The Parish of St Michael and All Angels, Withyham

and All Saints, Blackham

East Sussex

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picture of Withyham Church

picture of Withyham Church


Parish Registers


On 16th February the funeral took place at St. Michael’s Church, Withyham of David Owen SAVILL (Hoadley’s Farmhouse, Hoadley’s Lane) who died on 3rd February 2021 aged 96, followed by burial in the Churchyard.

On 19th February the funeral took place at St. Michael’s Church, Withyham of Ann Teresa COWEN (Heather View Nursing Home, Crowborough) who died on 24th January 2021 aged 79, followed by burial in the Churchyard.

Obituary Notices

Funeral Service for Rosemary Goolden

Withyham Church   25th February 2021 

Address given by Michael Goolden


Memories of Ro


These are rather restricted circumstances, but thank you all for coming today, covid haircuts and all!  It’s great and you represent Ma’s wide circle of family and friends, ancient and modern if I may say, and some of you have travelled far, notably John Hadley who we have known all our lives and who has kindly driven from Bristol to take part in this service.  Jilly, Alastair and I really appreciate it.  


99 years ago today, our lovely mother was born.  A long time ago – that was before Tutankhamun was discovered; even before the BBC was created.  Rosemary, or Ro, (or Granny Butter or Ro-Ro as she was latterly known), experienced so much change in those 99 years.


Her father was Christopher Lowther and her mother Dorothy Bromley Davenport – and those 2 families have each produced more Members of Parliament than any other.   However Ma herself was not political, but she did have strong opinions and values, which were a firm guiding force throughout her life.  


Though some may think she was born into a life of privilege her early years were touched with great sadness.  When she was 5 a sister was born, but died as a baby; happiness returned when another sister, Jenny, was born when she was 10, but when she was 12 her father, to whom she was devoted, died suddenly from peritonitis.  Ro was sent off to boarding school, which she hated, and then to a school in France and to a family in Austria to learn French and German.  Her teens were decidedly unsettled. 


When War broke out, she enlisted in the Wrens at the age of 17, and she served throughout, rising to the rank of 2nd Officer.  But the War brought further sadness as all three of her half brothers were killed.   Since the War she never missed the Remembrance Day service, and for many years, with a tear in her heart if not in her eyes, she has recited Binyon’s poem for the fallen: 

                “They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:

                Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn……”

And it’s rather poignant that the last time those words were heard in this church was when she spoke them from memory last November.


It was during the War that she met Douglas, introduced by their mutual friend Frank Giles, and they were married on 7th July 1945 in Mayfair, when Ro was 23.   Frank and Kitty were great friends throughout their lives, and it was through them and Kitty’s parents, Buck and Diana de la Warr, that they came to live in Withyham over 70 years ago when Ma was 27.


As happens, children came along; first me, then Jilly and Alastair, and we had a happy country childhood through the 50’s and 60’s.  Ro, perhaps reflecting her own upbringing, and not versed in the art of bringing up children, encouraged us to roam widely, and we had a rather free-range sort of existence.  


We have received lots of very kind messages following Ma’s death, many from our friends from those times with some really fond childhood memories, and it is very special to all of us that families who were close to ours over so many years are represented here today.  As one friend wrote, “Along with the Church and the Dorset Arms, Ro was Withyham”.  


Those reminiscences are of our mother as a magnet around whom family life revolved, a warm and welcoming person who would dish out tea and crumpets in front of the Aga or, when needed, put a sticking plaster on a bicycling wound.  If her idea of bringing up children was to get them to fend for themselves, it’s not surprising that she would often put together some sandwiches and a bottle of squash or Tizer and send us off on our bikes for a day of fishing or exploring – and if accidents occurred she would be there to wipe away the blood or tears, or, possibly accompanied by a stern reprimand, dry us out if we fell into the river or pond!  She could be forthright and sometimes scary if you got it wrong.  She was not an adventurous cook – she learnt nothing from her mother who was always cooked for – but after a day out playing there would be some homely food to come back to, and if you were lucky, her legendary steak and kidney pudding. 


Horses always played a big part in Ro’s life.  She had ponies as a little girl – and was keen to instill the love of horses in us when we became old enough.  We had riding lessons with the intimidating Major Bateman in the stables opposite Forge Cottage, with Ma urging us on from the sidelines, and by the time we had ponies of our own – Blossom and Russell were the first – Ma had converted us.  I didn’t really persevere with riding, and nor did Alastair, but Jilly was very keen in those days, and still is.  Ma had a number of horses and, after we left home, she took a succession of teenage girls under her wing and nurtured their interest in riding.  She herself continued to ride right into her 80’s.  


Dogs were also important to her since we came to Withyham.  Wilkes was the first, and he was succeeded by a succession of Basset Hounds – Cheerful, Bashful, Blissful, Joyful and Bonnie (they sound like the seven dwarfs!), and the last was Maud, a much-loved border terrier whose death last autumn saddened her greatly.


Once we children had left home, she turned to other things.  She volunteered with the WRVS, and at one time was head of meals-on-wheels for West Kent.  I think we all remember on high days and holidays, when there weren’t enough regular drivers,  helping her take meals round, sometimes trying to deliver to places rather difficult to find in those pre-sat-nav days, before the food got cold.  And she was a Governor and great supporter of the Village School, always proud when it was rated as outstanding by Inspectors. 


Although she studied Art in Chelsea before the War, it was not really till after we had left home that she took up her paintbrush again.  She was instrumental in setting up the Withyham Art Group and was very active in this flourishing body for 40 or 50 years.  Art was important to her, and she was an exceptional and gifted painter with a good eye for colour and composition.   Many were the painting holidays she took with friends (and once with granddaughter Oriel) in the UK and overseas. 


In due course, grandchildren came along – Freya, Milly, Oriel, Verity, Chloe and Pip, and I should also add Jo, my niece, who always looked on Ro as her own Granny.   She passed on her artistic talents to many of her grandchildren, and  was a hands-on Granny – perhaps more relaxed with them than with her own children.   She was always happy to have the grandchildren to stay or to take them on exciting outings.  We all had many fun times together – often over a Sunday lunch, with the family gathered.  She was very proud of her grandchildren, and always interested to hear what they were doing as they grew up.  


Her relationships with children blossomed once again when the great-grandchildren started to arrive.  She had 7 from the ages of 9 to 0, and 4 step-great-grandchildren, and they were all as fond of her as she was of them.  She was never happier than when young people were around her, either all together or in smaller groups, and she particularly loved seeing the great-grandchildren, whether as babies or growing up.


Recently, Ma had become increasingly frail – but resolutely stalwart in confronting the effects of old age – “not for wimps” as she said.  Jilly has been a wonderful friend and daughter to her and managed the care that was needed for her to stay at Forge Cottage, which was something she wanted above anything – and she did.


She was blessed with a number of kind Helpers and Carers who managed her increasing needs with huge devotion and loyalty – and always with a sense of humour, which she really appreciated.  All brilliant, thank you ladies.


And finally, Alastair who has been heroic since the first lockdown, when he moved into Forge Cottage.  He was the most caring son and greatly brightened our mother’s last months with his presence.   And thank you too, Alastair, for putting together the recordings for today.




Ah well – the sad end of an era, as many have said, or written so kindly.  


And I know I speak for all three of us, her children, as I say thank you and goodbye to our lovely and wonderful mother.




Pauline Elƒrida Cremer 1925-2020

Extracts from the Family’s Memories read at her funeral on 25th January

Rev. Paul McMichael began by saying that many people thought of Pauline as a feisty woman, of keen intellect with an impish sense of humour who spoke her mind.  She was, though, a kind person who preferred to be busy and would always help out, often rallying others to assist in her endeavours … even in her 80’s.

Pauline was born on 1st October 1925 in Paddington, Westminster. She was the first child of Morris, known as Travers, and Elfrida Cleaver; in 1928 her brother George was born. Pauline always loved sport, both as spectator and participant. She and George rode everywhere on their bikes, in her youth she was a good tennis player and represented England in the ladies’ hockey team. When she left school, Pauline went to France to work as an au pair for friends of her mother.  She taught the children English and learnt French herself.

In 1965 Pauline married George Cremer.  George was a widower, older than Pauline with a grown-up son. He and his first wife had been friends of her parents.  Pauline and George set up home in Tunbridge Wells. Both of them were big cricket fans and members of both the Tunbridge Wells and Kent Cricket Clubs and would enjoy watching the matches. She and George had no children, but they had Jack Russells as companions. Timmy and his mother Topsy … rather frenetic … Cleo … the star of many an obedience show … and finally Echo … who will now live with her great friend Pat Arnold.

Pauline was an accountant working for the Clergy Orphan Cooperation who provided governance to St Margaret's School, Bushey; later she produced the Withyham Church accounts for many years.

When George and Pauline moved to Crowborough, she was very active for the Conservative Party and organised their lunches enrolling Pat as to help cook. Through their friendship, Pauline became one of the Hartfield Singers, as well as a member of Withyham Church Choir and the local Arts Society. 

Pembury, Pauline’s house in Crowborough, provided the ideal opportunity to embrace one of her greatest passions, gardening.   Pauline worked tirelessly with Roy and then Kevin who kept the garden looking beautiful.

Family were always important: in recent years Pauline spent Christmas with family members followed by New Year at George's house with a Cleaver family party of up to 16.

Pauline was a lively, generous person with many diverse interests, she leaves behind friends from all walks of life.  The messages of condolence the family received reinforced the high esteem in which Pauline was held. A plucky lady with a great sense of humour and civic duty, she was open hearted and well loved. She will be deeply missed.