St Julian’s was once an estate sitting astride Watling Street. Its history dates back to when a leper hospital was founded there in medieval times; then a mansion was built and was demolished in 1800 but St Julian’s farm, the tithe barn, farmhouse and buildings lived on for another 155 years.
The family of the last farmer Archie Muir has been recalling what it was like farming after the war. Archie’s elder son Stephen recalls:
Milking involved a long day, five in the morning and three to three-thirty in the afternoon. Young stock cattle and dry cattle (not milking) were kept in loose boxes or in a field. Dairy cows each had a stall when they came in with food, salt and water. Milking was all done by hand: there were at least three milkers with three legged stools that went from cow to cow. 50s. A milking machine was installed sometime after 1947 because that is when electricity came to the farm. In the early war years they only had gas in the house.
The dairy was run by Bill Muir, Archie’s older brother. The head cowman was Albert Barratt. Harry Woodgate was another cow man. Ted Hickman was a stockman. Stephen remembers him as being very old and that he lived in the cottage attached to the farmhouse with Miss Hickman who helped in the farmhouse. The Whiting family with several sons lived in one or more of the farm cottages. The second son, Douglas Whiting, was the tractor driver. The farmhouse cottage was occupied by Mr Bean, a cowman.
I would love to know if the farm workers of those days passed on stories of old times to their grandchildren. Families by name were Barrett, Bean, Childerley, Hadley, Hickman, Kinnard, MacNally, Seabrook, West, Whiting, Woodgate and Worbey. Others unknown may just have done seasonal work. Please get in touch if you know anything about these people or their descendants. Perhaps your parents bought produce from the farm, let me know. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This all began for me when Fergus Muir, Archie’s younger son contacted me in 2019 and introduced the Muir family to us. My heartfelt thanks for all their help. Meanwhile, an archaeologist and member of SAHAAS was fascinated by an old wall in his garden. An enthusiastic team led by Kate Morris has been exploring St Julian’s ever since with remarkable success.