July 8, 2020 at 8:20 am #1288John ShieldsKeymaster
From Alan James – 9 June 2020
Rachel and I have been debating whether the land where the caravan site is now may have had a different name when it was a farm field. David Austen who farms there now has no idea, the generation of Murray-Ushers and those closely linked with them who remember the pre-caravan site days have passed on; Ruby (Robina) M-U always called it Sandgreen when telling me of times before it became a caravan site, and such written reminiscences as I’ve seen call it by that name; it’s not impossible that someone local might happen to recall some other name, but I don’t think there’s any reason to doubt that piece of land was generally called Sandgreen.
The ‘field’ is really a ‘green’, a stretch of sandy grassland above the shore of Airds Bay. It is shown on the 1st ed. OS map, the sinuous bounds are exactly the same as those of the caravan park today. It’s on the seaward side of Sandgreen Hill, which must have been named after the ‘green’. There were two sand-pits in it (presumably for utilitarian purposes, not, at least originally, bairns’ play!), and the bathing hut at the north end, with the long straight drive to Cally so the Murrays and their visitors could ride down to the beach for a splash and a picnic. So the name Sandgreen was evidently current in 1850, the piece of land might have had some other name before then, when it was presumably part of Airds farm, but Sandgreen seems to have been current for the past 150 years or so.
I’m forming the impression that ‘green’ in local field-names may go back to the time of large-scale cattle-droving, 17th – 19th cts, it turns up near old routeways that were probably used by drovers, and a ‘green’ may have been specifically a piece of grassland where the cattle could pause to feed (no doubt for some fee to the farmer or landowner). Judging by the map of fords across the Fleet estuary, Sandgreen would have been a convenient spot for feeding the herds after they’d made the crossing.
I’d tended to dismiss Sandgreen as a not very interesting name for a caravan site, but the more we look at these places, the more we can find!
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