LITTLE ASKETT

 

Henry Baldwin, the Maltster, whose son roasted his pigs on the green, built Askett Villa on the rest of it, and then died.

Albert Ayres, who had been born in a farm nearby, had left the area to learn the hotel trade, married the owner of the hotel and came to Askett and bought the villa for his wife and himself. He became a district councillor and Churchwarden, as well as a gentleman farmer. He owned the barn opposite to the villa, where he kept his horses and pigs.

After his wife died early in 1940, Miss Crockett and Mrs Webb made his supper for him.

Later in 1946 he sold the Villa and went to live with his niece in Princes Risborough where he died in 1949.

Mr Mosedale bought the villa for his daughter and her husband, Mr and Mrs Manners. They found the cellar full of wine, which was duly tasted.

Amongst the people who visited was 'Uncle' Herbert Pitcher, who had lived for many years at the Old Grange, Kimble (the previous property of the Reading family). When he was younger he had travelled to places like Sussex to buy sheep for all the local farmers.

When he was fourteen years old he rode with the Berkley Hunt, and with his sister they frequently had hunt meetings at the Grange in later years. On one occasion at the Royal Hunt Ball it is told how as the evening progressed, the gentlemen were allowed to remove their red hunt coats, and amongst the guests the Prince of Wales found it very amusing to note that 'Uncle' had tied his white waistcoat at the back with farmyard string.

'Uncle' used to exchange eggs and rabbits with Mr Mosedale during the war, for fish and other goods obtained from London.

Another character associated with the Villa at this time was a Miss Llewelyn from Monks Risborough who used to come to Askett to get her horses shoed, and tethered her horses to the railings of Askett Villa.

Mr Manners was very angry when the knobs were knocked off the railings, but she shouted at him that she had always left her horses there and she was not going to change.

Mr Illman, a commercial artist, and his wife lived there from 1947 until 1950, dismantling the outbuildings, including the paint shed that used to be under the chestnut tree, and used by the wheelwright. Then they built the bungalow in the garden at the side and called it Maycroft Cottage, and decided to move into it, living there until 1959. They sold the Villa to Mr &. Mrs Craig, who lived there for a while and then they moved into Sumach Cottage, selling the Villa to their daughter and her husband,

Mr &. Mrs Peel, who re- named the house 'Little Askett', and built the extension at the back.

In 1977 Air Vice-Marshal Charles Maughan and his wife lived here. His world record London to Paris Air race time of 40 min. 40 sec. was still held after 25 years, the attempt to break it failing despite using motor bikes, helicopters and a jet fighter, because of the congestion of road traffic on both sides of the channel.

In 1985 new owners made further alterations to the property.

Footnote: Rodney and Pamela Peal bought Askett Villa from the Craigs and Pamela said that she and Rodney moved there in the early sixties. It was not the Peals who re-named Askett Villa Little Askett. This was done by the following inhabitants.

John and Pauline Craig, who had previously lived in Askett Villa (with Pauline's parents) , bought Sumach from the Heenans. Pamela was not Pauline's daughter - they were contemporary.

 

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