Farms of Sprowston

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Farms of Sprowston

A number of farms in Sprowston have been known by alternative names and this is reflected below.

Boar Farm

All the early Ordnance Survey Maps show the farm as Boar Farm but the name had been changed to Home Farm by the 1947 OS map. In the early 21st century Blue Boar Lane was rerouted and the remaining farm buildings demolished to make way for housing developments.

Breck Farm

Much of the land associated with Breck Farm had already been allocated for housing prior to the Second World War. The farm buildings however were to be utilised my Nurdin & Peacock as an egg packing station. When this usage ceased the site was purchased and became used as a motor parts and tyre depot. While many of the buildings have been upgraded there are still traces of the original farm buildings still visible at the business now trading as Willco Motor Parts.

Church Farm

The first mention of this farm in a directory is Kelly's 1896 where the farmers were quoted as Thrower and Dawson. However by the 1904 directory it was just Jacob Dawson. The next mention is in 1929 when Church Farm was being run as the Norfolk Agricultural Station and Norfolk Experimental Station. A photographic survey by the Gurney Estate includes this farm which would suggest that the various farmers were only tenants. The whole farm area has been subject to a housing development, although the original farmhouse was renovated and is now a dwelling.

Denmark Farm

This farm appears in only two directories. In 1877 the farmer being Walter W Butcher but by the 1883 directory it was Joshua Mayor. Apart from sketches and a newspaper article, little is known about this farm. As it was at the city end of Sprowston, maps show the farm was soon overtaken by housing developments and brickfields.

Dixons Farm

Despite the official name of the farm being Stonehouse Farm, many locals simply referred to it as Dixons Farm as the Dixon family, who were both farmers and dairymen, ran a milk supply business from the premises. Full details of this business appear under a separate heading for Stonehouse Farm.

Grange Farm

As the name would suggest the farm was attached or adjacent to Sprowston Grange on Salhouse Road. It is suggested that much of the site is now John Faircloth car sales. There is no mention of Grange farm until the 1912 Kelly's directory the farmer being listed was George Miller (bailiff to Isaac Cannell). By the 1929 directory the farmer is shown as Charles Kemp, the same name appearing in the 1933 issue.

Greenborough Farm

As early as the ordnance survey map updated in 1905 the farm is shown as a smallpox hospital. Quite how long it remained in this role is debatable, as maps up to the 1950s, still had in brackets (smallpox hospital). However, no local residents can remember it being used for this purpose. It is regrettable that there are no records of it being returned to a farming although locals said it specialised in pea production. All traces of the farm disappeared when the city council acquired the area for what is now the Heartsease Estate. Quite whether a coincidence or not, the area of the farm was left as a car park and has only recently been filled in with housing.

Hall Farm

There is only one mention of this farm in the 1933 Kelly's directory when the farmer was listed as Thomas Walker Dixon.

Home Farm

Home farm was simply a renamed Boar Farm and this entry will provide information.

Lincolns Farm

An older resident’s memory suggests that this farm was in fact Church Farm, although there is no documentary evidence to corroborate this. Published records show no person by the name of Lincoln running the farm, although this cannot be ruled out as it was common to refer to farms by the farmer's name rather than its official title. Should documentary evidence be forthcoming this entry will be updated.

Oak Lodge Farm

Oak Lodge has had a long association with the Cozens-Hardy family and the farm was adjacent to their residence. In 1883 the farmer was quoted as being Theobald Cozens-Hardy and the same details applied in 1896. From this entry onwards, Oak Lodge Farm was never again mentioned but even as late as the 1970s, farming on the adjacent land was still going on. Many of the farm buildings have survived and are now in use as industrial premises.

Seppings Farm

Older residents suggest that this farm was in fact Wood Farm but there is no evidence to support this. The only clue is a directory entry in 1912 for Henry Seppings whose address was Wroxham Road, so his usage of either Wood Farm or an adjacent plot might have given rise to this impression.

Stonehouse Farm

This definitely came into the category of a farm known by two names, the other being Dixons farm after the family that ran the farm and dairy. A full account of this farm is available by following this link to Stonehouse Farm.

Tills Farm

The farm is first mentioned in the 1908 Kelly's directory with the farmer named as Henry William Bullard (tomato, cucumber, asparagus and mushroom grower). The 1912 entry shows the farm run by Edward Oberlin Adcock, tomato grower. By 1929 it was in the hands of Archibald Adcock and the business had become a limited company E O Adcock Ltd of North Walsham Road. However, no map shows which of several buildings in the area known as the Tills was the farm. No information is available beyond 1933 although a map revised in 1947 shows the Tills area laid out for housing.

White Hall Farm

The renaming from the previous White House Farm seems to have taken place when Cecil G Gowing took over the farm from George David Gowing in the 1920s. When Cecil Gowing retired and the farm was taken over by the McFarlane's, it reverted to its original White House name.

White House Farm

On the early ordnance survey maps the farm is clearly marked as White House Farm proving that from the early 1800s this was the recognised name. The name George David Gowing appears in the Sprowston records from the 1870s but the directories do not make it clear that he was farming at White House farm until 1908. On the takeover of the farm by Cecil G Gowing it was renamed White Hall Farm being known by this name until taken over on Cecil's Gowing's retirement by the McFarlane's. Now in the early 21st century the farm which has been part of the Gurney estate has reverted to being farmed by a Gurney mainly as a pick your own enterprise and farm shop. This will soon be the only farming taking place in Sprowston as housing development encroaches on all sides.

Wilks Farm

Wilks Farm was situated on Church Lane on the opposite side of the road leading to St Mary and Margaret church this would now be found in the area just before the Cozens Hardy Road turn off. Wilks Farm Drive is a modern development on Barkers Lane at its junction with North Walsham Road This can lead to some confusion as it is at some distance from where the farm was actually situated. How the farm was to be named is almost certainly down to a previous owner the Rev. Mark Wilks 1748-1819. In his day he was a well known dissident minister involved with the St Clements Baptist Church in Norwich. Having moved from Costessey he purchased a farm in Sprowston in 1802 where he remained until 1809 before moving into the city of Norwich. After this event there is no trace of a Wilks Farm being mentioned as such until 1891 when William Fox a gamekeeper for Theobald Cozens Hardy of Oak Lodge North Walsham Road was listed as being the resident.

Joseph Ellis Dixon 1835-1913 and his family were to be found at the farm in 1900, prior to this they had been residing at Stonehouse Farm details of which can be found on this site under the title of Stonehouse / Dixons Farm.

By the census of 1911 Joseph had retired and his son Charles Walter Dixon 1880-1966 had taken over the tenancy of the farm. Charles was married in 1907 to Hannah Caroline Harrowven 1881-1943. They had three children during their time at the farm the oldest being Winifred Hannah Caroline Dixon 1912-1988 she was to be of great help to Charles in his later years. Charles continued with the farm and if viewed on a map his fields merged with the land of his brother Joseph at Stonehouse Farm this resulted in quite a large acreage between them. However with the coming of housing development in the 1930`s Charles was to lose much of the land as his brother Joseph did at Stonehouse Farm. This was probably the reason that he made a move to Salhouse and where he found other available land. Charles was to live at East View this house is at the junction of Lower and Upper Street in Salhouse. The land he farmed was off Lower Street where he was known mainly for keeping pigs. In his later years Charles was to go blind, his daughter Winifred always known as Winnie Dixon even after her marriage carried on with the running of the farm. She was married in 1957 to Charles Frederick Pratt 1909-1982 he was always known as Fred.

After Charles departure from Wilks Farm the house was divided in two dwellings which remained as such until the house and probably the last wattle and daub dwelling were demolished and site cleared for housing in the 1960`s. There is an article by Alan Notley recalling his childhood days living in one of the dwellings during the 1930`s that can be found elsewhere on this site.

Wood Farm

The only mention of this farm in a directory is the 1933 Kelly's stating the farmer was Thomas Burrows. Early maps show it had been in existence from at least the 1850s. The farmhouse and one or two outbuildings are the only buildings still extant. The farmhouse being a residence and preschool nursery and a low range of buildings converted into residential and business usage. The land which had originally comprised the farm is covered almost entirely by housing except for a green area that was previously the pond.