Today’s Friday photo is of the Old Rectory at Sheldon Country Park. The building was originally used as the rectory for the nearby St Giles Church, but this was deemed too small by the then incumbent, so then became a 17th Century dairy farm. The Blue plaque as seen in the picture, remembers the house’s most famous inhabitant, Thomas Bray. Thomas was rector of St Giles Church from 1690-1721 and his achievement included setting up Sheldon’s first school in 1704 and later helping to establish the Church of England in Maryland, USA.
A cheeky little chicken ran into the picture, which is reminiscent of the time it was a working Farm House. Indeed, the Old Rectory Farm has now been fully restored and operates as a demonstration farm celebrating the traditional methods of agriculture. The farm is home to numerous animals including Jersey cows, pigs, goats, ponies, ducks, chickens and geese. Sheldon has a very strong agricultural heritage, and it remained a small agricultural village up until the early 1930’s. However, from the post-war period there was rapid development and the last of Sheldon farming tradition were to disappear. Sheldon Country Park is therefore a great asset to remember the area’s agricultural roots.