Swallowcliffe in 1891 by Barry Williamson
The Census Enumerators' Books enables us to see below the surface
of a community in the past. In 1851 there were 250 people in Swallowcliffe
and of those, 128 were born in the village. It must have been a
very stable society where most families knew one another. There
were 76 children aged 14 and under but only 19 elderly people aged
65 and over. The oldest were Lucy Spencer, a widow aged 80 living
in a cottage in High Street and Henry White, also 80 in Common Lane.
Most of the households are listed haphazardly without an address
so it is impossible to imagine who lived exactly where. If an address
is given it is something not easy to identify. Where for example,
was or is Spencer's Cottage, Jubilee Cottage, Best's Cottage, School
House, Bradley's Lane and Cross Ways?
As might be expected the job done by most inhabitants was that
of agricultural labourer. There were 46 of them. Other occupations
were Carter (4), Shepherd (4), Gardener (4), Miller (4), Dressmaker
(2), Shoemaker (2), Pondmaker, Baker, Shopkeeper, Wheelwright. Grocer,
Engine Driver on the Farms, Letter Carrier and Laundress (all one
The Post Office was kept by Henry Targett aged 71 living with his
granddaughter Mary Clarke and James Gould a boarder. The London
Elm Inn was run by Arthur Tanner and his wife Mary. There were only
eight servants in the whole village, two each (cook and housemaid)
at Dean House owned by Martha Blandford. The Vicarage and Manor
Farm and one each at Pond Close in Gigant Street and at the Mill.
The largest household was that of Elias Targett, an agricultural
labourer at Lower Farm Cottage. He and his wife lived with eight
children ranging from 10 months to 24 years.
It was a different world.