11 Royston Road, Roebourne

Hilary Roadley

Roebourne House, 11 Royston Rd, Mar 2015
Barns at back of No 11 Royston Rd Oct 2017
Apples planted by in back garden of No 11 Royston Rd Oct 2017

Roebourne early occupants

1900 James Rodwell built house ?
1932-3 John & Una Dorothy Eugenie Gill – presumably tenants, as owned by James Rodwell. John Gill, commercial traveller died 12/buried 15 April 1933 age 58 of Roebourn, Harston buried Button End. Miss H Gill- President of WI
1935 in Electors Register showed Una Dorothy Eugenie Gill, Clara Dunton Gill, Miss Elizabeth Ann Gill lived at Roebourn
1939-47 at least. Miss Elizabeth Ann Gill, spinster, died age 83 Nov 1947 at Roebourn. Clara Dunton Gill, retired, died June 1944 age 71 at Roebourn.
1955 (ER) Bertha M Missen and Elizabeth Rodwell
Then sold to Charles & Sheila Edwards 1955 who lived there until 2023.

1955-2023 history

Sheila and Charlie Edwards bought Roebourne House, 11 Royston Rd (in an auction at Lion Hotel, Petty Curry, Cambridge) in 1955 from the estate of James Edwin Rodwell. He hadn’t lived in the house but had previously rented it out to two ladies. They no longer use the house name since they were given a number. Photo right shows Roebourne House, 11 Royston Rd in Mar 2015.

They moved here as Charlie worked as an entomologist at Pest Control, Hauxton and Sheila worked in the office there. They wanted some land and space and there was 3-4 acres with the house. The house had been built in 1901 and they have made a few alterations to it over time. There used to be an outside toilet and coalhouse but these are now a laundry room and a small wooden conservatory was added alongside the wall. The larder adjacent to the kitchen had a window overlooking the garden outside the lounge French doors and a mesh front to the safe part; this was converted to a downstairs cloakroom leading off the hall below the stairs and the lounge was extended back onto the garden area.

The garage on the east side of the house was added soon after they moved there in 1955 but was later changed to a playroom when the children were little, and a study cum music room later on. When they first came there were stairs up to a room in the attic which had floor boards and a small window in the gable but they soon removed the stairs as they took up too much room on the landing. Sheila now regrets removing the old fireplaces which had decorated tiles and replaced them with ‘modern’ fireplaces at the time.

There was also a line of two barns (photo above) a way back behind the drive which used to have three cottages opposite them, the barns providing stabling for the cottages. There was a well near the end of the barn but Charlie filled this in, for safety reasons, with the bricks he kept digging up in the garden where the cottages used to be. He would also dig up old clay pipes, glass bottles and lots of horseshoes, many of them quite small. The barn nearest the house was built of brick with a tiled roof while the other end barn was made of claybat and had a wooden hayloft above with horse stables below, and a tiled roof. The barn had wooden beams that must previously have been cut for other uses. When the end wall crumbled it was replaced with breeze blocks by Eric Pearl. Charles used this end barn as a workshop. Eric Pearl also rebuilt the front garden wall after it had been completely demolished when a lorry crashed into it right up to the Sycamore tree in 1979.

Charlie and Sheila were both keen on horticulture at home. The back 3 acres of their plot was originally orchards, mostly Cambridge Gages with a few apples, with a long path down the middle. These they got Tim Austin to cut down as they were old and neglected. The was turned into pasture, still reached by a gate from their long garden. Charlie did plant a new small orchard, still there, at the bottom of the garden beyond the Willow tree (photo right). When they had apples Mr Hopkins from Church Street would take their apples to sell elsewhere. Although they had fewer apple trees they planted soft fruit over the years- blackcurrants and raspberries.

In one of the barns Sheila looked after one hundred ‘day old chicks’ in deep litter which she later let out onto the land behind the barn. The chickens were left to run around under old apple trees there. The eggs were collected on trays by the Egg Packing Station and before collection Sheila would spend Sunday evenings getting them ready- cleaning them, etc. She would also boil up vegetable peelings to mix with the mash to feed the chickens. Sheila kept chickens until she had her children.

The land behind/to the east of the barns then became an area for Charlie growing vegetables and they were self-sufficient in these and fruit so Sheila never had to buy any, although had to spend more time removing mud off vegetables!

This page was added on 05/12/2023.

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