Friday 20 May 2011

Derek Yeomans

I am Derek Yeomans, I was born in 1945 and on returning from the nursing home in Rowledge I spent the next twenty three years living in Kingsley until leaving to join The Prison Service in 1968. I now live in Dorset having retired from The Prison Service eight years ago. I still work, running a number of Shop and Pub Watch schemes in Somerset and Dorset.

Last weekend, 14th May, I visited Kingsley, not having been back for many years. I went to the first house I remember living in only to find it had been replaced by a large new property. I had a very interesting chat with the owner who brought me up to date with a number of matters. The cottage I refer to was Rose Cottage, the first property along The Straits which was owned by Mr Spiers whose daughter Mrs Pethybridge, then ran the village shop.

Heading away from The Straits I set off towards where the railway line once crossed the road and Kingsley Halt was situated just around the corner heading towards the Sports Club. There is still evidence of where the lines ran to the right and left of the road. On the left hand side of the road just before reaching the crossing and located opposite The Halt there was then a strip of land occupied by a family of gypsies. They had, to a large extent, given up travelling and settled on that site. Now there is a very large house where their horses were once tethered. Another large dwelling on the right side of the road opposite The Halt has replaced a bungalow lived in by the Woodwards and my boyhood pal Robby.

On reaching the village I went to Old Park farm where my father and uncle had both worked after the war and where I worked for a while looking after the pig and poultry units. The piggery is now in a very sad state of disrepair with its roof falling in. The dairy is now no longer and the barns have been converted. The walled gardens gone.

Almost everything I saw had changed in some form of another, possibly The Cricketers remains less altered than most other places I saw.

However, nothing ever stays the same and Kingsley is no exception. Having returned home I thought I might look on the Internet to see if there was anything regarding the village and its history. There is very little, but I did find Kings Blog and Bob. It occurred to me that the present residents of the village might well like to know a little of what life was like after the war and during the years that I had the privilege of growing up in Kingsley. Now getting on a bit, Kingsley remains forever with me, I am still what it made me. My boyhood was happy and has left me with an enduring love of all things living and the countryside. Hunting, shooting and fishing, ferreting, foraging, stick dressing, birds, flowers, butterflies, dogs, poultry, goats, pigs and horses all of these loves have their origins in Kingsley. It is where they were formed and developed and over the next few months I shall share that process with you in the form of a blog. I will bring you the characters and events that I recall and lived through in what now seems like a far off age. I hope this has whetted your appetite for the journey and you will join me in the return to my roots.


  1. Dereck, I am a niece (in law) of Vera Maddigan. I'm married to Barry & Ruth's son, Chris.
    My email is
    I'm doing the Maddigan family tree and a hoping you might be able to help answer some questions.
    Your obituary on Aunt Vera was most interesting.
    Regards, Jenn Maddigan

  2. hi Derek was wondering if u could give me some information to help me find the birth records of rose cottage nursing home rowledge my email address is it would be much appreciated
    kind regards Annie