Over the last hundred years or so, the large estates have been split up for various reasons, leaving only two major landowners: Reading University and Farley Farms. The Auction Sale documents give us a fascinating snapshot into life at the time of each sale.
The Newlands estate covered much of the centre of Arborfield Cross, and was originally sold in 1947, but not all of the Lots were successfully sold. Another sale took place in 1948, and a third in 1952. We are grateful to David Simonds and Henry Lee for the loan of the Sale documents.
The Arborfield Hall estate was offered for sale in 1855 and again in 1919, 1924 and 1926, and by 1919 it included property along Church Lane. The Church lost its Reading Room, which wasn't originally intended to have been put in the sales. A separate furniture sale was held in 1926, as advertised here.
Carter's Hill Farm was sold in 1919. Most of the agricultural land is now owned by the University of Reading, while the buildings have been sold and in some cases converted into dwellings.
The Bearwood estate was gradually accumulated under John Walter II and then John Walter III when the fortunes of 'The Times' newspaper were running high. By the time Arthur Fraser Walter died in 1910, it covered a huge area of more than 10 square miles including much of Nine Mile Ride south of Wokingham, but it was under pressure to be sold off to pay death duties. First, the 'outlying portions' were put up for auction in March 1911, leaving the mansion, home farm and closer properties for a second auction in July 1911. However, not one of the five Lots in the second auction managed to reach its reserve price. The Walter family remained in the mansion until after the Great War when it was sold privately to the Royal Merchant Navy Orphanage. To the south-east, the land that became the Remount Depot and later Arborfield Garrison had been leased from the Bearwood Estate in 1904, and eventually sold privately to the Government in 1911. The Auction Sale documents of 1911 give a large amount of information about the Estate at that time. A further sale of outlying portions of the Bearwood Estate took place in September 1912, but very few lots actually sold despite very favourable terms.
Swallowfield Park owned much of the land to the south and west of the Cross including White's and Bartlett Farms and what is now Walden Avenue. This detached portion was offered for sale in 1913; many of the buildings still exist but many trees have since been felled. A large acreage is now owned by the Samuel family through their Farley Farms estate.
Note: The third major landowner in Arborfield Parish in the late 1900's was the Ministry of Defence, but it sold its land on the former Poperinghe Barracks privately rather than by auction. The remaining part of what is known as 'Arborfield Garrison' is largely in Barkham Parish.
Targett's Farm was offered for sale in 1922 following the death of James Hellier Rowe.
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