Oliver Austain Hopley was a carpenter/joiner working on the Estate and lived most of his life at No 1 The Street. He played cricket for the village team, was the Secretary of the Workmen’s Club, a member of the choir and of the fire brigade.
Oliver (Olliver in the record of birth) Hopley was born on 1 November 1871 the third child of George and Mary Hopley, living in Nantwich Road, Cholmondeley. George Hopley was a joiner, perhaps on the nearby Cholmondely estate. Oliver was born in the hospital of the Nantwich Poor Law Union workhouse but this does not imply that Mary Hopley was an inmate; it was a common practice for women to give birth in workhouse hospitals because of the cost of attendance by a doctor in the home.
By 1899 he had followed his father’s calling and was in Englefield, boarding at 25 The Street with a widow, Mrs Davis. He played a full part in the Workmen’s Club, taking the Chair and performing at the smoking concerts that were frequently held, and acting as MC at dances: he later became the Honorary Secretary of the Club committee. He was a member of the fire brigade and the church choir and when in January 1906 he married Florence (Flora) Susan Jane Roberts, whose father Charles was an inn-keeper in Theale, the choir sang the service and the fire brigade made an archway with their hoses for the bride and groom to walk under. The Club committee presented him with an armchair at a smoking concert the following month. Mr and Mrs Hopley lived at No 1 The Street (earlier the Crown Inn) where Flora Hopley died in 1936. Mr Hopley subsequently married his housekeeper, Alice Julia Tennant, in December 1951. She died in 1957 at the age of 80 and Mr Hopley remained at No 1 until his own death in 1960 when he was buried in the churchyard in the same grave as his first wife.
Mr Hopley was a keen cricketer and became Vice-Captain and then Captain of Englefield cricket team with a consistently high batting average. He can be seen in two of the team photographs and also in the picture of the choir.
He was excellent at this trade and made many pieces of furniture and other items, like the table shown here given to his neighbour Mr Cook.
© 2021 Richard J Smith