Stories & memories
Twyford New School
In 1987 a hard-fought battle to save our village school from closure was successfully won by the residents.
TV actor and Play School presenter, Fraser Wilson, found himself chair of the action group ably assisted by the local Buckingham MP, George Walden.
Twyford Church Bells
In November 1981, the landlord of the Red Lion pub in Church Street, Colin Thompson, lost his court battle with Twyford Parish Council to get an injunction to silence the clock chimes between 11.00pm and 8.00am.
The villagers had raised funds to enable the clock chiming mechanism to be brought back into service as a commemoration.
Twyford Village Hall was turned into a courtroom for the five day hearing and most days, the hall was packed with local residents and British and American TV crews and national press.
Mr Thompson moved to the village in 1975 when, he claimed, the bells were silent.
His bedroom windows are right opposite the church bell tower and they were ringing the Westminster Chimes for 24 hours a day preventing him getting a night’s sleep.
On 19th Oct 1839, a trial was held at Bucks Middlemass Sessions of Edward Hall aged 37 and Joseph Hill aged 31, both of Twyford. They had been accused of stealing a sheep from Mrs Innes of Preston Bissett.
Mrs Innes’s nephew, William Watt, who looked after her sheep, had noticed one was missing and there was evidence of a sheep having been killed. He found the skin, head and two feet and knew it belonged to Mrs Innes as it had particular marks on the head.
He went to Buckingham and borrowed a bloodhound. The dog traced the scent of the sheep back to the house of Joseph Hill in Twyford Close and along with his neighbour, Mr Harper, they searched the property. In the pond, the bloodhound found a piece of mutton that was still warm.
They searched Hill’s house and examined the boiler; mutton had recently been boiled; it was greasy. Afterwards, they went with Hill to Kinch’s Close and in a bog, they found Hill’s clothes which were bloody
The two accused confessed to stealing the sheep and were sentenced to 15 years transportation to Australia. Their families suffered hardship as a result of losing the breadwinners and spent some time in the workhouse in Buckingham.
Convict Ships were used to transport criminals to Australia and the first such ship sailed in 1787 which was only 17 years after Captain Cook discovered “Terra Australis Incognita” in his ship the Endeavour in 1770.
Convicts were held in hulks (old redundant ships) for months until they had a fleet full. Often the only exercise was the treadmill from which many fell to their death.
Joseph Hill was illiterate, protestant, married with 3 female children, 5’5½” tall, dark ruddy complexion, brown hair, grey eyes, nose cocked, scar over left eyebrow, another on left side of chin, breast hairy, scar back of little and forefingers of left hand.
He was deported on HMS Maitland which sailed on 19th March, 1840
Arrived 14th July, 1840 at New South Wales
Average sentence: 11 Years | Life sentences: 43 | Passengers: 306
Edward Hall was one of 276 convicts transported to Australia on the HMS Asia on 25 April 1840
Arrived 6th August, 1840 at Van Diemen’s Land
Average sentence: 12 Years | Life sentences: 18 | Passengers: 276
Memories of Twyford Morris
by Peter Taylor
The first performance of Twyford Morris was at an event called Midsummer Madness that took place in 1979 in Twyford Village Hall. The history of Twyford Morris mark 2 starts from there – I call it mark 2 because I researched Morris Dancing in our area at Cecil Sharpe (CS) house in London and turned up some interesting stuff in the archives. CS travelled the country in the late 19th/ early 20th century and collected and recorded folk songs and folk dances before they died out. He writes about visiting Twyford and meeting an old lady called Ayres (old village name) who remembered that in the 1850s Twyford had a Morris side that used to travel around the villages dancing for beer and a bed.
Apparently, so the story goes, they all finished up one night in Marsh Gibbon and had to sleep eight to a bed. CS also recorded a Steeple Claydon dance music, but no steps were recorded. Apparently at that time, unemployment was rife and the local farmers clubbed together to pay for the young men to go to America to find a new life, so Morris died out.
For the Midsummer Madness evening, 6 of us blokes were taught a rapper sword dance by a chap from Thornborough, near Buckingham. We mocked up some twee bells and attempted to look a bit like Morris dancers. In the audience was a friend of Jane Morgan called Bob Shakeshaft. Bob was squire of Stony Stratford Morris and said to me “don’t make fun of Morris, come and learn to do it properly”, so I did. I, and occasionally Martin Whittam when he could make it, joined them for their weekly winter training sessions and learned two dances: Queen’s Delight, from Bucknell, and Constant Billy, from Longborough. I then brought those back to the village and set up Twyford Morris. The side at that time, from memory, was Martin Whittam, John Bristow, Eddie Ridge, Neil Moreton, Alan Dodd, Jim Munn, Nick Thorne and myself. Our first outing was a fete on Charndon recreation ground, using taped music. Musicians came later!
In the early days we were helped by a melodeon player from Akely Morris who lived in Thornborough. Can’t remember his name. Our first proper musician was a guy called Stan Tallack, a melodeon player from Steeple Claydon. Stan played for us for a couple of years then sadly died suddenly from an asthma attack. He was followed by Chris Spalding, a mandolin player, who played for us for many years.
We danced at several local fetes, and regularly danced out at pubs in the summer evenings. Our most bizarre event was at the Rank Xerox annual dinner dance at the Heathrow Hilton, it was a very posh affair, and we shared the performance floor with the band of the Grenadier Guards! Eddie was a very senior executive at Rank Xerox, and our arrival was a surprise and the subject of some puzzlement until the gradual recognition of Eddie as part of the side brought the house down.
In about 1983 or 1984, we were struggling to keep going, as one or two dropped out so we decided to invite ladies into the side. Sally Williams from Poundon and Rae Sloane and Lizzy Boardman from Twford joined us. That made one or two purist die-hards leave us, but it was the right decision and the side grew as Michele Allen and Linda Wildman added to the numbers.
I’m not sure now how it all came to an end. Our last musician was a lady from Marsh (I think) and when she left, we couldn’t find a replacement. Geoff and Linda joined up with another side (Owlswick) and with no musician, so the side died, to be revived now and then for the odd special event…