09 – Lower Rockes

Sheep shearing at Lower Rockes

The farm derived its name from Thomas Rocke who became vicar of Butleigh in 1577 and held the Estate of Butleigh Manor. His descendants established two farms, Higher and Lower Rockes which remained in the family until sold, mainly to George Neville Grenville in 1828. There is an iron flag on the roof dated 1671. Servants used to live in the attic and holes for the slats they slept on are still visible. In 1911 Jack Killen farmed here as well as renting and running the Parsonage Farm opposite. He employed gypsies during the war to hoe his sugar beet and was remembered also for going out to milk cows in an old American jeep. Jack remained farming till he was nearly eighty. During the 1980s and 1990s the house was a commune and flagstone floors were painted red, the carved fireplace blue, and each step of the stairs to the upper floor were painted a different colour. One member of the commune kept roosters in her room.