knife, Fork, Plate and Glass. After the meal can be stored in the Schoolroom.

8pm Concert or Dance

9.30pm Display of Fireworks

“God Save The King”

Pianos supplied by Messrs E. PRICE and Sons Ltd., Yeovil Sports

1.  Sack Race

over 16





2.  Sack Race

under 16





3.  Three-Legged Race

over 16





4.  Three-Legged Race

under 16





5.  Egg and Spoon Race

for Women





6.  Egg and Spoon Race

for Girls





7.  Bicycle Race






8.  Stone Picking Race

for Boys





9.  Stone Picking Race

for Girls





10. Wheel-barrow Race

over 16





11. Flat Race

200 yds

under 16




12. Flat race

½ mile

over 16




13. Throwing the Weight

over 16





14. Throwing the Weight

under 16





15. Kicking the Football

for Women





16. Kicking the Football

for Girls





17. Bucket and Orange Race

for Boys





18. Pick-a-Back Race

for Men





19. Skipping Race

for Girls





20. Skipping Race

for Women





No competitor to take more than 1 First Prize or 2 Second Prizes

All are asked to do their part in making the Village bright with decorations.

Coronation June 3rd, 1953 (photograph)

‘Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary’

Fancy dress – L-R Christine DEWBERRY, Norma WHITE, Sue HURFORD,



Bradford Abbas Fossil Bed

Article by R. CHANDLER


Bradford Abbas Estate, Dorset, Plan No. 2 – Auction Sale July 1954

Various photographs and sale details. Auctioneers - Palmer and Snell Ltd., Yeovil


Gardeners Cottage, Churchwell Street 1913-14 (photograph)

Seated Mrs Rose HIGGINS



St Mary’s Church, about 1880 and 1994 (photographs)

Figure in 1880 photograph believed to be Mr Henry ARNOLD, at one time the oldest Parish Clerk in England.

Person in 1994 photograph Mr Leslie GOUGH, long time resident of the Village


Pulpit in St Mary’s Church, Bradford Abbas (photograph)

Pulpit bears the initials PRGM and the date 1632 (Given as P.G., R.M. in 1977 Church booklet)


“Monster Find Marks Parish celebrations” (newspaper article)

Western Gazette September 1st 1994 (Centenary of Parish Council)

Discovery of fossils – Mr R. CHANDLER, of Surrey, and others


Pictures James BUCKMAN 1883, Sidney BUCKMAN 1906

Resident in Bradford Abbas, links with fossil finds.


Bradford Abbas Parish Council Celebrations

Newspaper article Western Gazette, 25 August 1994


“Those Were The Days”

Newspaper article Western daily Press May 31st, 1985


Aerial View Bradford Abbas 1967 (photograph)


Annual Outing to Weymouth for the Village (photographs)

Summer of 1947 or 1948, parents; children and young people


A Village Outing 1932 (photographs)

Shows a group in a car, who missed the charabanc

Mr J.C.GILLHAM standing in front of the car


Mothers Union 1910

(photograph, no names)


Bradford Abbas Village School 1922

(photograph, no names)


“Bill Tells Of Life On Only 28s A Week”

Newspaper article Evening Post June 7th 1968. Bill GALE, moved to B.A. in 1920, later bailiff of B.A. Estate


Chudleigh Millers and Corn Merchants, Yeovil (photograph)

Lorry and Bill CHANT, Jack and Art SMITH


Rose and Crown 1915 (photograph)

Road flooded, no War Memorial


Lads of The Village (photograph)

Bill CHANT, Jack SMITH, Art SMITH, Richard LOXTON, Ronnie LOXTON


A Few Crusted Characters 1935 (photograph)


John WALLER, James HIGGINS and Ruffles, the dog.


Lads of The Village Team, Summer 1976 (photograph)



Lads of The Village 1934 (photograph)

G.CHAINEY (87), J.HIGGINS (87), S.RING (90), Thos. COOMBS (89),

Sid PARSONS (81)


Young Lads of The Village 1985 (photograph)

Ian DAVIS, Mark HOPKINS, Braddon MEAR, Stephen GARDNER, Chris FISHER


Lads of The Village 1991 (photograph)

Mr Fred HARRIS (90), Mr Harry GILLAM (90), Mr Doug GILLINGHAM (84),

Mr Bill GALE (90), Mr John HELLYAR (85)


Lads of The Village 1934 (photograph)

Taken in the skittle alley


The Skiffle Group 1958/1959 (photograph)

Bert GALE, Art SMITH, Freddie ‘Snowball’ COX, Ray COX, Dave PETTITT, George RENDELL, Ron FOWLER


The Old Fireplace Restored (photograph)

Inside the Rose and Crown, Gladys WHITEMORE, with Candy the dog, Hazel BIDISCOMBE, Frank WHITEMORE, Mrs HALL


Presentation of Colours, British Legion, February 1964 (photograph)

Frank MEAR to Roy MOXEY, seated Lilian MEAR


Ron GOSNEY, Village Thatcher 1986 (photograph)


Sid PARKER Harvesting 1968 (photograph)


Bradford Abbas Carnival Committee June 8th 1946 (photograph)

Vera COUSINS, Jack and Maurice GUPPY, June and Reggie SMITH,

Rachel and Richard LOXTON, Joe GODDARD, Gilbert BURROUGH, Stella COUSINS


Hunt Scene 1947 (photograph)

Taken by the Rose and Crown


“Film Stars Are Five Men And Their Ages Total 444”

Newspaper article – The Daily Mirror, 24th December 1935, page 5

Work and Beer

From Our Special Correspondent, Bradford Abbas, near Yeovil

Sitting behind a refectory table, each with a pint glass of frothy beer in front of him, England’s oldest film stars spoke to me today.

All their lives, and the total amount of their years is 444, these five, white-whiskered, jolly old men have lived in the sleepy village of Bradford Abbas, that looks across to the Dorset heights.

The five men are George CHAINEY, aged eighty-nine; James HIGGINS, aged ninety-two; Samuel RING, aged ninety-two; Thomas COMBS, aged ninety-one, and Sidney PARSONS, the ‘baby’, aged eighty-three.

They made their film debut in October this year, when their fame had spread through the British Isles, bringing in its wake a battery of  film cameramen, who made a ‘talkie’ of them.

Later the film was shown in Yeovil, and nearly all the villagers from Bradford Abbas, Wyke, and the surrounding hamlets turned out to see it.

The ‘Baby’

Today, the five, who are known as ‘the lads of the village’, are still working, and nightly they meet in the village pub to talk over the old days.

Mr Fred MEAR, the proprietor of the only public house in this village, told me that the five old men could and would still argue.

“They love to find a stranger in here,” he said, “Then the fun begins. Sammy talks about the old days, and when little PARSONS, who hasn’t grown white whiskers, begins to talk, Sammy tells him he’s only a ‘baby’. That causes a riot.

“Why, these five lads have been coming to this public house for years.”

Just then CHAINEY came in.

“What do oi consider has made me live so long, and keep so well?” he said. “Why, my boy, hard work and beer. That’s the stuff to keep a man alive. You ask Sammy RING, he’ll tell you the same…. Hard work and beer.”


Visitor, L-R George CHAINEY, 89; James HIGGINS, 89; Samuel RING, 92;

Sidney PARSONS, a mere 83; Thomas COMBS, 91


‘Is This The Last Round For The Local?’

Newspaper article – The Times, Monday, September 2nd, 1985

Today’s Lads – Ian DAVIS, Mark HOPKINS, Braddon MEAR, Stephen GARDNER, Chris FISHER


Evening Standard, Wednesday, October ?1st, 1935?

Newspaper article about the ‘Lads of The Village’

“Bradford Abbas

Our Own Correspondent

Samuel RING is 93, George CHAINEY and James HIGGINS are 90, and ‘Young’ Sidney PARSONS is 84.

They are the ‘lads of the village’ of Bradford Abbas, down in Dorset, and today they went to the films.

The Occasion was a skittles match at the Rose and Crown. They walked half a mile to the village inn, smacked their lips over a pint of beer, and then went to the Alley.

What they lacked in agility they made up in judgement and many a crafty shot sent the skittles scattering.

No skittles game is ever rushed. This one lasted for two hours. Between the rounds ---

When it was all over I asked Sam RING how he was feeling.

“A grand match ‘twas,” he said, “and, my sonny, I feel as well as I ever did.

Sid, Jim, George and I, we’ve been pals all our lives. No, not at school. I never went to school. When I was nine I started work. Two pence a day I got.

Harvest time we worked 20 hours a day from three or four o’clock in the morning.

Why, young men today don’t know anything about it. I was married when I was 21 – on 9 shillings a week. We got along handsome.

Hard work and a contented mind. That’s how to get along. Hard work never does anybody any harm. I still do a bit in my garden, and when the doctor comes along I say to him “Sir, I say, “I’m going to get my own medicine” – and off I trots to the Rose and Crown.”

Nest week Sid, Jim and George have another exciting day. They are going to Yeovil to see themselves on the screen.’


Photograph: Mr Sidney PARSONS, Mr James HIGGINS, Mr George CHAINEY and

Mr Samuel RING in the skittle alley

Photograph: Mr James HIGGINS in play


Films of the Lads of the Village (produced by Movietone)


From :

Story: 4030

Card Title: Old Men of Bradford Abbas

Shot list: Longevity – A village where they never say die (G.P. title)

               Good scenic shot of the village of (LS) Bradford Abbas. Shot of old lady

               coming  from village store. The woman and daughter walk down the street.

               Shot of Public House sign ‘Rose and Crown’. Shots of the old men walking

               under  the same. The old folk sit in a group in the pub. Close shots of the old


               News Theatre version: Shots include CU (close up?) of sign ‘Beer is Best’.

               One old man downing the contents of his glass and placing the glass on the

               table  CU. Close shot of the men climbing down the steps.

Date: 04/11/1935

Length: 83 (?seconds)

Title: Longevity. Dialect commentary by Barry BARNES

Description: Old men of Bradford Abbas      


Newspaper article Daily Mirror 24.12.1935


Story: 4818

Card Title: Athletics Bradford Abbas Old Men and Skittles

                  Shot of skittle alley. CU of feet. Shot of group of old men.

                  Various shots of the game. CU of the balls.

                  CU old man mopping his brow. Shots of play. CU skiitles.

                  CU scoreboard. Shots of the old men. Close up of old man drinking pint.

Date: 19/10/1936

Length: 68

Title: Athletics

Description: Old men of Bradford Abbas create havoc among the skittles,

says Barry BARNES

Newspaper article Evening Standard ?1.10.1936


For £80 plus VAT, Movietone will copy these films onto video tape (as of Nov 2003)


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