Woodbury Farm (previously Thomas), Little Witley

Old House Farm, the last tenant of which was John White, was incorporated in to Thomas’ Farm in the mid 1790s. The latter is now known as Woodbury Farm.

The farm may have been named after George Thomas, for he is the first known tenant. He married Martha Beard in Little Witley church in 1765 and subsequently fathered ten children. The family had their own pew in church (number 3). Thomas served as churchwarden between 1777 and 1779 and again in 1784. In 1780 he witnessed a letter written by the rector complaining of the blocking of rights of way by John White of Great Witley.

The whole of the farm buildings and house were described as newly built in 1793. The 175 acres had a newly calculated annual rent of £l40. This was nearly double the previous rent of £79. George Thomas died between 1805 and 1810, after which date his widow managed the farm.

By 1816 John Hatton was farming Thomas’ farm. William Hatton succeeded him in 1833. The tithe of 1839 states that William was farming 169 acres. His wife, three children, mother and brother were all living at Thomas’ Farm in 1841. By 1851 only the two youngest children remained at home, in addition to his wife and servant. He employed four labourers on the 166-acre holding.

By 1881 an 18 years old Frederick Greaves, who originated in Ombersley, was farming 188 acres with the help of three men and two boys. A housekeeper and William Cocum, a cowman, were living-in. Ten years later Edward Mytton, formerly of Bank Farm, was farming at Thomas’, assisted by three of his four sons.

Richard Crane took on the farm in 1904, followed shortly after by Richard Poladore Colebatch. The latter retained the farm after it failed to sell at the 1920 auction, finally purchasing it in the 1925 sale. Colebatch died in 1933, although his widow Edith survived until June 1977, by which time the farm had passed through Norcott and Phillips hands, being sold by them in 1956 and 1965 respectively. On those occasions the property, known then as Woodbury Farm, was 180 acres in extent.

The traditional farm buildings were converted to residential dwellings in the 1980s.

The House is a grade II listed building. The listing reads ‘Woodbury Farmhouse. c1800. Red brick Flemish stretcher bond, sandstone plinth, – tiled roofs. Main east/west range faces south, lower range at rear forming an L-plan. Two storeys, gable-lit attic and partially on cellar, modillion eaves cornice and raised verges. Three windows: 2- and 3-light casements under segmental heads, central 6-panelled door with transom light under wooden bracketed pediment. Small central window below cornice lights attic. Tall window to rear lights stairs. Interior: oak door surrounds and dog-leg staircase. C20 conservatory extends from north gable of lower end. A Great Witley Estate farmhouse.

Summary of occupants:

1793 GEORGE THOMAS [Recapitulation – new rent of £140.0s.0d for Thomas’s Farm]
1851 WILLIAM HATTON [Farmed 166 acres, employing four men]
1861 WILLIAM BOLTON jun. [Farmed 190 acres, employing three men and one boy]
1871 DAVID ROXBURGH [From Scotland, employing three men and one boy]
RICHARD CRANE
RICHARD NEVIL POLADORE COLEBATCH [Died 8 April 1933]
EDITH MARY JENKINS COLEBATCH [Died 10 June 1977, widow]

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  1. Alastair Warrington says

    I bought Woodbury Farm from Mr and Mrs Phillips in October 1965. I sold it to Bulmers in 1970 after we had moved to East Grove, Sankyns Green, Little Witley in 1967. We still farm East Grove but sold the house and farmyard in 2014. We now live at Wentnor, Shropshire near where we were both brought up.

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