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Margaret Hopper nee Moncrieff

Monday 25 June, 2018, by Karen Griffiths

Janina Holubecki has just sent us some wonderful photographs and documents about her grandmother Margaret Hopper nee Moncrieff who farmed at Yorescott with her husband Redvers. They had northern dairy shorthorns and Dalesbred sheep apparently.

Redvers Hopper after retirement to Askrigg, with calves and two of his grandchildren Marysia and Janina. Courtesy of Janina Holubecki.

Margaret, it turns out, brought a specialist knowledge of dairying to her marriage as she had trained at the Cheshire County Council Dairy Institute at Worleston. Her daughter, the late Ann Holubecki wrote this about her:
“She was born Margaret Elizabeth Moncrieff in Lancashire and attended a dairying and cheesemaking course at Worleston Dairy Institute in Cheshire (now Reaseheath College of Agriculture). She took up cheesemaking and came to Kirkby Malzeard to make Wensleydale cheese in the 1920s. She then moved to Bainbridge to make cheese in the old mill, which had been converted to a dairy. There, she met Joseph Redvers Hopper – Farmer and Auctioneer – and they married in 1925.”
‘The Victorian Farmhouse Kitchen’ Now Then Vol. 23: Nov. 2014 pp8-9

Margaret Moncrieff, Low Mill Dairy, Bainbridge 1924. Courtesy of Janina Holubecki

Janina also sent us scans of some of the correspondence from Worleston , including Margaret’s letter of acceptance transcribed below – note  that ‘we keep no maids in the dairies’!

Nantwich 31 December 1919
Dear Miss Moncrieff
I will keep a place for you for the second term and let you know later the exact date.
You must understand that everyone works very hard here –we keep no maids in the dairies and everyone has to do their share in the cleaning including floors etc.
With every good wish for the coming year. Believe me,
Truly yours
J Forster [Principal]
In a later letter, she is told to bring the following items of clothing:
You will need two milking overalls…….strong boots and plenty of aprons (including rough ones for cleaning). Bedroom slippers with soft bottoms – house slippers.  Otherwise you dress as you like. Of course plain blue dresses for the dairies.
From the photograph, it appears that once qualified, Margaret chose to wear jodhpurs rather than dresses – she was clearly a very practical woman. The course at Worleston looks to have been very comprehensive as this prospectus shows:

We’re looking forward to hearing more about Margaret’s career in cheesemaking at Low Mill dairy and at Yorescott farm.

Picture of Karen Griffiths

Karen Griffiths

Interpretation Officer for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority


7 Replies to “Margaret Hopper nee Moncrieff”

  1. Patricia Harris says:

    As a child my mother took me to Yoresco. I remember playing in the fields with Josie .I cannot recall uncle redvers or aunty monty but obviously met them. My mother was redvers cousin.

  2. Patricia harris says:

    I seem to remember going to visit Redvers Hopper and Margaret at Colby hall and standing in the large Elizabethan fire place. Did they live at Colby hall at anytime?

    • I don’t know! I suspect not – think the Scarr family have been there a long time

      • Patricia is right! Margaret and Redvers Hopper and their 3 daughters (Jean, Ann and Josephine) DID once share Coleby Hall with the Scarrs – it was during the War. They had one wing of the hall and Peggy and James Scarr and their family had the other. Mum told us lots of stories about their time there, including about the wartime evacuees they housed. After Coleby, they lived in a bungalow nearby and then eventually Yorescott once Joseph Hopper (Redvers’ Father) had either retired or died.

        • Patricia Harris says:

          Thanks for confirming they lived at coleby hall. I remember going there with my mother and sitting in the big fireplace on a wicker chair that aunts monty made. I remember playing in the fields with Josie Hopper.Happy days.

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