Situation of Farm: Glebe Farm was situated in the centre of Brough approached along a track off the Fosse Way,,the A46 and approximately 3 miles north of Newark.. About 800mt away was the very busy war time Winthorpe aerodrome. My association with the farm was through a family relationship; Mr and Mrs L E Stephenson, uncle and aunt, together with their son. They were tenants of the property, owned I believe, by The Church of England. I regularly visited during my school holidays. The House as I Remember it 1940-1954: This was a house of unknown early history. It was obvious from its form that it had been extensively added to over the years. Viewed from different aspects it looked quaint and elegant whilst other views looked utility. It was built of brick, with some natural stone, but in the late 1940's was cement rendered, a practice now known to harm the wall fabric. Inside the house were a beamed dining room and two lounges. Off the kitchen were three cellars at differing levels. There were two staircases leading to three bedrooms and a small bathroom.
Mains water and electricity were not installed until the early 1950's. Otherwise water was obtained from a well made available at the kitchen sink via a hand pump. Lighting was by candle or paraffin lamp and in the early days cooking on a praffin stove, followed by Aga and Calor Gas during the late 1940’s. A fridge run by Calor Gas was a luxury!! Prior to the installation of mains electricity a small windmill provided electricity to car batteries housed in the cellar which was routed round the house by standard wiring. However, only one or two lights could be used at any one time. Like many rural properties sewerage was the owner's responsibility!
Mixed Farm: With rented land (some near to the R. Trent adjacent to Collingham) the farm extended to about 220 acres. Particularly during war time years, I believe, The Ministry of Food or Agriculture dictated to some extent what was produced on a farm. Over the years I remember such crops as carrots, peas, potatoes, sugar beet, kale, wheat, barley, oats on the arable side and store cattle, sheep and pigs. Hens were kept for the egg packers either free range or battery. At times ducks were kept. Animal feed was generally all home grown, from hay to farm ground barley. Sugar beet pulp from the kelham refinery was a welcome addition to sheep and cattle feed. A small addition of linseed oil was made to many hand mixed feed.
Buildings: Glebe Farm was probably not improved from its basic hand to mouth existance until the turn of the 1800’s. By the grandure of the out buildings it would seem that it was developed by wealthy people, for the quality of the bricks used to form barns, cowsheds etc. was of a very high standard. As an example, in vunerable places corners of buidings were built of moulded curved bricks and free standing walls were coped in triangular bricks. Roofs were beautifully finished in Roman style terracota orange tiles with cast iron guttering used. The formation of the whole farm building assembly was rectangular leaving a large inner area coverd by a high wooden roof, this was known as the crew yard. More recent buildings were generally of wood and asbestos, housing battery hens, lambing facilities and implements. In the early 1940’s my father constructed a sheep dip to Ministry specifications which until its demolition in the 1970’s was still considered of a plan that would satisfy modern expectations.
Machinery: My earliest memories of machinery were of just one Fordson tractor, basic ploughing implements, binder, mower, and hay making machines. This was all supplimented with the use of two delightful shire horses. As more modern machines became available in the 1950’s, sadly the horses went and very adaptable tractors arrived, together with the implements.
Farm Workers and Duties: At the junction of the Fosse Way and the farm track stand the cottages in which two of the farm workers lived, a Mr Frank Wing and Mr Jones. Local husband and wife Mr Bill and Mrs Nora Smith were also employed at the farm. Nora usually tended the battery hens and milked the house cow by hand separating off cream for the house, some of which was churned into butter. When required, a farm pig was slaughtered for household consumption. During the early war time years Land Girls were employed on potato picking, hoeing and general harvesting.
Up until the availability of combine harvesters corn was stored in stacks awaiting the travelling thrashing gang to arrive and extract the grain. This was a particularly exciting time for us boys to depatch rats and mice living in the stacks. The sheaves of corn were transported to the stack yard by tractor drawn traillers and horse drawn mofrays.
Mr. Jones was in charge of stack construction, very clever on building the stack with rounded ends, slightly tapered sides with a water proof thatch. I always thought him adept at estimating the available sheaves and finishing off with nothing left over or needed. Potatoes were stored in clamps, ie straw-lined heaps topped with soil, until required in winter months. Sugar beet was harvested by hand and man-handled into traillers and delivered to the sugar beet factory at Kelham near Newark. Fields were generally manured in the autumn months with dung taken from the crew yard. This was done by hand fork on to carts, these then taken to the field and spread. Fork lifts and mechanical spreaders arriving later were a welcome addition. Exciting times were to be had at the corn cutting time. As youngsters we would chase down rabbits. These would often amass in the final few cuts remaining and eventually make a dash for the hedgerows. Workers followed on after the binder taking sheaves and forming them into stooks where they dried ready for subsequent collection and delivery to the stack yard. Autumn time was usually the start of hedge trimming, all done by hand.
Farm Sale: In 1962 I was saddened to learn that my relations had decided to retire. I attended the sale rekindling my earlier times there and taking photographs to go with those taken from 1940 – 1954.
The End of Glebe Farm: The long awaited Brough bypass was sadly to come about, the initial outline plan appearing in the local newspaper in 1992. Obviously needed as relief for the village and dualling of the A46, but did it have to take out the farm house and buildings? Just 50mt either way and the farm would remain. It must have meant something to the planners as on the adjacent new bypass lay by there is a display showing Glebe Farm with its associated history.
In 2001 I went to the farm during the period of archaeological surveying noting how extensive the ancient remains stretched, many 100’s of square metres being investigated. I expect the survey is very interesting and would like to read it.
Much of the fabric of the entire farm was of such general interest in the public domain that architectoral restoration companies were charging up to £1 for reclaimed bricks. But sadly that’s life !!!
I believe the bypass was completed in 2003.
A memory shared byon Jan 25th, 2012.
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