Then one day we had the call: Time Team were coming to Fordscroft! We had watched all of the Time Team series over the last 20 years and we couldn't believe that the program would be all about our hill.
When we met some of the team at the farmhouse we couldn't have felt more relaxed with them. We chatted over lunch about what was likely to unfold during the filming and it was at this point that we discovered the scale of the Time Team machine!
Luckily we had just finished The Yurt Retreat, our luxury yurt campsite at the foot of the hill and this created a great base for the team's incident rooms, computers and dining, as well as great backdrop for scenes.
Despite our worries the 60-strong crew were amazing. Everyone was friendly, helpful and engaging. With the always conscientious Kerry at the helm of logistics, the whole team made a huge effort to respect the yurt site and every part of the farm they used for filming. When they finally left we could hardly tell they'd ever been there.
Seeing the dig in full flow was a real spectacle. From the two diggers perched on top of the hill at the command of Phil and a team of archaeologists, to a film crew in a helicopter circling the site, it was all unfamiliar and exhilarating.
Memorable moments were Peter being filmed from the top of a step ladder, right at the summit of the hill, trying to remember where he'd nudged a large stone over the edge with the plough in 1967, and the flood of friends and neighbours descending on the site to peer in trenches and be a part of this unusual event.
Andrew teamed up with Alex Langlands, a lovely new presenter who we all got on really well with. They had assigned Andrew quite a rigorous filming schedule with Alex. No doubt they had spotted his star potential! Andrew's scenes ranged from trying out ancient quarrying techniques on Ham hill to enjoying a pint in the local pub to break up the long journey home with the excavated stone.
It was an amazing insight to see how hard the presenters work just to get one short scene for the program. They also have to be very versatile and are not afraid to turn their hand to anything. Not as easy as it seems to viewers.
Over the years we had gathered fragments of stories, one of which was that there were household accounts from 'The Castle' held in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. On two separate occasions, when visiting, we had tried to access them. Alas, without success. It was a complicated procedure and so, reluctantly, we put away our quest. So when we were given the news that Time Team had managed to obtain them, and that we were within a few days of seeing them, you can imagine our excitement.
They had decided to reveal them during the filming in the farmhouse. An expert had translated them from Latin and would transport us back to the time they were written. We couldn't believe how similar they were to our own farm accounts of today. We were then presented with copies of them to keep.
For a few hours the farmhouse was a film set. The focus, in the dining room, was Peter and Jane, brother and sister, who were brought up at Fordscroft and were able to talk about the Irishes and their links to the Poulett family of Hinton St. George. They had lived in the manor house and owned a vast estate, part of which was Fordscroft farm.
During the filming there was a knock on the sitting room window. We had all gathered there to listen to the filming in the other room. Someone quietly went to the front door to let Alex Langlands in. Alex is now very much part of Time Team but we were used to him sitting on our bookcase in the form of 'The Victorian Farm' and 'The Edwardian Farm,' from the television series. Now he was sitting on our sofa. We made the most of the opportunity and asked him to sign our copies, which he did willingly.
No more stories: now we have the evidence! Tucked away for safe-keeping, and an important part of our legacy to pass down to future generations.
The experience of Time Team at Fordscroft Farm will stay with everyone here for a very long time and will always be a conversational piece. There are a few points in your life that mark time, and the visit will become one of those for everyone here.
The week went without a hitch, although very hectic. At one point, whilst rounding up some cows that didn't want to be brought in, we ran across the fields to get a phone call to saying that the Time Team were ready to start shooting a scene on top of Castle Hill: a good way to keep fit.
I feel that now that all of our questions, our predecessors' myths and generations of our family wondering about Castle Hill have been addressed. Was it appropriately named? Was there ever a building on top of it and, if so, what was the reason for it being there? By Time Team coming to Fordscroft and uncovering all the things that they did, we, as a family, can now move on, with the knowledge about Castle Hill and its history, so that we can now inform the future generations of the truth of the hill, and no more myths.