Also referred to as the Big House, Church Farm was the largest and wealthiest farm in Cregneash, owning 40 acres. It was lived in until 1979. This was originally a single storey cottage like “Harry Kelly’s”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/man/south/cregneash/cregneash_two/index.html but was extended in mid C19th, when the family came into money. Two rooms were added in front of the original cottage and it was extended upwards by building a second storey above them.
The old barns were demolished and replaced by a large stone barn with a stable for three horses and cowshed. The cows were brought inside on the 12th November until 12th May. Upstairs was a threshing machine, powered by horses.
Hens were allowed to roam freely and there was a small thatched hen house with nesting boxes. They still do roam and regularly have to be shooed out of the house.
The small outside toilet, Thie Veg, is next to the ash pan from the kitchen. Contents were mixed with the ash and spread on fields. Next to it is the pig sty.
The kitchen was still the focal point of the house, although here a cast iron range replaced the open fire. The family could afford to buy coal which was expensive as there is no coal on the island and had to be imported. The range was used for heating water in a small tank beside the fire as well as for cooking. Again there is a large display dresser.
The beaten earth floor has been replaced by concrete with peg rugs. The floor and walls are painted a bright red. The Family could afford oil for oil lamps, and no longer needed to whitewash walls to reflect all available light. The red colour was originally made by adding ox blood to the whitewash, another sign of wealth.
The parlour was the best room and only used for important guests, or on a Sunday when it was used for church services before “St Peter’s Church”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/man/churchesandcrosses/churches/churches_one/creagneash/index.html was built. It has a small fireplace with tiled surround, prints on the walls and a harmonium
The rear of the house is the original cottage and has a dairy with a cold slab for butter making.The scullery was used for the weekly wash and also had an open hearth in the corner which was used for boiling up animal feed.
Above were five bedrooms or store rooms.
This is a marked contrast to the simplicity of Harry Kelly’s cottage and a sign that life for the well to do was comfortable.
There is more information and pictures about Cregneash “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/man/south/cregneash/index.html