5th January 1962
MRS A. E. EDWARDS
The death of Mrs. Annie Elizabeth Edwards, formerly of Collinsfield, Evesham, which took place in her ninety-first year at Ravenscourt, Droitwich (on December 30th 1961), sees the passing of one whose family had long connections with Evesham and Broadway. She was born in Evesham and was one of the three daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Stokes, who then lived on Merstow Green at a house adjacent to the Almonry.
There on Merstow Green, Thomas Stokes carried on his business as a wheelwright and it was he who built the first "Famous Vale of Evesham Light Gardening Dray for a Half-Legged Horse to Trot" (the quotation is from his account book) a century ago, the forerunner of many that became so familiar a sight in the towns and villages from the sixties onwards. He built many more for the use of the Vale gardeners and among the familiar local names listed in his notebook for whom he made drays, traps, carts and trucks were such prominent figures in Victorian Evesham as Mayor Allard, Alfred Haines, Henry Masters, Messrs. Espleys, Fred Hirons, John Idiens and Fred George.
Thomas Stokes also had long-standing business dealings with the people of the circus and fairgrounds, and had a contract to effect necessary repairs and renewals to their waggons whenever they visited the district. He built living waggons for many of the show people's families as well as shooting galleries and other equipment peculiar to the trade of his wandering customers, and among the names figuring in his books are some still familiar today, such as Wilsons and Chipperfields.
The family eventually lived at La Quinta, Broadway, and in this village the drays and carts continued to be made and to play their part in the district's leading industry. Here the wheelwright's children grew up, and when the Maxton family visited the village to stay with Mr. and Madame de Navarro at Court Farm, they offered Mrs. Edwards a family post with them which took her for several years to Paris and other parts of the continent.
In 1897 she married at St. Lawrence Church, Evesham, Mr. Albert Parker Edwards, of Birmingham and they spent many years at Redditch and later Droitwich in the innkeeping and hotel industry. In the 1920's they were for several years proprietors of the Bear Hotel, Evesham and were afterwards at the Red Lion Hotel, Astwood Bank until Mr. Edwards death in 1930. A few years later Mrs. Edwards returned to Evesham living in Cheltenham Road and then at Collinsfield, until she moved to Droitwich a few years ago.
She is survived by two daughters, Mrs. H. J. Phipps, of Evesham, and Mrs. W. J. Weaver, of Bromsgrove, and two sons, Mr. Ralph Edwards, of Droitwich and Mr. Osmond Edwards, of Fownhope, Hereford. One daughter died in infancy, and her eldest son, Bert, died several years ago.
A joint memorial service for Mrs. Annie Elizabeth Edwards and her sister Mrs. Kate Spence will take place at St. Michael's church, Broadway on Wednesday.
Both Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. Spence were born at Broadway.