7 April 2000

The Hem Farm

Such a seemingly-simple name, Hem Farm.

But its surprising how people just cannot get the hang of it, says Elizabeth Morris. "I have to spell it out, stressing the M for mother."

Letters, nevertheless, still come to Hen Farm and even Ham farm. Neither chickens nor pigs are kept at the beef and sheep farm at Minsterley, Shropshire.

"When we first came here 13 years ago," says Elizabeth, "we imagined Hem meant edge of as we are on the edge of what once was a swamp."

Its certainly a low-lying, wet area – and the first drain, known as The Hem Drain, was dug on the

property in 1766.

This improved the lands

fertility and prompted extensions to the house, which dates back to the early 1600s. In her search for information on the dwelling, Elizabeth found D T Merrys publication, The History of Minsterley particularly useful.

She realised, some years later, she had been thinking along the right lines about the name when discovering Hem was an old world for Bog.

"So we are now just happy we are The Hem Farm and not The Bog Farm."

Does your farm or house have an unusual name? Write and tell us about it in less than 200 words.

Theres a £10 prize for every one we print. Send letters to "Home Truths", farmers weekly Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS.

WANT to work in the countryside when you finish school or college?

Then a good way to learn about the options is to attend a taster course in land-based careers at The Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, on Apr 17-18.

The course, aimed at fifth- and lower-sixth formers, combines

lectures and outside visits and

provides an insight into food and land-based industries in the UK

and worldwide.

It costs £35 including accommodation and meals (£25 without). For more details, call 01285 652531.

* farmers weekly will be publishing a Careers in the Countryside special on Apr 21. See Farmlife section.