Fetes & Flower Shows

1934 – Saturday 28 July – The first-ever fête / flower show at Kingston … at Kingston House


What must have surely been the smallest flower show of the year for Dorset was held at the little village of Kingston on Saturday. The village community is probably the highest placed in Dorset, and residents look down on historic Corfe Castle. There has been no show held in Kingston within living memory, and Saturday’s effort was staged in a marquee measuring 18 feet by 12 feet. There were 17 classes, and the entries totalled 99. The show, with which was combined a fête, was held, by kind permission of Mrs. Fenwick-Owen, in the beautiful grounds of Kingston House, and it was in aid of parochial funds.

In declaring the fête open, the Hon. Sir Ernest Scott, K.C.M.G., M.V.O., commented that it had been declared that if people could only believe that money was the least important thing in life, everything would be much better. It was true that money was quite useless unless it was circulated.

Mr. Gibbons, of Studland, who judged the horticultural exhibits, was extremely pleased with the high standard shown. Side-shows were organised by Mr. R. Dorey, and Mr. N. Phillips, who was the organiser of the flower show, was assisted by Mr. A. G. Loxston. A folk dancing display was arranged by Miss Dawson, and refreshments were provided by members of the Kingston Women’s Institute. Selections were played by a band, under the direction of Mr. W. Hooper. The Hon. Secretary was the Rev. F. S. Horan, and the Hon. Treasurer was Mr. W. E. Candy.


Cut flowers – 1, Mrs. B. Cooper; 2, G. Bartlett.  Sweet peas – 2, Mrs. B. Cooper.  Window plant – 1, Mrs. F. Hunt; 2, Mrs. Moore.  Stocks – 2, E. Chappell.  Runner beans – 1, P. Damer; 2, J. Beavis.  Peas – 1, Tuck; 2, P. Damer.  Spring onions – 1, E. Dorey; 2, C. Orchard.  Autumn onions – 1. S. Moore; 2, W. Hooper.  Potatoes – 1, E. Hunt; 2, W. Hooper.  Carrots – 1, Tuck; 2, T. Bullen.  Shallots – 1, R. Beavis; 2, S. Moore.  Cooking apples – 1, C. Orchard; 2, R. Beavis.  Wild flowers, children – 1. Robert Moore; 2, Miss M. Dorey.  Home-made jam – 1, Mrs. Phillips; 2, Mrs. Horan.  Home-made cake – 1, Mrs. B. Cooper; 2, Mrs. Orchard.

Extracted from the Western Gazette of 3 August 1934

1935 – Thursday 22 August- The first fête / flower show at Encombe


An unusual privilege – that of viewing the beautiful grounds of Encombe Manor – was enjoyed by hundreds of villagers and visitors who attended a flower show and fete held there by kind permission of Sir Ernest Scott, K.C.M.G., M.V.O, on Thursday afternoon and evening. Fete attractions were scattered over the smooth lawns surrounding the delightful bright green lake at the rear of the house, and a small but excellent lot of entries for the flower show were exhibited in the quaint temple in the grounds round a magnificent bronze statue of a gladiator. Glorious sunshine and an admirably organised programme made the occasion ideal. The effort was in aid of general parish funds and the flower show was the second annual.

The fete was opened by Sir Ernest, to whom sincere thanks were voiced. There was a variety of attractive side-shows and the general arrangements were supervised by Rev. F. S. Horan (vicar). Mr. W. E. Candy was hon. Treasurer, and the show was organised by Mr. N. Phillips, head gardener to Sir Ernest. Sir Herbert Cook, of Studland, was among those present, and his head gardener, Mr. F. C. Gibbons, judged the show exhibits. Commenting on their all-round excellence he said: “It is a much better show than it was last year; it is at least twice as good. I really do think that it will be a better show than that at Swanage in years to come.”

Organisers of the various departments of the fete were: – Side-shows, Mr. R. Dorey; gymkhana, Col. Muspratt; entertainments, Mrs. F. W. Pond of Swanage; refreshments, Mrs. Orchard (assisted by members of the Kingston W.I.). A folk dancing display was given under the direction of Miss Dawson, and there was Morris dancing under the leadership of Miss Dymand, of Langton Matravers. Many of the dancers had competed in winning teams in Albert Hall competitions. In the evening modern dancing took place of the lawn. The two entertainments arranged by Mrs. Pond of Swanage, and given voluntarily by the Everest Concert Party, were excellent. Selections were played by the Kingston and Corfe Castle Band, under the direction of Mr. W. Hooper, who gave their services.

There were frequent ‘buses from Corfe Castle and Swanage to Kingston, from where a special ‘bus service ran to Encombe along the steep and richly wooded slopes of the Purbecks, on top of which the beautiful village of Kingston stands.

Five hundred entrance tickets were sold and yet there were not enough for all. Besides these, Scouts, Guides, and children were admitted free.


Three vases of cut flowers – Mrs. W. Dorey, Mrs. A. Cooper, Mrs. C. Orchard. Cut flowers – Mrs. Tizzard, Mrs. W. Dorey, Mrs. Orchard. Sweet peas – Mrs. Orchard, Mrs. W. Dorey, Mrs. A. Cooper. Asters – Mrs. Orchard, Mrs. A. Dorey, Mrs. Tizzard. Stocks – D. Hunt. Window plant – Mrs. C. Hunt, D. Hunt, Mrs. W. Dorey.

Potatoes – J. Marsh, W. Dorey, W. Damer. Shallots – R. Beavis, J. Marsh, D. Hunt. Carrots – W. Tuck. Spring Onions – G. White, D. Hunt, G. Bartlett. Peas – Mrs. H. Hunt. Marrow – Mrs. J. Marsh. Runner beans – W. Dorey, P. Damer, D. Hunt.

Cooking apples – R. Beavis, W. Tuck, C. Brown.

Wild flowers – Miss I. Marsh, Miss G. Dorey, Miss Stickland.

Home-made jam – Miss Joyce, Mrs. A. Cooper, Miss K, Bullen. Plain cake – Mrs. W. Dorey, Mrs. C. Orchard, Mrs. A. Cooper. Fruit cake – Mrs. A. Cooper, Mrs. A. Dorey, Mrs. P. Damer. Jam sandwich – Mrs. A. Cooper, Mrs. W. Dorey. Collection of vegetables for special prize given by Mr. GibbonsW. Dorey, J. Marsh, P. Damer.


Runner beans – L. Stockley. Spring onions – G. Wright, Mrs. Stockley. Peas – 2, L. Stockley. Cucumbers – L. Stockley. Stocks – L. Stockley.


A gymkhana was admirably arranged by Colonel Muspratt of Swanage. Among the various amusing events were blowing up balloons (Miss Daphne Bankes was the winner in completion with many Scouts); balloon sticking; and sausage stakes.

There were two bowling competitions. A pig presented by Mr. Barnes of Afflington Farm, was won by a visitor at the farm. A ham given by Mr. Dicker, of Wareham, was secured by Miss Roupell, a visitor from Surrey. The skittles prize, a shoulder of mutton, presented by Mr. Budden, of Corfe Castle, went to Mr. Brain. Treasure “stakes” were arranged by Mrs. Hare.

Extracted from the Western Gazette of Friday 23 August 1935

The following account is taken from ‘My Memories by a Village Carpenter’ by Bob Dorey and published in 1987:

In 1935 the first Church Fête and Flower Show was held in the grounds at Encombe. The Flower Show was held in the Temple … with the exhibits on benches around and behind the statue, then more on the steps in front and more at the sides, so numerous were the entries! We were surprised by the number and the quality. Folk brought produce from Church Knowle, Corfe Castle, Worth Matravers, Langton Matravers, and Kingston and Encombe, of course. I heard no complaints about the Judging, done by the Head Gardeners from Grange and Rempstone Estates.

Mr. Gerald Loxston was the Treasurer, the Rev. Horan was a great help with everything, and there was no lack of ladies to help with the Teas. I organised the Sideshows, including the Revolving Horse. I had to rescue many a young lady who found the Horse troublesome, and it was great fun for the onlookers! There was Maypole Dancing by the children of the village school, trained by Mrs. Hare the Headmistress. Both the Maypole in its frame and the Horse with its revolving body had been made in the Estate Carpenter’s Shop.

I can remember the joy on the faces of the spectators sitting watching the Maypole Dances and the Plays put on in the lovely open-air setting between the trees and the lake, and I can remember, for example, Capt. Rogers speaking his lines “Here I be and here I’ll bide … till Princess Priscilla be my Bride!”. The Plays were produced by Mrs. Fenwick-Owen or by Janet Wilson from Corfe. After the £200 profit made on the first one, the Encombe Fête had become an annual event attracting people from miles around!

As Sir Ernest Scott once remarked, the entrance fee gave good value for an afternoon plus evening’s entertainment … which went on till about 10 p.m. with dancing on the lawn. I remember Sir Ernest starting the Ball rolling by dancing with Mrs. Fanny Cooper; you should have seen them all doing the Heel-Toe Polka to the strains of the Village Band, who had provided, for no extra charge, music all afternoon and evening.


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