My family originally came from Cumberland. My grandfather, Benjamin Todhunter, owned Kingsmoor House in Great Parndon, Nr Harlow, Essex
My father, John Todhunter, bought Dunstead
from the MacCrackens in the early 1950s and he and my mother Angela, lived
there until his death when the house and farm was sold to the Kembles.
The land at Dunstead, was also associated
with Corn Hall which was owned by my Aunt and Uncle Hope and Laurie
< Corn Hall, Sudbury Rd, Bures
| My aunt who was a keen horsewoman,
kept ponies for my younger sister and myself.
During the school holidays, we went up to Corn Hall most days to ride.
I subsequently did my compulsory years practical experience prior to going to Agricultural college, at Corn Hall. My Aunt (who had no children) left the house and farm to my first cousin Peregrine Simson.
The lady on the left is my mother, Angela.
Photograph taken at Dunsteads.
Initially the land that went with Dunstead was only about 60 odd acres, but then my father bought adjoining Woolmans farm land (but not the house) which increased the acreage to (I think) 128 acres.
My father then had a pair of semi-detached cottages built on the Woolmans land, one for the farm foreman (Dennis Bussey) and his family and the other for another estate worker.
The Busseys had been living at Slipphurst (at the end of the Dunstead drive) but once they moved, my father sold Slipphurst.
< Slipphurst 2017
When we first lived there we had no mains
water or electricity. There was an engine shed next to the
garage which housed a generator.
If a switch in the house was turned on, it automatically started the engine but it was obviously very inefficient to run the whole thing for just one appliance, so things like the ironing were done in the evenings when the lights were on.
Ironically the power lines ran across the farm and my father got paid a small amount of compensation for having both the lines (the water dripping off the lowest point meant that nothing grew underneath) and the pylons on the land, but we didnt have mains electricity until well into the 1960s I think.
John and Angela in front of the drawing room window at Dunstead
John with Starsky and Hutch
One of the outbuildings outside the back
door held the pump for the water. Each morning my father would go and
swing the huge fly wheel to get it going a gauge in the kitchen
marked when the tank was full. During the winter when the cattle were
all in the yard we had to pump up several times a day as the tank had
to supply the yard as well as the house.
In really cold winters the pipes carrying the water from the house to the yard got frozen, so a large part of the day was spent filling tanks on trailers and driving the water down to the yard to keep the cattle supplied.
Sadly my father died in 1989 and
the house was put on the market with Savills that year, but I dont
think that it sold until 1990.
Memorial Stone in Bures Cemetery, August 2017