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Helmdon Historical Articles

Memories of Hazara, Church Strreet

(now  called Leeden Tye)

an article by Barbara Bennett neé Templeman

I have many happy memories of visiting Hazara (now known as Leeden Tye, 12 Church Street, Helmdon) and my Grandmother as a very young child together with my parents and older sister, Pamela.  At the time we lived in a small Warwickshire village and it was an annual outing when my Father, Jim Templeman borrowed his bosses van and we set off for the great adventure to Helmdon.   Beds were made up in the rear of the van for my sister and me to sleep on the return journey.   It is really amazing to think of all this preparation when in current times we would probably have popped over for the afternoon.

Hazara (rear) - Jimmy Templeman

with Granny Berry


However, back to my ancestry and our involvement with Helmdon.  My paternal Grandmother was Frances May Berry and her parents Annie Elizabeth and Jas Berry bought No.12 Church Street on the 30 April 1919.   I am not entirely sure where they lived prior to this although I note from the 1901 Census as listed in Aspects of Helmdon No. 6 that both Berry and Templeman families lived in the village at this time.   I do know that the outbuildings of No. 12 Church Street were used for many trades including Carpenters, Butcher, Victualler, Baker and then my Great Grandfather made shoe polish.   As far as I know there was never a candlestick maker!

The other side of my family were the Templemans who also lived in the village for a great many years although not at the time of my visits.   My Great Grandfather Thomas Templeman was the village policeman at Helmdon from 1889 until his retirement in 1908.   His six children were born and raised in the village and his second son, Alfred was my Grandfather.  Alfred married Frances Berry during the 1st World War and my Father was born in 1919.   Dad’s parents went off to Burma to serve in the British Army taking their young daughter, Elizabeth with them.  My Father, Alfred James Templeman (known as Jim or Jimmy) was raised by his maternal grandparents at Church Street.  So my Father was brought up and went to school in Helmdon and later Brackley.

Hazara (front) - c1925, Annie Elizabeth Berry

with Jimmy Templeman.


Dad joined the Army as a boy soldier at the age of 14 years and subsequently went off to war, being captured and held as a prisoner of war for 5 long years.  During that time my Grandfather who was then serving with the British Army in India died prematurely at the age of 54 years.  My Grandmother and Aunt Elizabeth together with Uncle Peter (who was born out in India) returned to Helmdon and took over the property in Church Street.  At this time Hazara was a thatched property; it was not until 1960/1 that the roof was changed to tile. The cottage always had a large garden and orchard and the toilet was situated in a brick privy to the left of the house. This land was sold off after my Aunt left.

My Grandmother named the cottage ‘Hazara’ as a result of living in Hazara Road in Quetta, India.  I don’t think that she ever recovered from her husband’s untimely death and became somewhat of a recluse.   On her death in 1964 my Aunt Elizabeth Hill nee Templeman returned from Canada with her Canadian husband and took over Hazara until she sold it to move to the West Country in 1968.

Great Granny Berry in

June 1924, 93 years old


I do remember stories told by my Father of Mattie Bloxham who lived next door at The Ferns with his housekeeper, Miss Nellie Hawker.   I well remember visiting this house and there being a revolving summer house in the garden.   Apparently my Father slept many nights in this summerhouse after being locked out of his own home when he returned on the late train from London.

I know little of the Templeman ancestry as unfortunately they had all died before I came on the scene, except the fact that my Great Grandfather was the village policeman.   I myself joined the Worcestershire Constabulary and married a Police Officer.   Our eldest son, Timothy became a Police Officer in the Royal Hong Kong Police where he met and married his Hong Kong bride who was also a serving Officer.

Genes and memories have a great part to play in our lives and I shall always treasure those of Helmdon.   I am pleased to have been able to pass on some historic memorabilia (incuding the Templeman family tree*) to the Helmdon web site  following my Aunt’s death.

Barbara Bennett née Templeman

* This is with the WEA

Editors note:  We have to hand an old estimate from T. Coles & Son, Thatchers and Hedgers from Red Hill, Chipping Warden, Banbury, dated February 1960, for re-thatching the roof of Hazara, which comes out at £281.50, the labour cost being £160.  If the thatch was still on the roof in 2019 and was being re-thatched it would come to a very much larger sum!




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