High up on a sheltered, well lit corner of a wall in an outbuilding at Cotesbach Hall can be deciphered a faint scribbling entitled ‘TOTAL TATERS 1920’ . The unmistakeable hand of Rowley Marriott (1899-1992) can be discerned listing the weight of potatoes yielded from each of three areas in the walled garden, to a total imperial equivalent of 1,238 kg, nearly three times what we considered to be an exceptional yield this year, 420kg. Struggling out of the war years, the family having lost two sons on the bloody fields of Flanders and then Father who died of grief in 1918, this harvest would have been no mean feat, and their circumstances many times more challenging than ours. What may seem a trivial detail holds spine tingling resonance for us, a most tangible, personal connection to the people who lived here before us. It was a remarkable harvest a century ago, otherwise the result would never have been written on the wall.
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