Hiscox, Edith (b.1903)
Edith Hiscox was born in 1903 in Somerset.  She won a scholarship to a dairy college in Lancashire, where she learnt to make Cheddar and Caerphilly cheeses.  Edith returned to Somerset and made cheese and butter on two farms in Pilton, a village near Glastonbury.  She worked at Worthy Farm, Pilton, for a Mr Eavis.  Worthy Farm is now the venue for Glastonbury Festival.
A woman making butter outdoors c.1900. A woman making butter outdoors c.1900.
Sound File
Listen to Edith Hiscox - 1.55MB Duration 3:22 min.

EH: Now going from cheese oh, as regards the butter, well you see, there was a percentage.  You see, you sell milk as whole milk.  I don’t know if it hadn’t to go below, I don’t know if it was 3.5, something like that, percent of cream.  Well the other was skimmed off.  The evening milk is best milk because it stands all night and skimmed off in the morning, and that was made for butter.


Well that was the barrel on a stand and there again that had to have something added.  It had to have a fairly even temperature, otherwise you could churn for hours and it would never ‘come’.  There was a little glass viewer and when it began to ‘flake’ on there that was when it was ‘coming’.


And the barrel was on a tilt to get the right rhythm, but you had to get into your mind, tuppence three halfpence, tuppence three halfpence.  And that gave the right rhythm.  You see everything was done in that way, in the natural sort of way.


Well then, with regard to all the footpaths, they were really paths for workmen.  Much as it’s lovely for ramblers to be able to get around the countryside, they were for men to get to work.  Even my mother used to tell me the, roads were huge lumps.  They had to walk on the grass verge to Shepton Mallet for shopping, the roads were too rough to walk on.  And boots in those days. []


There was an old man in the village who was a little bit odd, he said, ‘Oh dear, we can’t earn much money, you can’t get enough money to put on the young one's backs’.  But boots were the thing of the day, they were very expensive.  You had to have boots because the roads were so bad.  So these paths were done, not for quickness but for ease to the feet, for people to get from there to there.


They went down in old cottages in the village.  They went down Old Worthy through the front door and out of the back, down and over the road down in through Barrow Cottage in the centre, in through one door and out of the other, and across to the church, but not always to the church, to the local pub.

Copyright Information
Copyright. This recording was made by Mary Gryspeerdt in 1989. Photograph ©SRLM. For access to full interview please contact the Somerset Heritage Centre.