Local characters.

Characters of the Symonds Yat West. Peg Leg Bill.

One of the ‘heroes’ of the Symonds Yat area was affectionately known as Peg Leg Bill. William Lewis was born in 1898 and brought up in Monmouth. During the first World War he was posted with the Gloucestershire regiment to Agincourt (sounds appropriate for a Monmouth man!) and, sadly, lost a leg during the war.
After the war he became a postman and his wife Eva ran the local sub post office near the ferry crossing to The Saracen’s Head. He delivered the post all over The Doward by bike. He kept one bike at the Post Office and one on The Doward. He would carry the mail up Wye View Lane to his bike, deliver the mail and then leave his bike there, returning by foot. In the afternoon he then cycled to Whitchurch to take the outgoing mail which was sent on to Ross. (Not a bad day’s work for one leg!)
The mail came by train early to Symonds Yat Station. He would row across the river to collect it. One day the river was in flood and he ran into difficulties ending in the river. It is difficult to swim with a wooden lag. Fortunately Eva saw this and attracted the attention of the Publican of The Saracen’s Head who used his own boat to go to Bill’s aid. Allegedly the G.P.O. showed more concern for the lost post than the near loss of their postman.
Bill passed away in 1984 three years after Eva.
You can see The Old Post Office, now a private residence, opposite the launch point for The Ferry Boat to the Saracen’s. The original hand painted sign is shown below.

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