(May 2023) Did You Know? – Sibford Gower Village Pond 

A path with buildings on the side of a riverThis month’s calendar photograph showing the pond in Sibford Gower was taken by Colin Lamb. Historically, and at the heart of the village, the pond has been a feature in our village for hundreds of years attracting generations of families to enjoy it. 

Various springs arising from the bank below Elmridge Farmhouse come together forming a pool, which until 1885 constantly flowed across the village track making a swampy area below Pond Cottage. In the late 1800’s A group of people in a forestwork was undertaken to kerb it and an entry in Rev E Stevens diary for 7 September 1885 recorded that, ‘The pond at Sibford Gower is now finished and considerably improved; but I fear it is done in such a manner that the improvement will not be very permanent, though Adkins has done all he undertook to do for £9. I think that if the first plan had been carried out, the estimate for which was £16 it would have been better, would have looked better, and would have been a great and permanent improvement. The area appears too large for the supply of water which leaks away all round the pond.’ 

Since it was formed in 1894, the Gower Parish Council has spent much time discussing pond matters – ownership (which has never been established), ducks, fish, frogs, newts, emptying and cleaning and traffic matters. In recent years, and for various reasons, the water table has dropped significantly especially during the summer months. The water has become very shallow reducing oxygen levels making it unsustainable for the shadow carp which used to be seen in its clear waters. It is said that you are not a true Sibfordian until you have fallen into the village pond! 

In 1887 an oak tree was planted by the pond to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Sadly, the tree did not thrive. On October 22, 1887 Joseph John Lamb, met his end by falling from a chestnut tree in the garden of his home, West Town House in Sibford Ferris. He was killed instantly while knocking down the ripe fruit for his son Theodore. The chestnut tree now growing by the pond in Sibford Gower was raised from a nut picked up by Theodore, from the side of his father’s dead body. This childhood trauma may have led to Theodore Lamb later living as a hermit on Sibford Heath.