Kaffir Land
Treadaway Hill

Treadaway Hill circa 1920
(picture from SWOP website)

Treadaway Hill today (in snow)

Our village, old Frackle,
Was called 'Kaffir land'
By outsiders who called here
For blossom or band,
With a drink at 'The Tips'
At the end of the day
They would throw their spare coppers
To children at play.

These are the tales
That are still often told,
By those very same children
Who now have grown old,
But why the name Kaffir?
It seems very strange
For anyone born
On this windy hill range.

Well, Kaffir derived
From the cherries we grew,
And the name slowly changed
As often they do,
For the best fruit was grown
From a pip from afar,
The Circassia cherry
Once grown for the Tsar.

And though it is true
That a Flackwell Heath man
Was a man of all weathers
Who sported a tan,
It's really more likely
The 'Cassirs' nickname
Came from a cherry
That sounded the same.

No one can really remember when Kaffir became the name given to Flackwell folk. British imperialism and the Victorian expansion of the British empire may have provided an added confusion to the development of the name, with children mistakenly hearing Kaffir for Cassir (a shortening of Circassia) but according to 'Alice Ray Morton's Cookham' by Roger Parkes it is more than likely that the name derived from a particular black and juicy cherry seedling imported from Russia. Treadaway Hill was an important route to 'Kaffir land' for 'furreners' (foreigners/anyone not from Flackwell Heath) visiting from the chair factories and paper mills in the valley below, and later for those travelling from further afield by the railway.
To find out about life at the bottom of the hill go to www.galaxypix.com/Sally/Loudwaterlea/(but you will leave this site).
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