The Pell family have been very involved in many aspects of village life in Milton Malsor. Emma Pell lived in the end house opposite to the school. At that time this was a double-fronted red-brick house (although no evidence of this remains today) with one of the downstairs rooms being used as the village shop. It is rumoured that the property was given to Emma Pell as a ‘sweetener’ for her illegitimate child, fathered by a member of the Bouverie family from Hardingstone. The property was on the main sewer but water had to be drawn from a well, shared by the other properties in the row, with a bucket on a pole.
Oliver Pell was Emma’s grandson and was brought up by her. After his marriage to Ellen Nightingale she helped to looked after the shop, which became increasingly difficult as the family grew. The shop was closed after the death of Emma, by which time Oliver and Ellen had five children. They remained in the house until 1939 when they moved to the Outdoor Beer House situated at 53 High Street. At that time this off-licence was adjoined to another cottage. Both were believed to be used originally for housing workers on the estate.
The beer house belonged to the Phipps Brewery and was later bought from them by Oliver Pell. The ‘front room’ of the property was used for conducting the business of the Free Gardeners Friendly Society in which Oliver was very active. He was also a Church Warden and on the committee of the United Services Fund. Documents relating to these activities are still in the possession of the family.
During the war years the family kept at least one pig at a time, as well as ducks and hens, which helped to supplement the rations. The Off Licence was closed shortly after Oliver’s death in 1960 and the building has been used solely for residential purposes since. The buildings were converted in the early 1960s into the single bungalow that can be seen today.
There were two cottages on land now occupied by the single dwelling now known as 8 High Street. One of these was occupied by another member of the family until the cottages were condemned and later demolished sometime around the mid-nineteen fifties.
As mentioned, Oliver and Ellen had five children: four sons, Bob, Eric John and Lawrence, and a daughter, Joy. Lawrence died aged twelve, but the other sons all went on to play rugby for the Northampton ‘Saints’, all playing together at times. In one match all played, with Eric playing for Leicester to make up their team who were a man short. Bob continued his association with the Saints long after his playing days were over, and was president for a time. Bob, Yeoman of signals to Vice-Admiral Goldsmith during the Second World War, was awarded the DSM. John received an MBE for his long and outstanding services to sports and leisure. Bob, John and Eric all went on to become Grandmasters of their respective Masonic Lodges at the same time, which is still a unique occurrence.