The Rees Family

Howard Rees recalls the history of the family in Willen

"My father, came from Wales in 1928. The family had always been farmers. He farmed at Weston Underwood for a couple of years at a place called Peasants Nest. Anyway my mother didn't like it - too isolated. At that time farms were two a penny - they couldn't get anyone to farm - they were all going bankrupt. My father said 'Right, we'll move'. The farmer at Willen had gone bankrupt, Ben Whiting. My father farmed both farms for 2 or 3 years but it was too much. "

So he gave up the farm at Weston and settled in Willen with his young family. At that time he was a tenant of the Busby trust and so he remained for nearly 20 years until he bought the farm in 1948.

Howard Rees was about 4 when they first came to Willen.

"We were never bored as children - never ever bored. There was always a gang of boys. There was so much to look at - bow and arrows, catapults, fishing, swim in the river.

Horses, the place was alive with animals. Cows and sheep. Harvest and the different seasons.

I used to work with the horses, cutting corn, threshing. It was great fun!"

As time went on he noticed more and more rural poverty.

"We didn't have our own threshing machine, it would go from farm to farm. As soon as this machine pulled in there would be about a dozen men begging for a days work. It was terrible."

I remember in the 1930's in the awful depression we had buildings all the way around the farm. There were people living in barns down along Linford Lane"

Click here to hear Howard Rees speaking about the children who lived in these barns.