TitleAlan Cudmore remembers Games Farm in Peldon
AbstractAlan Cudmore lived in Peldon between about 1946 and 1954 as a teenager used to help the farmer at Games Farm, Jack Stockley. What follows are his memories.

Jack Stockley and his wife Diana were at Games Farm when I came to live in Peldon. His father farmed at Akenham in Suffolk and in holidays and on Saturdays I spent many hours at the farm. When the time came for me to choose a career, whilst I had a deep interest in farming I did not see it as a feasible route to take, particularly as farms so often stay within a family and pass from one generation to the next.

Games Farm then included Tanners Meadow, the lower seven acres and the two areas of pastureland immediately behind the farmhouse coupled with fields that adjoined Copt Hall Grove. These fields were known as Grove Field and Little Grove Field together with Willow Field where a landmine was dropped in WW2.

Working at the farm were Fred Griggs, the horseman from Great Wigborough, and Percy Christmas on a part time basis, the latter often having an arrangement for the supply of corn for his poultry.

[Mike Watson, current owner of Games Farm remembers that Percy was the gardener at Games Farm when Mike's parents Major General Watson and his wife, Vera bought the farm in 1961. Percy lived at Purlu on the north side of Lower Road and kept poultry, his cottage is now replaced with the modern executive houses, Purlu and The Paddocks.]

When German prisoners of war occupied the hostel that had been built for members of the Women's Land Army, we had German prisoners helping with the harvest and to me, as a young lad, this did not in any way seem strange. It was a friendly atmosphere, they asking if I could get them toothpaste and I remember one was called Otmar Zimmerman who had been at Heidelberg University.

The farm stock was always pedigree and the Friesian herd was changed to Jerseys presumably to achieve a higher butter fat content. The Jersey bull whose name I remember as 'Fyfield Elaines Timashenko' was kept on the common anchored by a chain to a large block of concrete which had to be moved regularly to change the grazing area. I got butted to the ground one day but was unhurt.

The three Suffolk Punch mares, Lady Joan, Thorpe Morieux Belinda and Lady Linda, are recorded in the Suffolk Horse Society Stud book for 1949. My interest in this breed continues and I am a member of the Society and also like to support the Trust which now manages the Hollesey Bay Colony near Shingle Street.

Two large white pigs had a sty in the farmyard and the jobs I was given were multifarious, such as cleaning leather in the stock room, mucking out loose boxes, getting tobacco from Mrs Prior at the Post Office, watching the hoppers on the roller mill producing crushed oats, detecting where the farm cats had their litters, traving [collecting and stacking sheaves into stooks] and pitchforking sheaves onto the wagon.

The arrival of the tractor, the threshing drum and the elevator was a highlight of the year.

Jack Stockley and his wife were very keen riders and hunted regularly with the Essex and Suffolk fox hounds. There were two fine loose boxes in the field adjacent to the stack yard. Jack acquired a large hunter called Badger that went like the wind and was fearless at taking any gate or hedge, and having bought it, the time came for it to be shod.

Bill Greenleaf in the travis [an enclosure at the forge used for stabling the horses while being shod] had no chance of putting on a new set of shoes; Badger was uncontrollable and ultimately stocks were built in the paddock using railway sleepers to try and overcome this problem. A tranquilliser from a vet may still have been needed.

As neighbouring farmers [Harveys Farm] and ex Colchester Royal Grammar School boys, Jack and George Scales would often meet and the language was flowery and one sensed cunning deals were afoot. Sadly, George's brother Joe was badly crippled and dragged a leg and virtually lived on a tractor ploughing, harrowing etc.

It came as a great surprise when I learned the Stockleys were selling up and moving to the West Country, maybe looking for more exciting hunting opportunities. The old style of farming was already approaching an end as exemplified by the prairie type monoculture undertaken by the Davidsons at Brick House Farm with many hedgerows being uprooted, but one must not forget their success in winning prizes for high quality grain when exhibited in Canada.

Author, Adrian Bell, early in his farming career advocated that mixed farming was essential to keeping land in good heart and we also know now its importance in achieving a balanced environment for wild life when so many species that were commonplace at the time I was a lad are now on the endangered list.

Alan Cudmore
for Peldon History Project

Read More
Alan Cudmore: Peldon Reminiscences
Recollections of the Village Blacksmith

SourceMersea Museum