Arthur William Male Stembridge

Arthur William Thomas Male

Cider Apple Grower, Willow Grower and Sheep Farmer

“My father Arthur, and his father William Jeans Male, had cider apple orchards in Lower Burrow, Lambrook and Kingsbury Episcopi and withy beds on West Moor and Thorney. Grandama and Grandad Male lived at Rose Villa Burrow Way. Dad had a bungalow built for his family “Arladene”in Stembridge.”
“Dad continued to farm all his working life. I often helped him move sheep from orchards to withy beds depending on the season. “
“I also remember every autumn half-term picking up the fallen apples with my grandma -Hilda- and dad. We used willow baskets, made from dad’s withies, crafted by my mother Ursula – nee Stuckey. Later he got a ‘hedgehog machine’ which he pushed over the apples and collected them on metal spines.”
“Dad had his own apple boxes printed ‘A.W.T. Male’ which when full were stacked on the back of his lorry for an annual journey to Plymouth.”
“Sometimes he sold apples to Mr Duck or Taunton Cider and later to Mr Temperley and often to Perrys Cider at Dowlish Wake.”
“I remember going in his red lorry with him to Dowlish Wake , taking sacks of apples and seeing the cider apples being pressed. I was always amazed at the juice dripping down and the pungent smell of the crushed apples. I watched fascinated by the work of the busy men wearing apple sack aprons. “
“Later on, after I had trained in export procedure, I helped him export to New Zealand. I always liked best to help him with his sheep. Sheep dipping and folding the fleeces at sheep shearing time were eventful times. Cider was always brought out for the sheep shearers but not for me!
He owned orchards that ran alongside the Glove Factory and The Avenue at Kingsbury Episcopi, just opposite the police station at that time. These were sold in the 1970’s for housing development and became what is now Knightstone Close. You can still see a couple of cider apple trees left in the street landscape.”
Shown as field 228 on the map of 1823, it was an orchard even at this time. This is directly opposite the Kingsbury Episcopi Community Centre at Recreation Ground.
“My other Grandad was John Stuckey, renowned cider apple man. As a very young girl I remember watching him graft trees with his pot of hot wax. Also, watching bees dancing on the hives when the orchards were in full blossom. “

“His wife Margaret, my Nanna turned a little unused hen house amongst the cider apple trees into a Wendy house for me. His orchards abutted our lawn and I would run down and play happily there with Nanna. This is one of me with dads’ nursery trees in the background.

As a child I loved the beauty and freedom of the cider apple orchards. I now enjoy the small amount of cider, made by my husband Nelson, each year.”

Claire Rutigliano nee Male
of Arthur Male