Govier, Christine (b.1914)

Christine Govier was born in 1914 in Butleigh near Glastonbury, her father worked as a carter for Robert Neville Grenville, Squire of Butleigh Court Estate. Robert Neville Grenville set up experimentation into cider making at Butleigh Court during the 1890s, and supported the opening of the National Fruit and Cider Institute, Long Ashton, in 1903 to undertake systematic research into cider production. He was also a pioneering motorist.


Chrissie’s mother took in washing; every day of the week she washed or ironed. She also did the milking for a local farmer both morning and evening, seven days a week. She received a shilling for each milking.

Butleigh Court c.1930. Butleigh Court c.1930.
Sound File
Listen to Christine Govier - 1.61MB Duration 3:30 min.

CG: But anyway this Sunday night we were walking up to the war memorial and we were going up the pub hill, father, mother and my sister and me, and the Squire came along in his jalopy thing he had you know, car.


AH: Oh his car, what, what kind of a car was it?


CG: Oh well there was no roof to it, see.


AH: Is that that three wheeled car?


CG: No it was a two-wheeler, and there was the man that did drive it, you know it make me feel so ancient when I think of these things, and the Squire sat side be side and when he come I suppose we was, usually there was a whole stream of people going up. The best I can remember we were on our own a distance from anybody else and the Squire stopped and he told Gladys and me that we had to get up and ride in the back, you did ride back to back.


And you know what young girls are, Gladys looked at me and I looked at her and father knew perfectly well that he had no chance to refuse, we had no chance to refuse, we had to do it, because the Squire was nearly demanding it you see, so Gladys and I had to get up in this car, car and see all the way up and face the people. You know after we did pass the people they were looking at us because we were sat this way and they were coming forward.  And I can remember she and I were, were most embarrassed about it, young girls, we didn’t want to ride with the Squire. She can remember it as well.  And um anyway we didn’t come back with him, but, but we did go up with him.


AH: Mm.


CG: And in those days this Sophia, mother’s sister, and she were living with us for a long, long time, when she were ill, and she used to have to attend a clinic in Glastonbury for TB.  So Mother used to hire Fred Little’s pony and trap, that’s the way people went to Street or Glastonbury, hire the trap for three and sixpence, and take her into the er clinic. You know, if um my father and mother had some relations out at Pennard and sometimes they would go for the day, for the Sunday, always hired Fred Little’s pony and trap. They lived in the house where the Wyllie’s live, Periams, High Street. Hire the pony and trap.


AH: Were there other people where you could hire a pony and trap from?


CG: I don’t think so.  I don’t know of anyone.


AH: Just Fred Little?


CG: Yeah.  Er Classey, when he lived down there he had a very, very old car.  Well that were nearly like er minibus, really a cloth hood and that.  He did do a bit of hiring because I remember he took my mother and father to Bristol once.

Copyright Information
Copyright. This recording was made by Ann Heeley in April 1998. Photograph ©SRLM. For access to full interview please contact the Somerset Heritage Centre.