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‘Old Story tellers never die. They disappear into their own story’

Norman Butler-Miles

Norman Butler-Miles (3 Jul 2001)

A gentle giant who brought a smile to all who met him from 5 November 1940 - 29 June 2021. This tribute was supplied by Mike Foster and Judith Bowden of Eynsham Country Market, with photos from the funeral / celebration 'service sheet'.

Norman as a ladNorman was a countryman. From a young lad, he wanted to work in farming. Whilst he was at school, he would work weekends and holidays for Bill Hoskins, of Abbey Farm in Eynsham. At 13 years old, he was awarded a farming scholarship at Burford School where he became a boarder. When he left, he worked for Bill Hoskins full time and, under the mentorship of Will Savings, learnt many skills including how to lay hedges and plough a straight furrow. After 5 years, he made the decision to move to Devon and work for a farmer called Bill Bantings. He was drawn back to Oxfordshire: first working at Curtis-Horn, agricultural engineers, and then for B Buckingham and Sons at Five Elms and Barnard Lodge Farm, where he stayed 11 years. He then became self-employed, mainly undertaking fencing, general agricultural and forestry work and delivering day old chicks for PD Hooks hatchery. He continued this until illness forced him to stop. Some of his forestry work was for the Eynsham Park Estate and included planting two areas of deciduous woodland in Broadmarsh Woods which continue to grow strongly today. He also kept sheep and chickens at home and had several tractors that he lovingly maintained.

Norman was very proud of everything he had achieved through his working life. As we all know, he loved to tell stories about this but he also was very generous in sharing his knowledge and skills with younger generations.

Norman was a great believer in the ethos of Country Markets and supported Eynsham Country Market for many years, especially after his retirement. He supplied free range eggs from his chickens which ran freely at his land at Barnard Gate. He also tended a large garden and supplied surplus vegetables, tomatoes and flowers.

In later years when he was not in such good health he supported his wife, Sue, in all she did for the Market and was a great help in setting up and dismantling Markets both in the Church Hall and when we had outside Markets.

After over 50 years in their bungalow at Barnard Gate, Norman and Sue decided to move to a bungalow in Pitton on the edge of Wiltshire to be near their daughter. Although Norman was not being there long he really enjoyed his time in his new home, especially the garden. He also met many new friends in the village and enjoyed riding round the village in his mobility scooter.

He will be greatly missed by his family and all his many good friends.

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