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Lilian Moffat (nee Westcott)

Born in 1917 Lilian was brought up immediately after the first world war at Birchanger, a farm overlooking the Bristol channel. She was the youngest of seven children. She attended school at Porlock and then worked on the farm and delivered milk to West Porlock carrying her churns in panniers on a pony. She married Rennie Moffat (Jim) the under-gardener at West Porlock House at the start of Hitler’s war and spent time during the war years as a volunteer nurse in Minehead hospital. After the war her husband rose to become Head Gardener at Penheale Manor in Cornwall. They went on to have four children, Margaret, Alan, Jean and Susan.

Black and white photo circa late 1920s of a young girl leading a horse and cart in the hay field.  A worker is pitching hay onto the top of the cart which has been half loaded.

Lilian Moffat's chapter includes the following topics and many more:

  • feather mattresses and a drawer for a cradle
  • grandfather talking about growing up in the 1840s
  • the Doverhay Reading Room and Black and White Minstrels
  • the fire that never went out with pots above it
  • seats inside the actual fireplace
  • using the hot water from the copper over and over again
  • burning faggots inside the bread oven once a week to heat it up
  • drying feathers and killing fleas in the bread oven
  • rag rugs, ponies and singing round the piano
  • gathering apples and making cider
  • fish from the boats at Porlock Weir and salting them down -
  • taking the cow to the bull with another to keep the first one company
  • the turf house
  • helping prepare and taking oak bark to the tannery
  • gathering bracken for clamping potatoes and time off school for picking them up
  • taking milk by pony to West Porlock and measuring it into people’s jugs
  • the leather worker and the blacksmith -
  • marrying the under-gardener at West Porlock house
  • Red Cross work at Minehead hospital and the war effort

Page sample from Lilian Moffat's Chapter

Volume Four - Compare Prices or Buy

Photo samples from Lilian Moffat's Chapter

  • Black and white photo circa early 1940s of tiny boy on a huge cart horse.
  • Black and white photo circa early 1940s of two mothers - one holding a milk can - and their small children outside Birchanger farm.
  • Black and white photo circa early 1940s of young girl about to start hand milking.  She is standing in the farmyard in wellington boots, hat and coat and is holding two milking pails.
  • Black and white photo circa late 1930s of milkmaid sitting on a pony with milk churns in panniers.  She is on her way to West Porlock to deliver milk door to door where she will measure it out into people’s jugs.
  • Black and white photo circa late 1920s of girl leading a horse which is pulling a cart piled high with hay.  One man is on top of the load and another is pulling a rope to secure the load.
  • Black and white photo circa early 1930s of interior of Dulverton post office.  Two women stand behind a polished counter, and the the grill, some scales, a clock and the date on the wall are all clearly visible.

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