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A Week on the Estate: Rain Again, Long Grass & Estate Memories

The warm, dry spring is over, and summer has begun with copious rainfall which has helped the estate’s flora and fauna to flourish.

Before the dry spring, the very wet winter took its toll on our farm tracks. Local company J.E. Spence & Son have been levelling ruts and adding new chalk to get the track back into shape, ready for the harvest.

In the parkland, an affectionate Lincoln Red family unit were pictured enjoying the long grass. We implemented a one-hectare paddock system last year. Every three days, our cattle move into the next paddock where they can enjoy some long, fresh grass. They’ll return to the same paddock about a month and a half later once the grass has re-grown. Wildlife also seems to like this system, with quite a few birds nesting in the longer grass.

Damian Furlong has been exploring the estate and the Tennyson Way footpath. He came across a fine section of plashing which has bedded in well along the Skipworth Stride. He also bagged some fine images of poppies in meadow-grass, and almost snapped Mr Fox as he disappeared into the hedgerow.

Refurbishment work at 2 Keal Cottages is coming along nicely. Abbey Joinery are fitting the new wooden windows while Phil Codd puts the kitchen together. In the Walled Garden, the brick floor of the shed has mostly been laid. The new wooden windows and the mended and strengthened door are next.

At the distillery, collecting the elderflower that forms one of 14 botanicals in Burrell’s Dry gin has become a family affair. Tristan Jørgensen’s daughters – Lottie, 7, and Pippa, 5 – have become expert elderflower croppers.

In May, Jayne Baxter very kindly shared some family memories. Her grandfather, John George Ely, lived and worked at South Ormsby Estate, and her father, John Leslie Ely (1920-1977), helped in the estate gardens with his brother, Frank, and attended the local school. Elizabeth Mapleston saw our Facebook post, realised she was related to Jayne Baxter and asked us to help her get in touch.

Elizabeth’s late family lived on the estate before moving to Woodhall Spa in 1963. Her great-grandfather was Jayne’s grandfather, John George Ely. Elizabeth’s grandmother, Joan Elizabeth Ely, was Jayne’s aunt. John George Ely and his brother George Ainse Ely were estate builders at South Ormsby. John and his wife Edith are buried at St. Leonard’s Church – if one walks up the steep path, they are the first ones laid to rest on the left.

We also heard from Judi Widdison. Her late parents, Bob and Ivy Hill, once worked at the Hall as butler and cook. She remembers going to Spalding for the tulip parade and visiting Jayne’s parents. Many thanks to Jayne, Elizabeth and Judi for helping to paint a vibrant picture of our shared heritage.