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Helmdon Historical Documents

The Craftsman's Notebook


The Craftsman's Notebook, compiled by a Helmdon wheelwright/carpenter (probably Arthur Taylor, but it may have been Alfred J Watts) at the end of the nineteenth century, has been purchased by Helmdon branch WEA. It can now be seen at the Northamptonshire Record Office, to whom it is on permanent loan.

It is the subject of an article in Aspects of Helmdon no 5, written by Diana Burfield.

Because the book contains many sketches eg spring carts, barrows, beds, door and window frames, and a comprehensive bibliography, it has excited the interest of the Cogges Farm Museum, Witney.

It also includes a sketch map of a village Coronation holiday tent (reproduced in the Aspects of Helmdon article), a sketch of a lace-making pillow, hints on how to clean smoky ceilings, make cement roads, polish oak furniture and how to frost a window (reproduced in article), remove ink stains on mahogany, and how to mix paints. Perhaps surprisingly there are also details of the acreage of farms in Helmdon (also in article).

Names in the Notebook include Phillips, Liddington, J Watson, W Humphrey, Mr Fairbrother, L Watson, Mr Salmon, Mr Barford, G Hawkes, Miss Liddington, Mr Thomason, Mr Bayley, Mr Kelley, Mr Thomason, Mrs Young, Mr G Adkins, Mr Constable, George Stockley, Jesse Seckington, John Grantham, John Branson and Mr Treadwell. They were buying, variously, carts, barrows, window frames, cupboards, door frames, porches, etc from the wheelwright/carpenter whose book this was.

However, for much more detailed information, Diana Burfield has written a very comprehensive draft index (see below).

If you wish to see The Craftsman's Notebook, no appointments are necessary at the Northamptonshire Record Office at Wootton Hall Park, and if you telephone in advance (01604 764129) they are sometimes able to get the document out, ready for your inspection.



(?Arthur Taylor) of Helmdon, Northants end nineteenth century

Compiled by Diana Burfield
(nb. Not comprehensive, nor are the page numbers definitive)


Acreage of farms at Helmdon, 125

   Box Barrow, 20, 14
   Boy's string barrow
   Hand Barrow, 181
   Large stable barrow, Mr Thomason, 181
   Light box barrow, 22
   Navvy barrow, 1,6,64
   Small barrow for boy, 120
Bier, King's, Wappenham, 46
Bobbin wheel
Bridgewater tile, ep

   Carriage for W Humphrey, Hay Merchant, 1894, 56-7
   Carriages, guides, 29
   One horse carriage, 180, for Mr Hill, Northampton 192
   Spring trap, Mr Constable's, 191
   Stout carriage, 35; Liddington, 51, 91
   Timber carriage, large, 148-9
   Timber carriage, one horse, 4
   Timber carriage, carriage for, 192
   Two horse carriage, 2,180
   Carriers cart, verso fep
   Carrier's van, Welch Weston, 187
   Cart frame bed
   Cart bed, for Mr Barford, Astwell Park, 158
   Donkey cart, 14
   Dung cart bed, Mr Barford's, 102
   Dung cart, middle sized 10
   Dung cart, common, 3,6
   Full sized boarded rave cart, 21
   Light one-horse cart, 15; Mr Salmon's, 102-3
   Light sized two horse boarded rave cart, 33
   One-horse cart, 20
   One-horse Crosskill cart, 93
   Scotch cart, 13b, 161
   Spring cart bed, G Hawkes's, 107; 187
   Spring cart, 14,193
   Spring cart, full-sized, 3, 14
   Spring cart, J Watson's, 53; Jeffry's, 55
Cottage plans, 136, 137,139,140,141;
   for Mr Bird, 143-5
   for Christ Church on Mr Sanders's farm at Fleet Marston 152-3

Doors, 174
   front, 188
Doorway, 17

Farm buildings & equipment
   Cow crib, 184
   Cow house
   Cowstalls 192
   Cucumber light, 129
   Fences, 114
   Hen House for James Russel, Marston
   Manger, ep
   Pig crate, 150
   Pig ?hutch
   Potatoe (sic) trough , ep
   Scalding tray, 168
   Section of bro? ing on Mr Watts's farm, Culworth, 176
   Sheepracks, 93, 189
   Sheep trough ends, 106
   Sheep trough
   Trug, 78
   Turnip cutter
Farmhouse, Mr Treadwell's, Slapton, 105, 108, 170
Furniture and household items
   Board (set of shelves) for Flowers, 85
   Chest of drawers
   Closet in bedroom, 173
   Clothes horse, three-fold, 113
   Clothes horse
   Clothes box, 189
   Corner cupboard for J Watson, 93
   Dough trough, 113,182
   Fire screen, 186
   Flour bin
   Lacemaking pillow horse, 174
   Salt box, 30, 88
   Salting tray, 106
   For Conservative dinner, 151
   Kitchen, 39
   Frame, for deal, 1

Graves, brick, 89

Helmdon church, Northants, tenders for restoration in 1876, 25
House, Mrs Kelly's, 172


Magdalen College, sale of property, Helmdon, 1894
Mantelpeice (sic), 182

Northampton Charity, 125

Overseer's duties, 94-7

People (individual) in Kelly's Commercial, 1894*; surname listed **; name on Helmdon family research list on www.helmdon.com +
   Adams, Mr, Brackley 194
   *+Adkins, Mr G (framer and grazier), Helmdon, 125, 188
   Asplin, Mr A., Lowland Cottages, Great Kingshill, 182
   Astwell, Mr, Helmdon, 194
   Bachelor, 125
   Barford, Mr, of Astwell Park, 158
   Bayley, N
   Bazeley, Mrs, rep
   Bird, Mr, 144
   +Branson, John, Helmdon, 194
   Constable, Mr
   Ellis, 125
   *Fairbrother, Mr, Helmdon, 86-7, 125
   +Flowers, 85
   Grantham, John, Helmdon, 194
   Hawkes G, 109
   Hill, Mr, of Northampton, 192
   Himes (?Hines), H Grainer, Sulgrave, Banbury, fep
   **+Humphrey, W, Hay Merchant
   Hunt, George, of Eydon
   Hutchings, William, ?singer, Chapel Hill, Brackley Road, Silverstone, Towcester
   ** Jeffrey, J. Astwell? Ground, Helmdon, 125
   *Jesset(t) J(ohn, farmer and grazier), 125
   *Kelcher (Henry, Carrier), 125
   Kelly, Mr, Mrs
   King, Wappenham
   Liddington, Miss, 119
   +Peters, Helmdon, 125
   Reid, M., Fountain House, 65
   Russel, James, of Marston (?Fleet Marston, Aylesbury)
   *Salmon, Mr (John), farmer, Helmdon, 125
   Sanders, Mr, of Fleet Marston, Aylesbury, Bucks
   +Seckington, Jesse, Church Road, Helmdon, 194
   Stockley, George, Helmdon, 194
   Stopps, 125
   *Taylor (Arthur, carpenter), tender for restoration of Helmdon church in 1876,
   Treadwell, Mr, of Slapton
   Varney, EL, Silverstone, carriage dealer, ep
   *+Watson, J(ames, farmer, and carrier), Helmdon, 125
   Watts, Mr, of Culworth
   Wood(s) Mr, Helmdon, 125
   *Wrighton (Edwin and John, farmers), Top Farm, Helmdon
   Wrighton, J, rep
   Young, Mrs, Stuckley
   Young, Mr, tender for restoration of Helmdon Church in 1876, 25

Places (Northamptonshire unless otherwise noted)
   Astwell Park
   Aylesbury, Bucks, 152-3
   Brackley Mill
   Christ Church, Oxford
   Culworth, 172, 17
   Eydon, 160
   Fleet Marston, Aylesbury, Bucks
   Great Kingshill, Nr High Wycombe, Bucks
   Helmdon, 125
   Acreage of farms, 125
   Church restoration of 1876, 25
   Home Farm, Helmdon, 125
   Magdalen College, Oxford
   Manor, Helmdon
   Northampton, 192
   Rectory Glebe, 125
   Stuckley (?)
   Wappenham, 46
   Welch Weston (?)
   Worcester College, Oxford, 125
Publications, 118,168

Quantities (slates and tiles)

   Brush polish for coffins, 106
   Cement, 15
   Graining colours, 118
   Ink stains, removal of
   Old oak furniture, cleaning, 124
   Paint, 115-18
   Paint-remover, 98
   Polish for banisters
   Polish reviver, 53
   Putty, removing, 113
   Smokey ceilings, to clean, 105
   Roof pitch, 79,159

Tar cord, ep
Tent, for Coronation holiday, 72
Theatre stage, 177
Tiles, 166
      Brace and bit, J Wrighton, rep.
      2 inch 8th centre bits, Church carpenter, rep
      Mrs Bazeley. 2 augers, rep
   Felloe saw, 43
   Lathe, 42
   Row drill, ep

   Double shaft wagon for Mr Fairbrother, 62-3
   Full sized straight bedded wagon, 13
   Light sized Oxfordshire, 11-12
   Light-sized straight bedded wagon, 2
   Light wagon bed, 22
   Light, 6
   Oxfordshire, 8-9
   Straight bed wagon, M Bayley's, 165
   Straight bed wagon, Phillips make, 31, figs. 40, 41
   Straight-bedded, 7-8
Walling, costs of stone and brick, 135
   Carriage wheels, fig. 38, 160
   Carrier's cart, 183
   Dung cart, 82
   Spring cart, 183
   Waggon, spokes for, 21
   Timber carriage, 5
   Frames, 151, 178, 179,189-90
   Mr Adkin's, 188
   Culworth Cottage, 172
   Miss Liddington's, 119
   Mrs Young's, Stuckley, 183
Wire nails, mixed, 193


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