|Grateley: the early Parish Council and the First World War|
The inauguration of the Parish Meeting in 1894 gave the parishioners more chance to be involved in the workings of the Parish. By the turn of the century the Meeting was settling to a pattern that was not to change very much until after WW I.
The Reading Room, situated in the garden of Amberly, was in existence in 1903 but I am unable to establish the actual date of construction.
There is record in the ‘Andover Advertiser' for Friday, 30th October 1903 on a meeting to audit the accounts, which were ‘not in a flourishing condition'. Presumably this was a euphemism for a poor state of affairs. William Shearing, the Hon. Sec., and the committee were not given the local support that they felt was needed. Villagers had complained about young men loitering about the street and making mischief but now that the Reading Room was available people took little interest in the project. The young men found it a convenient place to spend a pleasant evening in the dark winter months. What was available in the Reading Room is not made clear.
There seemed to be a large increase in the number of ‘Casuals' in Hampshire. I can only assume that ‘Casuals' may have been the equivalent to the present day ‘Travellers'. There was even a Casual Committee in Winchester who, in 1903, complained that there were some 400 casuals in a fortnight. This was a burden on the rates as it meant a charge of £10 per fortnight. There was also a certain amount of fear attached to their presence as, to quote from the "Andover Advertiser", "Mr Eames observed that next to the scorching motorist they found these casuals were the greatest trouble. It was not very pleasant for females to be out at night, for these casuals were very strange people to meet". Little seems to change in attitudes.
Under the Education Act of 1902 the parish was required to elect two School Managers to the school, which had now been designated a ‘Council School' and in September of 1903 the chairman (WE Boutcher) ‘appointed himself and Miss M Bowden to serve until April 1906'. A special meeting of the Parish was called in June of 1906 to re-elect Managers for the school. Presumably they had forgotten the need for re-election and the Meeting, consisting of the Chairman (WE Boutcher) and the Vicar (Rev FJ Fuller), re-elected Mr Boutcher and Miss Bowden for a further three-year term.
In 1904 it was decided by the Rating Assessment Committee of the parish that the School House should now be subject to payment of rates.
The general population was having more say on matters such as footpaths, education and the organisation of the parish.
The Chairman of the Highway Board of the Andover Union had to explain to the meeting that the London & South Western Railway Company had diverted a public footpath with a view to the Parish obtaining an easier access to the Station.
In 1911 the Rectory was considerably enlarged and provided with a new well and two ‘Rub Tubs' for washing outside of the house. There are some rather frail, but easily legible, plans for these alterations held in the Hampshire Record Office in Winchester.
Very little is recorded in the Parish Minutes of these momentous times although the Great War, with the vast number of casualties, must have impinged on every household in the Parish.
Grateley families had their losses in the casualty lists of World War I. Their names are recorded in the Church. I give them here with due respect:
WE Alexander, Pte RMA
G Dangerfield, Pte Hampshire Regiment.
D Goddard, Pte Hampshire Regiment
C Horne, Pte Hampshire Regiment
A Hoare, Capt. 12th Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps
L T Pickering, Lt. Royal Engineers.
If anybody wishes to identify the place of rest of those who fell in WWI the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has fairly full records, which are available on http://www.cwgc.org/
I give some of the details from the site for Archibald Hoare, in whom I have an interest:
Captain Archibald Hoare
12th Bn., King's Royal Rifle Corps
Who died age 39
On Tuesday 27th November 1917
Son of George and Agnes Hoare of Grateley Hants.;
Husband of Lydia Mary Hoare of 7, Frensham Road, Southsea.
Remembered with honour
TINCOURT NEW BRITISH CEMETERY
In addition there is a résumé of the military actions in that area at that time and the location of the cemetery, grave, or memorial.
The war is not referred to in the Parish Meeting minutes and it would appear from this that the parish as a whole was little affected by what was happening over the English Channel. The population, not having television and few with wireless, could be kept remote from the reality of distant war. Not like modern conflicts, of which every gory detail is transmitted over television in real time. The first day of the battle of the Somme in July of 1916 resulted in 21,000 killed: in one day! One wonders what the response of the general population would be had this number of casualties been sustained today?
The civilian population was inconvenienced in a totally different way to the hardships of the front line. The Boutcher family had to buy a car as the government had requisitioned one of the horses for pulling the coach. The remaining horse was not able to pull the coach; presumably that is why it was not requisitioned.
The car, a photograph of which is in the gallery of old pictures on this site, was a Ford Model ‘T' Tourer of 3.9 litres. Built in 1915, probably at Trafford Park, and the coachwork by Sanders, of Hitchin, Hertfordshire. The number plate indicates that it was a Wiltshire registration, probably from Salisbury. Mr Spreadbury, a local man, was the Chauffeur.
In 1917 there was renewed interest in the Parish Meeting by parishioners. This renewed interest was probably due to the Chairman reading a letter from the Hon. Sec. of the County War Agricultural Committee relating to a supply of cheap seed potatoes. The parishioners immediately applied for 21 cwt at a cost of £7- 19s (£7.95p), less than 1p a Kilogram. The demand was so great that Grateley was grouped with Quarley and allotted 1 ton between them but no date for delivery. By the end of the year the price per ton had risen to £8.25p with carriage, from Scotland, of £1.18s.2d (£1.91p) per ton. The parish then ordered one ton of Arran Chief seed potatoes. This took up three meetings of the parish.
It was at this time that the Earl of Portsmouth, who seemed to fork out for a great coat for "Pyle's Dole" each year, died. I gathered this from the report in the Parish meeting minutes that a great coat was bought and issued but the Parish meeting was not reimbursed due to the Earl's demise. Presumably a similar situation to that in Wallop where a ‘green' coat was given to a parishioner from the same source.
Although it is not recorded, times in the parish must have been quite hard. The conditions of the "Earle's Dole" could not be met, not, as one might think, due to shortage of cash but shortage of beef and cheese. This must have been quite serious in an agricultural parish. Thus some thirty needy parishioners were deprived of the fairly large donation of beef at Christmas and cheese at Easter.
The next minute then referred to a Circular from CWA Committee on pigs and potatoes. The contents of which remain a mystery to me.
The Parish Meeting looked forward to a new beginning in this first post war year by requesting the erection of 12 new cottages in the village.
All text and images©Grateley Parish Council