Bedgrave Mill Farm

BEDGRAVE MILL FARM

From Gill Green

My family were the last people to live at Bedgrave Farm House,

before the area was used as an opencast mine.  At the time we moved to Bedgrave which was about 1968 it was owned by a scrap man, a Mr. Ted Hull of Sheffield.  My father took the job as security man for the scrap yard; we saw the erection of a new bungalow, built around this time.

The previous tenant Mr. Ted Mallender had retired from farming and moved to F & C cottage on Delves Lane, where he lived with his housekeeper Evelyn Mather; after her death he lived there until his passing.

When he lived at Bedgrave he and his wife had a son with learning disabilities and they kept him at home but had difficulty controlling him as he got older.  He spent lots of time locked up in the attic and walkers on the lane would often see him in the attic window rocking to and fro’.  Indeed, when we moved into Bedgrave the locks and chains were still on the attic door!

Ted’s wife died in the River Rother.  They had a green-grocery round in Beighton and when they had finished at the end of the day, she would sometimes stop off for tea and a chat with her friend who lived on Cow Lane, Beighton.  This night was a foggy night and she took a short cut over the meadows, aiming to go over the footbridge behind the farm; but it was assumed she missed her footing in the fog and met her demise in the river.

At the time my family lived at Bedgrave, my grandparents and uncles’ farmed up the lane at Pitt House Farm.  They were tenant farmers, the farm at this time belonging to a Mr Bill Hewitt.  They farmed here until the NCB compulsorily purchased all  the valley for opencast coal mining.  My uncle, David Griffiths who farmed at Bedgrave was very interested in history and was a member of the Conyers Folk Club along with his best friend John Wells.  The stone which marks where the Trysting Tree is [Todwick] was donated by David and it came from Pitt House Farm.

Another great character, farmer,  from Waleswood was Clarence Smith.  I have many great memories of him and life on his farm.