The Amos Family

Farmer Amos
Farmer Amos

The Wolverton Express October 16th 1964

Diamond wedding of veteran farmer

Last Monday Mr. and Mrs. Farmer Amos of Cosgrove celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary. Like all couples who reach the 60 year mark they have a host of memories, but few can express them so vividly and with such a wealth of detail.
Mr. Amos now 90, can reel off names, places, times and dates without hesitation. A thrashing for smoking at nine at a private school at Old Stratford; leading a prize heifer to the first Stony Stratford Fat Stock Show; drinking beer in Castlethorpe Maltings at Queen Victoria’s Jubilee; the deeds of village characters long since dead. All these recollections roll of his tongue as if they happened yesterday.

And if he does get stuck for a name there is always the great family Bible, begun in 1821, or the photograph album with faded prints of relatives, favourite horses and pets.

“Quiet affair”

How about the wedding day? “Well.” Says Mr. Amos, “I wanted a quiet affair so we had it in London. St. Pancras’s Church. I met my girl and her father at Euston Station and took them in a cab drawn by a chestnut horse to Holborn restaurant where we had a wedding breakfast.
“Afterwards we went over to Victoria, caught a train to Brighton where we had our honeymoon. But I was back in time for Northampton Market on the Saturday.”
Born at Castlethorpe Maltings “on July 20, 1874 at two o’clock in the morning being Monday” according to the family bible. Mr. Amos went to schools at Old Stratford, Courteenhall, Buckingham and Brighton. He was in an auctioneer’s office at Buckingham, worked for wine and spirits merchants at Aldgate, and went butchering with Farmer’s Supplies at Northampton before returning to take over the family farm.
His father and grandfather before him and farmed the Maltings and at one time they also had Cosgrove Mill and Maltings and Hanslope Maltings, a set of plough engines and two sets of threshing tackle.
Mr. and Mrs. Amos stayed at Castlethorpe until 1926 when they moved to Draycott where they apprenticed their five sons to the building trade. They returned to the district to their present home at Cosgrove in 1934.
Farmer, Tom and Joe, three sons, still live with their parents. Other sons Stan and Charlie are in New Zealand. There is one grandson.
Mrs. Amos was a grocer’s daughter, formerly Miss Ethel Kingham, of Tring, who on reaching Castlethorpe turned out to be a model farmer’s wife. She could make butter, bake bread and provide callers with traditional farmhouse fare – bread, butter, cheese, celery, ham and beer, all grown, made or brewed on the farm.
“But” she confided to our reporter, “I’ve never liked horses”. And she sat back with a twinkle in her eye as her husband expounded at length on this phenomena.
This was something he could not understand. He had been brought up with horses, ridden them almost as soon as he could walk, and ridden to hounds with the Grafton, Whaddon and Oakley Hunts by the time he was nine.
Mrs. Amos (88) does not enjoy the best of health. Though rather bowed these days Mr. Amos still likes nothing better than “a night out”. And when these roll round he will wear the hard hat, stand-up collar, bob tie and fox’s head pin for which he has been so well known in the locality for so long.
Farmer, butcher, horseman, Special Constable and a man of many interests with a perceptive eye and fabulous memory Mr. Amos gave us the recipe for his long life – plenty of farmhouse beer, fat bacon and home-made bread.


Farmer, Tom, Stanley, Charles, Joe
Farmer, Tom, Stanley, Charles, Joe

Joe & Tom Amos
Joe & Tom Amos

Joe Amos (Farmer's son)

Twelve Generations complied by John Coales pages 519 & 520

A story here regarding Farmer Amos of Castlethorpe will indicate both how one travelled in the 1920's as well as the competative spirit of business. One Saturday, Farmer Amos went by train from Castlethorpe to Northampton to the cattle market; he had some wheat for sale and showed a sample to Walter John Coales who bid him 17/6d (87½ ) per quarter (a quarter of wheat weighed 4½ cwts which equals 504 lbs). He thought this a poor price and returned to Castlethorpe on the train, got out his pony and trap and drove 20 miles to Bedford where the corn market was held in the afternoon. he saw Francis William Coales and showed him the sample; lo and behold, he offered 18/-d (90p) per quarter so he sold it to him!

By kind permission of John Coales


NRO x2959 as written [a modernised version is below this]

Farmer Amos was buried in Castlethorpe Churchyard December 23rd 1970 aged 96

Memories of the Village of Coagrove

Farmer Amos Born at Castlethorpe in 1874 His Father Tom Amos. Farmed All the Land from Castlethorpe to Cosgrove & rented the Mill & Malting from Capt Mansal The Hall Cosgrove, & Tom Amos was Cripple, Dad had 3 Malting Hanslope Rented Esqr Watts, One at Castlethorpe his Father built, in 1821. He Farmed under 3 Land Lords. Earl Spencer Lord Carrington at Gayshurt & his Son Marquess The Marquess of Lincolnshire Daws Hill High Wycombe. Amos family left the village in 1926. thats I. Wife 5 Sons oldest 20. Left the Land went into building trade No Sunday work. Cosgrove in 1882. Very Happy Village because they had a good leader. Capt. Mansal. Lived at the Hall own the Estate. Keep Jersey Herd Mr. Bob Reeve Forman & his 2 Daughter look after the Dairy keep some pretty Rabbitts   Black Wars & Nose with piny eyes & they give me a pair. I been in my Father Trap ever since I was 6 years night & day & all weather never stops us.in the dark no no lights. All Market & All Hotell Northampton Butckinha , my favourit  Aylesbury & Bambury Bates Bambury Cakes.
Capt Mansal was Chairman on Stony Stony Bench for years. He only had one Daughter Mrs. Mansal was a dear Lady so good to all in need. In her kitchen garden she keep 6 Lovely Tabby Cats All Chain up in Kennells on wire to keep Birds off seeds. Little Miss. Mansal took walk down Village one morning. When she got in middle of the actlock. A Boatman pop in. He said you are a nice little Lady. I must give you a kiss, & off he pop. That was awfull, in the old days.

Sunday morning Church at 11.a m,
Rev. Mc Douall he was lame his 2 daughters.
In walk the Capt, & Mrs, & Miss into the Mansal pew. facing the Congration mix Choir out came the Capt. read the lessons
My Father & I use to walk across the Meadow to Church.
The Rev kept Coachman & 2 Horses- Wagnett.
He Farm his own Land the Rectory Farm.
W. Anchor Formman his Son William Horse keeper & Plough the land with 2 Teams 1-3 horse team & a 2, It was good Barley Land. The Barley when thrash go into Malting then of to Mr. Bull Brewery yo be made into beer

Mr Frank Bull own the Brewery & the brewer was Mr. W Pike third son of Willlam Pike Castlethorpe He brewed Beer with Malt & Hops only. usual beer 4 Bushell to Hoghead Mr. Bull worked 14
Horses to Cart Beer. As far as Dunstable
Noted for the Bitter Beer. Water so good.
Malting season from Oct to March Joe Dawker was Head man & Bill Tombs second man. They had lovely Fire 5 cwts on at once coke. Cold weather Old Joe had lots of callers for a warm & (1 horn of Beer only) before they left that was Tom Amos orders.
They keep Bottle full always.

From Castlethorpe. Malting busy place Farmer came with cart load of com to be made in Malting They all brew there own beer. We made Cattle Malt & kill dryed corn of all sort.
Mr.Bull was a big Fisherman He love it. His 2 Sons went to Thomas School Old Stratford with I. Rowland Bull is still allive to day.
The Barley when Thrash went to the Malting to be made Malt
then off to Mr.Frank Bull Brewin to be made Into Beer.

The Maltin Sean from Oct.To March .
The Maltster was Joe Dawes from Pauler Purry & Bill Tumbs [Toombs] from Cosgrove. Lovely big fire coke When the snow was on the ground Old Joe had a lots of callers There was always a Horne Beer for them. But only one That was the rule.
The Brewery. Mr. Frank Bull own the Brewery His 2 Sons Tom & Rowland went to School with I. at Thomas School Old Stratford as day boys. Big school. 5 Masters 3 Bedrooms full of hoarders. Had there own Farm & made there own Gas.

Mr.Frank Bull work 14 Horses carted Beer as far as Dunstable. Mr. William Pike Brewer He third Son of William Pike of Castlethorpe Farmer. Cooper Branson live near cut Bridge He made Barrells of all sorts from 1 Hoghead to 6. He made wooden beer Bottle from 1 quart to gallon Stable Bucket Milk Bucket in fact any sign Barrell to order. He had 2 Daughter I marrid Mr. Jelly.
At the Cottage lived Mr Horsefsll Gentleman rented the shooting. Very nice Gentlemen use please I. When he came to the Mill Sunday with his 2 Black Dogs name Coast Guard & Bill. Throw Big lump of wood in the water & they jump off of the road into the water the same place we use to Throw Sheep in.

Priory Lived Mr. St. Mawe very tall Gentleman Wife very small. when he stood up put his arm out she would walk under with out knocking her hat off. Geo.Powell Growm. When Mr. St. Mawe left He became the Duke of Suderland. I not quite sure I fancy J. J.Atkinson Esq. came in 1883. With his Wife & Son & Daughter 4 they livened Cosgrove up. They was good to all. Mrs.Atkinson had 2 Lovely Hunters Brown & Bay short tail. Bill Meadow Groom. He was good jock train my Father mare Fairly when she won the Priory Steele Chase at Hanslope Park Mr.Gerald Pratt rode her won in a canter. He said Billy you are good trainer I did have Lovely easy ride. Mrs.Atkinson Tea Partys to all Mr.Atkinson put the Crickett Team in Flannells good old Days. Mrs. Atkinson Horses name Hamilton & Woster

Now for the Cosgrove Mill
Rented by Thomas Amos Miller John Hill Carter Harry Panter Consist pair. Barley stones pair Wheat stones & a crusher. Lone Line with 4 differance parts. It bob up & down. Made fine flour bread flour fine grading for cake fine Bran & Corse Bran.

Sheep was washed all Farmer round. 2/6 per score. Mowing the meadows for Hay. Nice work Dick Denny & his 2 Nethew from Haslope use to mow them with sizes [sythes] Start at 3 am. rest at 9. till 10. with the old Beer Bottle. They use to drink about 6 gallons of Beer a day. go home about 8 or 9 at night. Back on the job 3 am. They did there work well.

Johny Smith of Yadrley Gobion Barker [Baker] allways Brought Wheat off the Farmer & have it grind at The Mill. He use to hear his overn with wood Faggotts Good old Bread & Lard also Dumpling all sorts One Meal & Tatoes the other end Fruit or Jam.
They were strong men good workers but wen dired they was bit X. The men use to live at Hsnalope [Hanslope] walk 3 miles a day each way

The Manor lived Mr .John Clarke is Bro Frank & his sister Kitty.

The Elm Farm Mr Henson Pike second son of Mr. William Pike of Castlethorpe His house keeper Mrs. Eales had new set of falsh Teeth one come off & she die. must swallo it

Henson Pike fell  in love with Kitty Clarke & married her.

Trademen. Ted Scheats Black Smith William Clark Snob [shoemaker] Joe Foster Butcher Baker & Grocer Joe Barber & is son Jack. Pubs. Joe Price Barley Mow Brewed Boat Joan Brown & Sally Sons Jack & Geo daughter Flo. Joan coal merchant.

Plough Miss Emma Sharp she Brewed she had a Lodger Ned. Hall, second Shepherd for Mr.Whiting of Castlethorpe Lambing time He had a flock of ewes in the yard at Thurpp Mill. At 2 am. every mornung He use to walk X meadow by C. Mill to see his sheep all right & Happy, & then back to Breakfast & off for days work with the Turnip Sheep grinding Turnip all day by hand for the sheep & setting pens. For years done nothung but work & rest. At last Mr Joe Whiting Pension him off. At Lathbury
Thrupp Wharf. Mr. John Panter & Wife 4 Sons. 3 at home. They were Carter Contra & Coal Merchants Milk 7 cows Herry, William who going strong at present. George & Charlie. William very nice chap sell anything for Honest Bob. He dealt in Bicles Bone shakers. They name them right all wood wheel like Pony Trap & shod with Iron Tyres. He use  have coal merchant round with his horse & trolley. He worked lovely Black Horse Pat Coat Bone lovely but when he He was standing He always had his Tongue hangeing out of his mouth about 3 inches Never seen one since In all my days. Now for the villagers very smart lot & awfully proud. Nurses, the old Queen Nanny Nipper & she would teach all the children
there manners. Mother Moore. The family Mum. Wises Branson . Holdman. Jellys. Green. Henson Willison & Smith. Hylers. Green. Tombs, & co. Now for Feast The First Sunday after 11 July. Barley Mow Feild Flash Geo Flying Horses. & side Shows all sorts of funny thing to make you laught. Quite a Thrill.
The Feast at the Plough use to have dancing to the Fiddle had a lovely time. In 1883. At the Manor The Clarke had a sale & retired Mr. Geo. Kingsley Auctioneer My Father bought Grey shire Mare for 49 gns, & her foal for 23. Her name Popet & the Foal Domic which he keeped for a stallion. When Domic was 4 years old we took him to the station to Weigh him on the Wey bridge he fetch up I ton I cwt & ¼.

Mr.Henson Pike married Miss Kitty Clarke left Cosgrove & Farmed at Castle Ashby. under the Marquiss of Northamton untill he die. When Mr. Bob Weston lived at Ash Lodge Farm Hartwell He had horse took ill in he horse yard. So Bob rode his old Mare to Road to wire for the Vet. Then he pop in the Pub stop untill turning out time riding home his old Mare stop at the Pond for drink Bob slide down her neck in pond Bob had ducking When he got home he went in Yard. The Horse was better Vet had been. Bob tired he lay down by the Crub [Crib], went to sleep. Frosted night Bob wake up cold ill in the morning. They went for Doc Ryan Road & he put Bob in Bed for a fortnight.

Hounds meet at Castlethorpe I on my Cream Pony Smart They put in at Pikes Goss Haversham Brook Out went the Fox to Cosgrove ran him Capt Mansal Green House & he was dead in 5 minutes Mr Frank Burds Blooded I & give me the Brush, which I got now. Hit was hunting racing past untill Fox killed.

Mr. Frank Burds Huntman Tom Smith first Whip Ted Cole second Whip & Billy Newman Whipper in. Hounds meet at Cosgrove cross roads. Gentleman mounted his Hunter He give two bucks & a kick away he pop through Brewery yard ft Jump in to the Cannell [Canal] pulled him out the other side.


Modernised text - Memories of the Village of Cosgrove

Memories of the Village of Cosgrove

Farmer Amos, whose Christian name really was Farmer, was born at Castlethorpe in 1874. His father was Tom Amos.

He farmed all the land from Castlethorpe to Cosgrove and rented the Mill and Malting from Capt Mansel, of  the Hall, Cosgrove. Tom Amos was a cripple. These are Farmer’s memories.

My Dad had three maltings at Hanslope rented  from Watts, Esquire, and one at Castlethorpe which his father built, in 1821. He farmed under three Landlords: Earl Spencer, Lord Carrington at Gayhurst and his son, the Marquess of Lincolnshire, Daws Hill, High Wycombe.

The Amos family left the village in 1926. That was me, my wife and our five sons, the oldest aged 20. We left the land and went into the building trade because it had no Sunday work.

Cosgrove in 1882 was a very happy village because they had a good leader in Captain Mansel, who lived at the Hall and owned the Estate.   He kept a Jersey herd. Mr Bob Reeve was the foreman and his two daughters looked after the dairy, They kept some pretty rabbits, with black ears and noses with pink eyes, and they gave me a pair.

I had been driving my father’s trap ever since I was six years old, night and day.  No weather ever stopped us. We drove in the dark with no lights. We went to all the markets and all the hotels in Northampton and Buckingham. My favourite  Aylesbury and Banbury - for Bates Banbury Cakes.

Captain Mansel was Chairman on Stony Magistrate’s Bench for years. He only had one daughter. Mrs. Mansel was a dear lady - so good to all in need. In her kitchen garden she kept six lovely tabby cats, all chained up in kennels with wire to keep the birds off the seeds.

Little Miss Mansel took a walk down the village one morning. When she got to the middle of the canal lock, a boatman came along.He said “You are a nice little lady. I must give you a kiss,” and off he went. That was awful, in the old days.

On Sunday mornings the Church service was at 11 am. Reverend McDouall was lame and had two daughters. In would walk the Captain, and he and Mrs and Miss Mansel would go into the Mansel pew facing the congregation, next to the Choir. The Captain would come out to read the lessons.

My father and I used to walk across the meadow to Church. The Reverend kept a coachman and two horses for the wagonette. He farmed his own land - the Rectory Farm. W. Anchor was the foreman. His son William was the Horse keeper and ploughed the land with two teams, one three horse team and a two. It was good barley land.

The barley when threshed went into the malting. The malting season was from October to March. Joe Dawker was head man and Bill Tombs second man. They had a lovely fire using five hundredweight of coke at once. In cold weather, when the snow was on the ground, old Joe had lots of callers for a warm and one horn of beer only before they left  - that was Tom Amos orders. They kept a bottle full always. In Castlethorpe the malting was a busy place. Farmer came with cart loads of grain to be used in the malting. They all brewed their own beer. We made cattle malt and kiln dried grain of all sorts.

Then the malted grain was off to Mr Bull’s Brewery to be made into beer. Mr Frank Bull owned the Brewery and the brewer was Mr. W Pike, third son of William Pike of Castlethorpe.

He brewed beer with malt and hops only. Usually beer took four bushells to make a hogshead. Mr Bull worked fourteen horses to cart beer, as far as Dunstable. He was noted for the bitter beer because the water was so good.

Mr.Bull was a keen Fisherman. He loved it. His two sons went to Thomas School at Old Stratford with me. Rowland Bull is still alive to day. We were day boys. It was a big school. There were five masters and three bedrooms full of boarders. They had their own farm and made their own gas.

Branson, the cooper, lived near the canal Bridge. He made barrels of all sorts from one hogshead to six in size. He made wooden beer bottles from a quart to a gallon, stable buckets, milk buckets,  in fact any size of  barrel to order. He had 2 daughters and one married Mr. Jelley.

At the cottage lived Mr Horsefall, a gentleman who rented the shooting. He was a very nice gentleman and I liked him. He came to the mill on Sundays with his two black dogs, named Coastguard and Bill. I would throw big lumps of wood into the water and they would jump off of the road into the water at the same place we used to throw sheep in.

At the Priory lived Mr St. Mawe, who was a very tall gentleman. His wife was very small.  When he stood up and put his arm out she would walk under without knocking her hat off. George Powell was the groom. When Mr St. Mawe left he became the Duke of Sunderland.

I think J. J. Atkinson Esq. came in 1883. With his wife and daughter they livened Cosgrove up. They were good to everybody. Mrs Atkinson had two lovely hunters – brown and bay horses with short tails, named Hamilton and Woster. Bill Meadow was their groom. He was a good jockey and trained my father’s mare, Fairly, when she won the Priory Steele Chase at Hanslope Park. Mr Gerald Pratt rode her and won in a canter. He said, “Billy, you are a good trainer. I did have a lovely easy ride!”

Mrs Atkinson gave tea parties for everybody, and Mr Atkinson bought proper flannels for the cricket team. They were good old days.

Now for Cosgrove Mill. This was rented by Thomas Amos, the miller, John Hill, the carter, and Harry Panter. It consisted of a pair of barley stones, a pair of wheat stones and a crusher. It had a lone line with four different parts. It bobbed up and down, and made fine flour, bread flour, a fine grading for cakes, fine bran and coarse bran.

Sheep were washed at all the farms around. We earned half a crown (12½p) for washing a score of sheep (20). Mowing the meadows for hay was nice work. Dick Danny and his two nephews from Hanslope used to mow them with scythes. They would start at 3 am and rest at from 9 to 10 am with the old beer bottle. They use to drink about 6 gallons (48 pints) of beer a day. They would go home at about 8 or 9 at night and be back on the job at 3 am. They did their work well.

Johnny Smith of Yardley Gobion always bought wheat from the farmer and had it ground at The Mill. He used to heat his oven with wood faggots, which made good old bread. There were also Lard Dumplings (clangers) - all sorts. One end would have meat and potatoes and the other end fruit or Jam. The workers were strong men and hard workers but when tired they were a bit cross. The men use to live at Hanslope and walked 3 miles a day each way.

At the Elm Farm was Mr Henson Pike, second son of Mr William Pike of Castlethorpe. His house keeper, Mrs. Eales, had a new set of false teeth. One came off and she died. She must have swallowed it. Henson Pike fell in love with Kitty Clarke and married her.

There were many tradesmen. Ted Scheats was a blacksmith. William Clark Snob. Joe Foster was a butcher, baker and the grocer was Joe Barber and his son Jack. Publican Joe Price was at the Barley Mow. At the Boat (Barge?) was Joan Brown and Sally, her sons Jack and George and daughter Flo. Joan was also a coal merchant.

Miss Emma Sharp brewed at the Plough. She had a lodger, Ned Hall, second shepherd for Mr Whiting of Castlethorpe. At lambing time he had a flock of ewes in the yard at Thrupp Mill. At 2 am every morning he used to walk across the meadow by Cosgrove Mill to see that his sheep were all right and happy, and then go back to breakfast. Then he was off for a day’s work with the turnips - grinding turnips all day by hand for the sheep and setting pens. For years he had done nothing but work and rest. At last Mr Joe Whiting pensioned him off.

At Thrupp Wharf were Mr John Panter and his wife. They had four sons and three were at home. They were carters and coal merchants. They milked seven cows. Harry and William are going strong at present, also George and Charlie.

Will Law was a very nice chap who would sell anything for an honest bob (5p). He dealt in bicycles - Bone shakers. They named them right - all wooden wheels like a pony trap and shod with iron tyres.

We used to have a coal merchant round with his horse and trolley. He worked a lovely black horse, Pat, with a lovely coat and bones, but when he was standing he always had his tongue hanging out of his mouth about three inches. I’ve never seen one like it since in all my days.

The villagers were a very smart lot and awfully proud. There were nurses and the old Queen, Nanny Nipper and would teach all the children their manners. Mother Moore was the family Mum. Wises Branson . Holdman. Jellys. Green. Henson Willison and Smith. Hylers. Green. Tombs, and go.

Now for the Feast, which was always on the first Sunday after 11th July, every year. On the Barley Mow Field were Flash George’s Flying Horses and sideshows - all sorts of funny thing to make you laugh. Quite a thrill. The Feast at the Plough use to have dancing to the fiddle, and we had a lovely time. Mr John Clarke lived at the Manor House with his brother Frank and his sister Kitty. Until 1883 at the Manor the Clarkes had a sale, with retired Mr George Kingsley, Auctioneer.

My Father bought a grey shire mare for 49 guineas, and her foal for 23. Her name was Poppet and the foal was Dominic, which he kept for a stallion. When Dominic was four years old we took him to the station to weigh him on the weigh bridge. He fetched up at I ton I¼cwt (hundredweight).

Mr Henson Pike married Miss Kitty Clarke left Cosgrove and Farmed at Castle Ashby under the Marquis of Northampton until he died.

When Mr. Bob Weston lived at Ash Lodge Farm, Hartwell he had a horse taken ill in the horse yard. So Bob rode his old mare to Roade to wire (send a telegram) for the Vet. Then he popped into the pub. He stopped until turning out time. Riding home, his old mare stopped at the Pond for a drink. Bob slid down her neck into pond and got a ducking. When he got home he went into the yard. The horse was better as the vet had been. Bob was tired and he lay down by the crib and went to sleep. It was a frosty night and Bob woke up cold and ill in the morning. They went for Doctor Ryan at Roade and he put Bob in bed for a fortnight.

The hounds met at Castlethorpe. I went on my cream pony, Smart. They put in at Pikes Goss, Haversham Brook. Out went the Fox to Cosgrove. The hunt was racing past until the fox was killed. Capt Mansel ran him to Green House and he was dead in five minutes. Mr Frank Burds blooded me and give me the brush, which I have still got now. Mr Frank Burds was Hunt Man, Tom Smith was first Whip, Ted Cole second and Billy Newman was Whipper In.

The hounds met at Cosgrove cross roads.  A gentleman mounted his hunter. He gave two bucks and with a kick away he popped through the brewery yard. He jumped into the canal and they pulled him out the other side.