Hello I’m Chris in the red Jerkin and and sitting next to me is my sister Penny.  She wrote the blog Compton Valence in the late 1950s.

Penny and Me

If anybody disagrees with any of the facts please let me or Penny know and we’ll change them;  also if anybody wants to add their story or pictures from this time please let us know.


Our father was Reginald George Stovell.   He worked at a Printing Works in Dorchester before it was burnt down.   I believe it was situated somewhere near where the old Palace Cinema used to be.     He then worked for Applin & Barratt in Maiden Newton before moving on to Unigate in Trowbridge.


Our mother is Evelyn May Stovell (nee Lawrence)

One time organist at the church in Compton Valence.  I believe      stalwart member of the WI at that time.  Friend to Mrs Shepherd and Mrs Walker.

Some of this will be a repeat of what I did before, but this time I am going to include all the photographs my father took in the 1950s and the whole story as I remember it.   I will publish this blog as I go along and update it gradually so you will see it grow.   As before I will start with the picture I started in the first post, unfortunately the only one I’ve got of nearly the whole village.

Around about 1949, we had moved down to Dorset from Berkshire as employment was more plentiful down here in Dorset than in Berkshire.   As was fairly common in those post war years, housing was in short supply.  So we lived in a caravan in Dorchester for a few months before moving to a caravan site alongside the Dorchester Bridport road, just a few miles outside of Dorchester.   The site was run by Mr and Mrs Baggs.    I think we must have lived there for a couple of years before finally moving to Compton Valence in 1952.


Down immediately before us the large house with the red roof.


Down through through that gap in the hedge is where Graham and Deborah lived.  Further to the left Mr and Mrs Clark lived during the first half of the 1950s.   They had two children, Janet and John.   Mum became quite friendly with Mrs Clark and we sometimes went on picnics together, ending up nearly in Frampton on one occasion.    I think they left sometime in the mid 50s and that side of the house was empty for sometime before Mr & Mrs Shepherd moved in.   Over there across the meadow you will see another house with a red roof.

Edwards House

That is where  Christopher and Jenny Edwards with their mother lived.  (They are in the picture of choir, see Compton Valence in the Late 1950s).    Mr Edwards had sadly died.     I believe they lived on the right side while on the left lived some people called Wilcox.

Just a little further to the right across the meadow on the hill, is another cottage with a green tin roof.

Jones House

That is where Linda Jones mentioned in Penny’s blog lived.   She had a brother and I might even remember his name before I finish with this blog.     When we first came to the village there was a Virginia May and a Jack or Jacky somebody, but I can’t remember his name either.   Then there came the House family, a Raymond House who I think had two or three sisters.   All those other houses up behind, I’m afraid I haven’t a clue who lived up there.

Lets go back the Chrispen Cottage.

Chrispen Cottage

There in the porch is mum, myself and Penny.  I would guess that to have been taken sometime  around 1954/55.   The  garden at the back there looks well established with vegetables and that looks like runner beans just by the window.


Dad had installed an electric pump down by the well.  You can see the little  house it was enclosed in just beside the well, and that little pump used pump up water from the well up into a cold water tank.   In the first year or two we had to, or rather Mum or Dad had to carry water up to water tank in buckets.

I wonder what that red thing beside beside the tree is?

Lets go inside.

Lamp in Between

This must have been taken either the first, second or third Christmas.   Doesn’t look as if we had put any fish in there yet.

Our first pet was Oscar.  Well actually he was Dad’s.    We got him as a kitten when we lived at the Caravan site from Mr & Mrs Baggs.    Dad used to go out shooting rabbits before mixematosis came along, but sometimes he was saved the trouble when Oscar used to bring back rabbits for him.  Unfortunately, probably because of all this activity, he caught a kind of mange and had to be put down.


Here he is again with me and Penny in the background.

ChrisPen & Oscar

Not taking any notice of Dad and the camera.    I remember when Oscar thought it was time Mum & Dad got up, he walked along the shelf in the bedroom and pawed all the ornaments off the shelf.

On the wall over there was a piece of seaweed which we had brought back from the seaside.  It was supposed to tells us when it was going to rain or not.

Lets go up to Tout Hill.  In my first blog I showed Uncle Bob up there,  but Penny went up there as well.    So did I, but I cannot find a picture of me on Tout Hill.

Penny on Tout Hill

Must be one of me somewhere…….here we are, well all of us really including Dad and Oscar.    I think Uncle Bob took this one.Family & OscarThen along came Smokey or as she became known Little Moke.     We got her from Mr & Mrs Strawbridge who was at the Dairy before the Tetts.


Do you see that little carriage beside the basket she’s sleeping in.  That is a replica of the golden coach from the Queen’s coronation, I think there were two of them.  I wonder what happened to them?

Penny & Moke

She liked being picked up.     Then one day,  Dad decided we should have a dog and into our lives came Beauty.

Chrispen & Beauty

She had been mistreated and Dad had rescued her from a Garage in Maiden Newton.      It was probably due to this that she was a very nervous dog.     We used to take her to the beach at Swyre and Burton Bradstock.   Nowadays I believe these beaches are full of cars and fish and chip vans, but in those days it wasn’t.     Mind you  one thing those beaches  were full of was pebbles………..

Penny in the Surf

………and one hot day it must have burnt her paws because she ran away and we lost her for a fortnight.   I often wonder what happened to her during those two weeks.

Anyway we got her back and then she ran away again, this time for amorous reasons.  I believe I mentioned in the first post the wandering golden labrador Rex.   Well he had his wicked way with her and one day she presented us with pups.

Dad must have liked Charles Dickens because he called them Pumblechook and Bumble.  At least I assume Pumblechook is from Dickens, certainly Bumble is.

Two Puppies

Bumble is the one with brown patches.

Penny & Pup

We kept him, but Pumblechook  (is that how you spell Pumblechook) we gave away.   I wonder whether we kept the right one.

In Penny’s blog, she mentioned those crissed crossed windows.   Here is a picture of looking through the window at Christmas time.

Looking Through Window

Dad was a great one for decorations at Christmas, lots of them.     Here is another shot, only from the inside.

Bird Cage

That cage hanging up there belongs to our budgerigar, going by the imaginative name of budgy.   He seems to be absent, perhaps he is pecking around on the bottom of the cage.   I see the wireless is on  down at the bottom there.  They weren’t called radios in those days.

There is another member of the family to meet, Nanna.


Oops, she’s asleep better not wake her.   She was my father’s mother Rose King.   She and her husband George William Stovell moved down from Surrey to Wiltshire to settle in Sutton Veny.

Here he is with Dad in the garden at Sutton Veny.


He died in 1956, I can just remember going to his funeral.  Nanna then moved to Frome but usually came down to Compton for Christmas.


And here she is playing Scoop, which was a newspaper game at that time.   I see that we have replaced the old fire place in the lounge with a stove called a Panda.  I remember before when we had an open fire, we used to make toast on a big fork on the open flames of the fire.  Beats putting bread in a toaster any day.

And here we all are with a drop of the christmas cheer.
Me and Sherry 1

That’s no good, let’s have another go.
Me and Sherry2
No, Penny’s hiding behind her glass.  “Lets have a quick slurp!”
href=”https://chrisstov.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/me-and-sherry3.jpg”>Me and Sherry3
That’s better.

Let’s go back outside.
Land in Front.
When we first moved there our boundary only extended down to the well and we had to keep the car at the top of tout lane.    After a year or two,  Dad was able to rent that land in front and keep the car down there.   He  built that track running in front of well,  right down to the lane.  He then constructed the garage for the car, which you can see  up against the hedge at the far end of the track.  As I recall it was made of wood on stilts.   That little hut next to it,  is where we kept the ducks and geese.  We only used that half of the land you can see down there for the ducks and geese.  The other half  extended right up to the Clarks  garden hedge, which you can see in the next photo.

Land in between
A rather cold scene;  we used to get quite a lot of snow in that part of Dorset in those days.   Don’t remember getting days off from school  because of snow.

Dad got an old rotavator and all that land down there where the telegraph pole is, he ploughed up.  Great big thing it was, I remember once it escaped while he was using it and went all up the bank, still ploughing, past the well up on to the lawn where he finally managed to subdue it.   Anyway, he did manage to plough it all up and he planted it with potatoes.  Must have grown enough potatoes to feed Compton Valence.  We had a lot of potato soup for the next year or two.

After that he gave up using that part of the land as the vegetable garden and it was left lying fallow and that was where we used to build bonfires for guy fawks night.    I can remember combing the woods behind Tout Hill for dead branches and trailing  them down the lane to the bonfire site.  I think we trying to build the biggest bonfire in the village.   There used to be bonfires and fireworks going off all over the village.

In the last 2 or 3 years, we used to have firework parties and afterwards we have nibbles and things inside.

Sitting Down for Nibbles
Starting on the left is Penny, Mrs Sheppard, Deborah, Mrs Savage and Graham behind Mum.   Those cups don’t look like ours.
Sausages Coming Round
Ah, here comes Penny with the sausages.  Some of Penny’s friends, the only one I can remember is Freda Pomeroy at the back.
Lets Have It
There is Deb, Mrs Sage, Graham and myself  just on the edge of the picture.

These next two pictures were taken more recently by the person living at the   house (or cottage) at the moment and kindly forwarded to me by Deb.
I am not sure where abouts in the garden it is.  I wonder if it is the background in the photo of Oscar walking towards us, if it is then we are facing roughly north east.  Please let me know, we can talk to one another in the comments section down below.
This next one of the two pictures, I can recognise.
The open door behind Tom is where Dad had a sort of workshop in there.  It was known as the Outhouse.  When the printing works, where he worked was burnt down, he rescued a printing machine and he had it in there.
For the first few years there was no bathroom facilities;  the only place for a bath was a small metal tub in front of the fire on Sunday nights.   The only way into the outhouse was through that door.  But eventually Dad knocked a hole in the wall at the back of the kitchen and he made a sort of bathroom in there.  I think we even had a proper bath, but no running water;  the loo remaining outside.   The front part where that door is, I believe remained a workshop.  Since we left, it has obviously been fully modernised.