"The Chronicles of a Country Parish" - A village appraisal of Sulgrave published in 1995

(Back to Chapter 3 Index)

The earliest record of a Conservative branch in the village is a minute of the inaugural meeting held in the Scout Cabin (in School Street, on the site of Chapman's Close) on 19th December, 1927, when the Chair was taken by mrs. lester Reid (Thorpe Mandeville Manor). mr. F.J. Cave was elected Chairman with messrs. G.W. Wood and A.B. Cherry as joint Secretaries, the latter also the Treasurer. Thus the Sulgrave Branch (incorporating Thorpe Mandeville) of the South Northamptonshire Constituency Association was formed.

Annual meetings were held up to 1930. In 1932 the A.G.M. called for March 14th failed to attract a quorum and was postponed to 21st March when so few attended it was decided to close the branch.

In 1935 a meeting was held at Sulgrave House by Mr. and the Honorable Mrs. E.L. Donner (whose daughter - Mrs Linda Magnay - is the present President of the Branch) to consider re-establishing the Branch. There was a good attendance. The officials appointed were - President -Colonel Lester Reed, Chairman - Mr. E.L.Donner, Hon. Secretaries - Messrs. G. Wilkes and C.H. Godfrey, and Treasurer - Mr F. Carter. The Committee included Messrs. A.B. Cherry, P.W. Henn and W. Golby and, later the same year, Mr. W. Wootton was co-opted. For the first time there is a reference to the Ladies Section.

At a meeting in December 1935, Messrs. Carter, Cave, Donner and Godfrey were charged (sic) to canvass the village on behalf of Captain Fitzroy (Speaker of the House of Commons) who was to be the Constituency candidate at the General Election held on 14th December 1935.

Regular meetings continued up to 1939 when the Branch went into 'mothballs' for the duration of the war but in October 1945, the Branch was re-activated under the Chairmanship of Major F.A. Magnay.

At the 1948 meeting, on the suggestion of Mr. S.C. Wootton, it was agreed that the books and accounts of the branch should be audited annually. In 1949 the first house-to-house collection of subscriptions was undertaken.

The annual dinner arranged for 21st July 1950 at the Six Bells Inn had to be cancelled as the hay making was still in progress. Branch membership in 1955 was 109 - a new record. At the General Election that year (26th May) the candidate was Sir Reginald Mannigham-Buller who later became Lord Chancellor; he addressed the branch on 10th May 1955. A meeting held in 1956 to discuss an increase in minimum subscriptions firmly rejected the Constituency H.Q. suggestion that the minimum be raised from 1/- (5p) to 2/6d (12.5p).

1959 saw Major F.W. Magnay and Mrs. A. Carter standing down as joint Chairmen; they were succeeded by Mr. and Mrs. David Mumford of Corner House.

Between 1960-64 the branch appears to have closed down. In September 1964, with a General Election fast approaching, Mr. Killick (The Old Farmhouse) called a meeting of all village residents interested in the Conservative Party. Mrs. Magnay took the Chair and it was decided all present should comprise the Committee until the next meeting. Mrs. Magnay and Colonel Ball told the meeting what help was needed for the pending General Election. The candidate was Mr Arthur Jones who attended a meeting on 22nd September.

At the A.G.M. in 1965 Mr. Killick was elected Chairman and Treasurer, Mrs. Wallington - Secretary and Mrs. Magnay became President - and still holds this office today. (1992)

From 1966 to 1970 the branch was inactive but was revived following an initiative by Mr. Buxton, the Constituency Agent. Mr. S.C. Wootton was appointed Chairman, Mr. J.W. Wootton - Vice, Mrs. Thompson - Secretary and Mrs. Bradshaw - Treasurer. Mr. J.W. Wootton became Chairman in 1972 with Mr. R. Cherry as his Vice-Chairman and Mrs P. Isaacs Secretary/Treasurer.

Following changes in boundaries, the South Northants Constituency was enlarged and formed into a new Daventry Constituency of which Sulgrave became a branch.

At the 1973 A.G.M. the Officers remained unchanged except for the election of Mr. K. Tattersall as Treasurer. In the following year these officers were re-elected with the exception of Mrs. Isaacs who was replaced as Secretary by Mr. Williamson (Thatched House Hotel). In 1975 Mr. R. Cherry became Chairman with Mr. R. Henn as his Vice-Chairman.

In 1976 Mrs. J. Tattersall became Vice Chairman and Miss U. Astill, Secretary: the Chairman and Treasurer remained unchanged. All were re-elected in 1977. In 1979 Mrs. Tattersall was elected Chairman with Mr. Cherry as Vice-Chairman and the other officers unchanged. That year Mr. Reg Prentice, a former Labour Cabinet Minister was adopted as the candidate in the General Election and was duly elected.

The Branch continued to be well supported throughout the 1980s and up to the present time. Mrs. Tattersall was Chairman until 1983 and was followed by Major T. Coombs 1983-86 and Mr. Tattersall 1986 to date. Miss E. Wharton was Secretary for several of these years and was succeeded by Major J.C. Beck who is the present Secretary. Mrs. Tattersall took over the Treasurership in 1986 and remains in that capacity. Mr. K. Christy is the current Vice Chairman having been elected in 1986.

Mr. Prentice retired as the M.P. in 1987 when he was succeeded by Mr. T. Boswell, a local farmer who lives in Aynho.

The Branch holds an annual fund-raising function each Autumn, usually a Cheese and Wine or Supper Party. For the past 15 to 16 years these events have been held in private homes in the village and all have proved to be successful and enjoyable.

The Branch takes part in the annual Constituency Quiz competition and in the winter of 1989-1990, won the cup - the winning team was made up of mrs Christy and Messrs Beck, Lloyd and Prior. During the 1991-1992 winter our team reached the semi-finals - another creditable effort.