Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Once upon a time.....

....there was an abundance of Conifer trees 50ft high overhanging my (not so deep) garden at the back, giving us no end of grief with their sticky brown and dead needles falling onto my garden, leaving a mess and killing my plants as well as giving me no light in my kitchen which meant having the light on ALL  day. You might remember my post here here last year.




This is what the trees looked like last summer - straining at the leash towards the sun


Well - one day the nice tree surgeons lopped about 15ft off the tops for the lady who owns them. 



You can see (through my French doors) just how much was coming off





and this is them today after we had them 'shaved' on our side. Quite a difference don't you think. We wanted them taken right back but apparently they would have ended up just brown trunks and branches with no greenery so we've got to think seriously about what to do next. Anyway, this is the view from my bedroom window - they're still tall but nowhere as near as tall as they were




Now then - there is a story behind the house you can see here, also from my bedroom window. I haven't seen this view for several years - so you can imagine just how tall those trees were. This is the 16th century Thundersley Manor House.

Courtesy of Thundersley: A pictorial history
The current owner sold off a very large plot of land about 30 years ago and a small development of fifteen houses were built on the land. One of which is mine backing directly onto her side boundary. This old picture was taken around 1920 and if you look to the right you will see an old barn - well that is EXACTLY where my house now stands.

Thundersley Manor, was reputedly used by Henry Vlll as a hunting lodge when he frequently visited Hadleigh Castle a couple of miles away high up on the Benfleet Downs. His second wife Anne Boleyn once lived in the medieval market town of Rochford some ten miles away where her father Sir Thomas Boleyn owned the 16th century Rochford Hall - and it is thought that Anne used to accompany Henry on his visits to the Manor.

Inside the house there is said to be a Priest's hole - a secret chamber built into many Catholic houses of England which were used as hiding places for Catholic priests during the Reformation. This Priest's hole has supposedly an underground passage that leads right up to the top of the hill to our local church. I have been inside the house once and its quite amazing. 

It's quite surreal to think that King Henry Vlll and Anne Boleyn could very well have strolled through the grounds on a sunny afternoon - which 500 years later was to become my own back garden !!

See you soon x


17 comments:

  1. I think under new conifer regulations they may still be breaking the law. I thought new legislation had come in regarding conifers that they had to have a maximum height (6'?) on boundaries that adjoin other properties especially if they are cause problems with light?

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  2. I recall you mentioning before about the dreadful confers overshadowing your garden. I had a friend with the same problem and it really caused her no end of trouble especially when she was unable to enjoy the summer sun. Glad something has now been done about the hedge. There is a law about the height that hedges can be so that they do not interfere with a neighbours daylight. Keep an eye on it because they never stop growing!!!
    It seems appropriate that with your love of history you should be living in and around an area with such an historic past. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to got back in time and see what happened in your garden 500 years ago?

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  3. What an exciting post, Patricia. I love the history of your land, and the idea that Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn might have walked in your garden. I remember Hadleigh Castle so well - we walked up there with our daughter one afternoon and took lots of photos of ourselves in the ruins - and now I know that you live in the vicinity. We used to drive through Rochford quite often and always thought of Anne Boleyn! You must be pleased to be rid of that overbearing hedge, and I hope the owners keep it trimmed back in future. Your garden must be very grateful for the extra light. xx

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  4. I find this fascinating! You are so fortunate to live in a place that is steeped in history. It's one of the many reasons I love visiting the UK. I had never heard of Priest's holes before. And to think that Henry the VIII and Anne Boleyn have strolled through your garden! All that's been through mine are some squirrels and raccoons.

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  5. So interesting about the history of your garden!! Just imagine all sorts of conversations might have happened! I don't suppose that Henry would have allowed those trees to overshadow things so much. I hope that your plants get more sun and rain this year (well, perhaps not too much rain after all that we have already had!), and grow well. We are having our two oak trees and large apple tree attended to this week, but I doubt that the neighbours will reduce their conifers! xx

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  6. Such history and right on your garden. That is fascinating I have been reading lots of Phillipa Gregory's books I'm currently reading The Boleyn Inheritance .I will think of your garden now.

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  7. Fascinating history there Patricia. I dont suppose you have any wandering ghosts strolling about in your house or garden?
    I must admit I'm not a big conifer fan and thank goodness no one around here has planted any. They do tend to grow so quickly and some people dont want to tackle them. We moved to a house where there was a conifer hedge and we ripped them all out. Our neighbour said he was so relieved!

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  8. What an interesting house to live next to! I'm glad the tree problem has improved too.

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  9. I'm utterly speechless...the house next door is 400-plus years old!? I NEED to live in a place like this, right away! What a fascinating story!

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  10. Whoever invented those conifers wants shooting - we had the same problem with our neighbours trees. They have caused such trouble between neighbours people getting shot, taken to court etc. Love that old picture and the fascinating history - who'd have thought it eh!

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  11. I remember your post about the conifers - they do grow to huge proportions. How absolutely fascinating to read about Thundersley Manor and the history behind it. It must be lovely to look out of your window and have all those stories in mind and to know the exact history of your house too:)

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  12. You must be glad that your neighbour has drastically trimmed down the conifers as it will make so much difference to you enjoying daylight in your house and better conditions in your garden. We make sure our conifer hedge is kept low and our neighbour at the back of our house does seem to keep shrubs reasonably trimmed or we would have the same problem. Our row of houses was built on the estate of the local manor. I often think of those people in the past who lived here. Your site with the Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn connection is even more interesting.

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  13. Lopping the trees must have been such a welcome sight. I hope you can grow some more flowers this summer in your garden. I enjoyed seeing the manor house and learning about the history behind it and the location of your home. Sarah x

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  14. How wonderful to live right next-door to such a historic building with all its associations with those in high places. No wonder you decided to study history for your degree. :-) I'm glad for you that those overbearing trees have been well-trimmed. I agree that more would have been even better, but this is still a great improvement.

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  15. What an interesting post, how fascinating to have such a historical place right next door.

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  16. How lovely that you now have a view! I hate those big brutal trees, hopefully people won't be still planting them, we have got wise to them I think. And how BRILLIANT that you have that historical link to the Manor and old Henry, you need to find some way of recording that somewhere! Lxx

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  17. How lovely to be able to see the manor house again and have more light into your garden.

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