Moat Farm House

RURIDECANAL MAGAZINE JULY 1912DEATH OF MRS. PAYNE. - The death of Mrs. Payne on Sunday, June 16th, has removed from our midst one who has been intimately bound up with the life of Birdbrook for longer than most can remember.  She came here as a bride of 17 and for 64 years lived at the Moat.  Although for many year past she had been forced by ill-health to give up many of her activities, yet to the end she took a keen interest in all that went on in our neighbourhood.  She passed away at the very moment that prayer was being offered on her behalf in the church in which she had so long been a worshipper.  The funeral on Thursday afternoon, June 20th, was attended by a large number of mourners, and many beautiful wreaths were sent, amongst them there being one from the work people of each of her three farms in the parish.  The coffin was carried by eight of those who had long been in the service of the family, namely Messrs. Alfred Underwood, Basham (senior), Christopher Ager, Ridgewell, Coote, Tom Clarke, Ellis Plum, and Charles Basham.  The Rev. E.H. Deane, rector of Ashen, and the Rev. W.A. Pywell, rector of Wixoe, took part in the service with the Rev. Dr. Young.  Two of Mrs. Paynes's favourite hymns were sung, "God moves in a mysterious way," and "O God, our help in ages past."


Moat Farm House in the early 1920's when it was known as The Moat.  Recently the same postcard has been on ebay and was postmarked 1924.

The following sale catalogue for the entire contents of The Moat in 1933 makes fascinating reading, when they say 'entire' they certainly meant it.  Where did Mrs. Wade Harrison go?  She certainly was travelling light!



After Mrs. Wade Harrison came the Norman family.  There were four sisters, none of them marrying and all liked poetry.  All we have for the following poem is that it is written by Miss Norman but I am afraid we do not know which one.

"The Desolate Village"

Once more the gate behind me falls
Once more before me float
The charm of jasmine coated walls
That stand beside the moat.

In days long since when good Queen Anne
Did sit upon the throne
This old farm house with garden span
Became a living home.

There never was a lovelier spot
The Village round it lies
Unspoiled by time or builders plot
The ancient Church abides.

Not even war, and such a war
Has changed the outward show
Bombs, planes and mines may shake its core
But none have laid it low. 


 The village pump is still supreme
And everyday it draws
Pure sparkling water like a stream!
“Come all” without a pause.

There never was a village yet
So sweet or half so dear –
Nestling around the lych yard gate
Beneath the sunshine clear.

At length a day of woe befell
This peaceful happy place
The woodman’s axe came like a knell
And changed its very face.

Behold it now a treeless knoll
Fore-square the gales that blow
Never again till long years toll
Will Birdbrook’s beauty grow.