MEADOWCROFT FARMHOUSE

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the family of Blackwell lived at Solinger Farm near Hampden but in the middle of the century there is evidence that two brothers, Richard and William Blackwell lived at Askett, at what became known as Blackwells Farm, Richard was taxed for 9s.0d. in 1660, and assessed for 14s.6d. in 1673, and his wife Mary at the usual rate, 6d.

William's wife Katherine became involved with the neighbours, Michael and Alice Pond and Richard Baldwin in "forcible entry and detainer" and was discharged at the Christmas Sessions in 1684.

Richard and Mary had a son, also named Richard, and he in turn named his eldest son. Richard.

He is given the title of Mr Richard, Gentleman, in the records and married Elizabeth Smith, the daughter of a rich landowner in the area.

It has been suggested that this property was a Quaker Meeting house with its walled garden and with three entrances through the walls - but I can find no evidence of these names in Quaker records. The nearest centre was at Meadle, only 2 miles away, known for its meetings and burial place.

It is probable at this time that the high walls were built on the south side of the property to make an enclosed garden, which was a popular construction of the period and no doubt Mr Richard wished to give his wife some refinements as well as pleasure.  

Unfortunately she died, after giving him a son, Richard, and after giving birth to their daughter, Rebecca, both of whom were mentioned in grandfather Henry Smith's will of 1771, to receive £40 each -as the progeny of "Mr R". Rebecca married her cousin from Solinger, and had a son, John. She died a widow in 1812, possibly in the smallpox epidemic and her grandson, born in February 1822 went to live at the old family home at Solinger Farm.

A t the beginning of the eighteenth century, Place Farm at Monks Risborough was owned by the family Rogers, of whom there were several brothers who had many children. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the farming lands extended as far as Askett, presumably by acquiring Blackwells Farm, as in 1841 in the first census returns, William Rogers is registered as farmer, at Place Farm, Askett, being aged 55 and his wife Rebecca 54. Their family increased, but whether by ill fortune or not, this family of Rogers left the farm and it was leased by farmer Ralph Chiltern, together of course with the farmhouse, from Mr John Wesson.

At the back of the main, house there used to be some old cottages, presumably inhabited at one time, but they were destroyed, when, it is remembered, two young boys making a Halloween turnip head, upset the candle which set fire to the interior and it burned to the ground. At some time in the early part of the century it was rebuilt as a barn and used as a farm store.

At the beginning of the twentieth century the Farm House was lived in by old Mrs Collett, her niece Annie, and her daughter, Edith. Miss Edie Collett, a descendant of a family who had been in Askett since the eighteenth century, was a somewhat eccentric lady who roared around the village on a motor-bike in the early nineteen twenties.

The lower part of the house they lived in had a lovely old fireplace in it, possibly dating from the time when the Blackwells lived there in the previous century.

Miss Collett decorated it by sticking hundreds of stamps all over it, much to the interest of several small boys. She later moved to Willowdale and the building was only used as farm store.

In 1982 it was sold and refurbished by the new owners.

Footnote: . David and Daisy Rogers had three sons - Henry, John and Tom. After David died in 1945 Henry continued to run Meadowcroft as a dairy farm, with the assistance of his two younger brothers - John and Tom. Henry, looking very smart, was often seen riding through the village on his horse. And there was a rugged character on a tractor who gave the same friendly wave. It took locals some time to realise they were the same person. Daisy Rogers died on the 9th January 1963 and John, the middle son, died very shortly afterwards. At one stage (late sixties?), when Tom had gone to farm from Kingsmead, Henry's cousin Albert lived in Meadowcroft Cottage with his large family. Small children used to watch him doing the milking in the Crendon Concrete milking parlour down at Meadowcroft. Sadly, on the 17th July 1979, Henry Rogers died and the farm was sold at auction at the White Cross Hall in September 1980 to a property company - Estates & General. As separate lots the land to the south of Smoky Row was bought by John Robarts (of Kimblewick) and the land to the south of the hump-back bridge by Jim Walker (of Longwick). Also sold as a separate lot was the field halfway down Crowbrook Road on the right (the railway side). In 1982 the house at Meadowcroft was sold to Noel and Jill Murtagh who opened up the stream which was buried in a culvert under the garden.

Click HERE to return to the map