Chitterne Now and Then
Blog Archive - April 2010

Tuesday 20th April - Less Ducks, More Pigs and Lambs

Nature in the raw. The Cut and the duck family are dwindling, but the Jacobs lambs have arrived at Manor Farm and piglets abound at Pig Paradise.

Tuesday 13th April - Blown Away

On Saturday, unbeknown to me, an article appeared in the Guardian Review section which included a fascinating reminiscence by Ferdinand Mount on elections in Chitterne years ago (he lived here at the Old Malthouse). This morning I was amazed to receive a hand-written letter from him, praising the Chitterne book and modestly confessing that he had "pillaged it ruthlessly for a little political reminiscence I did for the Guardian." He went on: "I was very cross to see that they (the Guardian) had cut the line referring to Chitterne's 'splendid local historian Sue Robinson'" Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather!!

Thinking that I needed to share this good news with the publisher of the book I phoned him and announced myself, whereupon he said: "Well, not 10 minutes ago I posted you a cutting about Chitterne from Saturday's Guardian. I expected to see your name credited somewhere." I said: "that's exactly what I'm ringing you about, I've just had a letter from Ferdinand Mount," and I proceeded to read it to him. He was blown away too, and urged me to add his congratulations on the article to my own when I replied to the letter.

I will reply, when I've landed safely back on earth, and I'll be telling Mr Mount just how much I enjoyed his wonderful book 'Cold Cream' (see 9 July 2009 blog) and how we're now square because I pillaged his words to add to my notes on Chitterne in the old days.

Comment: Wow that was a near miss to fame, shame as it would have been a lovely endorsement of your work. Typical Grauniad to drop off the important bit.. I didn't read the article till your blog pointed it out, I usually turn straight to the book reviews section, tho I did notice the sweet picture that accompanied it. Having read the article now, it is also very sweet and an excellent historical memory and one the village will treasure, along with your book. gg

Sunday 11th April - Elm Farm Toll Booth

The new tenants at Elm Farm have taken an interest in the history of the house and come up with a solution to the old problem of where Chitterne's tolls were collected in the days of the turnpike road. Their findings have tidied up a loose end that was left over after I'd proved that the Round House was never a toll house as described in the listed building notes. Thanks to R and LS another piece has been slotted in to the village history jigsaw puzzle, and in a very ingenious way.

Using an old photo of the White Hart junction in Chitterne, on which a bit of Elm Farm appears, and a new photo taken from the same place and angle, RS has demonstrated his theory about the toll booth site. With a part of the old photo superimposed onto the the new one it's easy to see what he means: that the thatched roof just visible behind the Elm Farm garden wall on the old photo was in fact the roof of the toll booth. To see more pictures and read the full story go to: the Amesbury Turnpike page on

Friday 9th April - Duckling Dozen

This week a mother duck was spotted carefully leading her new brood upstream on the Cut. She didn't want them photographed and kept hiding them under the various village bridges, but they were snapped eventually near Manor Farm bridge.

Comment: Duckling dozen dwindling, on 12th April DR spotted 9 ducklings.

Tuesday 20th April: LS reports one duck and six ducklings were up our end of the cut this morning.......but DR counted 8 later same day

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