Lady Rachel Harris (nee Goucher) and her daughter Judy Rodier visited Titchmarsh today and we were delighted to serve them tea. Lady Harris spoke fondly of her days as a young girl in the village, she was born at Foxholes Farm in 1918 and spent part of her childhood here until the family moved away in 1925. The family were farmers and were friends of Canon Arthur and Mrs Constance Luckock. Mrs Luckock was godmother to Rachel Goucher and Canon Luckock was godfather to Rachel’s twin Betty. Amongst her recollections of life in the village she recalls the ford across the road at London End and the occasion when her father fell off his bicycle whilst crossing the footbridge over the ford, and as a result of his injuries he lost the sight in one eye.
We are grateful to villager Rodney O’Rorke for these allotment rules from almost 200 years ago. The ground was measured in poles in those days and allotment holders were obliged to plant as many potatoes as their family required. These rules seem very rigid with the threat of eviction for repeated drunkenness (rule 10) or for failing to attend church every Sunday (rule 11)!
(Click on the image to see it in detail).
As the house history project nears completion, we have been checking the finer details of the history of Village Farm with Joan Wood. The House History publication contains information about 98 buildings in the village and includes pictures of the houses and residents as well as views of the streetscene. The House Histories book should be published in the coming months.
Had a very interesting and useful meeting with David Hackney. David lived for most of his formative years in the village and has an abundant knowledge of what it was like in the forties to eighties. He was able to fill us in with details of who lived where and enriched our archive with some fascinating tales of the village characters. And what is more, he handed over much of what Raymond Gray had left to him – photos, documents and, perhaps most exciting of all, a video of material that Raymond had produced from the super 8 film he had taken. There is footage of work on the farm [the H&S inspectors would have had nightmares], sledging in London End, a meeting of the hunt, and work on constructing the sewers in the winter of 1963.
We will get the material transcribed to a digital format so that we can share it more widely.