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Down the Boar for a pint.

The Local Folk and the Rest: That cast of dotty thousands. The main character sheet is here.

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The Local Folk and The Rest:

Loads and loads of … yeah, all right, you get the point. These are the people without whom the foregoing would have no role. And in some cases, no existence.

    The late Sir Bennett Salmon KBE RA 

Sir Ben Salmon RA:

Late patriarch of a large and distinguished family. Deliberately old-fashioned painter, a follower of the Old Masters. Son of a highly respectable solicitor; uncle to Lew Salmon OBE; an artist always acceptable in Society without ever descending into being a Society artist. Established excellent relations in the village by painting the village XI going against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl, and repainting the pub sign. Died at his easel.

"'I wish only to paint the downs and the country 'round until I die.'"

  • All Jews Are Ashkenazi: Averted, lampshaded, and explicitly justified in story. He, like his nephew Lew and indeed like Lew's wife Melanie, are descended of Ashkenazim – many of them Baltic traders who were in partnership with Scots merchants – and Sephardim from Amsterdam, dating to a time when London and Amsterdam, unlike many other places, had Jews, but not enough that Ashkenazim and Sephardim could avoid interrmarriage.
  • Best Friend: He and the Duke (both being DeadpanSnarkers); he and Sher and Noel.
  • The Clan: Of which he was The Patriarch, although himself childless.
  • Cool Old Guy / Hidden Depths: Came to the Woolfonts in his later years to paint the landscape for what time was left him. Kept painting and living much longer than expected. He was a survivor. (He was by then Sir Ben Salmon RA, and the "RA" stood for Royal Academician, not Royal Artillery; but from 1939 to 1945, he was Major Salmon RE, Royal Engineers, having declined to become an Official War Artist in favor of doing camouflage through the Blitz and for Overlord. Talk about Saving the World with Art....
  • Fictional Media: His paintings. Some of which are, In-Universe, in the Tate and the National Gallery.
  • Mentor Archetype: To other artists, and – in how to deal with being a Fish out of Water in the countryside – to Noel and Sher.
  • Real Award, Fictional Character: As for every other character. In his case, a knighthood and membership of the Royal Academy.
  • Starving Artist: Averted. He did very well for himself, even if the critics who insisted True Art Is Incomprehensible sneered for years at his old-fashioned style.

    Sir Thomas Douty Bt, third baronet, late Alderman of the City of London for the Ward of Farringdon Without; of Davill Court 

Sir Tom Douty Bt, Davil Court:

Third baronet, but declined to be an Upper-Class Twit and did very well in the City. Was married to Caroline, Lady Douty. Has two adult children, a son and a daughter; as a widower, has learned that life without his wife is indescribably boring unless he un-retires himself. Old Harrovian, so you can imagine how he and the Old Etonian Duke get on when there's an Eton-Harrow match.

"He was the third baronet, was Tom Douty, but he'd not been an idle youth, and had long been a power in the City."

  • Best Friend: He and the Salmons; he and the Duke (nowadays).
  • Big Fancy House: A mild example. There are plenty of places where Davill Court would be a local showpiece. Those places are not within the long shadow of Wolfdown House.
  • Blue Blood: Subverted. He's a (mere) baronet. The third one. Which puts the creation of the baronetcy back to about the Goat's day, so God knows what the first baronet did or paid to get the baronetcy.
  • Good with Numbers: With pound signs in front of them, especially. Of course, this does tend to go with his bland and mild-mannered accountant, henpecked, Non-Action Guy character.
  • Henpecked Husband: While Lady Douty was alive.
  • Hidden Depths: Regarded for a long time, locally, as a lightweight (not least by the Duke), he was in his day a "power in the City" (i.e., a wolf-of-Wall-Street-and-Master-of-the-Universe sort) and sufficiently Respected by the Respected to have been a London alderman.
  • Meaningful Name: Toyed with, subverted, and zigzagged. There was a time (before, frankly, Lady Douty died and let him see sunlight) when the Duke called him "Doubting Thomas" and said he wished he were doughty. Now Sir Tom, as a widower, is on the PCC and active in local affairs, and good friends on equal terms with the Duke.
  • Rail Enthusiast: He and the Duke between them created and direct the heritage steam railway. And the community real ale brewery, and the new social housing, and the canal restoration project, and.... It helps that the Duke has money (not that Sir Tom doesn't, but to a much greater extent), and Sir Tom understands finance (not that the Duke doesn't, but to a much greater extent). Guess who gets to cost and act as CFO for these projects.
  • True Companions: With a dash of Heterosexual Life-Partners thrown in, with the Duke. They moved tons of earth and even more red tape to get the railway up and running, and have been pals ever since.

    The late Caroline, Lady Douty, of Davill Court 

The late Lady Douty:

Described as "lean, dutiful, and acidulated, the sort of woman who gives good works a bad name, charitable without ever being at the least risk of being pleasant," who "resembled a malign caricature of the duchess of Cornwall." She and the Duke were at daggers drawn for years (he called her a basilisk who made virtue more repellent than vice); the objects of her bounty were grateful for the help, but wished she were less overbearing with it; and even Lady Crispin thought her a bit too much at times. She died of a sudden High Street heart attack on the very day Noel was being shown about, in mufti and incognito, his prospective parish: and he dashed to the church, vested, and made it back in time to give her the (in effect) last rites (Anglo-Catholic C of E version, naturally). Her funeral – before his own installation, and taken under special license from Bishop Chubb – was his first service in his new benefice; and by the time he was done with his homily, the parishes were thoroughly ashamed of themselves for having not liked her.

"… Caroline, Lady Douty, had died so suddenly amidst her peremptory good works and acidulated virtues."

  • Deadpan Snarker: She had an almost ducal line in vitriol.
  • Death Glare: The Duke did not call her a basilisk for nothing.
  • Grande Dame: Of the loftiest sort. And ruled Sir Tom with a whim of iron.
  • Iron Lady: Locally, a power in the land, and very much expecting everyone shape up and snap to it.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: She and the Duke. They were even on points when she died.
    Lady Douty, when the Duke popped by: "We were just speaking of adventures: and behold, an adventurer appears."
    The Duke: "And I make certain you mean that in the best sense. All the same, I want your aid, Caroline – you and Connie, and Viney, are the only people in the District – I might say, in a sense, the only men – capable of organisation, bar m' own sweet self."note 

    Lew Salmon OBE and Melanie Salmon 

Lew and Melanie Salmon:

Nephew and niece-by-marriage to the late Sir Ben. He's a retired City trader.

"... Lew had spent a good hour answering emails. Now, having instructed his bankers and men of business to effect a few good works by stealth to the benefit of several City charities, he considered what he ought next to do."

  • All Jews Are Ashkenazi: Averted, lampshaded, and explicitly justified in story. As Lew reflects.
    "He himself could count amongst his forefathers diamond merchants and physicians and, in time, bankers from Iberian Jewry (and, ultimately, a few Maghrebi Jews from Spanish and Portuguese claims in North Africa, driven to the Low Countries when the Iberians who had expelled them then marched upon their shelters in exile), Sephardim all, as well as Ashkenazim from the Baltic, who had traded timber and amber with Scots factors and the merchants of London and Amsterdam. Melanie, too, could claim kinship with Rhineland bankers and Dutch jewellers even as she called cousins at some remove the great Sephardic families of London and the City (and one very unlikely C of E bishop)."
  • The Clan: Although the trope name has in context Unfortunate Implications.
  • Good with Numbers: And not stereotypically. Lew was a City Alderman and Common Councilman, a Member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, and a very successful City trader, not because he's Jewish, but because he, like Rupert, is half in love with numbers and figures, and very, very talented at it. Just as his grandfather the solicitor wasn't, and his uncle Ben Salmon was an artist (Lew has no talent that way).
  • Happily Married: And have survived even moving to the countryside in retirement without tiring of one another.
  • Merchant Prince: Lew regards himself as owing duty to the City of London for all it has done for him.
    "Lew knew what duty he owed his City, and his successors on the Court of Aldermen and Common Council for Vintry Ward; to the Goldsmiths and to the LBMA which had been his nursery, and to the Baltic Exchange with which he had also long been associated in his working life; and to the schools and charities associated with the Corporation."
  • Proper Lady: Melanie. Always out doing practical, charitable good, and when at home, the proverbial angel in the house.
    "Melanie Salmon, a precious and individual droplet in an everlasting and ever-flowing stream, a light in a procession of lights without beginning and which shall never end, lit the candles and welcomed the Shabbat, honouring the day and affirming the Law, bringing as ever she brought the harmony to that most harmonious of households: domestic peace, shalom bayit."

    Edith Rice (née Eiluned Jones) DBE 

Dame Edith Rice, the Free School:

Introduced in The Day Thou Gavest. Retired Welsh actress made DBE for services to charity and entertainment, now teaching Drama at the Free School. A self-taught historian of the theat-ah, and always humble. Didn't go to any of the drama academies; started in repertory and always prided herself on it. Was, all the same, the definitive Mrs. Malaprop of her generation and an acclaimed Lady Bracknell.

"With all this, however, she remained insistent upon regarding herself simply as a jobbing actress, whose natural home and regular post was the Birmingham Rep, and who happened to have a good enough singing voice to knock 'em in the Old Kent Road."

  • The Clan: In-Universe cousin to the Real Life Victorian Welsh actress Eleanor Bufton, though she's not precisely part of a Theatrical Dynasty.
  • Consummate Professional: Is and was.
    "No marches, no demos, no politics, no – by theatrical standards – scandals (divorces do not count, in theatrical circles)."
  • Contralto of Danger: As students can attest if they tick her off; though in fact, she mostly reserved that for certain roles on stage: Katisha, Ruth, the Queen of the Fairies.... (She did, and preferred doing, a lot of Gilbert and Sullivan).
  • Cool Teacher: Well, obviously. And kindly, too.
  • The Ingenue: Averted and lampshaded. She never was one and she never played one. (Soubrettes when young, character parts such as Lady Teazle and Juliet's Nurse later on.) And as much panto as she could manage.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: And has aged reasonably well, though relieved to be past all that.
    "She had passed with celerity (and marked equability) through two marriages and three divorces (one of them not being hers: she'd often said she'd had her share of husbands, some of them even her own) without ever losing her countenance."note 
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Averted. She didn't like the films, she didn't like the telly, she was glad when she was old enough to play Lady Bracknell, and she knew when it was time to take the final curtain.

    Jeremy Trulock MA (St And) MA (Dunelm) MiD, Headmaster, Beechbourne Free School 

Headmaster Jeremy Trulock MA, the Free School:

Headmaster of the Free School; brother to Giles Trulock FRCVS; and, being a late officer of 1 PARA who was in Sierra Leone, not a man who has trouble with discipline at the school. Very good at what he does: other headmasters may worry about getting their charges to university, his problems come when a talented cricketer turns down Oxford for Loughborough (where the English Cricket Board training center is located).

"The Headmaster did not altogether agree with the ducal vision. He agreed wholly with the ducal idea of how the Free School was to be managed. And as Jeremy Trulock was not merely a headmaster with degrees from Durham and St Andrews both, but also a former officer of 1 PARA, he had Decided Views on discipline: firm but fair and reasonable."

  • The Captain: Was one. In 1 PARA.
  • The Clan: The Trulocks are an old local gentry family. The local vet nowadays is his brother Giles, who took of their uncle's practice.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Both by habit and by descent.
  • Happily Married: Yep.
    "He had breakfasted with his wife – with no more than the usual teasing over her more sidewise suggestions for the Daily Telegraph crossword, which daily chaff had been the only cross words of their married life, always...."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure / Stern Teacher: These go together so far as he is concerned.
    "The Headmaster of Beechbourne Free School, Jeremy Trulock MA (and, sometimes rather more pertinently, Jeremy Trulock MiD – a Mention in Despatches being one distinction he shared with Sapper Seymournote  – late Captain 1 PARA), ran his school with gentle firmness … beneath which remarkably velvety, and languidly elegant, glove, was rather a military sort of fist, in terms of discipline, which was not merely iron, nor yet merely steel, but was evidently compounded of next-generation Chobham armour technology. [snip] Punctuality was one of the Head's watchwords."
  • Retired Badass: They don't hand out Mentions in Despatches for nothing.

    Francis Algernon Hamilton Seymour MA MiD, late Captain RE, Fellow of the Institution of Royal Engineers, Maths master, Beechbourne Free School ("Sapper") 

Sapper Seymour MA, Maths master, Beechbourne Free School:

Maths master at the Free School who announces his retirement at the beginning of Evensong … to be succeeded by a retired Brigadier and find himself tapped for the new ducal charity foundation, STETHEL,note  which trains retired, demobbed, and wounded Forces members to build such things as social housing and to repair heritage buildings. Related, as his name suggests, to a cadet branch of the Real Life Dukes of Somerset.

"That sprig of the Somersets got on quite as well as one should expect with Charles Taunton; and although he was retiring at the end of term from teaching at the Free School, he was not at all about to subside into otium cum dignitatenote , or indeed without it: leisure was not a word which bulked large in Sapper's vocabulary. Even by RE standards."

  • The Captain: Was one in the Royal Engineers.
  • Good with Numbers: He is the Maths master.
  • Respected by the Respected: Notably including the Duke. There's a reason he chose him both as the first Maths master when he set up the Free School, and, now, to run STETHEL:
    "As you can imagine, [snip] I want someone, in addition to m'self, Mils Lacy can't overawe."
  • Retired Badass: They're called combat engineers for a reason. When they get a Mention in Despatches in addition....

    Giles Trulock FRCVS 

Giles Trulock FRCVS:

The Headmaster's widower brother and local vet. Lives in Woolfont Parva to be central to the District. Wishes the days of the working horse were not yet ended. Will "drop by" the Stud during foaling season without being rung up (or, really, needed); has a sixth sense for when a foal is being birthed. Very good with sheep, too, and working farm dogs; prefers large animal veterinary medicine to dealing with pets and lapdogs, human or otherwise. Known as "Mr. Giles" when there might be confusion with his brother "Mr. Jeremy."

"Mr Giles managed a tone as dry as the weather was not. 'I shall avail myself of the earliest opportunity to call upon Your Grace.' And – which bothered Charles not at all – he made a great sardonic show of bowing and scraping his visitor out into the down-chucking rain."

  • The Clan: He, his brother, and a hell of a lot of names on the village War Memorial.
  • Cool Horse: He's yet to encounter any other type. And very much encourages the Duke's plan to provide atching tans for the Romanichal again, all because he loves the Gypsy Cob horse.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Perfectly capable of going toe to toe – well, hoof to hoof – with the Duke. Capable and willing.
  • Family Business: Took over the practice from his Uncle Andrew.
  • First-Name Basis: In a sense: to avoid confusion, Mr. Trulock the Vet and Mr. Trulock the Headmaster are either "Trulock the Vet" and "the Headmaster," or "Mr. Giles" and "Mr. Jeremy."
  • Friend to All Living Things: He's a realist about it. But most of his patients respond well to his presence.
  • Kindly Vet: Very much so.
  • Oblivious to Love: Subverted in a special sense. There are only two people in the District unaware that Trulock the Vet is in love with the widowed Lady Crispin: Trulock the Vet, and the widowed Lady Crispin.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Averted. He and Jeremy get on perfectly well – and each would loathe the other's life and job.

    Mr. Fred Beckett, River Bailiff and Environmental Officer; and Toby 

Mr. Fred Beckett, River Bailiff and Environmental Officer; Toby Beckett:

Fred's the bailiff of the river, seasoned, wise, a skilled waterman, taciturn, laconic when he does speak. Toby is his Flat Coat Retriever.

"Toby and Fred were the bailiffs of the river, and proud to be. Bank Cottage was where they slept, and took some of their meals; the Old Bridge was where they forgathered for a few laconic words with equally laconic men, men who, whether farmers or keepers or shepherds or otherwise men of the land, kept their counsel close and their words sparing, as if the wind and rain of the out of doors might blow these away like leaves; and men who took their merriments moderately, their duties and callings seriously, and their own sweet selves with no seriousness at all. These were men – aye, and women, nowadays, and a good thing, too – who could convey a wealth of information in two words, and understand two words conveying a wealth of information.
"They knew the fields and the woods, the rivers and the brooks and the skies; their true homes were neither in farmhouse nor cottage nor pub, but beneath the morning clouds and the stars of night upon the surface of the waters; and they knew better every furrow and finger-post, stile, ford, leat, hedge, and kissing-gate, for miles around, than they knew the way 'round their own kitchens and bedrooms."

    Mary Hillier ("Dr. Molly") DPhil, Biologist and Environmental Officer 

Mary ("Dr. Molly") Hillier, Environmental Officer:

A cheery young scientist who decided she preferred clear night skies, riverside pubs, and wellies to High Table and other academics rabbiting on.

"… Molly Hillier, that jolly young woman who'd turned her back on a purely academic career in biology, in favour of the hearty life...."

  • Big Beautiful Woman: Subverted … so far. She is hearty, mind you, and no Size Zero.
  • The City vs. the Country: She'll take the country, please. And do not try dragging her back.
  • First-Name Basis: It's impossible to think of her other than as "Dr. Molly."
  • The Lad-ette: Played with. She's a feminine woman, attractive in a feminine way, who simply likes hearty life, hearty living, hearty food, hearty real ale, and mucking about with boats, spiles, hurdles, fish, algae....
    Fred Beckett: "'Work, and paperwork more'n all else, do be the curse o' the poor and the drinkin' class. You're off, then?
    Dr. Molly: "'I am. I've done my part, and all I really want now is a pint and a pie.'
    Fred Beckett: "'Aye, I didden think you was after cocoa and cakes and muffins, Molly.'
    Dr. Molly (laughing): "'They have their place, especially muffins with simply lashings of butter, but – yes: that's the sort of thing I chose the River so as to avoid. And sherry and port and Formal Hall and High Table chatter, God save us.'
    Fred Beckett: "'Jack Burridge down the Bridge, he do have in a new cask o' Rampant Boar –' Fred knew Molly too well, and liked her too well, to pretend she drank a ladylike half of mild: best bitter for her – 'and the chicken and leek pie were on special tonight.' Which was apt enough to the weather, God knew.
    Dr. Molly (with a grin): "'Why couldn't you have been my age, Fred? Man after my own heart.'"
  • Nature Hero: That's the job.
  • Respected by the Respected: Deeply. She has the Duke's approval and Fred Beckett's. And Toby's.
  • Serious Business: Cheerily undertaken. Saving the planet is her day job.

    Antonia Freemantle-Ridgeway DBE 

Dame Antonia Freemantle-Ridgeway:

Ceramicist, sculptor, and artist-potter with a strong equestrian theme.

"The horses of the Woolbury Stud, whether they could be discerned or not by the casual eye, ran through her work, as much as did the sheep on the downs and the cattle in the pastures; and in not a few pieces, they appeared very clearly as themselves, to the admiration of the Burchards, father and son (Karen was left cold by art of any sort), of the duke and of the Hon. Gwen, of Trulock the Vet, and of others as well, some of them exalted figures indeed."

     Dr. Emily Witchard MB BS (Lond) MRCP MRCGP, local GP 

Dr. Emily Witchard:

Abrupt, efficient, prickly, hardworking GP with the bedside manner of a buzzsaw and chips on both shoulders.

"Dr Emily Witchard, the highly competent (and equally combative) GP...."

     Dr. Margaret Lee MB BS (Lond) MRCP MRCGP, local GP, junior partner to Dr. Witchard 

Dr. Margaret Lee:

Charming, pretty GP with a mind like a razor.

"She had also – for all that she was Margaret Lee, not Li, and the very example of an English rose – taken both the duke and Fr Paddick in hand in the matter of low-impact training and exercise, and made them – men accustomed to, in the one case, squash and fives and cricket and swimming, and in the other to swimming, sparring, running, and weight-training – to wear it."

  • Doctor's Orders: Even the Duke and the Rector follow hers. Even, reluctantly, into doing Tai Chi in place of their usual training, while recovering from illnesses (the Duke had pitched a fit on intellectual grounds about "the associated mumbo-jumbo" and the Rector had demurred on the grounds of orthodoxy, but Fr. Paddick yielded when he was told he could do it simply as training, and the Duke came around when Dr. Lee got the ECB Performance Centre to write and say it was good cricket training).
    "The Dean, being informed of this, had observed that the C of E's reputation for, in all senses, flexibility, was such that he was astounded there wasn't an Anglican form of Tai Chi somewhere in Common Worship. Which the Bishop had only reluctantly found funny, against his better and more go-ahead instincts, particularly when the Archdeacon had retorted that, if it involved exercises in genuflecting, there was likely an Anglo-Catholic Rule somewhere which had adopted it and an Anglo-Catholic Community which followed it. The notion of High Church warrior-monks had left Bishop Chubb unable to suppress a smile."
  • Dr. Jerk: Averted. Unlike Dr. Emily, she gets her way by charm.
  • Last-Name Basis: She's always "Dr. Lee." Except that the Duke calls her "Hallelujah Rosa": but that's because he's a Kinks fan. Have a cuppa tea.[2]
  • The Medic: As a GP, is this relative to the surgeons at the District Hospital; relative to her and Dr. Emily, nurses and SJA men are the medics.
  • The Social Expert: She accomplishes by charm more than Dr. Emily accomplishes by push and volume, with the trickier (ducal) and more stubborn (clerical) sort of patient.
  • Super Doc: That's the job description for a GP. Stabilize, treat if possible, or get – stably – to the specialist / consultant.

    Nora (Mrs. Victor) Standeven, formerly Huskisson, née Gaukroger, BSc MSc RCN NMC; Nurse-Midwife, West Yorkshire Team, NHS England North, incoming Health Visitor in the Woolfonts – and Edmond's mum ("Bloody Nora") 

Nora Standeven BSc MSc RCN NMC:

Edmond's much-married and child-plagued mum. And everyone else's Apron Matron, too.

"There was, however, as Edmond well knew, no evading or avoiding standing next his mum when she was near: all five foot of her. Like His Grace, Nora Standeven (as she now was), was not small, but, rather, concentrated: indeed, distilled."

  • Apron Matron: Of the gritty Oop North sort. Lampshaded by the reflections of everyone from Lady Crispin onward that any woman who could raise Edmond and keep him out of serious trouble is necessarily Damned Formidable and tough as whit-leather.
  • Earth Mother: At least in terms of fecundity.
  • Embarrassing Last Name: Zigzagged.
    "Mrs Standeven (as Edmond's mum now was, which dismayed her not at all: when one's maiden name was, or had been, 'Gaukroger', well...)...."
  • Hospital Hottie: Averted. Despite several marriages and a good few sprogs.
  • In-Series Nickname: She's a bit of a battleaxe, she's from Oop North, and her first name's Nora. Of course she has one.
    "Mrs Standeven being quite as stubborn as was the duke: it was no accident that she was known to quite half the West Yorkshire Team of NHS England North as 'Bloody Nora', and there were plenty of her colleagues who suggested – wisely in whispers – that her surname ought by rights to be, 'Batty'."
  • Meaningful Name: "Nora" is a thoroughly Oop North, Apron Matron name; and "Standeven" fits her character.
  • The Medic: Nurse-midwife and Health Visitor.
  • Oop North: Aye, happen. And it's no bad thing, sithee.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: She can lift you into bed with one hand and take your temp with the other at the same time. But she needn't, because you wouldn't dare cross her in the first place.
  • Serial Spouse: Comes of being Married to the Job. She and Vic seem to be making it work, though.

    Elizabeth ("Betty") Crabtree BSc MSc RCN; Nurse, West Yorkshire Team, NHS England North, incoming nursing sister (community care) in the Woolfonts – and Edmond's sister 

Betty Crabtree BSc MSc RCN:

Edmond's tough, wry, happily divorced elder sister.

"Betty, when she made a decision – as she clearly had done – could be shifted only by someone of their mum's calibre; and it was abundantly clear to him that his mum should indeed be taking up the offered post. And, much as he had initially liked the idea, he had an uneasy feeling that she was certain to do regular battle, to his embarrassment, with Charles, and possibly with Teddy, and doubtless with Dr Emily Witchard."

    Mister (Simon) Kellow, Landlord & Sole Prop., the Blue Boar, a Free House 

Mr. Kellow down the Boar:

Mister Kellow is the landlord and sole proprietor of the Blue Boar (A Free House).note  He's a churchwarden at St Margaret's Woolfont Magna; a massive man who runs a damned orderly pub; and … a massive Northern Soul fan.

"... Simon Kellow down the Boar, that adamantly free house, who had spent so long in playing the jovial West Country publican for the sake of trippers that he could no longer not sound like an extra in Hot Fuzz had he tried...."

  • The Clan: His son is training to follow his footsteps, as he followed his dad's; and there have been Kellows pulling pints and plating pies in the District for generations, and not a few still about as well as those of his immediate family. And his second cousin John Burridge, in the Downland parishes, runs the Old Bridge ("A Free House :: Real Ales & Cider :: Pub Grub :: Quiz Nights Tuesday").
  • Family Business: The Boar is one. And has been for generations.
  • Funetik Aksent: Justified and lampshaded: he's been giving tourists and trippers the West Country publican experience so long he can't turn it off. Assuming he wished to.
  • Hidden Depths: His dad sent him all over the country to apprentice at pubs and learn the trade (including Wolverhampton, Wigan, Droitwich, Manchester, Tunstall, Blackpool...), just as he is doing to his son; it was at that point he became a fixture at Northern Soul clubs. And then there was his stint as a ship's cook aboard RFA Fort Austin.... See Retired Badass, below.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Evidently, in his younger days, he was at least slim and lithe. All-nighters at Northern Soul clubs and all....
  • Insistent Terminology: " Landlord & Sole Prop., the Blue Boar, a Free House."
  • Large and in Charge: There's good reason not to challenge his authority, in his pub or on the PCC. Hands like Wiltshire-cure hams, and built like a real ale cask.
  • Retired Badass: Yeah, about that stint aboard the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel.... They were in the middle of a training exercise, Springtrain, when they got orders for the South Atlantic. He ended up pulling the first pint – for General Moore and his Staff – at the Globe in the liberated Stanley. He gets to wear the South Atlantic Medal on Remembrance Sunday.
    (Hearing the Duke and Mr. Kellow reminiscing) "Not for the first time – and not the last, as Remembrance Sunday approached – Noel felt the force of something another Midlands ladnote  had known long since: the feeling that a man who'd never served in HM Forces was somewhat diminished and abashed in the presence of those who had done."
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: It's Mister Kellow. Although "my dear Kellow" to the Duke, and, very rarely, a ducal "Simon."

    Mr. (George) Mullins, Family Butcher 

Mullins the Butcher:

Large, ginger, slow-and-steady, reliable, a good businessman and a better neighbor, Mr Mullins owns and runs the quality family butcher's. As did his dad, and grandad, and.... Together with the other shopkeepers and larger farmers, he's not merely a pillar of, but a good bit of the foundation of, the community, and more influential than he thinks.

"… Mr Mullins and generations of his fathers before him had run to type, largish men tending to ginger (no one was so unkind – or incautious – as to make the inevitable comparisons to Tamworthsnote  in their hearing), with the mass and bulk acquired through years of cutting up carcases, and the acuity which comes of having time, when thus engaged, to think, and to contemplate a good deal more than sausage."

  • The Clan: Related to absolutely everyone in the District.
  • Family Business: "Mullins the Family Butcher was an old established firm: Purveyors of fine swine since 1639, as the shop-sign proclaimed."
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: With Messrs. Penny the greengrocer, Bungay the fruiterer, and Whatley the fishmonger. Mr Mullins is the Melancholic.
  • Hidden Depths: He's a thinking man who can sometimes foresee what the latest ducal lunacy will be. And a keen businessman, too:
    "Mr Penny and Mr Whatley and Mr Mullins and Mr Bungay, Mr Kellow and Mr Stamford, were Very Senior Men and Women with men and women under them to do their bidding. They had become so by not always letting those under them do their bidding, without ever going and seeing for themselves; and 4.0 on a Friday morning, at the little halts and stations throughout the Woolfonts and Beechbourne and Chickmarsh, was an especially likely time to see them seeing for themselves, up betimes on at least this day of the week and sons or successors or underlings be damned: marking and choosing, haggling over prices, arguing ritually over the freshness of this and the weight of that and the quality of the other."
  • Large and in Charge: The man spends his days cutting up large animals with a saw and a cleaver. Would you mess with him?
  • Stout Strength: See Large and in Charge. And heft that quarter of beef over here.

    Mr. (Leonard) Penny, Greengrocer 

Penny the Greengrocer:

Hardworking, early-bird, mustachioed greengrocer with a strong sense of what's right and a stronger sense of what isn't, but charitable and sympathetic in a crisis (as long as it doesn't involve his peculiarly unfortunate phobia). He also owns the Magna offie.

"His day had, after all, begun down the station goods yard, surrounded by pallets of provender, well before the Winter dawn; and he'd been, of course, perambulating the shop since before they'd opened the doors, as the produce and truck were being set out for sale. Such was a greengrocer's life, and he had no regrets … most days."

  • The Clan: All around the District, including among the outside servants at Wolfdown.
  • Family Business: It's an old established firm.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: With Messrs. Mullins the butcher, Bungay the fruiterer, and Whatley the fishmonger. Mr Penny is the Sanguine one.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: He's charitable, conscientious to the point of over-worry, and sympathetic. He even cooled down – after chucking Snook out of his shop – when Dr. Emily advised that Snook's racist outburst was symptomatic of disease, and Snook wasn't mentally responsible these days: in fact, he comforted Betty Snook, who was embarrassed by the old sod. But suppliers who send bad fruit and veg. are asking to be throttled.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Especially unfortunately for a greengrocer, he has an absolute horror of sprouts. (The Duke, naturally, being a Better Off Out Brexiter, thinks this reasonable enough: as they are after all Brussels sprouts....)

    Mr. (Thomas) Bungay, Fruiterer 

Bungay the Fruiterer:

If you want mass-market hothouse grapes or that, his friend Mr. Penny may be able to oblige amid the potatoes. But if you want heritage pears, cider apples, dessert apples, cane fruit, gooseberries, and the like, Mr. Bungay, fruiterer to the Quality and local expert, has you covered.

"His day had, after all, begun down the station goods yard, surrounded by pallets of provender, well before the Winter dawn; and he'd been, of course, perambulating the shop since before they'd opened the doors, as the produce and truck were being set out for sale. Such was a greengrocer's life, and he had no regrets … most days."

  • The Clan: A cloud of witness, the quick and those in the churchyard for centuries and on the War Memorial.
  • Family Business: They've been in the trade a good long time.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: With Messrs. Mullins the butcher, Penny the greengrocer, and Whatley the fishmonger. Mr Bungay is a Phlegmatic sort.
  • Hidden Depths: He's an expert on local history and lore.
    At the Village Fête: "Mr Viney's quiz, at which he was amusingly spelled by Rupert and James, had resolved itself into an epic battle, on increasingly obscure local topics, between Sir Thomas Douty and Bungay the fruiterer – who won."

    Mr. (Stephen) Whatley, Fishmonger 


Nimble businessman who manages to purvey fish in an inland county in a Protestant countrynote  and make a profit.

"And, it being a Friday, and the parishes being a bit High and there being RCs amidst them, good neighbours all, Whatley the Fish kept his doors open until 6.0 also, as he did on Thursdays as well, although he closed at 5.0 on Mondays through Wednesdays."

  • The Clan: A young relative at Wolfdown, an elderly one in the care home, scores of them in the churchyard and among the Fallen of the wars, and plenty abroad in the District at this very moment.
  • Family Business: Whatley means fish and fish means Whatley in the Woolfonts, and has for many generations.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: With Messrs. Mullins the butcher, Penny the greengrocer, and Bungay the fruiterer. Mr Whatley is a subverted Choleric.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: In an odd way. He and his shop, metonymously, are always "Whatley the Fish."
  • The Quiet One: Oddly enough. His actions speak for him most of the time. Such as cheerfully keeping extended hours the night before fast days, for the convenience of the Really High Church and the Very Trad Catholics. Choleric in recovery, with a heart of gold, Whatley.

    Fords, of Beechbourne, and Ford's of Beechbourne: The bakers and the bakers' 

The Fords of Ford's Bakery:

The family now surnamed Ford have been baking in Beechbourne since, just after King John gave Beechbourne its market charter, Tom le Baker, son of Adam le Bâtard (his mum had caught a Malet eye), made a deal with Sir Geoffrey Malet, lord of the manor, to compound his servile duties and become his man and baker in Beechbourne lest the burgesses get too much above themselves and forget their feudal place. (Pull the other one....) Have survived all the vicissitudes of war and peace, boom and bust, producing, by the Victorian age, civic worthies and yeomanry subalterns; and survive yet. They pride themselves on holding on. Tom Ford, the current Managing Director, is Mayor of Beechbourne, and still baking, "just as sure and floury of hand as his long-fathers, a master baker versed in lardy cake and Bath bun, cottage loaf and Coburg, adept at sponge and battenberg, and involved now in the maltings for the Woolfont Brewery, that bastion of real ale...."

"Fords held on; and Ford's held on."

  • The Clan: The Duke's agent is a Ford. Everyone within miles is a Ford cousin. Everyone. And the bakery is still as full of Fords as a bun is with currants.
  • Family Business: Oh, just since before Magna Carta.
  • Good Old Ways: For Tom Ford and his father Young John, "Chorleywood" (the modern bread process) is a curse-word. And Hal Ford sees his job at getting that school nonsense about baking-as-chemistry out of the apprentices' noggins.
    "'Improver?' Hal Ford looked with carefully acted disgust at a dewy-eyed apprentice. 'Improver? At Ford's? What they be teaching you up that school I dunno.... You make your mind up, my girl: do you care to be a baker, or a manufacturer? Now, you get them oats, young miss, and mind as you watch careful how we make oatbread."
    • And the apprentice in question is revealed to be his niece Amy Ford.

    The Stamfords of the Woolfont Brewery, Fr. Paddick's former in-laws 

The Stamfords:

Pauline's parents and siblings, their spouses, and her niece, brought down from Wolverhampton by the Duke on the pretext of helping with the community brewery and community rail, but in fact all for Noel's sake. Jack Stamford, "Dad" to all, is the maltster and brewmaster now at the Brewery; Betty runs the brewery shop and museum with a rod of iron wrapped in silk (and, with Mary Paddick, the gift-shop side of the railway, Mary curating its museum); Will Stamford's wife Meg is now a part-time parish secretary to Noel, now that her daughter Mary Elizabeth (Molly) is old enough for nursery. (Wee Molly was baptized by her uncle Noel in the Woolfonts, the Duke insisting on standing godfather, before the Paddicks and Stamfords were ever lured down there to stay.) Will, like Steve Paddick's son-in-law Gerry Fullwood, Carola's husband, had been with the rail sector operations department of Carillion; George Stamford, who married Annie (sister to Si Longmore who married Joan Paddick, Noel's and Carola's sister), had been with Chubb Locks alongside Si Longmore. Needless to say, they're with the railway now, in operations, infrastructure and permanent way (i.e., lines and track), and security respectively, while Joan, unlike Annie and Carola, works with Betty Stamford in the brewery shop.

Noel, to the Duke, and failing as a prophet: "'Mum Stamford's a housewife and proud of it: she used to work at Beatties and is glad she needn't now. Dad Stamford's a senior workman, brewing with Banks's – under Marston's, you know. The sons, both married, work in Wolvo: George, the eldest, at Chubb Locks, Will for Carillion. Again, I know what you're thinking, but you can't poach them, they'd never leave Wolvo.'"

  • All Beer Is Ale: Dad Stamford's view of lager is sulfurous. They do Real Ale (and Real Cider) at the Woolfont Brewery, proper British brewing, and he'll make damned sure of it.
  • Almighty Mom: Betty, and don't you forget it. (And with her daughters working for her....)
  • Apron Matron: Betty, far more than Meg.
  • Beergasm: Giving these every time is the objective of the brewery, and Dad Stamford as brewmaster, Maltster, and Managing Director.
  • Cheerful Child: Wee Molly. She averts the Terrible Twos.
  • The Clan: Paddicks, Longmores, Stamfords, Fullwoods.... For that matter, Meg Stamford was born a Whitehouse, which was the maiden name of one of Mary Paddick's grans. And now they're all down in the Woolfonts, where Noel is Rector.
    "Wolvo was like that, and always had been, from the days when Mander Brothers and Carvers had been mighty in the land; if it wasn't the Jag factory, or Moog – successor to Boulton Paul –, building aeroplanes, a working lad in Wolvo tended to sign on alongside cousins and uncles and father in brewing, or making locks, or manufacturing road and building materials. Whole families spent their lives in what was almost livery with one or another major employer, intermarrying and coalescing...."
  • Constantly Curious: Wee Molly. She's two. 'Nuff said.
  • Doting Grandparent: Jack and Betty treat Wee Molly as a small person, not something merely as something to coo over. (As do her Uncle Noel – souls are souls, and temporal age is irrelevant – and her ducal godfather, come to that.)
  • Doting Parent: Every last one of them, even the aunts and uncles; and Good Parents too.
  • Family Business: They and the Paddicks are making the railway and the brewery (and the benefice) into one.
  • Gentle Giant / Large and in Charge: Dad Stamford (like Steve Paddick) is compared to the brewery Shire horses for a reason.
  • Good Parents: Jack and Betty; Will and Meg.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Dad Stamford and Steve Paddick.
  • The Patriarch: Dad Stamford.
  • The Reliable One: Being this is the Stamford's (and Paddicks') hat. In fact, it seems to be a Midlands hat, In-Universe. They take Boring, but Practical, run it through Mundane Made Awesome, and end up with Simple, yet Awesome. (Which is pretty much how you brew beer, come to think of it....)

    The Paddicks of the W&CR Railway, Fr. Paddick's family 

The Paddicks:

Steve, Mary, Carola (and her husband Gerry Fullwood) and Joan (and her husband Si Longmore). Mary was a Timmins before her marriage – Bob Timmins is her nephew – and her mum (Olive Timmins, widow of George) visits frequently. (The Duke is working on getting her to come live in the Woolfonts. Of course. She's reluctant to leave her terrace house and her neighbors; the Nawab outright accuses the Duke of planning to move the entire street down.)

"… perfect types of the best of the English, Steve being very much the solid incarnation of that bluff, Midlands probity, leavened with humour, of the master craftsman (indeed, the cunning artificer) or small tradesman, and Mary, three parts Black Country housewife to one part superior charwoman."

  • Apron Matron: Mary. She gets it from Olive, who is this turned Up to Eleven.
  • The Clan: Surely obvious by now.
  • Cool Old Lady: Nan – i.e., Grandmother – Timmins. Likes a flutter on the 'osses; could win the Chelsea Flower Show in a walk if she entered. Not above a bit of mild bawdry, either.
  • Doting Parent: Mary, with less worry for Noel; Steve, with rather more "werritin'."
  • Family Business: They and the Stamfords are making the railway and the brewery (and the benefice) into one.
  • Gentle Giant / Large and in Charge: Steve's a human Shire horse.
  • Good Parents: Very.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Steve Paddick, with Dad Stamford.
  • Hidden Depths: Tiny, wren-like, and still spry, Nan Timmins is a blue-ribbon gardener. Her son-in-law Steve has spent his life, even working hours, slowly-and-steadily getting further qualifications, and is by now qualified and certified to run the entire railway single-handed at need.
  • Legacy of Service: Nan Timmins' late husband George's grandfather "was coachman to Sir Francis Sutton-Somery," and there have been several generations of the family In Service. Nan respects the gentry and peerage as such, and knows just how to treat them: with due respect on both sides, or all bets are off. (She adores the Duke, Rupert, James, and the Nawab, and it's reciprocated.)
  • The Patriarch: Steve. Though he defers to his son's spiritual authority.
  • Rail Enthusiast: They all are (and it's just as well); Steve, particularly, started off at the same brewery as Jack Stamford, but on the casks and copper-and-cooperage side, being metals-minded, and when Banks's had started its (Real Life) acquisitions spree and ceased being a really local firm, he'd moved to Tarmac and its rail sector.
    "Steve, Gerry, and Si had between them – 'providentially', it might be said, not least by Steve's son, now Canon Noel Paddick – been natural choices to take on their roles with the W&CR: its permanent way and infrastructure, its lines, locomotives, and rolling stock, and its security."
  • The Reliable One: Being this is the Paddicks' (and Stamford's) hat.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Mary is a very competent seamstress (and not in the Discworld sense, you blasphemer); and a specially dab hand at altar linens and vestments for Noel. (Not unrelatedly, the schoolboy Noel was dubious about taking Textile and Design, and Food Tech, at school.) She is casually mentioned in the narrative as "doing crewel to be kind."

     The Darroch Twins, Dougie and Davie 

The Darroch Twins:

Dangerously sexy, metrosexual types, brought down by the Duke from Leeds because they were Sher's school-days best friends; they alarm Lady Crispin. Grandsons of a Hebridean distiller; sons of a father who worked for the Allied Lyons brewery in Leeds, and a Desi mum whose people were Church of North India. Fiercely loyal to Sher. Dougie is with the railway, on the catering side; Davie, on the sales staff at the brewery.

"… their fined and carven – well, sexiness, one must admit, reflected Lady Crispin – was sleekly dangerous to the susceptible. And she was not quite as certain as she'd wish to be that they understood what was and was not possible in the countryside. (Of course there was rampant rural fornication: always had been, in all classes: but the countryside code, as it were, was that the appearances and the convenances be preserved. It was a matter of convention and propriety; and persons new to rural life, felt she, were quite appallingly unlikely to be aware of its requirements.)"

  • The Champion: To Sher, since their school days.
  • Fish out of Water: Too sharp and too urban for the rural West Country, really, but … it's for Sher, okay?
  • Mr. Fanservice: Lady Crispin so considers them, and it makes her nervous.

    The W&CR Railway personnel 

The Railwaymen:

All the named W&CR people so far named: George Alford; Charlie Barter; Will Dowdell (and his mother-in-law the Widow Everley (Katie)); Matt Silverthorne; Jim Targett....

"The Locomotive, Carriage, and Waggon Department of the W&CR were a happy lot, the volunteers and apprentices as much as the permanent paid staff, and contrariwise: for every woman jill and man jack of them was hopelessly enamoured of and enchanted by that romance of the railways."

  • The Clan: Silverthornes are thick upon the ground like leaves in a particularly leafy autumnal bit of Vallombrosa. So are Targetts.
  • Legacy of Service: Old Matt Silverthorne, driver of No. 1003, Master of Dilton.
    "… whose great-uncle had been on the GWR in the Big Four daysMr Hawksworth's days, as Old Matt always reverently said – and one of whose ancestors had known Brunel...."
  • Rail Enthusiast: Pretty much a requirement.
  • Railroad Employee Roundhouse: George Alford and Charlie Barter are signalmen with succeeding shifts manning the Cliff Ambries signal-box; Will Dowdell is the Agincourt Ducis stationmaster; Matt Silverthorne drives the premier locomotive of the line; and Jim Targett is the Senior Controller for the morning shift.
  • Serious Business: It all is; but, for such stationmasters as Will Dowdell, Agincourt Ducis station, carrying passengers and goods safely and to time, preserving life, limb, and property, is All a Part of the Job and pales in comparison to the savage Best Kept Station competition. Which is why his mother-in-law keeps pestering him:
    "The Widow Everley's one goal in life nowadays, her own efforts in the Cottagers' Class having become stale to her by repeated victory, was to secure the prize for Will's station in the W&CR's station-against-station gardening and beautification stakes; and Will, even in the depths of Winter, was besieged with advice, and seed-envelopes (and advice), and pots (and advice), and hanging baskets (and advice). And, of course, with ... advice, and yet more advice."

    Spackman & Barter, Thatchers 

The Spackmans and Barters and Nobles, Thatchers, Somerford Canons:

Members of an old, established firm struggling like Laocoön and his sons in the toils of red tape. (Chris Barter, particularly, has become a very Thatcherite thatcher as a result.)

"Chris Barter didn't bother railing against Divine Providence: there was no point in that. Staring at forms and screens and order-books, however, left him dangerously red in the face when he considered the ominous conjunction of idiot EU directives and 'environmental' cack calculated to kill off Maris Widgeon, and kill off the thatcher alongside o' his straw; planning officers who insisted on long straw when there was no long straw to be had; and potential or prior clients who'd not unnaturally said, Sod this for a game of bureaucrats, what about slate? He thanked God roundly for the duke's refusal to be anything save his traditionalist – and influential – self, and that Teddy Gates had been properly primed by His Grace to insist, with all the 'Green' greenery-yallery retro-chic impulses of a Lib Dem Hipsta on council, in enforcing those traditions...."

  • Continuity Nod: In Evensong, Fred Beckett the river bailiff has an official (tied) cottage, Bank House, noted as having been lately re-thatched … "by Mr Gabriel Spackman, from over Canonicorum-way, a craftsman of celebrated skill."
  • Family Business: They were thatching before it was cool. As in, when that was how anyone without a title got a roof over their heads. And it's still a family business. (The Nobles aren't hereditary thatchers; but Phil ("Pip") Noble married the trade when he married Chris Barter's daughter.)
  • Good Old Ways: Gabriel Spackman, Chris Barter, and Phil Noble all take great pride in being Master Thatchers and hewing to traditional methods. Which is a problem....
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: To Chris Barter, they all are. Planning officers insist on traditional straw and traditional methods in scheduled heritage areas, even as other jobsworths in other departments (and countries) are trying to get prohibit the necessary materials. (In Real Life, this is Truth in Television).
  • Spot of Tea: Phil Noble's way of shutting his father-in-law's rants up. Smart lad.

    Tower & Sons, Undertakers & Monumental Masonsnote  

Tower & Sons, Undertakers & Monumental Masons, Woolfont Crucis:

Yet more Towers. Planting a different sort of crop to the farming branch of the family.... Capable of catering to the humble and to the Quality equally: had the handling of Lord Crispin's funeral.

"… even had the Agninis not been minting it with their gelato and cornets and chip shop and up-market Italian restaurant in the market town, Mgr Folan (and, no doubt, His Grace, without respect of confession and creed) should in any case have given the Widow Agnini a belle enterrement (or the British Italian equivalent) at their own charges."

  • Creepy Mortician: Averted. They are decent people doing an important job and giving, with respect, what's justly Due to the Dead.
  • Family Business: For ages. Jack Tower's in charge; Bob Tower heads the tombstone-carving side; Tom Tower is the backroom boy (owing to irrepressible temperamental cheerfulness of manner, which makes it impossible to let him loose on the customers).
  • Gentle Giant: Bob Tower.
    "Vast Bob Tower the younger, who was a monumental – in both senses – mason with Tower & Sons, Undertakers & Monumental Masons, est. 1889, looked up from his current job in Chickmarsh stone, chisel and dummy in hand."
  • Perpetual Smiler: Tom Tower, which is why he's the backroom boy. He's even borne up cheerfully under the name "Tom Tower," about which the Duke has inevitably made plenty of Oxbridge puns. For decades. (The clock tower of Christ Church, the Duke's Oxford college, is called "Tom Tower.")
  • Respected by the Respected: From dukes to dairymaids, Tower & Sons will get the job.
  • Surprisingly Good Foreign Language (In-Universe): Zigzagged:
    "'Roman funeral up Beechbourne,' said Tom Tower, Bob's second cousin, whose natural, inherent, and irrepressible cheerfulness – proof even against the duke's Christ-Church-Oxon puns on his name, over several decades – had, for quite evident reasons, relegated him to administrative work as a 'back-room boy' in the family business. 'Old Mrs Agnini's gone at last. Monsignor Folan'll be in touch.' [snip]
    "'Poor old dear. Bless; but I expect as her bist happier now. Us'll be ready,' said Bob, speaking for the monumental side of the firm. 'But mind you get the details writ out by the RC padre, so as they're all spelt as they ought to be. I'm all right with Church Latin as I've seen a hundred times, but Italian's beyond me, even for names and such-loike.'"

    The larger farmers: Jem Coombs; Vernon Baker; Cecil Ford; Tommy Bugg; Alf Goodfellow 

The major farmers: Mr. Baker, Mr. Bugg, Mr. Coombs, Mr. Ford, and Mr. Goodfellow:

The respected leaders of the farming interest: and respected, including by one another and His Grace the Duke, not for their acres and bank accounts, but for their work and their charity.

"(During the Winter Storm of 2009): Will Tower of the home farm and the larger farmers, Jem Coombs and Vernon Baker, Cecil Ford and Tommy Bugg, and above all the duke's keeper, Will Sanger, all did their parts to feed bodies, secure in the knowledge that His Grace should see they didn't lose by it...."

     The Burtts, Farmers 

The Burtts, a farm family:

Dan and Louisa (née Calley), and their children, Ant, Amy, and wee Alfie. Sheep, mostly, though Lou runs to some poultry and so on as well. Egg money is pin money.

"Dan Burtt was up betimes, as befit and behoved a farmer; Louisa his wife was up before him, as farm wives must commonly be."

  • A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family: Played straight. Ant's ten ("almost eleven, Mum, honestly!"), Amy's started school, and Wee Alfie is two-and-a-bit. Evidently Good People Have Good Sex.
    "And familiarity, in a marital sense, does breed."
  • The Clan: Burtts, Stockwells, Calleys.... Related to half the District between them.
  • Cock-a-Doodle Dawn: Averted. Farmers know better. Although Dan has his suspicions of his wife's drattedly noisy Scots Dumpies.
  • A Day in Her Apron: Subverted. Dan reflects, affectionately, that she could run the farm without him, better than he does. Including dealing with obstructive bureaucrats.
  • Family Business: Yep … which won't be easy for Ant, anymore than for his Dad.
  • Good Old Ways: Once they found out how much the Native Breeds At Risk Supplement could bring in, they happily acceded to the Duke's suggestions about heritage sheep (and poultry).
  • Happily Married: Dan and Lou.
    "Thank God for Lou, thought he. Sound little organiser, and still as beautiful to him as the day he'd married her, to his own lasting and grateful astonishment that she'd taken him on."
  • Not a Morning Person: Dan isn't, but has trained himself to deal with it. Ant isn't (just because he's upright and out of bed doesn't mean he's awake), which is why following in the family business will be a trial to him in turn. Nor is Amy ("Now to get Amy up without having to pour water on her head"). Naturally, wee Alfie, on the other hand....
    "Lou sighed. At least wee Alfie might – with luck – sleep in yet a bit, and bain't that the way of it, the one as you'd wish did sleep through anything bist the one as woke all hours, and stayed woke. There were mornings she quite missed the days when Ant was but two and a bit, really, and the only sprog underfoot."
  • Serious Business: Weather, when you're a serious farmer.
    "Snow, now, were one thing. Insulated the Winter wheat: not that he farmed arable, but he had neighbours – and he had sheep to feed, in Winter, and pregnant ewes at that. But rain and snow mixed weren't grateful to stubble, or Winter forage crops, or his sheep. Set back seasoning the firewood as well, it did do, something terrible. And he'd coppicing to do, too...."

     Peter Fanner, Postman 

Peter "Pete the Postie" Fanner, Royal Mail:

Cheerful cat-lover (owned by Tig the cat) very grateful to have a rural round.

"Pete the Postie, always willing to oblige, was aiding Old Mrs Curnow with a light in want of changing ('it bist the arthritics, dear, you see')."

     Jemmy Dalley and Ernie Bellin, Milkmen 

Jemmy Dalley and Ernie Bellin:

The fastest horse-drawn milkmen in the West Country. (The electric milk float can't handle those grades. The old drop-axle, heavily sprung, horse-drawn milk float can.)

"Jemmy Dally belied his surname, this morning as every morning. He did not dally, anymore than did Ernie Bellin, who shared his extensive round."

  • Hidden Depths: So. Rural milkmen with a route so hilly they can't use an electric milk float and have to plod along in a horse-drawn wagon in the 21st Century. They must be yokel idiots.
    "… the team of Bellin and Dally had become (with ducal sponsorship) increasingly successful competitors in carriage driving, and indeed were entered for the year's coming Royal Windsor Horse Show."
  • Meaningful Name: Averted, as noted and lampshaded in the quote.
  • Pursue the Dream Job: They do. Mostly because of the horses, working with which,
    "… rounds done and returning to the dairy, put an extra zest in the morning whistle, sweeter for the knowledge that the work which there awaited them was no mere mechanical end to the working day, but the companionship of feeding and watering and currying, of rubbed-down horse and polished brass, and the merry swabbing of the waggon with its cheerful paint agleam. Ernie and Jemmy, quite simply, liked horses, and all to do with them, even unto cleaning up around and after them...."

     The Burchards, Smiths and Farriers 

The Burchards, Smiths and Farriers:

Alex Burchard FWCF (Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Farriers) and his children, Karen Burchard AWCF and Andrew Burchard AWCF, farriers to the local horsey set (and the Duke, the Duke's hunt, and the Hon. Gwen's stables). And still make house calls. Or horse calls, with the mobile set-up in the van.

"Mr Burchard breathed in the old familiar scents, hot metal and rasped or burnt hoof and honest horse; and, like any farrier whose work has gone well, bethought himself of his tea."

  • The Blacksmith: Er. Yes.
  • Call-Back: There's a scene at the railway works which runs as follows:
    "The sizzling, intoxicating smell of hot metal, the glare and the spark, the mysterious alchemy which was in sober fact un-mysterious chemistry and metallurgy, the man-made stars in the man-made darkness, the ring and reverberation of metal like distant bells: there is always magic of a sort in a forge or a workshop, and specially so when it is connected with the romance of the railways."
  • Family Business: Well, obvs.
  • Forging Scene / Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Played with, as the forging (by Andrew, on a house call with the van) is not of a weapon, but, of course, of a horseshoe. And is a Call-Back as set out above:
    "The sizzling, intoxicating smell of hot metal, the glare and the spark, the mysterious alchemy which was in sober fact un-mysterious chemistry and metallurgy, the man-made stars in the man-made darkness, the ring and reverberation of metal like distant bells: there is always magic of a sort in a forge or a workshop, and specially so when the forge is that of the farrier, the smith, Weyland; even if the forge is a mobile one, in the back of a white van. And there is a special magic in horses, and in racehorses most of all."

     The Staff of The Woolford House Hotel 

The Hotel Staff:

The people who allow Teddy to function, led by Emily Lane and Meg Leaver. Includes work-experience girl Jessica Grenfell, who already knows to smile politely and ignore Teddy; Angus the dour Scots gardener; Head Housekeeper Margaret; Bettany, in marketing; Liam, headwaiter; Timothy and his maintenance lads; Tamsin Targett, luncheon maîtresse d'hôtel; and so on.

"The only reason Emily Lane was (in theory and title) sub-manageress of The Woolford House Hotel, was that foodie politics dictated that Teddy be its chef-proprietor-manager to justify its stars and ranking; and Teddy was quite clever enough to know who really ran the place. Well: front of house; nowadays, his executive chef (and, when Teddy was in the kitchens, ostensible sous-chef): highly executive and no 'sous' about it, and pull the other one, it has a ring of six on it: Meg Leaver, effectively ran the kitchens. Teddy not infrequently wondered, uneasily, just when and how he'd been reduced to being a mere figurehead."

  • Benevolent Boss: No, not Teddy, though he is benevolent. Emily Lane. In a strict but fair sort of way.
  • Call-Back: In Cross And Poppy, Tamsin was the waitress first groped by the three drunken footballers who then came on to the Hon. Gwen (this was in her single days) when she was dining with Sher: the incident which ended in a Bar Brawl; the footballers' arrests and sacking; Noel (new to the parish) breaking the nose of one of the footballers with one punch; Edmond and The Breener swinging candlesticks and carving knives; Teddy tossing people out; and the Duke … leaning negligently on a chair, one leg of which, as he coolly pointed out, was digging into the throat of a decked footballer, and "don't wriggle: if I slip and put any weight at all on this chair, well, the hyoid is a delicate bone, and the throat's a sensitive thing, and I'm the only one here capable of performing a field trachaeotomy … and I'd be disinclined to bother, really." In front of the Commissioner and the Chief Constable, mind you. And by The Day Thou Gavest Tamsin's the lunchtime maitre d'.
    • It's best to be Nice to the Waiter at The Woolford. Teddy once threw two EU Commissioners out for being rude and snappy with – as they thought – three porters loitering, in grubby whites, at the entrance, and not taking their luggage quickly enough. The "porters" being the Duke, the Nawab, and the Rector, fresh from winning another cricket match.
  • Clueless Boss: Circumstances have rendered Teddy this nowadays. But it's all right.
    "… Meg and Emily between them in fact made rather a better fist of running the place than he did, and his role was increasingly a nominal one. With, however, his and Edmond's journey well advanced towards adopting a child or two, Chef had come to embrace and welcome that otherwise inconvenient fact."
  • Embarrassing First Name: Tamsin's is noted to be a bit too posh for her ("victim, at the font, of a too-aspirational mum").
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Emily's former husband (and good riddance) called her "Penny," ostensibly as his faithful Penelope but mainly to make Beatles jokes. It may have started as an Affectionate Nickname, though Emily never liked it, but when he cheated on her with some slag from Liverpool, it became an Embarrassing Nickname and an Ironic Nickname.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Meg in the kitchen, Emily at the front desk. To Almighty Janitor levels.
    "'Jessica … um, good work,' said Teddy Gates, passing by a busy chambermaid; 'but we needn't be all that thorough, surely?'
    "Jessica Grenfell knew already, quite well, to smile at Chef, and ignore him.
    "Emily Lane neither smiled nor ignored him, but, rather, nodded him into an adjoining room.
    "'Mr Gates.'"
    • And … explains … to him just what he's done wrong.
  • Pursue the Dream Job: Jessica is training to do just that. As is Tamsin. Both fully expect to have their own hotel-restaurants someday.
  • Stern Teacher: Emily, to Staff and to her boss Teddy alike.
    "You'd do well to get that in your head, Mr Gates: not so much as chef-proprietor or local councillor, but as a soon-to-be-father. Discipline, Mr Gates: discipline. Once that's established, then you can allow rare indulgences, and they'll mean something when you do."


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