DATA BASE REF: E/M 1037 and I 1037
Millie Weston lives at 12 High Street, Castor. Her husband, Aubrey Weston, was, for many years until he died, a game-keeper for the Fitzwilliam family of Milton Hall.
Millie was born on 16th September 1940 at Uffington in Lincolnshire, the youngest child of Sam and Ada Palmer.
William Peach = Winifred Peach
Samuel = Ada
William John Leslie Horace Winifred May Millicent Maureen = Aubrey Leonard
Palmer Palmer Palmer Palmer Weston
Susan Maureen = Paul Sykes Stephen= Sharon Stuart
Weston Weston Weston
Jenifer Maureen Rebecca Louise
Millie and Aubrey also had a baby boy called David Leonard between Susan and Stephen, but sadly he died when he was only a few days old.
By the time Millie was about 6 in 1946, her family had moved to Stockhill Farm Elton, as her father took on the job as Stockman at the farm. The farm manager was Max Jones, the farm being owned by the Proby family of Elton Hall. By coincidence, their neighbours at Stockhill Farm were Les Forge and his family, including their son Trevor Forge. Trevor and his wife Glynis are now Millie’s neighbours in High Street ( just off Stocks’ Hill) Castor. Les Forge was the horseman for the farm. In addition to being the stockman, Millie’s father and her family kept hens for their own use, two pigs and a cow, which they kept for their own milk. They had a collie dog, and some rabbits as pets. There were also about half-a-dozen cats, which mostly lived in the barn, but some came into the house there. Millie went to the Church School at Elton. She would walk to school with her brothers and sisters- it took about ¾ of an hour. Once she was about ten she had a bicycle which she rode to school . She left school at 15 and worked for a year as a mother’s help in Tansor,. When she was 16 she worked at Oundle School in the kitchen, and after she married she worked at the Talbot Hotel Oundle. On 2nd January 1960, Millie married Aubrey Weston.
Life at Milton:
In 1963 Aubrey was appointed a game-keeper at Milton Park. Aubrey and Millie moved into the Ferry Lodge, Milton Park, where some of Millie’s duties initially included being the Toll-Gate Keeper. Then in 1972 they moved to Marholm Lodges in the Park. The house caught fire in 1976, a chimney fire setting light to the thatch. They moved into a flat in the Hall for 18 months while the house was restored. When Millie first went to Milton, she worked for Major and Mrs Peacock at the Ferry House from about 1964 to 1967. She then worked at Belsize Farm for Dick Jarvis until 1976. She did jobs such as potato-picking, picking new potatoes in June, then a short lull, before the main crop in late July/August. When they were picking the rows were staked, into parts of a row called wretches. They would start about 9.30am after the children had gone to school, and end at 3pm, just before the children returned from school. The pickers were all women, Jean Jarvis, Peggy Ayres, and Elsie Jefferies. It was hard-work. In the Spring they would do beet-hoeing. At Christmas-time, they would pluck turkeys in the barn until it was stopped being allowed. It was cold in the barn. From 1976 until 1999, Millie worked at the Hall. While she worked at Milton Hall, Bill Reynolds was the butler, and Rosie Reynolds was the house-keeper. Joy Baker, Rosie’ daughter took over as house-keeper. After Bill Reynolds died, Sam Stapleton took over as butler, then after him Arthur Mellor, who remained there until Lady Hastings died. He then went to Stibbington House as butler for Sir Stephen Hastings.
At Marholm Lodges, they had virtually a small-holding., growing vegetables in season, flowers and keeping hens, usually about 3 dozen. They would hatch the eggs as they kept few cockerels. They kept about 8 sheep, and would borrow a tup, so that they had lambs as well. They would give some lambs away, for example to John Hill, who helped them and to David Whittington of the Green Man pub at Marholm.. They also bought capons off Dick Jarvis, which they kept for the table. Some of them grew large, to 12 or 14 pounds- almost like turkeys. Millie would get up at6.30am and go out and feed the stock.
The shooting season started at the beginning of November and went on until the end of January. During this time Aubrey was mostly concerned with preparing for shoot-days and feeding the pheasants and making sure the drives were ready. Aubrey would be up early to feed the pheasants. Once shooting had ended, and the pheasants had started breeding, Aubrey and Millie would walk for miles, looking foe pheasants eggs. They would collect them up and put the eggs in hatching boxes- a box divided into 6 sections. They would also collect domestic hens from farmers and other local people and use them to sit on the pheasant eggs. The system was changed once incubators were introduced in about 1972. They would then catch up the pheasants them selves, using wire cages and traps baited with food. This would involve catching up some 300 hens as well as cocks. Millie helped Aubrey with this work. They would empty the pheasants from the cages into sacks and take them to the pens behind Marholm Lodges. They would put them in laying pens, about the size of a room, and about 6 feet high. When they hatched the chicks were like little bumble-bees. They would put the little chicks in a hut with heating (Calor Gas), then depending upon the weather into a bigger pen, then in June or July into a release pen in the woods. They were fed there, until about September when they were let out into the woods. About 1988, after Aubrey had been unwell, Millie was able to help even more, as the children had left school, married or were working. They got rid of the sheep at this stage, but the hens were kept until after Aubrey died in 1997, when a fox got them.
Millie moved to her present house in Castor (a Milton house) about 13 months later in February.
These notes were made by William Burke , while talking to Millie in February 2003.