Alden's Farm

Alden's Farm was named after the Rev. Thomas Alden who became rector of Alphington in the late Winter of 1637. He succeeded Rev. Dr Doughty and Thomas had married his daughter Ann on 23rd January 1627. Thomas resigned and was succeeded by John Alden. Thomas died in 1659 and was buried on 17th September 1659. John was evicted in 1655 by an independent Nathaniel Hayden but John was restored to his rectory in 1660. John resigned and James Smith was admitted on 18th October 1662.

Alden's Farm was described as 'the best of farm land running from Polehouse Lane to the Great Western Railway'.

It was said that a tunnel ran from Alden's Farm to the church but apparently there is no archaeological evidence for this. These sort of stories generally have some grain of truth in them, maybe it was a double line of trees that formed a tunnel.

Alden's Farm and St Edmunds
Copyright © Rowena Kirkpatrick

In 1704 the Alden's Farm lease passed onto Samuel Walkey and the land was recorded as covering thirty-five and a half acres. The lease stayed with the Walkey family well into the next Century.

In 1781 Thomas Heard was recorded as the occupier and farmer at Alden's, he remained until 1798. I have found several records for Thomas Heard:
1. 'Elizabeth Hall apprenticed to Thomas Heard for estate called Barretts belonging to Collins in Housewifery in Parish of Alphington in 1771'.
2. 'This is to certify, that I Thomas Heard of Alphington have delivered to Edward Orpwood Esq, of the said parish, about six gallons of cider made on a cider press in the Parish of Alphington, whose dish is covered with lead, as witnessed my hand, this second day of April 1768'. signed Thomas Heard and witnessed by Simon Bodley.
3. 'Thomas Heard gentleman of Alphington Will date 20th January 1799'.

In 1782 Samuel Symons took over the farm until 1841 when Joseph Walkey advertised for a new tenant. The farm was advertised as only having 20 acres. An estate survey in about 1850 revised the acreage up to 38 acres. Most of the 11 fields were close to the farm but a few were located in Markham Lane and at the Double Locks.

In 1851 Alden's Farm appears to uninhabited.

In 1861 the Howard family were living at the farm and even though the head of the household, James Howard, was working as a road surveyor it was still being run as a farm. James had a wife Ann and his mother Mary was living with them. Mary Borne was a servant dairy maid, May A Pratt was a general servant, William Bedford was a servant and Daniel Richard was a servant herd boy.

Frederick Loram was recorded at Alden's Farm in 1866 before then the records show he was at Iron John's Barton in 1857.

In 1871 records show the farm was 164 acres and Frederick employing five labourers and two boys. In 1881 the farm was 200 acres and six men and three boys were employed.

Frederick was born in 1823 and he married Maria Edwards (1828-1875), their children were: Anne M. born in about 1856, Arthur Frederick born in about 1857, Thomas born in about 1863, Rose born in about 1866, Florence born in about 1868 and Bessie born in about 1869.

Some of the servants/labourers at the farm were recorded as: 1871 Eliza Reed a domestic servant and Sidney Stone a labourer, 1881; Michael Sercombe a farm servant and Elizabeth Dark a domestic.

Copyright © Rowena Kirkpatrick

Frederick Loram built Silverlands in 1882 for his retirement. From this house he could look over the Village and on towards Exeter. He died in 1888.

Records from 1891 show that Alden's Farm was now being run by Frederick's son Arthur Frederick.

Arthur married Clara A and their children were: Fred born in about 1888, Vera Margery born in about 1890, Arthur Stanley born in about 1893, Victor J. born in about 1894, Cyril Edward born in about 1898 and Gordon Harold born in about 1904.

Some of the servants/labourers at the farm were recorded as: 1891 Walter Wellington a servant, 1901 Mary Wakeham, Hope Finch, 1911 Neily Denham a servant.

From Burial Records: Arthur F. bur. 3rd December 1938 aged 83; Clara Ann Bur 31st March 1960 aged 98; Stanley A. bur 1914-1919 aged 35.

Other Note: Gordon Harold owned a pony called Kitty.

Arthur Frederick retired in 1919 but he was unable to pass on Alden's farm to his children as the Earl of Devon had promised that the first farm to become vacant would go to Devon County Council. Two of Arthur's children went to Australia and one farmed in Somerset.

Arthur Frederick retired to Silverlands where he trained horses and kept a small herd of Jersey cows.

Arthur's son Gordon moved to Silverlands upon his retirement. In time his son, also called Gordon, and his wife moved into the house. Gordon (the second) use to ride a dappled grey pony to school.

St Edmunds, the cottages next door to Alden's Farm was once part of the farm. Perhaps they were farm worker's cottages. In early pictures they are clearly two separate cottages, today it is just one residence. I would guess that St Edmunds was separated in 1919 when Alden's was no longer inhabited by the Loram family and run as a farm.

From the Western Times Exeter dated 29th April 1922
'the birth of twins a son and a daughter was recorded on the 27th April 1922 to Mr and Mrs Stanley at Alden's Farm'.

In 1939 Stephen Smith and Thomas William Daw were small holders at Alden's Farm.

During the Second World War Mr and Mrs Daw of Alden's Farm brewed numerous cups for tea for all the villagers who were on duty during the air raids around the village. It did not matter whether it was night or day, they were there with a welcome 'cuppa'.

The floods came to Alphington on the 22nd October 1960. A farmer's wife, Mrs Walter, from Alden's Farm had gone to the city for the day. Her husband had taken his tractor though the floods to the Alphington Cross most probably to collect her and take her home. When he arrived at the cross other villagers were also stranded there and the farmer took them home as well. A gallant gentleman carried the ladies to their front doors, he had to wade through flood water up to his waist.



Copyright © Rowena Kirkpatrick