The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
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107 Years Ago - People

To give an impression of what life was like in Clophill 107 years ago sources from 1911 have been transcribed and interpreted.

Prominent Characters

Mr Edward Crouch

"The sad news of the death of Mr. Fred Crouch, of Tring, brother to Mr. Edward Crouch, of Cainhoe, has cast a gloom over the parish, as Mr. Crouch was well known in the neighbourhood."

Saturday, April 15th. 1911. Ampthill News

"We beg to congratulate Mr. Crouch, of Cainhoe, on reaching his eighty-eighth birthday, on the 17th inst. He is still hale and hearty, and walks to church (about 3 miles) and back every Sunday morning."

Saturday, November 25, 1911. Ampthill News

"In 1864 Mr. Edward Crouch, of Cainhoe, was appointed Rector's Warden, and he remained as such until 1913. He erected the lych gate at the entrance to the old church."

'The Cleft in the Hills' page 63.

"... and a vote of thanks was proposed and seconded to Mr Crouch for his long service and the trouble he had for so many years and the company gave him a hearty applause, clapped their hands for a long time."

29th March 1909 Annual Parish meeting.

Rev Meyer


The Rev. H. R. Meyer, who is leaving the village today to take up the Rectory of Watton-at-Stone, Herts., was on Friday evening presented by the parishioners with a silver salver suitably inscribed. The presentation was made by Mr. Crouch, of Cainhoe, and the schoolroom was full of people. Mr. Crouch said it was a matter of regret to all that Mr. and Mrs. Crouch were leaving. Mr. Meyer, during nearly 11 years, had won the respect, esteem and affection of all the parish. Mrs. Meyer had come somewhat later; but she had made herself one of the people, and by her charming manner had endeared herself to all, but especially to the women. Mr Meyer had not come as a total stranger when he succeeded their revered friend the Rev. G. Bosenquet. They knew his father and mother to be a good man and a good woman, and therefore had no apprehensions that things would not go on well. Their hopes had been realised, for the Rector entered into his work with spirit and the parish had benefited by his work. The children always had a warm place in Mr. Meyer's heart; and many improvements had been made in the schools to add to their comfort. By his interest in the Reading Room, Cricket club, etc., he had kept in touch with the young men of the place. The old tithe barn had been converted into a beautiful Church Room through the Rector's efforts, and very useful it has been. The avenue of elms in the Churchyard had been cut down, owing to their being unsafe, and the Churchyard has been replanted and beautified mostly at Mr. Meyer's own expense. He had given much time and trouble to settling the question of the approach to the Old Church, and at last had succeeded in arriving at a settlement, which would procure a good road at a very trifling cost to the parish.

He had been extremely good at visiting, and in fact had not neglected any duty. Mr. Meyer was a man of strong feeling and strong mind; and he was as "straight as a gunstick." In his religious views he was broad-minded and liberal, and had won the respect and esteem of the Dissenters in the parish. In the name of the meeting he asked Mr. and Mrs. Meyer to accept the salver, wishing them every happiness in their new home; where, he hoped, they would long be spared to their duty, and prove a blessing to Watton as they had been to Clophill. Mr. Meyer said he felt more embarrassed than ever before while listening to Mr. Crouch's praise of himself. He had felt more and more uncomfortable that day as 7 o'clock approached, and at the last he felt almost inclined to bolt. Besides the feeling of embarrassment there was a feeling of deep humility that he had fallen far short of all the kind things said of him, and that there was such a wide gap between what he had done and what he had wished to do. No one could help liking Clophill, because the people were so kind. He should value their kind present for itself, but more for the kind thought that promoted it. With all his shortcomings, he had tried to do his duty and to be of use to his people. On behalf of Mrs. Meyer and himself, he thanked them from the bottom of his heart for all their kindness. The salver, which was a superb specimen of the craftsman's art was supplied by the Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Company, London, and bore the inscription: "Presented to the Rev. Horace Rollo and Mrs. Meyer in token in token of the sincere esteem and affection in which they are held by the people of Clophill. January, 1911." Miss Robinson, on behalf of the Girls' Friendly Society, then presented Mrs. Meyer with a very handsome handbag, at the same time thanking her for the deep interest she had always shown in the members and their work. Mrs. Meyer thanked the members warmly for their present which she would value much and use constantly. After the presentation the Rector and Mrs. Meyer entertained the Sunday school teachers, members of the Church choir, and other Church workers, to the number of 66, in the Parish Room. Light refreshments were served and games and dances were indulged in until about 11 p.m., when the party join hands and sang "Auld Lang Syne." On Sunday the Rector preached his farewell sermons. In the evening the church was crowded. Reading from II. Cor. Xiii. 11. Mr. Meyer said that in bidding farewell to Clophill he could not do better than ask them to remember and live up to St. Paul's words. "Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace," and that then "the God of love and peace shall be with you." After the blessing, the Rector proceeded to the door of the Church and bade a personal farewell to each member of the congregation."

Saturday January 21st 1911. Ampthill News

Rev Matthews

"The living of Clophill has been offered by Lord Lucas to the Rev. Cecil Lloyd Matthews, and accepted by him. The new Rector is the son of the late Rev. William Matthews, Vicar of Aberystwyth. He was educated at Monmouth Grammar School and Keble College, Oxford, taking his B.A. in 1902 and M.A. in 1909. In 1902-3 he held an Assistant Mastership at "The Limes" (Preparatory School), Shrewsbury, and from 1903-1907 was Assistant Master at King Edward VI School, Norwich. In 1904 he was ordained by Bishop Sheepshanks of Norwich, and held the curacy of St. Lawrence with St. Gregory until 1907. He was then appointed senior curate at Wooburn, Bucks, and had sole charge of the district church of St. mark, Bourne End. He resigned that appointment to take up the Rector of Clophill. Mr. Matthews is very keen on games. He played cricket for his school, and has also been of assistance to the local club at Wooburn, of which he is vice-captain. He also represented Keble College on the river for 2 years. Mr. Matthews hopes to be in residence at Clophill early in August."

Saturday May 13, 1911. Ampthill News

"Marriage of the Rev. C. L. Matthews

A wedding of considerable local interest was celebrated on 26th ult. At All Saints' Church, Hereford, by the Revs. R. A. Treherne (Vicar of Wooburn, Bucks.) The bride was Miss Ennis Beddoe, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Beddoe, of Hereford; and the bridegroom, the Rev. Cecil Lloyd Matthews, only son of the late Rev. William Matthews (Vicar of Aberystwyth), and Mrs. Matthews, S. Davids, Bourne End. Mr. Matthews, during his Church work at Bourne End, has rendered much useful work at local concerts, being a talented 'cello player; and for the Bourne End regatta his services as umpire and judge have been valuable. Chiefly instrumental in inaugurating the "Nihil" Boat Club, Mr. Matthews, a few days prior to his marriage had the satisfaction of being in the winning boat, which carried off the Bourne End Grand Challenge Bowl for the third year in succession, - "Nihil" having never been beaten. All his friends in the neighborhood of Bourne End offer to Mr. Matthews their warmest congratulations on his preferment to the Rectory of Clophill, and wish him and his bride long life and happiness. The bride, given away by her father, looked charming in an ivory "Liberty" satin underskirt, with chiffon tunic, embroidered with pearls and mother-of-pearl sequins, the bodice being trimmed with Limerick lace."

Saturday, August 12th 1911. Ampthill News


Mr. Samuel Perkins, junior

"We regret to record the death of Mr. Samuel Perkins, junior, one of the best know and most highly respected inhabitants of the the village. He had been suffering for some months from an internal complaint, which during the past four or five weeks has made rapid progress. His sufferings have been borne most patiently, and uncomplainingly, and he passed peacefully away on Monday evening. He leaves a wife and one little boy to mourn the loss of an excellent husband and father. The utmost sympathy is felt throughout the parish for the bereaved family."

Saturday, September 30th 1911. Ampthill News

Mr Frederick James Wootton

"We regret to record the death of Mr Frederick James Wootton, son of the respected Post Master of Clophill, who had been suffering from partial paralysis and heart trouble for the past two years. He became much worse at the beginning of last week, and passed away on Sept. 28th (immediately after the funeral of his cousin, Mr S. Perkins), at the age of 52 years. Mr Wootton was the first clerk of the Clophill Parish Council, and held the appointment for some years. He then left the village and took a business at Southend, returning to his native village about four years ago. The internment took place on Monday. In the absence of the Rector, the funeral service was read by the Rev. T. F .F. Williams, vicar of Silsoe. The mourners were Mr and Mrs Jas. Wootton (father and mother), Misses Edith and Dorothy Wootton (daughters), Mr James Wootton (brother), Mrs A. Sharp (sister), Mr A. Sharp (brother in law), and Mrs Burgoine."

Saturday, October 7 1911. Ampthill News

Mr Samuel Perkins , jun.

"On Friday the remains of Mr Samuel Perkins , jun. (whose death we recorded last week), were laid to rest in the Old Churchyard on the hill. The coffin was borne into the Church by four of the deceased's friends, Messrs. E. Appleby, E. Matthews, W. Taylor, and W. Young. The mourners were, Mrs Perkins, (widow), Mr and Mrs J. Smith ( brother in law and sister), Mr Cyril Smith, (nephew). Mr and Mrs A Sharp (cousins), Miss Hanley (sister in law) and Mr Wilks. Mr W. Matthews and Mr J. Tatman also followed. The Church was filled with villagers. The service was read very impressively by the rector the Rev. C. L Matthews, who had visited Mr Perkins very frequently since his arrival in the village. There were many beautiful floral tributes. Mrs S. Perkins wishes to thank all her friends for their kind enquiries and expressions of sympathy in her sad bereavement."

Saturday, October 7 1911. Ampthill News