The Sellwood Cup

Eleanor and Mary with their mother Emily

My mother, Evelyn Joan Pearce, gave a cup to the Swallowfield Show in 1968 to keep her mother and her grandparents’ family name of Sellwood alive in the village. She wanted the cup to be awarded to the winner of a children’s class in the show and she agreed with the secretary that it should be for the child with the highest points score that year.

Eleanor (my grandmother) and her sister, Mary Sellwood, were born in Swallowfield in 1882 and 1888. They lived with their mother Emily and father Frederick in a house with a pond in front of it at Handpost Corner. on the Basingstoke Road. They had an older brother Jack. When they were grown up Eleanor had children who would carry on the line but her sister Mary Sellwood lost her husband in October 1917 at Passchendaele and so had no one to follow her.

After my mother died I always checked the show results each year, as she had done, to see if the cup was still in use. It was withdrawn when it had so many names on it that it could not be used again and I thought it would be good to donate another cup so that the family name would continue to be part of Swallowfield.

Frederick Sellwood, a prize winner at Swallowfield Show

Eleanor and Mary knew even when they were children about the Swallowfield Show because their father Frederick  showed his fruit and vegetables each year and won prizes in 1895 for his apples and his white kidney potatoes. On show day Sir George and Lady Russell would open their gardens at Swallowfield Place in the afternoon and evening  and villagers could walk around. Show day was a big event in the village even them.

When Eleanor was a small girl, perhaps about 7 or 8, she took the lead part in a school entertainment called Lost Dimple Chin. I don’t know which school this was but she was certainly at the Park School when she was eleven. because she wrote her name, age and school in her little pocket Bible and added that she was in Standard Five.

Eleanor in the play at Park School

Here is the group photo with Eleanor seated in the middle.

Eleanor As Lead Part
Playing the lead part in the play

The photographer took a separate photograph of her in her costume. He came from Reading and advertised that photos taken in his studios in the town were taken by electric light.

Mary became a teacher at the Park School in the early 1900s and here she is (right) with a class of children taken on 17 September 1905. The other teacher is Beattie Peck (left) who also lived in the village.

Park School – Early 1900’s


Park School Teachers
Park School Teachers



They are also in a group with Sir George and Lady Russell, Beattie in the dark dress and Mary in the white blouse.


Mary & George
Mary and George on their wedding day

Both girls were married in All Saints Church Swallowfield, Eleanor in about 1910 to Edwin Denne and Mary in 1915 to George Smallwood. Both their husbands went to fight in 1914, only Edwin coming back.

Eleanor with two of her children


This last picture is of Eleanor with her daughter Evelyn Joan and her son Eric in about 1915 – it was this little girl who gave the original Sellwood Cup to the Show in 1968.



show-letterThe first cup was donated with a cheque for £25  and in 1968 this sum of money could be invested to bring in enough to buy a book token for the winning child each year, something the secretary thought would go on ‘indefinitely’!



And here is the new Sellwood cup.

New Sellwood Cup
New Sellwood Cup

Gillian Clark

Simply the Best Show in the South of England