Charlie Veale 1866 - 1932

Tess Taylor

Though it is thought that Charlie was born in Cow Honeybourne about 1866, other census returns state that he was born in Dumbleton, Gloucestershire.  He was the son of Thomas Veale, Morris dancer. He was married in 1885 to his wife, Emma Jane and they had at least eight children, one of whom was deaf/mute.

Charlie is variously described as living in the Technical School Yard, Old Campden and in the 1911 census his occupation is given as Waggoner on a farm.

According to a report in the Evesham Journal in  September 1904, he was third in a ploughing competition, Class 3 GO tackle, while working for Mr R H Haydon, while his son and namesake Charles won third prize in the same class for under twenty year olds. Charles, a loyal servant to the Haydon family, working for them for over forty years, was a thoughtful sensitive man, kind to his children and neighbours.

A soft spot for birds

For one born to country ways he had a soft heart where the slaughter of birds was concerned.  In H J Massingham’s ‘Wold without End’ he wrote about the massacre of up to five hundred birds at a time in the orchards of the vale of Evesham over quite a small area. Charlie had enquired of Massingham’s friend, ‘Why, Master Percy, it be lovely when they [the cherry trees] be in vlour, and there byunt nothen so nice as to hear they little birds a chackeling and a twittering and a singing so sweet of a spring mornen. But as soon as they starts minding, some hunkind swine must start and try to blow ull they little birds to hell – why, you never ears ’em singing arter it.’  Dejectedly he finished his soliloquy and tuning to Percy said, ‘Just like the bloody farmers.’

In 1914 Charles was in the Territorial Roll of Honour, being in the eleventh company of the fifth Gloucestershire Regiment.

Loved by everybody

Fred Coldicott wrote in his book that if ever a man deserved a reward for living a good life, then Charles would qualify. He went on to say that he was a genuine, hardworking honest man who never said a cross word to anybody. However, it appears that his wife was the complete opposite of him and spent most of her time in the jug & bottle, lid holes of the pubs.  We must not judge, however, the soothing effect that alcohol had on people living impoverished and hard lives.

His epitaph should have read ‘Loved by everybody’

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