George Burton

Interviewed 3/10/84

George Frank Burton (Sam’s father), born 7.1.1902 – went to school at 4, 1.10.06, grandfather originally came from Kimpton – was hired at one of the hiring fairs to work at Walnut Tree Farm.  Married a servant from Highdown (Catterall)  Grandfather could not read or write.

Father Frank Burton, married three times, Mother Maria Wilson (from Shillington) (died 1906)

GB was one of 2 children of 1st marriage

Frank Burton used to walk to British School in Hitchin from Hexton Road.  Lived next to Katie Francis

Miss Tapscott 1st teacher.  Sand, seasaw

Prutton  Didn’t mind school

Gravel playground – played football (with tennis ball). Cat and stick in summer in the road, whips and tops

Pubs            White Horse (M&B)

Cat and Fiddle

Red Lion (where Mrs Times lives)

Old Royal Oak

Shoulder of Mutton (Hanbridge Way – burnt down 1927)

(Charles Burton)

Blacksmiths Arms (Clack’s)

(Ted Titmuss – landlord – also a Barber’s (2d)


Live & Let Live (Sam brought up there)

(GB ran it from 1933 as well as farming Burge End Farm)

Old Hall (Docwra Manor)

Beer 4d pt in 1933

Shops  Bakers             Bob Walker (Helen’s)

George Kingsley (Fausset’s)

William Gurney – Cromwell Cottage (he gave small rolls to children)

Thos Ashton – opp. Zoe

Frank Walker (Ted W’s father) – James’

Andrews (Turners shop) – also general goods

Albert Walker (Evans) Great Green, – also shop

Westwood – Little Lane – socks, thread etc.

Farms  Grandfather owned 3 farms – Burge End, (Hammonds (formerly Kingsley) and Mangrove (over Stanford Way)

Became bankrupt – Burge End in George’s name, so they kept it

Burge End owned by Lake before 1900

Highdown was first farm to have a binder in 1899/1900, from Hinseys in Hitchin.

Phil Crawley (Doug’s grandfather) used to fetch it – he was the only one allowed to drive it.

Walnut Tree – belonged to Coxall till 1911

Bob Kingsley used to buy flocks of sheept in Scotland and walk them back to Pirton – took 3 weeks

Edwin Wilshire used to fetch flour from Bowmans in Hitchin to all the Pirton bakers

Elm Tree (there were 2 farms) –  Gurneys.  Rose Gurney’s mother was a Burton.

1922    Buses started by Shepherd – first a lorry with a canvas top.  When passengers, seats put in.

Pond at Ransome’s was originally a fishpond.  Dovecotes for meat.  Ponds for fish (no fridges etc)

Wellbury Farm – fish pond

1921 drought finished Ransome pond

After leaving school – farmed, 2ND WW, rabbiting

Mr Cross started in 1981

GB still driving combine in his late 70s

Sid jarvis had no licence

Farming  – early days cattle, sheep and pigs                  Arable – mangols/potatoes/Brussels/corn/barley/beans/oats/peas for cattle

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