The Biggs and Huddle Mill
“Huddle Mill was the home of Margaret, Claude and Charlie Biggs. The family moved there when Charlie was two and rented it from Mr Baker, a relative of the Kempsons, who later sold it to a pork butcher in Coventry, from whom Claude ultimately bought it. Claude farmed the approximately 20 acres into the 50s - but he didn’t live there. Latterly, having married Elsie Page, he lived at Little Merrifield. Although very little but rubble remains today, Huddle Mill had a number of buildings including the house, a cottage, hop kiln and barns. There was also a horse drawn cider mill, common on many properties. The property was called a mill, yet milling had not been undertaken there in living memory, nor was there any sign of a mill building or machinery. However, Margaret George (nee Biggs ), recalls that a shallow trench, probably the old mill race, could be seen coming from higher up the river to the buildings. The water from this race is likely to have run into the Little Brook, (which flows through Woodend Lane) and then the few yards into the Lodon or Leadon as it was once known. Margaret recalls from her earlier years that they used to catch rainbow trout in the Lodon - it was deep near the Mill - and her father was known to catch eels, skin them and cook them in a pan, where they would jump about, for breakfast. The last resident of the house was Fred Harris who rented it from Claude. Fred was always to be seen with his black and white dog. At the time of Fred’s death, the buildings were deteriorating and when the property was purchased by the Barretts in the late 50s, it was demolished and the stone from the buildings was removed. All that remains is the outline of a brick cottage. Access to the property by vehicle was difficult and Claude Biggs’ family mainly used a horse and trap. The track through the Wood’s Mill was wide enough but the mill race leaked and a part of the road was too soft. Latterly it was possible to get in with a World War II jeep. The track crossed over a stone bridge which may have been washed away in the period, but the pillars of the arch can still be seen. A new bridge suitable for farm vehicles has been constructed by the Barretts a 100 yards or so upstream to connect their land.”
Source: Quote from “Memories of Stoke Lacy 1952-2002.”
The Biggs family, Father, mother and three children moved to Huddle Mill when Charlie was two years old, that would have been between November 1926 and November 1927, as he was born in November 1924.
The children used to walk across the fields to access Woodend Lane and then the school. Their parents would make the same journey to catch a bus. They attended church regularly. “Wood’s Mill” refers to the Mill at Stoke Lacy just past the church on the right hand side. That mill race leaked and the river flooded so the track would have been very difficult for vehicles.
The above information would have been contributed by Charlie Biggs and Margaret George, (nee Biggs) who visits Stoke Lacy churchyard to tend the graves of her brothers and parents.
I have just looked in Kelly’s Directory of Herefordshire 1895 and noted “Davis Henry, farmer & carrier, Huddle Mill.” among the people listed in Stoke Lacy. Also Lascelle’s Directory 1851, lists “Powell Joseph, farmer, Huddle Mill” among Stoke Lacy residents.
Contributed: E Arnott (2021)