ID: FGD_102 / Fred Garrod

TitleTollesbury Memories - further recollections from Fred Garrod
AbstractIt was interesting to read that hay to feed the horses at the Equestrian events at the Olympic Games was supplied by Old Hall Farm.

In the mid eighteenth century Old Hall used to be one of the busiest places in Tollesbury. The inn there was called the "Crooked Billet" and was kept by a man named Chaney. There was a windmill, two brick kilns and one like kiln, a granary, a coal yard, two wharves and a boat building yard. We know that in the last century brigs used to come down from the North with coal. My great-grandfather, father and uncle carried on the tradition of piloting these vessels up to Old Hall and "Woodup", some of the vessels drawing as much as nine feet of water.

Ship Ahoy before 1910

The inn in those days had been re-named the "Ship Ahoy" and was kept by a Mrs Cole. The names of some of those vessels, THE LEO, THE LITTLE LEO and the THOMAS STRATON were from the north. The Geordies used to be great ones for singing and dancing and it can be imagined that the Blaydon Races and the keel Row, would be among their favourites. It was said there was as much beer on the floor as there was on the table.

As well as the coal vessels there used to be barges coming up with London manure and going back with stacks of hay and straw. This was to meet the need of the horses drawing the London omnibuses, as well as for the police and army horses and those belonging to the cartage firms. The barges also came up with stone for road making, and going back with corn. In the later days, when the brigs ceased coming, barges went north for coal and sometimes bricks. This also went on at Woodup.

I remember my father brought a barge up to Woodrope. The merchant wanted it laid up and down the Hard so he could load two carts at the same time. My father refused, but the merchant said he would take responsibility. He said "Right that's your affair now". During the night he came up saying "John, John, I shall have to get you to go and move that old barge or she will break her back. I'll pay you alright". Father said "I've been bringing barges up here ever since I started work and you wouldn't listen." He went down Woodup and placed her in the correct position.

Sailing barge MARY & KATE on Woodrope Hard, before 1922
She was owned by the Frost family of Tollesbury

The coming of the railway and motor transport killed all this and I don't suppose we shall ever see a barge trading at Old Hall or Woodup again. Had they still been trading the hay would no doubt be going over the the continent on a Stackie barge. Quite a lot of these fine old sailing vessels were loast at Dunkirk, but a lot are still being converted as yachts.

"Woodup" is also known as "Woodrope" or "Woodrolfe".

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Recollections from Fred Garrod 1.

Source:
April 2021 typewritten copy sent by Kevin Bruce. Typed for web and photographs added.
Photographs from Cedric Gurton.

AuthorFred Garrod
Published1972
SourceMersea Museum
IDFGD_102
Related Images:
 Ship Ahoy, Tollesbury. Gowers Postcard No.243 posted before 1910.
 The 17th Century inn was formerly named 'The Crooked Billet', then variously as 'The Hoy' and the 'Ship Ahoy'. It was closed after the First World War. Once part of the Guisnes Court estate, it was a rendezvous for smugglers with their illicit cargoes. 
 The building, along with Old Hall marshes, is now owned by RSPB, bought as a result of the Eric Morecambe Memorial Appeal in 1985.
Old Hall, Tollesbury. 
 Ann Jones wrote (May 2014):
 This was the home where my Great Grandfather Richard Banyard grew up. He was born in 1865. His parents were Richard Banyard and mother Sarah maiden name Walford, who also lived in Tollesbury. Young Richard was 8 when his mother died, and 14 when his father died in 1879 so we have not yet checked the census as to whether his father had already left the pub when he died. We do know that young Richard went to live with his uncle John Banyard who we think was a grocer in Tollesbury.
 Photograph used in Tollesbury Past by Keith Lovell, plate 62.  CG10_421
ImageID:   CG10_421
Title: Ship Ahoy, Tollesbury. Gowers Postcard No.243 posted before 1910.
The 17th Century inn was formerly named 'The Crooked Billet', then variously as 'The Hoy' and the 'Ship Ahoy'. It was closed after the First World War. Once part of the Guisnes Court estate, it was a rendezvous for smugglers with their illicit cargoes.
The building, along with Old Hall marshes, is now owned by RSPB, bought as a result of the Eric Morecambe Memorial Appeal in 1985. Old Hall, Tollesbury.
Ann Jones wrote (May 2014):
This was the home where my Great Grandfather Richard Banyard grew up. He was born in 1865. His parents were Richard Banyard and mother Sarah maiden name Walford, who also lived in Tollesbury. Young Richard was 8 when his mother died, and 14 when his father died in 1879 so we have not yet checked the census as to whether his father had already left the pub when he died. We do know that young Richard went to live with his uncle John Banyard who we think was a grocer in Tollesbury.
Photograph used in Tollesbury Past by Keith Lovell, plate 62.
Date:Before 1910
Source:Mersea Museum / Cedric Gurton Tollesbury