The Children's 'Speak Pipe' in Stockton

Archdeacon Colley's eccentric garden feature

Children's speak pipe at Stockton
Warwickshire County Record Office PH 352/169/30

Archdeacon Colley, rector of Stockton, created a fascinating feature in his garden called a speak pipe that connected his summerhouse to children down below. He offered a reward to children for repeating religious sayings up the pipe: a half-penny, an apple or even an orange rolled down the pipe. It is to be hoped that naughty children did not shout rude things up the pipe to irritate the hearer in the summerhouse above and then run away, but it must have been rather tempting!

What happened to the speak pipe?

Sadly the rectory, summer house, speak pipe and wall have all disappeared from Stockton as the rectory is now demolished and new houses have been built on the site. However I was told that the speak pipe had gone to Hellidon Vineyard. I managed to confirm that this is true; the actual pipe disappeared some 60 years ago but the summer house still survives, though in a poor state as it is well over 100 years old. I hope to be able to visit and take a photograph to add to this article. Is this unique – or has anyone heard of another similar device?.

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