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History and Recollections

Janet Dandy
Published in 1985 By Carnegie Press Copyright © Janet Dandy
Reproduced for reference only


The chief occupation was farming, but the land on the moss was peaty and boggy. Neither man nor horse could walk over the moss without wearing pattens; these acted like snow shoes. The peat was gradually removed and stacked at the farm houses to dry as fuel. As the moss was drained, the land gradually sank. When the farmer was ploughing, the ploughshare would often strike roots and trunks of trees which had become hardened in the peat. These 'stocks' had to be dug out and were often used in gardens.


These are old converted farm buildings near the bottom of Hesketh Lane. They used to consist of barn and shippon, with some other sheds. On at least one occasion I remember a nasty looking bull in residence here. Last century there was a malt kiln and brewery in the yard.

The work was arduous and the men often worked long hours with no overtime pay. Horses and cattle had to be looked after each day, even on Sunday. The cattle had to be milked (by hand) twice a day and the horses fed and watered. Extra hands were employed on threshing day when the threshing machine came to thresh the grain. Men were busy filling sacks with corn and boys and dogs chased the rats that ran from the corn stacks. The housewife, too, had been busy making 'raised' pork pies (so called because the pies had to be moulded by hand and backed without being put in tins), apple pies and cheesecakes, buns and seed loaves. She, too, had extra help in the kitchen, with so many mouths to fill.

Before the invention of the threshing machine corn was threshed using flails. These were still seen hanging in old barns long after they had been replaced.

Basket making was another craft carried out, mostly by the Cookson family. The willows were grown locally and when the twigs were boiled, ready for peeling, a pungent smell filled the air; it was a pleasant but very distinctive smell. All the baskets were woven by hand.

Just before the turn of the century greenhouses were built, the first by Mr W. Cookson and Mr J. Johnson. Both these men had been connected with sailing, but when shipping declined at Hesketh Bank and Tarleton their energies turned to horticulture. So began the widespread industry in this district.

This is Dandy Farm, the home of my father and grandfather. About 10-15 years ago, it was pulled down, and now the site is occupied by Mark Square.


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