Bank Farm, Little Witley

The earliest mention found of Bank Farm is in an 1840 Trades Directory, when William Hatton farmed it. Hatton moved to next door Thomas’ Farm the following year, at which time Thomas Boughton took over Bank Farm in quick succession. By 1851 George Hill was farming 180 acres with three men. He lived in the house with three younger sisters and a younger brother. All were born in Whitbourne, Herefordshire except George who was born in Martley. William Griffiths had Bank Farm in 1854, dying there at the age of 56 two years later. William Bolton Jun. then farmed for at least ten years. He was the son of William Bolton of Well Farm.

The 1871 census has Phoebe Price Griffiths emp1oying three men and a boy at Bank Farm. David Roxburgh, a Scotsman, was farming next door at Upper House Farm in 1871, but a directory of 1874 has him at Bank Farm and makes no mention of Upper House Farm, a most confusing situation. In 1879 George Greaves was resident, but by 1881 Edward Mytton employed one man on the 189 acres. Mytton had seven children at that time, most being born in Shropshire, but the last in Martley. The four eldest, all boys from 17 to 24 years of age, helped on the farm. Ten years later Mytton had moved to neighbouring Thomas’ Farm.

Gloucestershire born Albert Alwood or Attwood had the farm from before 1891. He did not employ any labourers but had two farm servants living-in. By the time of the Great War Thomas Charles Colebatch had taken over. He farmed 208 acres, including 133 acres of grass and 62 acres of arable in 1920. He bought the farm in the second sale, of 1925, and remaining there until his retirement in 1941.

The House is a grade II listed building. The listing reads ‘Bank Farmhouse – Possibly C17. C19 and C20 accretions. Timber-framed with painted brick infill, brick left gable and later accretions, tiled roof, brick stacks. Straight range of 3 framed bays has C20 addition to left, and C19 and C20 accretions at rear. C19 stacks at gable ends of frame range, resited entrance at rear. Two storeys and gable-lit attic. C20 fenestration, 3-light metal casements, 2 on first floor, 3 on ground floor, central one possibly replaces former entrance. Framing: altered and irregular; 2 panels from sill to mid- rail. 3 panels from the mid-rail to wall-plate, short bracing from mid-rail to corner post. Right gable end has irregular framing and C20 softwood scissor brace in gable.’

Summary of occupants:

JOHN OCKEY ‘the elder’ [Died 13 Aug. 1761, aged 53 years]
1793 JOHN OCKEY [Recapitulation – new rent £5.0s.0d to Lord Foley, JOHN OCKEY died 15 June 1819 aged 81 years]
1841 THOMAS BOUGHTON [Census – aged 30 years]
1851 GEORGE HILL [Census – 180 aces employing three men]
1856 WILLIAM GRIFFITHS [Died in 1856, aged 56 years]
1871 PHEOBE PRICE GRIFFITHS [Widow to WILLIAM, farmed149 acres with three men and one boy till her death in 1871, aged 62]
1876 JAMES GRIFFITHS
1925 THOMAS CHARLES COLEBATCH [Died 5 Jan. 1960]
LESLIE COLEBATCH

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