Oakdale. Is the home of Tony and Jacqui Ford. Adjoining it is Tony's workshop where he creates outstanding sculptures both for inside and outdoor use. Over the years he has established himself as an outstanding creative artist and most of his work is on a commission basis. He loves a challenge and never fails to deliver something outstanding. He spent his working life teaching in a local college and as Head of a Department of Engineering. Experienced in welding and fabrication he has put his knowledge to good use. He is responsible for the heron on the Hamlet Green. Jacqui is also an artist in her own right and has written an interesting history about the restoration of their house and the surrounding plot.
House history by Jacqui Ford
We moved into Oakdale Cottage in February 1987, as you see from the photo there was a lot of work to be done.
The land at the back of the cottage used to be part of a market garden with additional pig sty.
Over the years we have purchased additional land from the farmer, each time work was needed to bring the ground back to a usable standard.
Sheds had be dismantled, concrete bases removed and glass from the large greenhouses dealt with to make the area fit for purpose.
Part of the land was also used by a 'Saw doctor' who used to sell and repair farming and gardening equipment, as a result, every time we dig a hole we find bits of lawn mowers and chainsaws.
When laying out the ever extending garden, we have tried to pay due attention to the history of the property and respect to the farmers and farm land surrounding us.
We try to reduce any fencing so as to allow the garden to roll out into the country side and vice versa.
The house as it is today
In the winter Gazette of 2012 Tony wrote...
As most people already know John Hotchkiss (the chainsaw doctor) died on 2nd November at Charge hospital after losing this long battle against cancer.
I first met John when looking for a house in the late 80s. I passed Oakdale cottage and saw it was up for sale. When I asked the estate agent about looking the property over they directed me to someone called the chain Doctor who had of business next to the cottage. Anybody who knew Don and his workplace will know what it was like going through that green door into Aladdin's Cave. After introducing myself he gave me the key and a torch. It was only when I got inside I discovered the reason for the torch. The place had been empty for approximately 10 years. The roof was damaged, the windows smashed and boarded up and the stairs rotted away but as my friends and family said at the time 'it is got potential' in other words I was an idiot to consider buying it!
After moving in and starting the restoration work it was Don who with direct and indirect help kept me going in the right direction. He would tell me about the history related to the house which had been in the family since about 1937. He lent me tools and equipment to complete some of the jobs. Without doubt the garden would not have looked like it did so quickly - all due to Don and his workers trying out the equipment they were repairing. Trouble was as soon as it was deemed OK they would stop! For years the grass looked like a patchwork quilt but at least all the hard work was done.
I miss Don when he left, not only for the technical conversations but also his knowledge of the history of the area.
Find below some photos of Oakdale farm from the 40s -where possible I have given a brief description.
On the left sitting down Lionel in the late 50s early 60s driving the tractor. His father is on the right. In the background is church farm with Pencoed beyond. Oakdale Farm used to be a market garden before, during and immediately after the war but changed to pig rearing to earn additional revenue
Above: Lionel Davies - owner of Oakdale farm ( at the back of Oakdale cottage) early '50s. The car was made for him by his uncle Don Hotchkis -the chainsaw doctor
The Hotchkiss brothers and sister in the yard of Oakdale Cottage. Don is the oneon the left- date August 1944
To the left ( the corrugated sheeted shed is the workshop of Oakdale Iron Works.)