I was only six when at Lassington Oak, that was 73 years ago. In those days there were very few houses in Highnam. We lived in a cottage by “The Oak” when my father was the game keeper for the Lassington and Highnam estates. His covets, as they were called, were spread over a wide area. I believe his employers were Sir Gambier Parry and Sir William Guise. They lived at Highnam Park. There used to be a big lake there with swans on it and I was fortunate enough as a little girl to be given an egg by Sir Gambier Parry (who used to carry me around sometimes). We often had shooting parties at our house and mother worked hard to prepare and cook the dinners. The drinks flowed freely too on those occasions.
Lassington Woods were beautiful and at the vicarage there were soup kitchens, where all the poor and needy could get cans of soup for (I believe) a penny or halfpenny. Peacocks also paraded the lawns – it was beautiful. The church and schoolwork also much loved. We had to go regularly and “behave”. As children we had to curtsy to the genteel people always, “girls curtsy, boys salute”. Concerts were held at the vicarage at Highnam opposite the school.
There were no buses of course. Mother had to walk to town. A Mr. Trotman kept the Post Office. I often stayed at Highnam Park stables with a Mr. and Mrs. Glover who looked after the coaches and horses so I had a good view of the gentle folk going in and out. Mr. and Mrs. Glover afterwards moved to a lovely old thatched cottage in Two Mile Lane where bats and swallows often fascinated us at night in the thatched roof.
Well, I think this is just a few rambling memories. You may get and idea of a little of the lovely old place Highnam held for me. At least you may get a smile from these rambling memories if nothing more.
This is an extract of a letter received from Mrs. R. Baldwin of Barnwood, Gloucester for Claire Tovey in 1986.