Memories of Stoke Lyne


In 1977, my late husband, Ron. and I moved from Melbourne, Australia into 28 Stoke Lyne at the end of the village. It was very dilapidated, consisting originally 2 workman’s cottages. They had been converted to one house, without water, or a well that didn’t work. Ron dug a water line to Sheep-wash across the neighbouring farm lands, so that we could have running water. We paid the owner for the rights to do that. A HUGE job! We were Australian Ballroom Dance champions and were teaching in Bicester, while looking for a pub to buy. During the renovations, Ron had a sudden fatal heart attack in 1978 and passed away at aged 46. I was devastated, but continued with the renovations. They turned 28 Stoke Lyne into a lovely stone cottage, very much bigger than originally. I met and 3 years later married Cliff Astley, a widower in the village with 3 sons, whose mother, Clarice, had died 7 years earlier. They lived at the Forge, which I bought from local farmers, John and Pam (?) whose names I can’t remember, unfortunately. I brought Cliff, Philip 20, David,17 and Martin,15, to Australia after we were married in 1981. Cliff died in 1993 with cancer. I also had cancer in 1998, but recovered. I don’t have any connection with the sons now, although some with Martin, always a delightful boy and now, man. I wish he and his lovely wife, Joanne well. They have 4 children, 2 sons and pretty twin girls. All Cliff’s sons have done extremely well in Australia, which I don’t think would have happened if they’d stayed in Stoke Lyne. The villagers of Stoke Lyne were a lovely group of people. I went back in 2000 and met up with the Tyacks again. The Forge and surrounds had been developed, and are looking very pleasant. Selling that was a terrible drama! So much trickery! Doubtful that I’ll be back… so many memories of bad events, but lovely Stoke Lyne people.. Thank you all!!!


I lived in Tusmore from about 1950 to Nov 1953 when we emigrated to New Zealand. I used to travel in a small van across Tusmore Park to school. Miss Saville was the teacher and my mother worked as her assistant for a few months. I visited Miss Saville in her retirement whilst in the UK in 1962. A TV was brought in for us to watch the Queen’s coronation and that was the first time I saw television. I recall not liking the school dinners and every new child was initiated by having to stand all alone on the shoe grating against the wall before the other children started to make friends. It was awful. My mother went to the Women’s Institute at Tusmore House and I was the sailor for them in a show. Names which come to mind are my friend, Fenella, who lived in a cottage on the Estate and the English boys who lived near me in a house which had a turret tower. There was a large chestnut tree by the school and we liked having conker fights! The van’s drop-off point was outside the village shop. I am visiting Tusmore and Buckinghamshire in May (2011) from NZ with the aim of going down memory lane revisiting my childhood there up until the age of 8. I wonder where my contemporaries are now?


I lived in Tusmore Park in the late 1950s and early 1960s. My name was Susan Barnsley. My dad Ken was gardener in the enclosed Victorian garden and I remember living in Garden Cottage which backed onto the gardens, there was also a racing stables run by Mr Keane. I remember my best friend in the park was Suzanne Clark, the gamekeeper’s daughter, she had a brother called Rodney who was friends with Trevor Keane, son of the stable manager, We used to play in the grounds of the big house, as we called it, there were small ponds with newts in, we were not really supposed to play there but we did. I also went to school in Stoke Lyne and I remember Miss Saville and another teacher, Miss Andsell, Names from school I recall are Susan Turzack, Poppy Squires, Ann Miller, Pat and John Jones. I also had a friend called Wendy Burnham who lived at the crossroads towards Bicester where you turned off to go to Stoke Lyne. I remember walking through a woodland tunnel from Tusmore part of the way to Stoke Lyne, and I remember being in the Brownies and going to our Brown Owl’s wedding at Stoke Lyne church. It was a magical childhood living there. I remember going horse riding on Mrs Brown’s farm just outside the park. I loved living in Tusmore. My brother also went motorbike scrambling near Stoke Lyne.