Author Archives: Greg Jones

Compton Dundon WI Meeting held on 12th September 2018

Trish welcomed members and the visiting WI from Bucklers Mead  and minutes were read from the last meeting (June).

Trish highlighted items from the WI County News including the Carol Festival at Wells Cathedral on 12th December and the SCFWI Annual Meeting at Westlands on 20th October.

Janet read out items of correspondence and information regarding the Short Mat Bowls Competition.  Congratulations were received regarding Compton Dundon’s 90th birthday shortly and a certificate of congratulations will be awarded at the meeting at Westlands.

Saturday, 28th October, Race Night at Village Hall, free admission, 7.30 pm in aid of the Village Hall.  All welcome.

The MacMillan Coffee Morning at Trish’s last week raised £394.  Thanks were given to all helpers and those who attended/donated.

Christmas Dinner, 5th December in the Village Hall is combined with Christmas party.

Next month’s speaker, on 10th October, will be Nicola Penn on the subject of Soap Making.

We were then treated to a talk by Leela Bunce on the subject of Burlesque.  She described how Burlesque developed over the years, changing from music hall entertainment to the current day.  Surprisingly burlesque was developed, organised and performed by women, giving them a sense of empowerment, although many will think that Burlesque would be of more interest to men.  Men also took part in Burlesque and both men and  women would take either role.  Some of the famous names associated with Burlesque were Vesta Tilley and Marie Lloyd.

When Burlesque arrived in America, it became more over the top and ‘saucy’.  It was during the Depression that the American Burlesque moved to the more ‘risque’ performance now often associated with it.  Gypsy Rose Lee and Sally Rand were both arrested at one point because of the strict nudity laws!  British Burlesque contained a great deal of satire of the political scene.  Leela described, and demonstrated the bum shimmy, bumps and grinds and even (modestly) tassle turning.

Members of Compton Dundon Committee performed a short sketch on the subject of Volunteering (or not) for tasks.

All participated in the varied selection of food and took part in a quiz on Songs from the Past.

The competition for flowers was won by Angie and the  Fan, Susie and Angie.

The first two raffle prizes were won by Bucklers Mead members, and then four members from Compton Dundon.

The next meeting will be on 10th October at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.

Compton Dundon W.I. –  Report of Meeting on 13th June 2018

The meeting was opened by our President, Trish who welcomed  2 visitors and several  apologies were received .

Next month’s speaker has been changed to Grumpy’s Travels in America.

Our speaker, Dr Francis Burroughs was introduced, his subject was  “A Victorian Head Gardener”.  Dr Burroughs gave a very interesting and informative talk covering the many responsibilities of a Victorian Head Gardener.  Long hours had to be worked providing fruit and vegetables for the whole household of 20-30 people, growing and caring for the large variety and quantity of plants required for the kitchen as well as flowers to ‘grace’ the tables and rooms of the household all year round.

Even mowing the lawn involved covering the horse’s hooves with leather boots so that no mark would be left on the lawn.  Other lower members of the garden staff would follow the mower collecting grass cuttings, sweeping  leaves and then ‘ rolling’ the lawn to create lovely chess board markings.

Following the talk Dr Burroughs chose the winning entries of “A Victorian Item”, Trish 1st, Pat 2nd and Mary 3rd.  The flower of the Month competition was won by Janet.

Thanks were given to Wendy for all her work as Press Secretary and in appreciation, she was presented with a gift, including appropriately in view of the speaker’s subject, an orchid.

Items of interest were noted by Janet:

  • Letters of appreciation were received regarding our ‘Votes for Women’ lunch on the 26th May
  • SCFWI annual meeting at Westland’s on 20th October
  • St Andrews Church ‘music’ on Friday,22nd June at 7.30 pm, £10 including refreshments.
  • Montacute Village Open Gardens, 21st – 22nd July (15 gardens). Refreshments at village hall afterwards.  Coffee at 10.30, light lunches and afternoon tea available.  £6 for both days, children free but no dogs.
  • The teams for the Quiz between Compton Dundon and Somerton were finalised.
  • Bucklers Mead WI will be attending our meeting on 11th
  • Trip to Midelney Manor gardens on 18th July, £11.50, including cream tea.
  • ‘Women Walk the World’, 8th August, meet at village hall at 6.30, walk up to Church and back across the fields and then finish at the pub for refreshments.
  • Confirmation that Val and Angie have been elected as Vice Presidents.
  • Visit to Bucklers Mead on Tuesday 12th March, 2019 – speaker’s subject “Royal Shenanigans in the 18th Century”.
  • The 100 Club was won by Toby & Jane Salisbury,  Val and Hilary White and the raffle prizes were won by Pat, Julie, Trish and Wendy.


Jenny Alexander

WI Report – May 2018

This is my swan song. I have retired as Press Correspondent for the above W I. Thank you Greg and Alan for comprehensively printing my reports on the village website and parish magazine respectively.

Thank you to the many members of the public who have said they have enjoyed my reports.

I am very fortunate to have found a very worthy successor in Jenny Alexander and I wish her every success in the future.

Our Speaker this month was Daphne Atkinson whose talk Life Below Stairs was dedicated to her mother who worked for the Marquess of Bristol, family name Hervey. It took Daphne a long time to persuade her mother to put her memoirs on paper, but eventually it was done using lots of Basildon  Bond notepaper.

Ickworth House the Hervey family home was first mentioned in the Domesday Book, John Hervey, 1665 to 1751 was the first Baron of Ickworth and first Earl of Bristol. Ickworth was a most unusual Georgian mansion and in her mother’s time would have had a shooting lodge and gamekeepers cottage.There were five acres of walled gardens and 26 gardeners. Daphne’s mother worked for the 5th Marquess and in 1956 the property was handed over to the National Trust, part of it is now an upmarket hotel.

Daphne’s mother’s wrote a letter in 1934 asking to become a housemaid at Ickworth and was accepted as an under housemaid.

Although the work was hard and monotonous there were compensations, with a servants’ Ball held in the second week of January when Lady Bristol would dance with the butler and Lord Bristol with the cook.

After a 5am start and having cleaned various rooms and hallways, the servants would be summoned to “the room” where they would stand for prayers and bible readings.

Breakfast at 8 am for 45 minutes, the food was always very good.

More cleaning of rooms followed, days off were varied but if Sunday happened to be the day off, one was expected to attend church in the family chapel, Lord Bristol frowned upon any non attendance.

February and the family departed to London, and spring cleaning was carried out at Ickworth. All to be completed before the family returned for shooting parties, tennis parties etc.

Christmas Day, all servants assembled in the Rotunda where presents of £1 and 10shillings notes were dispensed and on Boxing Day in the “Room” carols were sung, games played and food consumed.

Lady Bristol was a very elegant lady but Lord Bristol was fond of practical jokes and would, on occasion, dress shabbily  and pretend to be the gatekeeper, happily accepting any tips which were offered. This money subsequently went towards a Christmas party for poor orphaned children.

A downside to all the hard work was the fact that hands became very sore and chapped due to long exposure to water and harsh cleaning materials.One remedy was to bathe hands in the contents of “the article” a loose reference to the chamber pot kept under the bed, no records remain to show whether this remedy was either used or if it was, whether it was successful in healing the hands.

Angie thanked Daphne for her very entertaining talk and colourful slide show.

The Annual General Meeting followed where Trish Cox was unanimously elected as President for a further term. Sandra Ford our W I Advisor for the Group joined us. Trish thanked Wendy for her press reporting and welcomed Jenny as her successor.This is our 89th Annual General Meeting, we have 9 committee members and 28 members.Our activities over the past twelve months have included Women Walk the World, Janet represented us at Liverpool for National Federation of Women’s Institutes Annual General Meeting. we visited Bucklers Mead W I who also came to us, we took part in the Village Show, our outings also included the Banner Parade at Wells, Thatchers Cider, Balding’s Racing Stables, Wells Cathedral Carol Service, Christmas Concert at Puriton, and Roadshows, at one of which we hosted and our gallant band of caterering ladies supplied the refreshments.We had a stall at the Big Breakfast.

Short Mat Bowls and Scrabble continue. Our little tree continues to flourish despite all the attempts to sabotage it. We have enjoyed very good Speakers.

Entering our 90th year we look forward to celebrations in October and continued support from all members. Pat presented the Financial Report.

Returning to our normal business meeting, Bucklers Mead will visit us in July, Woolavington W I invited us to the celebration of their 75th birthday party, Quiz at Somerton Sports Hall 13th July 7.30.

Short Mat Bowls Competition, Saturday October 6th   Joan will partner Mary, Anthea with Frances or Janet.

Ashcott W I will represent us at the next N F W I A G M, we voted unanimously to support the resolution going forward.

Sandra gave us an in depth discussion as to the future of Wilton Lodge, this has been well reported elsewhere, and although nothing has been decided, it looks inevitable, due to economics, that Wilton Lodge will be sold…… this space.

Thanks were given to Sandra for her visit and her organisation of the Banner Parade in Wells.

A date is to be arranged for a Women Walk the World and there will be a meeting at Pat’s house 11 June 7 pm when an advisor will attend to give advice on how to avoid scamming on computers.

The competition for an item of kitchenalia was won by Angie with a melon ball spoon, second Janet with butter pats, and Pat third with a can opener, given to her by the Street grocer, Mr Horne.

The flower of the month was won by Sally with dianthus.

Next month’s Speaker is Dr Francis Burroughs A Victorian Garden competition Anything Victorian.

Goodbye to all my readers.

Wendy Edwards.