Bartlett's Farm has not changed that much since it was sold by the Swallowfield Park Estate in 1913, as can be appreciated from the footpath on the hill ridge south of Arborfield Court. This walk is recommended!
The farmhouse is thought to be 16th century and extended in the 18th century, brick with an old tile gabled roof. In the “Reading Mercury” of December 1964 it was described as combining antiquity with interior grace; and the brick cellar suggests Tudor origin.
We know from Swallowfield Park Estate Records that in 1884 Bartletts Farm had an acreage of 207.133. In 1913 the Arborfield part of the Swallowfield Park Estate was offered for sale by auction by its then owner Sir Charles Russell (grandson of Sir Henry). It was described in general terms as Lot 3 - (coloured RED on Plan) 'a particularly attractive Residential and Sporting Property - comprising 195 Acres 2 Roods 5 Poles' and it was offered as 'Bartletts & Ducks Nest Farms'. Most of the land and the Homesteads are described as 'in hand' although two tenants are named for some of the land; A. Broadway and Russell Deane. The 'Fine Jacobean Staircase' is noted in the sale documents within the 'Charming Old House'.
Between 1931 and 1939, Harold Ravenscroft farmed at Bartlett's. Click on his name to read some memories of him.
In September 1945, Jack Tilley took over; it was taken over in 2001 by his son Graham Tilley.
The farmhouse and gardens were bought in 2011 by Graeme and Lucy Cooper, who started a thorough restoration of the main building in late Spring.
THE OCCUPANTS OF BARTLETTS FARM
The 'Reading Mercury' recorded a tragic incident at Bartlett's Farm in 1930:
Reading Mercury, August 30th 1930
SHOT DEAD ON HIS BIRTHDAY
Arborfield Farmer's Death
Tragic end to Evening's Shooting
The story of a son's tragic homecoming from holiday was told at the inquest on Thursday evening on Lawrence George Ruffell, aged 58, a farmer, of Bartlett's Farm, Arborfield, who was accidentally shot dead while out alone shooting pigeons on his land on Tuesday night. Tuesday was his birthday.
The inquest was held by the Reading district coroner, Mr. R. S. Payne, with a jury.
The son of the dead man Lawrence Alfred Ruffell, a laboratory assistant at Reading School, said that on Tuesday he returned home from a holiday about 7 p.m., and was told that his father had gone out shooting about a quarter of an hour previously. At 10 p.m., he and his mother became anxious as he had not returned and they searched for him. Between midnight and 1 a.m., he found his father's body in some bracken by a wire fence separating a field from a copse.
ACCIDENT AT A FENCE
It was stated that the unfortunate man walked with a limp on the left leg and from the position of the body and the gun, P.C. Keen concluded that he had stumbled in getting over the fence and thrust the butt of the gun on the ground to right himself with the result that the jolt caused both barrels to discharge, shooting him in the head.
Thomas Bennett, a worker at the farm, said he was with his employer gathering peas near the scene of the accident on Tuesday afternoon, when some pigeons flew up. Mr. Ruffell said "I must have some of them tonight, Tom," meaning that he would shoot some pigeons. Pointing to a tree over the wire fence where the body was found, Mr. Ruffell added "That would be a good place to get them." He was in a cheerful mood and remarked that it was his birthday. He said he would not be able to stay long shooting pigeons that night as his son was returning from holiday and he wanted to see him.
Dr. J. H. Beatty, of Swallowfield, described the terrible injuries to the head and face.
A verdict of "Accidental Death" was returned.
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