The Mere at Bishop Burton

Hitching a lift

A swan, with cygnets aboard on the mere

The Mere

 A guest post written by my father, John

Pond, Mere or Lake, my helpmate Goggle does not give a clear definition but ours is and always has been a Mere, other villages have a pond but not Bishop Burton. The spring that feeds it was obviously the reason for the location of our village for  early man  would have valued it not only for his own use but also for his livestock.

The spring was fed into a cistern from which it was pumped by what was known as The Drinking Water Pump, the overflow from which fed the Mere.  This pump which was situated on the left hand side of the approach road to the Lytch Gate was the sole supply of the needs of not only the village but surrounding farmhouses as well. Householders had then to carry it home in buckets, I can now clearly visualise Arthur Newlove carrying two buckets along Puddingate to his house  situated where the shop is now.  The isolated farms would have two water carts, one for drinking water and another to supply their livestock from the pond, the pump for which still stands today and is listed on the suggestion of Roy Wilson when he was researching our Historical Board. TheColdHarbourcart had four wheels and stood at the foreman’s house backdoor.  Geof Ellerington tells the story when hoeing turnips one hot day coming across for a drink from it and how it tasted a bit woody, we never noticed this but it would have done standing in the sun for up to a fortnight.  No doubt a glass full today would put one in hospital for a fortnight..

The farms would have had cisterns for roof water and some had ponds to supply their stock but these soon ran dry in summer, all water other than that collected from the house roof had to be pumped so horses were always walked through the Mere going to and from work to give them a drink.

Mains water came to the village in the early 1940’s and to the farms a couple of years later,  ponds were filled in due to animal health regulations in an effort to control Bovine TB.

What a change from being the essential point round which our village developed to what it is today, the habitat of ducks,geese, swans and six cygnets

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