Book covers life on estate

PUBLISHED: 16:38 20 December 2007 | UPDATED: 21:53 29 May 2010

From left: Sir Alan Haselhurst, Stan Casbolt, editor Lizzie Sanders and Sarah Casbolt 					      Picture: GORDON RIDGEWELL

From left: Sir Alan Haselhurst, Stan Casbolt, editor Lizzie Sanders and Sarah Casbolt Picture: GORDON RIDGEWELL

MORE than 100 people packed out a church hall to attend the launch of a book that covers a valuable slice of local history. Stan Casbolt, whose memories of working at Howe Hall are recorded in the book, said: I never believed that the launch would go so

MORE than 100 people packed out a church hall to attend the launch of a book that covers a valuable slice of local history.

Stan Casbolt, whose memories of working at Howe Hall are recorded in the book, said: "I never believed that the launch would go so well. I think we sold nearly £2000 worth of books."

Author Sarah Casbolt said she had been fascinated by the stories that her father had told her and decided to write them down because "it is so important to record a way of life that has slipped away".

Last Saturday's book launch for The Life and Times of a Country Gardener was held at St Peter's Church in Littlebury Green and tells the story of Stan who worked on the farm and in the gardens at Howe Hall, Littlebury, from 1934 to 1984.

Ms Casbolt, 34, started work on the book five years ago, fitting her writing around her jobs as a cleaner at the Katherine Semar Infant School and the Walden Place residential home, both in Saffron Walden.

"I loved writing the book," she said. "It is a unique record of life in the village. It's based on the recollections of my father, but it tells the story of the many changes that have happened in this area such as the development of farm machinery and the history of the hall."

Mr Casbolt, 88, who lives with his wife in Rowntree Way, Saffron Walden, started working at Howe Hall when he left school at the age of 14 and worked there until he retired at 64.

"When I first started working at Howe Hall there were 30 of us farming about 1000 acres of land and the farm machinery was all horse-drawn.

"By the late '60s this had all changed to arable farming and corn growing. Then in 1984 the farm went back to the Audley End estate.

"I was mainly working in the gardens looking after the 13 flower beds, the big lawn and the vegetable garden," added Mr Casbolt.

To his daughter, Mr Casbolt said he would be "forever in debt" and hoped that many people would read her "wonderful book."

The Life and Times of a Country Gardener is available to buy from the Tourist Information Centre in Saffron Walden, priced at £15.

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