Sawston Village History Society

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July 2013 Meeting Report

Visit to Docwras Manor, Shepreth

Twenty-five members met at Docwra’s Manor on a warm, sunny evening in July. Mrs Faith Raven, who has lived at the manor since her marriage in 1954, gave us a brief history of the house, parts of which may date from the fifteenth century. Various additions and alterations have taken place since then but the house was the main building of a working farm, evidence of which can be seen in the various large barns.

From the front garden we walked through to the main lawn and then made our own way through the various types of garden within the overall boundary. The wild garden led through to the spring garden which as its name suggests would have been at its best when the bulbs were in flower although there was still colour in the borders and bushes.

The way through a large wooden barn led to the paved courtyard where lilies were just coming into bloom in the large raised pond. This in turn led to the gravel courtyard with a low open sided barn butted on to a tall barn where various old implements hung from the walls and through which led to the walled garden.

This garden was a mass of colourful perennial plants in full flower with paths crisscrossing between the many beds and a long narrow greenhouse against an old wall where potting up of cuttings and seedlings took place. From there we walked into the paved garden which had wide borders of flowering shrubs and a walkway to the vegetable garden which is tended by one of Faith's neighbours.

We had a quick look at the tennis court which looked in need of some enthusiastic players to bring it back to life, but the orchard was in very good shape and the trees well tended. We made our way back through the walled garden to the kitchen lawn and from there to the front drive to take a peek into yet another barn which had been used as a stable in earlier times.

We agreed the visit was very worthwhile and being split into so many different garden ‘rooms’ made it all the more enjoyable, and the barns were a fascinating mishmash of many old implements, pots and general paraphernalia collected over possibly several centuries.
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