THE BCH ARCHIVE
LOCAL HISTORY FOR
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
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
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
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
A handbook for Locals and Visitors