Barbara Farmer (Sherborne Cottage 1954 - 57)

This touching collection of memories of Sherborne come from a lady who used to live in Sherborne Cottage during 1954 - 1957 - she celebrated her 10th birthday in November 1954. Colin Fry recalls this on his page, I would very much like to know if anyone else recalls this plucky young American girl introducing herself to their game of Cricket. I bet her intrusion brightened up the day.

She and her husband are now retired and currently live in USA. - Conrad Roe (School Archivist & Webmaster)

"My mother, younger sister and I arrived in Southampton aboard the SS United States during the summer of 1954. My brother was born at University Hospital in Oxford on July 25, 1955. My father, who met us at the boat, gave me a Brownie Box Camera. He suggested that I was embarking on an adventure and I should take a lot of pictures. We drove straight through to Sherborne that evening, arriving well after dark.

My first memories of Sherborne were of dead rabbits. They were everywhere that summer. My father explained it was caused by an illness that had originated in Australia and then accidentally introduced to Europe on the tires of automobiles shipped from Australia. .

We lived at The Cottage which offered many opportunities for fun and exploration. The grounds were quite large and there was a stable and carriage house at the back with servant quarters above. The grounds wrapped around behind the row houses that faced the street. Mr. Hooper was the full time gardener, although he worked for Lord Sherborne, not for us. There were many fresh vegetables and flowers year round, and an occasional pheasant. Lord and Lady Sherborne came for drinks occasionally, but at that time, they were living in Italy most of the year. I went to tea at their residence one time, I think it was at the Lodge. .

If you stepped through our front gate, directly across the road was the stone wall that encircled the grounds of King's School. Early on, my father mentioned that there was "a boy's school over there," and I was forbidden to ever climb that wall. I did climb that wall one time and found a Cricket match in progress. I remember boys dressed in white, but there were no spectators. Although the boys had a right to consider me a pest and to continue with their game, I remember being allowed to take a swing at the ball (excuse my terminology). I do not remember exchanging names, and that was the only time I ever entered the grounds. .

If you stepped through our front gate and turned right, and then turned right at the first cross street, you would go to Bourton-on-the-water. Which was a nice bicycle ride. If you turned left, you would go up the hill to what is now the A40. .

The Cottage was located at the top of the hill from the Post Office (if you came out of the Post Office and turned right). That was a very steep hill and I never mastered it on my bicycle. I had to push my bicycle up the hill every time I came from that direction. There was another American family that lived across the lane (between the Post Office and our house). They had two daughters. One was named Connie, but I have forgotten the other name. The younger girl had blazing red hair. Their father was military and they were transferred sometime during the three year period we were living there. After that, their house was empty. Further down the lane, behind their house lived a man who raised budgies..

I have said that my first memory of Sherborne was rabbits, well my second was finding out The Cottage was haunted. I distinctly remember one of the village children asking if I had seen the ghost yet. I was chilled to the bone; from that time forward, I went to bed every night with my knees tucked under my chin and with the covers pulled over my head. .

I was a day student at Miss Peplow's so I caught the red bus before daybreak each morning and rode to Cheltenham. In the evening, the bus let me out at the top of the hill and I walked home, usually in the dark, down the hill from what is now the A40. Depending on the weather and time of year, sometimes I could see the lights from your school in the distance through the trees. .

I loved Sherborne and my life at Sherborne. Leaving there marked the end of my childhood, ... In my mind, Sherborne is a time capsule where I left a piece of my soul."

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