Amy Sybil Morgan lived with her parents at Church Farm. Church Farm is on the crossroads in the centre of Mapperley village, opposite what was called the Top shop. The farm is now a private residence with 2 new houses built on the site.
When she married her husband, John Morgan, they continued to live there together.
They were tenant farmers working land owned by the Drury-Lowes of Locko Park.
John Morgan passed away on July 28th 1948 aged just 55 years.
Amy stayed on at Church Farm. She became a close friend of Joane Skinner, wife of Dr Edward Skinner, during the 2nd world war years. As a result of their friendship Dr. Edward Skinner was persuaded to open a branch surgery at Church Farm and the Practice continued to hold regular surgeries there until Amy's death on 31st December 1981. She was 84 years of age and we believe she died of a stroke. She refused to go into hospital. Some villagers would stay with her during the day and overnight.
Amy was buried in Holy Trinity churchyard, Mapperley on 7 January 1982 in the grave of her husband.
Amy was an interesting character and was very well known for miles around for her fortune telling or as she liked to say ‘Giving people good advice’.
There were a few people that helped Amy run the house and garden. Muriel and Gordon Durow gave their time freely. Stella Burton was her housekeeper. Stella lived in the house adjacent to The Black Horse just round 'the pool'. She was married to Joe Burton and they had a son, Eric. When Joe passed away Stella met and married Charlie Paxton. Harry Wint and his brother Sam would do all the gardening for Amy.
Charles Richard Francis Spooner bequeathed his money to Amy on his death as he lodged at Church Farm at the time. He died in 1957 aged 66 years
Amy Sybil Durow was one of 11 children born to Henry and Florence Durow.
Henry Durow, son of Thomas Denson Durow (coalminer) and Henrietta Betsy Fletcher, was born in July 1868 in Mapperley. Died 15 June 1949.
Florence Marion Heppell was born circa 1866 in Islington, London. Her parents were Joseph Scaling Heppell and Eliza Pugh. She died 3rd March 1938.
They married in Holy Trinity Mapperley 26 August 1889 and lived in 1881 at No. 3 Walkers Yard.
Amy was born on 18th August 1897. Baptised October 1897 in Mapperley church and died 31 December 1981. Amy was engaged to a young man who went to fight in World War 1. He very sadly got killed towards the end of the war.
She later met and married John Morgan in the mid 1920’s. John passed away on July 28th 1948 aged just 55 years
Her brothers and sisters were:-
All the Durow children listed above were born in Mapperley
Memories of Amy Morgan by her niece Mrs June Moore
Whose mother was Vera Ida Durow
June Moore nee Durow as a child with her mother Vera and grandmother from her fathers side. Thought to have been taken on her 100th birthday. Note the cake and candles to left of the picture.
June remembers Amy with affection. She would visit very regularly with her mum Vera. Many happy hours were spent in Mapperley. June remembers attending parties and dances in the Institute.
Amy was born at Church Farm as her parents were running it at the time. Her parents took it over probably in the 1920’s. Before that they lived near Miss Boams post office on Coronation Road.
As children, Amy and her brothers and sisters would help on the farm. June’s mum Vera would deliver the milk round the village which was taken from their own cows.
The cows were kept in the field below the church and in the field opposite, below the old vicarage. Amy’s father would bring them up to the farm to be milked each day.
Vera stayed at Church Farm until she married in 1932.
June remembers the farmyard being full of chickens, ducks and even pigs. She also remembers their horse called Charlie who would be used for pulling the cart. At one time they grew grain and would take it to Cat and Fiddle Windmill for grinding. This was quite a trip by horse and cart in those days.
June and the family would always have Christmas at Amy’s house which she loved. Whatever the time of year Amy would have people there and she would bake cakes and bread and give then away. A very generous lady who lived very simply.
Richard Morris with June 1934
We don’t know when Church Farm changed to being a domestic dwelling but June remembers that the cows and pigs were the first to go, probably in the 1940’s. Amy continues with chickens etc for a few years after that.
Amy became a close friend of Joane Skinner during the 2nd World War years. (See Memories by Dr Enoch) As a result of their friendship Amy opened up the house as a small 3/4 bedroom nursing home. This only lasted for a short period of time until the Skinners set up a doctor’s practice there in Amy’s front room.
Charles Richard Francis Spooner lodged at Church Farm for a while and bequeathed his money to Amy on his death. He died in 1957 aged 66 years. With this inheritance Amy had all the Durow gravestones in Mapperley churchyard renewed.
During the late 1950’s early 1960’s the Coal Board decided to mine under the village before the pit closed, something they should not have done. This then caused subsidence to many properties. Holy Trinity had to be demolished for instance. Amy’s house was very badly affected and nearly condemned but she refused to move. Cracks appeared in the hall and sitting room walls so wide that you could put your arm through them. Each day was a challenge as something would have moved to cause problems such as doors being jammed. Amy was determined she would not leave there though. Eventually the Coal Board made all the necessary repairs.
June remembers that this was one of the first houses in the village to have a proper flushing toilet upstairs. They were normally outside in the garden. However, there was no bath, only the tin one that would be filled in front of the coal fire.
Amy never left the farm. She married John Morgan sometime in the 1920’s. They eventually took over the farm from her parents. Unfortunately John died in 1948 when he was just 55 years old. They never had children.
She was a very petite lady; just less than 5ft tall and she always wore flat shoes. She never cut her hair and it would be down to her knees but during the day it was held in a bun.
Amy was very well known for her fortune telling. People would come to see her from all over England and even Scotland. Her diary was always full of appointments, or until she passed away that is. (See Helen Cook’s Memories) She was very well known and very well respected for her psychic abilities.
June still retains Amy’s Crystal Ball to this day but does not use it!
Amy very seldom left the village and June believes the last time to be in the 1950’s.
My sincere thanks to June for her contributions and to her daughter Catherine for the photographs.
Following Amy’s death the house was sold to Mr and Mrs Devonport. Some of the garden was later sold off for another housing plot. The main house is still called Church Farm.
HELEN COOK nee DUROW BRIAN DUROW
Amy’s father, Henry Durow, was the brother of Helen and Brian’s great granddad, William Durow.
Helen and her brothers would call her Aunt Amy and would visit her regularly. Certainly after church every Sunday morning Helen, her brother and her mum Muriel and dad Gordon would visit for coffee. Helen recalls that there was plenty of food available and always little cakes on offer. Amy had a large garden with a circular flower bed in the centre. Helen would collect flowers from there each Sunday and take them to the many Durow graves in the graveyard.
There would also be a tin of fruit available to give the family each Sunday.
Gordon and Muriel would look after Amy daily, helping where needed. Gordon would always go after the Friday evening doctor’s surgery to lock up. Surgery would be Tuesday afternoons and Friday nights. He and the doctor would be offered assorted meats from a large tray, chops, sausages, bacon, hams etc. There was always plenty of food to take home to the family.
Amy would also order trays of cakes from Joan Hubbard who then had the Top Shop. These would be given to patients, visitors and doctors
Helen remembers as a child Amy’s ‘secret’ table, A dining table with drawers, hidden by the tablecloth. She also remembers a wicker chair in the corner which she used to love to sit in and would get really angry if a visitor or patient waiting to see a doctor sat in it.
There was a coal bunker by the back door and Helen used to think it was a bath! She remembers filling buckets of coal for Amy and placing them by the fire.
Helen would also run errands and take prescriptions out to patients; she would also collect money from them. This couldn’t happen nowadays of course.
Amy had a housekeeper, Stella Burton. Stella would attend everyday and worked for Amy for many years. Stella lived at the house which is attached to The Black Horse.
Church Farm was quite a large house so Amy sometimes had lodgers. Helen remembers her maternal grandfather staying there for a while, Rev Vaughan.
Amy had very long and beautiful hair down to her waist but she always wore it in a bun, She had it blue rinsed!
Helen loved visiting at Christmas and would really look forward to receiving a lovely pair of slippers, all pink and fluffy. The same present every year but Helen loved them.
Every Easter she would receive an Easter egg in a mug.
At Harvest festival Amy would bake a very large loaf in the shape of wheat and even include some little bread mice on it. She would also donate a large bag of potatoes.
There was rumour that Church Farm was haunted and the Tale of Little Mary still lingers in Helens mind today. It was said that if you see Little Mary it meant a family member would die.
When going upstairs in the house Helen would never raise her head in case she saw Little Mary. One day when Helen was sent upstairs to get a tin of fruit from the store in a bedroom she happened to see a figure in the bedroom opposite, she was terrified, however, it turned out to be her own reflection in a dressing table mirror!
Helens mum Muriel did see little Mary once and it was the same week that Uncle Billy passed away.
Amy was very well known and well respected for her ‘readings’ although Amy preferred to call it ‘giving people good advice’. She was always receiving phone calls from people making appointments. Her telephone number was Ilkeston 1131.
Helen would often help by answering the phone and making appointments in Amy’s diary. The diary was always full up for the next 6 months.
During the time of Amy’s illness before she passed away, Helen recalls answering the phone to someone wanting to make a booking, checking the diary and finding there was nothing in it.
Did Amy know her own fate 6 months prior to becoming ill?
Helen and her mum would sit with Amy during her illness as did some other villagers. Joan Hubbard recalls doing this just before Amy passed away.
The funeral was held in Holy Trinity Mapperley and Amy is buried in the churchyard. Following the funeral there was food served in Amy’s house with Stella assisting and Helen recalls the kitchen being full of people.
Pauline remembers Amy had a sister Doreen. Pauline's granddad George helped on Amy's farm. Amy was a very well known medium and healer. Many people came from far and wide to see her and even stay with her. A remarkable lady often misunderstood. I can remember Amy holding Trevor Durow as a baby and saying there won't be another baby born as important as this because he was carrying on the Durow name.
Aubrey remembers that he and his friends once blew up Amy Morgan's greenhouse!! It was on or around November 5th. They bundled together 4 Little Imps (bangers) tied them up like dynamite, lit them and threw them over the wall. There was a tinkle of glass followed by an explosion. One can only imagine how fast they ran away from that one! It didn't take long for him to be found out though and had to go to Amy Morgan the next day and apologise. Fortunately she was very nice about it and just pointed out the error of his ways