1965 - Aerial view of Spratton. Note the absence of the Gorse Road development, and also the new houses at the Brixworth Road end of High Street.
In the foreground is Gilby's Farm in Yew Tree Lane ('Bottom' farm), run by Charlie after his father, Arthur Charles Gilby, died in 1932. 'Top' farm and dairy, run by Arthur's brother, Alfred George Gilby from 13 Yew Tree Lane was a much smaller undertaking. According to Kelly's Directory, Alfred had been farming at Grange Farm from 1906 with his father Richard H Gilby (chairman of the Parish Council 1904 - 1905) and brother Arthur. Alfred died in 1931 (obituary is held at image 1592), and we know that it was then farmed by his widow Frances until at least 1944. The date stone has been remade and bears the 1691 date and the initials P (surname), T (husband's name) and M (wife's name). It is believed to have been built for Thomas and Mary Pearson.. Thomas lived from 1660-1733 and in his Will left his farmhouse and land in Spratton to his son, John. It came into the ownership of the Richard (Arthur's father) Gilby by 1871. Arthur farmed here until his death in 1932 (obituary 1593), when son Charlie took it over, selling it in 1942, retaining the lease, to the Earl of Sefton. It was the largest and most up to date farm in Spratton, covering some 351 acres eastwards to the Parish boundary. There were usually six farm hands, including living-in land girls. In the War, Italian & German POW's were used at harvest time. Whilst in the mid 1930s it was mainly pasture, by the 1950s, it was a mixed farm with cattle, sheep, poultry, pigs, wheat, barley and oats. In the yard adjacent to the house were the old granary, the new granary built over the stables, a big loose-box for calves, and a barn. Further east was another yard, with two pig sties, and a Rick yard with a four-bay Dutch barn. Charles Gilby farmed it until about 1963, when Hawtin took it over
This represents the land owned by the Gilby family's 351-acre farm. Note the field called "Cricket Field", which is where the Cricket team used to play prior to the Second World War. The field was suitable because of a plateau, believed to be the site of a Jacobean mansion, destroyed by fire in the 17th century, which was at the end of Hall Lane.
The Home Guard was formed in 1940 when there was a real danger of invasion. They were needed to delay the enemy for long enough for the regular army to come and take over. Volunteers for the Home Guard were those men who were either too old or too young to enlist or those in 'reserved' occupations (jobs vital to the war effort). To begin with their weapons were anything they could lay their hands on, but later they were issued with more conventional rifles. By the end of June1940 over one million men had volunteered for the Home Guard.
In Spratton it was the task of the Home Guard to patrol the village and to guard important spots from Creaton to Brixworth. Among those who volunteered were veterans of the 1914-18 war (Archibald and Ebenezer Copson), shopkeepers (Percy Richardson) and landlords (Ernest Bryant of the Fir Tree). Major Flint (formerly of 20th Lancashire Fusiliers) was in command with the landlord of the Fir Tree as his Second in Command. Apparently Major Flint stored bombs in the outbuildings of his headquarters and home 'Rathgar' (now the Old White Horse Inn). Despite his assurance that the detonators were missing, his neighbours were not amused! The Home Guard was disbanded in December 1945.
Back row: Harold Manning (Timmy), George Billingham, Davis (Blagdens shippers & exporters, Broomhill), Biggar (Blagdens shippers & exporters, Broomhill), Don Pateman, Micky Cook, Lewis Dickens ('Nigger')
2nd row from back: Bard Leeson, Cyril Perkins, Ron Broughton, Frank Butcher, Pop Dickens, Jim Griffin, Ron Bell, Freddy Chapman
2nd row from front: Lance Corporal Alf (Mac) Macaness, Corporal Percy Richardson (kept the Post Office/Grocer), Sergeant Ebenezer Copson, Arch Copson, Major Flint (Commanding Officer), 1st Lieutenant Ernie Bryant (second in Command, landlord of Fir Tree), Sergeant Walter Wykes, Lance Corporal Bill Adams, Alf Smith
Front row: Ron Pateman, Bobby Manning, George Hayter , Charlie Manning, Len Wykes