Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Heathfield

The ruined farm I explored a little in my last post intrigued me. From my OS map I could see it was called Heathfield. A little googling later and I discovered...

This site which contains a little collection of memories from writer Betty McKellar who once lived on the farm. She desciribes herself as a city girl and on marrying the farmer she moved to Heathfield farm in 1956...  

" No tractor, no machinery; hay was cut with the scythe. Sheep were clipped by hand in the reciprocal neighbouring system which turned out to be the great social gathering of the sheep-farming year. The house cow lived in a byre through the side door from the kitchen. You could smell her as you went about your chores. I learnt to milk her like the dairy maids from the story books of my childhood, sitting on a three-legged wooden stool with my head against her flank, and squeezing her fat teats so that her milk frothed into a luggie between my knees. I remember the big shallow milk binds in the dairy with the layers of cream on top that I skimmed and churned into butter in the barrel-shaped butter churn, ca'in the handle."

And this site describes how in the winter of 1942 an aeroplane crashed on nearby moorland. A shepherd only discovered the wreckage three weeks after the crash happened. The bodies of the three airmen were brought back via pony and sledge over the wintry moors to a makeshift mortuary at Heathfield farm.

It's wonderful what you can find out on the internet!

I still haven't found just when it was abandoned though. Sometime since 1956 so fairly recent really considering the state of it now.

Here are some more of the photos I took...










7 comments:

Claire said...

Such an interesting post Anne........must've been a rude shock for Betty as a new bride and city girl, moving to a farm where everything was done by hand......

Great pics of the ruins too......

Claire :}

June said...

How sad that this once vibrant farm is now just a ruin. What interesting stories those walls could tell if they could only speak!
June

Mereknits said...

Such a fascinating post, just think of all the people who have lived there, it is so sad that it is in such disrepair, but it still has a quiet beauty.
Hugs to you,
Meredith

Mrs. Micawber said...

Thanks so much for filling us in - it gives life to the pictures. The reminiscences are fascinating - and what a hard-working life the farmers led. (Makes me feel very pampered and lazy.)

I love those stone walls, so carefully fitted together by hand. They look as though they'll last a long time yet.

rockinloubylou said...

That is so fascinating. I would love to explore but my wee leggies wouldn't get me there on a bike. How amazing that there is the orchestral connection too with the lady from Heathfield, and how v atmospheric about the mortuary.

Funkymonkey said...

How atmospheric and very beautiful. It sets you off imagining how it would have looked at one time doesn't it?

Tracey

Toffeeapple said...

You really do learn things from the internet don't you? That is a lovely story, shame the farmhouse had to tumble though.

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