Peldon People: Harry Ponder

Harry Ponder was born on 22nd February 1882 in the 'Thatch Cottage' at the beginning of Copt Hall Lane, Little Wigborough; his two grandfathers, both his parents and some of his sisters lie in the churchyard there. He was interviewed by the editor of the Peldon and Wigboroughs Parish magazine on his 90th and 91st birthdays in 1972 and 1973. The Parish Magazine subsequently announced his death at 95 and from these entries I have pieced together his life story.

It was there [Little Wigborough] he went to school and Sunday school. The Earthquake occurred when he was two years and two months old. He does not remember it, but tells how it was washing day, and they had taken him to the school to get him out of his mother's way. It happened just after 9 o'clock in the morning, and they all ran out and left him in there until the governess - Ada Witham it was - went in and got him out.

Harry left school as soon as he was twelve and next month started work for farmer Bean at Copt Hall for three shillings a week, seven days, 6a.m. to 5.30pm til he got his first 'rise' of 3d. In 1900 he started work at Peldon Lodge and for eleven years drove a carriage and pair til they bought a car and Harry was out of a job.

Harry Ponder in 1907

In 1906 he married Mabel Appleby, and they came to Hillside Cottages, Peldon. Jimmy Green, the Village Blacksmith, worked at the Forge next door, and Harry used to take the horses there to be shod, first from Copt Hall, and then from Peldon Lodge. The lanes were very dusty, and the new roads were a great improvement but best of all was when they brought water to Peldon. Until then he used to carry water up from the village pump (outside The Plough) in buckets.

His wife Mabel was the youngest of a large family living at Game's Farm. Three of her sisters married three brothers called Talbot, and two of Harry's sisters married two of the Appleby brothers.

Mabel and Harry had been married by the Rev. D.L. Johnson, Peldon's blind rector, and Mr Ponder recalls that when Mr Johnson died, he was the one who carried him to his grave in Tolleshunt Cemetery. Harry is the oldest of the four brothers and sisters who are still living. He has four sons, but has lost count of his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Harry and his wife lived throughout their married life in 'Hillside Cottage' in Church Hill, Peldon, his wife dying in 1959. Harry spent his entire life in Wigborough and Peldon working on the land. He was a member of the Foresters' Friendly Society for 77 years and was their longest serving member.

Harry died on 18th May 1977 at the age of 95. Two of his siblings outlived him, his brother Bert, who lived in the cottage near the Peldon Rose and died aged 88 early in 1979. The last of Harry's siblings, Mrs Edith Peever, who lived in Dedham, died later in the same year aged 85.

Elaine Barker
Peldon History Project

Sources - all are from Parish News of Peldon and Wigboroughs:
March 1972 on Harry's 90th birthday
February 1973 on his 91st birthday
June 1977 on his death aged 95.
February 1979 Bert's death
May 1979 Mrs Peever's death

Author: Elaine Barker

Related Images

 Harry Ponder. Harry lived in Hillside Cottage, Church Road, Peldon, and worked at either Copt Hall or Abbott's Wick farm. Born c1882.  DEP_051DEP_051
Harry Ponder. Harry lived in Hillside Cottage, Church Road, Peldon, and worked at either Copt Hall or Abbott's Wick farm. Born c1882.
1907
 Ponder family
 L-R 1. Percy Augustus 'Custard', 2. Bernard, 3. Harold (father of Percy, Bernard, Ernest and Bobby), 4. Ernest (father of Diane), 5. Bobby, and 6. back right is Percy's daughter.
 Taken in Sailing and Social Club, West Mersea, at the wedding of Diane Ponder and Tim Cook.  DEP_053DEP_053
Ponder family
L-R 1. Percy Augustus 'Custard', 2. Bernard, 3. Harold (father of Percy, Bernard, Ernest and Bobby), 4. Ernest (father of Diane), 5. Bobby, and 6. back right is Percy's daughter.
Taken in Sailing and Social Club, West Mersea, at the wedding of Diane Ponder and Tim Cook.
14 May 1960
ID: PH01_HPO


This item is part of the Mersea Island Museum Collection. The information is accurate as far as is known, but the Museum does not accept responsibility for errors.