East Brent History Portal

Last Thatch at East Brent

01 Nov 2012 Article No: 39

Weston Mercury and Somersetshire Herald, May 1977


Clerk to East Brent Parish for more than 30 years until her retirement a short time ago, Mrs. Rosa Chivers, of Brent Knoll, has acquired a painting which shows what she thinks may well be the last thatched roof building in East Brent.

She writes:

“Recently an oil painting of Nut Tree Farm, East Brent, has come into my possession. It was painted by the late Mr. Ernest Bishop of Burton Row, Brent Knoll. The painting shows a thatched farmhouse which is most attractive. You will not find this farm anywhere in the parish today for this building was burnt to the ground.

A farm does stand on the same site, although it is comparatively modern and is known by another name. it would seem that this was the last building with a thatched roof in East Brent and maybe within quite a large area. Even today some farms and cottages have traces of thatch under their ti|es.”

“As clerk to East Brent for more than thirty years, I have many memories of East Brent, Rooksbridge and Edingwoith. It is probably unique in parish council history forthere to have been only four parish clerks to a parish council from 1894 to 1976 from two families; the first was Mr. W. Hutson followed by his son, Mr. E.E. Hutson, then my father, Mr. G.E. Gunniman Hudson, then in 1945 by myself- although during that time l did change my name.”

“One feels that The Knoll itself is a very famous landmark. From time immemorial it has been famous in some way. It was certainly a hill fort. What stories it could tell. lt is known to have been inhabited in early times, and there are several legends of King Arthur being in the neighbourhood. At one time a resident spent much of his time trying to trace his family connections with this King Arthur of whom we know so little. interesting finds are on showin various Somerset and Avon museums, and one member of my family wears a ring made of a Roman coin he found as a very small boy.

National celebrations and disasters at home and beyond these shores have all been recorded in the villages and many generous Collections have been made. For East Brent it now seems that with the acquisition of a suitable building for a parish hall, first suggested by the parish council in the 1920's, with several churches and shops, this parish is a very desirable place in which to live. Many of the folk who have retired to the west country have found a home here, and are finding opportunities of sewing the community, by so doing joining with those who have lived most of their iives Within the parish.

“To stand at the top of St. Mary’s churchyard and to look around to the distant hills and to remember all those of previous generations who have lived, loved and worked here some living in thatched cottages, some even in mud huts, perhaps gives one a feeling of timelessness.”

“Another celebration will be held shortly for the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth. A bonfire will be lit on top of Brent Knoll shared by the two Knoll villages, its rays will be seen for many miles and like the beacons of old either warning of attack or other disaster or of rejoicing. This time it will convey a message of happiness and hope and villages and towns alike will sing God Save The Queen.”

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