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Manor Farmhouse

Avon

Manor Farm on Avon Lane was formerly called Avon farm. It was occupied by Hugh Beames, a progressive 'gentleman' farmer during the late eighteenth century. The farm comprised 248 acres, of which 156 was at Avon, the rest at Kellaways (where he also rented the corn mill), and at Langley Burrell and Bremhill. Beames had some fields laid for arable, but its business was largely dairy, his herd of Longhorn cattle noted for being 'extremely well bred'. A livestock sale noted Beames had 'spared no expense' on his cattle, and they had achieved a state of perfection. His 'capital bull' was descended from one of the breed's original stock lines. Alongside selectively breeding cattle, Beames also bred cart horses (his stallions were once described as 'famous'). Beames also had a herd of Leicester sheep, farmed for their meat. In addition to his arable fields, meadow and pasture, in several areas of the farm adjacent to the river Avon were withy beds. Here grew willow, likely used for local basketwork and thatching.

Seventy years later, during the lifetime of the diarist Francis Kilvert, the Smith family lived at the still largely dairy farm. Kilvert described the family as hospitable kindly people, once vividly relating his walk to Avon Farm from Kellaways. 'Across the great meads we went through the thunder of the water at the mill to the big old farmhouse with its sharp white lofty gables half veiled by the huge elm which stands before it. A yellow and white greyhound came to meet us like Gelert with a bloody mouth.' In typical Kilvert fashion, he made an illusion to Gelert the Welsh dog of legend, but the diarist neglected to add why the Manor Farm dog had a bloody mouth.

The farmhouse and adjacent timber-framed barn (NGRef: ST 95296 76267), both grade II listed, date from the late seventeenth century. The farmhouse is built of rubble stone and has a stone slate roof. It has been altered, including by the addition of a twentieth-century single-storey extension to the west and a nineteenth-century rear wing that likely included a dairy and cheese room.

 

Manor Farm,
Avon Lane,
Avon

 

NGRef: ST 95296 76316
Historic England 1199267 

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