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Aldbourne Band – A History by Graham Palmer

We are very grateful to Graham Palmer for his permission to us to make public the text of his book about Aldbourne Band. The copyright for this book is his.

The text of the book we received seems to have been a late draft so please excuse the odd part that seems unfinished.

Below are the chapters of the book… happy reading!

Chapter 1 : Introduction

Before beginning this most facinating story, I have first to voice my many misgivings in allowing your goodselves to peruse this labour of mine. The production of a written work was never a vocation I ever really seriously contemplated, indeed if you had asked a couple of years ago if I might do just that …

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Chapter 2 : The Churchwarden Account Books

Let’s now take a look at the earliest surviving documentation that makes mention of any of Aldbourne’s musicians. To do so we must view the churchwarden accounts that are now stored in Trowbridge, the two books can be seen in the archive department by anyone, anytime.  The first entry that interests us was made 1807 …

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Chapter 3 : Joseph Barnes Alder (c. 1884-1888)

This 1885 appearance was found in a report of the visit by the districts Liberal Parliamentary Candidate. It stated that the Aldbourne band headed a procession out towards Preston to “meet the man”. The procession had been oblivious to the fact that the visitor had entered Aldbourne from another direction but word was quickly sent …

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Chapter 4 : The Stacey Connection

Edward Stacey (c. 1895-1898)

I again make reference to the letter written by Thomas Arthur Palmer in that he stated that Edward Stacey established a small orchestra in the final years of the nineteenth century. Arthur may have been misled by whoever told him as there are no mentions to be found in the MT …

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Chapter 5 : Contesting

Most might think of brass band contests as events that occur in more northerly spots but many have been held in and around Wiltshire. In 1909 Marlborough decided to get on the bandwagon and hold such an event. Villagers nor bandsmen could have realised that they were witnessing the dawning of one of the most …

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Chapter 6 : Entertainments

The earliest band engagements consisted almost entirely of parades and only occasionally did a small group or full band participated in any village entertainments and then this only occurred during the very latter years of the nineteenth century. Concerts given by any village organisation were filled with a very mixed bag of acts with participants …

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Chapter 7 : Village Functions

From the very first public engagement in 1861 to the carnival procession of 1996 our village band has played at virtually every village event ever held. For occasions such as football matches, sport days, national celebrations or even political meetings, village causes like the various benefit societies, the sound of brass has been heard. It …

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Chapter 8 : The Great War

The now annual Christmas eve carol concert held in the church brought to an end a relatively quiet year for the village. Curiously the parish magazine made little if any mention of the clouds of war that were by then looming on the horizon, infact the hostilities that first announced it’s genesis seem to have …

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Chapter 9 : 1919-1939

The long years of that incredibly barbaric engagement finally drew to an end on the 11th of November 1918. It left some nine million dead and the price had been high for Aldbourne with the brunt of the bill being paid with not only a death toll of ?? but also by the often forgotten …

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Chapter 10 : Members

One band member, though never a playing member but one of many who was just as essential, was Reginald Decimus Penny. Brother-in-law of Albert Stacey, Reg was a collector with one hell of a reputation, for those who knew him reckoned he could get a pound note out of a brick wall! Today we have …

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Chapter 11 : 1939 – Today

The coming of the war in 1939 came (as it did in 1914) presumably as a shock to our band as they were still preparing for a contest right up to the outbreak.  Eric Barrett said they had “wasted their time”. In reality our band did close down this time round with more or less …

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Chapter 12 : Bandrooms

The earliest known bandroom amazingly still stands. We know of its existence from chats held with Albert Stacey and Bill Deacon, when as a young lad he had worked for Albert in his bakery. The location used was a wash house behind “Ellen Liddiard,s”. She lived there in the early part of this century. It …

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Chapter 13 : Christian Awake!

Well, my attempts at raking out the past from piles of dusty papers, books, faint images on micro fiche screens, cassette tapes etc. etc, have nearly come to an end but since starting out on my pursuit for information and sat down at my computer tapping away, I have tried, with no luck, to find …

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Chapter 14 : Families

Names like Alder, Barnes, Barrett, and Palmer were once synonymous as the very name of Aldbourne. Sadly, and oddly a trait that has been proved a curse for our band, a lack of male offspring from our bandsmen has meant the extinction of several of these families from not only our band but of our …

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Chapter 15 : Chronicle

Important village and band events reported during AV Jerrams time as bandmaster.


Opening of Memorial Hall.

JG Alder married.

Aldbourne band play every sat evening in the square.

Fred Barnes played football for Swindon?

1st “East Wilts” band contest held in Aldbourne.

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