March on the farm 2024

Roman coin found on Sulgrave Castle Hill in 1961
Photo: Colin Wootton

Richard Fonge writes:

It’s nice to have some drying weather after what has been one of wettest of late autumns and winters for many a year. The fertiliser spreaders have been out applying much needed nitrogen to the winter sown crops. The oilseed rape off the Magpie Road will soon grow at a pace and be coming out in flower before the month is out. Some of the wheat on the Stuchbury footpath is suffering from the incessant wet and it will be interesting to see how well it recovers, whilst the fields up the concrete road which were cultivated last autumn will take sometime to dry out before they can be planted.

All fields have names, most of them going back many generations. The field nearest the farm was usually called the dairy ground for the obvious reason as that is where the cows grazed. There are three fields in the Stuchbury Parish, I can recall, Gallows field where the hangman’s scaffold once stood. Washbrook where the stream at the bottom of the field has a sheep wash and Newpiece, so called as it was the last field to be cleared of woodland in the early nineteenth century.

Near to the new junction of the temporary road as it meets the Welsh lane was a triangular field of an acre, used by the drovers to rest their stock, such as there is at the Magpie junction. That history has been destroyed by HS2 as have other field names, by developers. Field names tell you a lot about the former characters and history of the parish.

When farming I had a 25 acre field called mushroom after a sudden crop of mushrooms appeared many years previously, and in 1992 two metal detectorists found a horde of Roman coins dating from 79 AD to 210 AD. It was thought that a pot had been buried which had been broken by the plough and spread in a small area. The Coroner’s court ruled they were not treasure trove but Warwick museum catalogued and kept most of them.

Richard Fonge


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