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Volume Three

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John Hoyles

Born in 1933, John was an only child and grew up in the Brendon valley. He attended Countisbury school and then at the tender age of thirteen had to lodge at Barnstaple in order to attend the technical college where he took a building course. “It was impossible to commute in those days, so there I was, a poor little country-boy living in a big city like that!” On leaving college he worked as a stonemason and with many others helped re-build Lynmouth after the flood. Later he joined the Grenadier Guards, found a wife in London and became a guardsman outside Buckingham Palace. Little did he realise as he stood guard outside that he would one day return to the Palace to the other side of the railings - as Mayor of Lynton and Lynmouth - at the Queen’s garden party accompanied by his new wife Betty. They have two daughters Sandra and Nicola.

Black and white photo taken in about 1939 of John Hoyles with a shovel as a lad standing on the snow in front of an old motorcar.

John Hoyles' chapter includes the following topics and many more:

  • father building a chimney with lime mortar
  • bucket toilet and collecting water from the spring
  • mother cooking at the Staghunters pub
  • drinking, toasting and red hot pokers in the beer
  • shoe cleaning and re-setting of snares
  • catching cooking and eating rabbit
  • ‘tying the road’ at weddings
  • helping out the blacksmith
  • burning the common
  • the Rockford youth hostel
  • the Rockford and the Staghunter pubs
  • church bells and pig killing
  • The Blue Ball pub at Countisbury
  • early petrol pumps
  • Barbrook petrol station
  • pedal-powered pumps in the ‘winter of discontent’

Page sample from John Hoyles' Chapter

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Photo samples from John Hoyles' Chapter

  • Black and white photo taken in the 1930s of two men dressed smartly standing in front of a house in Brendon with an early motor bike with a carbide lamp.
  • Black and white photo taken in the 1970s of John Hoyles sitting asleep in front of an Esso Blue paraffin pump at Barbrook petrol station
  • Black and white photo taken in the 1940s on Countisbury hill of the Lynmouth to Minehead bus with driver Hoyles standing to attention next to it.
  • Black and white photo taken in 1947 of the landlords behind the Blue Ball Inn at Countisbury with their sow which has just had a large litter of piglets
  • Black and white photo taken in the early 1920s of children lined up in the playground at Countisbury school
  • John and Betty Hoyles dressed up for the Queen’s garden party when he was Mayor of Lynton and Lynmouth

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