I was born in Longford Park in April 1942, my father was "Bill" Ashman, head gardener to the Earl of Radnor from 1940 until 1965 (approx). My younger brother Peter and I were fortunate to have been brought up in the relative calm and prosperity of the Longford Estate immediately after the war. Many reminders of the estate's wartime role were still evident in those times especially the Nissen huts occupied by the American troops prior to their D Day landings.
The park in those days boasted four gate lodges at Britford, Bodenham, Nunton and Alderbury, although the Nunton lodge was demolished to assist in the improvement of the A338 main road to Bournemouth.
I am reminded of many characters from that era, Vic Gray the head keeper, Arthur Morril the butler later succeeded by Fred Gibson, Jim Wilson the chef, Freddie Sims the chauffeur, Frank Freeman the groom, all neighbours and all living within 200 yards of the castle.
As my brother and I came into out teens we joined the Longford Park cricket team, and in our heyday the team was able to field regularly 5 "lefthanded" batsmen. Cricket was played in the most wonderful setting in the field immediately in front of the castle. Most of the young men playing cricket in the summer months also turned out for Radnor Hall FC during the winter. All games were discussed and analysed in the Radnor Arms during the evening after the game.
I very much appreciate my good fortune in growing up in that sheltered environment, especially as I now reflect upon my life whilst spending my retirement here in the Limousin region of France.
A memory shared byon Oct 27th, 2008.
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