My earliest memories of Wedmore would be about 1947 when I was 4 years old. My grandparents, Hester and Ben Howard with 2 of their daughters and eldest son owned Elmsett Hall Hotel. I seem to remember that it was a boarding school before and during the war.
Wedmore was very much a close knit farming community at that time, with its wonderful church known as “The Cathedral of the Moors” Rev Hubert and his wife Sybil Morgan worked hard for the community and were both great fun.
Another Howard daughter( there were actually 13 children in the family, my mother being one) Joan, married John Austin and they took over The George, so I had aunts owning 2 Hotels in the village, still at a very early age. I spent a lot my summer and winter holidays in Wedmore. I had a good taste of new cider by the time I was 7 years old, as uncle John and Hubert Morgan would take me to a few of the Duckett’s farms for sampling!!
As I became older I spent my long summer school holidays split between Emsett and The George. Mr Cousins, who owned the garage at the bottom of the village by the T junction, would collect me from Highbridge Station in his taxi – the only one in the village I think. My first day was always spent calling in to most of the shop keepers to say “hello” and a great feeling of being welcomed back. A few stand out:
Tom Williams at the Post Office
Mr May at Mays the Chemist
The Redman Bros the Tailors
Mr Urch the Electrical Shop
The Blacksmith and The Baker
(whose names I have forgotten).
My parents, Alex and Grace Martin became partners in Elmsett and I started my farming career working as a student to get dairy experience for Elton Duckett at West Ham Farm, close to the moors. The cowman there was a great character, he would cycle to work from Blackford. During hay making Cyril would consume a flagon of cider a day. Cyril didn’t drive, apart from the tractor, so some nights I would drive him home complete with bike.
Elmsett and The George were both sold out of the family, so my contact with the village finished in about 1967.
I feel very honoured to have had such a happy childhood spent amongst many wonderful people, where there was a true community to help one another, I sincerely hope that it is still continuing.
Richard and Dorcas Martin
Some memorable pictures provided by Martin
1950’s Elmsett Hall Brochure ==> Elmsett Hall Brochure 1950 s