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UK 2003 Trip Begins.
WHERE IS BROXTED? Broxted is approximately 30 miles North East of London. Broxted and vicinity, is the lovely part of England where many of my ancestors were born. Although I have been there several times in the past (1969, 1971, 1999, 2000) for brief visits of a day, on this trip we would be spending two and one half whole days there! Hopefully, rain wouldn't interfere with our planned walks on the very ground, to the actual places where our ancestors had lived, loved and died.
The Village of Broxted is now actually composed of several "Hamlets", including Church End, Brick End, Browns End, and Chapel End. All of these figure into our family tree in a given point of time.
This "Pilgrimage" might well be my last chance, but hopefully not, to delve into the magical realm of our beloved BROXTED!
The Trip Begins!
UK - 2003
June 03, 2003 Tues
My bags were packed and ready to leave, awaiting the arrival of Susie and the "limo" from "Dream Chasers" scheduled to take us to LAX at 11:30 a.m. I gargled with salt, soda and vinegar for the last time before heading for the UK as I had a very sore, inflamed throat, and felt the cold just beginning. Vitamin C and garlic were packed as well as more sea-salt and baking soda. This was no time to be sick as all was scheduled and paid for. This would be Sue's fourth trip to the UK and my seventh. We were both very happy and excited to be going again.
I heard the gravel crunch on the front drive and knew the moment was here. The limo had arrived, but Susie hadn't! It was a little early, and in only a matter of minutes, Steve drove up with Susie too! Cheri was there with Londyn and R.J. to take our photo upon departing. Farewells were exchanged, and we were soon disappearing from sight down the hill toward town. Our driver was a young lady, who had remarked that we were traveling very light, as she put our luggage into the back of her car with ease. Sue and I smiled at each other, knowing full well that the return journey would be another story as far as traveling light!
We both noted how cautious this limo driver was when she came to a stop at the intersection of Crystal Creek and Old Woman Springs. She waited patiently for all oncoming traffic, and finally crept onto the highway heading West. All was peaceful and Sue and I were giggling and having fun chatting in the back seat.
We were soon on the freeway heading toward L.A. in the dismal color of FOG, and then it happened! This cautious lady-driver changed her complacent look to one of determination! From a Saint to a devil! Off we went speeding, dodging in and out of traffic and got to the airport in record time. Sue added another $10. to the tip as she was so grateful to make it alive! (Little did she know about taxi driver's in England!)
We had some time to kill before check-in opened for Virgin Atlantic, so we decided to have some lunch. We ended up at Burger King, after standing in line at various fast-food restaurants while Susie changed her mind upon what "carbos" she wanted to avoid. Burger King won out and I gave her half of my chicken salad to go with her giant burger! That should help out with her "carbo mania" I thought. We were carrying our own water, which lasted almost to the end of the plane ride to Heathrow.
Going through the X-ray machines, my tiny nail scissors were spotted and taken away. They did allow me to hand them my film and camera which they inspected by hand, as we were told that the new X-ray machines could ruin same.
We were assigned our seats..one window seat and the middle seat. Sue chose the window on ROW 52 which turned out to be right next to the Galley, so we could not see across the plane. My middle seat had a large metal box-like thing under the seat in front of me. My feet tried to squeeze beside this, but couldn't so things were rather cramped to say the least.
I noted that it was an elderly plane, looking rather drab and faded. Susie saw the tape on the wing which also showed signs of age. We hoped for the best, and after checking to see there were no terrorists around us, settled down in our tiny quarters and chatted with the "Joanne-type" gal sitting next to me. We called her Joanne between ourselves as she was a beautiful young lady. Now Joanne had long legs and thus, could not fit them in. She spent the entire 10 hours with both of her legs propped up on the seat in front of her..on top of the monitor, which was a very nice large size by the way..
For entertainment, there was a choice of over 50 movies to choose from with the option of pause, rewind, playback..probably trying to make up in part for the cramped quarters, etc.
Joanne had noticed, upon entering the plane, there were two male attendants with Virgin Atlantic skirts on, and two female attendants with trousers! She finally could stand it no longer and went up to ask about it. It seems the gal attendants wanted to give the boys a taste of how difficult it was to work in a skirt so they traded! Oh well.....We were off and on our way into the wild blue yonder.
I said before that we saw no terrorists around us..Now, I must change this a little. Directly behind us was a family with little kids! They never slept the whole time, and one cried insessantly! Actually, terrorists would have made the trip a little more peaceful, I'm sure! They did offer one drink of our choice, but the choice was very limited. I chose brandy, and if you have heard of a wee-drop...well, this was a wee-wee drop, barely covering the bottom of the tiny glass. Sue had a teaspoon full of Irish Cream...one swallow I believe. Unlike previous trips..that is all that was offered for entire trip, except a choice of white or red wine with what they passed off as dinner. We decided that all this change in service was because the Airlines were not doing well and had to really cut back in service.
Joanne was up and down, back and forth all night and never slept either. The attendants were quite rushed, as they were so few in number, that we didn't get our "meal" until over the East Coast. No menu...just a choice of chicken (on corn) or veggie currie. Sue and I chose chicken, and although mine was dumped on floor..well..the bun, tea cup, and whatever else there was besides the tiny dish of chicken on corn kernels, it was never replaced so I went without said bun, etc. Even 'tho it was the attendants fault she pretended not to notice and went up the aisle, no doubt because they were behind schedule. This didn't really bother me too much, as by now my throat made it most difficult to swallow anything. Luckily, they had included a glass of white wine, which helped very much. Joanne was out of luck on the chicken, as they ran out right then. She had the currie, which was a very small helping. Things were certainly not the way they had been on our previous trips with Virgin Atlantic. Our welcome aboard bag was very tiny with only the minimum toothbrush, paste, which you had to open with something sharp..and of course anything sharp was not allowed in the cabin. So that was useless..and some earplugs..too large for my ears. Oh yes, a pen and sleep mask was also included. I tried all but nothing brought on the sleep I so desperately needed to waylay this cold..
The "little terrorists" in the seat behind had other plans for anyone trying to sleep anyway.
I had a "Sars" type mask with me which was supposed to filter out the air, covering nose and mouth. I tried this, but felt that I was suffocating. So there I was, blue Sars mask...earplugs sticking way out of my ears, and a bright chartreuse colored eye mask. With this attire and the kids kicking the back of my seat and hollering.plus the short span of darkness..can't you just picture it? I looked like a Martian, I am sure! Sue, did manage to get a few winks as she is used to noise and can sleep through anything having raised 4 kids! :)
June 04, 2003 - Wednesday
Through the clouds we finally saw the green fields of dear ole Blighty beneath us. It was now 11:45 a.m. and we were right on time. On this trip we did land almost immediately instead of circling forever. The landing was so smooth that Joanne didn't even know we had landed, and was surprised to feel the pull of the brakes.
Now to find our luggage and then for the long walk with it to the bus station which appeared on the map to be right next to CUSTOMS..Wrong! We had until 13:30 to board our National Express Coach. We walked for at least a mile I think, and found the coach station outside the terminal (3). We only had about 10 minutes to spare. It was "Lovely" to feel a gentle rain shower, which was just a mist.
The coach was rather new with storage for the luggage underneath. This was nice, but my throat and cold symptoms were making me very weary, plus the fact of no sleep. I loaded up on the zink and cough drops purchased at the airport.
We arrived on time at Stansted..14:30. I bragged to Sue that I knew my way around Stansted, as I had been there a couple of times before. I gallantly lead her up a freight type elevator...where you board on one side and get off the other side. After dragging our luggage and circling the area, we decided we were lost.
We finally found someone to ask where the Taxi's were...and sandwiches. Down we went on another elevator and finally found the "Whistle Stop" and Taxi corner. I handed Sue a 10 pound note and asked her to buy some food for our supper while I sat on a bench with luggage. She came back with a couple of sandwiches and hunk of cheese. We also bought new water which came in square..blue-colored plastic bottles. One and a half pounds per bottle! About $2.50 each in our money. Welcome to the exchange rate.
I went to the taxi desk in the corner of terminal at Stansted, and asked for a taxi to take us to Broxted..just a matter of 3 or 4 miles. It would be five pounds. Fine, so we went outside to the que of taxis and the first one in line took our luggage and away we wen, "burning rubber" , after discussing briefly the way to Moor End Farm where we wanted to go. It seems the dispatcher inside the building had given him the wrong directions to Moor End Farm, so I showed him the map which I had taken off of the Internet. Away we went at full speed, around turns three small round-abouts, with Susie holding on for dear life and turning paler with each twist and turn on these paths which they call roads. They are very narrow. When two full size cars approach one another, one must pull over and let the other pass in many places. He made a few wrong turns, but that was ok with me as I was actually trying to point things out...saying..There's the Maltings! There's the POW! (Prince of Wales Pub) But we were flying by so fast that Sue never got a glimpse. Her head was going back and forth like a "wig-wag". There's the Three Horseshoes Pub..and look across the other side of street...see the Smithy talking with someone outside his old Smithy Shop. Herb & I had visited the Smithy along with Roger Barltrop and "Bee" a couple of years ago. He had taken us in the shop and actually gave us a demonstration of the way metal is bent in the fire, and hammered, etc...making beautiful wrought -iron things. I wanted to stop in and see him on this trip..as I had his photo to give him, but, sadly, was never able to do that.
We were soon turning in the driveway toward Moor End Farm, and instead of a pound tip, I gave him two...don't ask me why...I dunno. Later upon inquiring from friends there, I found that the taxi drivers rarely get tipped at all for that short distance, and certainly not more than 50 pence. So I guess I made that cab driver very happy. He probably stopped at the pub on the way home for a couple of pints!
We were finally here! This was Moor End Farm where Mom and her sisters would get their milk, eggs, etc. in the early 1900s. They would walk the distance from the Maltings, across the fields, before they came to a large gate. Mom described it as being a gigantic gate that only her older sisters could open! They would bring with them the pails to collect the milk from the farmer, as well as the pence or whatever it cost. Since there was no electricity, no regrigeration, this had to be done regularly in all kinds of weather. I imagine it is about a mile's walk through the fields from the Maltings to Moor End Farm. Uncle Charley worked here when he was a young boy too.
Sue and I were so excited and I know it must have showed on our faces, even though we had total jet-lag, and felt tired and haggard. A very nice looking young man ( Phillip Burton owner) showed us into THE BYRE, which would be our home for the next couple of days. I am really not sure what BYRE means, but it has something to do with stables, which this very "comfy" accommodation is said to have been at one time.
Cathy Burton (wife of Phillip) was in town purchasing a microwave, just for us. That is an example of what thoughtful people the Burtons are. Cathy did show up within a few minutes with a large box, microwave inside. Phillip promptly set it up.
The Byre is certainly very nice like the photos on the Internet had shown. .
After we had been shown around our "house"- The Byres", and Cathy and Phillip had taken leave, we decided to test out the sandwiches which we had purchased at Stansted. It was now around 16:30 4:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m. by our internal clocks) We weren't sure whether to call this dinner or breakfast..but it didn't matter, as we were now well into a whole new day. Our dinner was very tasty, topped off with some fresh fruit which Cathy had arranged so nicely in a bowl on the table. While I cleaned up a little, Sue disappeared out of the door, a specialty which she has always been known for. She returned a half hour or so later, with a smug look on her countenance. Indeed, she was proud to announce that she had been on a tour of the farm with Cathy, and had also taken off for parts unknown..all by herself..exploring! She then proudly displayed her "finding" of the day...a piece of iron metal with a letter G engraved on it! Her eyes beamed with joy as she held up her treasure..saying "Maybe this was something made by the BARLTROP Smithy at the Bell Inn! (Phillip said it was part of an old plow...:))) This was only the first of her mysterious disappearances. She always returned with some wonderful finding..usually just beautiful FLINT stones, or some chips of pottery which were to be found in the fields.
This had been a very long day indeed, and while I hung clothes up in the closet, I learned that Sue never unpacks as she wants to utilize every minute of her stay..wherever that may be!
We decided it was time to go to bed..
At this point in time, all I had on my mind was to please let me get some shut-eye! However, we soon discovered that the sun does not set in England in the summertime. It stays light most all of the night..which is very confusing to our internal clocks set in "Yanky" time. My eyes would not close, as they thought it was still afternoon. Sue in her bunk-bed on the other side of the wall, was having the same problem. Why was it so light outside? Can't go to bed when it's still daylight...so we discussed tomorrow's plans. We would head off through the fields to Church End, and visit the church, looking for names in the cemetery of relatives or friends, and getting the "lay of the land".
A soft rain began to fall....
Moor End is a 420 acre (170 hectare) arable farm which has been in the same family since 1935. The main crops grown are winter wheat, winter barley and oil seed rape. Evidence suggests that there has been a farm here since the 1670s, although the only remaining building from that time is a large Essex barn at the front of the main house.
The main Farmhouse, The Old Stables (a private house) and The Granary were built in the 1880s by the Countess of Warwick as a model farm for the mixed farming of that era. After the death of the Countess in 1919 the estate was split up, with individual farms being sold off. The farm at that time consisted of the buildings and 258 acres and was purchased by a Mr M Hoskin, the tenant at that time. He also bought some adjoining land, adding another 120 acres to his total.
After his death in 1935, the farm was bought by Charles Burton, great uncle to the present owners. In 1996 the adjoining farm was sold and another 50 acres was added to the farmland.
Moor End is in an area of Special Landscape Value. There is an extensive local footpath network and guests are welcome to use the many conservation headlands around the fields. There has been extensive tree planting carried out by the owners, over the last six years over 20,000 trees have been planted. There is an abundance of local flora and fauna in the old meadows and hedgerows.
The Local Area
The farm is ideally situated for exploring East Anglia, with quick and easy access to the M11 motorway and the A120/A12. It is located between the villages of Great Easton and Broxted, is only five miles from the ancient Flitch town of Great Dunmow, and a similar distance to the medieval village of Thaxted. Saffron Walden market town is a short drive away, as are the picturesque villages of Finchingfield, the Bardfields and Stebbing. London is a forty minute drive or train ride away. The University City of Cambridge is within easy reach, also by train or car.
Whitehall Country House Hotel is just over a mile away. There are several local pubs providing lunches and evening meals.
I should tell you a little more about the present status of Moor End Farm. I will quote from a recent newpaper article. This has to do with the enlargement of Stansted Airport.
"A farmer fears his livelihood and family heritage could be bulldozed if the Government decides on constructing extra runways at Stansted Airport."
Phillip Burton of Moor End Farm, Broxted, has voiced his concerns in the wake of the Government's consultation document on up to three additional runways.
The consultation document calculates that one more funway would destroy 700 hectares of high grade agricultural land, while two or three runways would take 1,200 hectares of farmland.
These figures transiate into the destruction of more than the landscape and the loss of valuable crops. They can change lives forever.
For Mr. Burton and his family, exgtra runways for Stansted Airport would mean the end of their farm and the loss of their home. "I just feel a bit empty," he said. "I was born hereand grew up on the farm. After my father died, my brother William and I took over the 420 acres of land and I expected to see my children take over from me when I became too old to work.
Ï suppose I thought we would be here forever. Now, everything could be bulldozed.
Charles Burton, bought Moor End Farm and Chickney Hall Farm in 1936. Chickney Hall Farm was sold after a number of years and in 1962 John Burton took over Moor End and its 370 acres, later adding another 50 acres when Tilty Grange Farm was sold.
Upon his death the farm was handed down to his sons, Phillip and William.
Mr. Burton added: "We have worked hard to maintain this farm and in recent years we have planted thousnads of trees to improve the landscape.
"Like many other farmers we have also worked hard to diversity by converting buildings for holiday use and catering for visitors with bed and breadfast. "We had plans to convert more buildings, but now we have put this on hold."
In a good year one acre of wheat grown on this Grade II arable land will produce three-and-a-half tons of grain. Multiply that by the total acreage to get some idea of what tonnage will be lost if the farm is absorbed by airport development."
This part of Essex is quintessential England. Its
would be a crime.
Click HERE to go to Second installment of STORY.
CLICK HERE to go to Photos of Moor End Farm.
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