(May 2005) A short account of Farming in and around Sibford in the 1930s by Charles J. Lamb

(Continued from last month)

The next holding, Elmridge Farm, formerly known as Ryehill Farm, 90 acres, was the property of my grandfather John Lamb, who farmed here together with the 60 acre property of Gibralter Farm just across the River Stour in Hook Norton parish. Ryehill Farm was formerly owned by my grandfather’s cousin, William Lamb, and before him by his father, A.J. Lamb, and his grandfather, Joshua Lamb, since 1819. On the sale of the farm following my grandfather’s death in 1940, it had been farmed by a member of the Lamb family for 120 years.

William Lamb, in addition to farming, ran a jam preserving business in the custom built brick buildings behind Elmridge House, but little is known of its operations, and the buildings were largely disused during my youth, but after the sale of the farm to Hopkyns, were used as a cabinet maker’s workshop by my wife’s father and brother for some years, but are, again, largely derelict.

Adjacent to the jam factory lived my Uncle Jack in a cottage that obviously had at one time been a separate property from Elmridge, and was popularly supposed to have been a public house known as the Red Lion. This was partly borne out by the fact that adjoining the “Red Lion” was a small cottage lived in by my grandfather’s sister, Rachel, which had been converted by my grandfather from a building described in 1868 by A.J. Lamb as a malthouse. A.J. Lamb also at that time owned Stickleys Farm and Wells Ground, later to be the property of my mother.

Home Farm, 120 acres had long been the property of the Hopkyns family, who were also to purchase the adjoining Elmridge Farm.

Home Farm was farmed by Elizabeth Wealsby, a widow for many years, and whose son, Frank, after his marriage to my father’s sister, Edna, was to farm here and Elmridge until his death when the property again reverted to its original components to be farmed by my cousins Frank and William Wealsby. (Elmridge has therefore by 1984 achieved a further 44 years in the hands of Lamb relations, giving a total of 164 consecutive years.)

Adjoining Home Farm, and extending in a narrow strip up Pound Lane, was a small 20 acre farm belonging to the Gaydon family. A Miss Gaydon was the sole survivor at the time of which I write and she, in the loneliness of middle age, married her ploughman, Harry West, who then inherited the farm on her death. After his retirement the farm was worked by the Will Poulton family and on his death broken up and sold partly for building and partly to neighbouring farmers. The farmhouse appeared to be one of the old village farmhouses from pre-enclosure days and was considerably larger than to be expected on a 20 acre farm, and I believe that the Gaydon family did, at one time, own a farm later to be part of Handy Water Farm. Handy Water Farm, with its Barn Farm, approximately 90 acres across the turnpike, was farmed by my uncle Will Bishop until ill health necessitated his retirement to the small 10 acre Glebe Farm adjoining Stickleys.

(To be continued — Ed)