Marshall 17821

Walter took delivery of Marshall 17821 on 21st February 1890 and another threshing drum. They were delivered by rail.

When 17821 was ordered Marshalls had adopted the four shaft layout, other than this the engine was the same as 14242. Six horse power, single cylinder.

According to the Marshall, Sons and Co. records for 17821 quite a few items were replaced over the years:

  • 2nd December 1896 a new 81/8” ordinary slide valve was sent to Sewards from Marshalls, this being 1/8” larger than the original one fitted to the engine from new
  • A new chimney was supplied in July 1897
  • 10% stronger governer springs were supplied on September 14th 1903
  • There was a piston and rod sent on 27 September 1904

The original design for the chimney was noted on the specifications as being “10” base 8HP Pattern with foot same size as 6HP to take 6HP boltholes”.

During the 1920’s, threshing was still the backbone of Seward’s business, and the Marshall 17821 worked the area of East and West Meon and the surrounding farms. One afternoon in 1924 Billy Clark was driving the four shaft Marshall between two farms, complete with threshing drum, elevator and living van. He started to descend Coombe Hill in East Meon, and to start with all went well, but then Bill noticed the engine starting to gain speed, so as all drivers do, he pulled back on the reversing lever to slow her down. To his surprise, and indeed horror, the crankshaft stopped going around, but the engine still gained speed! Luckily for him, the steersman managed to keep control of the careering engine, and he ran her off the road onto the verge at the bottom of the hill. Bill quickly telephoned the yard and Jim and Bob Seward together with George Colewell came out to see what the damage was. The crankshaft had broken cleanly in two, which was why it stopped when reversed. The accident was later to be blamed on the engine priming a week or so earlier. It had thumped terribly and must have weakened the crankshaft. Something had to be done, as the engine and loads were partially blocking the road, so Bob was sent back to the yard to steam “THE KING” (Wallis and Steevens 7258) and bring her out to tow the loads off the road. Several hours later, he returned to the scene of the accident and proceeded to tow the thresher and elevator onto a near by patch of grass in front of several cottages. Next the engine was pulled onto the grass with the rest of the train, then the living van was coupled up to “THE KING” to be towed back to the yard, for it was the driver’s home. By this time it was dark and Bob carefully drove home pulling the van guided by the light of a hurricane lamp hung on the engine’s front towing hitch. The van usually rode behind the elevator, and its drawbar had to be extra long so that the van missed the overhanging end. It was so dark that Bob could not see anything behind him, and had to listen out for his passengers’ voices, who were riding on the van’s step, to make sure it was still there!

A new crankshaft was despatched from Marshalls and was fitted as soon as it arrived, so the engine could start work again quickly.

17821 continued to work for Sewards for several more years until it was decided to stop contract threshing, as it no longer paid. Much of the equipment was then sold. One of the threshing drums went to a farmer in Harting, so Bob Seward with George Colewell steering, drove the 17821 to deliver the drum. On the way back, they took a short cut which took them down a very steep hill in Nurstead. As they went over the brow, Bob shut the regulator and start to hold her back, releasing hold of the regulator to use both hands on the reversing lever. At once the regulator flew wide open and they were off down the hill at full speed. Luckily they managed to keep control of the engine and stopped at the bottom of the hill to compose themselves. They were both covered in oil from the racing gearing and both knew that they had to clean up somehow, because if they returned home in their present state, Mr Seward senior would know something had happened and there would be hell to pay!

The four shaft was sold shortly after to A.J Glue of Harting, and was used for threshing and haulage until one of his drivers smashed the differential gear. It was left on the roadside in Harting for several weeks until finally cut up.

Initial history based on information kindly supplied by Kevin Lockyer from his articles re. Sewards of Petersfield.

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