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Volume Two

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Ivy Archer (nee Lock)

Born in 1915 in the back room at Cranscombe, a farm on the thousand foot contour above Brendon and Rockford, Ivy grew up in the difficult years immediately after the first world war. Besides running the farm her family had for generations also taken in visitors - Cranscombe happened to be close to the Lorna Doone valley - providing hotel-like full board and lodging in the main house. For as long as she can remember Ivy had helped with the visitors and only left the area for more than a short holiday when she joined the land-girls in the second world war which took her down to south Devon. After the war she married Charles Archer from Brendon Manor and together they moved to Tiverton where he worked as an egg packer. She now lives near Bridgwater.

Black and white photo circa 1940s of two land girls milking a cow one of whom is Ivy Lock from Cranscombe farm, Brendon.

Ivy Archer's chapter includes the following topics and many more:

  • growing up after the first war
  • life on Cranscombe farm
  • aunties visiting for home births
  • swaddling gowns and mashed up food
  • being sung to and cradled in front of the fire
  • the stone deaf grandmother and a brewing accident
  • cream and butter-making in the dairy
  • salting the pig
  • burning turf in the hearth oven
  • sops, salted herring and bacon for breakfast
  • fetching water from the chute in the stream
  • children sharing beds with straw and feather mattresses
  • preparing for the sheep shearing parties
  • father’s handwritten songbook of original Exmoor songs
  • visiting peddlers, gypsies, tradesmen and relatives
  • rabbits and the London Rabbit Run from Dulverton
  • home deaths and laying out the corpse
  • Brendon school and all ages taught in the same room
  • summer outings, nature rambles and truanting
  • the stone cracker breaking stones in the quarry
  • sports day for both children and adults in the church field
  • Barnstaple fair, Sundays and accumulators for the wireless
  • taking holidays on nearby farms
  • paying visitors at the farm, including J M Barrie
  • collecting visitors from Lynton railway station in a horse and cart
  • arrangements for looking after the visitors
  • a first trip in a motor car and jumping out to open gates
  • first trip to London
  • Friday night dances and whist drives
  • conscientious objectors staying at the farm
  • joining the land-girls and hand milking in south Devon

Page sample from Ivy Archer's Chapter

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Photo samples from Ivy Archer's Chapter

  • Black and white photo taken in 1920 or 1921 of Brendon school with the boys in their rough farming clothes and boots and many of the girls in white pinafores.
  • Black and white photo circa 1930s of two farm workers Tom and Bill Lock with their horse and cart at Cranscombe farm.
  • Black and white photo of a page from George Lock’s handwritten song book which was probably started in the 1890s.
  • Main image from the cover of the Great Western Railway’s directory of places to stay at all their railway destinations which was first printed in 1906.
  • Black and white photo circa 1940s of the war time labour force on a farm in Buckfastleigh all leaning on hoes with one land girl among them named Ivy Lock.
  • Black and white photo circa 1920s of a long-horn Devon Red cow with milkmaid Ivy Lock and her milking pail at Cranscombe farm, Brendon.

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