The Old Slaughter-House, Long Marston

During the 1800's, the Gregory family lived at The Rose & Crown Inn in Long Marston (now The Rose and Crown Cottage), and the far left-hand end of the building was used as a butcher's shop, with the old wooden garages (as they are today) being used as the slaughter house.

However, a slaughter-house had also been operational behind the Butcher’s Shop in Cheddington Lane. It formed part of a farm (having been through other family ownerships prior to this time) and was purchased by the Gregory family in the early 1900’s. The butchery business was then transferred from The Rose & Crown to Cheddington Lane.

As well as those reared on the farm, beasts would be brought in by Drovers from as far away as Watford. To pass their rest period after bringing the stock in, it would not be unusual for the Drovers to gather and take bets on the weight of the beasts. One can imagine that this could well have turned into quite a heated session! If the Drovers were fortunate, they would be able to make the return trip with another group of live animals, thereby gaining a fee for both journeys. Cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, etc., all ended their days at Long Marston prior to reaching the table.

Somewhere just after the turn of the century, the farm covered approximately 100 acres, and locally grown meat was always available in the shop. Cattle ready for slaughter would be brought into the collecting yard to rest, allowing the blood temperature to cool before slaughter. This made a difference to the look of the meat – if killed too hot, the meat would look very dark and unattractive to the potential customer. The carcasses would then be hung for three weeks to a month before being considered ready for sale.

In laler years, with the gradual winding down of the farm and new food hygene regulations, the old-style slaughter-house became unviable. To keep abreast with the now legislation it would have been necessary to fund the rebuilding of the slaughter house, and it was decided to concentre on the shop, which is still very much in existance, and so, in the early 1960’s the slaughter-house was closed down, ending another era of village history.

Christine Rutter – No.13

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