He agreed to donate a prefabricated building to become a social centre for the village. Unfortunately his gift didn’t extend to the cost of moving the building from Pendley to its new home. That job was given to Tom Chapman, from the well-known local farming family, someone with a reputation for getting things done.
The carts that Tom owned were not suitable for transporting a building but his friend John Deverell of Manor Farm has recently bought a very large dung cart which could do the job. John agreed to help and as they past the outskirts of Tring they saw a board outside the newsagents showing the day’s news headline; it says ‘Germans defeated at Passchendaele’.
They arrived at the Pendley gate about 9am and Pendley’s Head Gardener showed them this massive pile of corrugated iron. It took about half an hour to get everything loaded with the help of some of Pendley’s gardeners. As they returned to Puttenham lots of the villagers, mainly women and children, gathered at the side of the road and cheered them as they went by. A number of men were standing in the field , most of the senior residents of Puttenham, waiting to erect the new building.
A week later, Tom and John Deverell are sitting inside the new Parish Room with pints of ale in their hands. All around them are the good people of Puttenham raising their glasses to the two of them, for their memorable journey to and from Pendley.
The Puttenham Parish Room became the centre of the village social activity for many years until Cecilia Hall was built in 1991. It was used as a temporary classroom after the bombing of Long Marston School in 1941.
A more detailed version of this story is on our website Tringruralvillage.co.uk, under the same title as shown above.
Photo credit: Andrew Cooke