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George ‘Sonner’ Legg (1914-2012)

Buriton lost part of its living history in August 2012, and an invaluable contributor to the Buriton Heritage Bank, with the passing of George ‘Sonner’ Legg.

The Legg family has lived in Buriton for generations and their name is woven into many aspects of local life: gamekeepers to the Bonham Carter family; active members of the village’s Methodist chapel; stalwarts of our local sports teams; and featured on the roll of those who gave their lives in the First World War.

Sonner spent virtually every day of his 98 years in the parish, leaving school at the age of 14 (in the days before children attended a secondary school in Petersfield) to start work for the Bonham Carters on the Manor Farm.

He continued to work on the farm, as gamekeeper and head hop-dryer in the big kilns in Bones Lane amongst other responsibilities, until he retired. And, thereafter, he enjoyed his gardening in Glebe Road . He had always grown plentiful supplies of fruit and vegetables – and must have had some of the greenest fingers ever known in the parish.

Sonner was an active member in the social life of the community, too – playing both cricket and football for Buriton, helping to organise dances and parties, enjoying rifle shooting in the Men’s Institute and helping to teach some of the local lads to play snooker.

It was fitting that Sonner was selected to open the new extension to the school in 2004 and, although he never liked a fuss being made of him, he made a fine speech that day. Fortunately many of his memories are also recorded for ever in the archives and publications of the Buriton Heritage Bank.

Things have changed a lot since 1914 – but Sonner Legg had provided a strand of continuity; and a rich slice of pure Buriton.