Your Stories - CLHG

Chiseldon Local History Group
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Your Stories

Below are some of the memories, information and requests for information that we have received recently via our Your Memories page.  If you can add to any of them, please send us your own information.  Or if you would like to contact one of the contributors, we may be able to put you in touch with them.

From: Sheila Craigmile (née Beckinsale)
I know there are not many of us left.  But can anyone remember the couple of years we spent at Chiseldon Camp school.  I think it was 1946 or 47. We used the old sergeants' mess.  With a large room for assembly and sports.  A huge kitchen.  We played in a field, where the houses are now built.  There were deep trenches, left from military training, I think.  The boys played football on the parade ground.  We left that school to move to the ex-Amercan hospital at Burderop in 1951.

From: Jeff, USA
My father, Staff Sargeant Raymond Weber, was stationed at this camp from late August, 1944 to December, 1944.  He was with the 17th Airborne Division.  He died in 2013 but I'm now reading some of the letters that he wrote my mother while he was at Camp Chisledon.  He always had very positive things to say about his English hosts and the great hospitality that he received.  Until recently I didn't know where exactly he was stationed because of security measures at the time, that required him to only reference "Somewhere in England".  Dad said that he gained some additional weight in England which served him well as he was taken prisoner of war at the Battle of the Bulge.  Thank you for this website and for extending to him and all U.S troops such warmth and kindness.

From: Jon, Chiseldon
What an excellent website! Lots of really interesting information and presented very nicely, indeed.  As more detail is added, it can only get better.
I have some copies of family wills from the 1600s and 19th century as well as copies of the railway company survey of Chiseldon prior to its completion.  Any interest in photocopying them? Best wishes, Jon

From: Alex, Japan
The recent BBC News article on the Chiseldon Camp was the prompt, but from here, far away in Japan, the name of Chiseldon really echoes loud and clear due to the village's association with Rt. Revd. Edward Bickersteth, Bishop of South Tokyo - buried (as far as I have read in contemporary accounts) in the Butts Road cemetery.
Bickersteth seems to have only spent his final days in Chiseldon, but given that this Anglican missionary seems to have been the driving force behind the creation of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (the Anglican Church in Japan), Chiseldon is, to my mind at least, a site worthy of special pilgrimage.  Over the last couple of months I've tried to put a few words about his life (and NSKK history) together on the English language based Wikipedia.
Uncanny how my own travels have often intersected with his legacy.  I stumbled upon the Mission House of the Delhi Brotherhood when in India at the age of 18, and today my family and I are active members of the Anglican Church community here in Tokyo.  Our home church, St Alban's, Tokyo, (where I was married in 2002) is on the same campus site of the Tokyo Cathedral Church of the NSKK (St. Andrew's), Bickersteth's Tokyo residence in the 1880s and 1890s and has been the ground zero of the Anglican Church community in Japan since 1877.
Someday on a trip back to the UK I hope to stop by to pay respects and raise a glass in his honor in a local pub. Great website. Best wishes.

From: Anthony
My mother's family were from Chiseldon and I have several photos of the village which I believe were available commercially and so you may already have them but I have attached some of them nonetheless.
Both my Grandfather and Great Grandfather were posted to Chiseldon Camp during the two World Wars and during their postings they met and married local Chisledon girls.
My Grandfather was a motor vehicle instructor for the King Royal Rifle Corps in WW2 and my Great Grandfather was a member of the 35th "Bantams" Division and fought in the Battles of the Somme until he was captured and interned as a PoW until the end of the war.
Unfortunately I do not have any photos of the camp, possibly because ranking soldiers were not encouraged to take photos of a military installation?
I do know that my Grandfather took a duty of soldiers to turf over the White Horse at Uffington to prevent it being used as a waymarker by German bombers.  I also know that he taught new recruits to drive jeeps, trucks and Bren gun carriers at Chiseldon Camp and once drove a jeep up Silbury Hill.  When he was alive he took me up to the old rifle range on the slopes of Liddington Castle.

From: Jay, Canada
My Grandfather Harold C. Knox served with the Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion #6 Troop Cylists in 1916 and was stationed at the Chiseldon Camp where he trained.  I have a number of original pictures he took while serving there.  I include a few for your viewing.  As Remembrance Day approaches for us on November 11th in Canada I thought of honoring his memory and service by contacting you to see if you would have any interest in adding to your history with some original pictures from that day.

From: Larry, USA
We are very interested in the Stephyns/Stephens family of Burderop, Hodson, and Chiseldon beginning with Richard Stephyns died 1519 in Chiseldon down through Thomas died 1551 m. Joane Prater, Thomas died 1596 m. Elizabeth Yate, Nicholas died 1611 m. Frances Brydges, Anthony died ? m. Katherine Broke, Thomas (haberdasher of London) died ? m. Mary Walle, and their sons Nicholas, Thomas, and Anthony.
These male descendants passed down the Richard Stephyns 3 Demi-Lions coat of arms from the 1565 Visitation of Wiltshire to the 1633-35 Visitation of London. Richard Stephyns held leases for all of these lands from the Abbey of Hyde at the dissolution and his heirs eventually  purchased these manors from the Calley family.
There are four of us American Stephens/Stevens men (all DNA tested) researching this line. We have read the coverage of this family in Vol. 30 of the Wiltshire Arch. and Nat. History Magazines discussion on Chiseldon and Draycot by Mullings.  Several of these men are buried in the Church of the Holy Cross. We believe we are direct descendants of the last Nicholas Stephens mentioned above. We seek help from anyone interested in this Stephens family and direct line Stephens male descendants for DNA testing comparisons. We are serious researchers that have been working on this line for 40 years.

From: Paul, Rochester, Kent
I am in the process of restoring a Fowler Steam Ploughing engine which was new to Chiseldon in 1873. It was purchased by Harman Visger who had started an engineering business in a location that I believe is now known as Foundry Rise. I recently was able to visit this address and saw where the old railway line use to be. I was wondering if any photos exist of steam ploughing in the surrounding areas in the hope that one exists of the engine in its working days.
The engine no. 1908 (and its pair no 2299) were sold at auction to a William Rawlings of Collingbourne Ducis, and later to James Redman of Winterbourne Bassett.  Photos perhaps in their ownership may also exist. The engineering business was later also sold and William Rawlings bought this and ran it in conjunction with the foundry he ran in Collingborne Ducis.
The previous owner of the engine was able to trace previous owners but he was unable to find photos; I did however manage to find two of its pair which were very useful. I am progressing well with the rebuilding of this engine, and if anyone is interested, I would be happy to send you some photos.
Supported by Chiseldon Parish Council
© Chiseldon LHG 2020
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