From Hunmanby, Yorkshire, to Malton in 1900

Ethel Peters, nee Marr, remembers Malton and Orwell in the early years of the 20th Century

By Sue Miller

Photo:The Marr family in 1900

The Marr family in 1900

Very soon after my tenth birthday my father decided to go to another farm, as there was always such a problem over the water for the animals; it had to be taken to the other end of the farm, two miles away and every drop of water for the family too had to be fetched twice a day. Father was in touch with a friend in Cambridgeshire, and he arranged to move there; he took us outside to look at our water cart and said "We are going to live near where the engineer who made that cart lives." That was Mr Samuel Wilkerson of Bassingbourn.

We had a special train for all the animals and the farm equipment and came to Malton in September 1900, but my sister and I had to stay at boarding school in Scarborough for two more terms. Then we were put on the train, in the guard's van, and got off at Cambridge. How lovely everything looked! 

 waterhens and the voles among the forget-me-nots and water-lilies

We thought it was just like fairyland, and I got up at 4 o'clock and walked by the river and saw the waterhens and the voles among the forget-me-nots and water-lilies, and I shall never forget the wonderful feeling of peace and joy.

Soon we went to a happy school at Melbourn and drove there daily, and then I left school, as head girl and received the Coronation Prize that year.  As I had a new baby sister to look after I had a lovely few years with many friends and scrumptious parties. I married Herbert George Peters and came to live in Orwell, at Manor Farm.

Photo:Malton as Ethel first saw it

Malton as Ethel first saw it

The Valentine's Day Song

On Saint Valentine's Day the children of the village came singing round Orwell and Malton. 

The song was the same that Sarah Giddings remembered, but Ethel quoted two more verses:

When my father kills the calf, you shall have the biggest half.

When my mother kills the cat, you shall have the liver fat.  Good morning Valentine, etc.

Photo:Ethel Marr aged 18, in 1908

Ethel Marr aged 18, in 1908

After I married and came to live in Orwell the children would come cantering into our yard and I would take oranges to the side gate and give them one each.

The "Goodies"

Another custom was on St Thomas' Day, when the Goodies came. They were elderly widows and they went round 'goodying', or collecting, from most houses. They usually received gifts of money.  At one time this must have been a very real help to them. Unfortunately, they did not sing.  

Ethel also remembered the Great War, but only briefly recorded seeing a Zeppelin shot down near Orwell.  Her marriage to H.G. Peters in October 1910 was celebrated with a supper at The Chequers for the employees of the Malton  and Manor Farms, when "a company of thirty-one sat down to an excellent repast supplied by Mrs W. Swan."

This page was added by Sue Miller on 24/10/2012.

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