Oxhill News

www.oxhill.com / www.oxhill.org.uk

South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

September 2012

This months News



Rachel Costa

1931 – 2012 

Rachel was born at Church Row in Whatcote, the youngest of a family of seven.  At 11 years of age she went into service with a family in Sibford, and later moved with them to London.  She came back to visit her family in Whatcote on Sundays, and it was there that she saw Tony, who was a Sicilian prisoner of war working at Oxhill Hill Farm, cycling past to collect the Sunday newspapers and they got chatting.  At this time Rachel was only 14 years old.  When she moved to London with her employers, Tony wrote to her regularly and finally persuaded her he couldn’t live without her, so she returned to Warwickshire and they were married in Shipston registry office when she was aged 16.

Tony had by this time obtained a job as a cowman working for William Fox at Herd Hill and he and Rachel moved to a tied cottage there.  The workers and neighbours there clubbed together and found enough ingredients to make them a wedding cake, and the day after the marriage Rachel spent milking cows.  They would regularly walk the livestock from Herd Hill to Culworth, the other side of Banbury. Eventually Rosa was born, and later Joe, who told me that his playpen was the chicken run and he would push the chickens around in his pushchair.  Rachel remembered her time at Herd Hill with great happiness and would tell of the great spread put on at harvest time.  Before it became fashionable, Rachel and Tony were self-sufficient, growing their own vegetables and keeping poultry.

Rachel and her family moved to Oxhill in 1976, living firstly in Beech Row and then moving to Peacock Cottages where Tony continued to grow vegetables.  Tony was a very skilled hedgelayer (and also a poacher of note!).  For many years Rachel was my mother’s right hand woman in the kitchen at the Peacock, and was indispensable there, turning her hand to most jobs.  After my parents retired in 1986 she went on to work for Aileen and Bill McCrickard who took over the pub.  When she left the Peacock she carried on being busy around the village, cleaning and babysitting, and looking after her beloved ducks.  Rachel would always have time for a chat and was a fount of knowledge about the old countryside ways.

In 2010 Rachel had a bad fall and was in and out of hospital.  Sadly on 1 August 2012 Rachel passed peacefully away at the Bromson Hill Nursing Home.  She leaves behind her a daughter Rosa, son Joe, grandsons Sam and Jethro, and great grandchildren Lily-May, Nerissa, and Shannon.

Rachel will be greatly missed by all who knew her.  A little piece of Oxhill has gone for ever.

Grenville Moore

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Last modified: November 25, 2012