Ernie Pinsent recollections

Uplowman just after the War

– prepared by Ernie Pinsent, and published by Charlie Jackson

The village of Uplowman 53 years ago was very different from the village we know now.

The immediate village consisted of 2 farms, 3 cottages, a Post Office/shop, a small holding and the village school, which was about 600 yards away from the village. A Pub and a Blacksmith’s shop were situated right on the crossway, together with 4 council houses which were built about 1927. There was also a very well known carpenters and wheelwrights workshop where wheels for carts were made: the steel bands were fitted in the blacksmiths shop.

2 very old thatched cottages on the crossway were demolished to make way for the 4 new council houses which were completed in the summer of 1949. Before these houses came into use all water was obtained by hand pump. The 4 older council houses had one pump between them, and a manhole cover had to be lifted and a stopcock relating to which house you lived in was turned on. Then the pumping began – sometimes for half an hour – until water was seen pouring from the overflow in the roof.  Piped water from Sheldon was then brought to supply everyone. There was no electricity until 1952 so everyone existed on Calorgas or oil lamps and candles. Cooking was by coal fire ovens or oil burners.

When the new council houses were built 2 were wired for electricity but then it was realised there was no electricity in the village so, wiring at that time just after the war being very scarce so it was taken out again and used somewhere else.

Cars were very scarce on the road too –sometimes only one or two per day. Everyone from around the village cycled to work to Tiverton.

The village was very quiet in those days and after the pubs shut at 10:30 prompt nothing was heard until next morning when at 7:30 the milk lorry, with its load of churns rattling came by. There are no streetlights here and never have been so one could often see wild life such as a fox or occasionally a deer or badger could be seen. The small stream of water flowing through the village was dug by hand many years ago to feed a water grinding mill at Sampford Peverell. It now serves about 24 farms as water for cattle.

The allocation of the new houses was decided by a points system: one had to have served in the forces and the man or wife to live local locally and be engaged in rebuilding the country or farming or agricultural engineering or similar.  Because all this had happened No5 was allocated to Mr E Pinsent, and his wife Muriel; No6 to Mr F Webber and his wife Gladys; No7 to Mr W Colley and his wife Ness and No 8 to Mr C Jackson and wife Beat.

We have all had a reasonable life together all seem to be there to help each other, with very few upsets. As we all had life in the forces behind us, we all had something in common.

Fred Webber was in the Air Force and served for some time overseas, his wife was a Sampford Peverell girl.

Bill Cottey was an Army man and served in this country and in Normandy, and his wife served in the A.T.S. for severely years.

Charlie Jackson is a veteran of Dunkirk and was on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day and was wounded but made a full recovery.

Ernest Pinsent was also a D-Day veteran and served in Holland, Belgium and Italy. He was paralysed for almost a year, but recovered. His wife was from a village outside Bristol where she worked for a local doctor.

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