Chapel Farm, Little Witley

The Southall family had been in Little Witley since the 1710s and farming since at least the 1750s. It is not known where they farmed, but Chapel Farm is most likely. John (2) was born in 1753, the son of John (1) and Mary. John (1) served as parish constable and is recorded as giving evidence against Diana Hayward, widow, in midsummer 1752 for selling ale without a licence. Both John (1) and John (2) served as churchwardens on numerous occasions between 1753 and 1812. In 1793 Chapel Farm farmhouse was in good repair with a hop-kiln, cider mill and other buildings of brick and tile. John (2) farmed 98 acres and paid £85 annual rent. £3 2/- land tax was due on the farm.

John’s (2) son, John (3), succeeded him on his death in 1827. John (3) was farming 95 acres and employing two labourers in 1851. He died in 1860 and was in turn succeeded by his son John (4), who farmed 100 acres with three labourers. John (4) stayed until at least 1871.

Thomas Southall may have been at the farm in 1873, with ‘a’ John Southall possibly repossessing it by 1879. No occupier is identifiable in the census return of 1881, which may indicate that the house was empty at the time.

William Presdee, from Suckley, held the farm in the 1890s and up to at least 1900, farming it with the assistance of his son John Walter. Albert Henry Weaver then took over for a period including 1903 to 1908. By the time of the 1920 sale George and Rupert James Bradley had been farming 146 acres for at least four years. The farm was unsold at the first sale, but the Bradleys remained in residence, purchasing the farm in the 1925 sale. The Bradleys sold up in the mid-1930s, with Arthur Owen taking possession.

Summary of occupants:

JOHN SOUTHALL [Recapitulation of 1793 – new rent of £85.0s.0d to Lord Foley]
1851 JOHN SOUTHALL [I851 farmed 95 acres, employing two men]
1861 JOHN SOUTHALL [Son of the above, farmed 100 acres, employing three me. In 1863 under distress of rent to Lord Dudley the farm was sold up but most items were bought up by his brother-in-law who allowed JOHN SOUTHALL to continue till 1876]
ALBERT EDWARD WEAVER
HAROLD OWEN [Died 21 Dec 1954]
ARTHUR PHILLIP OWEN [Died 24 May 1976]
ANDREW PHILLIP OWEN [Died 21 Dec 2014]

The farm continues to be farmed by the Owen family.

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