The Woodmans at Great Farm

A bureau bookcase was seen crossing the meadow. This particular piece of furniture has been taking up too much room at Simon and Jenny’s for 20 years. In 20 minutes it was on the van and into our sitting room. Luckily it came apart. I noticed that inside the base there were definite signs of gnawing.

Now some years ago a lady appeared and asked if she could walk round the outside of the house. Apparently she remembered the Woodmans. This family had farmed Wilstone Great Farm from 1760 – 1930. When I asked her why did Rothschilds pull down the old farmhouse, she told me the old house was falling down and was full of rats.

Now I know my grandfather went to the farm sale in 1930 – did he buy this bureau and give it to father when he set up home? First find the right rat. Anyway I like to think it’s come home – with that provenance it’s staying.

The Woodmans: William, Alice, Aida and Miriam, brothers and sisters, had retired and moved to Lonicera Cottage, now Mr & Mrs Minter’s home. Alice Woodman taught in Wilstone School. In fact she took me for my first year in 1939. Vera Rance remembers her as being very strict. I think Miss Woodman would have been proud of her ex pupil. Vera is bright and cheerful with a love of poetry, a wonderful memory and a friend to all her neighbours past and present. That ruler across the knuckles worked well!

On the subject of farm sales, my grandfather, Percy Mead, loved farm and house sales. He went to a sale at Ashridge House and bought a fire engine and a grand piano. Luckily he was able to sell the piano after the sale but the fire engine got back to Gubblecote. It was the sort you trundled up and down the long passages – not much use at Gubblecote.

I have just heard of Tubby Edmond’s passing away. I have told Tubby tales and will tell more next time. Teresa and I send our love to Ethel and wish her well.

This article is an extract from previous issue of the Village News. Any mention to events in the article have probably long since passed and are for information only.

Village News March 2007

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