Listen: Alfred Till
Alfred records his memories with Steve Carroll
Alfred Till moved to Chapel Houses (a terrace of cottages on the sea front) near Shepperdine when he was 3 and lived with his grandparents. His grandfather was a fisherman, catching flounder and shrimp in the estuary and hawking them round the village to make a living. He rowed as far as Chepstow from Chapel Houses, always going with the tide. Alfred’s grandmother was in charge of the tin chapel at Shepperdine, which meant that he had to attend every Sunday. Once he bunked off and was made to read the bible at home.
The tide came up to the windows of the cottage. Alfred recalls listening at night to howling south-westerlies coming up the estuary and also once seeing a seal looking in through the window. His grandparents died within 36 hours of each other. His grandfather caught a chill whilst taking a man out to the lighthouses (half a mile off shore) in freezing weather in the winter of 1940. His grandmother also became ill and died suddenly, both were laid out in the house where Alfred and his brother (aged 12 and 13) were still living. They later moved to live with an aunt in Upton on Severn.