Milton, Mr (b.1904) & Mrs

Mr and Mrs Milton farmed from the 1930s through to the 1950s in the village of Stogumber, near Taunton. Like many farmers before the war they made cider on the farm, and agricultural workers would take the cider with them into the fields.


This recording was made by Phillipa Legg in conjunction with her book ‘Cider-Making in Somerset’.

Two farm workers milling cider apples by hand in the early 20th century. The apples are put through the mill before they are pressed. Two farm workers milling cider apples by hand in the early twentieth century. The apples are put through the mill before they are pressed.
Sound File
Listen to Mr & Mrs Milton - 1.04MB Duration 2:15 min.

PL: Did you have any other recipes for cider? Did you ever make cider wine?


Mrs M: Yes, we made cider wine.


WGM: Have you got the recipe? I wouldn’t know where it is to.


Mrs M: Oh, I expect it’s still about somewhere. But, um, it was quite simple, wasn’t it? We put so many gallons, we used to – I’ll tell you how – we used to buy the vinegar barrels, used to have five-gallon vinegar barrels one time, and you could pick them up at the shops for about two and sixpence back then. We used to fill those up with it – well, we made one or two for ourselves. We used to give it all away. We didn’t like it; so much sugar and so much ginger, that’s about all there was to it; dry the root ginger and you crush that and that let it work. I think that was about all it involved; I don’t think we used yeast.


WGM: No, we didn’t.


Mrs M: No, it was the cider worked it – you didn’t need yeast. That’s about all it involved.


PL: But you didn’t drink it; you just gave it away?


Mrs M: We gave it away, yes, it’s funny really. We used to ...oh, we’ve made gallons and gallons of wine of different sorts – elderberry, elderflower, parsnip – we never used to drink it.


WGM: We never used to like it.


Mrs M: Rhubarb. I used to get the gallon gin jars. A chap I knew used to drink a lot of gin; it was cheaper in those days, and he used to buy it by the gallon jars, you see, and when they were empty I used to have the jars from him and we used to fill up those. I put some down in what we call our little dairy, where I used to keep my big pans of milk with these jars on the floor. There was a terrific bang one night, and it had blown the bottom right out of the jar. They was black ...it was like port to drink; it was really lovely. We haven’t made it for years; we don’t bother now. I think – what have we made since we’ve been down here? Hip wine, wasn’t it?


PL: Do you know of any health problems or cures that people thought cider affected? I’ve heard that it’s sometimes thought to be bad for rheumatism.


Mrs M: It’s bad for gout. I don’t know if that would come under the same thing. I know a chap that I worked for, he used to love his cider. He used to have a pint and a half every day with his dinner, and he had gout very badly, and the doctor told him to keep off his cider. That’s about the only thing I know.


PL: So you haven’t heard this rheumatism rumour at all?


Mrs M: No, no.

Copyright Information
Copyright. This recording was made by Phillipa Legg in 1984. Photograph ©SRLM. For access to full interview please contact the Somerset Heritage Centre.