About this image
Date is approximate based on Chesterfield Canal which runs cross the top of the image was filled in in the 1970s (information supplied by John Jennings).
We are indebted to Mr John Hewitt for supplying the information below:
During the late 1940's onwards until it was demolished in the 1970's, this farm was run by the Rutter family, originally from County Durham and I worked on the farm in my spare time from the age of about 11 or12, until I left the village in 1967.
The field on the far right was The Croft , which was used to put newly calved cows and their calves for the first few days after calving. There were several chicken huts in that field and a couple of 'pet' horses and goats were also kept in this field.
The lane was Quarry Lane, more commonly known locally as 'Leah's Lane' and ran from Sheffield Road up to the farm, then continued over the canal bridge and up to the farm's fields at the other side. The canal was still there, but empty, (itÆs been filled in on the photo). Quarry Lane obviously got its name from the fact that one of the fields above the canal contained a small quarry, which is probably where the stone for the original buildings came from.
The white roofed building far right was the tractor garage, and joined on was the farmhouse, which was in turn joined onto the bigger house on the left. The dairy was also part of the farmhouse building.
In the 1950's & early 1960's the previous farmer, George Leah and George Hardy, who was the village postman, still lived in part of the big house.
At the back of the house was the farm yard, surrounded by buildings. The long row on the left comprised several sheds and loose boxes for holding and / or isolating cattle and storing root crops through the winter. The big L shaped building at the top of the yard was the '12 Byre' then the ' 6 Byre', which had stalls for 12 and 6 cows respectively. The building end on to the farmhouse was the Barn and Granary, with another 6 byre underneath the granary. The 12 byre; 6 Byre and Barn buildings were stone built,and set into the middle wall was a set of stone steps. The farm, byres and barn were reputedly about 500 years old and the roof purlins in the barn were all the original hand cut oak beams with mortice and tenon joints, all pegged with oak dowels and tiled with big stone 'slates'. Set into the walls were a number of 'arrow slit' type windows, which were designed to let fresh air into the barn.
There were huge double doors, which must have been 10 or 12 feet high at each side of the barn, to allow hay carts etc to be pulled into the barn for loading and unloading, then pulled out through the farmyard, which avoided the need for reversing them out of the barn. Part of the granary was brick built so must have been a later addition.
On the right of the barn was the Stackyard which as itÆs name suggests, was where the Corn stacks were built, and where the threshing machine used to stand at threshing time. After the farmer started using combine harvesters and balers, this area became an implement storage area.
The open fronted building at the back of the stackyard were originally horse stables (the feeding troughs were still in situ) but they were used for implement sheds.
At the back of those buildings was the walled farm garden; the wall was about 10 feet high and on the other side of it was the canal towpath and canal.
On the far left was the orchard, which again had several chicken sheds in it.
The field in the very bottom left of the photo belonged to the local Doctor (Charles Lipp) who kept hunters which he used to ride to hounds.
There is a shed shown up against the hedge and to the right û in the hedge, was a mulberry bush, which was reputedly over 700 years old, and it still bore very good fruit. What evidence there was to support the claim as to its' age, I don't know, but from the knarled appearance of the bush, it was certainly several centuries old.
Finally running under the orchard was a spring which came out of the ground into a stone trough in the bottom left hand corner of the farmyard, from which the cattle would drink. The spring water was crystal clear; it never dried up completely even in the driest weather. It was said to have medicinal qualities, and several older people in the village would bring bottles to fill from the spring, claiming it had health giving properties.
The accompanying land was mainly rented and ran to about 125 acres and was typical of a mixed farm of the period. The fields over the canal or 'up-over' as we knew them were part grazing, hay meadows and some arable, growing root crops, green fodder (kale) and some corn. The rest of the farmland was 'down-over' across Sheffield Road, and comprised a number of fields bordered by the RIver Rother right down to the railway bridge over the river at Bedgreave and again were used for grazing, hay and corn.
After the local council stopped using some fields to the north of Sheffield Road for landfill, and the old sewage works were abandoned, these were also taken under rent by the farmer, as arable land.
The majority of the land north of Sheffield Road subsequently became part of the Meadowgate Opencast Site, which in turn became the Rother Valley Country Park.