Audio Recordings: Life Memories of Rose Burson

Rose Burson interviewed by Mike Linfield 1988

No exact date is given for this 1988 interview with Rose Burson by Mike Linfield. The interview begins with Rose talking about her experiences in the Land Army during the First World War, and we hear much about these early years of her life before settling in Milton.

She lets us know that she volunteered for the Land Army, because she loved animals and farming and she enjoyed her placements – except, it seems,  for Eynsham.

Life Before the Wychwoods

She served briefly at a farm in Bledington, then in Aston Rowant and then to a farm near Folkestone where she worked in a threshing gang, living with nine other girls in a renovated bothy. Here she earned 18s a week of which 10s went on board and lodging. 

After this, Rose moved to Tring where she learned milking, then to Eynsham and finally to Mr George Grove’s farm at Upper Milton where she learned to plough with horses, riding the foremost horse on the binding team, and where she met her future husband Stan Burson.

At Milton

In her reminiscences, Rose talks about the donkey at Upper Milton which she said was ‘the bane of my life’. It regularly blocked her path when she brought the cows into the barn each morning and proved to be equally stubborn if Rose had to take the donkey cart elsewhere. She notes that when she came to Milton there were five donkeys that she knew of (the others owned by Mr Bourne, Mr Miles, Mr Gilbert and Mr Watson) but she doesn’t know of any in 1988!

Family Life

Rose was born into a large family (she was child number 12 of 14) of a gamekeeper at Eastwood Hay estate eight miles from Newbury. She talks about her childhood living in a rural community which, although isolated, was extremely happy.

Her descriptions of the landscape conjure up an idyllic scene. Her father taught her a love of nature as she accompanied him at work and life had a seasonal and secure rhythm. For example, she talks about the annual drove of sheep in September that passed on the way to Newbury market with horseback riders and the annual shoot on the estate that her father prepared for, and everyone helped with.

More Anecdotes and Memories

Life also revolved around the church and, in Rose’s case, around two churches because they lived on the Hampshire/Berkshire border and were in two parishes. She talks about how Christmas was celebrated and about school where she became a pupil-teacher before she joined the Land Army.

Rose Barnes married Stan Burson in 1923. She talks about how she met him and how he had been born in the High Street at Milton-under-Wychwood in a cottage next to London House.

Her final reminiscences are about people and places in Milton after her marriage, particularly during the Second World War when American servicemen were here. 


Rose was one of the interviewees for the Wychwoods Local History Society “That’s How It Was”. More about this is here

CHB Oct 2023