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Gallery: Photos of farming in Stisted from a bygone era

20:03 18 June 2014

Peter Page on the tractor and Harold Bunton on binder, harvesting in Stisted circa 1950

Peter Page on the tractor and Harold Bunton on binder, harvesting in Stisted circa 1950's at Covenbrook Farm, with the mill in the background.

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A photography enthusiast from Stisted has been collecting old photos from his neighbours to illustrate what life was like in bygone years.

Mmodern day machinery in same field as the previous photo - taken in 2013Mmodern day machinery in same field as the previous photo - taken in 2013

Once a week during the winter months, Peter Bash hosts afternoon tea in the Montefiore Institute in Stisted, inviting older members of the community along. He has been encouraging them to delve into their family photo albums and hunt out images to show how the village used to be.

We recently asked our iwitness community to share photos of farming past and present, and Mr Bash took the opportunity to showcase how things have changed in Stisted.

“They all agree these photos should be shared and enjoyed and not kept in a box in the loft,” said Mr Bash. “These have all been publicly displayed at village fairs and celebrations and will eventually be part of the Stisted museum, which will be attached to the village hall.”

Among the photos - included in the gallery top left - is one of Brickwall Farm as it was in 1936.

Mr Bash said: “These essentially wooden barns and sheds housed cattle and feed. Years ago, I was having a drink with a friend one evening in the Onley Arms Pub opposite the farm, when we noticed the huge stack of hay bales by the road was well alight.

“The firemen had to keep the barn, which contained the cattle, hosed down to prevent it catching alight.

Part of this land was later developed for housing.

Another image shows farm workers Harry Woodley and Vic Broyd on a traction engine, which is still around today.

And there are two photos showing examples of the Case model C tractor, the first driven by Percy Stock, and another showing Bert Woodley driving the same type of machine on Town Field, which is now part of Braintree Golf club.

Ken Bunton has shared a photo of his father Harold Bunton on a binder with Peter Page at Covenbrook Farm. Mr Bash took a recent photo of a modern machine working the same field to show how things have changed.

Finally, there is a photo of the Oddfellows parading through the village.

Mr Bash explained: “The Oddfellows are one of the earliest and oldest Friendly Societies. The name Odd Fellows arose because, in smaller towns and villages, there were too few fellows in the same trade to form a local guild.

“The fellows from a number of trades therefore joined together to form a local guild of fellows from an assortment of different trades, the Odd Fellows. The idea of common people working together to improve their situation met with opposition (and persecution) from the upper classes. Many farm workers would belong to the Oddfellows who would support each other in times of sickness and unemployment., but to avoid being recognised and face repercussions some would black up their faces like Morris Men do as can be seen in the picture.”

Mr Bash thanked Alf Woodley, Ken Bunton and Elizabeth and Terry Stock for the information and wonderful old photos.

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