Musical notes on Bill Ward's gates
Paranoid gates for Bill Ward
By David Tangye
The man who was asked to construct special gates at the Black Sabbath drummer's house near Malvern...
Recollections of Hereford and Worcester from David Tangye, co-author of the Black Sabbath biography: 'HOW BLACK WAS OUR SABBATH; An unauthorized view from the crew.'
Drummer Bill Ward, kept the inventors of the heavy metal music genre Black Sabbath rhythm section in time for more than four years, before he 'upped sticks' from city life in Birmingham, and hectic tour schedules world-wide, to his idyllic country retreat at Fields Farm, Bishampton, near Worcester.
It was a beautiful red brick farmhouse, with an added feature of a rehearsal studio (large store room) at the end of the building.
This was the ideal place for the original Black Sabbath line up of Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward to de-tune their guitars, tighten drumskins, and practice their heavy doom-laden riffs and chords.
Fields Farm in Bishampton gained notoriety not only because of its sitting tenant, but also for the 'spaced out' 1970's parties that were held there.
The place later became known as the 'Roadies Retreat', with road crew from bands like AC/DC, Judas Priest and Necromandus, as well as Buddhist Monks, hippies, artists and welders; you name it, they all called there!
The Dolphin Public House was the main R&R headquarters (and there's more info on this in our book).
Summerville House where Bill Ward lived
A move to Cradley
Bill Ward and his new found Californian model girlfriend, called Mysti moved out, understandably, and found a fantastic period house in Cradley, Malvern.
Summerville House was set up on the hill above Cradley, and not too far away from the Old Crown pub.
Known locally as 'Maudes Morgue', it was a good old cider house, where many of the regulars of the day would engage in idle chatter with the walls, or any other inanimate object that would have a listening ear.
Bill's brother Jim, tended the small holding and tried to keep Summerville House as self sufficient as possible; only the sound of the dray wagon arriving on a Friday with Bill's weekly supply of cider that came direct from the warehouse, would disturb the peace.
Bill loved his country pile, and would often be found tending to his two horses Snowy and Silver.
His house was decorated with fantastic mythological murals, painted by the rock artist Malcolm Horton.
Gate at Bill Ward's house in Cradley
Blacksmith by trade
I got the job of actually making the wrought iron gates for the courtyard entrance.
I was ensconced at Ozzy Osbourne's country residence in Stafford, as I was employed by The Prince of Darkness as his emissary.
I received a phone call one day from Bill - he knew I was a blacksmith by trade - and he asked me if I could construct some gates for him.
I agreed, and off I went to Malvern with a hundredweight of tools in the boot of my car.
After many heavy all-day sessions in Maudes Morgue, the gates were fashioned in wrought iron, with a musical theme of five bars in the centre piece, plus a 'G' Clef and the opening notes to Paranoid (Sabbath's No 1 hit) emblazoned in iron along the five bars.
Those were heady days in them there Malvern Hill's.
last updated: 03/06/2008 at 10:14