Monday, 2 March 2009

A Cotswold Holiday 1965

More evidence of my 1960s slides scanning. This time they are photos I took during a cycling holiday in the Cotswolds when I was 15. My bike can be seen parked against the kerb outside the Shaven Crown in Shipton-under-Wychwood. This was my great, great grandmother’s home for over 60 years.

This pretty village is Great Barrington.

And another pretty village – Bibury.

This is Farmington Church where my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was a churchwarden in the 1600s. His initials RS (Robert Spensor) are inscribed on the bell.

Do you know what these are?

They are saddle stones. They were designed to keep the hayricks or straw stacks off the ground. Planks were laid across the tops of the stones and the stacks were built on top so that rats and mice could not get around the overhang and up into the straw or grain. Nowadays they are used ornamentally – often to keep cars from parking on verges outside houses.

I don’t know if they were used in the Cotswolds to actually build whole barns on top but they were in some parts of the country. The illustration and quotation below are from the website of the Bookham Community Association in Surrey.

It was common during this time for barns used as granaries to be set on 'saddle' or sometimes 'staddle' stones. Some way had to be found to stop rats from getting into the grain and the simple solution was to raise the floor of barns with these stones. The normal saddle stones looked like giant mushrooms and were set under the main uprights of the barn with the floor laid upon them. The picture shows one such barn, this one at Sherfield-on-Loddon, Hampshire . The efforts of the rats to climb up these supports were thwarted by having nothing to hold on to on the underneath of the mushroom. Poor rats!


  1. Very interesting post and great photos. (As usual) If I could be twenty years younger and still have some traveling bones left I think your part of the world would be a great place to visit.

  2. What wonderful history! I love this post, Scriptor. To know that you're more than...great Grandfather's intitials are on that bell; that is exciting and a treasure of a personal history to pass along.

    The little stools look like mushroom seats. I thought maybe they were just little places to rest our bottoms for awhile before continuing the journey :o).

  3. Wow... these photos are amazing! You are fast becoming my favorite blog to visit! Have a beautiful day!

  4. This is exactly how I picture your part of the world. I hope I get to visit it someday. Great photos! I loved the cars in the driveway, too!

  5. I lived in the Cotswolds for the best part of 10 years, its so lovely there. You have woken some lovely memories for me. Thank you.

  6. I LOVE those houses over there! Must be in my soul history somehow. Just beautiful!
    And how far back you can trace your family is astounding to me!


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