For recent messages, see the Visitors' Book on the Badsey Society Archive website.

Messages received in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012 appear on other pages.

Remembering the Tandy family

My name is Pam Cotton. I live in Gippsland Victoria, Australia. I have just browsed through your delightful website, and saw the pictures belonging to my cousin Ian Tandy.

I am looking at a picture of our little red Morgan three wheeler outside 10 Glebe Street, Swadlincote where I was brought up. In the car are my younger sister Rosie and my eldest sister Joyce's son John. We spent so many happy times with Uncle Fred, Auntie Kath, Ian and Kay. I'm 75 now, but can clearly remember Uncle Fred standing on the bridge over the Badsey Brook ... and threatening to drop me in. Also although there was only a privy, Uncle Fred used to tie a piece of string so that we could pretend to flush the toilet. Auntie Kath was the best cook ever, and I loved Ian's aviary!

Thanks for the trip down memory lane,
Pam Cotton, Australia
October 2008

Wilson as a first name

My great grandfather, Wilson EMMS was born in Aldington and baptised at Badsey in 1852. Wilson was unusual as a first name then, but I have noticed other births around this time with the same given name. Wilson appears in the area as a surname, and I wondered whether the name was taken from a local benefactor. Does anyone know the answer?

Regards, Julie Sutton (nee Emms) Kingston upon Thames, Surrey
October 2008

The name could be related to the WILSON family who were Lords of the Manor of Badsey from 1657 to 1866. Most of the men holding that title were called Edward Wilson. I have no evidence that the Wilsons were benefactors to the EMMS family but it is a possibility. If you read through the letters below about the Malins family, they also used Wilson as a first name.

The last Edward Wilson served as a churchwarden at Badsey from Easter 1849 to Easter 1851, but seems to have left the village soon after that as he is living in Birmingham on the 1851 census and appears to be absent from the village until about 1880. So it is unlikely he was around at the time of the 1852 baptism, but may have helped the Emms family a few years earlier perhaps.

Malin family researched

Just to clarify a few matters after some research...!

John Wilson Malins (my father in law) is the son of Wilfrid Malins who was the only son of Wilson Malins Jnr who unfortunately died shortly after Wilfrid's birth. His mother, Alice Malins (formerly Stanley) remarried to Henry Daniel and supplied Wilfrid with a number of step-siblings! Wilson Malins Jnr's death was registered by his father Wilson Malins Snr who was present at the time of his death in the Greenhill area of Evesham. His mother was Ellen Malins (formerly Ballard). I've gone back several more generations after this but hopefully this info will rule out any concerns about illegitimacy etc and explain John's middle name of Wilson.

Thanks, Cathy Malins Church Stretton, Shropshire
October 2008

Cathy is responding to three letters we received last November.

Why so many burials in 1785?

While chasing my Brittain ancestors I came across John Brittain who married Martha Adams in Offenham in 1766. They seem to have then lived in Badsey. They had 8 easy to find children which your wonderful website with Parish Records made very easy to confirm. I noticed that four were buried in 1785, in fact they were all buried between 13 September and 11 November.

I looked quickly at burials 1781 to 1789, there were an average of 11.7 burials per year and yet in 1785 it rose to 33 so I plotted the numbers for 1750 to 1805. This seems to have been a unique event so I assume the village archives may reveal what was the cause of this particular epidemic. Being a nosy retired GP I thought I would ask rather than speculate.

Robin Parkes, Henfield, West Sussex
October 2008

The answer probably lies in an article "Badsey suffers from a volcanic eruption" by Maureen Spinks in the Badsey Society Newsletter No 19, January 2007. A shortened and edited version is reproduced here:

"The eruption of Laki (in Iceland) began on 8th June 1783 and lasted for eight months. Just over two weeks later, a deadly fog entered Britain. The naturalist, Gilbert White of Selborne, described it as "the peculiar haze or smokey fog that prevailed … unlike anything known within the memory of man." Local newspapers up and down the country reported the freak weather conditions. A very hot summer of 1783 was followed by record-breaking cold winters of 1783-4 and 1784-5, the severest Britain had seen for 250 years. In addition, millions of tons of toxic fumes were released, suffocating many in the process.

The Icelandic eruption has been forgotten in all but its mother country, but the consequences were extreme. It is estimated that 23,000 people died in Britain as a result of the extreme weather conditions and the toxic haze which enveloped the land. This cloud was resident for two to three years after the eruption and led to, or accentuated, the extremes of heat and cold. The "Timewatch" scientists reported that parish records up and down the country tell the same story of increased mortality. I was intrigued to see whether this was paralleled in Badsey. Amazingly, this was the case.

In the decade preceding 1783, the number of burials in Badsey varied between one and four each year (remember, the population then was only about 300). But in 1783 there were 12 burials, in 1784 there were 18 and in 1785 there were 32. The number of burials then declined in the following years. ... We consider ourselves immune to natural disasters. But history warns us we that should not be so complacent."

Peter Stewart has kindly let us have the burial figures for the nearby villages of Bretforton and Offenham, and for the town of Evesham. He says that nothing relevant is mentioned in these registers.


Robin has added this comment: "Maureen's explanation fits very well. Infections were common and many diseases we regard as trivial now were lethal then. A population stressed by cold and starvation, for two years, becomes very susceptible to relatively trivial disease. Catch a cold, goes to chest, die of pneumonia. But in those days mumps, measles, scarlet fever, TB and many other infections were common. If you were rich you would do better but my family the 'Brittains' were probably at the very bottom of the socio-economic ladder so 4 out of 8 of their children died. Looking at the pattern of deaths I would imagine that an infection spread round killing people in sequence. There are no burials in April, May, and June 1785 and a new sequence starts in July with a peak of 10 in September. I wondered if somebody had travelled in and started an outbreak of something like smallpox."

For more on the Laki eruption see this Wikipedia article.

Vine Cottage

I note the comments in your article on Vine Cottage that its early occupancy is difficult to establish. You may wish to add that the services record for Frederick Barnard (b 1897, son of James and Mary Ann) gives his address on enlistment on 9 July 1916 as Vine Cottage, Badsey. As he was only 19 at the time, it may be safe to assume that James and Mary Ann lived there too at that date.

Going back to the 1901 census, this Barnard family is just shown in 'Badsey Village' but their entry lies between Pool House and Vine Lodge (sic). Vine Lodge is occupied by two separate market gardeners' families, Charles Knight and his mother and a lodger and Edward Clevely and his wife and two infant children.

Could Vine Lodge have been renamed later as Vine Cottage and Rose Cottage, I wonder? This would be consistent with the idea that once it may have been a single dwelling moved from Evesham. If this is the case, the renaming must have taken place between 1901 and 1916.

Don Barnard, (born Badsey, son of Ted) Leamington Spa
July 2008

Cull family

I was very interested in reading your page about the Cull family. Do you know if any of the Cull sons moved to South Africa in the late 1800s? There is a strong family resemblance and we also have the names of Edward and Charles featuring in our family. I have not done any research but believe my grand father was a sweet maker who moved from England to the East London area of South Africa.

Hoping to hear from you. Regards,

Barry Cull, Durban, South Africa
July 2008

Can anyone help Barry with this one?

Heads and Tales: a History of Badsey Schools

Pete attended Badsey School and sent this email to Maureen Spinks about her book Heads and Tales: a History of Badsey Schools.

I picked up the book last night after coming home from work, and I can honestly say I couldn't put it down! It was so interesting to read about John Sheppard, Elizabeth Seward (and all the other Sewards), The Reverend Thomas Hunt, and The National Society. It especially gripped me because I am familiar with almost all of the referenced locations without previously having any idea about the history. I find it so amazing how quickly things moved on when I read about the Forster's Act only becoming law in 1870, and to think I was at Badsey school in 1982, only 112 years later. Amazing to think it is only in very recent history that the mass population has been educated.

Anyway, I wanted to drop you a line to say it has been an undeniable pleasure reading your book, and so wonderful that you put so much effort into researching all the history, to make it easy for people like myself to delve into it my own local history so easily. I had no idea why Seward Road or Seward house was named so, and I had no idea about the roots of the school that I attended as a child. I'm looking forward to continuing my education this evening after work! It really is in a very readable format, and it helps to explain the current situation so well. It explains a lot of things that I almost feel ashamed for not knowing before.

My grandmother (Doreen Moore, nee Ballard) had an ancestral line tracing back to the brother of the last Abbott of Evesham. We have a copy of this family tree back to around 1500. Amazingly, like you mention in your book, it seems the whole family stayed in the same area for hundreds of years (back in 1500 they were still in Evesham, although I don't know at what point the family had settlers in Badsey). I will hunt down the family tree again, and as I read the book, I can see which members of my family were around at the time!

So many thanks again, and good luck with any future publications!

Pete Moore, Düsseldorf, Germany
June 2008

Badsey Open Gardens

We visited many of your gardens this afternoon and we just want to thank you all so much for such an enjoyable afternoon. We were made very welcome and the tea and cakes were lovely. You have a lovely village and some beautiful gardens.

See you next year - so we can visit the gardens we missed today.

Sue and Tony Lock, Birmingham
June 2008

Badsey held its first open gardens weekend on 14 & 15 June 2008. More than 20 gardens were open. Both days had fine weather, and despite several competing local events, attendances were good. The event was organised by Liz Cudd in aid of St James Church.

The Haines family and Penarth in Blackminster

I have just been reading your web site and found it very interesting .You have an Albert Haines on it who I think may be a relative of mine .The Albert I am looking for was born in Gloucestershire in about 1891. He became I am told a market gardener and had a son Charles and two daughters .

I know they lived for a time at Penarth near Cardiff in Wales but may have moved .What may be just a coincidence is that on the page of 1933 children's letters there is one from a Charles Haines and his address is `Penarth' Blackminster, Evesham; and he mentions South Wales. I maybe completely off track here but I wonder if there is anyone who I could get in touch with that may remember the family?

Kind Regards
Mrs Susan Howell [email address unknown]
May 2008

Peter Stewart writes: Sue, It is a strange coincidence that I have been writing up notes this week for Albert George Haines and his wife Florence Elizabeth for an updated book on the Monumental Inscriptions of Badsey. George & his wife are buried in the churchyard in Section C, No.35.

According to the census returns Albert was born in 1892 in Aldington, the son of William & Harriett. William died in 1898, aged 39, and buried in an unmarked grave in Badsey churchyard. He married Harriett Hopkins in 1898 [Evesham District]. Harriett is in the 1901 census for Aldington with three of her children. Norris, Florence & Edith. Albert is staying with relatives at Salford Priors during the 1901 census. They were Frederick Aldington & Mary Ann (nee Hopkins) who were married in 1874 [Alcester District]. Albert married Florence Elizabeth Williams in 1918 [Newent District]. As you can see from her obituary in the Parish Magazine she was nicknamed “Welshie”. Their son Charles William, the writer of the school letter, was born in 1920 [Cardiff District]. There are other children, both male and female registered in Cardiff where the mother’s maiden name is Williams. Some of these may be the other children of Albert & Florence. Albert’s brother Norris married Florence Harris in Badsey church in 1910. I trust these are the relatives you are seeking.

In September 2012 we were contacted by Claire Sparks (nee Haines) who wrote:

I am trying to do a family tree and stumbled onto your site (which is fabulous by the way and provided me with quite a lot to work from). I found Sue's query from 2008 but have been unable to contact her as her email address no longer works. If these details are all correct I am the grand-daughter of the late Charles W Haines so I would really like to get in touch with the former writer. He married Miss Iris Annie Smith in 1941 St Andrews Church Hampton and they only had one son (the late Derek Charles Haines) – my dad. We moved to Cape Town, South Africa just after I was born. Any additional information and site references would be greatly appreciated.

Maureen Spinks replied: Albert George Haines (1890-1957) was born at Hartpury, Gloucestershire, the second of three children of William and Annie Haines. He does not appear to be related to the other Haines families living in Badsey. Albert was still at home in Hartpury in 1911, working as a general labourer. Albert became a market gardener and started gardening in a large nursery in South Wales. He married Florence Elizabeth Williams in the Newent district in 1918. They had one son and two daughters, all born in the Cardiff district of South Wales: Charles William (1919-2005), Kathleen Maud (1921) and Muriel Florence (1922). They moved from Penarth to Blackminster in September 1932 and called their new home Penarth. The three children attended Badsey Council School. In Worcestershire, Albert had 7½ acres of land (according to the letter written in 1933 by his son). Albert died in 1957 and Florence in 1965. Florence was living at 42 Synehurst at the time of her death. Florence was known as Mrs “Welshie” Haines, to distinguish her from the other Haines family living in Badsey.

Charles William Haines (1919-2005) wrote one of the market gardening letters in April 1933 which was read on a BBC radio programme. Charles was a postman and lived in Hampton for a long time. He married Iris Annie Smith in 1941 at St Andrew’s Church, Hampton. They had one son, Derek Charles (1942). With another chap called Charlie Mills, Charles did a bit of entertaining on a Saturday night, “The Two Charlies”. Charles died in the Evesham district in June 2005.

You will note that Albert’s parentage differs from Peter’s suggestion of 2008. Since 2008, the 1911 census has come to light, which I believe places your Albert as living in Hartpury (which is in the Newent district of Gloucestershire where he subsequently married in 1918). This ties in with Sue Howell saying that her ancestor was born in Gloucestershire. The confusion was caused, I believe, because there was a William Albert Haines born at Aldington in the parish of Badsey in 1892. It would seem that both you and Sue share a common ancestor in your great-grandfather, Albert Haines, but unfortunately we have no details of her contact address.

Head boy at Badsey School in the 1930s

I saw your appeal for the names of head boys at Badsey School. I went through school a year ahead and was privileged to do the job for two years. So you can add these missing names:
1934-35 Kenneth Knight (Ken)
1936-37 and 1937-38 Richard Knight (Dick)

Besides the tasks mentioned on your webpage, there were other jobs I recall.

Happy days! Incidentally, a letter I wrote describing the life of a market gardener is also on your website.

Regards, Dick Knight, Lymington, Hampshire
April 2008

You can read more about this time in Maureen Spinks's excellent history 'Heads and Tales: A History of Badsey Schools' published by the Badsey Society.

Fitting together the pieces of Hartwell family history

When researching for Hartwell family history links I knew originated in Badsey, Worcestershire, I decided to try my luck and "google" the place name. Quite by chance I came across this invaluable resource. The website contains what look to be all the school registers, church records, parish magazines, censuses and electoral registers related to the village, all lovingly transcribed onto one incredibly useful site and carefully cross referenced to a large index of all individuals names.

Putting together my family tree couldn't have been easier. Even with limited experience I found it possible to link together relatives, to add dates (sometimes from - free at the Worcester History Centre) and to add generation upon generation. A job that could have kept me busy for years and end with many mistakes and wrong turnings has been possible in just a few weeks - made even easier when I discovered the Hartwell family section on your site which confirmed much of what I had already pieced together. I love this site and I dip in and out of it regularly to check out what's new and to learn more about where my grandfather came from.

If there is any help I could provide in transcribing any further paperwork onto the site I would love to get involved, to help other people to learn more too: I am based in Worcester which is not too far away, and my data entry skills are fairly high and I think I would find it interesting to help out. Either way, please keep up the good work, I love the site and will continue to use it and to point it out to others I think will find it interesting too. It is certainly a blueprint of what a local site should be able to achieve.

Sarah Ganderton, Worcester (descended from George and Letitia Hartwell of School Lane, Badsey)
April 2008

Sarah has kindly offered to help us construct a list of wills made be people living in Aldington and Badsey. This will be added to the records on the website when it is complete.

Remembering Littleton and Badsey Growers - I

Greetings again from Scotland.

I was intrigued to see the LBG photos courtesy of Les Grinnell. What a lot of memories seeing those pictures brought back - for example, I was at school with both Fred Steven's daughter and Phil Rose's son.

Most intriguing was the one with the cheque book - as the company accountant for over 40 years my father normally wrote all the cheques, until the momentous day he persuaded the committee to invest in one of the first cheque writing machines in the country (a bit like a big electric typewriter) which he took me to see and admire on the day it arrived!

These memories have led me to have a look through my archives but, sadly, of the dozens of photos I took of the LBG over the years, hardly any remain. One picture I have is a reminder that the LBG used to sell petrol (and at what prices!).

I remember the original herbery was looked after by, among others "Nucky" Grinnell and later Harry Rourke and (I think) Cecil Cox. I spent many hours as a youngster helping them turn the drying herbs on the kiln and feeding the dried material into the "mincer" for rubbing, separating and bagging in conditions which today's health and safety rules would never allow!

Alan Bunting
March 2008

Alan has sent us some of his photos of LBG which we will add to our collection.

Remembering Littleton and Badsey Growers - II

I was very interested to find your web site and congratulate you - I find it most interesting.

I worked at LBG from 1948 to 1965 and remember Les Grinnell very well.

Best regards,
Alan Wood
March 2008

Alan has put some names to the faces of the LBG Committee.

Aldington watermill

I am doing some research into the history of Aldington watermill, which sadly was demolished in the 1930's.

Could I ask if anybody has any material associated with the mill - documents, photos articles, billheads or even just memories - which they might consider letting me borrow?

I can be contacted on 01386 830755 or by email at

Many thanks,
Mike Lovatt, Aldington
February 2008