100 continuous years of Coggan generations living in Stratford sub Castle

Coggan Centenary in Stratford sub Castle




This year, 2021, marks the 100th anniversary of Coggan family continuous living in Stratford sub Castle. To mark this milestone some family members have put together a history of the family, plus memories of people, places and events in the village.

This remarkable family and village history story began in 1921 when Reginald Coggan purchased Parsonage Farm in Stratford sub Castle, which then comprised 153 acres. [1] Reg, with wife Elsie and children Jack and Doris moved into the farm-house.



Parsonage Farm House, painting by Mrs Robertson.jpg

'Parsonage Farmhouse' [2] painting by Mrs Robertson, who lived in the village at the Old Laundry [2]. Parts of the house date from the 16th century.


At one time, four generations of Coggans were living in different parts at the same time.

To broaden the interest and appeal of this article, the Coggan family and others associated with its publication (Stratford Local History Group, Village Website and Parish Magazine) invite current and former residents of the village to add to this article by sending their memories and photos of places and events mentioned to sscvillagewebsite@gmail.com


so they can be shared with the Coggan family and the Stratford community.

Additions made to this article since its original publication will be marked 


Photograph of The Parsonge in 1920 (G Steer).jpg
Extract from OS map dated 1926

This image of Parsonage Farm House in 1920 and the extract of the 1926 OS map were provided by a village resident and appear here with kind permission of Wiltshire Buildings Record [3]

Added 15.9.21

The Early Years with Reginald Coggan

Reginald was born in 1880 at Babcock, Somerset to Alfred and Ellen Coggan. In 1884 Alfred moved his family to the Ship Inn at Mere, Wiltshire. From here Alfred ran a business in cattle dealing and butchery; meat being packed in hampers, sent by horse and cart to Gillingham, Dorset and taken by rail to London.


The young Reg was apprenticed to a butcher in London, where he learnt the trade. He returned to Somerset to become manager of a butcher’s shop in West Coker. There he fell in love with and married the owner’s daughter, Miss Elsie Mary Gent in 1906. Returning to Mere, Reg and Elsie ran their own shop and gave birth to a son Jack (1906) and daughter Doris (1908).


In 1916 the couple moved to Church Farm, Mere, mainly for the purpose of cattle dealing. In 1921 they finally settled down in Stratford sub Castle. Sadly, Elsie died in 1929.

Reginald & Elsie Coggan.jpg
Jack & Doris Coggan, children of Reginald & Elsie Coggan.jpg

Reginald & Elsie Coggan and their children

Jack & Doris

His background in the meat industry led Reg, with his son Jack in 1928 to start a slaughter house and meat business at Parsonage Farm, where they traded as R Coggan & Son. From 1939 until 1954, when meat rationing ended, the meat trade was controlled by the Government, including the slaughter house at Stratford.

Reg built a reservoir and windpump on his land in the early 1920's, which provided a water supply for properties on Stratford Road until 1940. [4]

R Coggan lorry.jpg

Jack Coggan (son of Reginald and Elsie)

John Reginald Stuart Coggan, better known as Jack, met his bride to be, Phyllis Maud Osmond while a patient at

Old Sarum Isolation Hospital [5] where Phyllis was a nurse. They were married on 29 June 1929. Phyllis’s father Gerard Bartram Osmond was an army Company Sergeant Major, and based at Dover Castle when Phyllis was born, and later baptised in the castle chapel. One of Phyllis’s ancestors was a stonemason at Salisbury Cathedral.


Reginald and daughter Doris were still living in the front section of the house (facing Old Sarum). Jack and Phyllis moved into a back section, where they raised two sons Patrick (1930) and John (1932).


Unfortunately, the marriage did not last long and, in 1936 Jack married Pamela Van Cuylenburg.

In 1943 Jack bought Orchard House [2], but it was requisitioned by the Government for a children’s home. So, Jack bought Dairy Cottage [2] (next to the path leading to Old Sarum) from his father Reg. Here the family, now including two daughters Jacqueline (1937) and Manya (1939), lived.

Jackie remembers from this time

"Dairy Cottage had a large vegetable garden, and Dad built some stables at the eastern end for his horses. During WW2 when the sirens sounded we would shelter in a passageway which had very thick walls. In the field which is located on the right of the track going up to Old Sarum there were numerous anti-aircraft guns which were covered in camouflage. Jack had a German prisoner of war called Fritz working on the farm. I remember seeing hundreds of planes flying to the Continent on D-Day. I thought they were large birds as they were very high up in the sky. Every week I went to Sunday school in the Village Hall. We left Dairy Cottage for Home Stud in March 1947."

A few weeks later their third daughter Sara was born. Jack bought Home Stud, Norman Court at West Tytherley, which had been founded by Washington Singer, from the Singer disposal sale. Jack, with his son John had great success with horse breeding. From 1947 until his death in 1986 he sent yearlings to the Newmarket sales each year without a break.


Right, Jack and Pamela’s daughters (L to R) Manya, Jacqueline and Sara in front

3 sisters.png

During the 1940’s Jack was very interested in coursing, and bred greyhounds at Stratford. A newspaper cutting from Saturday, Feb 2, 1946 showed the following:


Salisbury Waterloo Cup Entry

Salisbury will be represented by a worthy contender for the Waterloo Cup in Mr Jack Coggan’s Job’s Comfort (greyhound). This puppy from the Stratford sub Castle kennels, was one of the outstanding dogs on Wednesday, the first day of the South of England Coursing Club’s meeting on the grounds of Mr. J V Rank at Druid’s Lodge, near Salisbury.  Mr Coggan bred last year’s narrowly beaten finalist in the Waterloo Cup, Joint Command. He sold the greyhound for £1000 to Mr Jack Woolf, of Birmingham.



In 1954 Jack re-entered the meat trade, based at Fontley Abattoir near Fareham. He built the business steadily and it became a large operation, supplying major supermarket chains, and exporting to the continent.


Jack was a member of the Worshipful Company of Butchers, and a freeman of the City of London.


After Jack and family moved to Home Stud, Reginald ran the farm with his grandson Patrick (Pat) as a partnership in the name, R&P Coggan. When Reg died in 1959, the only will found, dated 1930, left the farm and house entirely to Reg’s daughter Doris.



References & further information

[1] Kerry O'Connor https://www.stratfordsubcastle.org.uk/land-owned-by-the-church-commission

[2] Images and Details - Stratford's Historic Houses https://www.stratfordsubcastle.org.uk/stratford-s-historic-houses

[3] Wiltshire Buildings Record is a non-profit organisation (charity no 280382) partly funded by Wiltshire Council. 



[4] Kerry O'Connor https://www.stratfordsubcastle.org.uk/history-of-the-water-supply-to-stra

[5] Old Sarum Isolation Hospital https://www.stratfordsubcastle.org.uk/old-sarum-isolation-hospital


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