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Marion Graham (nee Beesley)

Born in 1932 Marion was the youngest of the Rockford Inn landlord’s three daughters. She grew up in the pub under the watchful eye of her formidable Great Nan Floyd who had run and owned it since 1919. When Marion was 21 she married George Graham from nearby Wilsham farm whose great grandfather had been one of the original Scottish shepherds who had come down to start up sheep-farming on Exmoor. They had arrived in the 1870s by ship at Lynmouth harbour with a few possessions, their flock of sheep and dogs and had first worked Larkbarrow, one of the most remote farms on Exmoor, and then Shepherd’s Cott at the top of the the Doone valley.

Black and white photo circa late 1930s of Marion Beesley sitting on the wall with two dogs and behind her can be seen the old Rockford Youth Hostel

Marion Graham's chapter includes the following topics and many more:

  • Buying the Rockford Inn in 1919
  • Colonel Wade in hiding during the Monmouth Rebellion
  • both husbands buried in the same grave
  • gangs of men making the Brendon Road camped at Blackpits
  • peat fires kept in all day
  • electricity from a waterwheel
  • singing to the troops in the first world war
  • collecting wild flowers and mosses to send to visitors from up-country
  • brandy in warm milk to put the children to sleep
  • horse-drawn stage coaches passing regularly along the Brendon valley
  • eleven buses a day between Watersmeet and Lynmouth
  • Farmer Albert mounting his horse with a stepladder after he’d had a drink
  • painting camouflage paint all over the Rockford Inn during the war
  • attending Brendon school each day with gas masks
  • burning a Hitler guy on a bonfire in the middle of the river
  • ribbons for the hair from wreaths in the churchyard
  • American troops stationed in the valley and dream boys
  • the early Scottish shepherds
  • Larkbarrow and Shepherd’s cott in the Doone valley
  • home tuition and bible classes
  • methodism and crossing the common to chapel
  • rhubarb the only thing left growing at the ruined cottage
  • the car repair garage and petrol pump at the Rockford
  • a first and last trip to Scotland

Page sample from Marion Graham's Chapter

Volume Four - Compare Prices or Buy

Photo samples from Marion Graham's Chapter

  • Black and white photo circa late 1940s of Rockford Inn landlord standing at the water wheel which he had just connected to a generator to make electricity for the pub.
  • Black and white photo circa late 1940s of Rockford pub landlord loading turfs (peat) onto a barrow which he had just cut and was about to remove to dry out.
  • Black and white photo circa late 1920s of horse drawn stagecoach loaded with passengers stopping outside the Rockford on its way to the Lorna Doone valley.
  • ?
  • Black and white photo circa late 1940s of a car with a suitcase strapped to the back parked next to a new petrol pump which had just been fitted outside the Rockford pub.
  • Black and white photo circa early 1930s of horse and cart outside the Rockford pub delivering beer which had been collected from the station at miniature railway line from Barnstaple to Lynton.

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  • Volume One - Compare Prices or Buy
  • Volume Two - Compare Prices or Buy
  • Volume Three - Compare Prices or Buy

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