Mrs Becher's Diary


Vignettes – Sarah Lacey, Mrs Newton, Sir Philip & Lady Rose

Sarah Lacey – lonely, old and dirty. She sold sweets to the children on Sundays to the great detriment of the Children’s Afternoon service collection.

Mrs Newton who lived at the Horse and Jockey her round face with its shining rosy cheeks was a familiar figure as one passed up the hill towards the Firs. Her garden, lying to the sun was a perpetual joy. Two large Daphnes made a splash of colour during the winter and then came the thick row of yellow crocuses followed by daffodils and in Summer, her Madonna lilies staked very closely in rows, were a joy to see. Over these lovely flowers, open to the gaze of all, hung her washing and regularly, week by week, there floated from the line a long pair of calico pantaloons which became a byword in the village. They must have reached from waist to ankles, and were a wondrous sight as the wind filled them with air.

Sir Philip & Lady Rose

A dimmer memory was the Squire and his wife, Sir Philip and Lady Rose – the second of their line to live at Rayners. After settling in Tylers Green the first Sir Philip helped to build the Church which was consecrated in 1854. He hoped to found a family who would take their place from generation to generation.

She was of the old school, aloof, imperious and somewhat pathetic. She would drive out daily in her carriage and pair and it is told of her by those who served her that she never reproved her maid by word of mouth. At the spot where reproof was needed the erring servant would find a note stating the nature of her guilt. On accepting an invitation to dinner one dined in state with the gold plate displayed in abundance and an occasional whisper telling the price of the ingredients making up a dish or a special dish.

He was pompous but the more human of the two and they had a warm regard for each other. As Hon Sec. of his pet scheme, the Parish Room, I had to take up to Rayners a rough copy of the minutes after each meeting. These were meticulously gone through and corrected before I was allowed to enter them in the minute book. In his study all his papers were minutely docketted and they were very voluminous. At his death, detailed arrangements were found, drawn up for his own funeral.

He suffered the loss of his only son in the war. He was badly wounded and was taken prisoner. German friends were instrumental in getting for him good hospital treatment and finally he came back as an exchanged prisoner. Seventeen operations were performed in all on his leg and one more very small one was needed to enable him to walk once more. Weak with all he had gone through, he died under the anaesthetic. When Sir Philip died there was not sufficient money for the grandson to reside at Rayners and it lay empty for a long time.