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Education - Rose Cottage
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About Rose Cottage
From Town Path
The Trust purchased the charming old listed building was built about 1840. It is beside
the River Nadder, just above Harnham Mill and at the end of the
Town Path that bisects our meadows. It is, literally, a bridgehead
to them. A large part of the meadows is watered from the river
through two large hatches and along a wide 'main carriage'
(man made irrigation channel) all actually in the cottage garden.
The Trust has developed Rose Cottage to provide education and general public information about floated bedwork irrigation systems, both locally and more widely. We welcome visitors from schools, colleges, universities and community groups. The downstairs area has displays, plans, photos and diagrams where small groups can meet, or have formal presentations about the history, operation and conservation of watermeadows. We welcome groups that are presently seeking to conserve, restore and manage watermeadow systems elsewhere.
Development of Rose Cottage (started Septmber 2005)
Before and After
The History of Rose Cottage
The Trust's land is remnant of the 'agrarian powerhouse of the
water-meadows' (Salisbury, the changing city Purvis 2003), the
irrigated (or 'floated') systems prevalent throughout the Wessex
chalklands in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. The
irrigation was fundamental to the 'early bite' of grass that sustained
enormous flocks of Wiltshire Horn sheep, their manure sustaining the
arable land, the grain harvest and the agricultural wealth of the
area. We are fortunate that, on its 'island' our 88 acres have been
protected, and survive, effectively inside the city of Salisbury.
In 1931 when Fisherton Mill and its estate was sold, Rose Cottage
fetched £250 and was described as:
'Brick, built and tiled, and contains 2 BEDROOMS, KITCHEN and
range, Pantry and Washhouse and E.C. and water supply from stand
pipe in Lot 6
(Island Cottage, dated somewhat earlier and shown on
the Inclosure Map of 1787)'.
The cottage is later recorded by the Royal Commission on Historic
Monuments in its Salisbury volume, not named, but as Building 590.
'Cottage of two stories with brick walls, partly tile-hung, and with a
tiled roof, was built c1840. The S.W. front is symmetrical and of
two bays with a central doorway'.
Rose Cottage was remote from the then tiny hamlet of West Harnham
on the very edge of the valley floor. The original purpose was almost
certainly to house the drowner, whose job was to operate and maintain
the irrigation system. Until her death in 2004 Miss Jane Foster had
lived in Rose Cottage for over fifty years and her recollections have
been published by the Friends in their Newsletter 23 (Spring 2003) - click here to view pdf copy of this article.
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