Memories of Fazeley, written by Joseph T. Hunter in August 2008 when he was 88 years old.

Our Darling Bobby

Our darling Bobby', the 5th Sir Robert, was called by the women of Fazeley and he was held in great esteem.

Married in 1920 to Beatrice Lilley, a petite Canadian girl, the ceremony was held at St Paul's Church, Fazeley, because Robert's father was at odds with the vicar of Drayton Bassett.

The reception was held at the White Lion Hotel which was situated in the corner of Fazeley Square. Lots of stars of the stage attended including Marie Aster and Jack Buchanan, for Bea was well known around the music halls. She was a comedienne and vaudeville star and also appeared in a few films.

The early years of the marriage were happy and they were together for a few years as I saw them together in 1925 at the Manor.

Beatrice travelled a lot between this country and America, carrying out music hall engagements.

Sir Robert had his dance band, 'Sir Robert and the Bing Boys' and he also travelled the country so they were not together a great deal. Gradually they drifted apart but did not divorce and in the mid thirties, Sir Robert took a mistress, who I met later, when they went to live at the Swiss Lodge.

Sir Robert was a tall handsome man and a great womaniser and the women would swoon around him. Word would go out ' Bobbie is at the Horseshoes or the Tuns' and women would flock there. A few years ago, a female friend of ours told us his chat up line and I found it unique and amusing!

The cricket teams

The Manor had a beautiful cricket pitch partly surrounded by a wood and it had a large dance hall and bar attached to the pavilion and changing rooms. Sir Robert ran two cricket teams, one for Saturday for villagers and one for Sunday partly composed of shopkeepers and two professionals paid and loaned from Warwickshire. I hardly missed watching a game on Sundays. I would come out of Sunday school, go straight to the ground and when the cricketers went off for tea, I would nip down the street for mine.

On Bank Holidays all day matches would be played and a large marquee would be pitched for refreshments, they were great days and good cricket was played.

The two umpires that stood were Mr Simkins of Atherstone Street and Mr Abel Cleaver of Drayton Road, both were personalities.

I saw Eric Hollies of Warwickshire play a great spin bowler who brought his arm over twice before releasing the ball. He bowled the great Don Bradman for a duck late on in Don's career , whilst on one occasion being knocked about in a Sydney test, a 'wag' on the famous hill shouted ' put a kangaroo on '.

I also saw 'Tiger Len Smith', the Warwickshire wicket keeper play. Also Harold Pearson the local West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper and Joe Bradford, the Birmingham City forward.

In later years Voce of the Larwood and Voce 'bodyline bowlers' kept a butchers shop in Bolebridge Street Tamworth.

Bobbies teams as far as I can remember them were


  • Stan Bourne opening bat, shopkeeper of Bolebridge Street
  • Leon Cox opening bat and wicket keeper, Butcher
  • Shirl Godderidge batsman, had a pet shop in Bolebridge Street
  • Alan Beard all rounder, worked at Reliant
  • Harold Brierley fast bowler, worked at Tolsons
  • Harry Loder fast bowler, worked at Stoneware
  • Hastilow Captain Freeman occupation not known
  • Harry Dolphin spin bowler, Electricity Board
  • Len Johnson batsman, worked at Alders
  • Plus two professionals


  • Sir Robert Peel
  • Harold Brierley
  • Edwin Brierley wicketkeeper, miner
  • Sam Brierley all rounder, miner
  • Harry Vickers all rounder, Tolsons
  • Tommy Sandall medium pace bowler, Tolsons
  • Harry Young slow bowler, Whateley Brick
  • Len Latham medium pace bowler, miner
  • 'Tommo' Thompson 11th man?, Reliant
  • Doug Beeston all rounder, L.M.S
  • Frank Egan left handed batsman, Alders

That is all I can remember.

Harry Young, my cousin, a single man, palled around with Bobby and Eddie Hicken, a painter. Harry was a slow bowler and on one occasion took the first nine wickets and Len Latham took the last one , but he was so poor a batsman that Sir Bobby gave him a pint of beer for every run that he scored.

Harry was also the captain of Kettlebrook Highfield football club and they won quite a few cups in the Twenties .