MEADOWCROFT COTTAGE

Mr Chiltern let the other part of the house to the local curate. He was a spirited young man who got more than one local boy into trouble. Cyril and Bert Poulton were choir-boys at Monks Risborough church and they went across the fields along near the footpath each Sunday with the curate. He used to challenge them to jump the brook - he got over easily, and they fell in, so getting a spanking and sent to bed. The also tried to reach the walnuts which grew at "Walnut Castle", the name given to the group of six big trees that grew long the pathway, from the farm to behind the Bell House. In later years, other uses were found for the site by the trees, where it became known as the "kissing gate".

As was usual at the time, part of the cottage was already let to another family, who had moved in to be near the stream - the Briars, a family that came from Cadsdean at this time and is registered as a large family in the 1841 census. Abel Briars was a watercress man and the ladies of the family and relatives are listed as lace makers. At the beginning of the twentieth century, his widow was known as old Mrs Briars, a rather difficult and cantankerous soul, who lived at one end of the cottage with her daughter Jane and grandson Elisha, the son of 'Lardie' (who was to be killed in the 1914-18 war). After old Mrs Briars died, Jane kept house and worked at the Saunderton and Bledlow workhouse, but her unhappy life ended in hospital. Elisha Briars is described as "a nice little man" who was doubly unfortunate in having a hunchback and a club foot. He lived up in the hills, working as a bodger, turning the beech logs into chair legs for the Orchards, and other furniture makers. Each evening he cycled to the 'Pink and Lily' for some company, but on Saturdays he came home, collecting beer and sausages from Mrs Green at the White Cross, and on Sundays he cycled to Stone to see Jane until she died. He continued to come home for the weekends and had lunch with William and Charlotte Stratford at Brook Cottage next door. He was found to have died in Hampden woods by his lathe, but his limping walk has been "heard" and he has been "seen", not long ago, walking down Askett Lane on a Sunday night!

History then repeated itself, as in 1910 Henry Rogers moved from Blossom Cottage with his wife and family of thirteen children, to work as a dairy farmer. He also used to collect the skimmed milk from the other farmers and take it to Kimble station to send to London. Until 1916 it was a penny a pint, and the farmers wives made their housekeeping money stretch by making butter and collecting eggs from their hens.

David Rogers, born in 1891 was the youngest of the thirteen children, and grew up to marry Daisy from Bletchington in Oxfordshire (but who worked at the convent in Princes Risborough). David re-named the farm 'Meadowcroft' and continued as a dairy farmer. Their youngest son Tom carried on the tradition until 1981 when he retired to live at Bierton

After Meadowcroft was sold in 1981, the property was divided and re-developed. A new wing was added to the front of the cottage, and a hobby pottery studio started by the new owners.

Footnote: Meadowcroft Cottage was bought by Duncan and Christine Bull and they moved in in 1982. Christine was a professional potter, not a hobby potter, and the new wing built in 1982/1983 included her workshop.

 

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