Down Memory Lane

Local artist and historian, Michael J. Barnard, takes us on a trip down memory lane, starting first with the history of Ballard's Park.

Ballard's Park is the area of land at the top of Brewers Lane which is home to Badsey Cricket Club, Badsey Recreation Club, Badsey United Football Club, Evesham Hockey Club and Evesham Archery Club. It was first purchased for sporting activities in 1960 by Badsey Cricket Club from its then owner William (Bill) Ballard, with a further 9 acres of adjoining land bought in 1968. Bill Ballard was a descendent of Philip Ballard who was the last Abbot of Evesham Abbey. Philip Hawford (alias Ballard) was Abbot from 1538-1540. He followed on from Abbot Lichfield, who was forced to resign in March 1538. Philip lived through the reigns of three monarchs, Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary. It was once believed that Philip Hawford was buried in Worcester Cathedral, but is more likely to have been buried at Elmley Lovett. Michael recollects spending many hours talking to Bill by the greenhouse on his land on the way to Pear Tree Corner. Bill died in 1970 and Michael has dedicated the picture to his three surviving daughters Elsie, Doreen and Janet.

In the month of May, the asparagus grew
A crop that would wait for none
It meant work every day from the crack of dawn
'Til the season was over and done

They found time though to hold an Asparagus Show
An event they held with pride
Choosing the biggest and best of asparagus buds
They made bundles, at least a foot wide

And once a year, on a Sunday morn
The growers brought the best buds they could get
And together they made for charity
The biggest hundred yet

Outside our barn, a happy gathering then
As on hampers they sat in the sun
Sparing a few moments from their toil
Happy in work, well done

Above, Michael illustrates the extract of poetry written by his auntie, Evelyn McKanan-Jones. The full poem, a work of some eighty verses, tells of Evelyn's childhood in Badsey during the early 1900's. The barn, which was once a pub,  is still standing and can be seen adjacent to Vine Cottage, opposite the shop in the High Street. [Here is a longer extract from the poem.]

Right, Michael's picture depicts a memory he has of when he was a pupil at Badsey School. It was the summer of 1940. Badsey was overrun by British servicemen who had been moved inland following their evacuation from Dunkirk. They stayed in the village for about three weeks until they could be assessed and returned to their own regiments. The picture shows the Stone House, and some of the hundreds of troops. The Stone House was built of reconstituted stone from Evesham Abbey. One of the provisos for its use was that all ornamental carvings in the stone were not to be on show, so this meant that the building was literally built inside-out. The barn to the left of the picture belonged to Mr. Llewellyn-Jones. [The Stone House today.]

'Secret of the Skies' - book from Badsey Artist and Historian Michael J. Barnard

Will Dallimore Will@badsey.net


Updated 22 August 2002