EPISODE 524   THE HEREFORDSHIRE POMONA 1885 (by Edith Bull and Alice Ellis – two forgotten ladies)

alan skeoch
January 30, 2022

I love the way the ladies included apple blemishes…so true to life.

Edith Bull © Herefordshire Libraries, Herefordshire History project <a href=www.herefordshirehistory.org.uk” style=”max-height: 1021px;” apple-inline=”yes” id=”30F2CC7C-B2B5-4A14-8C31-597BDD5E6938″ src=”http://alanskeoch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/8-Edith-Bull.jpg”>
Edith Bull at her easel….where is a picture of Alice Ellis?…these
two ladies painted apples for several years of their lives…but
both are forgotten. Did Edith really paint apples with that dress on?

Illustration of a variety of apple cultivarsblog.biodiversitylibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2018/06/12-229×300.jpg 229w, blog.biodiversitylibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2018/06/12-586×768.jpg 586w, blog.biodiversitylibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2018/06/12-781×1024.jpg 781w” sizes=”(max-width: 450px) 100vw, 450px” apple-inline=”yes” id=”968BFFCF-C054-4FD4-92DD-9228EF2B9129″ src=”http://alanskeoch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/12.jpg”>

Henry Bull…his daughter, Edith Bull, should be famous but
seems to be forgotten along with Alice Ellis.

Apple Picking, Pomona Farm - Herefordshire History

Picking apples with a shovel…

vintage farm clip art, printable farm horse illustration, horse drawn apple cart, farmer selling apples, Victorian country sceneolddesignshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/OldDesignShop_HorseAppleCart-1024×709.jpg 1024w, olddesignshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/OldDesignShop_HorseAppleCart.jpg 1468w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px”>

Picking apple by hand….

The Herefordshire Pomona - Adam&#39;s Apples

“Hey, Marjorie, I just got an email from Dan…he found a copy of the Herefordshire Pomona for sale.”
“You should buy it…You’ve been talking about the book for60 years.:”
“Good idea…we should buy it.  But there is one small problem.
“Which is?
“The price.”
“I bet it’s around $100…rare book.”
“Guess again.”
“How much?”
“What!  You must be kidding!”
“No…that’s U.S. Funds and does not include the $20 shipping.”
“We can only afford the shipping…twenty bucks.”

“Why is it so expensive?”
“That is my story today…it’s quite a story…I have been thinking how to start the story…how to
engage readers.   That $17,937.98 price should do it.”
“What was your original plan?”
“I felt those two women who spent years drawing and using water colours to illustrate apples
would be a good start.   But the story is so complicated that much could be lost.”
“What were their names?”
“Alice B. Ellis and Edith E. Bull.”
“Pictures of them?”
“Only a picture of Edith Bull in front of her easel….all I could find.”

Golden Olden for the Modern Age: New Online Apples & Cider Collection –  Mann LibraryBonhams : HOGG (ROBERT) and HENRY GRAVES BULL The Herefordshire Pomona,  Containing Coloured Figures and Descriptions of the Most Esteemed Kinds of  Apples and Pears, 2 vol. in oneThe Herefordshire pomona 6 Painting by Artistic RifkiBonhams : HOGG (ROBERT) and HENRY GRAVES BULL The Herefordshire Pomona,  Containing Coloured Figures and Descriptions of the Most Esteemed Kinds of  Apples and Pears, parts 1-5 (of 7) in 2 vol.The Herefordshire Pomona – Biodiversity Heritage Library

“And concluded by welcoming very cordially the presence of the two ladies, Miss EUis and Miss Bull, whose great artistic talents have enabled the committee to publish that magnificent work The Herefordshire Pomonawork that will carry down the renown of the Woolhope Club for many generations to come.


“Did the ladies come up with the idea of chromolithographs of all the apples in Herefordshire?”
“No…the idea grew from conversations between three men and a wealthy supporter.”
“Between 1876 and finally published in 1885….these guys were members of the Woolhope Naturalist 
Club in Hereford…”

“Woolhope Naturalist Club…around 200 well healed men determined to unravel the mysteries of
the world around them.  They collected fossils, dug up Roman forts, admired ancient oak trees, 
collected and illustrated mushrooms…then published their discoveries.  Their reports are all on 
the internet if you can find them…hundreds and hundreds of pages with  few illustrations.  These
were not dabblers…these were Victorian men, most men, prompted, I guess, by the work
of Charles Darwin.”
“Fungus and mushrooms…sounds sort of odd.”
“The Woolhope Club was not just devoted to apples.  As a matter of fact the mention of
the Hereford Pomona is not easy to find in the club minutes.”


Doctor Robert Hogg, 1886.

Reverend Charles Bulmer.   (His two sons founded Bulmer’s Cider Company which
eventually dominated cider production in Herefordshire now sold under Strongbow name I believe)

Doctor Henry Graves Bull (1818-1885)  (His daughter Edith Bull and Alice Ellis 
used watercolours to paint all the apple and pear varieties in years between 1876 and 1883)

Lot 88 - Hogg, Robert and Bull, Henry Graves


1) June 1876: Reverend Charles Bulmer invited Doctor Henry Graves to see the apple exhibition in Hereford
Doctor Hogg was worlds leading expert on apples in 1876…published the 759 page “Fruit Manual” for head gardeners.
Reverend Bulmer was vice at Credenhill , Herefordshire, and a member of the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club and had
just won second prize for his perry (Pear Wine) perhaps judged by Dr. Hogg at the Bath and West Show of 1876.

2) The Woolhope Naturalists Field Club members were interested in diverse subjects from Roman ruins to Ancient Oak trees to fossils,
mushrooms and apples,  etc. etc.  The minutes of the Woolhope Club can be found on the internet…hundreds and hundreds
of pages, mostly print, several engravings.  In 1876 Club members were worried about neglect of Hereford orchards making
the apples an pears unmarketable. The question:”Why are so few of our apples in grocery stores?” (my question imposed)
“We owe it to those who come after us to maintain an strengthen our title to the garden of England!” (Club comment in 1876)

3) Oct. 14, 1875: Woolhope Naturalist Club has its first apple and pear exhibition to try snd identify local varieties.  On display 
were 128 apples and 62 pears.  This was big step that was to become immense in subsequent years.

Exhibitions in Hereford

1875  — 128 apples
1876  __ 637 apples and pears
1883 __  2.500 apples on display inside in Hereford
               1,000 apples on display outside in Hereford

1883 __  10,500 apple varieties in national exhibition Oct. 4 to 25 Chiswick
1885__   600 copies of Herefordshire  Pomona 

4) 1878:  Dr. Hogg offers to promote and record apples and pears worthy of attention and cultivation.
The ides of a “Herefordshire Pomona” is born with Dr. Henry Bull as general editor and Dr. Hogg as
technical editor.

5) 1878-1883: Two ladies recruited to do the illustrations,  Edith Bull and Alice Ellis, to replicate worthy
apple and pear varieties for chromolithographic reproduction. Alice Blanche Ellis was a gold medal winner
from a Bloomsbury School of Art (no picture that I could find) while Ediths Elizabeth Bull was Doctor
Bull’s daughter (picture included)

Edith Bull © Herefordshire Libraries, Herefordshire History project <a href=www.herefordshirehistory.org.uk” style=”max-height: 1049px;” apple-inline=”yes” id=”E728D8EE-96E6-44EF-926E-8CEEFE24D3D4″ src=”http://alanskeoch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/8-Edith-Bull-1.jpg”>

6) 1885:  Herefordshire Pomona completed with 600 copies of the two volumes book finished…”the most 
perfect and thorough and artistically beautiful work ever published on the subject.” (Woolhope Transactions 1884)
Chosen: 262 apples and 169 pears in “lavish chromolithograph plates from watercolours”

The National Apple Congress exhibition. The Gardeners Magazine Vol 26 20 October 1883 © RHS Lindley Collections

7)  1883  National Apple Congress in Chiswick Gardens was major, indeed phenomenal success with 236 exhibitors
and 10m500 dishes of apples.  When closely examined there were 1,545 varieties classified by purpose, season, size, 
shape, surface texture and colour.  “Never before had so many varieties even brought together in one place,
and probably never will again.” (Jane Morgan)  The best eating apples were names..King of the Pippins, Cox;s
Orane Pippin and Ribston Pippin.

The National Apple Congress was so popular that railway companies offered cheap tickets so working class
people could attend and the exhibit was extended a week. 
Sketches “from a jocular point of view” at the Apple Congress at Chiswick 20 October 1883 © Illustrated London News Ltd Mary Evans
Drawings from the Apple Congress ar Chiswick, Oct 20, 1883

“Visitors are requested not to touch the fruit”…obviously being ignored in sketch

8) Soon afterward Reverend Bulmer’s two sons constructed a cider factory in

Hereford that  became the world’s largest cider maker  and Herefordshire still

has more apple orchard than any other county in the United Kingdom.

(See “When Doctor Hogg Went to Hereford)


“ALAN, the apple paintings/engravings are stunning but what motivated you to do all 
this research?”
“Granddad did.”
“You said that you knew little about his life.”
“He was born in 1871, that makes him  5 years old in 1876 when sudden interest in apples began.
“Too young to know an apple from a soccer ball.”
“True but that would make him 12 years old in 1883 when the Hereford Pomona was released.”
“On the verge of adulthood back then…at 12 he became a gardener’s boy and then in 1884 a gardener apprentice
and y 1894 soon to become the head gardener of Eywood Court in 1898.”
“He grew up with this apple hysteria in full bloom.”

“How old were those apple trees at Eywood?”
“”Never saw them.”
“There were two walled gardens…first one was a kitchen and flower garden…then
behind the dividing wall was the orchard where some scraggy looking apple trees stood … bet dollars
to doughnuts those trees dated back to Edward Freeman’s time.  Apple trees can live
for 60 years or more.”
“Do you know for sure that Edward Freeman was interested in apples?”
“I do.  this is the year 2022 and there is still one last apple tree in granddads Canadian orchard.  It looks
bad, uncared for, but it is still alive.  That tree and others were in full life when Was in the garden seventy years ago.”

“What kind of apples?”
“Wormy apples…scabby too.”
“But what kind of apples?”
“Might be neglected MacIntosh…I have no idea though.”

“How do apple trees get their names?”
“Same way as street names…some person gives them a name.”
“Why not name that tree then?”
“Why not?”
“I have my eye on a wild apple tree near the field gate.”
“Wild apples are no good.”
“Usually so…but every once in a while a wild tree turns out to be swell”
“And the name?”
“Pick a name…I am open to suggestions.

“What does the tree look like?”
“not likely to win a beauty contest but last year the apples were nice”
“Open to all … Name the tree!”

alan skeoch
Jan. 30,, 2022

Le Herefordshire pomona, contenant des figures de couleur et descriptions  des types les plus estimés de pommes et de poires. Hereford, [Eng.]Jakeman  et Carver, 1876-85. <a href=biodiversitylibrary.org/page/55785600 Photo Stock – Alamy” apple-inline=”yes” id=”20CE5F97-983A-431F-AB99-7C5442E5F816″ src=”http://alanskeoch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/images-7.jpeg”>49 ideeën over Herefordshire Pomona in 2021 | botanische tekeningen,  appels, planten




alan skeoch
january 28, 2022

The Herefordshire Pomona, containing figures and descriptions of the most  esteemed kinds of Apples and Pears, Volume 2 only with 77 fine  chromolithographs colored from Nature by Miss Ellis and Miss Bull
The Redstreak apple … one of the most famous apples in the world

  Date  October, 1953
  Place  Humberside Collegiate auditorium
  Purpose:  School Dance
  Startling Event:  Crock of hard cider passed around
  Person: Alan Skeoch, Grade 9

“Here take a slug of this, kid…right from the gallon crock.”
“What is it?”
“Never you mind…take a slug or pass it on.  Consider 
the stuff an initiation into high school.”
“But what is it?”
“Grow up kid, it’s just hard cider…Ontario hard cider….won’t kill you.”
“Not too sure.”
“Your a big man now, kid…no short pants anymore…take a slug.”

That happened a long time ago.  Back in 1953 at Humberside Collegiate’s first fall dance.  My eyes were wide
open…saucers taking  in a new world of big kids.  I think I took a slug but not too sure.  I know I whirled Elizabeth 
Kilty a little too fast on the dance floor and her skirt went up like Marilyn Monroe’s.  That could have been the hard
cider at work.

Hard cider!  Quite common and not wonderfull…looked sort of muddy and tasted way too sweet to be enjoyed.
Years later I discovered why this elicit booze was not so great.   Our cider, Ontario cider in unlabelled gallon crocks
was made with windfall applies likely.  Apples from a bunch of trees.  Maybe even wormy!  Who could tell if worms
were present once the apples were ground to pulp with a spiked roller and then pressed in a wooden press
that had been sitting in a barn or back yard garage for a year.

I never developed a taste for hard cider after that welcome by the big boys at Humberside.

Never is the wrong word.  In 1965 , Marjorie, Eric and I lived on hard cider for one wonderful summer.
Bulmer’s hard cider and the occasional mug of  “Scrumpy” from beneath a pub plank counter.  The
scrumpy reminded me of the gallon crock stuff.  But the commercial Bulmer’s cider was wonderful
and inexpensive.  Our tour of England, Ireland and Scotland in 1965 floated on English cider…Herefordshire
English cider in heavy glass quart bottles with stoneware screw tops.  Available everywhere along with
all kinds of cheeses and great turtle shaped loaves of fresh bread.  The cost was minimal and the place
to dine could be a dry stone fence or a great pile of loose stacked hay in a farm field.

That kind of cider is sold in LCBO stores even today.  About $3 a can.  No stone topped bottles anymore.


“The Redstreak cider apple is one of the oldest cider apples in circulation.   A few books establish the Redstreak  cider apple trees to Herefordshire in 1600’s. One book notes the Redstreak cider apples were considered ‘fit for Princess’ establishing Herefordshire’s reputation as the cider country of England. Produces a good quality bittersweet juice, an excellent addition for blending. The fruit is medium to small yellow apple with red strip

(ADVERTISEMENT by one Hereford nursery now offering Cider Apple trees at $44.90 each)

What is so special about English cider…especially Herefordshire English cider?  It’s the apples.
Special cider applies…the greatest of which was the REDSTREAK.  Not a spectacular apple.  Very
nondescript…small, perhaps a bit of apple scab…yellow background with red streaks…bitter sweet 
taste.  Definitely not an eating apple or an applesauce apple.  But a perfect cider apple.  Proved so
by centuries of care.  Imported into Hereford and named the “Scudamore Crab“, having first been intensively planted by the diplomat and politician John Scudamore, 1st Viscount Scudamore from France  and grown
on his country estate.  Noted as being present as far back as 1600.


Apples do not breed true.  Orchards with mixed varieties will never produce Redstreak apples.  
They must be grafted from cuttings.  Edward Freeman, my grandfatheer, was good at grafting.  Our farm once had
wild apple trees on which he grafted prize apples but granddad never produced fine cider.
His alcohol thirst was satisfied with rhubarb wine and the occasional bottle of whisky that mom
smuggled into the fifth line kitchen unseen by the ‘lips that touch liquor will never touch mine’ crowd.
Granddad did love apples and he knew how to get apples with his grafting knife and wax.
I remember some branches on Edward Freeman’s wild apple trees we’re loaded with fruit while
the rest of the tree had tiny apples or none at all.  I was too young to know that Edward Freeman had 
been busy grafting.

Hereford Redstreak
Herefordshire Redstreak apple today…small, bitter, bit of scab…and lots of thick skin..perfect for cider.

This is only the beginning of my apple episode.  A teaser.  The bigger story is coming.  Previous episodes have
outlined the nature of the Country Estates…up to 5,000 o them…that were being built and renovated by
affluent English families during the 18th and 19th centuries.   Along with the renovations came the desire
to develop unique gardens with plants gathered by plant collectors roaming the seven seas.    Some plants 
did not need to be distant.  There were so many apple varieties in England that many had no names. Thousands
of apple varieties most of them unidentified.
Not for long.   Head Gardeners and owners of these country estates began paying attention to the wealth of apple varieties, particularly those
in Herefordshire.   Walled gardens had sections for fruit orchards…exotic fruit like peaches and nectarines but
also apples and pears.  My grandfather, Edward Freeman, was one of these head gardeners for a short few years between 1898 and 1906
at Eywood Court in Herefordshire.  Some of His plantings still existed in the 1960’s, perhaps still do.

From 1878 to 1884 or thereabouts two women were at work with paint brushes making Hereford Apples 
famous among art lovers and gardeners.
The most spectacular art of the apple emerged at the same time as the gardeners nursed their orchards from decline
to explosive growth.
What emerged was one of the wonders of the world of the
apple.  Two volumes of wonderful art were produced by two ladies between 1878
and 1884 titled THE HEREFORDSHIRE POMONA.  Only 600 copies were printed. Volumes
that are so highly valued today that when copies were moved from one place to another
they were accompanied by armed guards. (*that will be subject of Episode 523 coming next)

Book breakers have broken the spines of many of these books and then professional 
framers have enclosed the apple artwork into high cost lithographic art.
Shortly after 1965 Marjorie and I were able to buy two of these pages.  They now
hang in our house.  Visitors hardly notice them.  Who would want a picture of
a bunch of apples in their living room?  One of these (right in picture below) is
the famed Redstreak now lost to the world.

Our living room is small but features two very famous lithographs on the north wall…see them?

One is more famous than the other…our dog Woody is aligned perfectly…his body
points to the picture.  See it?

Close up…just a picture of some apples, right?  Wrong…picture of the Redstreak
apple variety.  Now believed to be extinct.

THE famed redstreak cider apple…the cornerstone of great hard cider.  Nondescript
in appearance.  Small.  yellowish skin covered with red streaks. Not tasty.  But when converted from apple juice to hard apple
cider a wonder happens.

Redstreak apple.jpg
Species Malus domestica
Breeder John Scudamore, 1st Viscount Scudamore
Origin upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/be/Flag_of_England.svg/46px-Flag_of_England.svg.png 2x” data-file-width=”800″ data-file-height=”480″ style=”border: 1px solid rgb(234, 236, 240); vertical-align: middle;”> England, 1600s.
“The Redstreak, also spelt Redstrake, Red Streak or Red-streak, is or was a very old variety of cider apple formerly commonly planted in England.
It is sometimes referred to as the Herefordshire Redstreak or Old Redstreak to distinguish it from later-developed varieties, such as the Somerset Redstreak, with a similar name.

Excerpt from Wikipedia below

The variety is traditionally said to have first appeared in the early 17th century; John Evelyn recorded that it was originally named the “Scudamore Crab“, having first been intensively planted by the diplomat and politician John Scudamore, 1st Viscount Scudamore.[1] Scudamore’s efforts in improving and raising fruit trees on his estate at Holme Lacy were an attempt to match the superior French cider available at the time.[2] Scudamore had been ambassador to France, and supposedly raised this apple from a pip brought back from there.
During the 17th century, the Redstreak (as the apple was later to become known) became celebrated as the finest cider apple variety in England, and was the source of Herefordshire‘s reputation as the premier cider-producing region in the country.[3] Scudamore himself assisted in popularising the drink, having tall, elegant glasses for it engraved with his and the royal arms, and setting up large-scale production at Holme Lacy, where the cider was bottled and kept in water-cooled cellars.[4]
For a time cider made from Redstreak apples changed hands at extraordinarily high prices – as high as the best imported wine – but by the late 18th century the variety was already in decline.[3] By the 19th century the Redstreak was reported to be almost extinct, much like the Styre, another formerly well-known cider apple variety that had suffered from an apparent decline in quality and productiveness. Thomas Knight‘s Pomona Herefordiensis (1811), noted that “trees of the Red-streak can now no longer be propagated; and the fruit, like the trees, is affected by the debilitated old age of the variety, and has in a very considerable degree, survived those qualities to which it was owing its former fame”.
This decline may have occurred in older apple cultivars as viruses gradually built up in their tissues over time and were transferred during propagation, with increasing negative effects on productiveness, vigour and even flavour.[5]
Herefordshire Redstreak” apples are currently available from some nurseries, but it is unclear whether these are related to the original variety, which may now be extinct.”


Over my lifetime I have found and tasted many wild apples whose parent tree was
planted by birds and animals.  Each wild tree is approached with hope and wonder but
none have approached the Redstreak.   But how would I know?   Honestly I will
never know because few have ever been crushed and squeezed .  I may have
missed the great Canadian cider apple.

                 (Includes the Redstreak Cider Apple…when I tell this story I get
                  emotional…such a wonderful story.)

post script:  Some cider apples trees available today in Herefordshire nursary

  • Bramley's Seedling apple tree
    Bramley is the essential English cooking and sharp cider apple, famous for its rich tangy acidity.
    • Awards: RHS AGM (current)
    • Picking season: Late
    • Pollination group: 3
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree

    Brown Snout

    Brown Snout cider apple tree
    A traditional English bittersweet cider apple.
    • Pollination group: 6
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree

    Brown’s Apple

    Brown's Apple cider apple tree
    Brown’s Apple is a traditional English cider apple variety producing a sharp juice.
    • Pollination group: 5
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree

    Bulmers Norman

    Bulmers Norman cider apple tree
    A traditional English bittersweet cider apple.
    • Pollination group: 3
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree

    Chisel Jersey

    Chisel Jersey cider apple tree
    Chisel Jersey is a traditional English hard cider apple variety, producing a bittersweet juice.
    • Pollination group: 6
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree


    Dabinett cider apple tree
    Dabinett is a traditional English cider apple variety, producing a bittersweet juice.
    • Pollination group: 6
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree

    Ellis Bitter

    Ellis Bitter cider apple tree
    Ellis Bitter is a traditional and popular English cider apple, producing a bittersweet juice.
    • Pollination group: 5
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree

    Geneva Tremlett’s Bitter

    Geneva Tremlett's Bitter cider apple tree
    A bittersharp cider apple variety, found at the USDA repository at Geneva, but probably of English origin.
    • Pollination group: 4
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree

    Harry Masters Jersey

    Harry Masters Jersey cider apple tree
    Harry Masters Jersey is a traditional English cider apple variety, producing a bittersweet juice.
    • Pollination group: 4
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree

    Kingston Black

    Kingston Black cider apple tree
    Kingston Black is one of the premier English cider varieties and produces a bittersharp juice.
    • Pollination group: 4
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree


    Major cider apple tree
    A traditional English bittersweet hard-cider variety.
    • Pollination group: 3
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree

    Porter’s Perfection

    Porter's Perfection cider apple tree
    Porter’s Perfection is a 19th century English cider variety producing a bittersharp juice.
    • Pollination group: 3
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree

    Somerset Redstreak

    Somerset Redstreak cider apple tree
    An English cider apple variety producing a very high-quality bittersweet juice.
    • Pollination group: 5
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree

    Stembridge Cluster

    Stembridge Cluster cider apple tree
    A traditional English bittersweet cider apple from the town of Stembridge in Somerset.
    • Pollination group: 2
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree

    Stoke Red

    Stoke Red cider apple tree
    A traditional English cider apple producing a bittersharp juice.
    • Pollination group: 6
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Cider apple tree

    Sweet Coppin

    Sweet Coppin cider apple tree
    A traditional English cider variety, producing a sweet juice.
    • Pollination group: 3
    • Uses: Hard cider
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile

Excerpt from the Hereford Pomona below…work done by two ladies who should never be forgotten.
see next Episode for full  story.  There is quite  a difference between an apple photograph (page above) and the
apples painted in the Herefordshire Pomona, (page below)

The Herefordshire Pomona – Biodiversity Heritage Library

Fwd: Ben Franklin’s Quotes

Seems that Ben Franklin has some good one liners like Napoleon.  This list was sent

to me by Dan Bowyer, friend and fellow teacher of history. *He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.”
The Narcissus syndrome.

alan skeoch
Jan.28, 2022

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every New Year find you a better man.

Diligence is the mother of good luck.

Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.

He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows or judge all he sees.

Great beauty, great strength, and great riches are really and truly of no great use; a right heart exceeds all.

He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.

The sting of a reproach, is the truth of it.

Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man.

Beware of little expenses: A small leak will sink a great ship.

Hide not your talents, they for use were made: What’s a sun-dial in the shade?

Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.

Well done is better than well said.

Glass, china, and reputation, are easily crack’d, and never well mended.

He that lies down with Dogs, shall rise up with fleas.

Genius without education is like silver in the mine.

If man could have half his wishes, he would double his troubles.

The poor have little, beggars none, the rich too much, enough not one.

Don’t throw stones at your neighbors, if your own windows are glass.

A true friend is the best possession.

Wish not so much to live long as to live well.

Also attached…picture of Frank Freeman’s folk art version of a biplane that Sam Markou has
researched and identified.  Not a Camel as John Wardle said.

EPISODE 521 NAPOLEON SAID ‘MEN ARE RULED BY TOYS’ (assume the same applies to women)

Napoléon Bonaparte

“You tell me that class distinctions are baubles used by monarchs, I defy you to show me a republic, ancient or modern, in which distinctions have not existed. You call these medals and ribbons baubles; well, it is with such baubles that men are led. I would not say this in public, but in a assembly of wise statesmen it should be said. I don’t think that the French love liberty and equality: the French are not changed by ten years of revolution: they are what the Gauls were, fierce and fickle. They have one feeling: honour. We must nourish that feeling. The people clamour for distinction. See how the crowd is awed by the medals and orders worn by foreign diplomats. We must recreate these distinctions. There has been too much tearing down; we must rebuild. A government exists, yes and power, but the nation itself – what is it? Scattered grains of sand.”

― Napoléon Bonaparte

History of the Legion of Honor

The Legion of Honor was founded on May 19, 1802, by First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte, in a hostile context. After lengthy discussions at the Council of State, it was adopted by 56 votes for and 38 against by the Tribunat, and 166 votes for and 110 against by the Corps législatif (legislative body).

The new institution was part of the extensive program to reorganize the State, along with the Civil Code, the Conseil d’Etat (Council of State), the Court of Auditors, the prefects and the grandes écoles (specialized national elite schools).

Napoleon Bonaparte was aware of the need to restore a comprehensive system of rewards, inspired by ancient honorific orders swept away by the Revolution, but respectful of equality among citizens.

Napoleon Bonaparte pursued three visionary objectives:

  • Reconciling the French, exhausted by a decade of political instability and military conflicts
  • Reuniting them around a common ideal: individual honor and national honor
  • Uniting the courage of military personnel with the talents of civilians, as the strong symbol of a powerful and unified State.

What the creation of the Legion of Honor heralded was important: no privileges, no exemptions, no remuneration, but the recognition only of individual merit, acquired and not transmitted.

First presentation of the Legion of Honor insignia by Napoleon in the church of Les Invalides, July 15, 1804 © MLH



alan skeoch
jan. 25, 2022

“Just what the hell is going on?”
“Playing bridge via my computer, Alan”
“Who are you playing with…every day for past week.”
“Playing with Rob…must concentrate…you could get me a coffee if your so inclined.”
“Get you coffee while you are playing with Robert…whoever the hell that is.”
“Stop being silly…Rob is faster than I am.”
“Let me talk to the sob.”
“Alan … get the coffee and stop harping at me.”
“Just who in hell is Robert?”
“The name is not Robert…it’s Robot…”
“Even worse…some kind of pet name.”
“Robot, Alan…a machine player…not human…but faster than a human.”
“Let me take a look!”
“You mean that you and Dolores are playing bridge with a robot.?”
“Exactly….you could join us if you were not so insane…Did you really
think I was having a game with some guy named Robert?”
“No…just kidding…(damn it all anyway…fooled me_)

Sent from my iPhone


EPISODE 271     FOLK ART by my Uncle Frank Freeman

alan skeoch
Mach  2021
January 25, 2022

Last night, I thought of my uncle Frank Freeman specifically two of his folk art pieces

that he made in winter evenings in 1942 when his son Ted was about 6 years old.
Pieces made from whatever he could find in his little blacksmith shop on the farm.
So tonight, January 27, 2022, I thought I would like to make an Episode out of
those pieces of folk art.  To my surprise I found Episode 271…the story had been
done a year ago.   Do you remember?

Folk art is a theme I would like to expand upon.  Why?  Because we can all do folk art
if we want to…just thinking about a shape is a lot of fun.  Perfection is not a goal.
Imagination is the goal.

There is a deep desire in many probably most human beings to create something 
with their own hands and minds.   Some human beings follow the fine art tradition
that involves  training…creating artistic objects in a sophisticated manner.

Folk artists on the other hand do  not worry about fine art, sophisticated art.
Folk artists do not worry about fine lines.   Often folk artists use items of  everyday
life and do not particularly care about accuracy  of line and shape.  Nor do they
worry about critical comments.  Utilitarian art in this instance…to be handled.

My Uncle Frank Freeman created two early example of folk art that intrigued
me.   He seems to have made both piece in March  1942.   And  they are objects  made
as  toys for his six or seven year old  son Ted.   The objects  are not made
to be submitted  for comment by a jury of accomplished lovers of fine art.
They are made to be used.  They are made from scrap materials found here and there on 
the farm.   They are imaginative.  Unique.  Tangible.  Unsophisticated.  Joyful.

Uncle Frank loved to talk to people.   He was tall but not silent.  Warm hearted.  Certainly not wealthy in the monetary sense
but rich in other things particularly the natural world  around him.  He always had time for other people.  He loved  his very difficult farm
composed  of glacial till …rocks, boulders, sand and soil…piled up forming fields that slanted in such a way that little pockets retained pools of water
that some call  swamps.  And all these pools drained into a big swamp in the centre of the farm.  The farm owned by Lucinda
and Frank Freeman would be 100 acres of headaches to most farmers.  To Frank, his farm was a wonder of creation.

How do I describe him best?   I can do that with a short comment he made to me decades ago.

“Alan, I love farming with horses rather than tractors.  Do you want to know why?”
“A tractor never stops working.  Now horses, on the other hand, must take a rest part way
through a job.  And when the team rest I get to rest and consider the world around me.”

Another anecdote:     One year Uncle Frank thought he was about to die from cancer.  He was not…but
he did  not  know that.  “Alan, I took my last walk around the farm today.  Every trail, field, swamp and forest.
Just to say good bye.”  (These are my words but they accurately cover what he said to me.)  He lived for many
more years.  I expect he took that walk again.

Made with these hands…for a reason.  Made from things cast aside.   Made to be touched and handled.   Made to be useful, to entertain, to be;

Am I running out of steam?  Nope.  Got lots of stories to come.  The next one is taking a lot of time….trying to find the unfindable.

alan skeoch
FEb. 2021

(Fifth Line, Erin Township, Wellington County)



alan skeoch

Jan. 2022

May be an image of nature and tree

A friend just sent these three pictures from a lush wilderness in

Florida.  January 24,2022…seems some Canadians are on the move no doubt

carefully.  While the rest of us are cocooned up in eider down bags counting the
days to spring and the end of our two year terror of Covid 19.  

Another friend sent a note from Brazil where the alligators or their kin await 
foolish swimmers and on shore the tiger ants await a bum that is lowering to rest on a log.

What do we face in Southern Ontario after that huge snowstorm?  In our case Woody
Marjorie and I were pleasantly surprised while playing Scrabble .

“What’s that noise?””
“Jack and Andy have arrived with the snow blower….digging us out.”
“Wait until I get the blueberry pie for them?”
“Is that really necessary?”
“Yes,…for your son and grandson…nice to know they are thinking of us.”
“But half a blueberry pie seems excessive.”

May be an image of nature, tree and body of water

“Is that a gator just behind your boat?”


I got an email this morning from a friend who is a kayaker and here’s her description of kayaking on the Myakka.  It is bang on. We were shocked at the size of the gators when we canoed down the river  – easily 12 to 14 feet. Huge!  We were glad to be in an aluminum canoe.  Use what you wish from this description below. I confirm it’s validity. 

“Hiking along the Myakka ….interesting….we kayaked down ( or up…I don’t know) the Myakka last week and there were alligators all along the bank , Hugh prehistoric looking creatures, who would get up and walk down to  the River and  slip in directly in front of my kayak. And that River is very shallow, I always thought that I was going to hit one on the head with my paddle….and that he might be a tad upset….but there were an awful lot of them.”

By the way, hiking is done on a marked trail. Alligators stay by the water. A wild pig dashed across in front of us. That was scary. Bigger than a Labrador, quite black. 

We both carry large thick walking sticks. 


May be an image of tree, nature and body of water

    Another friend sent
pics from Brazil….water looks grand but no swimming or the alligators (?) will get you…and the ants love to bite.

It is a malicious comfort to know the alligators prevent you from swimming.  Is that one following your boat?

Envious?  No, how could I be envious?  I am currently deep into our  230th game of  Scrabble.  Why should I be
envious of you basking in Florida sunshine  or even our friend Arnaud on a sand beach with 
scantilly clad swimmers.

Below are some pictures that show we are having a great time up here where there are no gators or bum biting ants.


“:Some of these pictures are repeats , Alan.”
“I know that.”
“Then why send them?”
“Just so those Florida people will feel sorry for us…”

“I am expecting notes from Florida and Texas?”
“They will want us to shovel out their driveways.”

“ALAN, tell them about the coyotes.”
“You mean tell them the coyotes are mating and howling on winter nights?”
“No, tell them how cute the coyotes are as they jump through the snowdrifts.”
“Cute?   They are looking for cats.”
“Woody seems to like them.”
“Not after that coyote bit him on the ass.”

“Look, Marjorie, the old iron bridge still exists.”
“Blocking the Fifth line below Steeles Avenue”
“How long will it be here?”
“Not much longer the assassins with chain saws are cutting the trees on both sides
of the Fifth line.  Soon the old iron bridge will be in a scrap yard.”
“Do you think we could move it to the farm…to span two of the ponds.?”
“We could but doubt it.”
“Because too many of our goddamn friends…would be helpers…are now in Florida or Texas…or Mexico…or Brazil?”
“You sound bitter Alan?”
“Not me…”

“Alan, send that picture of the isolated farm house to the sun seekers down south”

“To make them feel guilty for sending all those pictures of FlorIda!
“Good idea…”



alan skeoch
Jan. 22, 2022

There was a time when I collected seed catalogues in January 
and February and selected a few seed varieties that appealed to
me via descriptions or pictures.  Today T&T seeds has computerized
their seed catalogue for easy use with seed packets ranging from 
$3 to $5.  

My catalogues came from Dominion Seed House and Stokes Seeds.
The Dominion seed fields are now industrial and residential structures…gone.
Stokes is still in business I believe.

So it was with great joy that T&T sent this catalogue.  Perhaps courtesy
of Cathy Skeoch in Manitoba. Thanks.

It was the big onion, pictured below, that sparked the thought that
maybe some readers in Canada might be dreaming of the spring
garden and might want to buy a few packs of seeds.

We do it every year.  Usually we fail to do a good job in that the
race between weed seeds that are already in the soil and the
GOOD SEEDS we purchase is an uneven race.  Weeds get a
head start and win the race too often.  

Reading and dreaming about garden plants is a healthy activity
in January and February, especially in these Covid 19 down-d0wn-down days.

T&T Seeds makes the dreaming totally enjoyable…everything comes up
on the computer screen in glorious colour and the pages can turn with
the pressing of that little arrow or just touching the screen.

Now take  a look at the onion in hands of a gardener.  How big would the
hamburger patty and the hamburger bun have to be if one slice of that
onion were to be used as the measure?


Awesome Alliums
Ready, set, sow!

Click on the photos to shop
Exhibition Onion, Hybrid (#1450) 
110 Days
A descendant of the famous Kelsae onion, Exhibition is a sweet Spanish onion that is fun to grow and show!


Here’s three good reasons to cry (out)!

Ailsa Craig Onion, Spanish-type (#1454)
110 Days
Huge, firm and sweet – perfect on burgers this summer. Heirloom!

Candy Onion, 
Walla Walla type (#1425) 
85 days
A mild tasting, short-season onion that stores well.

Genesis Onion, 
Storage Type (#1405)
100 Days
A pungent and flavourful yellow cooking onion.

Other members of the family

#1405 Bunching Onion – Evergreen Hyb
Vibrant and fresh! Sow every few weeks to harvest all summer-long.
#880 Leek – Large 
American Flag 
A sturdy variety that requires very little attention for a big harvest payoff.
#854 Chive – Garlic
An easy to grow perennial that thrives in any garden, with dainty white flowers that attract pollinators.
Should I start my own onion seeds, or plant onion sets?
  • Growing from seed the most economical way to grow onions;
  • It’s the only way to grow unique varieties like Red Carpet or White Cloud;
  • Start onion seeds 10-15 weeks before you anticipate being able to transplant them into the garden, between mid-February and mid-March depending on your zone.
  • Onion sets are easier to plant than seeds or transplants;
  • Onion sets are small onion bulbs that have had previous growing time, so they grow to full sized onion quicker than seeds;
Generally, sets do not store very well. If your goal is too keep onions for the winter, grow them from seeds, or buy onion transplants from us this spring! See you then!

Find our 77th catalogue online!

Visit us online:
Or call us:
204-895-9962 ext. 2
Let us know what you think!
Facebook  Instagram  Twitter



alan skeoch
Jan. 21, 2022


alan skeoch
Jan. 19, 2022

pics…left to right…Alan Skeoch, Eric Skeoch, Edward Freeman (grandfather),  circa 1945

(and by the time I was interested, it was tool late.  He had died.)

EDWARD FREEMAN was my grandfather.   I thought I was close to him but now realize, thanks to my cousin Ted Freeman, that
I never really knew him.  He never told me a word about his life in England as head gardener on the Eywood Estate except
some weird comment about tipping his hat.  “Never liked tipping my hat to Gwyers.”   That comment meant nothing to me.  What’s
the big deal about tipping a hat?  Some do it to indicate a good morning or a sudden meeting of an aged friend.  No meaning
except greeting.

Well, I now know that the issue of tipping the hat in England in 1900 had a lot of meaning.  It meant you knew where you 
stood in the hierarchy of English life.  It was a deferential act.  “I am tipping my hat because I know you are better than I am.”
It acknowledged and accepted inferior status.

  This was drilled into me when I became a teen ager and our 38th Scout Troop went camping
with a British scout.  We did not get along at all.  “You know the trouble with you Allan…you are COMMON.”  In short, he regarded
me as an inferior person.   At that moment as we sat around our campfire I  thought, “Does this son of a bitch
want a fight for some reason?”  I am not a fighter so let the comment slide away.   But I did not tip my scout hat to the bastard.

And Granddad’s comment about his hat began to have meaning.

He never said another word to me on that subject.  He never really said much…but he loved our visits. That was unsaid.
He listened in amusement to the events of our youth.  He even got involved
when I had a bad case of pin worms and mom and granddad pulled me from under the bed to give me the cursed enema.
He made Eric and me each small wheelbarrows…hand  carved.  He smoked his pipe and tended his large kitchen garden
with the neatly trimmed cedar hedges retaining heat in the garden rectangle.  He managed a huge rhubarb patch beside the
backhouse…something we have never been able to do ever since.  From that patch he made a barrel of rhubarb wine. 
He carved picture frames containing old black and white]
photos of some distant place called  “Eywood….with an ‘E’ not an ‘H’.”

The pictures I have of granddad Freeman have nothing to do with England…no grand English estate….no scramble to
make his way through a class system….no 15 year apprentice ship…no need to grow a beard to make him look older.

OLDER?  Granddad had always been old.  He was born in 1871 which means he was 80 years old in 1951when I was in Grade 7

  reading cowboy westerns by Zane Grey and Luke Short.  A North American kid unbroken by being ‘in service’

…he would have been 89 in 1960 when I had the chance to sleuth out the Freeman roots roots in Herefordshire. 

But by then he was dead…died in 1958.

Alan Skeoch, Eric Skeoch, Edward Freeman, Arnold Skeoch (out of picture)

Edward Freeman, former head gardener of Eywood,  PICTURE TAKEN CIRCA 1950 in Canada

Of course I knew Granddad.  He made me a wheelbarrow….he spent a lot of time cutting and splitting firewood….and
even more time keeping his garden spotless.  But I never knew him really.  I never knew his life as a kid.  I  only knew mine.
I knew I  failed him a couple of times.  Like when I stole one of his special chisels and
got caught;  I hid in the long grass Timothy field…ashamed…  Because I got caught.  If I had
succeeded that memory would have faded.  He never chastised me.  Looked amused.  My biggest failure
was refusal to shoot a porcupine chewing maple buds high up in a sugar maple tree back in the bush.

“Granddad, I found a live porcupine back in the maple bush.”
“Fetch the rifle…we’ll get it.  Show you how to shoot.
“Shoot?”  I did not want to kill.   But killing seemed to be a rite of passage for farm kids.
I was a city boy really.  No gun. But I went along with granddad.  I remember he was crippled by then and had to
hobble to the back field using a sturdy cane.  He had me carry the rifle.  I hated that moment.  I was too
gutless to say No.  What I did know was that the porcupine incident would be one of the last … one of the
only times Granddad and I would share an experience.
“There it is…way up there in the maple.”
“Take careful aim and shoot it.”  I Took aim….careful aim to deliberately miss the creature.
“Try again.”  “Try again.”  “Try again.”  There was no escape so my final shot hit the poor thing.
“Just wounded it, Alan, now you are going to have to climb the tree and knock him down.
What a traumatic event.  Must have been 70 years ago but I can still pick the spot in the bush.
The big maple is gone now.  I climbed that tree with a stick in hand.  The porcupine looked at
me…little beady black glossy eyes the size of ball bearings.   I  poked and poked.  Blood dribbled down on
my face….even some quills fell.  But the porcupine held fast.  Finally I gave up.  And Granddad 
gave up.  Both of us hobbled back through the winter snow to the big stove in the front room. 
“Well, Lou, someone is going to find a dead porcupine.  Let’s keep Laddie tied
up for a while,” he Said to Grandma (Louisa Amelia Freeman)
And sure enough a dog did find the porcupine…got quills in its lips and mouth requiring
a visit to the veterinarian.  Word spread up the road.  Granddad never ratted on me.

But I never really got to know him.  But Thought I did. Until this January 2022 when I sent
a note to my cousin Ted Freeman who spends the winter in Texas.  I had asked him about
Grandma and Granddad Freeman.  Simple questions like the  life of a head gardener
on a 1500 acre country estate in England circa 1900.



“Granddad didn’t like tipping his hat to the Gwyers,” Alan  “And he did not like being head
gardener for people like the Gwyers.”
“How did you know that, Ted”
“We talked a lot as we did things on the farm.”
“Ted, I stayed with grandpa in the  farm house every other week-end but we never talked
about his life as a boy.  I never asked.”
“My middle name is ‘Edward’, named after grandpa.”
“Ted, my middle name is also Edward…never thought that was important.”
“More important than just grandpa I think   The Edwards family took in grandma
after she was born.  Illegitimate .”
“Mom did mention that.  Some man by the name of Dr. Price was the father.  I was
told that grandma almost became a street child in Birmingham if she hadn’t been rescued
by Mrs Webb, whoever that was.  Mom seemed to believe that grandma was rejected.”
“Yes, she was rescued by Mrs Webb and brought up on the Edwards Farm along with
a boy.”
“No education then?”
“Quite the contrary.  Dr. Price paid for half of grandma’s education.  Eventually she graduated
from the Hawkins Ladies Academy in Kington.  She graduated as a lady.  Very high up the
social ladder.  So high that granddad would be emxpected to tp his hat to her.  Which he never did.”
“What is a lady?  Means nothing to me.
“Meant  a lot in 1890’s..meant she had risen above her station in life.  Louisa Amelia Bufton was a lady.”
“When did you talk to granddad?”
“Lots of time.””
“Dad and I helped him with the haying….Dad liked to rest the horses and we sat down 
and talked.  He liked to light his pipe and talk about the past.”
“About Eywood?”
“Sometimes.  He said he did not like the Gwyers.”
“Only head gardener from 1898 to 1905 “
“Prestige job but not worth the aggravation “
“Some head gardeners grew old in the job because pay was so poor.  So maybe granddad sensed that
decided to take a cjce on a better life in Canada.”
“Was the risk worth it?”
“He thought so and tried to get his brothers and sisters to follow him.  Cliff, Chris and Annie did emigrate.”

Emigration cost money.  Edward and Louisa with their children Frank (8 or 9) and Elsie (5) boarded the Victorian
in 1908 bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia and then a train all the way to Toronto..

“Where did granddad get enough money to migrate?”
“He told me he bought some stocks and wold them at a profit”

Cassier's magazine (1904) (14768635052).jpg

The Passenger Steamship ‘Victorian’ built in Belfast and launched in 1904 for transatlantic trade.  Converted to a warship in 1914 and finally scrapped 

in 1929.  Edward Freeman and family boarded the Victorian in 1908 heading for a new life in Canada.  The Victorian was virtually brand new at the time.


EMAIL to Ted Freeman,
January 10, 2022

Hi Ted…

Some facts about Granddad and Grandma are confusing. Can ou help?

Granddad, EDWARD FREEMAN was head gardener at Eywood from 1896 (?)  TO 1904 or 1905 when family board the steamship ‘Victorian’ for Canada


1) did he not get along with the Gwyers?
2) was Canadian propaganda just too persuasive (and wrong)
3) He hated his father and just wanted to get away
4) head gardener’s job had prestige but poor pay
5) British class system was suffocating
6) also Grandma, Louisa Amelia Bufton…role of Mrs. Wwbb

—illegitimate by Dr. Price?  did nothing to help? Why take name Bufton and not Price?
-her mother seems an odd duck  …was Bufton, became Anson before migration to Clendennan Ave., Toronto
-was Grandma abandoned child on streets of Birmingham?  
-rescue byMrs. Webb  and raised onEdwards farm\
-info I have makes her life sound like a mystery novel
7) Dr. William Price…a very weird man, eccentric, did not believe in marriage, Druid …could
he be father of Louisa Freeman?   -an unlikely stretch of truth?



ALL family histories have blank spaces I imagine.  Some family histories must even be totally blank due to disinterest or danger of 
discovering rather nasty events.   The next Episode I will try to fill in the blanks.     To do this i have two people that must
get credit, my mom who  wrote a long letter a decade or so ago and my cousin Ted Edward Freeman who filled in a lot
of interesting details in January 2022.

Will readers be bored?  I think not.  THIS IS PART ONE…PART TWO IS COMING


Note: I feel this story is a little too ego centred….i.e. family history…but there could
be universal interest because it captures a place and a time that is long gone.


Jan. 18, 2022

Nancy and Cyril Griffiths in 1960


A stroke of good luck happened in Sept. 1950 as I stood befuddled on the rail platform in Hereford,
England.  I had no idea where Lower Wooton Farm was located.  None whatever.  All I had was
the name of the farm and the name of the farmer…Cyril Griffiths.

A decent bank manager noticed my confusion and asked if he could help me.  By then the platform
was empty.

“Yes, have you ever heard of Lower Wooton Farm?”
“Indeed, yes, Cyril and Nancy Griffiths are the farmers.  I am the
local bank manager.”
“Is Lower Wooton Farm nearby?”
“No, it is some distance away.  Near Kington.  Can I give you a lift?”

And so we drove down narrow country lanes with high hedges on each side.
Roads for carts and horses in ancient times.  Single lane most of the way.

right to left: David, Nancy, Cyril Griffiths, Poly seated, unknown guest on right.  1960

“Here we are.”
“What a beautiful house…ancient.”
“16th century…designated…owned by local county council…rented.”

And all the stories you have read about Eywood, gardening, Capability Brown, Edward Freeman…owe
much to that bank manager’s kindness.  And, of course, the warm greeting I received in 1960 from the Griffiths
family who seemed to know more about me than I knew about them because my grandmother, Louisa
Freeman, had been sending letters back and forth for decades.  Letters were sent to Polly who was either a distant
relative or somehow connected with Eywood Court when it was a grand county house rather than a pile
of smashed up bricks with the stubs of wall standing as if in an abandoned cemetery.

So today our story features LOWER WOOTON FARM…full of life and joy on my first visit in 1960 and
my second visit in 1965 when Marjorie, my brother Eric and I dropped in.


WE decided to return to Eywood in 1965.  By then I was happily married to
Marjorie and both my brother and I were teaching history at Parkdale Collegiate
which meant we had free time in the summer of 1965.   For some silly reason 
I believed the propaganda that it was possible to tour England ‘On Five Dollars
a Day’…a belief that was false but we managed OK.

One of our first purchases at the Portobello Road Antique Market in London
were these two bowler hats (below).  Some character behind a loose board fence
offered us the bowlers for five or ten bucks each.   We bought them.  Mine had Harold McMillan’s
initials inside.  Stolen?  Maybe.  Made us Begin to 
look like British toffs.

Bowler hats were no use to us the moment we turned in to Lower Wooton

“Alan, Eric… just in time … I need help with a cow….breached birth.”
“Time to change clothes?”
“No time for that…could lose the calf.,,,I’ll reach inside and attached the rope.”
“Where should we be?”
“Where the rope ends.  Pull when I say…pull steady and firm…do not jerk the rope””
“Timed to her contractions.”
“Yes,  Pull, now…slow and steady….she will help.”
“It’s coming…feet first….not good.”

“BOOM!  Out came the calf.   Once clear of the cow the
calf and afterbirth flew through the air and landed on
Eric ..his only set of good clothes.

I can’t remember whether the calf lived or died.  I think it was dead
but that happened a long time ago…57 years ago.

Eric Skeoch and Cyril Griffiths moving loose straw to make room for wagon load of bailed hay.  The calf landed about
where Eric is standing.  We now know how to handle breached births just like the vet in Creatures Great and Small by Harriott.

Wwe lived well in Herefordshire….not sure this was taken at Lower Wooton Farm..may
have been taken in the kennedy house in Ireland.  No matter.  Marjorie’s smile is indicative
of just how we awee received in both England and Ireland.

This ram believed he was a cow.  When it was time for milking he wandered into the dairy barn and lined up
with the cows.  Cyril gently led him out.


Marjorie in 1965 petting the ram who thought he was a ow…and nuzzled by the Welsh pony who 
was also a member of the family.

Two chickens had their lives shortened…Marjorie and Nancy plucking feathers.  Note taps….water system considered
an ‘add on’ to 16th century house…so pipes on surface. Floors all seemed to have angle to them…not flat.  Charming house.

Cyril and Nancy Griffiths on my first visit in 1960.   Nancy trained border collies for shepherds…dogs responded to her voice…rounded
up sheep.  We went to several dog rials which were amazing.  The dogs were smarter than most humans, including ourselves.

This was the farm the Griffiths had rented from the estate…when sold they 
moved to Lower Wooton Farm…much smaller but big enough for dairy cattle…

This portly gentleman had just  visited Askrig where All Creatures Great and Small was filmed.
He was hoping to be hired as an ‘extra’ to give mood to the movie set.  No deal.
He regrets he was not present when Eywood was sold back in1954. Photo was taken beside
farm barn at Lower Wooton Farm…really Alan Skeoch but looks like a local person I think…

In the 1960’s and 1970’s the Griffiths family farmed Lower Wooton Farm snd lived
in this 17th century building which had to be kept looking as ;if it had stepped out of the past.

The Royal George … a pub in tiny village of Lyonshall was once home to the Freeman family…10 kids…not a happy time it seems.
A few years ago Found a post card sent from Canada to Freeman boys and girls…granddad urged
them all to come to Canada just to get away from their father.  Granddad loved his 
mother but did not have a good word to say about father.  Enough said.  Chris, Cliff and Anna all migrated to Toronto, Canada,  Others
remained and are unknown to us now.
(see progeny pic in next episode if you wish)

St Peter’s church…centre of Titley Village at entrance to Eywood…historic

The Gardener’s cottage where mom, Elsie Freeman was born in 1901…house came with job of being
head gardener.   Grandma and granddad lived in far less sumptuous homes in Canada.  Were they
disappointed?  Never said so.

Tag in Eywood Gardens ….nectarines planted by Edward Freeman…espalier system.

Percy, may have been the little boy in picture of gardeners….bought walled gardens at sale…gave us a giant clay flower pot
which we brought to Canada as oversize luggage.

Nancy Griffith’s pony….best not to make comment

Dairy herd….not Cyril’s but herd we met on a farm lane near Cyril home.

Terrible story of young woman whose death was associated with illegitimate birth of child…I forget the exact circumstances
which are incised into the tombstone.   If you have time you might decipher…

Another shot …different year at Eywood Gardens

My favourite picture of the gardens at Eywood Court…gardener’s cottage, glass house attached to bricked garden wall,  decorative
plantings gone a bit wild,  small kitchen garden nicely weeded.

Cyril Griffiths…always made us feel wanted.  We visited Eywood several times at closing years of 20th century.  always a joy.
Just looking in Cyril’s eyes eveals how warmly we always received.

Next story will overlap with this story….focus on head gardener Edward Freeman, my
grandfather who I never really knew until he was gone.

The story may remind you of your own grandparents.