Kingsteignton Memories



MRS ESTHER RENDELL - 1914 - 1998

Esther's memories of Kingsteignton, were given to the KHS by her daughter, Ann (Hunt).

After Esther suffered a stroke in her eighties, she had to relearn many things and Ann used these headings to try and help her remember her early life. Esther did very well and these have now been written down for future generations.Esther was born on the 2nd of March, 1914 in Berry Lane, Kingsteignton, the daughter of William Seymour Sutton and Edith nee Germon.

William and Edith married in 1903 and were living in Berry Lane in 1911.                                                                                                                                                                                  Esther is pictured on the left with her daughter Ann at Torquay seafront in 1943.



Esther's Memories

The Home

The house I was born in had one room downstairs, with two bedrooms upstairs (Berry Lane). The cold water tap was outside, as was the toilet, shared with the rest of the houses in the road,


The bath was put on an open fire to boil the white clothes, which were often spoilt by a fall of soot down the chimney. The clothes were then rinsed in the brook which ran outside the house. The flat iron was put into the fire to get hot and the ironing was done on the table.


This consisted of a table and forms downstairs and beds upstairs, no garden or amenities.

World of Work

My father was a merchant seaman, who was away for 2 years at a time. There was a brickyard where my brothers worked. The sisters were in service and my mother took in other people's washing.

Trades & Craft

Clayminers were the main supply of jobs. The clay was transported by horse & cart from the claypits to the canal.


There was one nurse in the village who attended the birth of a baby. Assisted by an Aunt or Sister of the family. No one went into hospital to give birth.


If anyone was dying straw would be put down for the horse & cart to go over outside their house so there would be no noise. The coffin was always carried from the house to the church by men, no transport was used. Unless you had a black edged invitation you didn't attend the funeral.

War & Peace

Father in first world war but no memories. Husband was in the second world war. My daughter was born in 1941 & didn't see her father until she was four years old. I had two evacuees from London who were Roman Catholics. They walked into Newton Abbot every Sunday to attend church. Every time the siren went we had to get our gas masks and go under the stairs until the all clear, I had a brother in the navy, but no bereavements. The rationing was hard, but people gave us apples, turnips and rabbits.

Health & Disease

There was an isolation hospital for diphtheria & scarlet fever, at Newton Abbot. For earache you slept on some-one's warm sock, toothache you put cloves on the tooth and boiled cabbage water was used for socks.

Food & Drink

A man would come every Saturday morning with a horse and cart full of fruit and vegetables. The milkman came with a trolley with a churn on and dipped out the milk into your own jug, The butcher came with a van to the door. The baker came every other day, but most people made their own bread. The fishman came with a handcart, and you got a plate full of fish for threepence. You often had to go back to him and say he hadn't given you enough. The coalman used to call every week with a coalwagon.

Church & Chapel

I used to go to church & chapel depending who took me. We all attended Sunday School and the outing would be to the local River Teign where you would play games and have a picnic.


We would go to dances at the Liberal Club & the British Legion. There was no theatre or cinema. The school would put on a pantomime and we would watch the magic lantern in the school.

Childhood & Schooldays

I wore an ordinary frock, with a white frilled apron, with long lace up boots and a bow of ribbon to keep your hair out of your eyes. We played hop skotch, marbles, skipping, hide & seek & catch.

We did our tables in the playground saying them as we did our exercises. We had books and pencils to use.

Grand Occasions

The Prince of Wales came on Whit Tuesday. It poured with rain, but we still stood out to see him in our May Pole dresses,

Celebrations through the Year

We used to go carol singing, but Christmas was just an ordinary day. Easter was lovely, we used to go to church, in the morning we would go to church and have the afternoon off to go picking primroses. There was a lot of harvest suppers, we used to go to the Harvest Festival Service.

The Fair used to come to Newton Abbot on a Wednesday and we would go to that.

Travel & Transport

The only form of transport we had was to hire a bike for threepence an hour. We would all put together, and often the hour would be up before we had a ride.

When my father's boat came home, we would walk to meet him and ride home in a carriage

Everyone would walk to the market at Newton Abbot.

Sports & Pastimes

The village always had a football team and a tug of war team. There was always a church choir, but the most popular pastime was whistdrives.

For a select few who got into the Church Bell ringing team there was Bell ringing competitions on Saturday afternoons, but most children amused themselves playing in the brook or around the village.

Memories by:-

Mrs Esther Rendell,

Late of 26, Exeter Road , Kingsteignton.


Many thanks to Ann for sharing this with us.