Local History Society

 Properties - New Farm

Church Tithe Payments

In 1839, the year of the Arborfield Tithe Map, New Farm (known later as Bridge Farm and then as Farley Farms) with other land in Arborfield was part of the Swallowfield Park Estate, which had been bought in the 1820’s by Sir Henry Russell, 1st Baronet. By 1839 the Estate was owned by Sir Henry Russell, 2nd Baronet and as well as New Farm, included Whites Farm, Bartletts Farm and Ducks Nest Farm as the Arborfield portion of the Estate.

New Farm at this time was occupied by James Fuller (described as a yeoman in the 1841 census).The extent of the farm can be seen on the map. James Fuller also occupied much of the land later known as Whites Farm although it is not named as such on the map of 1839.

In 1884 we know from Estate Records that the acreage of New Farm was 233.117 acres and included a farm house, 7 cottages, stables and outbuildings and that a John Brant was in occupation.  The view from the Reading Road has changed little over the years. 

Nor has the courtyard behind, as this photograph shows:


1839 James Fuller (1839 Tithe Map)
1841 James Fuller 65 - yeoman (census)
         John Fuller 25 - yeoman
         James Fuller 6
         Susannah Fuller 55
         Susan Fuller 35
         Catherine Fuller 78
         John Pither jn. 48 - carpenter
         Lydia Pither 20 - servant
         James Jones 18 - servant
         Henry Lay 15 - servant
         Daniel Nutt 40 - agricultural labourer
1842 - 43 Mr. James Fuller (P.O. Directory)
c. 1847 Mr. James Fuller (P.O. Directory)
1851 Gabriel S. Clarke 36 - farmer 232 acres (census)
         Rebecca Clarke 26 - wife
         Angelina Edwards Clarke 3 - daughter
         Waterman Edwards Clarke 2 - son
         Priscilla Edmonds 17 - servant
         Henry Spicer 17 - servant
         Charles Bailey 20 - servant
         Henry Willis 17 - servant
1854 Undecimus Stratton - farmer (P.O. Directory)
1861 Capt. V. R. Shildon 33 - farmer 230 acres (census)
         Elizabeth Shildon 36 - wife
         Mary Willis 20 - housemaid
         Fanny Godfrey 24 - cook
         William Harris 22 - groom
1863 Captain Sheldon - farmer (NB. spelling of Sheldon) (P.O. Directory)
1871 Ralph Biggs 38 - farmer 210 acres (census)
         Martha Biggs 29 - wife
         Joseph Biggs 8 - son - scholar
         Annie Biggs 7 - daughter - scholar
         Arbuthnot Ralph Biggs 6 - son - scholar
         Sarah Rosalina Biggs 4 - daughter
         John Philip Biggs 2 - son
         Mary Ellen Biggs 1 - daughter
         Richard Simmons 27 - servant
         Ellen Inge 19 - domestic servant
         Daniel Lambourn 23 - farm servant
         James Spicer 14 - agricultural labourer
1876 Ralph Biggs (P.O.Directory)
1881 Richard P. Hobson 38 - farmer 233 acres (census)
         Emmeline L. Hobson 27 - wife
         Letitia P. Hobson 3 - daughter
         Arthur B. Hobson 2 - son
         Emmeline M. Hobson 1 - daughter
1883 Richard Peele Hobson - farmer (P.O. Directory)
1884 John Brant (Estate Records)
1887 John Michael Wells and Richard Mallam Wells - farmers (P.O. Directory)
1891 John M. Wells 45 - farmer (census)
         Elizabeth Taylor 47 - cousin - housekeeper
         Agnes Day 14 - general servant/domestic
1895 John Michael Wells - farmer (P.O. Directory - also 1899)
1901 Francis Holliday 39 - farmer (census)
         Mary Holliday 42 - wife
         John Warner Holliday 17 - son - engineer’s apprent.
         Florence Holliday 16 - daughter
         Leslie Holliday 14 - son
         Bertram Holliday 13 - son
         Constance Vera Holliday 11 - daughter
1907 Douglas Parfitt - farmer (P.O. Directory also 1911, 1915)
1924 Capt. Wm. Wilson - warden Bridge Farm (P.O.Directory)
1928 J. P. Jackson - farmer (Bridge Farm) (P.O.Directory - also 1931, 1935, 1939)

The Second War and After

During the Second World War, in the early 1940’s, Mr Sammy Pyle acquired Bridge Farm which he worked alongside Tanners Farm whose land backed on to it, and Rowes Farm, both being in Swallowfield and already farmed by him.

Bridge Farm was next farmed by Major Forbes and his sons until it was acquired in circa 1950 by Bridge Farm Estates Ltd. At this time it had one of the most modern milking parlours and farm set ups in the country. During the time that Bridge Farm was owned by Bridge Farm Estates Ltd. the rabbi visited at different times in the year in order to bless the crops. Mr John Seggons was the farm manager and he like other farmers had often had trouble from rabbits eating his crops, that is until 1954 when myxomatosis struck. The disease left many rabbits dead and Mr. Seggons reported that his men were finding as many as 100 bodies a day. He estimated that he would harvest 10% more cereals in 1955 as a result.

Here's a picture of John Seggons:

John Seggons

In 1961 Bridge Farm was involved with a study into the “complete harvesting process - from combining to storage” and John Seggons continued to win prizes (over 300 and 25 challenge cups since 1952) for roots, standing corn and sacked corn.

On October 6th 1962, Bridge Farm and Tanners Farm (Swallowfield) were officially taken over by a new owner, Mr. Peter Samuel, son of the late second Viscount Bearsted. Mr Samuel paid over £200 per acre for the 500 acres which comprised Bridge and Tanners Farms and John Seggons remained as manager, the two farms were run as two separate units - dairying at Bridge and arable at Tanners. It was planned that the British Friesian herd would be replaced by Ayrshires.

The winter of 1962 - 63 was harsh and before the Siberian conditions and the snow fell, Mr Seggons had managed to plough most of his fields. The snow, which had arrived just around Christmas, was still in evidence at the beginning of March and about 60 acres of land were under water as a result of the snow.

In October 1965 the Wokingham Show was held at Bridge Farm and although it proved to be a great success it was marred by rain which really came down from lunch time on the Saturday.

In 1977 Whites Farm was unexpectedly put up for sale by auction and much of Whites Farm land and buildings were incorporated into what is now known as the Farley Farms Estate. (see Whites Farm).

Acknowledgements: Mr Anthony Walton - “Agricola”; Mr. John Clarke

Back to Properties Page


Any Feedback or comments on this website?  Please e-mail the webmaster