And The Surrounding District


9. Odds and Ends.

There are countless stories about the characters and

happenings on the common, but space permits only a


During world War I gunners practiced firing big guns

into the side of Swinyard Hill and some farms in the

area have round shot and shells that were collected

from there.

This sparsely populated area had e surprising number of

drinking places, one at Hill House Farm near the

Gullett, the Plough at Eight Oaks, the famous bolt-hole

for locals at the Lodge known as The Valley. near the

mill pond. There were even two pubs within 100 yards

of each other - The Plume of Feathers which still

exists and the Joyfield. The Robin Hood at the eastern

end of New Road has also long been part of the life of

the common.

When a well known tippler from the Feathers lay down to

sleep it off in the blazing sun near the Welland end of

the common a local Christian lady placed an umbrella

over hi! to give him shade.

At Christmas time recently, George - . a well known

singer in the pubs got stuck in a bog up to his waist

whilst walking home across the common in the dark. He

was saved when his loud singing caused dogs to bark in

Hancock's lane.

The track from the Gullett to Little Malvern is haunted

by the Grey Lady, who scared two snake-hunters early

this century and who opened the gates before a local

man got to them.

Teas were served on the common up to the 50s at the

Pink Cottage, The Poplars and Hurst Farm.

During World War II there was an RAF spotting post on

the common just across the road above Eight Oaks.

After an aeroplane had actually landed on the common

alongside the Welland road, narrowly missing Roger

Jakeman's father in his lorry, it was decided that

Germans could also land here. This resulted in an

array of poles being erected as a barrier.

Also during World War II many dances were organised at

the local parish hall, where many a local lass met

American servicemen from the camps near Malvern. There

are many stories still to be told of this period!

Hereward Weaver had the first lorry in this area in

order to deal with products from the quarry - not all

that many years ago.

An old resident told me this story concerning a

relative of his who died at Holly Cottage in the middle

of the common. A team of bearers was gathered and they

set of across the common, coffin on their shoulders,

carrying two straight-backed Windsor chairs and a

firkin of cider. It was hot summer and they stopped

frequently for a horn of drink, resting the coffin on

the chairs. When they finally reached Hollybush church

they could not find the vicar, who was away hay-making.

In desperation they buried the coffin "on top of

ground", ie they put it on the ground under a holly

tree and piled stones on top of it. The real burial

did not take place until two days later when the hay

was in.

By  Med Snookes

A handbook for Locals and Visitors