I’ve had some great news! More treasure from Ray Feltham’s old home has come to light. Who says hoarding isn’t rewarding!
Thousands of photographs found at 98 Codford Road by his family are now being carefully catalogued and preserved. Given that Ray’s family had occupied the same building for over 100 years, this is very good news for anyone interested in village history.
TH, Raymond’s great nephew, has taken on the task and is kindly allowing me to share some of the photos with you in future blogs. I found the first samples to come my way astonishing. Photos of two Chitterne women I’ve longed to find are among them, the first is Annie Compton.
When Ann Compton died in 1931, aged 91, the Warminster Journal described her as “A unique Chitterne character” and “England’s Oldest Councillor”.
The Local Government Act of 1894 had vested control of the village under the new Warminster Rural District Council. Of its 25 members, Ann Compton, who represented Chitterne St. Mary, was the only woman. She was one of only 140 lady councillors in England and Wales. Her role as a councillor also made her a member of the Board of Guardians of the Warminster Workhouse. Serving with her were Miss Maxfield and Lady Pelly, elected from the Warminster Parish. These indomitable ladies were 3 of only 875 Women Guardians, out of a total in England and Wales of 29 000.
The name of Compton appears for many centuries in the parish records, but Ann seems to be the last of her line in the village of Chitterne. She is buried with her parents, George and Elizabeth Compton, and a sister, Elizabeth Mary, in the churchyard of St. Mary’s.
Often referred to as Annie, she was still serving on the Board of Guardians when it was disbanded in 1930 and attended the final meeting in Warminster at the age of 90. At that time, she was living in Bridge Cottage, next door to the King’s Head Public House.
I am very grateful to TH for allowing me access to this long-sought-for photograph and for his careful preservation of the Feltham hoard. TH retains copyright and ownership.