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Southmoor Cottage.

A resident's account in Aug 16th 1957.

Linda and Gordon Herring.

This account was written by Linda and Gordon Herring who owned the cottage in 1957. A copy of their diary of events was sent to me by their grandson, Adrian Beardsley, of Tasmania, Australia.

Approximate age of Cottage - 300 years [ in 1957 ]

Earlier Owners: Mr & Mrs Farmer [Farmer has a query against it] & 8 children ( - 1930)

Present Owners [at the time of writing her account] - Linda & Gordon Herring (1957 -)

Previous Owners - Dr and Mrs Woodward (1937-1956)

NB This was unlikely to have been the Farmer family who later lived down School Lane as they had two boys, Thomas who was killed in WW2 and John. It is very likely that this would have been Mr & Mrs Will Farmer. Mr Farmer was a Kennel Huntsman for OBH whom Tim Weaving recalls his father Guy talking about.

Thatched and renovated 1957-59. Previously thatched (by St John's College) 1931.

Photograph of Southmoor Cottage

Southmoor Cottage ca 1957 being thatched.

The cottage when first seen by us (August 1957) was in a very advanced state of dilapidation, the thatched roof being full of holes made by birds and the tiled roof being completely covered by ivy, the garden included the land on which the two brick bungalows now stand was completely overgrown by nettles, poligrum,(polygonum?) Rose of Sharon and every conceivable form of weed, also many trees and large bushes which have now either been removed or resited.

The exterior walls of the cottage were covered with ivy, indeed we were completely unaware of the existence of the roses and wisteria on the end wall facing the road for some months after we had taken possession until we were able to get around to the removal of the thick covering of  ivy on the particular wall.

The yard was almost impassable being full of bushes or various varietys [sic] and a large Chestnut tree, which was removed. On the garden front of the house where the middle two of the four windows now are, were two doors leading into the sitting room which was then divided into two small rooms (one of which, the one nearest the road, was for many years a shop) these doors were sheltered by a huge tiled [?] porch in an advanced state of decay and completely covered by a rose bush on one side and a Honeysuckle on the other. The doors would appear to indicate that the cottage had been two seperate [sic] homes at one period of its existence.

The wall in the yard which has been covered by a black substance, possibly pitch, was the work of the Woodward's who took this action to cover the unsightly marks on the wall made by a tenant previous to the Farmers, who operated a grocers shop from the end room and also supplied the village with coal which was stacked against the yard wall, this apparently (our informant here is Mr Farmer) marked the wall very badly.

The well which is 35 feet deep and containing about five feet of water was covered by a rotting superstructure including the chain and hook which we retained. At the end of the kitchen area was the outside earth closet, a dark and evil spot which we dismantled at the earliest opportunity, using the stones to rebuild the wall separating the two gardens, and the repair of the walls in the yard.

A mound of ivy to the left of the front door, turned out on investigation, to be a wooden tub full of soil which had disintegrated and the ivy had taken over.

The corner of the house nearest to the wicket gate was obscured by a large cuppressus about 30ft high which was growing up into the thatch & this had to be cut down very carefully as the stem of the wisteria had grown round and round the stem of the cuppressus, so it had to be cut away in sections. The removal of the ivy which covered the tiled roof and the wall of the dining room was a major operation as this ivy was very old the stems being as thick as a mans wrist and in many instances they had grown under the tiles, this also had to be carefully cut away in small sections.