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Farm and Family History Articles

Climbing Kilimanjaro

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The Erith Brothers - Their contribution to Architecture, Landscape, Archaeology and Historical Research in Essex

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Robert Erith - 1997 High Sheriff of Essex

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Raymond & Felix Erith's Essex and Suffolk Walking Tour, June 1924

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Journal of Barbara Penelope Erith, nee Hawken

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About Us.

We have lived at Shrubs farm since 1966 and take great pleasure in welcoming visitors to our farm & gardens.  Robert is very happy to take people on a guided tour around the farm and woodlands, while Sara will gladly escort you around the garden, followed by tea and cakes.



Robert and Sara Erith

Robert Erith - 1997 High Sheriff of Essex

By Robert Erith , 20 January 1998

Robert Erith - 1997 High Sheriff of Essex

This portrait was painted in May 1997 when I was High Sheriff of Essex. The High Sheriff must be a landowner in his or her County and is appointed by the Queen and holds office for one year. The origins of the office go back to the days of the Saxon kings, before England was unified - as you probably know, Essex was a Saxon kingdom for some 250 years.

I was the 816th recorded High Sheriff, although many in Saxon and Norman times were not recorded. In the Saxon, Norman and Plantagenet times, the High Sheriff held great power, being responsible for collecting taxes and maintaining law and order.

The High Sheriff today is the representative of the Monarch on all matters to do with Law and Order in the County. The post is largely ceremonial, but contains various legal responsibilities and sitting with High Court Judges, when they visit the County as well as working with the Police and other authorities.

The High Sheriff takes precedence over everyone else in the County, except the Lord Lieutenant, during his or her year of office. Visits from the High Sheriff are welcomed by charitable organisations and public services and provide an opportunity for them to be thanked for their work by a representative of the Queen.

In my year we travelled 5,000 miles in Essex and attended about 250 functions. It was a uniquely enjoyable and fascinating experience.

Farm and Family History

Past times

We have lived here since 1966, but only started buying back what had previously belonged to Shrubs Farmhouse in 1980. The farm now extends to 260 acres.

Firstly the barns which were restored from a state of near collapse by local craftsmen, followed by the farmland, which at that time resembled a prairie. Any hedges not grubbed out were regularly flailed to ground level. This was the general practice at the time.
On acquiring the land, a 20-year plan of action was drawn up to restore the landscape. The first priority was to restore the field and boundary hedges, about five miles of which have been planted or allowed to regenerate.

In these hedges are local English hardwoods such as Holly, Oak, Ash, Hornbeam, Small Leafed Lime, Wild Cherry, Hazel, Cherry Plum, Field Maple, Walnut, Spindle, Dogwood as well as Blackthorn and Hawthorn.

Since 1994, the gardens, orchard and fruit cage to the South, have been created and a park of some 50 acres now surrounds the house.

We are experimenting to see what will grow well within the Park with a range of ornamental trees. These include some 50 varieties of Oak (Quercus) from all over the world.

Details can be found on separate pages, but most oaks do well here and there are two mature specimens of Q. Ilex (Holm Oak) in front of the house.

Other specimen trees include Taxidium Distichum (Swamp Cypress), acers, prunus and various conifers for Winter cover including Cedars of Lebanon and Giant Redwoods. The is also an avenue of Plane trees.


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