Derelict cottage's secret history

IF it stood anywhere else, this would be a real des res - with a price tag reaching a million pounds.

IF it stood anywhere else, this would be a real des res - with a price tag reaching a million pounds.

With no neighbours for as far as the eye can see, surrounded by marsh fields of waving corn, views of boats on a river, and nothing but the sound of birdsong in the air, it could be an idyllic place to live.

Sadly, though, this old farm is derelict - and never likely to be lived in again.

It stands alone and forlorn in its fields, its masonry crumbling and windows boarded up, a memento of the night of terror more than half a century ago when the area was flooded.

It's called Holmhill Farm and stands on the Felixstowe Marshes, near the southern end of the Kingsfleet - where Edward III assembled his fleet in 1338 before setting off to fight France, but which today is landlocked - and can be seen from the river wall at Felixstowe Ferry.

Access was probably from the bottom of Marsh Lane, but today the fields and track are private land and the closest anyone can pass the old house is by a public footpath along the river or alongside the Kingsfleet up to Falkenham.

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Much of its past is shrouded in mystery.

Tony Ratcliffe, chairman of the Felixstowe Ferry Preservation Society, said it was believed Holmhill was vacated after the 1953 surge when the Deben flooded fields and the Ferry community was inundated.

“I have a feeling that was the last time it was lived in and it has been derelict ever since,” he said.

“It is sad and for some reason no-one has ever bothered to demolish it.

“It would be easy to get electricity to it and you use bottled gas, but I am not sure if it has a water supply or a well - a well would be pretty saline by now - and because it stands on the flood plain, it cannot be lived in.”

Do you know more about Holmhill's history? Do you know of a sadder house? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

FASTFACTS: Lost property

Another house which stood on the marshes near Felixstowe Ferry and the Kingsfleet was the marsh man's cottage - this was demolished after the 1953 floods swept across the area.

Also now gone is the water bailiff's house, a thatched cottage with a built-in boathouse which stood alongside the Kingsfleet in 1908. The bailiff supervised fishing on the fleet and hired out small boats.

It's usually land which disappears in the Felixstowe Ferry area - changes at the mouth of the estuary have eroded more than 40 yards of beach in front of the sailing club over the past 40 years.

Two of the area's three Martello Towers, built in Napoleonic Times, still stand but Tower S, which stood in The Dip area was swept away by erosion in the 1830s.