Page Ten

Next to the stables are two old cottages and the remains of old laundry. One of the cottages is still occupid by Mr. Wm. J.Plumbly, the son of the elderly gentleman who "stood at his cottage door only a few yards away from where the firemen were working, seemingly oblivious of the danger."

At the entrance to Fernhill from Station Road, is the Lodge. Mr. Frank E. Butler, who now occupies it has added some extentions and in 1976 the decayed stone dressings to the windows were taken out and renewed with artifical stone dressings, great care being taken to preserved the form of the original projecting mouldings.

On the right-hand side side of the of the lane is another old building. This was a chapel which a former owner of Fernhill had built on to a cottage. This building has also been extended. Mrs. B. Gray and her son with his family are the occupants, and I wqs told by Mrs. Gray that when she and her late husband first came there, there were no windows in the front of the house; the only daylight coming from some very small windows in the side near the ceiling. She also spoke about a ghostly presence which seemed to revade the house in the early days, but since her son's children had been living there, it had disappeared. the front of the house is certainly beautiful, and the two windows each side of the door has been built in to match the existing stonework.

By the bridle path and backing on to Lakeside car park at Wootton Bridge, is "Froggatts" a house recently occupied by C.A.Joyce, Esq., a former Borstal governor who became a well-known broadcaster. "Froggatts" is the original Fernhill farm-house now combined with the adjecent cottage, and it was bought from Fernhill Park Estates Ltd. by a Mrs. D. Hall who sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Joyce. Mr. Joyce continued living there after his wife died until his death in 1976. The house has recently been auctioned.

Further along the bridle path, on the right hand side, is the Ice house which once belonged to Fernhill. It is still in a wonderful state of repair and consistsof a short low passage of about 3'6" in width and 4'0" in height, leading into a cylindrical chamber of about 14' 0" diameter and 18' 0" (These measurements are very approximate). I should think that the passage, which consistso of two low brick walls with a stone slab on top, must have been much greater in height previously, as I cannot imagine large portions of meat being conveyed through the present small aperture. It is one of three Ice houses on the island.

The immediate grounds of Fernhill are now occupied by about 20 caravans, in which mostly retired or semi-retired people have been living in happy contentment for a number of years. I occupy one of these caravans which encircle the lawns of Fernhill, and they make a charming sight with their small gardens ablaze with colour during spring and summer. I believe that if Lord Bolton could see his Fernhill now he would be pleased that his grounds are put to such good purpose, and his choice of position with its spendid views are enjoyed to the full by those who live there.

The juggernaut of progress is, however, threatening to strike, for there are plans in hand to run a motor-way through or near the site. Also the "land developers" are turning their attention to the southy side of Wootton High street, having completely spoilt the beautiful scenery on the north, and it is feared that their greedy fingers will soon be snatch at the fields which at presrnt form such magnificent views.