Oxhill News

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South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

September 2009

This months News



Village History - Payn’s House, 1930

I have quite a collection of old Oxhill photos, but have often regretted that there were none of Payn’s House of long ago.  I was therefore delighted to meet on my doorstep two visitors, Peter and Sally Mowlam, who brought with them an old photograph album in which several were labelled “Payn’s House 1930” or more generally “Oxhill 1930”!  The album had belonged to Peter’s mother Beatrice Lily Bowers, (known as Lily) and showed a visit by the Bowers family from Birmingham, (plus Lily’s mother Bertha Betteridge), to Arthur Clifton and his wife Jane, at Payn’s House.  Arthur’s son Walter Clifton, and daughter in law Amy, nee Heritage, were also in the party that day.  Walter and Amy lived then in Tysoe, but Walter kept cows in Oxhill, and ran the village milk round, and used to cycle up daily to do so.  The dairy would have been in our (now) dining room at Payn’s House, (which coolly faces north), and the photo of Walter helpfully wearing white overall and carrying milk pail, enabled me to identify him straightaway.   He and Arthur pose on our doorstep, and there were group photos too, together with single ones taken of Amy and Bertha on a small patio, (labelled “the sun parlour”).  (This no longer exists; we have traced it to the bottom of our garden backing on to the garden wall, where it would have looked out through the orchard where Willow Brook now stands. We once excavated some quarry tiles there, and were told at the time it had been where Walter had stood his beehives, so it must have later had a change of use, when Walter and Amy moved into Payn’s House themselves about the end of the 1930s.  I am indebted for much of my information about the Cliftons to Mr Bill Heritage, Tom’s brother, both of whom - in this tale of interweaving family relationships - were nephews of Mrs Amy Clifton. 

The mystery was what had brought the Bowers and Cliftons together.  Peter Mowlam had no knowledge of any family connection, at the time of his visit to me in May, but he and Sally between them have now filled in the complicated background.  The link comes not through the Bowers line but through the family of Lily’s mother, Bertha Betteridge, whose family came from Over Norton.  The Cliftons had come originally from Little Tew, a village not far distant.  Peter and Sally first discovered that the couple who stood as godparents to Bertha Betteridge’s sister in 1864 were named on the baptism certificate as William and Amelia Clifton, William proving to be the father of Arthur Clifton of Payn’s House.  Finally, and conclusively, Peter found his great-grandmother had had a previously unknown half-sister, Amelia, and it was she who had  married William Clifton in 1854, a relationship that made Bertha Betteridge and Arthur Clifton first cousins.

The photos also touch, poignantly, on another village family, but that’s for next time.

Ann Hale

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Last modified: August 28, 2009