JAMES BUGGS

My father lived from 1886-1965 and is commemorated by grateful hoppers with a plaque in a copse at the top of the track near the farmhouse.

Before him, his father was a farmer, born in 1850, and he was the one who built the business up really.

I think he had about 800 sheep at one time. It was a mixed farm as well, so he built the business up.

His father was also a farmer, at first in East Peckham, and then he took tenancy of Church Farm up here in about 1847. He was the first Buggs here at Church Farm. Grandad took it up a few notches though.

James Arthur Buggs 1850-1938
James Arthur Buggs 1850-1938

There would have been some beef cattle and for many years they had two or three house-cows -- milk for the house - then they grew hops and apples, cherries and some cereals.

Today we have about 300 breeding ewes and produce cereals and apples as well as the lamb and farm a total of about 500 acres, though some of it is just sheep-grazing land, annually rented.

My father and uncle farmed in partnership after my grandfather died but when my father died in 1965 increasingly I was involved in the business and then my uncle died in 1978 so it was on my shoulders.

Bert Buggs sampling crops
Bert Buggs sampling crops

We don't grow hops now, though we look back with affection. It was hard work but it was very much a way of life and an interesting crop to grow. There was quite a bit of work during a lot of the year, especially during the picking season.