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Compton Bassett


The People and Characters Who Have Made Compton Bassett What It Is

Ethel Arrives in Compton Bassett 1950

"I was in the Women’s Land Army at Guildford when I was in a train crash; my father had told me to never sit at the rear of a train, only the middle part as it was safer. But my friends and I were late catching this train, getting on the last carriage and were standing in the corridor when another train came into the back of us. I was injured and after hospital I was sent to Torquay for convalescence as they had a rest home there for the Women’s Land Army. There I met Viola who was stationed at Manor Farm in Compton Bassett and living with Mr & Mrs Mathews in Streete Farm. Viola invited me to Compton Bassett for the weekend, which I did. Well of course they lent me a bicycle and it got a puncture, so they told me to take it to Goodenough’s Corner where Henry Goodenough, who had been in the Marines, would mend the puncture. This he did while we chatted away and, after he had finished, he asked me if I would like to go up to the pub for a drink later on. So that is how we met and after I went back to London we kept corresponding and then Henry came up to London for a weekend, or I would come down and stay at Goodenough’s Corner. Alan Lewis, a friend of Henry’s, came up with him one weekend. Eventually we got married at Mortlake, where I lived in London and a load of Compton Bassett villagers came up in a hired coach, on Easter Sunday in 1950. There was no honeymoon but I came straight down to live at Goodenough’s Corner with Henry and his mother, who was a lovely person."

"Living at Goodenough’s Corner had its challenges. There was no electricity and no mains water, though we had a hand pump in the little back kitchen and you went from there into another little living room where we had an old fashioned black lead grate. Then you went into the hallway where, on your right, was a little lounge which to this day has a small cupboard with shelves. It’s changed an awful lot but the staircase is in the same place and up at the top is what they called a landing bedroom, which was an open bedroom. Then there were two which led into two further bedrooms. Another staircase led up to an attic which was the complete length of the whole house and was used as a playroom most of the time. It was basic really but you got used to it."

"When Henry’s mother died, we attempted to buy the rented property, which Henry had been born in. But the owner, who was not local, was not interested. It was sold nevertheless and we had to find somewhere else to live. Fortunately, a house in Briar Leaze became vacant and we moved in during 1970."

Goodenough's Corner

Goodenough corner"We lived at Goodenough’s Corner until 1971; we still didn’t have electricity as the landlord wouldn’t agree to it, even though we offered to pay for it. When Henry’s mother died there was a sort of a mix up because places in those days could pass to the wife but may be not to the son. But we thought the tenancy would change over to Henry but we weren’t allowed to take it over, so we had to move as we weren’t able to buy the place."

"No. 1 Briar Leaze was just becoming empty, so Mrs Badley who was then on Wiltshire Council said she would do her upmost to see if we could have this house, as Henry had lived here all his life. At the time it was very hard for Henry as he had lived at Goodenough’s Corner all his life. We then settled in and gradually got to like it very much. When Henry died people said to me you won’t stay here, you will move away and I said “Well, no I shan’t, why should I? I’ve got all my friends here and lived here since 1950”. If I’d moved to Calne I’d have to make all new friends and I was happy here so I just stayed and here I am still."

"The landlord of Goodenough’s Corner lived away, down country somewhere and he also owned the thatched cottage where the Wheelers live. The Lewis’ lived there then and he sold that as well. In those days people didn’t earn very big wages and Henry couldn’t afford to buy it. In a way it was meant to be that we came up here. The garden, grounds were very big because we had all the orchard and it would have been a lot of upkeep. So yes we were quite happy to move here."

"I felt welcome and of course Henry was well-liked and people get to know you and asked you to join in; I think that’s the most important part, joining in and sort of getting to know everyone."

Ethel Goodenough talking for Spotlight Compton Bassett August 2012


"The end of an era was marked at Compton Bassett, near Calne, on Teusday when a notice board at what has become known to nmany as "Goodenough's Corner" was taken down.

For 65 years the sign telling passers-by that Mr Albert John Goodenough carried on business as undertaker, wheelwright, carpenter and blacksmith in a workshop which adjoined the corner thatched cottage, 72 Compton Bassett, stood in a prominent position near the road.

It particularly figured in car rally clues and participants were regular visitors to the cottage for proof of having spotted it.

Since the death of Mr & Mrs Goodenough, their son Henry has been living there with his family. Now he has moved to a house in Briar Leaze in the centre of Compton Bassett and the family link with Mo 72 has finally been aevered

And the notice board, regararded by many as something in the nature of a landmark has disappeared forever.

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