We have been avoiding our favourite walks and following an article in a magazine we decided to visit Briantspuddle, a village close-by. Although we have been here before many years ago I didn't know all about it's history. Do you also find that however long you live somewhere there is always something new to discover?
The name Debenham is well known today for it's department stores and the shop can trace it's origins all the way back to 1778. In 1914 Ernest Debenham bought 3,500 acres in Briantspuddle . His vision was to bring together both the production and selling of products direct from the farm, cutting out the middle man. It is strange to see this idea one hundred years later gaining in popularity again.
The farm buildings and estate cottages were built in the Arts and Craft Style and each cottage had a bathroom, an inside lavatory and a quarter acre garden and a pig pen! As you see the buildings look so attractive. The estate workers must have been so lucky to have such a beautiful home.The major building programme started after the First World War and provided employment and homes which were both in short supply at this time. The cottages still have large back garden,we didn't however notice any pigs! It was lovely to see the grass had been cut in the traditional way and left to dry.
During the 1914 War Ernest appointed his sister Alice as farm manager and she went on to become a co-founder of the Soil Association, which promotes and certifies the growing of organic food. We have always cared passionately about the environment and supporting local producers and were very surprised to discover that this village had been involved in such pioneering agriculture experiments.
There are many signs of autumn appearing all around too!
Our walk took us to the banks of the River Piddle (many of the villages in this location include this river in their name Affpuddle, Turnerspuddle, Tolpuddle, Puddletown! The views across the meadows were equally good.
The village has no church but has a very unusual war memorial which was designed by the printmaker and sculpture artist Eric Gill (1882-1940), who also followed the Art and Crafts Movement. It records the seven men who died in the First World War as well as a further six from the Second World War. It was built from the locally provided Portland stone.
The village hall held an exhibition documenting the history of the village unfortunately it ended the day before we visited here, but this information sheet gives more detailed information and pictures.
I apologise for my lack of comments and visits lately, there is lots going on here at the moment. Thank you for still popping by to visit me.