Farms

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Milcote Hall and Farm

At the beginning of the last century, this was in the ownership of Mr. Griffin, though it was believed that the farmer before him was a Mr. Edkins, one of his staff being Daniel Woodward who later lived in the village, grandfather of May Huckvale and Marjorie Tustain.

Looking nowadays at the cedars growing around the house, makes one wonder if it was a Manor house at one time, with many gardeners looking after the lawns and flower borders and maybe even tennis courts, and also many servants working in the large farmhouse. There is still visible sign of the iron fencing around the property, the same that was also used in the village; very neat and tidy fencing when it was new.

Before the death of Mr. Griffin (or after his death), the property and farm was passed to his daughter, ? who was married to a Mr. Urban Sidney Stanley, a butcher – or rather was a butcher until he took on the farm. It is said that on the marriage of his daughter to Mr. Stanley, Mr. Griffin gave as a wedding present to the couple, a brand new slaughter house which stood where the house Aaron Leys stands now on the Welford Road.

This road sometimes called Milcote Road when it was first laid down, was called Station Road first of all, as it was laid simply to take people to the new station at Milcote, cutting through farm yards separating the farm house from the farm buildings. Later it was known as Wallace's Road; now Welford Road. Fortunately the postman always seemed to know where to take his post.. Before the trains came, the original road that the villagers took to walk to Welford and Weston, was the present bridle path going past the entrance to Milcote Hall

I understand this brand new slaughter house was never used.

Somewhere on the Stanley's land, an air display was always held each year.


Leys Farm House

Mr. Harold Mole was quite a character living on this farm on what sometimes is called Preston Fields and other times Clifford Leys. He delivered his milk around the Parish, first of all with horse and cart, often finishing his round at the New Inn where he could refresh himself with plenty of alcohol, knowing full well his horse would take him home safely while he slumbered on his cart.

Later he took the milk around on a motor-cycle and side-car so he had to be a lot more careful over his consumption of alcohol

Martin Bailey could remember the laughter when Harold came out of the Pub smelling very strongly of mints. “Well” he said, “I've got to go and kill the Rector's cockerell now. I've got to get rid of the smell of drink before I go there.”


Cold Comfort Farm on Campden Road

This was the farm where Claude Hogg spent his childhood from the age of one, enjoying life with his grandparents and his Uncle Henry.

I was told it was very bleak and windy up there on the slope of the hill, and there were plenty of draughts in the house shrieking in through the loose frames of windows, and the crumbling brick work. But it was home and no-one complained.

Photo: Homes and Gardens Cold Comfort Farm

From the windows of that farm, Claude could see Diggie Salmon coming up the slope of Martins Hill to do the 'earth-stopping'. This was always the sign for anyone watching,, to know that the hounds would be coming the next day, and Diggie was having to stop the holes of the foxes' lairs to stop them from going under-ground for safety. Diggie was supposed to do this at midnight, but no way was he going to get up at that time of night. So he did it instead at four o'clock in the afternoon, and if people didn't like it, then they would have to find someone else to do it!

Martins Hill is quite a mystery, with village rumour saying it was man-made by the Romans. Underneath this Hill is a reservoir served by an underground stream and indeed, even in hot weather, the ground at the top of the Hill seems, at places, to be muddy, wet, and quite slippery. Mrs. Rees-Mogg had inspection chambers built at the top of the Hill, so the level of the water could be checked, and a soak-away pipe was set at the bottom of Martins Hill to drain the water away to stop it overflowing down the Hill.

It was very noticeable in the floods of 1990, that the damage done to the houses in the village came not from the river, but from this reservoir overflowing so much, that water poured down the Hill and straight into houses within a very short space of time.

This didn't happen in early days. Neither did it happen during the life-time of Mrs. Rees-Mogg as she made sure that all ditches and drainage holes were cleared regularly. But people buying and moving into old cottages who didn't know the old country ways, and bringing them into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, filled in the ditches, feeling they were unsafe to have around.

Somewhere around Cold Comfort Farm was an area known as Galley Oak, and the area Sheep Leys Covert was used for rearing pheasants.


Woodfield Manor

This house is built on land where a small cottage, called originally Felix Lodge, was set, very close to the road, but not level with it. In fact to reach the front door, there were steps down from the road. It was believed that once, it was a Toll-gate cottage.

In Claude Hogg's memory it was lived in by a lady who sold cigarettes. Old maps called this cottage Leys Cottage, which is understandable with The Leys being nearby, also Leys Farm and Sheep Leys and Sheep Leys Covert. When the Pollocks bought the cottage, they changed the name to Woodfield Cottage.


Sheep Leys Farm

The land around Sheep Leys, had some connection with Oxford University. Sometime in the 1900's, the farm and land had new tenants, Mr. Arnold Dale and his wife Mrs. Joyce Dale.

They never had any children, though both would have made very good parents. It was something they just had to accept. They were both Quakers. Joyce had attended a Quaker school during her Secondary School years.

Arnold employed two farm workers, with Lawrence Salmon then a schoolboy coming to help. However there was only one farm worker's cottage available – Leys Cottage, later to be called Woodfield Cottage when the Pollocks moved in, and then later still Woodfield Manor. Arnold's father gave his son the money to have a new farmworkers cottage built, and, in grateful thanks, Arnold name it Rochester Cottage, for this was where his father lived in Kent, and where Arnold had spent his early years.

Joyce Dale had the most beautiful complexion and naturally wavy hair which turned silver as she approached old age. Her hair shone in any sunlight and made the normal grey hair of her companions disappear into the background.

Mr. Dale's great love was carpentry. One of his barns was soon turned into a carpenter's shop, and he made all his cattle troughs himself. In fact, anything he needed on the farm that could be made of wood, he made.. He also threw himself into farming, with Mrs. Dale looking after the large farmhouse and producing very tasty meals and other delights. She took an active part in the village activities and joined the W.I.

Then, sometime in the late 1960's Mr. Dale had a stroke – a bad one. The farm work continued for a while, for he had good farm workers working for him, but after a while, the Watts family living at Willicote, took over some of the work of farming the land.

The stroke left him confined to a bed, with Betty Dench coming regularly to give him speech therapy to help him in his speech. When he died, Joyce continued living at the large house for some while, but eventually moved to a much smaller house in Burford Road Stratford.

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