George 'Ninety' Griffin

Tess Taylor

George ‘Ninety’ Griffin was born in 1874 and in the 1911 census is listed as being unmarried and living with his parents, James & Elizabeth, in Wyatt’s Yard, Campden.

As a youth ‘Ninety’ was often up before the Magistrates, once for using a catapult in Dyer’s Lane for which he was fined two and sixpence! Besides his anti-social activities he was a member of Campden Mummers.

He was one of several people that the author H J Massingham encountered in the public house at Ford and described as having a conscious air of one travelling to ‘furrin parts’.  In the Cotswolds at cherry picking time ‘Ninety’ was one of the fraternity hired to kill or scare birds. There in the pub he took the author to one side and in strict privacy told him the following story. ‘I sin an old thrush on a tree yes’day mornen; he was a-whistlin beautiful, an’ he was a havin’ ‘im one or two, so I sez ‘Old man you can whistle better ner I can’ so I let him go.’

‘Ninety’ is remembered by old Campdonians as one of four men who always erected the hurdles forming the sheep & cattle pens on market day in Campden.

Another story that belongs in Campden folklore involves a man named ‘Forty’, who with ‘Ninety’ was employed by an old local farmer to help with harvest. During a session in the pub he met another farmer who was boasting about the number of men he had working in his fields. To this the old farmer replied, ‘that’s nothing, I have forty a mowing and ninety stooking!’

‘Ninety’ died in 1939 in East View, Stow on the Wold but was returned to Campden for burial.

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