The Retreat
Straight Bit

The Retreat as it once looked, photo courtesy of David Marshall

The Retreat as it looks now, photo courtesy of David Marshall


This house once edged a farmer’s field,
A pasture full of grass,
And cows of Smith’s old dairy herd
You’d see as you walked past.

Old Civil John, the constable,
A kindly soul was he
Who let the village cricket team
Play on the land for free.

But many were the arguments
This red brick home once saw
When cow pats did their level best
To re-direct the score.

Stan Smith, the son of Civil John,
Let football too be played
But there could be much tension if
The cricket over stayed.

But surely no one suffered more
Than the poor old referee,
Who got a ducking in Clear Pond
When no one could agree!


The Retreat appears to have been built in 1854. It has seen many changes and many owners. In the 1950s it was the home of Norman Sarney, the brother of Les who ran Fennels Farm.
The land behind The Retreat has been used for many things but was primarily a pasture for the dairy herd of Civil John Smith, a local farmer who lived at Dairy Cottage on The Common and who was also the village constable. After the football was moved to Wilks Park the land became a recreation ground with slides and roundabouts. Before the bowling green was established there was also a cycle track which had been constructed by the local village boys.
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