The Allotment – The Site – A little bit of History.
The land is owned by a charitable trust – our particular site was bequeathed in the Will of a gentleman and founded in 1708 – how’s that for a bit of history, and as I work up there, I often find myself wondering what sort of gentleman he was, and wondering who has worked the land over the years, although they have not always been used as allotment plots but would have probably been let to farmers.
‘Land containing 2 acres 2 roods 22 perches of thereabouts’ and was ‘subject to the tithe redemption annuity of £2.4s.10d. and now let as allotments at a total yearly rent of £8.9s.2d.’ and ‘with a yearly rent paid by the Eastern Electricity Board of 3/- for maintaining a pole of the above land’.
The above deeds were copied in 1957, but I do not know if the amounts of money are for that date or earlier. I know that in 1931 it was a field of allotments - as some of the men on their have told me all about their fathers and grandfathers having them.
It seems that the land has been used as allotments for at least 115 years, and there were others in the fields behind us as the 'new' cemetary outside the village used to be allotments!
Our field is 4.5 acres now, and has 18 plots - some of them have been subdivided, but only a few.
The rents have gone up a bit since then – but that is the only change. Indeed the abovementioned electricity pole is still there today, and is the favourite spot for pigeons and other birds to perch, waiting for the opportunity to pounce and create havoc as soon as I go home, if they get the chance.
My particular piece of heaven is set in the middle of the field and is a quarter of an acre strip.
I know that it has had lots of uses in the past - again from those whose relatives leased it over the years.
I have 'inherited' a delapidated old pig shed made out of rusting painted courugated sheets of iron. It has the remains of the concrete base of the pen too - the edges of which serve to trip me up constantly!
There used to be huge green houses on the site too - that were 'pushed over' and burnt - but that explains the odd bits of glass that find their way to the surface.
One of the men remember his grandfather keeping shed loads of rabbits on my plot too, which was used for food of course.
And whilst I am very 'particular' about everything I do on my plot - trying to be totally organic - an old chap laughed at me when I told him at the time of clearing all the rubbish off the plot, that if I had seen what had been burnt on it over the past years (thankfully at least 8-10 years prior to me that I know of) tyres, and junk of all sorts, then I wouldn't be so fussy.
That might have explained why there was no evidence of worms three years ago when I took on the lease.
Thankfully with the literally tons of pig muck that I have put on it and dug in, the worms are now in abundance!
Well that's a short bit of history - and I hope that it was of interest to you.
I will show you what it looks like now, so you can see how it develops over the summer – together with some of my neighbours plots.
Having had a later than usual start this year as bad weather stopped play, I am a bit behind my planting plan.
I will be adding the photos as soon as I can. Today though more urgent gardening things have to be done - even though it is raining.