Islands for sale by auction

Potton and Rushley go under the hammer

By Brian Pettitt

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Photo:The solitary house on Rushley

The solitary house on Rushley

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This page was added by Brian Pettitt on 21/12/2014.
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Together with my family, cousins, uncles and aunts I lived on Potton island  through the 1940s we moved away in 1950.

By Clive Muggridge
On 13/12/2021

Perhaps surprisingly the causeway to Rushley Island has changed very little since 1926 and is still in use today. The Island is not part of the ‘danger zone’ and remains a private farm.
Traditionally cattle and sheep were kept on the island. Fresh water was a problem at times and there was/is a land drainage system in place that was designed to collect the rain water with one way valves that could discharge any excess off the island at low tide. There was also a pond at the farm that has since been filled in. The farmhouse and farm was located at the south west corner of the island near the causeway with the house on the highest part of the island. However because of the shrinkage of the land due to it drying out because of improved drainage the farm site has been falling in height compared to sea level over time by about 2 feet in every 50 years! Today it is about 5 feet above mean sea level. The house was already a ruin by the time of the 1953 flood. Many of the cattle on the island survived the flood on this higher ground around the ruined farmhouse and were rescued. Today there is a modern barn built on the site of the previous farmhouse. The 1926 sale catalogue for Rushley farm (Also known as Pasture Farm) and the 204 acres of Rushley Island are in the Essex records office (they have two copies. REF SALE/B523 and SALE/B7936.)

Potton Island is somewhat larger than Rushley. There was previously a causeway and ferry across Potton Creek from the mainland at Bullman’s Reach. The causeway however was never fully dry and was often washed out and as a result after the MOD took over a new swing bridge was eventually built about ¼ mile further south  (the remains of the causeway, that also doubled and the landing stage for the ferry survive and can be seen today). Today much of the island is still grazed by cattle and sheep but there are several modern ‘research’ type buildings on the island including a group built on the site of the previous Great Potton farm near the old causeway. I think the 1926 Potton Island sale catalogue is grouped with several others in the Essex records office in item ref: S2882. But I have not checked this to make sure.

By B Meldon
On 24/12/2014
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