Ref NoWIN/015
CollectionWinstanley Oral History Collection
TitleMr. P. H. Barnes interviewed by Michael Winstanley
Name of creatorWinstanley, Michael
Duration7 hr. 06 min. 00 sec.
Extent3 sound tape reels
5 audio file Waveform Audio
DescriptionMr. P. H. Barnes, born 1889, interviewed in Tenterden. Mr. Barnes' father was an agricultural labourer. Barnes worked on the land with horses and oxen.
Track 1 [1:34:53] [Session 1: interview: 26th March 1976] [0:00:00] Introduction: interview of Mr Percy H Barnes [PB] at his home 7 Mayors Place Tenterden by Michael Winstanley of the University of Kent at Canterbury on 26th March 1976. [0:00:40] PB born Leasden House, Standen Street Benenden in 1889, father farm hand for Weston family. Description of PB’s early jobs for the Westons as house boy, carter’s boy. Mention of carter Mr Blackford. Detailed descriptions of work of house boy, ploughing, care of horses, carting hops to Cranbrook station. [0:09:51] Description of PB’s move to Mr Cheesman, carter in Cranbrook. Mention of Marchant and Tubbs, outfitters in Cranbrook. [0:14:14] Mention of George Head, stockman. [0:16:38] Mention of Mr Cheesman taking over Sissinghurst and Bettingham farms. Remarks on PB’s married lodgings in the tower at Sissinghurst Castle. Anecdote about pet dog and possible haunting in the tower. [0:20:04] Detailed description of ploughing, pros and cons of oxen and horses, using oxen and horses together, naming conventions for teams of oxen. Remarks on tractors replacing oxen pre-World War II but Sissinghurst using oxen longest in south east. [0:29:05] Anecdote about using oxen to deliver hop poles to baker Dadson in Cranbrook. [0:30:12] Story about mares clearing ‘spearmint’ from new born foals’ tongues. Mention of use of rhodium and aniseed to calm horses. [0:34:14] Anecdote about use of frogs bones for good health. [0:40:04] Description of local oxen teams, import of black Welsh Runts from Wales, Pipers of Hawkhurst using red oxen, Glassonbury Farm Goudhurst using black oxen. Mentions of Mr Pumphret selling oxen in Tenterden, Mr Winch the auctioneer, Mr Barton of Cornwell Farm Goudhurst. Mention of Mr Cheesman farming Goddards Green Farm [Cranbrook]. [0:46:08] Detailed description of caring for horses. [0:50:10] Story about PB becoming a bell ringer in Benenden. [0:54:45] Mention of Mr Gibbs schoolmaster and choirmaster and Mr Giles vicar, both of Benenden. Remark on Earl of Cranbrook looking after bells at Benenden. [0:56:25] Mention of school sports days at Hemsted Park. Mention of half day school holidays for victories during Boer War. Anecdote about a fight between PB and Annie Heelding at Queen Victoria’s jubilee tea party on green at Benenden. [0:59:40] Remark that farm labourers had to attend church to be paid for Good Friday holiday. Mention of Mr Neves of Sissinghurst Farm. [1:00:34] Comments about farmers requiring their labourers to vote Conservative, positive comments about Lloyd-George’s policies for workmen. [1:03:56] Description of living in with carter [in Cranbrook], lack of meat, poaching rabbit and pheasant. [1:09:20] Story about collecting Welsh coal for oasts from Newenden Wharf [Sandhurst, Kent], visiting White Hart pub. Remark on horses knowing all the pubs. [1:13:36] Description of ‘foreacre’ in ploughing. [1:14:13] Description of loading hop pockets for rail transport, use of ‘grab hook’. Mention of Railway Hotel [Cranbrook]. [1:18:28] Anecdote about following stag hunt as a schoolboy. [1:21:55] Comments on education, special exam to allow PB to leave school at 12, night school. [1:24:35] Description of hop diseases, treating yellow mould with flowers of sulphur, blue stone, Spinol, spotted chips. Mention of George Tweedale of Townsend Estate Iden Green [Kent], first with new hop disease downy mould. Mention of Mr Grisford as PB’s employer in hop fields. [1:30:21] Description of annual cycle of hop cultivation. Description of ‘shimming’.
Track 2 [1:30:34] [continuation of interview: 26th March 1976] [0:00:00] Mention of Earl of Cranbrook owning all local farms. [0:01:22] Comments on prices of clothing, beer, cigarettes. [0:04:40] Remark that PB’s father a ‘seven day man’ with tied cottage. Comments on rents. [0:05:50] Description of restoring meadows with ploughing and crop rotation. [0:06:23] Story about taking old horses to harriers kennels at Sandhurst. Mention of huntsman Jenner. [0:12:51] Description of houseboy work, hanging rabbits and pheasants. [0:14:45] Mention of gamekeeper Tom Spratford. [0:15:36] Description of catching rabbits using wire snare. [0:18:46] Detailed description of corn thrashing using self binder. Mention of Mr Jenner of Hope House Farm having first binder c 1890s. [0:20:40] Description of use of iron steddle against mice at Sissinghurst Castle Farm. [0:23:19] Mention of stacker George Hayter at Sissinghurst Castle Farm. [0:23:37] Description of scything ‘greenmeat’ for livestock. [0:25:05] Description of threshing corn, oats, beans with flail for livestock at Upper Woolwich Farm Rolvenden [Kent]. Mention of Harry Lever. [0:27:35] Description of wood used in wheel construction. [0:28:33] Description of work in hop gardens. Mention of Canterbury hoes. [0:30:50] Comments on London hop pickers, striking for more money, dirty, bringing ‘London bugs’, using Jeyes to disinfect huts. Description of their living conditions. [0:39:02] Description of hop picking, 24 hours, hop drying overnight, promoting good eating and sleeping, workers allowed beer. [0:42:05] Detailed description of hop drying; using smokeless Welsh coal and charcoal; using ‘scubbit’ [shovel]; hop measures hair, poke, bushel. [0:47:50] Story about taking hop pickers back to Heathfield station via Hawkhurst, Hurst Green, Etchingham, unloading them at Heathfield Crown pub. [0:51:47] Comments on men drinking. Anecdote about wives and children outside pubs asking for money for food. Anecdote about woodcutter buying beer from passing brewer’s dray. [1:00:29] Comments on the harvesting practices of George Neve of Sissinghurst Farm. [1:04:10] Comments on pig keeping and slaughter, workmen keeping pigs. Description of salting, hanging, smoking, using ‘middlings’ [corn offal] to fatten pigs. Remark that pigs kept on uplands but only sheep on marsh. [1:13:48] Mention of trips to Boughton [Faversham] in winter as nearest quarry to collect stone for farm roads. [1:17:02] Comments on cold weather, using sacking and newspaper in trousers. Story about silver frost [frozen dew] and freezing rain. Mention of keeping Hampshire Downs sheep at Sissinghurst Castle Farm. [1:22:25] Mention that many cottages empty long term. [1:23:51] Comments on buying cheap beer, bread, cheese in pubs during journeys. Mention of Stile Bridge pub [Tonbridge]. [1:26:56] Remarks on women not visiting pubs or smoking until World War I.
Track 3 [1:34:08] [continuation of interview 14th May 1976 and further interview 21st May 1976] [0:00:47] Comments on pubs and beer, using quart earthenware jugs, bitter most expensive beer. [0:03:39] Comments on games; cricket, football, quoits, kites. Remark that only gentlemen allowed to play cricket on village green. [0:06:25] Comments on drinking; drunkenness on Sunday lunchtimes; London hop pickers needing extra police; knife fights amongst Londoners; locals avoiding pubs during hop picking. Anecdote about London woman smashing window. [0:09:30] Description of sampling of hop pockets, hop factors. [0:12:06] Comments on Staplehurst market, livestock prices, harsh treatment of working horses. [0:16:18] Remarks on carters pilfering hay and straw, selling at pubs for beer. [0:18:51] Description of catching vermin, farmers paying for rats tails, sparrows. Mention of people eating sparrows, blackbirds, pigeons, moorhens, gypsies eating hedgehogs. [0:22:58] Comments on availability of meat, farmers keeping rabbits for themselves, butchers open until 10 pm. [0:28:16] Detailed description of loading hop pockets for transport. [0:33:30] Detailed description of hop sampling. [0:36:50] Anecdote about accident collecting faggots on Sparkswood Estate. Mention of ‘bats’, thick pieces of wood within faggot. [0:41:12] Comments on labourers’ perks, free faggots and housing for ‘seven day men’. Remarks on ‘Michaelmas money’ being less than overtime. [0:43:07] Comments on the effect of rain on grain crops. Description of ploughing, ‘wents’ being 2 lengths of field. [0:46:27] Mention of PB working at Gerrards Green Farm Cranbrook. [0:49:30] Mention of ‘roist’ turning in ploughing. [0:50:12] Comments on horse tonics, buck savin [juniper] for coat. [0:54:40] Comments on using horse hair in horse collars, saddlery, boot socks. [0:56:35] Comments on ploughing matches. Anecdote about ploughing match at Goudhurst. Detailed description of constructing and using wooden ploughs; roists, chep, toe-, heel-, chaff cutter knives, pratt, coulter, share, cock, roadbat, sheath, stump, skates, hogs. Mention of wheelwright at Winchit Hill Goudhurst. [1:09:51] Description of Kent wheel ploughs. [1:12:58] Description of using newer implements, cultivators, jack harrows. [1:15:05] Comments on ploughs, preparation for leaving in fields, painting of new ploughs. Comments on maintenance of equipment, using ‘lints’ hammers on waggons. Remarks about skills of wheel wrights. [1:21:36] Description of living at Sissinghurst Castle Farm; cottages without electricity, grocer and baker visiting, labourers collecting coal from grocer. Description of accommodation in castle tower. Comments on previous resident Richard Baker, a murderer, and Anglo-French prisoners dying and being buried at the castle. Remark on ploughing ban where human bones found. Remark on plaque in Three Chimneys pub Biddenden about prisoners from Sissinghurst Castle. [1:33:30] Comments on water supply at Sissinghurst Castle Farm, well for castle and cottages, Mr Neve creating pond in Horse Race field for livestock.
Track 4 [1:34:08] [continuation of interview 21st May 1976] [0:00:00] Continued description of water supply at Sissinghurst Castle Farm. [0:02:10] Comments on Mr Neve’s tenancy at Sissinghurst Castle Farm. [0:03:24] Detailed description of flailing. [0:08:42] Description of threshing machines, superseding flailing, early machines horse driven. [0:09:43] Description of hand sowing using trug. Mention of Harry Holmwood of Rolvenden, farm labourer. [0:13:29] Description of seed drills, manufacture by Tett of Faversham, chain and cog wheel drills. [0:18:48] Comments on clothing, all homemade, using flannel and gabardine, wearing smocks and leather leggings. [0:22:21] Mention of PB’s siblings, 4 girls and 3 boys. [0:24:35] Anecdote about using dead moles to protect against bulls. [0:27:28] Mention of markets at Ashford, Rye, Staplehurst, small market at Northiam. Description of driving livestock to market on foot, long journeys with pre-arranged overnight stops for livestock. [0:42:27] Comments on Sundays, working frowned on, main hot meal of the week, attending evening church service. [0:43:33] Comments on PB’s sisters going into service, always at a distance, no work locally, only half day off per week. [0:46:32] Comments on church, wealthy having their own pews. Mention of PB’s confirmation by Bishop of Dover at Cranbrook. Mention of Benenden vicars Canon Joy, Reverend Noble, Reverend Albany. Anecdote about strictness of Reverend Albany. Description of chimes of Benenden clock. [0:55:52] Comments on school, PB leaving at 13 in sixth ‘standard’. Mention of Mr Gibbs, schoolmaster. [1:01:37] Comments on changes brought by World War I, men enlisting and not returning to farm work, girls working on farms, horses taken to France, replaced by tractors, better wages for working with machinery, half days on Saturdays. Comments on Benenden village green cricket ground being only for wealthy, never used by working men. Mention of farm workers union in Suffolk, PB’s adverse views on unions. [1:11:07] Remarks on support for old age, work house before pensions introduced, old men having to work for place in workhouse. [1:17:00] Remarks on dissatisfaction with lack of extra wages for hard work. Description of costs of staples. [1:18:44] Mention of cinematograph show at Rolvenden school. [1:21:03] Anecdote about a visit to cinematograph show in Tenterden with wife and baby daughter in bike basket c 1920. [1:23:09] Comments on PB’s job in Sussex c 1920, adverse comments on ‘Sussex people’ and working practices, wages lower in Sussex than Kent. Mention of using balance plough in Kent, Davis Leap plough in Sussex. [1:28:45] Mention that PB was not called up as he was a ploughman. [1:31:56] Description of PB rook scaring and sheep minding as a young boy.
Track 5 [0:52:17] [continuation of interview 21st May 1976] [0:00:00] Continuation of description of sheep minding on [Romney] Marsh, PB’s Saturday work when he was 9 or 10. Mention that at 10 or 11 PB dividing week between farm work and school. [0:10:52] Comments on personal transport, PB using bike with hard tyres and paraffin filled lamp, seeing first motor bike c 1895. Mention of Mr Cresswell of Hole Park, magistrate, driving red car with hard tyres. Description of men with red flags walking in front of traction engines, machines frightening horses. [0:10:52] Stories about incubating chicks, incubators made by Tamlyn, using old hens for hatching chicken and turkey eggs. Mention of keeping Rhode Island chickens. [0:15:52] Comments on travelling salesmen, hurdy-gurdy man, gypsy chimney sweeps, out of work hands selling fish from Rye. Description of itinerant gangs of sheep shearers. Mention of using Stockholm tar to heal shearing cuts on sheep. [0:24:46] Description of fattening oxen in straw pits in autumn, value of manure. [0:27:45] Comments on using other fertilizers, super-phosphate, rape, guano, seaweed, rotted fish, shoddy from cloth mills. [0:29:02] Description of using shoddy in hop gardens. Mention of types of hop, fuggle, coagit. [0:33:23] Comments on publicans using pony and trap to transport goods and people, running slate clubs in pubs for insurance. Mention of Coley running Woodcock pub. Mention of Foresters and Friendly associations with monthly pay outs and annual dinners. [0:38:24] Remarks on horse remedies, nettles, wood sage, jack-in-the-hedge [garlic mustard] for coats. Anecdote about heather as a de-wormer. [0:42:47] Comments on farmers, some grateful, many treating labourers as slaves. [0:44:03] Comments on politics, PB voting Tory, Tories good for country but not working man, Liberals good for working man but unstable, strong dislike of strikes. [0:47:57] Comments on self-betterment, grammar schools not viable for poor, railway providing higher wages, lack of career guidance from parents and teachers.
NotesTranscript exists for this interview.
PhysicalDescription3 sound tape reels : analogue, 5 inch reel, 9,5 cm/sec, 2 track, mono
Waveform Audio
Related OrganisationUniversity of Kent
Related PlaceBenenden, Kent
Cranbrook, Kent
Sissinghurst, Kent
Access filenameWIN-015-001A-A.mp3
CategoryAudio recordings
Access conditionsAvailable for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU. Access is available via digital listening copies. The University of Kent acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors in this recording and the rights of those not identified.
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