Some History of Moscow Farm
Firstly why is it called Moscow Farm? ......................... The name on the old maps is Great Dalby Lodge Farm.
At that time it was owned by the Burdett Estate. Moscow Farm was a nickname which stayed.
The general opinion of those who live here, is that its a 'top coat colder' than the neighbouring villages.
Hunt Steeplechases used to be organised in the local area, and Moscow Farm was one of the 'markers' for the riders.
Whilst watching the races, one of the spectators is heard to have said, 'its like Russia down here'.
Maybe that is the reason for the Moscow Farm nickname.
The Johnson family have now farmed here for 3 generations. The land is heavy clay. The summer drought 0f 2011 gave
us one of our better yields at harvest, as the ground will hold its moisture a lot longer than lighter land. This is after extensive
historic drainage schemes.
The farm lies beneath Burrough Hill Iron Age Hillfort. Roman greyware pottery sherds turn up in the fields
not to mention evidence of Roman habitation with ditches being present in some fields - about 3 feet below the present
surface of the soil. The lights of Leicester can be seen from the high spots on the farm. The Roman links with Leicester
(Ratae Corieltavorum) are well documented. The archaeological projects on Burrough Hill relate to the lands beneath
the hill - i.e. Moscow Farm/Little Dalby Estate.
In the 1840's, sheep roamed the fields, with cattle to produce milk. Some of the wetter fields were
known as 'The Moor'.
The farm was tenanted by the Gunn family of Cricket bat fame. Mr Gunn died in his mid thirties and his wife
bravely carried on farming for a few more years after his death.
During the 1870's - 1890's there were several different tenants, but the going was very tough.
After WW2 Francis George Johnson intensified the egg production on the farm and we were into a new era. Bull beef
was also reared, fitting into the arable rotation. At the moment we are all arable, but have strong conservation beliefs.
Although hedgerows were taken out in the 1960's, even more have been planted up to the present time.
A HISTORY OF Stilton Cheesemaking at Moscow Farm and Reids Lodge
Grandma Johnson – Elizabeth Ann Reid
Born Old Dalby 1866/8
Parents were Arthur Reid and Sarah (nee Smith)
1881 servant at Uncle’s house in Nottingham
1891 living with 6 siblings and parents at Reid’s Lodge, Little Dalby. Only part of the barn is left of this property. It is between Home Farm and Moscow, on the edge of Sir Francis Burdett’s Fox Covert. Known as Red Lodge/Reids Lodge/West Lodge/Little Dalby Lodge.
We have Elizabeth Ann’s Expenses and Receipt book from January 1896 to December 1897, showing interesting things like ‘pink pills’ purchased, and ‘Ostler paid’, and many pounds of Stilton Cheese sold. Presumeably the Ostler was paid to look after the horse and trap on trips to Melton market, on a Tuesday.
Extracts from the Account Book
On 25th May 1897 Grandma Johnson purchased ‘4 Cheese Hoops at 1/6d each’.
On 23rd September 1897 a Doctor’s bill of £2-8s-0d was paid…..
Also on that date a sum of 6d was paid for ‘Cheese Fair Tips’. She had sold Stilton to the value of £29-15s-0d – 896lbs in weight.
Dexter Hill, the blacksmith was paid for ‘fitting cart lamps’. The track to Red Lodge went over 2 fields, and no longer exists.
Great Dalby Church Restoration Fund was given 10 shillings…
More cheese hoops were purchased in June 1898.
A gift for Little Dalby Bazaar was purchased for 3/-
Cheese Pins were purchased in June 1898
Coal for Cultivators in July.- visiting steam machines?
Pan lid mending 7d.
Thrashing Beer 6/6d
18 Sept 1898 – wedding present for Miss Dorothy. This would be for the marriage of Miss Dorothy Burns-Hartopp of Little Dalby Hall. She married Capt Edward Bell at St George’s, Hanover Square, that year.
Elizabeth Ann married George William Johnson of Ford Farm, Great Dalby in 1895. They lived at Reids/Red/West Lodge, Little Dalby when first married, as her parents moved to Scraptoft. They had Ethel, Arthur and Francis. Ethel & Arthur were certainly born there. We are not sure when they moved to Manor Farm Little Dalby. Francis was born in 1909. The family were complete and on the 1911 census at Manor Farm Little Dalby.
They must have moved to Moscow Farm in the 1930's.
Grandma said …..Stilton cheese-making was more work than babies – via Bill Johnson of Yew Tree Farm, Great Dalby - one of her grandsons.