The Old Farm House
Lilian Smither wrote in 1967 about Rock House Farm:-
Rock House Farm in the 1940s
Rock House Farm in the 1940s
About the year 1855, my paternal grandfather, William Westbrook, purchased Rock House Farm at Lower Froyle in Hampshire and with his bride settled in. The house was very old, having been built in, or quite possibly, before, the 16th century. It was built chiefly of quarry stone, taken from a quarry beside the main road about two miles away. The front elevation had two gables at the extreme ends, gables of tile hanging made up of plain and decorative tiles. It had four sash windows, obviously added at a later date. The brick archway of a much larger window above the present dining room sash window could still be seen. The rear elevation had a sloping tiled roof coming down to within about five feet of the ground with one small attic window giving a view of the farm yard.

There were two distinct attics, with separate staircases to each, the pigeons occupied one and Grandfather’s sons, when grown up, occupied the other. The pigeons made an awful mess and flew in and out of the pigeon holes built in the side of the house for that purpose. The pigeons quarters were referred to as the Loft. In later years grandfather, at the age of 80, climbed the rickety stairs to the loft and fell backwards, the result being a cut head and a few stitches, but he soon recovered.
An enormous chimney stack reared up in the middle of the house, a dark passage ran along the interior at the back. This brick floor was very uneven and a wooden plank was put down which moved at every step and no matter how carefully one walked it made such a noise that grandmother was always aware of someone approaching.

An old heavy refectory table, complete with stool, stood on one side of the room and my father could recall harvest suppers around that table, when all the farm workers sat down to a good meal of home made food and home made beer and wine. A noble looking grandfather clock stood nearby and a weather glass hung on the wall. This barometer was always referred to as the weather glass or glass by the members of the family. An old H.M.V. gramophone stood on an equally old piano. Oak beams ran across the ceiling and the room was dark.

The drawing room was entered from the dining room and had a corner fireplace. Its oak floor was covered with an old much worn carpet, with various arm chairs and numerous antimacassars.

The old bakehouse had been turned into a kitchen, with a smoky kitchen range. Two or three rooms were not used at all or so it seemed to me. A third front room held the water pans and as the well was at the front of the house within three feet of the wall, the window stood open and each bucket of water drawn from the well was simply tipped through the window into the pans. Years later this room became a kitchen.

By 1962 the old house stood forlorn and empty and the walled in garden become a wilderness; soon the hand of a demolition squad was at work attacking some of the outbuildings to make way for a dwelling house, with the old walnut tree, planted, by my uncle over a century ago, standing guard over the whole scene. And now the old farmhouse has gone, too, and lives only in memory.