brazellnuts rebuilding . . .

The site redesign process has resumed after what seems like a ten-year break.

I’ll be moving bits around some and gradually adding material and news.

If there’s anybody out there, let me know!

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Great Loss to Chinnor – Obituary of William Joseph Brazell

Tuesday, April 30, 1946


We have to report with very deep regret the passing of Mr. W. J. BRAZELL, one of Chinnor’s most respected residents who was, for many years our representative in that district. Nobody would have detected from his appearance and his upright figure that Mr. BRAZELL had reached the advanced age of 78, and right up to the day before his death his expectation of life seemed still unlimited.

On Easter Sunday, he visited his daughter, Mrs. [Adeline] EGGLETON, but on his return home he was not in his usual health. He passed away the next day as peacefully as even his best friends could have wished.

Mr. BRAZELL; who was the eldest of a family of eleven, was born at Bledlow, but resided for over 60 years in Chinnor, where he was in business as a retail grocer.

His interests outside the realm of business were amazingly diverse, ranging, as they did, from public works to literature, nature study, archaeology and religion. For three years he was a County Counsellor and was later co-opted on to Oxford Educational Committee. Right up to the time of his death he was a member of Thame Old Age Pensions Committee and one of the managers of Chinnor School, where he was a frequent visitor, his nature talks being ever welcome to the pupils who owe so much to his knowledge and kindly method of imparting it.

Among his other activities of public usefulness he was the first hon. treasurer of the Village Hall, secretary and deacon of the Congregational Chapel, originator of the P.S.A. services in the Reading Room, and an active member of the Industrial Co-partnership Association. In this regard, it is worthy of mention that he turned his own business into a co-partnership many years ago and was credited with being the pioneer of that movement in this locality. He recently had to abandon his valued lectures on Nature Study to the Women´s Institutes, of which he had delivered no less than one hundred, on account of his growing deafness.

He was cremated at Oxford on Thursday, and after the cremation his ashes were brought back to the village he had loved so well and were interred in the Church of England graveyard after an inspiring memorial service on Saturday afternoon.

Among the many floral tributes laid on the grave were:

In memory of a beloved husband.

With loving and cherished memories of our dear brother William, from Will and Adeline, David and Angela, and Auntie Rho.

With our love, Grampy, from Betty, Bob and Andrew.

With deepest sympathy and in beloved remembrance, from Emile Levermore, Millicent Garnham, and L. W. Levermore.

With sincere sympathy and happy memories, from the Congregational Church, Chinnor.

A token of respect and esteem with every sympathy, from the Managers and Staff of Chinnor C. of E. School.

With deepest sympathy, from his co-partners A. J. Seymour, R. J. Witney, S. W. Frost and Jack.

With deepest sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. Cuthbert and Basil.

In affectionate remembrance, from Mr. and Mrs. Ron Siarey.

Kind remembrance, from Mr. and Mrs. Walter Johnson and Mrs. E. P. Baker.

With deepest sympathy, from Mr. and Mrs. L. Johnston and family.

With kind remembrance, from Mr. and Mrs. F. J. North and family and Miss A. B. White.

With sincere sympathies and happy memories of a treasured friend-Mr. and Mrs. C. Gibbs.

In fondest memory from “Grampie,” Veve and Trixie.

With kindest remembrance, from Mrs. George Cocks and Edie.

Deepest sympathy, from Mrs. Baldwyn, Mrs. Arnold and family.

Transcript © Paul Brazell 2018

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Marriage of W.R. Eggleton and A.H. Brazell

Tuesday, September 22, 1914


A wedding of considerable local interest took place in the Congregational Church, Chinnor, on Wednesday afternoon [September 16th], which was crowded to excess. The bridegroom was Mr. William Robert EGGLETON, 2nd son of Mr. and Mrs. H. D. EGGLETON, of Hill Farm, and the bride Miss Adeline Harvey BRAZELL, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Joseph BRAZELL. Both families are well known in Chinnor and throughout the district, and the respect and esteem in which they are held was manifest in the great interest which was shewn by the whole village in Wednesday’s event. The weather was beautifully fine and added much to the brightness of the scene and enjoyment of every one. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. W. Wilson HITCHINS (pastor), who was assisted by the Rev. F. HAINSWORTH, M.A., of Scarborough, a personal friend of the bride’s family. The service opened with a hymn, specially written for the occasion by the bride’s father, ” Sun-brimming hath the summer been,” the other hymn being “O perfect love.” Mr. W. COCKS presided at the organ, and at the conclusion of the service played Lohengrin’s Bridal March. The bride, who was given away by her father, was charmingly attired in a dress of shell pink Charmeuse satin trimmed with lace and ninon, draped with fish-tail train; she also wore a tulle veil and wreath of orange blossoms and carried a sheaf of roses. The bridesmaids were Miss Olive EGGLETON and Miss Marjorie CLARKE (nieces of the bridegroom) and Miss Lilian BRAZELL. Their dresses were of white embroidered muslin with satches of shell pink silk; leghorn hats trimmed with pink roses and turquoise velvet ribbon. Miss BRAZELL wore a gold pendant, and the other bridesmaids gold brooches with aquamarines. The bride’s mother was attired in a Nattier blue costume with black tulle hat and feathers and carried a bouquet of red roses. Mrs. E. W. CLARKE’s dress consisted of blue silk crepon, trimmed with old rose glacs(?) and cream ninon; leghorn hat trimmed with roses. Mr. Frank EGGLETON acted as best man.

At the conclusion of the service, an adjournment was made to Hill Farm, where a reception was held on the lawn in a large marquee. The bridal party and guests were then photographed by Mr. SWEETMAN, of High Wycombe, and afterwards tea was partaken of. The health of the newly-married couple was then proposed by the Rev. F. HAINSWORTH, who in the course of a most appropriate speech, said he thought they might all congratulate themselves on the fact that they could really call that a happy occasion; it was an auspicious occasion in every sense of the word. Those who had known the bride from early years could speak as to her worth and character. They had every reason to believe her heart was set right and her life the best and noblest a young lady could live. They were equally happy on the other side as the bridegroom they had loved and respected for many years. They knew him to be a man of sterling worth, and of real good manly character. They all wished Mr. and Mrs. EGGLETON a long life of real happiness and he would propose their healths.—The toast was heartily drunk, and after a few words from Mr. T. EGGLETON, the best man suitably responded for the bridegroom. Later in the afternoon the bride and bridegroom left by motor, amidst showers of confetti and good wishes, for Risborough en route to Folkstone, where the honeymoon is being spent. The bride’s travelling costume was of navy blue and she also wore a white velour hat.

The gowns were supplied by Messrs. WRIGHT Bros., of Richmond, and the handsome wedding cake was made by Mr. John WHITNEY, of Chinnor.

The following were the presents:—

Bride to Bridegroom—Gold cuff links.
Bridegroom to Bride—Travelling case and umbrella.
Bride’s Mother—House linen.
Bride’s Father—Cheque.
Bridegroom’s Father—Cheque.
Bridegroom’s Mother—Silver spirit kettle and stand.
Mr. and Mrs. T. H. EGGLETON—Cheque.
Mr. and Mrs. CLARKE (Chilboro’ )—Cheque.
Mr. F. EGGLETON—Cheque.
Mr. F. E. HARVEY (Brighton)—Cheque.
Mr. and Mrs. H. S. BRAZELL—Photo enlargements, in oval gilt frames.
Mr. and Mrs. R. I. STONE (Colchester)—Silver revolving entreé dish.
Mr. and Mrs. W. HARDY (London)—Silver cake stand.
Mr. Fred BRITNELL—Silver serviette rings.
Miss BUTLER (London)—Silver and porcelain tray.
Bride’s father’s employès—Cut glass and silver salad bowl and servers.
Miss Lilian BRAZELL—Fish carvers (silver).
Mr. and Mrs. and Miss COWLEY (Brighton)—Clock.
Mrs. A. J. SEYMOUR, jun.—Tray and afternoon tea set.
Miss Edith SEYMOUR—Cushion.
Mr. and Mrs. BIRT (Oxford)—Fruit dish.
Miss Nellie BIRT (Oxford)—Fruit dish.
Mr. and Mrs. W. FROST (Colchester)—Table cloth.
Master Stanley FROST (Colchester)—Oak inkstand and cut glass bottles.
Miss Dorothy FROST (Alperton)—Eiderdown.
Misses ALLEN and WESTGATE (Brighton)—Silver nut dish and crackers.
Miss CARVER (Brighton)—Silver bread fork.
Mrs. PULLEN (Colchester)—Silver hot-water jug.
Mr. and Mrs. R. A. COX (Colchester)—Silver inkstand.
Mrs. BROWING (Colchester)—Crotchet sideboard cloth.
Mrs. and Miss CHEESE (Colchester)—Flower stand.
Dr. and Mrs. JUDSON (Farnham)—Table silver.
Mr. and Mrs. H. S. BRAZELL (Bledlow)—Case of silver tea knives, spoons, and tongs.
Mr. and Mrs. John BALL—Case of silver tea spoons.
Mr. and Mrs. Ralph REID (Kent)—Antique silver fruit spoons.
Mr. Geo. OAKLEY (Kingston)—Silver salver.
Mr. and Mrs. W. H. COCKS—Silver candlesticks.
Mrs. LEVERMOLE and LESLIE—Silver preserve spoon.
Mr. and Mrs. FAULKNER—Silver egg, toast, and butter stand.
Mr. and Mrs. A. IVES—Silver sugar basin.
Mr. and Mrs. Ted CLARKE (Kingston)—Silver muffin dish.
Mr. and Mrs. HATHERALL (Brighton)—Silver candlesticks.
Messrs. WRIGHT Bros. (Forest Gate)—Barometer.
Mr. and Mrs. W. E. WRIGHT (Southend)—Copper brush and crumb tray.
Mr. and Mrs. E. A. DODWELL—Silver serviette rings.
Miss Marjorie CLARKE (Chilboro’)—Silver bread platter.
Mrs. R. KEENE—Silver soup ladles.
Mr. R. KEENE—Oak linen chest.
Mrs. F. J. NORTH—Case of tea knives.
Mr. and Mrs. LING—Silver butter dish.
Mr. and Mrs. T. SAW, sen.—Silver cheese and biscuit stand.
Mr. and Mrs. J. MORRIS (Aston Rowant)—Silver syphon stand.
Mr. and Mrs. F. COX (Chelmsford)—Silver butter dish.
Mr. R. STOCKWELL (Clapham)—Cheque.
Mrs. Lawrence and Miss STOCKWELL (Camberwell)—Tea service.
Rev. F HAINSWORTH, M.A. (Scarborough)—Books.
Mr. HIND (Hendon)—Book.
Mr. Harry BILES (Bungay)—Silver bread fork.
Messrs. C. J. W. and C. T. CHEESE (Cornwall)—Book.
Mr. and Mrs W. WHITE (Bledlow)—Bread fork.
Mr. and Mrs. L. J. BRAZELL (W. Ealing)—Rose bowl.
Mrs. A. BRAZELL (Maidenhead)—Bed spread.
Mr. and Mrs. DRAKE (Brighton)—Cushion.
Mr. and Mrs. C. GIBBS—Preserve dish.
Mrs. SURMAN (Oxford)—Bedroom slippers.
Miss Cissy ROSE—Coal cauldron and tongs.
Sydenham employés—Preserve dish.
Mrs. J. WHITNEY (Bakery)—Tray cloth with pillow lace.
Rev. and Mrs. W. W. HITCHINGS—Brass fire stand.
Mrs. EUSTACE—Tray cloth.
Miss LATHAM (Southend)—Cushion.
Mrs. W. WITNEY—Rolling pin and flower pot.
Mrs. W. H. WIXON (Oxford)—Sugar sifter.
Miss STONE (Northend)—Decanter (cut glass).
Mr. C. BRAZELL and Miss JONES—Sugar and cream dish.
Mrs. WENTWORTH (Dulwich)—Crocheted table centre.
Miss N. WEEKS (Scotland)—Lace d’oyleys.

Transcript © Paul Brazell 2008

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Longest licensed publican in the kingdom

Tuesday, September 12, 1899



The village of Chinnor lies on the western slope of the Chiltern Hills.

Just at the present moment it is wondering why five people out of six have never heard of it, for it has the distinction of containing the publican who has been licensed longer than anybody else in the kingdom.

This is Mr. W.T. Webster, of the Royal Oak Inn, who for sixty-four years in succession has met with the approval of the Brewster Sessions.

That anything—even a licence—connected with the place should be sixty-four years old does not appear in the least wonderful to the visitor as he inspects Chinnor. The aspect of everything in the place is suggestive of twice that period—down to the dead frog that reposes undisturbed on the high road.

The Royal Oak Inn itself is a house dating from some time in the seventeenth century. Before it is a rose garden, and in the garden is a sign board that shows that it is an inn.

The only thing of at all youthful appearance in Chinnor is Mr. Webster.

“I am eighty-seven years of age,” he told a representative of The Evening News, and the statement came as a sort of shock from a stout and upright man whose hair looked to be just turning grey.

“I was born in Chinnor,” he continued, “and have held a licence of sixty-four years. Waterloo? Yes, I remember Waterloo. I was a little boy at the time, and when I heard the recruits firing in Thame Park, I thought the Frenchmen were upon us, and hid in an oven.”

“My wife is a year older than I am. She does not carry her years quite as well as I do. I will introduce you to her,” and Mr. Webster went to fetch his wife.

The old lady, unlike her husband, looks her age, but one can quite imagine her as having been a village belle of seventy years ago.

“Who was minister when you were a little girl?” he said, turning to his wife. “I mean when you were a good little girl. Dr. Payne? Yes—there have been six—up to Mr. Howman, the present rector.

“I remember very well going up to London by the coach. We had to go to Thame to catch it. There was the Spotted Dog, I recollect, on the road at Bayswater, and the Bull at the journey’s end in Holborn. The first time my wife and I went to London together was seventy years ago—the last time, within the last two years.

“We were born in the village,” chimed in Mrs. Webster. “I remember saying once, as I saw my husband coming up the lane, ‘Now that’s the man for me.'”

According to Mr. Webster things have been very quiet in Chinnor during the time he has supplied it with beer, &c. The most recent event of any importance was the burning down of the old rectory in part. This happened eighty years ago—before the old couple were in possession of the Royal Oak.

Mr. Webster drinks beer in preference to spirits, and has been a smoker. He still goes to market at Thame. His chief recreation is shooting and surveying. On Saturday he was one of a party of four guns which bagged ten brace of partridges and seven hares.

“But I can’t walk so well as I used to,” he added.

Chinnor has shown its appreciation of Mr. Webster by making him its assistant overseer. He seems likely to go on holding this office well into the next century.—The Evening News.

Transcript © Paul Brazell 2008

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Marriage of Miss Bessie Eggleton to Mr. E.W. Clarke

Tuesday, September 19, 1899


The marriage of Miss Bessie EGGLETON, daughter of Mr. Henry David EGGLETON, of Hill Farm, Chinnor, to Mr. E.W. CLARKE, eldest son of Mr. Thomas Chapman CLARKE, of Bishopstone, near Aylesbury, took place at the Congregational Church, Chinnor, on Wednesday last [September 13th]. The event aroused considerable interest in the usually quiet village, and long before the time announced for the ceremony, twelve o’clock, approaches to the church were thickly lined. The Rev. H. MUNTON, the pastor, officiated. The best man was Mr. John CHAPMAN, of Rycote, Thame. The church was beautifully decorated, which choice flowers and the service was choral, Mr. W.H. COCKS presiding at the organ. The bride was attired in a dress of ivory duchess satin (and train), trimmed with embroidered Lisse and plumes, in addition to a bridal veil and a coronet of orange blossom. Her jewellery consisted of two gold bracelets, one curb and one plain, and she carried a choice shower bouquet of delicate white flowers and ferns, gifts from the bridegroom. There were six bridesmaids in attendance, Miss ROSE, Miss CLARKE (sister of the bridegroom), Miss BIRT (cousin of the bride), Miss Florrie MCINTOSH, Miss Emily MCINTOSH, and Miss Muriel MCINTOSH (nieces of the bridegroom). These young ladies looked very pretty, attired in dresses of white silk, trimmed with cream heather, Torchon lace, and insertion, with gold Scotch silk sashes. Miss ROSE, Miss CLARKE, Miss BIRT, and Miss Florrie MCINTOSH wore Leghorn hats, adorned with white chiffon, feathers, and yellow chrysanthemums. Miss ROSE and Miss CLARKE’S jewellery were gold brooches with pendant hearts, set with turquoise and pearls, and each carried a shower bouquet of white and yellow chrysanthemums and ferns, both gifts from the bridegroom. Miss BIRT and Miss MCINTOSH wore gold brooches set with pearls, and carried shower bouquets of white and yellow chrysanthemums, also gifts from the bridegroom. The youthful Misses Emily and Muriel MCINTOSH, who added considerably to the picturesque scene, were presented with gold brooches set with pearls and carried baskets of white and yellow marguerites, which were also gifts from the bridegroom. The two little damsels wore Leghorn hats, trimmed with white chiffon and marguerites. Mrs. EGGLETON (mother of the bride) and Mrs. CLARKE (mother of the bridegroom) also carried neatly arranged shower bouquets of flowers. The wedding breakfast was provided at the residence of the bride’s parents, there being a large number of invited guests. About five o’clock Mr. and Mrs. E.W. CLARKE left Hill Farm amidst a host of congratulations and showers of confetti, for London en route for Llandudno, North Wales, where the honeymoon will be spent. Mrs. CLARKE’s travelling dress was of fawn material embroidered with applique trimming and white bebe ribbon, and she also wore a white feather boa and a black sequin hat, trimmed with feather and tulle and gold buckle, turned up with magenta poppies. Throughout the afternoon and evening the bells of the Parish Church rang in honour of the occasion. There were a large number of presents of a costly and recherché description.

The following contribution, congratulatory of the happy event, has been sent to us for publication:—

The bright morn has dawn’d, and the sun in its glory
Hath shone on the pair who have plighted their troth;
May that happy omen continue for ever,
And bind them in old age as well as in youth.
‘Tis the wish of our hearts who have known her from childhood,
That he who has gain’d her, long, long may possess her;
Then let all help to say on her glad bridal day,
“Here’s a health to the bride, God bless her.”

The village miss her, a void will be felt
In school, in concert and choir,
Where her sweet voice was heard in praise of the Lord,
And with no ostentatious desire,
So gentle was she, and good natured to all,
It would take me some time to express her,
So let all help to say on her glad bridal day,
“Here’s a health to the bride, God bless her.”

And a blessing on him who has gain’d her young heart,
May he ever prosperous be !
May their home be so happy, and each take a part,
Then troubles and cares will soon flee;
Then ring out, ye bells, may your sound gladly cheer,
So than no leaving home may depress her,
Then let all take a part in a wish from the heart,
“Here’s a health to the bride, God bless her.”
(E.B., Chinnor)

Transcript © Paul Brazell 2008

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Obituary of Henry John Newell, Postmaster

Tuesday, September 19, 1899


OBITUARY.—Villagers were painfully startled last Thursday morning as the news of the decease of the postmaster solemnly passed from one to another. Mr. [Henry John] NEWELL, of Oxford House, was but 30 years of age, and had carried on the business since his father’s decease, not quite two years ago. The sympathy of the whole district will be drawn towards the pathetic figure of his young wife, made a widow, 16 days after being led to the marriage alter in the Parish Church. This latter event, though it created an amount of neighbourly interest, was not recorded in the Press, the deceased, who was of a retiring temperament, expressing no wish for its notice. This will deepen rather than lessen the public sorrow that finds expression on all sides without distinction. The deceased succumbed to rheumatic fever, which, following upon earlier attacks, fatally affected the heart. The funeral took place on Saturday evening in the Parish Churchyard, the Rev. E.J. HOWMAN officiating. The last rites were performed amid manifest and poignant feelings for one so soon cut off from life’s activities.

Transcript © Paul Brazell 2008

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The recent fire

Tuesday, August 29, 1899



The following amounts have been collected on behalf of the sufferers by the recent fire at Chinnor by the Thame Fire Brigade, who tender their thanks to the several subscribers, also to those who took cards for the collection.—Mr. G. BAKER, Swan Hotel, 30s.; Mr. A. HEARNE, Abingdon Arms, 16s.; Mr. B. LIDDINGTON, Spread Eagle Hotel, 8s. 6d.—G. BAILEY, Captain.



To the Editor of the THAME GAZETTE

Dear Sir,—If you can kindly spare me the space in your columns, I want to express sincere appreciation for the willing help rendered in the time of my emergency the other Sunday. I fully intended asking of you this favour for last week’s issue, but through the extra pressure upon my time it was delayed. It will always be remembered that our neighbours did the very best they knew for all of us who were involved in such a sudden disaster. The sympathy that has been expressed and evoked on all hands has made the burden considerably lighter. Am glad to know that the cottagers who lost their furniture have been very materially helped. I may add that the collections on their behalf last Sabbath realised £2 16s. 0d. Thanking you in anticipation of this favour.

I am, dear Sir,
Yours faithfully,

Transcript © Paul Brazell 2008

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Petty Sessions, Storm over Chinnor

Tuesday, August 22, 1899

Before E. Hammersley and W. Wiggins, Esqs.

Jane FARMER, of Watlington, was summoned by Bridget MARTIN for not keeping her dog under proper control, at Watlington, on the 19th July. Mr. Bulford defended. The complainant stated that the dog in question bit her hand on the day mentioned. Miss FARMER called her into her house and she sat down for a few minutes, when the dog was about in the yard and house. She got up, and placed her hand upon Miss FARMER’s chair, when the dog bit her other hand. The dog was quiet until she did this.—In cross examination she stated that she did not stroke the dog. She had been there five minutes.—Supt. HAWTIN, in answer to the Chairman, said that no complaints had reached him of the dog, and he himself had constantly passed by the house.—Case dismissed.

Abraham VAUGHAN, of Warborough, was summoned to show cause why he should not be bound over to keep the peace towards John EDWARDS. Mr. R. WOOD defended.—Case dismissed.

George BUTCHER was fined 4s. and costs 9s., for cruelly treating four calves, at Pyrton, on the 1st August.—The case was proved by Supt. HAWTIN, P.c. COULING, and Inspector LOVEJOY.

Henry NORTH, of Chinnor, was charged with being found drunk at Aston Rowant, on the 5th August.—P.c. Page proved the case, and said that he wheeled the defendant home in a wheelbarrow.—The Chairman: He must pay 5s. for his ride—a dear one.

George FRUIN was summoned for being drunk and disorderly at Brightwell, on 9th August. Defendant pleaded not guilty.—P.c. LOADER proved the case.—Fined 8s., and costs 7s.; paid.


STORM.—The storm that passed directly over the village on Tuesday was one of considerable intensity. The morning will be remembered as the most tropical of a dry season, and foreboded a disturbance of the elements. Distant thunder was heard about two o’clock, and ere long a thick gloom settled almost like night, with an incessant blaze of lightning and terrific thunder, the noise of which was almost drowned at times by the heavy downpour. The storm lasted without a break for two hours, and filled up the empty ponds, and gave to vegetation a much-needed refreshment.

Transcript © Paul Brazell 2008

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Disastrous Fire at Chinnor – Eight Familes Burnt Out

Tuesday, August 15, 1899 (page 5)



Sunday [August 13th] was a day that will live long in the memory of the people of Chinnor. Never in the history of the village has such a disastrous fire occurred as commenced just after one o’clock on Sunday afternoon, by which in less time than is taken to write families were driven from home without time to save but very little of their belongings.

The fire originated in Mr. BRAZELL’s rickyard about ten minutes past one o’clock, there being two straw ricks, one wheat, and three hay ricks. Mr. BRAZELL and family were just having dinner when the first rick caught, and Mr. A. BRAZELL seeing the inevitable result immediately jumped on his bicycle and came to Thame for the Fire Brigade. In the meantime, however, the premises began to blaze at a most alarming rate. Directly the thatch of the hay rick caught, the wind played havoc with the loose straw and almost simultaneously the whole six ricks were ablaze and burning straw blowing in clouds on to the thatched houses of the villagers for a considerable distance off. Adjoining the yard was a cart hovel containing a great number of farm implements, waggons, machines, and a light spring cart. Helped by the exceptional dryness of everything the hovel was one mass of flame before any attempt could possibly be made to get the contents out. Next came a granary in which corn and fodder were stored ; this quickly succumbed, and notwithstanding a gap of several yards the outbuildings attached to Mr. BRAZELL’s house became ignited, and great fear was entertained for the safety of the buildings. However, by continued throwing on of buckets of water and sawing away of beams the fire was after great effort checked in this direction. The stock on the premises consisted of horses and pigs, and of course first thoughts were for these, but so swiftly did the flames travel with the breeze that it was with the greatest difficulty the horses were got out of the stables. One sow and nine pigs were also safely got away, but a sow and six pigs were burnt to death in the sty, it being impossible to get at them. Close to the farm were three cottages belonging to Mr. Thomas BUSBY and Mr. BRAZELL. Two of these, occupied by William GIBBS and William BARNES were thatched, whilst the third occupied by Mrs. FULLER was tiled. On these the flying sparks literally rained and it was with the greatest difficulty that some of the lighter furniture was saved. Neighbours flocked in hundreds and gave willing help ; pumps were going in all directions and buckets upon buckets of water were poured on the burning masses, but so dry was everything that the efforts of all seemed almost in vain. Whilst attending to one place attention was quickly drawn to another some distance off, until it seemed that the whole village was in danger, and people began to wonder where the next break out would be, as being in the day time the course of the sparks could not be seen. Had it occurred at night the results must have been alarming, and perhaps have resulted in the loss of human life. The cottage occupied by Mrs. FULLER caught at one end and burnt away the wood supporting the roof, but the flames were prevented from going any further and the furniture was safely got out. A big blaze came from the next object which was a large thatched and tarred weather-boarded barn and hovel belonging to Mr. PITCHER. In less than three minutes these were razed to the ground and lay in smouldering heaps. By the grass, hedges and sparks, still further the flames flew, and in less than ten minutes from the commencement, the thatch of Mr. Alfred LITTLE’s cottage, in which he lived, and the thatched building occupied by Mr. Jose JACKSON, cycle repairer, burst out simultaneously, and so great was the heat that it was impossible to get but a few things out of the houses. Mr. JACKSON’s cycle shop, containing cycles, a large number of tools, and a quantity of bicycle cement, was completely gutted, it being impossible to get everything out. Within a few yards of these premises stood Mrs HARDING’s stables, upon which had the fire succeeded in keeping a hold, another block of buildings must have caught. However, thanks to the efforts of Captain TUPPER, a visitor to the village, and Messrs. Walter JACKSON and Jose JACKSON, the flames were eventually kept down. Thus in less than fifteen minutes nearly fifty square yards of premises was a mass of flames.

In the meantime, Mr. BRAZELL jun. had reached Thame, and the Fire Brigade were soon apprised of the occurrence. The members turned out with commendable smartness, and under the command of Captain BAILEY, started for the scene of the conflagration. In less than twenty minutes from the call, the brigade were on their way, but before their arrival the fire had gained a hold as above described. Water was scarce, and two thousand feet of hose was requisitioned before a supply could be obtained from a pond at the back of the Bird-in-Hand Inn, in Mr. H.D. EGGLETON’s field. Seeing the hold the flames had obtained on the buildings, the brigade immediately confined their efforts to checking further progress, and this they were fortunately able to do. Luckily these premises were situated at a lower level than the pond, consequently pumping was not so hard ; had it been uphill there would have been great difficulty in sending a good force of water along nearly half-a-mile of hose. Bad news travels quickly and in a very short space of time people from neighbouring villages flocked to the scene and the village was crowded throughout the afternoon and evening. Considering the manner in which the sparks flew about it is surprising that more damage was not done. Mr. Robert WHITE’s stacks narrowly escaped, buckets of water just being thrown on the thatch in time to prevent the flames spreading, and cloths had to be thrown over. These were nearly 400 yards away. Quite 300 yards off, the thatched roof of the Royal Oak, occupied by Mr. WEBSTER, ignited and was put out with difficulty. Mr. TURNER’s blacksmith shop caught but was saved. Throughout the afternoon and evening the premises and ricks blazed away, but with the presence of the fire engine all fears of danger of a fresh outbreak were allayed. There being a large number of spectators present, the Rector, the Rev. E. J. HOWMAN, made a collection on behalf of the cottagers who had been burnt out, and a committee was formed consisting of the Rector, Capt. TUPPER, and the two district Councillors, Messrs. J. WHITE and H.D. EGGLETON, for the purpose of raising a fund to help the sufferers. We understand that Messrs. BRAZELL and BUSBY were insured, but Messrs. JACKSON and LITTLE were not.

The members of the Thame Fire Brigade present were:—Capt. BAILEY, Lieut. MAY, Engineer HORTON, Buglers VARNEY and GREENWOOD, Firemen GOODENOUGH, ARNOLD, BARTON, F. WEST, BETTS, and COX. The Brigade with the engine were on duty throughout the night and most part of yesterday. A word of praise is due to the members for the smartness with which they turned out and the efficient in which they carried out their work. The origin of the fire is unknown.

Transcript © Paul Brazell 2008

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Sad cycling fatality near Chinnor

Tuesday, October 2, 1894


While riding a tricycle, and accompanied by her husband on a bicycle, late on Saturday night along the Chinnor and Bledlow Road, Mrs. LEES-ELSON, of London, was thrown upon a heap of flints, and sustained such injuries as to cause her death the next morning. The deceased lady, who was 30 years of age, was staying at Chinnor with her three children, aged respectively five, three, and two. Her husband, Mr. Frank LEES-ELSON, according to his custom, rode down to Chinnor from London on Saturday, and when he and his wife were at liberty in the evening, both went for a ride out as far as Princes Risborough, Mr. LEES-ELSON on his bicycle and his wife on a tricycle. The lady’s machine was of the old side-steering pattern, having the steering wheel in front and a large wheel on both sides of the rider. The condition of the machine was, however, sound. Mr. and Mrs. LEES-ELSON returned late in the evening. At about a quarter to ten they were within a mile of Chinnor and descending a slope in the road, the gentleman being a few yards in front of his wife. A cry from Mrs. LEES-ELSON caused her husband to look back, to see his wife’s tricycle overturned and herself thrown violently upon a heap of rough unbroken flints on the side of the road to his left. He went to the unconscious lady and tended her for about a quarter of an hour, by which time Mr. Herbert Stratford BRAZEL came up on his bicycle, which he rode to Chinnor to return with Mr. Walter COCKS and the latter’s pony and cart. In this vehicle the unfortunate lady was removed to the village. Dr. EDSELL was summoned from Thame, and found the vault of the skull completely smashed, the bone broken, and the brain protruding. He did what was possible, but the case was hopeless from the first, and the patient, without recovering consciousness, died at half-past six on Sunday morning.

An inquest was held on the body at the Old British School by Dr. H. DIXON, Coroner for South Oxon, on Monday morning. Evidence was given by Mr. LEES-ELSON, Mr. BRAZELL, and Mr. COX. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death, and decided that the Watlington Highway Board should be written to respecting the dangerous position of the flints on the road. The width of the road on which the distressing accident occurred is, at the incline where the mishap took place, about 15ft. There is a narrow path on one side, and a still narrower width of grass, on which a long heap of unbroken flints were deposited, on the other. A large flint was found about two yards from the heap and close to the spot where Mrs. LEES-ELSON’s tricycle was overturned.

Transcript © Paul Brazell 2010

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