Remembering George and Dorcas
Daphne Neville (Frampton Mansell}
George and Dorcas Juggins lived along Ashmeads. I grew up knowing George and Dorcas; they adored animals but they hated kids. If I was to go along and see her she'd say, 'Eh, don't you bring those bloody kids in 'ere. Make them stay out. I hate bloody kids,' she'd say, 'I love animals. When they grow old they'll never leave you. If you have kids, they always leave you'. She had a filthy mouth; she was disgusting. She used to take snuff. She used to frighten the life out of us as kids. Of course, we used to tease her, as you can imagine. She'd be on the front of the bus, stinking. George was something else: there he'd be with his bowler and his walking stick, going to the pub. He worked down the stick mill. He died one December, and in January or February I went along in the day to see her. You couldn't hear yourself speak in there. Our kids were out by the wall. There were dogs barking - they were chained to the fire grate. On the table, there was a lip all the way round and the guinea pigs ran round it. She just sat by the fire, for hour after hour, with this long hanging hair. She went to bed that night, they reckon, and knocked down the candle. She burnt to death - everything burnt.
Rosie Franklin (Chalford)
Life at Ashmeads
My grandfather bought Ashmeads Mill in 1903. It was an old silk mill; it had closed down and was partially derelict. He built a house and lived there from 1903 until he died in 1946. My grandmother had a stroke when she was sixty and she had to be looked after so he bought the mill manager's house next door for my aunt. We were the only ones along Ashmeads, apart from Dorcas and George Juggins. Dorcas originally lived in one of the cottages on my father's land. She was a Townsend; her family used to run the horse buses from Chalford to Stroud and they were quite a well-off family at one time. She was evidently a little bit strange. Their house burnt down in 1975; she went to bed with a candle and, as my uncle says, 'They brought her out on a shovel'.
Michael Mills (Chalford)
Potato-picking with Dorcas
In wartime, during the potato-picking season, we used to have to go from the school and do so many hours in the fields. We used to go to Stancombe, and Dorcas was working there. And being lads, we used to tease her. Tm not working with them buggers,' she used to say, 'If I'm staying, I'm going over there. You keep them that side'. George used to work parttime for the water board, and he used to do all the lights on the road when they did the mains water. They put a main right from the bottom up to that reservoir that you see along the 13isley road on the lefi:, and George used to have to do the lights. Needless to say, as fast as he put the lights up, the kiddies put them out - poor George.
Harry Cadwallader (Chalford)
George and Darling Mabel
George was true blue. He always had Conservative Party posters; he had blue bows on his bicycle. That was George. He worked down at the stick factory. He worked all over.
They used to have a machine called a trapping machine that you put wood through, like two grinding wheels. George stuck his finger in when he was a boy, and my grandfather had to extract it for him. He was always very grateful to grandfather after that.
They had Dorcas' mother living there with them at one time, who was known as 'Darling Mabel'. They used to push her to Stroud in a bath chair. They had a bicycle, so one would ride off and wait for the other to catch up with the bath chair and then they'd push on and the other one would ride ahead and have a rest. One day, George was pushing her around Stroud. She was in her chair at the top of Gloucester Street, and George had a few drinks on board and he said 'Right, you b .... ' and he shoved her bath chair down Gloucester Street!
They used to keep the goats and other animals out on that swampy ground. One night, George had been supposed to get the goat in, and he was wandering along, half cut, about three o'clock in the morning and Dorcas was getting the goats in the meadow. He said something to her from the road and my father had to get up and tell them to shut up for the noise they were making'
Michael Mills (Chalford)
Taking in lodgers
George and Dorcas were both a little bit simple in their way. George was crafty, mind: he always used to say he'd go home drunk on a Saturday night and he hadn't spent a penny! He always wore collars, cum, bowler hat and pinstriped trousers: he looked like Charlie Chaplin. But that cottage was a filthy, dirty place and, if you can imagine, they had six lodgers when they were building Aston Down in 1938.
Ernie Dukes was the last one and he stayed. He came from a very well-to-do family; he was a very well-educated man who'd gone down through drink. He'd worked all over the world. He could talk to you about anything. One day, a Bentley pulled up and it was his brother, who had come looking for him. But his brother took one look at him, got in the car and drove off He didn't want to know. Ernie was an alcoholic, but when he was sober he was a very pleasant man to talk to.
Michael Mills (Chalford)
For more on George and Dorcas and much more besides, please buy :
Voices of Chalford, Bisley and Bussage by Tasmin Treverton Jones, Published by Tempus
This item has no relations.