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)
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:
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
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