On 8 August 2010, we went to Farringdon and visited a garden at Berry Cottage. That was then. Today we went to Farringdon and visited Berry Cottage again.
Of course that was after our usual Sunday roast at the Holly Bush and Mirinda’s Skype with Bob and Fiona AND a marathon two hour walk around Spreakley…which is the next village across.
There’s not a lot I can tell you about Spreakley except it is surrounded by some stunningly beautiful countryside and pretty boggy public footpaths. One thing I can definitely tell you is that we’re not likely to live there any time soon. Two of the houses we were admiring are estimated to be worth around £3,700,000…each. Nice to look at etc, etc.
I think Day-z loved it as well. She always loves a good ramble but one that lasts two hours is really going to be high up on her wish list.
And then, eventually, we headed for Berry Cottage. A lovely little garden…but you can read about it from four years ago on the link above because it hasn’t changed a lot. Here’s a flower though, which is different.
What I will write about is the building just a few doors down from Berry Cottage. It’s called Massey’s Folly and was built by the Reverend Thomas Hackett Massey. Looking back, I can’t believe that I didn’t write about the insane Reverend Massey following our last visit to Farringdon. He is totally the sort of person I love writing about.
For reasons known only to him, he decided that the tiny, sleepy, thatched and almost non-existent village of Farringdon needed a gigantic, Victorian monstrosity in the middle of it. And so he built (and I mean he actually built it, along with a brickie, a chippy and a labourer) a village hall that wouldn’t feel out of place in the middle of London. It took him 30 years and he didn’t manage to finish it before dying.
Actually, it had a lot more towers at one stage but he wasn’t happy and had them torn down again. He probably tore them down himself. It seems he was rarely satisfied with the design because he was always pulling bits down he didn’t like.
No-one knows why he built it and it was considered a bit of a white elephant for a while but it’s certainly cherished these days. So much so that it managed to get lottery funding after appearing on the BBC Restoration programme.
During his time as the local vicar (1857-1919) he wasn’t very good. Apparently he managed to whittle his congregation down to two people because his sermons were a bit offensive. And he wasn’t very keen on Methodists. He tried to buy all the houses in Farringdon so they couldn’t move there. Sounds like a total eccentric. He is buried in the churchyard and his grave is marked with a Celtic cross.
A wonderful quote from the marvellous Rev Massey, in answer to the local press when asked what the building would be used for:
It will be a tea room with a red globe on the Tower that will turn green when the tea is brewed.
An amazing eccentric if ever there was one. And a lovely, lovely day.