My Grandfather & Grandmother:

an age which has gone

Notes on his maternal grandmother and grandfather by Dr Shelley's father.

My Grandmother

I do not remember anything about my Grandmother as she died in 1906, a year after I was born. She had been a Miss Ann Furlonger before she married my Grandfather, John Redhouse on the 9th. September 1867, They were married at Chiddingfold and came from a very old Chiddingfold family.

My Grandmother was born in 1848 and had a very hard life, bringing up eight children1 (three of them girls). All the children were excellent specimens of man and womanhood. She evidently trailed round with my Grandfather, who saw service in the Royal Engineers at Brompton Barracks, Chatham, where Annie Sarah was born in 1872, at Maryhill Barracks where John George was born in 1875, Halifax Nova Scotia where Nellie Rachel (my mother) was born in 1877, Brompton Barracks Chatham where Harry was born in 1880, and when he left the army, Hambledon Surrey where Maud Mary was born in 1882, They then lived in a Pub, The Merry Harriers.Then they moved to The Old & New Railway Hotel where in 1884 Bryant was born, in 1887 Randolph, and Archibald in 1891.

Considering she had all these children and some miscarriages as well and had to look after them and also run the hotels, is it no wonder she must have worn out when she died aged 58. Considering also all the labour saving devices we have these days which were not heard of then, such as electric irons, washing machines, electric and gas stoves and central heating, most houses did not have baths or laid on water or main drainage. They also catered for functions such as cricket dinners and guests. Opening hours were longer in those days. We have some photographs of my Grandmother which show her to be old looking and not very well. My mother did have a broach with two gold dollars on it which was given to her by my Grandmother to commemorate her birth in America. Unfortunately when she was 92 she lost it, at least that is what she told us.

My Grandfather

Mr. John Redhouse was born in the Parish of Fulborn Cambridge. I have no details of his parents, and if any other member of the family has we would be pleased to know them. He joined the Royal Engineers at Woolwich on 4th. April 1861 and after 21 years, and 21 days service he was discharged at Chatham on 25th. April, 1882. According to his discharge certificate No. 6635, he was Quarter Master Sergeant. with a Good Conduct medal and had served abroad 8 years 218 days. He was 40 years of age height 5 ft.11 ins tall. complexion fresh, eyes blue, hair light brown, trade a Turner.

He married my Grandmother when he was 25 years old. During his service in the army he had served in Canada where my mother was born in 18!7. We have a big metal pot that was presented to him by the N.C.O's, officers and men of the 26th. Company Royal Engineers to Sergeant Major Redhouse when leaving the company as a token of esteem.

My mother told me that the journey to Canada was in a sailing ship and was described by my Grandmother to her as being very uncomfortable. He also went on a mission to Japan, I don't know if that was before his marriage or not. It was suggested to my brother Tom and I that it was to fight the Japanese. They went by sailing ship and it took so long getting there that on arrival everything was peaceful and what ever trouble there was had been patched up. He stayed at a little village that was so lovely with its cherry blossom, and houses. So he called his house down in Haslemere Road 'Homoko' after it. He came to Liphook from Hambledon in Surrey and he had lived in Liphook for 30 years when he died at 71. He took up residence in the Old Railway Hotel at Liphook and moved to the present Railway Hotel when it first became licensed, and remained there until he retired to his new home, Homoko at the age of 66.

The Railway Hotel

According to an account in the local newspaper, Mr. Redhouse took a keen interest in the affairs of the parish. A thorough sportsman, he took a large and active part in reorganising the local cricket club. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of the football club, and through his influence the rifle club came into existence. He also gave much useful service as a member of the athletic committee of the Horticultural and Athletic Association. For several years he served as a member of the Parish Council and was an Overseer for some time. In politics he was an ardent Unionist. He was also a Free Mason and a deputation of local Masons was at his funeral service, consisting of Messrs. Green, Sankey, G.R.&A. Burt, T.W. Higsflesh & Pintnell threw sprigs of acacia on the coffin. The description highlights what a busy and popular man he was, and the huge amount of work that must have fallen on his wife's shoulders.

I think now I must say something about 'Homoko' that he had built down the Haslemere Road. It was built by his brother Sam Redhouse who had a thriving business and was well known as one of the best builders in Bedfordshire. The house was a double fronted detached vi1la, standing in 12 acres of ground. It was built of a lovely red brick with a tiled roof. It had two large rooms in the front, one dining and the other the lounge. It had a large hall and a very large kitchen with a coal burning range and a hot water tank in the cupboard. It had a built in dresser and a large kitchen table, with a trestle table used for preparing things. It had cupboard chairs and French windows on to the lawn. I remember two peacocks in the leaded lights of the French windows. There was a large walk-in tiled pantry, a scullery with a copper, small fire grate and sink, and a coal house. In the scullery was housed the hand pump that threw about a pint of water at a stroke into the big tank in the roof.


Upstairs was the bathroom, separate toilet, three large bedrooms, one smaller one and a so called box room which had been designed to take a stair case into the roof, if and when bedrooms were made in the roof. Outside were two well built concrete and brick pig sties and a stable for horses and carriages. It stood in a field of 12 acres, some eight on the flat and the rest down a slope lined with large firs to the water meadow with a quite large stream running through. To us boys it was a lovely place to roam about in. Tom, my brother's speciality was making rafts and falling in the water. We also played lots of games such as Indians and camping out. I remember my Grandfather as a very large man of 6feet and about l6stone. He could not bend down to lace his boots up, and in general walked about with them unlaced. He constantly smoked his pipe and had worn a groove in his teeth where his pipe was clenched.

We boys were always interested in the big Grandfather clock that stood at the bottom of the stairs in the hall and one of our greatest pleasures was to watch Grandfather wind the weights up and check the correct time once a week. I believe Mr. Arthur Johnson possesses the clock now.

Grandfather had a special earth closet built down stairs for his own use and another of our pleasures was to solemnly follow him up to the apple orchard with his spade in one hand and bucket in the other to ceremoniously bury the spoil. He treated us two boys well and our mother, uncles and aunts stated they never got treated like it when they were children.

My brother Tom was a prime favourite and Grandfather made him a small wooden barrow and a stool. Tom used to sit on the stool between Grandpa's legs, and Grandpa read to him. Tom was nearly roasted.

We had at Homoko, a pony and trap, ducks, chickens, cows, and later on our own goat.

We used to play some tricks on Grandpa, but he took it all in good part. He had a very choice new apple tree and he told us that we could pick apples off any of the other trees but not that one. He had to admit that we had carried out his wishes, when he found apple cores hanging on it. We had crawled underneath and eaten the apples on the tree. Another time we washed his pigsty calling out,'chug,chug, chug' and rattling a bucket and then aiming a bucket of water at them until they did not have a dry patch left. He called us on that occasion Two young B's,'

Unfortunately Homoko and the grounds have been destroyed and an estate has been built there,'Wey Lodge'.

Looking back at what a lovely place we boys thought Homoko was. It was built by my Grandfather to be a home for any of his large family, if they wanted a roof over their heads, and it served it's purpose, and it was built of the finest materials and by skilled men to last. It had fire grates in lounge dining room and two bedrooms, a range in the kitchen with a hot water tank. It had lino on the floors with rugs and oil lamps slung from the ceilings in the lounge and the dining room.

The general means of going to bed etc. was with candles in candle sticks. We had a bath and a separate W.C. a well from which the water was hand pumped to a tank in the roof. The general means of going any distance was by bike or pony and trap or one walked.

Grandpa suffered and died of a cancer in the stomach, a painful illness.

Some of his relics are scattered about. We have the steel jug. Someone has his medals i.e. the Good Conduct, but I don't know if he got the M.S.M. Whoever is looking after them should treat them with great respect and care or they should be bequeathed to the R.E. Museum.

Many thoughts are brought to mind about Homoko, such as one Christmas when most of my aunts and uncles were seated round the table for the Christmas dinner and we heard a loud squeal outside on the drive. A rabbit was being attacked by a weasel. All my uncles got up and gave chase. They caught and killed both rabbit and weasel. Uncle Tom killed the weasel with his riding whip. My father who had been apprentice to a taxidermist stuffed the weasel and we still have it.

On another occasion a loud cry of anguish from the water meadow, again my uncles and father made a bee line for the cry, through the snow-bound landscape to the scene of the accident. Charlie Harris,the local builder, had shot his labourer when out rabbiting. He (Harris) had slipped in the snow, and his gun went off and killed the other man. On the happier side we had such things as the fun of hay-making etc. We helped Grandfather feed the chickens, when he put his boots on (which he never laced up because of the difficulty of bending down) and we all went down in the morning with the chicken's warmed up meal, or in the evening with the corn. In the morning was the added fun of collecting the eggs and putting clean water in the troughs.

On another occasion, one Christmas when a large number of aunts and uncles were seated at the Christmas dinner, Auntie Maud brought him a large Christmas pudding, and when we were all enjoying it, there was an oath from my Grandfather, who had evidently been chewing on a black doll, my Aunt had put in the pudding for us boys, and Grandpa got the wrong portion. This brought to mind a story of Uncle Jack's, when a chauffeur at Lady Colvyn's. The cook made two similar puddings, one for the servants and one for her ladyship and guests. In one were new silver six penny. and three penny pieces. In the other was a gold sovereign. The servants sat down to their meal at a later time to the 'upper crust'. What was the consternation when the servants found no silver coins but one of the under-maids found a gold sovereign.' After the guests were gone, abject apologies were made. Lady Colvyn said she had guessed what had happened, the pudding was lovely and they had had great fun with the silver coins. She hoped the under-maid would be pleased to keep the sovereign. That was in the days of pre1914 when silver coins were silver coins, and sovereigns were real ;gold. Though wages were low, the coinage was worth something in buying power.

Shortly after my Uncle Jack died, in 1917, Lady Colvyn, who was still abroad , invited my mother and Auntie Maud, and that included us boys, to stay at her home, Langley House. It was a large house in it's own grounds situated near Liss in Hampshire. Everyone was away except Miss Hooper, the head house maid, the caretaker and one under-maid. As the head house maid was a friend of my aunt and mother we stayed in the servants quarters, and we had a very enjoyable time exploring through the house.

The house was built and operated under the usual methods of large houses of that period and now-a-days opened up to the public at so much a head. One room in the servants quarters was kept locked and as an answer to our curiosity we were shown inside. A large black hole was burnt in the floor boards. Evidently a butler, who had been left in care of the home when it was empty, had come home drunk one night, gone to bed leaving an oil lamp burning by the bed, securely locked the bedroom door, and in the night knocked the lamp over. In trying to make an escape in the dark, he found he had locked the bedroom door, and had not left the key in the lock. The windows were all tightly shut, and he died from asphyxiation. This lack of oxygen also put the fire out and confined the fire to the his bedroom. They appeared to have no electric light laid on, and generated their own electricity with a generating set when the family was in residence. The furnishings were mostly Indian as Sir John Colvyn was an Indian Judge and had obtained most of his money from the generous gift from an Indian Prince, after Sir John had successfully defended him when a Barrister. Shortly after retiring he died.

We were amused at the number of boots and shoes lined up in the boot room used by only two people, and Joan Colvyn's range of mounted fox brushes from hunting, a large cabinet of birds eggs, all labelled, from all over the world.

We played games by one going down to the servants quarters, and the other ringing the bell for attendance and the other trying to find him. We found the croquet set in the porch and although we did not know how to play it correctly, we found some amusement in knocking the balls through the hoops in a game of our own concoction. It must have been a very lonely place to be a house keeper in when the family was away. The staff was reduced to minor dimensions due to the war, and so I think the housekeeper was pleased to have visitors.

Lady Colvyn had a hobby of picking up antiques, and Uncle Jack, her chauffeur, said that when they were driving round the country roads, she might say 'stop Redhouse' and the game was for the car to appear to breakdown, Then my uncle went to an inviting looking cottage to explain that the car had broken down, and asked that while he was fixing it, would it be possible for Her Ladyship to have a cup of tea. Once invited in for a cup of tea and a chat, her Ladyship's roving eye would settle on some antique, which she would greatly admire.

The talk would end up with what would appear to be a very generous offer, which was generally accepted. The story goes that one cottage knew of this, and encouraged a call by placing tacks in the road to give her an excuse, so that they could sell their antiques, when and if the car was punctured. Tyres were not so robust in those days.

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