Theodore Lamb (1880 – 1950)
For many years between the wars and until he died in 1950, Theodore Lamb lived the life of a recluse in a shack on Sibford Heath. A skilled watch and clock repairer, Theodore plied his trade around the local villages. He travelled around, sometimes on a bicycle without tyres, sometimes on foot, and usually with some form of truck loaded with junk and, in the winter, his fire in a bucket as well.
He played various musical instruments and posed for photographs for which he charged a fee of half a crown (12.5p). He always paid for his small needs, although when his clothing, which was often made from sacks, became less than decent he was banned from Banbury and had to wait at the door of the village shop to be served. He was always totally honest and completely harmless despite his appearance.
He was an immensely strong man and once pulled a chicken hut for many miles back to Sibford taking several days over the journey.
It is thought a childhood trauma may well have explained his later lonely existence: when he was a boy, he saw his father fall from the chestnut tree by the village pond when he was knocking conkers down for the boys. He broke his neck and died.
When he went up to Oxford to do his medical during the First World War, he would not say a word. They got so fed up they sent him back again, so he never went into the army.
He eventually contracted pneumonia and died, aged 70, in Banbury hospital, the nurses respecting his request not to cut his long matted hair – he said it would spoil his appearance! Money which he had entrusted to the vicar was sufficient to pay for his funeral, attended by many paying their last respects to a long-to-be-remembered Sibford character.