Templecombe - Feedback & Comments Page

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Hello Tim,

Have just been looking at your Templecombe website with considerable interest and some nostalgia.  At the age of 5 I was, together with my sister Edith, a wartime evacuee from Southampton and after a confusing journey by train found myself being collected from the Horsington village hall and taken to the Keen's Wilkinthroop farm above Horsington where, I must say, I spent a few very happy years.  We attended the village school at Horsington quite a long walk for small legs. Mr Keen still used working heavy horses alongside a tractor and haymaking and harvest times were always happy times for me.

I am partially sighted, a hereditary disorder, and in 1943 when I was aged 8 the powers that be decided that I would be better off at the Royal Bristol School for the Blind which, at that time, was also evacuated to Templecombe House, now long gone, which stood by the double bend in the road just above the church. We stayed there untill the end of the war and moved back to Bristol during the summer of 1945. I do remember the bombing raid which destroyed buildings by the railway bridges.

I also remember summer walks up the lane and through the woods to the railway bridge at Stowell where we watched the Exeter express in full chat on the climb from Templecombe station before returning to school. We also could watch the trains on the S&D spur to the upper station which adjoined the school grounds.  If a troop train with American soldiers stopped on the spur we would climb over the fence to collect chewing gum and other goodies thrown to us.  After the war my family still returned to Templecombe for summer holidays and always stayed at the Hayter's Dairy Farm at the top of the hill on the south side of the railway. While there we would all help, or perhaps hinder, with the haymaking or harvest, and occasionally, my father would take us to Wilkinthroop in the pony trap to visit the Keens.  Sorry if this is a little verbose but I think that it might be of interest to you and any survivors of the time.


Jim Coy, Evesham.


Jim Coy, Evesham.






I wonder if you could help me please?  I stumbled across your website during a, so far fruitless, search for a poem describing the strange goings-on at Templecombe station when it was a junction between the LSWR and SDJR railways, as described in your railway pages. The poem contains the lines "And there we stood 'till crack of doom Performing the rites at Templecombe".  I have been hunting for the rest of the poem for decades, so far without success. I can't help with the name of an author or a date either, I'm afraid.  If you do have any information which could lead me to the rest of it, I would be most grateful. Perhaps you could even put it on your site! (assuming most of it is about Templecombe and it is old enough to be out of copyright).  Thanks in anticipation.

Alan Witton

The following answer was received:

I am pleased to tell you that after reading  that I was able to locate the poem in question, which must surely be the one you are thinking of, unless there be yet another derivative work.
"In Wessex did you keep slow company
With the “tanks” (royal) of the S. and D.,
That waited as it seemed, for crack of doom
(While they performed strange rites) at Templecombe?"

Further, other quotations from it may currently be viewed online on the WWW (*) but it is not about Templecombe per se, it is about  the 'golden era of railways' in general.

It is by Gilbert Thomas (1891-1978) and is entitled "Nostalgia". The full text is given on pages 88-90 of the book he co-authored with his son David St John Thomas "DOUBLE HEADED - Two Generations of Railway Enthusiasm" published 1963 by David & Charles, Newton Abbot ISBN 0 7153 8184 9 UK Pounds £5.95.

* - the unlikely place to look is near the end of Vol 23 No 147 November 2006 of "The Bulletin", the journal of the Model Railway Society of Ireland, which is to be found at:
http://www.modelrailways.ie/Bulletin/10%20November%202006.pdf scroll down to: Railway poetry(5): Nostalgia


Alan Witton, Oxford




Rodney Hills, Surrey

Hi Tim,
I just wanted to congratulate you on your fantastic website.
Today is our 7th day in our new home in Templecombe. We have moved from Reading to the beautiful countryside. We being my husband Robert and daughters Chloe aged 6 and Sophie age 2. We have purchased Bayeux House, in the Hamlet and look forward to making it a great home.
Without your website, I would not know anything about Templecombe the area, schools etc. Being one and a half hours away it's not been easy to just jump in the car and pop by. So thankyou Tim your doing a fantastic job and all my friends think so to back in Reading. Hope to me you sometime.
Kind regards
Claire Hart 


Claire Hart, Templecombe

Dear Tim,

I have finally gleaned a little more information about the Wilkinthroop Nursery.I had some re-search undertaken at the Bristol Records Office where a reference was found .It would appear that the children at the Wilkinthroop Nursery, Templecombe were re-housed at The Frenchay Nursery Unit ,Bristol  during October 1945. All of this would indicate that I was there from shortly after birth (March 1944) until I was about 19 months old. I probably spent the following two months at the Frenchay  Unit before being taken in at Nazareth House in January 1946.Both Bristol Health Committee and Somerset County Council appear to have been involved with the Wilkinthroop during WW11.Until I heard from you ,I was beginning to think that this place never really existed but was just written as a previous address to appease 'the powers that be' on an application to the Catholic Rescue Society,  for them to take care of me. 

Once again, thank you so much for the intitial help you gave me.You really have no idea how important all of this is for me in tryng to piece together my very fragmented early life .

I really hope to visit Templecombe this year.

Yours very sincerely,

Linda E.H.


Linda E.H, Sweden

Dear Tim

What a wonderful website. Congratulations. It is great to be able to have a look at ‘history’. My wife Janice and I were living in Church cottage and also got married ‘next door’ by Antony Rose. We loved it in Templecombe…..  We are now living in Kuwait – well already 7 years – currently we have 52C outside and it is a joy to have a look at the Photo page with lovely houses, green, clouds and snow.  I wish more people would comment on your wonderful site.

Keep it up and good luck

Ulf and Janice Josch


Ulf and Janice Josch, Kuwait

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