Viola Mayhew's memories of Pentlow
The following are the memories of Viola Mayhew as told to her daughter, Joy Steward, while making a video of her childhood and life.
Viola was born in 1916 and During her childhood she lived at Paynes cottages, Pentlow. The roads were unmade and she remembered bowling hoops along the uneven tracks. She attended Pentlow school, walking to and from school, also making the same trip home to lunch every day. On Sundays she attended church and after the service the children formed a guard from the church to the gateway to allow the rector, riding in his horse-drawn carriage, to pass through. In passing, each child was obliged to bow/curtsey to him as he rode past. The horses were stabled just opposite the entrance to the church.
Viola's mother, when she was pregnant with Viola, was obliged to attend work parties at the rectory run by the rectors wife. During these work parties, the expectant mothers knitted babies garments which were sent to the poor in London. Being an educated lady she read Shakespeare during these meetings, and suggested to Viola's mother that perhaps her unborn child, if a girl, should be named after one of the twins in Twelth Night. This she dutifully did as she was christened Viola.
Pentlow Tower, she recalled, was built in memory of Rev Bulls wife in 1882. The village had a choice between the tower, a row of cottages or a well dug for drinking water. As the Rector was a very prominent figure in the village at that time, the villagers opted for the tower for fear of upsetting him, even though the alternatives would have benefited everyone.
In Spring the children would walk the fields and lanes picking primroses and violets which were tied in bunches with cotton and sent up to London by train from Cavendish station to be sold on London streets. Song birds were also caught using bird lime spread on bushes and mist nets,these finches were also taken to London and sold to be caged.