Elder Stubbs Charity Allotments has an interesting history originating from the time when the people of Cowley made use of the “Elderstub Coppice” on Shotover with a first reference to it in 1643 when it was a small part of the Royal Hunting Forest. This was used with a route usually taken for grazing going up through Open Magdalen and back through Open Brasenose. Local people had grazing rights, pannage and collection of firewood.
This ceased in 1852 with inclosure which led to many heated disputes and the allotments came in to being to ameliorate the impoverishment of the people of Cowley through the loss of their common land. It was administered by trustees who’s remit was to provide a growing area for a rent paid at Michaelmas and Lady Day to meet the needs of the “deserving labouring poor.”
Reference to the current location of Elder Stubbs Charity Allotments dates to the time of the First World War.
Elder Stubbs is unusual in structure compared to many allotments in being a charity rather than Local Authority controlled. Over recent times trustees have taken the original remit to meet the needs of the “deserving labouring poor” to be more more relevant in the support of the disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our local community.
Firstly Restore were invited – a charity working for mental health, to have a base and later on Steppin’ Stones – a charity providing day long support for homeless and vulnerably housed people. These charities are supported by Elder Stubbs Charity Allotments and both played an important part in the regeneration of the allotments from when they were in a degraded state during the 1990’s and before.
Elder Stubbs now provides allotments to local people with about 100 plots of varying size as well as its important community role too.
There is a noteworthy annual celebration that has taken place for over 20 years, always the third Saturday in August – The Elder Stubbs Festival and Vegetable Show which attracts in the region of 3000 people. It is a wonderful family friendly event with music, food, lots of stalls. It also has an important function in promoting the work of Restore and through the Vegetable Show also giving an idea of what can be produced on an allotment.
Above photographs are of the Festival and Vegetable Show