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The Fernhurst Society

Memories of Fernhurst: interesting Items

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At the Vinegar Yard, where once vinegar was made from wood, memory recalls a delightful cottage at the far end, away from the road. It was enclosed by a beautiful garden and a path through a large orchard led to the house. Alas! It was pulled down forty years ago and only a few apple trees remain.

Locally it was believed that a Roman road went through Old Henley village, but in 1932 an excavation was made and the discovery of iron slag and blast furnace well below the Roman road pavement disposed of the tradition. What a pity. But a Bronze Age axe was picked up in Verdley Wood in 1905.

‘Fernhurst is afraid of becoming modern and of losing its rural charm.’ So says an article in the church magazine in February 1911.

Two telephone posts and one or two lamps and other signs of advancing civilisation are to be erected. But what we most have to fear is the erection of buildings, which refuse to harmonise with anything and everything.

The following notice in the local paper in 1928 is of interest: ‘By permission of Lady Balfour, the garden at Ropes will be open to the public tomorrow Sunday, from 2.30 until 9pm.’ We can imagine what a great deal of pleasure would be given to those who took advantage of this invitation. Ropes was a very beautiful garden, and still is. Lady Balfour also gave a prize each year to the scholar who wrote the best essay on ‘Empire Day’. She presented the prize at a little ceremony at the village school.

Milk dishes in Grandmother’s time were much cheaper than now. A milk mould which contained one quart of milk, six sheets of gelatine, sugar and lemon to taste, cost sixpence. ‘Savoury Milk’ for one person: half a pint of milk, one egg and a teaspoon of Bovril cost threepence. ‘Bread Custard’ for a large pudding: one pint of milk, one egg, slices of bread and butter, sugar to taste, cost fourpence.

What Fernhurst really WANTS:

In 1901 the village did require very earnestly, and let it be known, £200 to clear the Village Hall of debt
Money to pay for the lighting, heating and fencing of the hall, also for making up the road in front of the building
A bath chair
Flagstaff and flag for the village school.

The village was very lucky and acquired all four items.

The oak used in the newly-constructed hall and the library of the Inner Temple, London, was felled on the Fernhurst side of Blackdown in 1905. This Fernhurst wood is beautiful in its maturity and will stand the test of time in its centuries-old setting.

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The Fernhurst Oral History Project was supported by the Local Heritage Initiative. The Local Heritage Initiative was developed by the Countryside Agency and was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Nationwide Building Society.