The Great Cornard Information Website

Home Page

Table of Contents

Community People


Cornard People

Page updated - 15 October 2006


Colin Steed


 Colin still lives in the house in which he was born and very few people, of his age, can legitimately make this claim. He came into this world in the upstairs bedroom of his farmhouse 67 years ago. His father, Donald, a farmer, had moved there from Kent in 1921 when he was a boy. In the 1930's he met and married Colin's mother. She was a Parmenter - an old Cornard family. Her grandfather, Robert William Parmenter had built The Queen's Arms in Broom Street and when he retired to Wrongs Farm at the bottom of Wells Hall Road, his son, David Parmenter, took over the running of the pub, having previously been the landlord of The Five Bells. Colin's mother lived at The Queen's Arms as a child with her 8 sisters and 3 brothers. She met Donald during the time she was secretary to P.H. Oliver of Boardman & Oliver, the auctioneers who ran the livestock market in Sudbury, and by coincidence Colin met his own wife, Margaret, when she was secretary to Roly Oliver, the son of P. H. Oliver.


Colin attended Great Cornard School, now Wells Hall Old School, when Lionel Hurst was headmaster. Children attending the school were aged between 5 and 11 years and the number of pupils present was written up on a board every day. Colin recalls that it was usually around 127 - a far cry from the number today! At the age of 10, he left Cornard to become a Weekly Boarder at Colchester High School. At 16, he started at Chadacre Agricultural Institute near Hartest. Colin has farmed all his life and has, in all, 350 acres, including land at Great Waldingfield, which his nephew farms. For a long time the farm carried out grass drying - that is growing green crops for drying and then grinding them into meal to be included in rations for intensively reared animals, but when the price of diesel went through the roof in the 1970's, he gave it up. Until 1997 he had 300 cattle including 150 milking cows but due to the slump in the market, he found that it was not commercially viable to continue the herd. His farm is now arable but he still keeps very busy - it seems that farmers never retire!


Colin married Margaret in 1966 and they have three children, Jeff, Susanne and Catherine and now two grandchildren. Colin's son also trained at Chadacre, but has now diversified to include vehicle repairs.


Colin has seen many changes in Great Cornard since he was a child, not all for the better, and like many people here does not like the intensity of building that seems to be going on everywhere. He is one of the few farmers left in the area and we all hope that he manages to continue farming so that we still have some green fields left here.


 Cornard News 15 Aug 2006