By CleanSteve

The old farmhouse at Madam's End Farm

I heard the rain falling early this morning but went back to sleep. It hadn't improved much by the time Helena got up, so I offered to drive her to town and then to her birthday lunch with her friend, D.. We left at about 10am and   then a morning of detours and road works began.

Once I'd dropped her, and realising I'd already completed one side of a triangle, I decided to go on to Gloucester to buy some essential Asian food supplies which I can't get anywhere else. The rain was still driving down, so I carried on to Hardwicke on the south side of Gloucester's suburbs, where my delicious milk supply c an be bought direct from the farm. I gather the cows are milked and bottles can be bought just a couple of hours later. Today I also bought there keffir, which I heard about in this very recent BBC film about Jess' Ladies dairy farm, and Stroud Farmers' Market.

A few hundred yards from the hut beside a barn, where they sell milk to the public, is Madams End Farm. I've wanted to take a picture for some years and today seemed a good day, despite the rain and the cloudy sky. I've added some information about this Grade 11 Listed farmhouse. I don't think the barn is listed. Apparently in 1635 the original farm house was built in the area  between the two tall chimneys. All the rest are later additions. It is quite rare to have any thatch on local buildings, let alone such elaborate 'scalloped ridge decoration to the thatch' (see below). The doorways are all above the water line. They knew where to build in them days, and it isn't on a flood plain!

I stood on the roadside where a small bridge allows a stream to take water away from the farm's pond just to the right of this picture. Today everything was saturated and many fields were nearly flooded in places. The house is just a couple of miles from the River Severn lying in that interesting area bounded by the Gloucester to Sharpness canal in the east and the river a short way to the west. The limited possibilities of crossing the canal meant development has been restricted since the canal was built in the 1840s, and this retains much of its traditional and quiet charm. I love going there.

From online sources:
Madams End Farm is a listed building with a local story attached to it. The story goes that King Henry VIII was on one of his processions around the country when he came to Hardwicke late in the afternoon. His then wife, Anne Boleyn, declared that she was too tired that day to face the pomp and ceremony of Henry’s entry into the city of Gloucester. Thus they ended their journey for the day by imposing themselves on the farmer.

The English Heritage Listing:
Large detached farmhouse. Early C17; C18 and C19 additions. Partly timber-framed; entirely roughcast; brick chimneys; thatched roof. Single-storey with attic; long range; 2 back wings, both single-storey with attic. Front: scattered fenestration, some leaded casements; large central gable with timber casement and C19 architrave; thatched dormers to left and right, latter with leaded casement; 3 doorways, 1 with brick cambered arch and plank door; 2 ridge-mounted chimneys (indicating ends of original house); scalloped ridge decoration to thatch. South gable end: scattered fenestration of 3 small-paned metal casements. North gable end: leaded attic casement; back wing extends to left with thatched dormer. Back: each rear wing has gabled end, that to south with projecting gable end chimney stack and large plank door on south side. The gradual growth of this house has resulted in a very picturesque effect.

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