Butts Farm, Little Witley

Now known as Old Butts Farm, Butts Farm was a smallholding of 12 acres in 1793, rented by Edward Croft and his wife Sarah for £12 per annum. An annual land tax of £2 18/9 was due on the farm. Edward and Sarah had at least nine children baptised in Little Witley parish church between 1773 and 1793. Edward served as a churchwarden in 1782. He remained at Butts Farm until the early 1820s when his son William succeeded him. Ten years later Thomas, the oldest of four children born in 1830 to William and his wife Mary Ann, was farming the Butts with his sister. Mary Ann Croft then held the farm in her own name up to l860.

The house was then probably occupied by farm labourers, for there is no further identifiable mention of Butts Farm until it was sold in 1920, when W Cocum, an employee of the estate, was in residence. The latter is probably William Cocum Jun., son of William Cocum. The latter was a cowman then agricultural labourer living in Little Witley in 1881 and 1891. William Jun. was working and living-in as a cowman at Thomas’ Farm in 1881.

The farm was sold to Mr Johnson in 1920, but soon acquired by James Brazier. His son and grandson followed James as farmers at Butts.

The house is a grade II listed building. The listing reads ‘Old Butts Farmhouse. C17, altered C20. Timber-framed, painted brick infill, tiled roofs. Former straight range of 3 framed bays facing south with added C20 wing to rear and to east gable end, large external stack to rear of central bay, entrance and former through-passage to left of centre. Single storey and attic, C20 casements throughout, 3 dormers to main range and further two to C20 west extension, 3 windows to ground floor, later porch and C20 door. Framing: incomplete, originally 3 panels from sill to wall-plate with short angle bracing. Gable has 3 struts to collar and V-struts. Interior: traces of former cross-beamed ceiling, large altered inglenook fireplace.’

Summary of occupants:

1793 EDWARD CROFT [Recapitulation – new rent of £12.0s.0d. to Lord Foley, Worcestershire Directory 1820]
1841 WILLIAM CROFT
1851 THOMAS CROFT
1861 MARY ANN CROFT
1871 THOMAS CROFT
1888 WILLIAM COCUM [Employee of the Dudley Estate]
1924 JAMES BRAZIER [Farmed 35 acres, died in 1960]
1960 GEORGE HOWARD BRAZIER [Bankrupt, sold to NELSON SMITH, land to JOHN FARROW]
CHAPEL FARM

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