Local History Society

 The 'Mercury' and the Home Front in WW1



Life and Death in Barkham during the War

Barkham had long been closely connected with its larger neighbour Arborfield, both through the Church and the School. With the Great War, its sparse population was boosted by soldiers billeted at the Remount Depot, which was mostly in Barkham, though the entrance was in Arborfield, hence the name.

This intriguing article appeared on 26th May 1917:


'A well-attended meeting of the Parish Council was recently held with the view of forming a Sparrow Club, for the diminution in number of sparrows, which consume so much corn. There were present the Rev. P. H. Ditchfield (chairman), Mr. Sturges, Colonel Badcock, Captain Goater, Mr. W. J. Hissey, Mr. Isaac, Mr. Blake, Mrs. Harris, etc.

Colonel Badcock reported that at the Remount Depôt they had destroyed a very large number of sparrows and rats. The subject was discussed by various speakers, and a committee was formed to consider the matter and to report to a subsequent meeting.’

On September 27th 1919, an announcement was made in the 'BARKHAM' section about Brook Farm:

Small Holdings

The Berkshire County Council have recently purchased the farm known as Brook Farm from the former owner, Mr. W. C. J. Hissey, for the purpose of establishing small holdings in the parish.

It is beautifully situated, and is likely to attract many who desire to start farming on a small scale. The size of the holdings will be about 20 acres.

The same issue amplified this announcement as follows:


Next month will see many changes in the parish. Mr. Jeanes, of Swansea, who purchased Hand Post Farm from Mr. Walter, is coming to reside there, and Mrs. Blake, who came to Barkham with her late husband in 1886, is leaving, much to the regret of her many friends in the village. The Moat House, now demolished. According to this postcard, it was in Arborfield. It was actually in Barkham

Major Tanner, who has been appointed Commanding Officer of the Remount Depot, is coming into residence at Moat House.

Mr. Hissey has sold his farm, and much regret is felt at the departure of Mrs. Allright, the former infants’ mistress at the school, who has taken a leading part in the work of the parish for many years as choir-mistress and Sunday-school teacher, and who will be much missed.


Two months later, Captain and Mrs. Goater left the area, and a farewell party was thrown for them, as described here.

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