Transcript of interview with Tony Crew on memories of Pound Farm, Stanley
I’m second cousin to Sarah Grimshaw1. We’ve been here 87 years at the old turnpike house2. My father was Jack Crew from Seagry. My mum, Eugie (Eugenia Bevan Lewis) used to take me in the pram as a baby down Stanley Lane to Pound Farm because that’s where her mother lived. Mother was at Pound Farm til about 1928 when she got married. Then they lived at Seagry and moved to the turnpike. She came here 1st January 1934. My grandfather, Walter Lewis bought it. He built the house next door to me at the top of the lane, Gate House, just before the war broke out. He was there all through the war and for 22 years. My grandfather was “Lord Lewis of Stanley”, the title went with Pound Farm. It should still be there. He was very proud of it.
He bought Pound Farm in about 1920 from Alfie Bodman who was at Stanley Mill, where Mrs Guthrie now lives. He built the house on the brook for his son “Sonny” but he died in 1937 at 30 years old. In the general strike in 1921 Sonny went to help on the station at Chippenham. His second daughter, Margaret, is living still at 92. And another daughter, Doreen Hargraves is the oldest keep fit instructor in England. Been to Buckingham Palace and Gloucester cathedral. Got a medal, I think for long service. She’s been on the TV a few times.
Mother only had me. There used to be 14 grandchildren and now only 2 boys (me and Brian Hawker, who lives at Monkton Park) and 2 girls left (Margaret and Doreen).
Grandfather lived to 92 so we got a long life. My father died beside me of a heart attack at the age of 85. I’ve outlived my father because I’m going on 86.
My first memory of Pound Farm when we was children, we used to go down there a lot and play with Walt (Sarah’s Uncle Walter). On Sunday nights we used to go round with our fathers and look at the crops and walk along the river. I can also remember during the war, the strip by the road before the cycle track putting up the corn into stooks. And I remember the Calne train going by. I went on it once from Bath & West show. I remember it stopping at Stanley Halt and one of my school mates coming from Calne on it, Robert Jeary, he was involved in the agricultural shop at Calne. There were 7 brothers, and one became a solicitor in Chippenham3. I remember the bloke from the station used to sit on the gate and come out and light the lights, gas lights I think. My father told me a story that a fireman on the train once threw some coal out when it stopped at the Halt and the hay caught fire. They had to knock it out with prongs.
I went to Cannings College in Chippenham. That was a private school well known for farmers children. But I hated it and I didn’t go to school much because I wanted to stay home with my father. He farmed Gate Farm for 50 years. It had 32 acres and took another 5 acres by the school til they kicked us out. We had a lot of stock – about 28 dairy cows and we used to wean our own calves and bring ‘em up in the dairy. They were shorthorns but we gradually got into Friesians.
Our address is actually Gate Farm, Stanley, which is the turnpike house. Gate House is the red brick house next door. My aunt, Evelyn Pullen, had it for 20 years or so after my grandfather. I can tell you a story when my grandfather bought Gate Farm in September 1933 and he had to give £2 a square foot to have the road frontage because it was scheduled to be built on, but its never had a brick on it. And I can tell you another story. You know Abbey Farm where Greta (Meadows) lives, before they built the motorway they were going to come through there. But then they went the other side of Chippenham.
I remember the railway being done away in ’63 or ’64 with Beecham. Originally the Harrises had the line built to take pigs to Calne. I remember them going up in trucks. They pulled the rails up. Years later it became a footpath. It’s well used!
The turnpike is a listed building. It was built in 1830 for £140. I’ve got the piece of paper of what it cost when it was built. Mrs Dancey told me she came through here and remembers a bar across the road and paying a ha’penny to go to Derry Hill.
Interviewed over the phone by Helen Stuckey
19th January 2021
I read this transcript back to Tony over the phone and he agreed that we could use it for the Bremhill Parish History Project
26th January 2021
- See separate transcript of interview with Sarah Grimshaw.
- The old turnpike house is at the junction of Stanley Lane and London Road. It is just outside the parish of Bremhill.
- Jeary & Lewis are solicitors in Chippenham.