Chapel Orchard memories

by Roger Miller (extracted from the 2008 booklet produced by the Chapel Orchard Management Committee to mark the second anniversary of its opening)

Photo:A new path and bridge giving access to the orchard in 2004

A new path and bridge giving access to the orchard in 2004

Clifford Miller, one of eleven sons of Orwell farmer Ellis Miller, moved to Stowmarket as a young man, but kept his links with his native Orwell by renting Chapel Orchard from a family member between 1922 and 1964. His son Roger has fond boyhood memories of working and playing in the orchard.

Roger recalls:

many varieties of apples grown

 “I believe that this was already an orchard when my father took it over, but he planted other trees during his tenancy. The many varieties of apples grown there included Beauty of Bath, Wocester Pearmain, Ellison's Orange, Cox's Orange Pippin, Newton Wonder, Howgate Wonder, Bramley Seedling, Lord Lambourne, Russets, Allington Pippin and Ribston Pippin. There were many damson trees in the area behind Barnard's House and Lordship cottage, and plums (Early Rivers, Victorias, Marjorie Seedlings, Czars, and Cambridge Gages) gew mainly beside Town Green Road and behind the Chapel.

forty five foot ladder was needed


Conference, William Bon Cretien, Laxton's Superb and Pitmarston pears were grown too, the latter being so tall that a forty five foot ladder was needed for harvesting the fruit.

Photo:The Austin 8

The Austin 8

I had a small potato patch among the trees and sold the crop to dad for pocket money. We used to take car loads of fruit to a retailer in Stowmarket and dad's brother occasionally took a lorry load to his shop in Luton. I remember travelling home in our Austin 8, laden with fruit boxes, carefully packed so as not to injure me if they moved.

As for wildlife, I remember Dad showing us owls sitting in the trees in daylight, and we also saw hawks, sparrows, finches, wagtails, wood pigeons, warblers, blue and great tits, and foxes rabbits and mice.

The spring water, as it emerged into the well, was marvellous; pure and cool with a clean flavour.

Photo:Tom Bescoby at the well

Tom Bescoby at the well

Photo:About 1947, Tom Bescoby carrying water from the Orchard dip well

About 1947, Tom Bescoby carrying water from the Orchard dip well

I remember the thousands of kettlefulls we drank, either cold or boiled for tea. Mrs Knights and her neighbour from the adjacent cottages also drew their water from that well. 

Herbert Miller made a watercress bed by damming the stream, and the watercress was sold at Biggleswade.”

This page was added by Martin Grigor on 26/09/2012.
Comments about this page

The unknown Orwell Fruit pickers are members of the Flack family. Can't find the picture on my pc at moment to give you more detail.

By Clive R Flack
On 26/01/2013

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