BACK IN THE ARCHIVE ROOM: From Archivist, Angela Armstrong
I recently received an enquiry about a young soldier who fought and died in the Great War. It seemed at the time of his death that he lived in Cholderton. The young man was 2nd Lt Robert Thomas Kerr. The enquirer had little information on his family but believed they lived at Home Farm, Cholderton. In the 1911 census his father James Gowen Kerr was the farm manager there for Mr Stephens. The enquirer did send photos which the family have always believed to have be taken on the Cholderton Estate.
This got me looking into Home Farm to see if there was any information on the Kerr family at Cholderton and indeed to see what information I could find in the archives about Mr Stephens.
I started searching and at first could not find any information on the Kerr Family. However! I have found some information on Home Farm Cholderton and discovered; Henry Edmunds the Great Grandson of Henry “Inky” Stevens still owned the farm. With further investigation and to my delight I found the Kerr family mentioned in several articles relating to Cholderton and Mr Stephens:
Country life Sept. 10th, 1904. LIVESTOCK AT CHOLDERTON
“The Hampshire Down flock is one of the finest in the kingdom, Mr. Kerr, who attends to these matters, has a good knowledge of all kinds of livestock; but sheep are his speciality, and the excellence of the flock is, undoubtedly, due to his unremitting care.”
Salisbury & Winchester Journal
1912 May 30th “A most successful sale of work was held this month, by the kind permission of Mr Stephens, in the New Village Hall, although the building was still unfinished, and had not been formally opened. The articles for sale were the result of work done by the members of the sewing party who for some months had kindly devoted an afternoon a week to the object. The purpose of the sale was to improve the lighting of the church, as the condition of the oil lamps, which have been in use for many years, is now far from being satisfactory – the sale was opened by Mrs. Stephens, to whom, as well as to Lady Rawlinson, we tender our grateful thanks for the great assistance they gave us. The holders of the stalls were Mrs Milner, Mrs Shearing, Mrs R and Miss Kerr, Mrs Gibbs, Mrs Sloane, Miss Davenport, Nurse Cousens and Miss Dibble.”
1913 April 19th “The new lamps in the church were used for the first time at the evening service on this day. They were very much admired & were considered to have greatly improved the appearance of the church – their total cost amounted to £43.0.0, which sum was raised by sale of work which had been organised & carried to a successful issue by Miss Ethel Kerr, of the home farm, during the previous summer. The old church lamps, which lighted the building very inadequately, have been lent to the school.”
1918 July 20th Mr Kerr is named in the Salisbury & Winchester Journal as being one of the many mourners at the funeral of Mr H.C. Stephens.
As you can imagine the enquirer was delighted with the information I had uncovered, which added a little flesh to the bones of her family history and went some way to confirm that 2nd Lt Robert Thomas Kerr did indeed live at Cholderton when he died. His name can be found on the War Memorial panel in St Nicholas Church. As for Mr Henry Charles (Inky) Stephens’ story, that will have to be for another time, as I discover more and more about him and his amazing life and contribution to Cholderton and its people.