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1921 - 100 Years Ago

Towards the end of 1921 saw the Diamond Wedding celebrations of a lad from Knapp, Walter Boobyer who had married a Stoke girl all those years before. The festivities were reported in the Taunton Courier on the 9th of November:

DIAMOND WEDDING CELEBRATION AT NORTH CURRY Mr and Mrs. Walter Boobyer. of Greenway. North Curry, celebrated their 'diamond' anniversary of their wedding on Thursday the 3rd of November, having been married at the Parish Church of Stoke St. Gregory on the 3rd November 1861, the officiating clergyman being the Rev. Richard Watson Moor, the vicar of the parish for 47 years, who died in 1884 at the age of 80 years. Mr Walter Boobyer was born on 13th April 1839, at Combe Lane, Knapp, his father being the late Mr Charles Boobyer. Mrs Boobyer was born in 1836, and was the daughter of Mr Richard Boobyer of Curload, Stoke St Gregory.


    "At an interesting interview, Mr Boobyer was full of reminiscences of the early part of his life and records the fact that as a young boy he recollects the days when his father was wont to take home a bushel of wheat on a Saturday as his weeks wages, and his mother had to carry the wheat to Creech Heathfield to be ground, leaving the bran for the cost of the grinding, and taking home the flour to break bread early on the Sunday morning before her children could be fed. Mr Boobyer, at the early age of seven years, commenced work by scaring birds, and as he grew older he was engaged in general farm work. At the time of his marriage he was employed at Huntham Farm, Stoke St Gregory, by the late Mr William Hembrow, for whom he worked for 12 or 13 years.

    "From that time onwards he was employed as a cattle and sheep drover, visiting most of the principal markets and fairs in the West and South of England, including Barnstaple, Torrington, South Molton, Crediton, Devizes, Marlborough, Salisbury, Bridport, Wimborne, Blackwater, Basingstoke and Dorchester, at the latter place attending five fairs a year, and doing most of his journeys on foot. He attended the London Christmas markets for 27 consecutive years, and. As his daughter interjected, never forgot to bring his children a souvenir of his visit.

    "Mr Boobyer rather prides himself on the fact that he used to walk to Wells market from Stoke St Gregory in the olden times, reach Wells by 9 am, and returning with cattle to Stoke the same day. Mr Boobyer relates that, when first married, his weekly wage was but 10 shillings, and on this he was successful in keeping his wife and their first three children. He recollects the time when wheat made but 9 shillings a sack, and during the Crimean War bread had to fetched from Creech Heathfield, and was 2 shillings for two quartern loaves.

    "Asked as to the withy industry Mr Boobyer said his father helped to plant the first withy bed in the district, now known as Bennett’s Bed in Sedgemoor.

Walter (but not his wife) received a telegram from Buckingham Palace. and the Courier added it's own congratulations:

    "This letter will be treasured with the many other congratulations and presents received on the auspicious occasion, which add our personal wish that in their eventide they may blessed with every comfort and joy, and be spared each other for some years."


At the end of November, the following item appeared in the Courier:

    "Lively Girl (Stoke St. Gregory). A most self-assertive, keenly practical, independent, retiring, and business-like young lady this, with dignified, elegantly-dressed figure, and go-ahead activity in versatile pursuits if well rewarded, brimful merriment when interested and amused, scarcely gushing among companions, slow to boast or confide in utter strangers, won't allow rivals a look in edgeways, highly educated, very critical to minute detail, with clever secretarial, dramatic, and scientific qualities, unlimited pluck and resource, a capital buyer and sales hand, brilliant hockey player and photographer, and mimic or medical nurse, fanciful in selecting a suitable husband until diamonds are trumps."

Who was she and what became of her? ? ?

In December 1921 the Taunton Courier reported on a rather more serious matter, a year or more after the League of Nations (See HERE for more details) had been set up:

    "STOKE ST. GREGORY. LEAGUE OF NATIONS.- An address ‘The League Nations and the League of Nations Union’ was given by Capt. W. Gurney, R.E.S.R. in the National schoolroom the 15th inst. The chair was taken Mr. H. M. Hembrow, who, before introducing the speaker, read letters apology from Col. Barrett and Mr. H. C. Garland, also telegram from Sir A. Boscawen, M.P., expressing his regret at not being able to be present, but stating his full agreement with the League of Nations.—The lecturer in some length explained the functions of the League. It, he said, now embraced all the countries the world, except the United Slates and one or two late enemy nations, who would, doubtless, be soon admitted. Capt. Gurney then proceeded to explain the objects of the League of Nations Union, showing that the interest of the people, as a whole, was absolutely necessary in international affairs if there is to be a betterment of conditions in the world. Mr. Edmund Boobyer supported the object, and spoke of the good the League must from do from a business point of view. Mr Musgrove voiced the feeling of the Non-Conformist Church, which was one of hearty agreement with the League. The Rev. H. F. S. Gurney also expressed the full approval the Church of England, reading extracts, referring to the statements at the Lambeth Conference.

The last speaker then proposed a resolution that a branch of the L.N.U. should formed in Stoke St Gregory. This was seconded Mr. E. Poles and carried unanimously. A branch was afterwards formed, and the following officers have been appointed:- Chairman, Rev H. F. S. Gurney (vicar), Mr Edmund Boobyer (Chris Coate’s grandfather), Secretary, Mr. E.Poles, Teasurer, Mr H. S. Chedzoy (owner of the village stores).


Reverend Gurney in the Vicarage Garden


One hundred years ago, Stoke St Gregory and North Curry were fierce rivals, whether it was sport or anything happening in public life. It's still the same today, of course, but perhaps the rivalry does not erupt in the way it did in a football match in October 1921. Someone from Curry was playing for Stoke, and three Stoke brothers were playing for Curry. Traitors! The Taunton Courier reported on the match:

    "AN UNPLEASANT GAME. This match was arranged to be played Stoke St. Gregory on Saturday last, and the teams lined up on a hard ground in very hot weather. Being neighbouring parishes, a good deal of interest had been aroused in the fixture, and this was increased by the fact that in the Stoke team was one resident of North Curry, viz., Lane, while in the visiting team were three Stoke residents, the brothers Musgrave. It cannot be said that the best of feelings prevailed on either side from the commencement, but the trouble was merely verbal for a time. However, this led to the use of more energy than skill, and consequently one or two players were cautioned. Ultimately, a deliberate foul upon Lane caused marching orders to be given to Gill, member of the North Curry team, whereupon the visiting captain adopted the course of calling the whole of his team from the field, and so brought about a very unfortunate and premature conclusion to the game. No goals had been scored. Strong disapproval of this action was expressed the spectators when the North Curry team took their departure."

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