The Old Mansion of Bishops Itchington

The Mansion, Bishops Itchington in the early 1900s.
Image courtesy of Bill Sutton

My grandparents Henry and Amy Robbins lived in part of the old mansion buildings which stood on the site of the present Mansion Close until it was demolished in 1964. They had nine children of whom seven survived to adulthood.

Water carried in buckets

The mansion dated back to the 1500s and the section my grandparents rented consisted of one large room downstairs while the upstairs was divided into three odd shaped bedrooms. Meals were cooked on a large range and water was carried in buckets from a communal tap in front of the building. There was no sink in the house so all waste water was thrown onto the garden. The downstairs room had a single electric light, which was installed in 1951, but we had to use a candle to light our way to bed at night. It was quite scary to me as a young child.

Pigs in a sty

The earth closet was at the end of the building next to the wash house and firewood store. Granddad kept pigs in a sty at the back of the building in the late 1940s. The large garden reached as far as Chapel Street and was filled with fruit trees and neat rows of vegetables. Granddad also had allotments which ensured the family was always well fed. Henry Robbins passed away in September 1950 aged 87 after spending the morning working in his garden. Grandmother Amy died in 1959.

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