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At Work

For many years Chrishall was solely an agricultural village with farming providing so much of the work.  However up on the hill top you also had to be fairly self-sufficient with the nearest towns of Royston and Saffron Walden each five miles away in opposite directions.  So as well as the farms you find local business: shops: bakers, butchers, post office and telegraph office; somewhere to get your boots made or mended.  Those trades connected with farming such as the wheelwright, blacksmiths and farriers, a horse breeder and rabbit breeder too. There was a coal merchant and at one time the windmill to grind the grain produced from the fields.

As transport developed so did the village businesses so we see garages and bicycle shops appearing.  And one of the larger business to run from the village, Drage and Kent with their traction engines.  And coming to more modern times the bus station and haulage businesses.

In this section of the website we look at Chrishall at Work.

Click on a photograph or article title to read more.

Traction Engines: George Swann

George Swann was another of the Drage & Kent drivers.  While he didn’t live in Chrishall he worked with many of the men who did of course. Summer 1928 – George Swann driver, aged about 16 These photographs are kindly reproduced with the permission of...
Ploughing, Drage and Kent 1950

Ploughing, Drage and Kent 1950

Three more photographs of Drage and Kent engines in work. The largest photo below was taken in 1950 and the gentleman standing on the left is Charles Cranwell who can also be seen on the 1917 photograph here where you can also see an excellent film showing how this...
Plough Team 1917

Plough Team 1917

A plough team from Chrishall in approximately 1917.  This might have been one of the last jobs this set of engines did with Drage and Kent as these engines were known to have been sold during 1917. They are: (Lionel) Stanley Clarke on the engine.  Then left to right:...
Chiswick Hall Farm Records 1945

Chiswick Hall Farm Records 1945

I wonder if the owner of Chiswick Hall in 1945 realised how far his new Farm Record Book would travel in it’s lifetime? To be honest he was probably much more concerned about how he (or she?) was going to fill it in and exactly what they were going to grow where...
Reapers

Reapers

Chrishall Reapers: Amos Pitches, Walter Webb, Timothy Harvey, Charlie Banks, Alfred Walters, Billy Barnes, Albert Reed, Fred Reed. This team was swanging charlock.  To ‘swange’ (pronounced swonj) was to cut off the flowers of the weed before they seeded....
Haymakers with hoops

Haymakers with hoops

The Haymakers. The willow hoops on the end of the scythes helped to control how the hay fell once cut. From left to right: William Revell   Amos Pitches    William Cranwell    Albert Drury    Leonard Flack    Herbert Flack...
Working the fields the old way

Working the fields the old way

Looking towards New Farm, Chrishall from Chiswick Hall, these men are hoeing out the weeds. Two individuals appear to be left handed.  Notice the lack of trees and hedging along the main road which means you can see New Farm very clearly.
Haymakers

Haymakers

Workmen pictured at Reservoir Hall Lane, Great Chishill c 1935. Tim Harvey is in the front row with the pipe and back row left to right are believed to be Ron Reed & Chummy Harvey. Karen Rogers of South Wales writes (July 2010): “I’m descended from...
Home Guard

Home Guard

In WWII everyone in the village was involved in the war effort whether it was making jam or manning the Observation Post at the top of the village, this important duty being carried out by the Home Guard.  The full Platoon and Chrishall Division can be seen below, and...
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