Securing our history for the future

Barkers Farm, Grade II Listed – Tithe No. 111


An Elizabethan Rent Roll dated c. 1595 shows John Symons is paying a rental of £1.10s1d to the Lord of the Manor.  This is certainly the same tenement as that where Barker’s Farm now stands.  The Symons were also known by the name as Boucher up until the end of 1589.  There is a Thomas Symons als Boucher mentioned in the Manor Court Roll dated 1557.  In 1566 John Symons als Boucher is elected water bailiff to the Manor.

13.12.1577 Manor Court of Thomas Wroughton and the lady Anne, his wife.  He (William Bishop of Puriton) had not stoned or repaired his parte of the ditch from the East part of the close of John Symmons als Boucher to the East end of Rattle Mead as as the last Court he was commanded to do. 3s4d    Rattle Mead was still a field name on the 1841 Tithe Award on the south side of Eastside Lane.  Close in the context of the above entry means enclosed land.

22 October 1589 John Symons is presented to the Manor Court as he has failed to comply with a previous court ordered to repair his house which is in great decay.  He is fined 6s8d.

At the same Manor Court ordered that John Symons als Boucher shall stone his ditch leading from the wooded pines down to the North end of Nicholas Shooe’s close corner called Treane between this and St Andrews tyde next upon paine of 3s3d

In 1590 Manor Court.  Wall between the farm of Nicholas Shooe and John Symons is in decay and is to be repaired. We know that the Shooes held Court Farm at that time, which is the neighbouring property, so this again points to the Symons property being on the site of what is now Barker’s Farm.

April 1610 Manor Court.  We do find that John Symons is not resident upon his tenement. He is cited for the same thing at the Manor Court in September 1612.

In a rental survey taken 1 November 1650 William Symons is shown as being a copyhold tenant with a “messuage, orchard, barkside and garden containing 76 acres, 2 rood of land, meadow and pasture.  Lord’s Rent £1.10s1d.  Herriott 1 best beast.”

1650 Survey of Lands William Symons shown as holding 76 acres, messuage, barkside and garden.

8 January 1655 the Quarter Session are petitioned by Sarah, wife of William Symons of Bawdrip showing that her husband being imprisoned and having an estate in Bawdrip of considerable value by the year, yet the petitioner is chargeable to the parish and is brought into great necessity and want.  The next Justice of the peace to Bawdrip to call before him the Churchwardens and overseers of the poor and to rate the said estate of William Symons towards the relief of the poor and to take care for the maintenance and relief of the poor.

At the Quarter Session in 1656 an order of the Court is made, confirming the opinion of two justices that Sarah, wife of William Symons of Bawdripp, who is imprisoned for debt, is to receive 2/6d per week from his estate.

There is still a John Symons holding two fields called Little Dowells and Dowells, Tithes 439 and 437 on the 1841 Tithe Award, but whether this family has any connection to the original Symons is unknown.

1705 is the date when John and Mary Barker held the lease on the lives of Richard Hayward [1] and Richard Barker, their son.  This is presumably when the property became known as “Barker’s Farm”.  The date of 1705 appears above the door of the farm today and may just refer to the date when alterations were made to the property when the Barkers took over the farm.  In the lease agreement the property is detailed as “messuage, tenament containing 77 acres of land, meadow and pasture.  Lord’s Rent £1.10s1d.  Herriott £5.”  The lease states that the property had formerly been tenanted by Edward Lovell (the Rector of Bawdrip in 1661).  Richard Barker paid the rental of £1.10s1d from 1730 to 1760.  He had died by 1761.  His wife’s name was Elizabeth and she died on 11.2.1766.  They had a daughter Elizabeth who also died in the June of the same year.

On the 20.7.1761 there is reference to a gift of 15 acres of land from Richard Barker’s tenement to Robert Upton “in lieu of long service without wages”.  Presumably this was a bequest in Richard Barker’s will.  Benjamin and Richard his sons were farming at Knowle Manor and Knowle Hill Farm, although Richard retained the copyhold tenancy on Barkers.

20.12.1761 There is an agreement between Richard Barker and Mr William Stewart to rent the farm for 1 year.  The agreement refers to the farm belonging to Richard’s late father, the previous Richard.

In 1762 and 1763 the rental was paid by the Executor’s of Richard’s estate.

7.6.1762 Willoughby Stanbury, aged 27, his wife Elizabeth aged 29 and their daughter Elizabeth aged 3 were leasing the property from Richard Barker jnr.  Willoughby Standbury had become Rector of The Church in 1758.  There is a note against the lease in pencil to say that it is the same premises as leased to Mary Barker in 1705, less the 15 acres gifted to Robert Upton and it was requested that an adjustment be made to the Lords Rent from £1.10s1d down to £1.  However, subsequent rentals show that the rent was not adjusted.

02.08.1763 Richard Barker purchased the lease for £498.19s “All that dwelling house, garden, orchard, courts, dove house, stable, wring house, pumphouse and 3 acres above the said house.  Herriott £5.  Also assigns the barton, wagon house on the eastside of the dwelling house.  Lords Rent £1.10s1d.” Willoughby-Stanbury is still shown as the lessee.

1764-1768 Mrs Stanbury is paying the rental on the property

1770 Willoughby Stanbury purchased the lease for £575.  Richard Barker was by now the lessee of what is now known as Knowle Manor.  The holdings of Barkers were at that time “house, outhouses, dovecotes, edifices, building, barns, stables, garden, orchard and courtyards”.

By 1782 Stanbury was dead.

1841 Tithe Award shows Francis Hurman, aged 43, occupier with Joseph Barker the owner.  Joseph Barker was the great grandson of the original Mary Barker, his grandfather was Joseph the second son of Mary and John and his father was Benjamin.  The land with the property is now only shows as 17 acres.  Also residing at the property Mary Searle, servant aged 48 and Percival Banfield, servant aged 17.

Francis Hurman is still shown on the 1851 census. Employing 1 labourer, his housekeeper Mary Searle, aged 60 and a male servant Francis Clark, aged 45.

1861 census Francis Hurman does not appear.

1881 census James Danton, aged 74, farmer of 22 acres.  Wife Susan, aged 50.  Son John James, aged 7, a scholar.

1885 tithe Robert Slocombe, aged 54

1891 census Robert Slocombe, aged 60, born Bawdrip.  Wife Susan [2] (nee Sibley) aged 58, born Chedzoy.  William, son, aged 24.

1901 census records Sidney Baker [3] as head of the household, a farmer aged 31.  His wife was the daughter of Robert Slocombe, Mary, who is aged 38.  Robert Slocombe is also shown as resident at the farm, although now retired and a widower at aged 68.  Sidney and Mary had a daughter Dorothy aged 3 and employed 1 servant and a sick-nurse.

By 1906 the farm was in the occupation of Thomas Fry.  Thomas died 27.5.1911 and the property was inherited by his brother James Francis Fry. 1914 Emma, the widow of James Francis, died 24.6.1914

23.9.1914 sold at auction for £780 to Clifford Brake.  Auction details “House and building, Penning Orchard, higher orchard, paddock, lower orchard, pasture.  Total of 7 acres37 perches.  House: parlour, best and secondary kitchen, dairy, cellar and 7 bedrooms and attached thereto is front and back ornamental gardens and large walled kitchen garden.  Outbuildings: carriage house, stable and loft, large cider cellar, cider house, carthouse, poultry houses, barn, large cowstall and piggeries”.

1919 Clifford Brake still in residence according to Kellys Directory.  He remained there until April 1934.

1934 Electoral Roll shows Reginald and Lena White as occupiers.

16 January 1965 Reginald White died.

1967 to 1983 electoral roll shows Reginald White Junior and his wife June (nee Cox)

As at 2000 Doris Russell and her daughter Jane were the owners.


[1] The Haywards held the lease on the site of what is now Combe Cottage, previously Hillside Farm, from c1590 and we can see from the above that there is a gap between 1656 and 1705 so it may be that the Haywards married into the Symons family or took over the lease and that the Hayward family were in some way connected through marriage to the Barkers as usually copyhold leases were handed down that way.

[2] The Sibley’s had lived at Temple Farm in Bradney.  The Slocombe’s also hailed from Bradney at Old Bradney Farm.

[3] Sidney Baker was the son of Robert and Elizabeth Baker of Knowle Hill Farm.

The History Articles reproduced are owned and were researched and produced by Suzie Lewis and her father (now deceased), John Jenkins.