ID PH01_GCS Article from Mersea Museum / Elaine Barker
|Title||Peldon People - Golden and Charlie Simpson|
|Abstract||Golden (1863 - 1939) and Charles Simpson (1870 - 1947) were names well-known to Peldon and Mersea folk at the end of the nineteenth
century and the first few decades of the twentieth. Brothers, they were born and bred in Peldon, their father, Charles, a General dealer.
Golden became a bricklayer and builder and Charles, who never married, became a fishmonger and dealer.
Towards the end of Golden's life he was interviewed by Cyril Jeffries
Presently I was seated chatting to Mr Golden Simpson. His grandfather is buried in Holy Trinity Churchyard. James Simpson, who was town crier
for Colchester was Mr Simpson's uncle. Talking of boyhood days, Mr Simpson mentioned the names of Herbert and Edward Nice, whose father kept 'The Plough'; Jonah Peachey, Edgar Mason and George Thompson, with whom he went to school at West Mersea, where Mr John Thorpe was the headmaster. 'We used to walk three and a half miles to school, starting at eight in the morning' said Mr Simpson who went on to relate how as a boy he used to drive his father's geese round the roads feeding them on gosling weed. Mr Simpson has vivid memories of the 1884 earthquake. 'There wasn't a chimney standing' he said, and he went on to tell me how when he reached the doctor's surgery with an injured man the surgery was so badly damaged that the man could not receive treatment and had to be taken to the Rector's, where his wound was dressed. 'Bricklayers came from as far afield as Wales' said Mr Simpson as he continued to talk of the work of the restoration. He called to mind Peldon Mill standing opposite to the 'Rose' and William Went the miller, and William Christmas and George Claydon who worked there. A parish councillor at the institution of this body, Mr Simpson
remembered names of the other Councillors - Messrs W G Fairhead, F Nice, George Pullen, and W B Clark. Mr Fairhead was chairman and Mr G Mason
clerk. Your Essex No 30 At Peldon by Cyril R Jeffries 1935/36
A picture of Uncle James Simpson, Colchester's town crier
This interview above was probably just before Golden's wife of 42 years died.
DEATH OF MRS SIMPSON Much sympathy is extended to Mr Golden Charles Simpson who, himself in poor health for twelve months has sustained the loss of his wife, Emma Jane, who passed away at their residence, Barnard's Cottage [Peldon] on Monday at the age of 74. The deceased was the eldest daughter of the late John Harvey, whose family has been known in Peldon for several generations, her sister and three of her brothers being at present resident in the village.
Essex County Standard 21.3.1936
Golden died in 1939 and in his obituary from the Essex County Standard (it also appeared in the Chelmsford Chronicle) more details of his life emerged
USEFUL LIFE CLOSED
The village has lost a much respected inhabitant in the person of Mr Golden Charles Simpson who passes away on Tuesday at the age of 75 years. The deceased was a native of Peldon, and son of the late Charles Simpson, a vegetable and fish salesman. On leaving school, he started work with the late Mr Wood of Mersea Road, and eventually set up for himself as a bricklayer and chimney sweep. His marriage to Miss Emma Jane Harvey took place in 1906[1895 in Peldon Church] and they spent the whole of their married life at Barnard's Cottage, where she died three years ago. Mr Simpson took great interest in village affairs, and until too ill to attend the meetings, was a member of the Parish Council. In politics he was a staunch conservative and it was always his house which was used as headquarters pending a general election. He was gifted with a marvellous memory which served the community as an information bureau, and when the date of a bygone event was wanted it was the custom to 'go and ask Golden'. He was also of a generous disposition, being happy when buying sweets for children or tobacco for old men, and when some 20 years back an epidemic of influenza broke out, and those who escaped numbered only about half a dozen, it was Golden who went from house to house doing neighbourly turns in feeding fowls and fetching milk. He will be greatly missed by many friends who visited him during his long illness, and much sympathy is extended to his bachelor brother, Charles, the two never having been parted. Essex County Standard 25.3.1939
Golden's brother was to outlive him by eight years
The village has recently suffered the loss of ... Mr Charles Simpson, second son of the late Charles Simpson, [he]had spent the whole of his life in Peldon, for many years carrying on the business of a dealer, and he and his pony were well-known in the district. In June he would allow himself a change of occupation, and when the pea-picking season was in full swing in the late Mr Fairhead's fields it was Charlie who tied the bags. He was of a kindly disposition and uncomplaining, although for the last eight years he lived alone. He was particularly grateful for the ministrations of Mrs Small, a distant relative and near neighbour, who covered many miles in journeys to and fro. The funeral took place at the Parish Church, the Rev J R Wilson officiating. Essex County Standard 18.7.1947
These biographical details however can't fully convey the men's characters and for this we turn to the book Toasted Cheese and Cinders
by Mersea author, Sybil Brand. She was born in 1899 and the following were her childhood memories.
But the men who delighted the whole village with their quips were Golden and Charlie Simpson. Golden was lame, so he sat in the cart and shouted; in fact they both shouted. With no cars no buses no aeroplanes it was not surprising their voices carried a long way.
'My legs ain't much good, but, thank God, I've got a good tongue' said Golden. From front to back of the cart was a wooden rail hung with rabbits or rabbit skins when sales were made. You got a rabbit for tenpence skinned if Charlie kept the skin. We knew the skins were sold to make seal coney coats.
Charlie did the work and bought and sold anything eatable, whelks (two cousins of mine made pocket money selling whelks to him by courtesy of their father), shrimps, peas, rabbits, cherries or plums.
'The butcher's enemy' he'd shout, selling pease 'better 'athout meat than some are with.'
When trade wasn't brisk he'd inform passers-by he was 'selling faster than lawyers go to Heaven'.
Sometimes the buyer's identity was broadcast. 'Sold again to a lady. Keeps two cats and a billy goat' Everyone knew this meant the school governess.
Charlie wasn't fussy about hygiene. If his cherries spilt they'd be picked up. Sitting by the roadside brushing the dust off them, he'd shout at the top of his voice, 'All juice and no pip'.
A lady visitor, an entire stranger, bought some plums and his rich imagination soon furnished her with a history.
'Sold again to a clergyman's daughter'. She hurried away, blushing at the publicity.
If a pegged rug wanted a touch of red to brighten it, Charlie would produce a soldier's red coat for a shilling. It was a joy to see a stingy buyer meet his match here. The two of them wouldn't agree as to price. Charlie would give the the customer a long considering look.
'There's nawthen' the matter with you, Sir, only you're too good'
Then came the subtle thrust.
'I'd rather give 'em to you than sell 'em to some people.'
Peldon History Project
|Title:|| Your Essex No 30 At Peldon by Cyril R Jeffries 1935/36 [ Essex County Standard ]
I got out of the bus and made my way to this centuries old hostel where for well over half a century Mrs Jane Pullen was the
hostess. Mr Basil I Pullen is the host now. There is a pond by the side of The Rose where widgeon, pintail, pochard and other ducks
sport. It is said that in days gone by, smuggled brandy was secreted beneath the water of this pond Mr Pullen's grandmother had
known the Reverend S Baring Gould, one-time rector of East Mersea and author of 'Mehalah', 'a man who always went whistling and
singing along the road'. Talking of incidents connected with the house, Mr Pullen had heard his grandmother tell of an old man who
one day arrived bringing with him a hen and a sitting of eggs. He set the hen in a corner of the taproom and did not leave the house
until the chicks were hatched.
Leaving 'The Rose' I journeyed to the home of Mr Golden Simpson. On my way I came to Home Farm, where I stopped to watch three
year old Fred Knight feeding two lambs from a bottle. What a pity there was no photographer with me; he would have secured a
Presently I was seated chatting to Mr Golden Simpson. His grandfather is buried in Holy Trinity Churchyard. James Simpson,
who was town crier for Colchester was Mr Simpson's uncle. Talking of boyhood days, Mr Simpson mentioned the names of Herbert
and Edward Nice, whose father kept 'The Plough'. Jonah Peachey, Edgar Mason and George Thompson, with whom he went to school
at west Mersea, where Mr John Thorpe was the headmaster. 'We used to walk three and a half miles to school, starting at eight
in the morning' said Mr Simpson who went on to relate how as a boy he used to sdrive his fathers geese round the roads feeding
them on gosling weed. Mr Simpson knew Dr Green who lived at Mersea Stroud, and Dr Falk who assisted him. He remembered when
Mr Overall farmed Brick House; Mr T Pilgrim, Butlers Farm; Mr Alexander Bean, Peldon Hall; Mr Charles Tiffin, Home and Kemps
Farms; Mr Joseph Digby, Rose Farm; and Mr John Eagle, Peat Hall. P-c Cook lived on the Common when Mr Simpson was a boy and he called to mind Harry Dodd and James Green at Mr Harrison's blacksmith's shop. Thomas Nelson, the builder, who lived at Peldon 'Rose' and W Woods another local builder, were names that cropped up as we talked. Mr Simpson has vivid memories of the 1884 earthquake. 'There wasn't a chimney standing' he said, and he went on to tell me how when he reached the doctor's surgery with an injured man the surgery was so badly damaged that the man could not receive treatment and had to be taken to the Rector's, where his would was dressed. 'Bricklayers came from as far afield as Wales' said Mr Simpson as he continued to talk of the work of the restoration. He called to mind Peldon Mill standing opposite to the 'Rose' and William Went the miller, and William Christmas and George Claydon who worked there. A parish councillor at the institution of this body, Mr Simpson remembered names of the other Councillors - Messrs W G Fairhead, F Nice, George Pullen, and W B Clark. Mr Fairhead was chairman and Mr G Mason clerk.
At Peldon I met the oldest man I have ever met- Mr George Miller - a hundred and one years of age, and he told me that he still
worked in his garden. He was born at Ball Farm, Fingringhoe, and had lived at Peldon for 49 years. Mr Miller had no recipe to
offer for long life. As a child he attended a Dame School at his native place kept by a Mrs Squirrel, and spoke of the days
when he worked for Mr Alexander Eagle at Peat Hall. Tom Reynolds, George Green and Bill Clark worked with him. In his time
he had worked upon many local farms. Referring to his activities, Mr Miller said 'I keep doing a little and I think it does me good'.
I had a chat with Mr and Mrs E R Dansie about the Wesleyan chapel which was built in 1893. The chapel stands on the Lower Road near
to the post office. Mrs Dansie had heard of the barn and cottage meetings held before the chapel was built, and how at meeting
conducted in a washhouse, the seats included the copper. Messrs Ben Pullen, John Brand and Tom Stuttle were old-time local preachers
whose names were mentioned. For many years Mrs Dansie was Sunday School superintendent succeeding Mr Tom Wyncoll. At the present time
Mr William Greenleaf is in charge. Mrs Dansie has written several plays which have been performed by the Sunday school scholars to
raise money for missionary work. Mr Dansie spoke of the Zeppelin which fell at Little Wigborough during the war. Hearing an explosion
and thinking there was a fire in the farmyard opposite he went out of doors and on the Little Wigborough Road met the Zeppelin crew
escorted by Edgar Nicholas and Elijah Taylor [Trayler], two local special constables. He accompanied the party to the Stroud where
the crew was handed over to the military.
Mr Stephen Talbot was busy chopping faggots when I called upon him. He was born at Peldon 74 years ago, and started work at
seven years of age on Samson's Farm, when his uncle John Talbot was bailiff for Mr Arthur Woodward. William Green and T Green
worked on the farm at the time. Harvest suppers held in the chaise house at Brick House Farm, Guy Fawkes celebrations which
used to take place near the blacksmith's shop, and gipsies in tents and caravans on the Common - Mr Talbot spoke of these.
He remembered the time when old Lady Cooper kept the post office, which was then on the Top Road near the church, and when the water
from the pond was used for drinking purposes. 'It didn't seem to hurt us' remarked Mr Talbot, adding 'I shouldn't like to
drink it now'.
Leaving Mr Stephen Talbot's house, I went to the fifteenth century church of St. Mary, which stands on a hill on the Top Road.
It is a pleasant building and with the school close at hand, the spot is characteristically English. The rector is the
Rev. A A Giles. I met Mr James Talbot who has been church clerk for 39 years. He has attended the church since boyhood,
and was in the choir. Rectors of the past he had known were the Revs Carter Hall, W Stedman, D L Johnson and E R Bowring.
Near Pump Green stands 'The Plough' at which Mr H Hedger is host. He succeeded Mr W Holland, and before him was Mr Nice.
The oak-beamed old-world rooms of the house are delightful. A word which may be fittingly used of Peldon.
|Source:||Peldon History Project / Elaine Barker|
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.