: On the 21st January Friends of Bartonsham Meadows are doing an online presentation of their grass-roots project in collaboration with Herefordshire Wildlife Trust. You are invited to attend. Find details here on the News page, and book your place at: www.herefordshirewt.org>Events> Hereford City Branch Talk
Faith Ford has updated her research on the parish church war memorials for both the Second and First World Wars, to reveal more stories behind the names. She has also included details of the workers at Rotherwas Munitions Factory and the Women's Land Army.
Go to the War Memorial section under our Topics Tab, to access her detailed pdf document
Our new History of the Meadows feature was compiled in support of the newly formed Friends of Bartonsham Meadows. Their convenor, Ruth Westoby, explains what they are about:
We are inviting support for a transition to socially regenerative and ecologically focused land-management at Bartonsham Farm. In the last few months we have set up a Friends of Bartonsham Meadows group which you can check out here www.friendsofbartonshammeadows.org. Our primary objectives are to promote environmental and social welfare benefits through the restoration of these historically important flood-plain meadows to environmentally sustainable management.
We have opened a dialogue with the land-owners and managers about their plans for the land and asked to be involved in discussions they are currently holding. We are cautiously optimistic about these communications. We have received much appreciated support from key expert organisations - such as the Bartonsham and St James Community Association, the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, and the Bartonsham History Group who have produced a fabulous history of the meadows.
This Friends Group is a focal point for contributing to important discussions on ecology, biodiversity, natural flood-defences, local social engagement and social regeneration opportunities. All of this has a place in the wider debates around climate change and active social engagement in our communities.
Whilst we have quickly made promising progress we have few resources to support our big vision. Please help us.
All the best
Ruth and the Working Group Team
In addition to our already posted Meadows History, here is a bit of research
from History Group member Naomi Bell
Although both the Oxford and Cambridge books of English Place Names give the definition of “Barton” as Barley Farm, I am not satisfied that this is the only definition. On consulting the West Somerset Word Book of 1888, I find the following:-
“That part of the farm premises which is specially enclosed for cattle . . . because it is here that large quantities of straw are strewed about to be eaten and turned into manure . . .The term ‘Barton’ is also applied to the entire farm and homestead, but in this case it is only to the more important farms; very often it is the principal farm in the parish, whether occupied by the owner or not – generally not.”
Also see Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Oxen” which contains the lines
“Come, see the oxen kneel in the lonely barton in yonder combe”
I realise that Bartonsham is in Herefordshire, not Somerset or Dorset but vocabulary doesn’t necessarily change at county boundaries. It would be good to find out if a Herefordshire word book would give a similar definition for “barton”.
Having looked into the meaning of the place name element “Barton” and discovered that it can also be defined as above, I the looked into the meaning of “Ham”, using the Oxford dictionary of Place Names. It is true that “Ham” often means “homestead” but it also has other meanings, including “Land hemmed in by water or higher ground, or land in a river bend”, all from OE Hamm. E.g. Evesham -“Land in a river bend belonging to a man called Eof.” Bodenham – “Homestead or river-bend land of a man called Boda”. See also Twickenham, Keynsham etc.
So we could now define “Bartonsham” as “large farm and homestead in a river bend” which I believe gives us a much more accurate definition of this place name.
A large part of the 1843 Tithe Map fields have subsequently been built on. Middle Piece and Lower Piece, and Orchard containing the alms-houses and vicarage etc are all marked as arable and all escaped the record-breaking floods of early 2020. The only portion of the large meadow behind Park Street, marked as arable is at the east end is the half of Eign Meadow adjacent to the Row Ditch. It is very likely that barley among other crops was grown on these fields – it was much in demand for brewing and fodder.
The remaining fields with the exception of Old Hopyard and half of Meadow Below Fold (both orchards) are marked M&P, (meadow and pasture]. COED defines “meadow” as piece of grassland, esp. one used for hay; low well-watered ground, esp. near river. Chambers definition is similar – a tract of grassland, esp used for hay; a rich pasture-ground, esp beside a stream. Within Hereford both Merton Meadow (pre car park!) and Lugg Meadows also fit this definition.
So it would seem that the fields we know as Bartonsham Meadows have provided grazing for cattle for around 180 years and probably far longer.
Our new page covering the history of Bartonsham meadows is now complete. The new History of the Meadows tab gives a short round up of our research, with links to related pages. You can also access a more detailed history of the Meadows and the surrounding river Wye, by clicking the link at the end of the History of the Meadows page, to open a downloadable pdf file.
Please take a look, and don't forget we would love to hear your stories about the Meadows too.
If you have stories please go to the Stories tab - Choose Meadows History under Categories, and add them under comments.
1884 OS Map of Bartonsham Meadows and some of the surrounding area. Courtesy of David Lovelace
Click to enlarge
The History group will be embarking on a project to research the history of Bartonsham Meadows, working with records office and local historian, and exploring some of the early maps we have found. We will be setting up a dedicated webpage on this site for this subject.
In the meantime we have also set up a new section on our Stories tab, and would like to invite you to add your own stories and memories of the meadows; a place experienced and enjoyed for many years by locals of this area.
Even in 1862, some folk were writing poems about the 'Bassom' Meadows. This is from a local newspaper at a time, when there was much debate about footpaths and access.
Things are changing on the farm, the cows have all gone now and the land has all been turned over to arable. This will all look very different, and will it work with flood risks always present?
We do have a brief history of the Dairy already on our website. Where John Matthews tells us about his grandfather who took on the tenancy at Bartonsham farm back in the 1920’s and began the Dairy.
There is an aerial photo of the farm on Hereford History website from 1933, which shows trees in the fields, Bartonsham Farm, aerial view, 1933 - Herefordshire History
The ordnance survey map from 1888 also shows lots of trees over the fields. I think these are orchards. I seem to remember reading something from a history site about the ragamuffins pinching fruit from the orchards at the end of Green Street. Interestingly ‘Liable to Floods’ is also marked on the map across the fields.
There is also a little pond marked in the field below park street houses. This is also visible on the aerial photo. Does anyone remember this?
This may be further back then anyone still here might remember, but maybe some of you have your own stories and memories of the farm here at Bartonsham. We would love to hear them.
Congratulations to Ian Broom of Park Street and runners-up Sara Stringer from Tupsley, Paul Brinkworth from Park Street and George Hill from Moreton in Marsh. George writes: “I lived at 97 Green Street from 1953 until I joined the police service in 1966 and moved into one of the police houses in Vicarage Road. I was married at Saint James church in 1965. Bartonsham area has great memories for me.”
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