Gidley's Farm and Sobey's Farm
Gidley's is possibly the oldest cottage in Alphington and is thought to have been named after Bartholomew Gidley. He married Thomasine Richards at St Thomas on the 8th January 1609. His son, also Bartholomew, was christened in Alphington on the 23rd February 1611, he married Joane Northleigh in Alphington on the 17th November 1637. A second son, George, was christened in Alphington on 24th June 1614. By the late 1600s the family name was no longer recorded in the village.
On the Tithe Map Gidley's is recorded as part of the Elwells and Gidley's Estate and was owned by the Earl of Devon. The main occupier of the land was John Way he leased one garden, two nurseries, two orchards, four pasture fields and 14 arable fields. Several of the field names were interesting, such as, Three Corner Close a strangely shaped field that tappered off at one end producing a field with only three corners. Backside, Nearer Little Meadow and Farther Little Meadow were probably named so as to indicate their positions from the farmhouse. Great Hollow Pits and Little Hollow Pits might have indicated the presence of pits at one time. Perhaps the name Chalk Field indicated chalky soil, though I find that strange as I thought Alphington had clay soil. Square Acre was a square field of just over an acre. The field name Acre originally meant 'one of the strips of poughland in a furlong'. A field of over two acres was named Skurlake and having the word lake in a field name indicated a slow flowing stream. I could not see any sign of streams or ponds on the Tithe Map but a couple of nearby fields were named Farther Venny Rushes and Nearer Venny Rushes which would make you think the ground was wet and marshy. One field that fronted onto Markham Lane was called Bound Stone Field which would suggest there was a boundary stone there. It fits as Markham Lane was right on the edge of the Parish.
Both the 1841 and 1851 records show John Way farming at Gidley's and in 1851 it was recorded that the land extended for 51 acres. In 1857 William Rowe took over the farm and the 1861 records confirms this. John Way had moved to a 70-acre farm called Belithoes. Between 1861 and 1871, probably prior to 1866 Gidley's Farm became part of Sobey's Farm. In 1871 it seems from records that James Coles, a builder and carpenter, resided at Gidley's. In 1881 Gidley's was recorded as Gidley's House and James Coles continued to live in one half of the building and Mary Morrish in the other. In 1891 the residence was recorded as Gidley's Cottages. James Coles continued to be a resident in one cottage and John Bastin in the second cottage. In 1901 the residents were recorded as James Coles and George Nix. In 1911 James Coles was retired and the other resident in the second cottage was William John Burge. Other records show Gidley's Cottages were let to Mr E. G. Pike and Mr W. Burge in 1922. In 1946 Mrs D. C. B. Earle resided at Gidley's and A. Strachan at Gidley Cottage.
The Tithe Map shows other smaller parts of the Gidley's Estate and these were occupied as follows: Thomas Wollaway leased two orchards, John Wright leased one garden and three arable fields and James Wippell leased two pasture meadows and one orchard.
From the Tithe Map the Sobey's Estate was shown to consist of eight gardens, eight orchards, four pasture fields and nine arable fields. A couple of fields had interesting names, such as, Great Lark Burrow; the name Burrow 'may imply the existence of present or former barrow or camps'. Another field was named Fire Beacon this implies that fire beacons must have been lit in this field. One use of the fire beacons was to warn local people of the approach of the enemy. Unfortunately, I was unable to find the exact position of Fire Beacon Field but I can say with confidence that this field was on higher ground at the end of the Parish close to Markham Lane.
In 1841 Sobey's Cottages were recorded and the residents were William Rowe a farmer and William Baker a farmer. In 1851 William White Marker an accountant is recorded living at Sobey's House. Other records show John Way at Sobey's in 1866 and Henry and John Way in 1878. The 1881 records shows Henry Trimble Way farming 200 acres and employing seven men at Sobey's Farm. The 1891, 1901 and 1911 Census show Edmund Thomas Loram farming at Sobey's and finally in 1946 Mr P. S. Dadd.
Copyright © Rowena Kirkpatrick