+ Jane Talbott 1829-1906

Born: 2 Aug 1829 at Sparkford, Somerset, England

Parents:  Samuel Talbott 1797-1870 and Charity Way 1792-1866

Siblings: James Talbott 1821-1907, Mary Ann Talbott 1823-1895, Sarah Talbott 1825-1837, Thomas Talbott 1828-1829, Elizabeth Talbott 1832-1920?, Susanna Talbott 1836-1866

Married: John Oram 1824-1907 on 18 July 1847 at Rimpton, Somerset, England


Lived in:  Sparkford, Somerset; Manston and Iwerne Minster, Dorset, England; Burrishoole, Newport, Co Mayo, Ireland; Clinsfold, Slinfold, Sussex, England; Wilford Lodge, Newport, Co Mayo, Ireland; Lovington and Little Weston, Somerset, England.

Died:  29 April 1906 at Little Weston, Somerset, England


Wife of John Oram, mother of 14 children, ten of whom survived. Daughter of Samuel Talbott of Sparkford and his wife Charity (née Way) of Wincanton.

We have the “In Memoriam” Card of May 1906 from which I quote: “It is not easy in a short paragraph to do justice to a character in which so many excellent qualities were associated. Doubtless one of the principal charms of her character which pervaded, animated, and endeared the whole was warmth of heart, a cordial kindness of disposition ….. she was often occupied in thinking of the happiness of others and in praying fervently for them ….. Her humility and fidelity, her hospitality and goodwill her abhorance of evil, and her rigid integrity her industry and economy, all tend to point her out as a character that will live in the remembrance of those who best knew her as a pattern worthy the imitation of those who may have similar obligations to fulfil or similar trials to endure.

She was remembered with love and affection over 60 years later by her grandchildren and two of her neighbours at Little Weston.

Jane must also have been a woman of great courage. In 1853 she travelled alone to Ireland with her three children, including baby Arthur. It was a nightmare journey with an uncomfortable sea crossing, then by primitive railway across Ireland to just as far as the train could take them. The rest of the way was by trap or jaunting car. The only home awaiting them when they got there was the tower of the ruined castle (Maryland) which swayed in the wind.  When Jane woke up she saw baby Arthur being cared for by an old countrywoman smoking a pipe.

At that time there were secret societies who would harass families of agents, and they could well have tried to intimidate Jane while John was visiting England. One of Jane’s grandchildren tells the story that one day one of the potential assassins walked across the hall at Wilford Lodge (though this was probably Burrishoole Farmhouse) and into the parlour, where Jane talked to him calmly and with much dignity. Mercifully he went away again quite peaceably after Jane’s courteous treatment.

Jane was a great maker of homemade medicines and her special ointment was sought after for miles around. It was made of lard, olive oil, resin and beeswax.

John and Jane c1875 Horsham, Sussex

When the family lived at Lovington Jane and her young daughters used to attend the Methodist Chapel in the village, whilst John attended the C of E (Church of England) Church at Wheathill. Jane truly seems to have been a remarkable woman – small wonder her family loved her almost to a point of adoration.

Lily Hinxman’s memories of visiting her Grandparents (John & Jane Oram) at Little Weston.

“From the moment you got out of the train at Sparkford station and piled into the trap borrowed from the Isaacs or into Grandfather’s little donkey carriage, it was pure happiness. We loved the moment of turning off the high road into the lane that led first to King Brains Farmhouse, then past the Perry’s house and orchard and at last to Grandfather’s. (We were proud of the fact that Little Weston was so small – only 7 houses – so distinctive!)

We rushed through the front door into the flagged passage and turned with one accord into the kitchen where we knew three things would await us -the glorious smell of oil (why so glorious?), an egg-timer on the wall (why was this so important) and the wide-open chimney to which we rushed to peer up at the sky showing above it.

In the front kitchen on the other side of the passage, was a screen that Aunt Jane had once pasted with pictures. There was the settle before the fire, the mullioned window, the latched door, leading to the stairs. And out in the courtyard were other things to visit – the pump (how we hated the taste of the water!), the old carved table (what was the date on it – something pretty remote), and the step down into the dark cool dairy. And then through the iron gate into the farmyard – what unending interest! Hens, hen’s eggs, the feeding of hens, the way they roosted, going round in the evening dropping the peculiar little hatches to shut them in.

The shed where Whisky the donkey lived, the apple loft above with stone steps leading to it -such venerable steps, centuries old we thought. And the orchard – that was wonderful. There was also the attic in the house, reached by a ladder and an object of curiosity to us. Mercifully, no-one ever told us about the ghost who was said to make loud noises up there; nor of the mysterious sealed room which grand-father had once been persuaded to open up and then had had it sealed up again without letting anyone know what was in it.

(Strange too that no-one ever told us about how King Arthur had had his camp up on Cadbury Castle a few fields away and ridden with his Knights along the causeway which had swept round along the top of the orchard and through what is now King Brain’s farmyard.)

There’s a special memory of an evening stroll with Annie, grandmother’s trusted servant-girl, in a lane with hollyhocks growing at the cottage doors of a Sunday morning on the way to church when every leaf and blade of grass seemed alive with sunshine; of rides through the lanes in the donkey carriage with ragged robin and cow parsley on each bank almost meeting in the middle of the road; of hay carts in the fields; primroses under the hedge as you turned up the Weston Bampfylde lane; the mounting steps on the house wall; the little yellow flowered plant that pushed through the slats of the fence, the way grandmother’s bedroom window looked straight out on to the Perry’s orchard; Grandfather’s churchwarden pipe and a two-handled cider mug; the yellow dignity of the parlour; grandmother’s indoor lace caps.

It was a sad time for all the family when Grandmother began to fail in the winter of 1905 and died in the following spring, lovingly attended by her six heartbroken daughters. Grandfather lived on another year. Then he too was put to rest in Weston Bampfylde Churchyard.”

Bab Fox’s Memories of her Grandparents, (John & Jane Oram)

“We lived at Lovington, about 5 miles from Grandma and Grandpa and often visited them.

If it was a nice fine day in the summer, mother would say “Come on children, we will have a nice walk to see Grandma and Grandpa today and picnic on the way.” Leaving home about 11.0 a.m. we would go through the fields at South Barrow and stop for lunch under the trees in a field near Sparkford Station. How we enjoyed that picnic lunch. Walking made us hungry and much better than sitting to a table.

After the picnic and a little rest, we would continue the other two miles walk onto Little Weston, arriving there about 2.30 or 3.0 p.m. – after Grandpa and Grandma had their afternoon rest. They were always pleased to see us and we enjoyed visiting them.

We left for home early in the evening, and walked back feeling tired but happy. We did this walk many times during each summer.

We spent each Christmas with Grandpa and Grandma – it was a lovely old house with thatched roof and Bath stone mullioned windows. Our grandparents were so good and seemed so happy to have us with them. We were very fond of them.

Mother hired a horse and trap from a man in the village to take us over, as there was a suit case to carry and we enjoyed this ride as we did not have many. We went each year on December 23rd, so that mother could see to the preparing of the Christmas turkey or goose – as the case may be – and other items for Christmas day. Christmas Eve we played table games in the parlour and Grandpa watched us as he sat in his chair beside the fire, and smoked a long-stemmed pipe with his elbow resting on one knee and a cat on the other. He would often smile as he watched us win or lose our games. I remember him as a grand old man with chiselled features, long white beard and white hair.

Grandma would be sitting in her rocking chair in front of the fire, with a small shawl on her shoulders and a fancy lace cap on her head. She had lovely brown eyes, dark hair and most of her own teeth – no false ones at 70 years.

I understand she was a pretty woman when young and very good-natured in every way, making and sending special dishes to anyone in the village who was ill or in need.

Grandma usually went to bed early, but not so on Christmas Eve. Ciss, Jim and self were sent before her, and I understood when I was older, why she stayed up later that special evening – it was to take our short stockings off the bedsteads where we had put them for Father Christmas and put long big light grey stockings full of good things such as fruit, sweets, dates, figs, oranges, etc., in their place; and with mother, put all our presents hanging on the bedstead. It was a wonderful sight for us when we woke up. Jim would run into our room to show us what Father Christmas had brought him – and we would show him our presents. I think Grandma, Grandpa and mother were as pleased to see our enjoyment as we were to have so much love shown us.

After breakfast, I went into the kitchen to see the big log fire on the “dogs” which made a lovely glow, and the big pot with a long handle on a chain hanging from an iron rod up the big chimney, which I think they call a chimney-hook – this pot was for the Christmas Pudding. Beside it was a large kettle hanging from another hook. Before the big fire was the turkey in a Dutch Oven, and when one side was cooked, the oven was opened on the other side and that was then cooked. The vegetables, etc., in other pots, hung over the fire.

I often wondered how Annie managed to make the toast for Grandma’s breakfast – which she had in bed – so quickly after lighting the fire. But one morning I was downstairs early and found when she lit the dining-room fire, which was one with bars, she put a few cinders between each bar so they would get red hot quickly, put the bread on a long-stemmed toasting fork which was soon nice and brown. How thankful we, of our generation, should be for the modern appliances we now have.

Grandma made different kinds of wine – such as Elderberry, cowslip, parsnip, etc. Also a lot of jam and jelly from the fruit in the garden, with the help of Annie. She also made an ointment which was very good; as I well remember when I was a little girl and fell down cutting my hands and knees on roads or stones. Mother would put a little of Grandma’s ointment on the wound, soon stopping the pain and curing the cut.

When Grandpa was old he could not get up into a trap very well because of rheumatism in his leg and back, so he had a small four-wheel carriage and a donkey to take him to Sparkford, or for a ride round the villages with Grandma. He brought Grandma over to see us at Lovington and when he could not come, Annie would drive Grandma over to us for the day and then visit her parents who also lived in Lovington and return to Grandma in the evening, harnessing the donkey to the carriage and trot off to Little Weston. The donkey had a good feed of grass all day in the yard belonging to our house, which was the Dairy House – Grandpa let the cows to a dairyman when at Charity Farm and mother let grass grow over the yard, so Whisky, the donkey, enjoyed the nice fresh grass.

When I was ill from a chill I caught soon after I went to Yeovil, the Dr. said I had to be wrapped in cotton wool, and stay in bed for three weeks – so, of course, I went home to Little Weston.

Grandma was very kind and came into my bedroom and cheered me up, especially on my 16th birthday which was a few days after I was sent to bed. She stayed with me most of that day.

When Grandma was taken ill with a stroke, mother thought it best for me not to come and see her, but to remember her as she was when I last saw her. Neither of we children went to her funeral, as mother thought it would upset us and would not help others.”

Nearest house: John & Jane’s home in Little Weston, known as “Avalon” in the 1960s



Supporting Documents for John and Jane

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