John Hedley - A Barmpton Gourmet

Article taken from St Andrew’s Parish Magazine dated May 1974 – author unknown

Around the turn of the century there dwelt at Barmpton, close to the old smithy, John Hedley and his wife.  He used (it is said) to scythe his ‘bottoms’, nearly three quarters of an acre of land by the Skerne, before breakfast.

Producing a large red handkerchief containing enough food for four men.  He would remark ‘The Missus packed me a bite to put me off until breakfast at home!”  John would not entertain less than two-dozen eggs for a meal.

One winter a sheep had to be killed, probably because of its eating turnips.  No buyer coming forward it was consumed by, Mr and Mrs Hedley in less than a week!

The writer can remember him, an old man eating a shot seabird, a kind of seagull.

John Hedley worked for the Waldy Estate at times in the old sandpit beside the Welsh Mountains public footpath, and was so well respected that the Waldys erected his monument in the Haughton Churchyard.  This sand quarry incidentally closed after at least one soldier lost his life, in a sandbagging operation in 1939 due to a heavy fall from the very high face.

Across the Skerne from its harvest operations near a large rabbit warren once resulted in the cutting platform of the self-binder being piled high with shot rabbits.  Unfortunately, the new sand quarry closed the warren.

The writer remembers Saturday shoots on the same Waldy Estate, working as a beater for a shilling and carrying a full-grown hare in each hand to the game cart.

John Hedley would have approved – or would he?