margaret roding
Margaret Roding


The Rodings Images of Margaret Roding Photos of Margaret Roding Celebrating St Margaret Woodcut Images Art Exhibition 2016 History



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This year in the village, the events most worthy of note seem to be those connected with the seasons. In the autumn, both hedgerows and gardens were laden with fruit, a result of the 2007’s summer of plentiful and regular rain. Magnificent crops of apples, pears and hazels were harvested. It was a year of plenty.

Last year’s Spring, which came like midsummer, straight from winter’s cold, in a blaze of sunshine in April, transformed the village with acres of yellow oil-seed rape. This year, however, in spite of early promise bordering the fields with clouds of delicate blackthorn bloom, Spring arrived later after a series of hard frosts, holding back much of the blossom until May. The lanes are now a billowing cloud of hawthorn, surrounded by Queen Anne’s Lace and buttcerups in flowers.

Wheat features as a main crop in the village centre this year. The village is chracterised by its central triangle of fields, bordered by lanes on two sides and the woods on the main road. It has been remarkable that the ditches, which flowed here twenty years ago, now seem to collecting standing water. In our recently climatic conditions they are often dry.

Although the sound of the cuckoo was not reported as heard last year, this year the call floated across the fields at dawn in April. Flocks of rooks have been much more evident this year, scattering in the fields through the Autumn and Winter to feed and wheeling in vortices above the fields, before flying off to roost iin the evening. Magpies have increased too, in the last twenty years, and are present in all the gardens here throughout the year. Garden and hedgerow birds are plentiful, but outstanding in the dawn chorus is the song of the blackbird which, echoeing across from the woods, is answered by the residents from the tops of the tallest trees in the gardens of our little cluster of houses.

Recent small structural changes in the village concern the removal of a long-standing garden outhouse in the front garden of Margaret Roding House, and the demolition and present reconstruction of a single-storey brick extension at the west side of No 1 The Gossetts. I had been told by the previous resident of, I believe nearly fifty years, that this is where, on the corner, a pond once collected water.

A major refurbishment and restoration has been taking place at Brick House with re-roofing and restoraiton of an exterior pargetting wall. Tree removal here, in both the front garden and around the roadside pond, has restored the view of the house with its Queen Anne porch. Opposite the house, new metal storage barns have been erected and between Brick House and Greys new hedges have been planted.

The roads around the village are busy with farm and local traffic and sees the transport on a regular basis for the weddings at the Reid Rooms. This ranges from limousines and coaches to horse-drawn carriages and defines, to a certain extent, the character of Marks Hall Lane

This concludes the report written for the last year, 2007-2008, and I enclose some watercolour sketches from the sketchbook of my village, made over the last year. [see Images]



Climate change seems to be making its presence felt in our hamlet. Extraordinary long autumns stretching into long Indian summers have extended the growing season here by a number of weeks. The trees and hedges around the village, in the fields and lanes, have been able to put on a great deal of growth, giving us a very leafy appearance. This has offset periods of drought, when the stress on woody plants made us all wonder if the character of our village was about to change drastically.

Although the cuckoo, usually heard in April, across the fields, has not been noticed here for a couple of years, Mediterranean visitors, in the form of butterflies and humming bird hawk moths have been numerous.


With the sudden deluges of rain, which seem to be becoming more common now, Marks Hall Lane often turns into a flowing river, temporarily. Disappearing ditches, often now piped, cannot cope with the field run off.


Small areas of hedgerow also disappear, but we are very pleased to see new hedgerow planting with corner coppices, along the main road opposite the wood.

The Margaret Roding herd of Shetland cattle has left the village and there are no sheep on Matthews Farm (Brick House), but a field of oilseed rape has been planted for the first time in my memory (20 years) in the village ‘centre’.

I have noticed no buildings disappearing or new ones appearing, although it was very pleasing to see the repair of the Landrails along the mill pond at Waples Mill. All the footpaths around the village seem to be well signposted and looked after. Elm suckers continue to flourish in the hedgerows, but then succumb at the age of about 12 years confirming the continued presence here of Dutch Elm Disease. They nevertheless still give character to our small hamlet.

Marion A.H. Polley

Recorder for Margaret Roding