Local History Society

 Properties - Cross Lanes Farm

Charles Crocker successfully defends his good name in a court case over watered-down milk

Air Crash on
Cross Lanes Farm, 1931

Church Tithe Payments

1919 Arborfield Hall Estate
Sale document,
Lot 2:
Cross Lanes Farm

In 1839 the farm is not named on the Tithe Map but we know that the land was owned by John Walter Esq. and occupied by Edward Hewitt. By comparing the 1839 map with one dated 1990, it would seem that Walden Avenue was built on the field known as Causeway Pightle and Pudding Lane Nursery is to be found on what was Pudding Lane Ground (which was owned and occupied by Messrs. J.&C. Simonds)

Edward Hewitt also occupied land near to Ducks Nest Farm. White Well Hill Field was owned by John Walter Esq., Long Hill and Short Hill by Sir Samuel Fludyer and The Rances (4 fields) by Mrs. Baster of King Street. The white area to the top and right of the 1839 map lay in Newland, hence the lack of detail on the Arborfield Tithe Map.

Edward Hewitt occupied one final piece of land with Henry Englefield and William Strudwick. This land named Common Mead was situated down by the River Loddon and was owned by Sir Henry Russell and Mrs. Baster.


1839 Edward Hewitt (1839 Tithe Map)
1854 Richard Wells - farmer (P.O. Directory)
1861 Richard Wells - 55 farmer - 141 acres employing 5 men
         Catherine Wells - 46 wife
         Elizabeth Wells - 18 daughter
         John M. Wells - 16 son
         Thomas Hambleton - 21 cowman
         John Goodenough - 14 carter boy
         George Smith - 14 carter boy (census)
1863 Richard Wells - farmer (P.O. Directory)
1864 Richard Wells - farmer - Cross Lanes (P.O. Directory)
1869 Richard Wells - farmer (P.O. Directory)
1871 Richard Wells - 64 farmer - 130 acres emp.5men 2 boys
         Catherine Wells - 56 wife
         Richard M. Wells - 23 son
         Susannah Wells - 21 daughter
         Thomas Pocock - 18 farm servant
         Thomas Merrit - 15 farm servant (census)
1876 Richard Wells - farmer (P.O. Directory)
1881 Richard Wells - 75 farmer - 140 acres emp.5labs.2boys
         Catherine Wells - 66 wife
         Richard M. Wells - 32 farmers son (census)
1883 Richard Wells - farmer (P.O. Directory) (also 1887)
1889 Richard Wells - Cross Lanes Farm (Electoral Reg.)
1891 Richard M. Wells - 42 farmer
         Catherine Wells - 75 (wid.) mother
         Elizabeth Wells - 47 sister
         James Mitchell - 20 farm servant
         James Powell - 14 farm servant (census)
1895 Richard Mallam Wells - farmer (P.O. Directory) (also 1899)
1901 Richard M. Wells - 52 farmer
         John M. Wells - 54 brother - farmer
         Elizabeth Wells - 56 sister (census)
1903 Richard M. Wells & John M. Wells - farmers (P.O.Directory) (also 1907)
1924 Charles Walter Crocker - farmer (P.O. Directory) (also 1924, 1928, 1931, 1935, 1939)

In 1862 Richard Wells (senior) was appointed as a Church Warden (with Harry Englefield) on April 21st at a meeting about the New Church - the foundation stone of which was laid in August 1862.

From 1894 to 1901, John Michael Wells and Richard Mallam Wells (junior) were both named as an Overseers.

It would seem that Richard Wells (senior) died sometime between 1889 and 1891 as Catherine, his wife, is referred to as ‘widow’, and his son Richard Mallam Wells has returned to Cross Lanes by 1891 and lived there with his mother and sister, Elizabeth.

Charles Crocker featured in the Reading Mercury in 1931 when he was forced to defend his good name when accused of watering-down milk that he sold at his shop Whitley Street in Reading. Read about the case here.

The Farm was considered in 1943 as one of the proposed sites for post-war housing (see Newland Parish Council Minutes, under 'Amalgamation of Parishes'), but in the event, a site along School Road was chosen instead (Anderson and Emblen Crescents).

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