Warden Manor

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toch3Because of the cliff erosion little remains of Warden Point. Over the year churches, the Post Office and many homes have fallen in the sea. Warden Manor is probably the most significant building still standing.

During the 1914-18 war the Manor it was used as a small hospital.

In the 1930s the Manor was bought by Cecil Jackson-Cole who was a Quaker gentleman and owned Andrews furniture businesses in London, notably at Highbury Corner, St. John St. Islington and west London, Hammersmith. He was also the founder of an Estate Agency Business with extensive ramifications in Oxford, the West country and parts of London. He was a philanthropist and had a hand in creating Oxfam. He was also the founder of Help the Aged, Voluntary and Christian Services and other charities. He let Toc H have Warden Manor to give holidays to elderly people and others. Before and after the war Warden Manor was a popular venue for Toc H members.

Toc H is a charitable organisation which had its roots in WW1 when Talbot House was founded as a rest and recreation house for weary troops. https://toch-uk.org.uk/

It was ably run by Vic Martin and later by Mr. Jackson-Cole's brother John Cole. There several interesting features during this time in that all the rooms were given names such as The Orient Express, The little Orient, which were equipped like train sleeper cabins, The Ship which had a lot of maritime features, the Tackle Room, and The Ark a section over the refectory ( originally the stables ) which had rooms named Elephant, Zebra, Camel, Lion.

Vic Martin

Whenever Warden Manor or Toc H is mentioned the name Vic Martin soon follows.

He had a passion for model railways and an extensive collection.

Vic's Trains

More than that he made an impact on anyone who visited the Manor.

The Holiday periods were divided into weeks and for each week a Theme was invented. One of the Themes was ancient witchcraft and an artistic holidaymaker painted a large black witch on a broomstick on the end wall of the refectory, and it was on that occasion that as part of the theme the rhyme was voiced by members of the holiday staff, and painted on the wall:-

Here we serve Warden Hags,
Casting spells in paper bags,
Curses on you witches all
Who made poor Vic drive through the wall......

Possibly around that time Vic Martin had had an accident with his car. The picture and verse remained a landmark until the 1980s.

The Manor was used during the second world war as a convalescent home for army officers.

After the war a private individual bought the property and sold part of it (including the small chapel) to the monks who over the years have added to it and now it is fairly large with about fifty monks and nuns living there. It is called The Monastery of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Chapel and pond.
In the grounds there was a pond, heavily contaminated by the burst Manor septic tank nearby, and a building known as The Cowshed, also a Chapel where prayers were offered each evening when it was opened to those so inclined.I was told that during the war the Army occupied the Manor and at the end disposed of a lot of old ammunition in the pond. At some time a piece of ordnance in the pond blew up and damaged the structure of the little Chapel next to it. Toc H chapel at Warden Bay

However for a time it continued to act as a Toc H centre and visitors still talk of the happy times they spent there.

Together with my wife and family I had several very happy holidays at Warden in the 1960's and was there during the " Working weekends " at Easter when volunteers turned up to do chores to prepare the place for another season.

During each holiday week anything interesting that happened during the day was solemnly entered in the "Diary" and everyone contributed to it during the after dinner period when we congregated in the Lounge to hear Vic recount some interesting tales built around Warden Manor. These tales were recounted over and over each year and always looked forward to. There were a lot of diaries in the Manor Library covering a number of years, what happened to them I don't know, but they would have been very interesting historically as they contained the details of all sorts of activity

As a Holiday venue it offered so much. Everyone became intimate friends and one was always meeting old and new ones each year. Meals were taken all together at one long table in the refectory, the food served at the head and the plates passed down the table hand to hand each side. John Cole presided at the meals and opened the feast with a sharp gavel on the table for silence and the words " Praise God for all things".

There was supposed to be a Priest Hole somewhere in the Manor but I don't think anyone ever found it although some enterprising souls went around taking measurements inside and out in an effort to find it. All in all a holiday at Warden Manor which charged very reasonable prices, was an experience to be savoured for relaxation, fun and friendship.

I have vivid memories (and photographs) of warden when it was a Toc H centre. My father worked for the family that owned it and we were given permission to holiday there. For anyone that is interested, I can supply quite a lot of detail. I remember going down for weekend 'working parties' when our parents cleared out the pond (an old swimming pool) and discovered wartime ammunition. Who remembers Mr Colgate, who lived in the cottage just down the lane (opposite) Warden and kept chickens... in the house? I met Vic (who was responsible for the railway carriage which is still there). And the sweety shop and cottages at the point. Sunday mornings in the Chapel... great memories!!!
David Yates

My name is David Yates I was born at Barnland Cottages Warden Road in 1938. I remember Vic Martin in fact as a young boy I used to help my Father doing various jobs for Vic in fact it was my dad who done a lot of the work assembling the railway carriage, I can also remember when Vic first assembled the model railway in the out buildings of the manor this was prior to the bungalow being built ( my Dad did all the brick work) the model railway was then reset in the bungalow and grounds. I also remember Bill Colegate in fact the house that he lived in Manor Cottage was occupied by my Great Grandfather Henry Yates from 1862 to 1872.

I hope you find this of interest

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