The ghost of Piccotts End and a trip down memory lane

It’s always fascinating to hear about the comings and goings of your home’s former owners. A chance meeting in a Devon car park has put us in touch with someone who lived in our house back in the1950s. In our case we were on the trail of the Mrs Inglis who lived at Marchmont Cottage between 1951 and 1973. We wanted to know about the house’s early history, and about stories that it had a secret underground passage and a ghost! Hearing that she had moved to Branscombe in Devon, a place well known to us, we made inquiries and found from a car park owner that she used to run the village pub, the Mason’s Arms. Alas Mrs Inglis had died only a year or two previously and so the lead seemed to have run cold. But we were told that Mrs Inglis had a son who lived nearby. Using a google search we managed to make contact with him and received a most fascinating reply. Murray Inglis, whose father was a film producer at Elstree Studios, was born and brought up in Marchmont Cottage and he recalls Piccotts End as having ‘a distinct village identity’.

wilfred-fienburgh‘There were the Wharton’s at Piccotts End House, the Hendry’s at Gadespring (he was a manager at Brock’s Fireworks), Wilfred Fienburgh (pictured left), a flamboyamt MP who tragically died in a car crash, and  Arthur Linley who ran the garage and petrol station and discovered the mediaeval murals in the cottages.  The Courtney’s next along – then a very modern house with swimming pool and the first colour television I ever saw, he always drove a new Jensen.  The Mill was then in working order but rather run down.  Marchmont Cottage and Marchmont House (whose owners were Wing Cmdr Douglas Brown and Elizabeth) were considered part of the village under sufferance!

‘Rumour had it that our house was haunted and some villagers wouldn’t walk past it at night.  The spectral figure was meant to disappear through the floor in front of the french windows in the dining room.  We never met him.  Local lore had it there was a secret passage from our house all the way down to a council building beyond the church which had some affiliation with Henry VIII – crazy when you think about it!’

We are hoping to meet Murray Inglis one of these days and enjoy finding out more about life in Piccotts End in the 1950s.