Decker Murfitt – My Life With Shires in the Fens
Born Derek George Murfitt on 12th March 1943, Decker tells us that when he started work full time for Cole Ambrose of Stuntney they had 3,000 acres, 100 men and 200 horses and many is the time that he has seen as many as 22 horse and cart loads of celery, potatoes and other crops going along the road from their farm to Ely station.
Decker’s Mother Jesse Bean and all her forbearers were horsemen and whilst Decker’s Father was a pieceworker his Grandfather was very much a horseman and amongst other things used to break former race horses to be used in gigs and carriages.
It is said that there are now ‘more horses about than there are horsemen’. Decker has been a horseman all of his life and is still a horseman for he keeps 12 Shires on the farm where he has worked since the day he started.
Stuntney lying between Soham and Ely is in the heart of the fens and Decker is steeped in all of its traditions that make horsework here so distinctive. He has ploughed many an acre with three horses on the single line which is a remarkable peculiarity to this area and if there is anyone left who could demonstrate it today, it would be Decker.
With the horse there is no substitute for experience and here Decker shares with us his experience of a lifetime, not just in working the heavy horse but in managing, handling, foaling and farriery and passes on many of the old horseman’s secrets and even their ways bordering on witchcraft.
This is not a nostalgic reminiscence for Decker has worked with horses every day of his life and still does and has the age old ability to convert those experiences into story for us.
Total Time 1 hour & 55 mins approx. Produced November 2007
Product Code: NLDVD44