It struck me a moment ago that I hadn’t ever got around to publishing a post regarding my fourth grandfather – Eddie Taplin. I’ve written about Ellis, Otto and Bob, but not Eddie.
As mentioned in my first post regarding grandfathers, I have no memory of Eddie, yet I was named (in part) after him. So what do I know about him?
Edward William Taplin was born in Collingbourne Kingston on 03 January 1903, the second child and eldest son. His parents, William Robert Taplin and Eliza Sawyer had married on 12 October 1899 and would go on to have a total of 6 children, although one died as an infant.
William worked as a carter for the May family on Manor Farm, Collingbourne Kingston. William’s father, Thomas, had been Head Carter for the Butlers and the Mays.
Manor Farm is still a working arable farm (although half the size of what it was originally), located in the centre of the village, but is now also an award winning B&B, and remains owned and run by the May family who have lived there since 1885.
In 1901 William and Eliza were living next door to William’s parents in Collingbourne Kingston.
Eddie appears for the first time on the 1911 census:
I do know, via my dad, that Eddie also worked on May’s farm, making at least three generations of the same family who did so. Eddie would always be very active in Church life, being sexton, verger, bell-ringer and grave-digger for the parish.
Eddie married twice, but never had any children of his own. He married his first wife, Eliza Dowse, in 1930. Eliza was 39 and Eddie 27. The marriage lasted 16 years before Eliza passed away in 1946. Three years later, on 01 October 1949, Eddie married my grandmother – and mother of two – Norah Emily Murray.
Further research showed that Eddie was a keen member of the local darts team …
Another event that Eddie was directly involved with was a fire that occurred on 10th February, 1934. A barn (full of sacks of wheat) and three cottages in the centre of the village were destroyed thanks to a petrol engine backfiring and setting light to an oily rag. The fire spread quickly and spread to the thatch on the the three cottages next door.
According to a report in the Andover Advertiser, villagers attempted to quench the flames, but the Andover fire engine was sent for. In the mean time, villagers and the tenants were trying to save the contents of the three cottages – one was tenanted by Eddie, one by a Mrs. A Parsons and the third by Mrs. Taplin (probably Eddie’s mother as his father had passed away in 1929).
A football match scheduled to take place against Ramsbury was cancelled, and the players helped wherever they could.
The fierceness of the heat could be gauged from the paintwork on the Kingston Hotel across the street – which was burnt and blistered and the window panes cracked.
Despite this earlier drama, Eddie and Norah lived a long and happy life together until Eddie’s death in the summer of 1980.