I was recently told by the owner of Felldale Stables in Button End that she had the restored sign for Lime Tree Farm which was demolished to make way for The Limes housing estate. This sparked my interest and I went along to see the sign, as shown. It originally also had an oval wooden plaque hanging below the horses saying Lime Tree Farm – Livery Yard and Riding School.
Lime Tree Farm was owned by Joy Collen. At the end of her life Miss Collen was cared for by Andrea and Trevor Stubbings and when the farm was sold Trevor was given the sign. After restoring the sign recently (matching the original paint) Trevor gave it to Kate, Felldale’s owner which seemed an appropriate place to hang it particularly as she lives in The Limes.
Lime Tree Farm had a large house (built before 1885), tennis courts and swimming pool. Although it was a livery yard and riding stables, Miss Collen also sold eggs and vegetables at the roadside. Her parents Arthur & Violet had moved to the farm by 1950, although they also owned another farm near Saffron Walden. There they bred Hackney Horses, most of which were purchased by the Italian Government and were transported to Italy by train and were used during the First World War. The farm was originally owned by James Rodwell, at least by 1910, although he lived in the village since 1880s.
Several Harston residents have mentioned the farm and Miss Collen in their memories.
Val Joslin played tennis on the Rodwell’s court which was in front of their house, and bordered the ditch along the High St. The Rodwells (who had owned the land at least since 1910) lived in a big house, no 62 High St, to the right of the Police house, and where The Limes road entrance now is. Behind their house was Lime tree Farm where Ms Collen and her mother lived. They kept horses and ponies in a row of stables and gave riding lessons there to Val and others. Frances Parsons and her brother used to help at the stables and sometimes got a free ride. They used to ride along the A10 as it was not busy then.
Sheila Edwards remembered Ms Collen was a big lady who rode a large white horse. Sheila rode a horse there a few times with her- not on the road but in the fields and the Drift.
Please let us know if you remember anything else about Miss Collen or about the Rodwell family.