100 continuous years of Coggan generations living in Stratford sub Castle - page 4

Photos from the hopper

During the 1970’s an overhead bulk feed hopper was built for the milling company. This series of photos were taken from the top of the hopper.

Hopper picture 1.jpg
Sandon & Kent Cottage.jpg
Hopper picture 2.jpg
Hopper picture 4.jpg

Sandon and Kent Cottage in Mill Lane

The storage tanks in the foreground of the top right photo are sitting on top of the old air raid shelter, that was in the farm yard. This was the subject of the Village Website's Local History photo quiz no.13, shown right, with the question, “What was this building?” (beneath the red arrow).

Air raid shelter Mill Lane (Coggan story).jpg

Richard says about the air raid shelter

The point that caught my eye about the air raid shelter is that there is no front wall to it. This shelter was used post war as a storage area. With its protective wall about 600mm in front of the two open doorways, it was difficult to access the storage area. Sometime in the early 70’s I decided to remove the front wall, I mean, ‘how hard can it be!’. I climbed onto the shelter roof, stepped on top of the wall, and proceeded to swing a sledgehammer between my legs (wood chopper style). I quickly realised that I was no match for a reinforced, bomb resistant wall.


The next approach was a hammer and chisel, while sitting astride the wall. I succeeded in removing the thin concrete covering on top of the bricks, but again had to admit defeat against the bricks. The wall was eventually brought down by a visiting front loader bulldozer, that was brought on site for other work. It was probably just as well that I had emigrated to Australia, before the shelter needed removing!

From Mary Coggan (great grand-daughter of Reginald) 

I was the second child of Pat and Audrey [the only one with ginger hair] born at Dr Tracey’s home on 9th May 1955 and lived the first five years of life at the old Parsonage Farm house.


I was quite a sickly child, according to Mum in those first five years I developed pneumonia on 13 occasions being admitted to hospital quite a few times to be put in an oxygen tent and given antibiotics. When I was older on a visit to see Dr Loveless he commented that I would not have survived if penicillin had not recently been widely in use in the NHS.


I remember playing in the garden with Richard and Philip and taking great delight in patting the bald head of great grandpa Reginald who lived with aunt Doris in the front end of the house; we were in the middle section and Granny Phyllis at the end.

We moved into the newly built bungalow over the road on my 7th birthday and I had a happy childhood there, we had a lot of space to run around in the big garden and other parts of the farm. Growing up with two brothers I was a bit of a tom-boy.

We were fortunate to be given a pony, Smokey, by our grandfather Jack which we all enjoyed riding. I had riding lessons from Janet Brownlie but never became more than a very amateur rider. I had many a fall from dear old Smokey but when Richard and then Phil went off to boarding school Smokey became a special friend.

Photo: Old Sarum in the background, Smokey the pony held by Audrey.

Children L-R   Phil, Richard, Mary.

Horse riding.jpg

I also became friends with the two Clares, Clare Finiss and Claire Winwood and we would often go round to each other’s house to play, I can remember local school fetes, grand fetes at Mrs Speak's’Manor House [MH1 - see below] and the hospital fete at Victoria Park. I sang with the Stratford Singers for some years and at Christmas-time remember going round the village and eating lots of mince pies!

(Granny) Phyllis Coggan .jpg

I used to love going down the lane to Kent Cottage and asking Granny Phyllis (image left)  for a jam jar to go minnow fishing in the mill stream behind her cottage and climbing up into a willow tree alongside the river Avon, and catching grasshoppers in the grassy verges opposite the school.


There was so little traffic through the village in those days! Mum and Dad went to church most Sundays which I must admit I found a bit boring but the organist Mr Riley was interesting and did some movie shows for children in the reading room, I can’t remember what the occasions were. I helped Joyce and Peter Renshaw with the Sunday school for a while and left the village in 1974 to do nurse training at Oxford’s John Radcliffe school of nursing.

[MH1]    A bit of background from Richard:

Mary refers to "....grand fetes at Mrs Speak's Manor House". Mrs Speak was originally Mrs Thomas. She and her husband owned the Red Lion Hotel in Milford St, Salisbury. After her first husband died she married Mr Speak. I believe her first name was Elsie. I remember her as a very flamboyant lady who wore very large hats.

We think these photos were taken at the Manor House around 1962 or 1963. 


Can anyone verify this or recognise anyone?

Audrey Coggan at Manor House fete.jpg

Audrey Coggan, (at Manor House fete?) 

Possibly taiken at the Manor House picture 1.jpg

Richard Coggan

Foreground in smock is Phil Coggan.

From Philip Coggan (great grandson of Reginald)


I was born in the old Parsonage Farmhouse, as was dad - Pat, and I was only 3 when we moved to the new cedarwood bungalow, so I don’t have any memories of my time in the old farmhouse. But I have enjoyed working there over the past few years on various plumbing related projects.


Growing up on the farm, was a lot of fun and whilst hard work at times there was always lots to do once the animals were taken care of. I asked dad, "If I could get an old Morris 1000 traveller working, could I use it around the Farm?"  Dad said "Yes", so as a 14 year old I restored it to working order. This was a real treat to have my own car and it helped at hay-making time when I would let other young boys from the village drive the car around the field to the next pile of bales that needed stacking.

Two other stories I've thought of involved vehicles, My friend Jim (whose grandparents used to own Dean's farm) and I, took a 4 wheeled trolley up Grabbage* Lane, to ride it back down the hill. But we ended up crashing through the barbed wire fence, doing at least 30 miles an hour.  I was unhurt but had to take poor Jim back to his Granny and apologise for breaking him.

On another occasion I was driving my Go-cart in the field next to the church one Sunday morning, when a Lady dressed all in white started to walk up across the field. I soon recognised her as Nora Addis the vicar’s wife. I assumed I was going to be in trouble for making a noise as church was about to start, but to my amazement Nora said "That looks like so much fun, please could I have a ride on the back!"  I drove around the field twice with her on the back, keeping my eyes peeled to avoid cow pats.


The overhead hopper that Richard has already referred to needed painting, so I set up our tower scaffold on the back of the lorry, which was about 4ft 6” high, and painted all I could reach. I then added a set of step ladders to gain more height. Then Jim came round to see me and said “Hey Phil, you hold the brush still and I will drive the lorry back and forth !!!!!”

I recall the big beech tree at the bottom of the garden falling across the road during a storm, and one of our local bobbies came to help clear the road. He brought his police dog, which also helped pick up some of the smaller branches. I recall on a few occasions we were asked if we would help to train this police dog, by allowing it to smell an item of our clothing, then we had to go and hide as best we could up on Old Sarum, and wait for the dog to come and find us. I wasn't keen but believe Richard and possibly Peter Scott did it a few times.

Janet Brownlie has kept horses on the farm for as long as I can remember, and for a while she had a donkey, as they can have a calming influence on the horses. For a while she had them down in the water meadows, and from time to time the horses would choose to walk across the river to graze on the other side. During that time we must have had a dozen or so people come to the farm house to say that the donkey was out in the lane. Most times I would jump on my bike for speed and race down to put said animal back in the field, but each time when I got there, it was in the field. Then one time I was down there, I saw the horses cross the river. So I stayed and watched the donkey lie on its side, roll under the fence, trot across the bridge and roll back into the field on the other side.


At peak times we could produce 100 tons of animal feed per week, this involved a lot of big 3-phase motors, and on the odd occasion meant working Sunday mornings. News came through from the church that on some of those days, half way through a hymn the organ would slow down,( running out of air ) as we started up a couple of 100 horse power motors at the same time. So the Electricity Board added a sub-station into the farm yard to supply our needs.


One day in the early evening dad heard the tractor drive past the back of the bungalow. He assumed it was Mark (Salter), so called Mark's home to see if Pam knew where Mark was going. But alarm bells rang when Mark answered the phone. By this time dad could see that the tractor was making its way up the side of Old Sarum. Dad told mum to call the police, while he jumped in his car, went and collected Mark and headed up across Hudson’s Field, to where he had last seen the tractor. As they stood with two police officers looking at the abandoned vehicle down in the moat, wondering the safest way of getting it out, a call came through on the police radio saying mum had called again, because the second tractor had just driven passed the house. They think it was the same person, but never found out who it was.


During my time at Lackham College of Agriculture, I Joined a Canoe club in Bradford on Avon with another Salisbury Lad called Justin. We trained from December to April for the Devizes to Westminster Canoe race, which is a little over 125 miles long and has 77 portages. We started at lunch time on the Saturday and finished at six pm on Sunday evening which was also my 18th Birthday.


When my grandmother Phyllis Coggan passed away, Kent Cottage was left to Dad. He rented it to tenants for several years, but kept saying that he would like Babs and I to live there. But it only had 2 bedrooms, and we had 4 children and were foster parents, mostly doing short term emergency placements. So we needed at least 5 bedrooms. As time went on I had a change of employment and started to work in the building trade. With the help and encouragement of a work colleague, we decided to accept dad’s offer of buying Kent Cottage, and set about extending it to suit our needs. It was nice for me to be back in the village after a 10 year gap, although we had kept a keen eye on the village from our home in Devizes Rd.

* Ed. Phil mentions Grabbidge Lane and this is the name used by a few people in the village for the unclassified road that rises from Stratford Road to Phillips Lane. It was recently (July 2021) the subject of a Wiltshire Council traffic restriction order with the road officially recorded as Gradidge Lane. 

Can anyone throw any light on the Grabbidge or  Gradidge names?