Sunday, 24 March 2013

Story of Hobble End Cottages

Story of Hobble End Cottages

Frosty weather glistens inside, a fridge you could compare,
Roof half filled with starling's nests, built up over the years.

In one of our farthest fields, situated about a mile east of the village was a pair of cottages known as Hobble End. There was no road not even a cart track to them, only a foot path, one of which led directly to the village then the other way it was about two miles into town. They were estate cottages, one occupied by a woodman and the other a farm worker. They were heated and the cooking done on open fires and lit with oil lamps and candles.
All that remains now is the ritch black soil of the garden, and a few bricks that keep coming up every time it is ploughed. In the hedgerow is the remains of the old front wicket and a galvanized pipe that once carried water from the well to the houses. There is no chance of buried treasure as it was very poor families that lived there, every now and then bits of metal do get ploughed up, its very often old hand tools used in the garden and bits of broken pottery.

Down in the small brook that ran by in the hollow was another wicket where the footpath crossed it and when any family flitted (move to another house) in or out, it was with horse and cart, and the same when they wanted coal or logs, all transport in this way
At the fare end of the garden was the inevitable toilet that needed emptying every now and then. It was the practice to dig a deep hole and keep pouring it in, then soil it over, no wonder the soil was so dark and rich in these old gardens. In local terms this type of toilet was called "bucket and chuckit". Needless to say these latrines were dug well away from the ‘well'.
They also had a pig sty where a pig would be fattened on scraps and waste from the house and garden, and eventually killed and cured for feeding their large families.

 How we Lived in our Old House
 (in this case it was a farm house, but the cold and lack of insulation was the same in all the old houses, only the thatched houses benefitted from roof insulation)

Insulations none existent, big jumper you must ware,
Half timbered single brick, few inches plaster of horse hair,
Frosty weather glistens inside, a fridge you could compare,
Roof half filled with starling's nests, built up over the years.

Kitchens the warmest place, coal fire in big old range,
Heats the oven and boils, the kettle on the chimney crane,
Boils the taters and stew, toast the bread on a fork,
From the ceiling hangs a cloths drier, lifts and lowers on cord.

Bedroom bove the kitchen, only room upstairs warm,
Usually the kids have this room, that is always the norm,
Other rooms are chilled and cold, cool in summer though,
This is how we lived them days, kids now will never know.

Old iron bedstead webbed with steel, straw mattress on the top,
Then feather mattress covered with a white sheet she'd pop,
Mother made a groove up this, dropped us into bed,
A sheet two blankets and eiderdown, feather pillow lay ya head.

Best front room not often used, too posh to use every day,
Used over Christmas and party's, best crockery out on display,
Fathers roll top desk in there, his bills and letters wait to pay,
Always locked cus of cash in their, he always had last say.

Now heating was a big open fire, ingle nook chimney above,
Logs as long as ya can lift, one end on the fire to shove,
The bigger the fire, bigger the draught across the floor,
The heat goes up the chimney, fresh air comes in under the door.

A cellar beneath front room, brick steps leading down,
Couple of vents to the garden, the mesh with weeds overgrown,
Air circulation its not good, and musty damp and wet,
Timber in the floor above, gone weak and springy pose a threat.

A room with settlass all way round, there to salt the pig,
Not been used now for many a year, doesn't look so big,
Salt has drawn up the brickwork, all through to outside
Bricks are flaking and rotting, replace section of bricks decide.

Mother kept a big tin bath, hung on a nail outside back door,
Brought it in to the hearth, filled with kettle and big jug she pour,
Youngest first then nother kettle, warm it agen for the second,
Cold night our steaming little bodies, hot crisp towel it beckoned.

So we kids lived in the big kitchen, our bedroom top of back stairs,
Long old sofa under the window, father had his own armchair,
Big old peg rug in front of the fire, we played and sat on that,
Large old radio in the window, then hurray first tele in front we sat.

Countryman (Owd Fred)
Every mile is two in winter.George Herbert (1593 - 1633)