sign Hempstead


Green Farm
Hempstead Hall Farm
Hole Farm
Lodge Farm
Mill Farm
Pine Farm
Red House Farm

Church Farm
Church Farm - 1971
Church Farm on the right with its barns on the left - 1971
The outside toilet block can be seen just to the right of the washing line

Church Farm House is probably the oldest house in the village.
The quality and size of the principal timbers in the two main downstairs rooms suggest a late sixteenth or very early seventeenth-century date.
Ian Hinton, Norfolk Historic Buildings Group - 24th August 2021

On Friday morning Mr RUMP, farmer at Hempstead, near Holt, was found dead near Oulton, on his way home from North Walsham market.
His pockets were turned inside-out, and 'tis supposed he had lain there all night. The Jury sat on the body, and brought in their verdict accidental death. The person who first saw him was suspected of taking his money, and being threatened to be sent to prison, confessed it.
The amount was 26 pounds 14 shillings and 6 pence.

Unidentified Norfolk Newspaper - 17th May 1873

Here is what I have put together.  Perhaps you may be able to connect my research with yours.  I believe that Millsty below is the same lane/path you call Clamp Lane.

John Coxton - blacksmith of Hempstead owned 7 acres on north & south side of Millsty, 3 acres on the north & 3 acres on the south and 5 small adjacent parcels, all located in Westfield, Hempstead.
Coxton died 1601 leaving as his heirs sons John Coxton, blacksmith and William Coxton, worstead weaver, as well as his widow Katherine Coxton, all of Hempstead.

Coxton heirs - 1608 sold 7 acres Millsty to Robert Hunt
Christopher Hunt, gentleman and heir of Robert Hunt 1612 leased(?) 7 acres Millsty to Thomas Brettingham

Thomas Brettingham
1) 7 acres Millsty (above)
2) also purchased 4 acres at Puttockhegge (at the post windmill) adjacent Sir Christopher Heydon and Simon Beere in 1622 from John Howse (same parcel purchased in 1561 by Nicholas Brettingham, Reginal Cooke and William King and sold to Bysshoppe family.
3) also purchased 7 acres arable land in field near the south side of the bounds of Baconsthorpe Parish in 1623 from Robert Yarham of Hempstead

Thomas Brettingham died in 1633 leaving his widow Elizabeth and children Marie, Christopher, Anne, William, John, Katherine, Thomas & Ursula.

Christopher Brettingham, first son of Thomas & Elizabeth apparently inherited Thomas' property including the 7 acres at Millsty

1645 Christopher Brettingham, his wife Mary and his mother Elizabeth conveyed Leasehold of 4 acres to brother John (our ancestor) being on the north side of Millsty, divided from the 7 acres. Said property was described as adjoining William King on the West, Christopher Brettingham on the East (possibily being the 4 acres at Puttockhegge) believe this was later the Church Farm House.

John Brettingham received the 4 acres in 1645. Both John and his wife Elizabeth died 1654 leaving several sons.  1st born was our ancestor William.

Christopher Brettingham held the property as Personal Representative of Elizabeth's estate until his death in 1667.

Thomas Brettingham was the brother of our ancestor William Brettingham.
In 1668 Thomas inherited the 4 acres at Millsty (“William's Inheritance”) as 2nd son of John & Elizabeth, having reported his brother William deceased.  William however was living in the colonies.
Thomas died 1729 leaving the “William's Inheritance” at Millsty to his daughter Elizabeth.

In addition to “William's Inheritance,” Elizabeth Brettingham also inherited farmland nearby from her maternal grandfather William Worts. Elizabeth left all to her sister Ursula for her life and then to Ursula's two daughters: Martha Sotherton & Sarah Webber who sold the property (“William's Inheritance” and the Farm) to Robert Britiffe

Robert Britiffe died 1749, leaving Church Farm (including the Worts farm & “William's Inheritance”) to his grandson John Hobart, 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire and son of Robert's daughter Judith.

John Hobart, 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire died in 1793, leaving Church Farm (and accompanying land) to his daughter Caroline Harbord, wife of William Harbord, Lord Suffield.

Lord Suffield died in 1821 upon which Caroline Harbord, Lady Suffield took over management of the properties. Some of her parcels of land were west of the village while the majority of the farm was in the east. Her neighbour Richard H. Gurney, Esq. owned much of the farmland to the west. Netherhall is today called Hempstead Hall, but some of his land was also west of the village. In 1828 Lady Suffield and Mr. Gurney joined in a Deed of Exchange in which they exchanged some of their parcels in order to “tidy up” their boundaries. Lady Suffield conveyed 17 small parcels that were located closer to the Gurney property. Though the parcels were not well enough described in the deed to clearly identify, it is likely that one of them was “William's Inheritance”.

Richard H. Gurney, Esq. of Hempstead Hall
Hempstead Hall Farm included the manors of both Netherhall and Lose Hall, formerly owned by William King (late 1500s), Newman family (late 1600s - early 1700s), Russell family (early 1700s - 1790s), Russell cousin Michael Collinson (1790s - 1807), Gurney family (1807 - 1940s).
The current Hempstead Hall was built by the Gurney family in 1883 on the site of Netherhall manor house.
In December 1945 the Gurney family sold the farm to George Knight.

Once we have a date for our trip I plan to reach out to Mr. & Mrs. Mack as I'd like meet them and ask permission to walk back via Millsty/Clamp Lane to see "William's Inheritance" and on across their farm to the Glaven.  I might add that I call the 4 acres behind Church Farm House "William's Inheritance" because he was to inherit as the oldest child.  However his father's will instructed that all go to his wife Elizabeth for 12 years, never suspecting that she would die a couple of months later in childbirth.  Uncle Christopher was assigned as Excecutor of Elizabeth's estate and he held the property for the following 12 years.  I believe that William was frustrated to wait 12 years and the next mention of him is two years later when he leaves London for the colonies.  His brother claimed he was deceased & inherited as 2nd son, but William lived another 30 years.
Kim Baynard - 26th March 2022

Sarah Roy
Sarah Roy (née Grand 1868-1951) at the entrance of Church Farm c.1929

Taking advice, I put an advert to try as head keeper's assistant and help on the rearing field in The Gamekeeper, which circulated countrywide. Receiving only one reply to go for an interview at Pond Hills, Hempstead, I got the job with immediate start.
I was fortunate indeed to get that job. My lodgings were at Church Farm. The people were marvellous, and it was really home from home. They had a son my age who saw after the horses, and we all got along fine.

Anonymous lad who was taken on as a trainee gamekeeper, Norfolk Within Living Memory - 1995

The above was written in the early 1920s, in the time of Alfred and Sarah Roy's tenancy. Alfred was horseman for John Hagen of Hole Farm and their son Ernest Victor Roy was horseman for D W Hagen of Green Farm.

Sarah (née Grand) and Alfred Roy - c.1940
Sarah (née Grand) and Alfred Roy after they had left Church Farm house - c.1940

Church Farm c.1936
North side of Church Farm viewed from Four Elms
Cow shed in the foreground with the dairy immediately behind
Farm working horses in the field - c.1936

One young lad who used to play around the stables at the end of the barn, annoyed the horseman so much that eventually he grabbed the youngster and held him upside down, dragging his hair in the horse wee that was running out of the stable. Apparently, the youngster didn't really seem to mind but his mother was less than impressed when he went home.

Hicks and Lamb families outside Church Farm front door (as was) - 1961
The barn with overhead hay loft on the left was taken down c.1975
left to right - John Hicks, Mary the goat, Ann Hicks, Lionel Hicks holding Paul Hicks,
Iris Hicks watching Christine Hicks, Norma Lamb, Pat Lamb, Bess the dog, Jane Lamb, Denise Lamb

Church Farm and Hole Farm were worked together by different families for some two centuries.

In early medieval times Church Farm at least seems to have been owned by outside landowners living in Blakeney, Stody and Hunworth. There is a reference in the NRO index relating to Hunworth to a ''mid 13th Century'' conclusion of disputes relating to land in (inter alia) Hempstead, then opened by Robert de Bedford and his son John, of lands formerly owned by Reginald de Menten (or Melthom). In 1379 “John Blakeneye, citizen and fishmonger of London'' seems, with others, to have bought manors and advowsons in several villages including Hempstead from ''John de Stodeye citizen of London''. John de Stodeye had been Lord Mayor of London, was a Vintner and had had a street in the East End named after him. In 1415 lands at Stody, Hempstead and many other parishes “formerly John Blakeneye's'' were conveyed to “Simon Felbrygge Kt''.

It would be interesting to know more of one of the parish's earliest landowners. In his book 'The Glaven Ports' on page 31 Jonathan Hooton says of John Blakeney: “He must have been a prominent fishmonger dealing widely throughout Britain as he is mentioned again granting his pardon to a merchant of Norwich in 1378; one of Walsingham in 1387 and one of Sittingbourne in 1391, touching debts they owe him. He died in 1393 and was wealthy enough to pay for five chaplains to pray for him for ten years in the churches of Blakeney, Cley, Wiveton, Sheringham and Briningham each chaplain receiving £5 per annum for undertaking the task”.
The lands in Hempstead referred to above seem to have had no connection with the owners of the two manors in the centre and west of the Parish. The Felbrygge family seem to have parted with their land to the Britiffe family by the early 18th Century. (In the interesting deeds relating to Brownwood, the land to the east of Brownwood, which is Church Farm land, is shown as then belonging to Edmund Britiffe.
Hempstead, A Norfolk Village - Robin Carver, 2000

Church Farm barn collapse Church Farm barn collapse
Total collapse of cart shed beside Church Farm barn after a gale looking north
Total collapse of cart shed beside Church Farm barn after a gale looking south

At one point Church Farm Barn was used as the Village_Hall and some meetings and gatherings were staged there.

Church Farm barn - c.1980
Church Farm barn - c.1980
Planning permission to convert the barn into a single dwelling was applied for in November 1977 and granted in February 1978. However, it appears that no work was carried out and the planning permission lapsed. A new application was applied for in August 1983 to convert the barn into two dwellings and this was approved in September 1983, with the work being carried out soon after.

The name Britiffe was earlier recorded in Norfolk as “Brighteve'' in the mid 15th Century. There were a family of that name in Stody, Philip and Jemima who had two children baptised at Stody Church in the 1660s, Charles and Waldergrave. ln 1664 and 1666 one Philip Britiffe paid the highest hearth tax in Hunworth.

The first two Edmunds are buried in Baconsthorpe Church. The third and fourth Edmunds are buried in Hunworth Church. Though Robert's first wife Judith is buried in Baconsthorpe Church he himself was buried at Thorpe Market alongside his second wife.

The Britiffes provide a classic example of a successful 17th and 18th Century family constantly improving their financial and social position. The first Edmund Britiffe was a yeoman and had no arms on his tomb. By the time his son died the family had duly acquired a grant of arms. It was, however, the third known generation who prospered most. The third Edmund became the owner not only of Church Farm Hempstead but also of extensive lands in Hunworth, Stody and Edgefield. It was this Edmund who rebuilt Hunworth Hall with its newly fashionable Dutch gables completed in 1699. Across the road on the gable of the ball appear the initials “ERB 1700'' and two hearts which stands for Edmund and Rebecca.

The Britiffes’ family house was just outside the parish of Hempstead - in the parish of Baconsthorpe. It is now called Pit Farm. The old house is covered with pebble dash' close to the road to the west of the Hare_and_Hounds, Parts of the house are (apparently) unaltered since the Britiffes’ time. All the rooms interconnect, there being no passages. The windows are small. There was a panelled dining room in 1936 but the panelling was later removed. There is a magnificent barn to the south.

One cannot but admire the bold way in which Edmund Britiffe III broke away from this Tudor discomfort to build Hunworth Hall in 1703. We do not know why or when Robert Britiffe also moved away - possibly following the death of his first wife Judith in 1705. Pit Farm (as it later became known) passed with all his other Hempstead lands under his Will on his death in 1749 to his grandson, the Second Earl of Buckinghamshire. In passing, one can only wonder whether it was the Blickling Estate clerks who christened their farms topographically - with “Pit Farm'' and “Hole_Farm'' almost adjoining. Pit Farm was, like Hole_Farm, offered for sale to raise Estate Duty following the death of the 10th Lord Lothian (and the departure of the Seaman family) in 1936. The farm was bought by Mr Johnson, hotel owner and entrepreneur, of Sheringham. Mr Johnson decided to farm himself so he instructed Mr George Youngs, grandfather of the present owner Mr Richard Youngs, to stock the farm for him. When the bill was presented Mr Johnson expressed horror and surprise and offered the farm (and the stock) to Mr George Youngs which offer was gratefully accepted. The house and farm passed to Mr Alec Youngs and then to Mr Richard Youngs. (In recent years the spelling has changed from “Pit” to “Pitt”).

Robert went to Gresham's School in 1676 being described as “Robert Brightiffe son of Edmund Brightiffe Gent of Baconsthorpe,'' He went on to Caius College, Cambridge. His first wife was Judith (daughter of Henry Edgar of Eye) who died young and is buried at Baconsthorpe Church, leaving him one child only, a daughter also called Judith. Robert was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1682. In NRS 14801 29E1 there is a contract between the two brothers described as then being “of Baconsthorpe'' buying, in 1704, land in Hempstead, adjoining land already owned by them, from William Newman the Lord of the Manor. Robert went into public life becoming both Recorder of Norwich (1704-1730) and MP for Norwich. He became the confidant and lawyer to Sir Robert Walpole (who built up a huge estate at Houghton, owned the finest non royal collection of pictures in the country and started building Houghton Hall in 1721). Robert married off his daughter by his first marriage Judith in 1717 to young Sir John Hobart bringing with her a dowry of £15,000 which it is said together with her share of her father's estate effectively preserved the Blickling estate for her descendants. Sir John's sister, Henrietta, was married to the Earl of Suffolk but flourished more publicly at the Court of George II as mistress of the Prince of Wales where her influence was such that she obtained a peerage for her younger brother John and later an earldom - that of Buckinghamshire.

Meanwhile Robert Britiffe helped his son-in-law Sir John Hobart to increase the size of the Blickling Estate, buying up to eight adjoining farms and at the same time consolidating his own estate at Hunworth, Hempstead, Stody and Edgefield.

Most of this estate he had acquired from his brother Edmund who had suffered some major financial crisis in the first decade of the eighteenth century (perhaps he had, like so many others before him, spent too much on his newly built Hunworth Hall). Anyway Robert bought out his brother, allowing him to continue living at Hunworth Hall. Following Edmund's death in 1726 Robert caused an estate plan to be prepared by Robert Corbridge of the Hunworth Estate (in the NRO with a copy in Hunworth Church),

The problems of putting together a large estate are many and have curious consequences. In 1702 Robert Britiffe had bought land (15 acres for £40) from “Edward Butler a clergyman who went to Virginnia and there died”. In 1733 one Ann Gatchell wrote to him when he was a Member of Parliament for Norwich to explain that she was Edward Butler's widow, that she had re-married a master mariner, that her second husband having been captured by “Yee Spaniards and ye Pirats'' had eventually died and that after a five-month voyage when she had suffered ''a great deal of fatigue and five months sickness'' she had come home to enjoy the 15 acre field that her east husband had settled on her. Though Robert had a full discharge from Edward Butler dated 1703 he took counsel's opinion. Mr B Hall of Clifford's Inn described the possible legal process adding ''poor people are most troublesome and she is very poor's. Robert Britiffe accordingly settled the entirely spurious claim for “the sum of five shillings of good and lawful money”.

Hole_Farm passed through the female line several times. In the early 18th Century Testators seem to have been quite uninhibited in preferring one daughter to another or even to a son. But equally they required the chosen child to provide financially for its siblings. The papers are to be found at the NRO under Reference MC/184/1/4/1-10 Bundle No. 15.

Robert Britiffe had never been the sort of man to have remained a widower long. For his second wife he married Elizabeth Rant, daughter of Sir William Rant of Thorpe Market, and moved into the Manor House of that village. They had a daughter, also called Elizabeth, who married Sir William Morden Harbord, whose son Harbord Morden Harbord, became the first Lord Suffield, moving to Gunton Hall and thus starting a considerable dynasty. Thus by the time he died in 1749 Robert Britiffe, eminence grise and financial genius, had through his daughters funded two immensely powerful Norfolk estates - those of Blickling and Gunton.

His wealth was seemingly sufficient for both purposes plus a third, support of his third wife, also called Elizabeth, who survived him. By his will made in 1747 he directed his body to be buried without ceremony early in the morning “without any funeral pomp and not so much as escutcheons - and no gloves or hatbands to be given …'' He left three pounds to the poor of Hempstead. His nephew Edmund Britiffe IV received fifty pounds. All the lands at Thorpe Market and in the adjoining parishes went to his daughter Elizabeth Harbord and her son Harbord, whilst all his lands at Hempstead and adjoining parishes (including Hole, Pit and Church Farms) went to his grandson, the Second Earl of Buckinghamshire, as did “the Rectory and tythes of Hempstead holden by lease for twenty one years from the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral of Norwich”. His grandson at Blickling and his son-in-law at Thorpe Market were his executors. The enormity of their task can be judged by the fact that he left land in over forty named parishes in Norfolk and Suffolk. He asked his second daughter Elizabeth, at the expense of the estate, to put a memorial in the Church at Thorpe Market “for her late mother and myself.'' This monument was duly erected and, despite the rebuilding of the Church by Robert's grandson, it is there to this day. The will, many pages long, was clearly the work of a painstaking, fair and obviously kind man who, dying in his 88th year, seeking no glory for himself, had built up such estate as to have founded two great families - one of whom, the Suffields, waxed in the l9th Century, only to sink almost without trace in the 20th, while the Blickling estates remained intact until major parts were sold and given up to the National Trust owing to the rapacity of the United Kingdom tax system.

For the sixty years following Robert Britiffe's death nothing more is known of the history of Hole and Church Farms. His grandson, the Second Earl of Buckinghamshire, died in 1793 and the estate passed to his daughter Caroline, who married William Assheton Harbord (a cousin who became Lord Suffield in 1810 and died in 1821). No doubt Robert Britiffe, despite his own modesty, would have been proud had he survived to see the great pyramidal mausoleum designed by Bonomi for his grandson’s monument in Blickling Park.
Hempstead, A Norfolk Village - Robin Carver, 2000

Church Farm bullock shed c.1950 Work on Church Farm bullock shed in 1983
Church Farm bullock shed, the former cow shed, where the cows were milked to supply the dairy - c.1950
Work on converting Church Farm bullock shed to Church Farm Lodge - 1983

Church Farm dairy being converted to become Lynnwood House c.1975
Church Farm dairy being converted to become Lynnwood House - 1983
At this time the roof was of Norfolk red pantiles, later to be replaced by concrete tiles

20th August 1996
20th August 1996
Church Farm - left; Lynnwood House - upper right (old dairy);
Church Farm Lodge bungalow (old bullock shed)

In NRO 14628 29 DI there is a bundle of papers prepared and signed by Mr Benjamin Whitney, who seems to have been Colonel Harbord's Agent at Blickling. Mr Thomas Rump of Church Farm was then tenant of 163 acres. There were 134 acres of arable land and 29 acres of buildings and meadows. The meadows were “of coarse quality''. There were three cottages, each being described as being ''one cottage with two tenements''. Whitney in August 1809 reckoned the whole to be worth £
In the same memo appears:

'9th August 1809. This farm and the one occupied by this tenants brother to be measured, they both expire at Mich's 1810'.

The farm occupied by “this tenants brother'' was Hole_Farm. Mr Thomas Rump remained the tenant of Church Farm where in due course his tenancy was taken over by his son William. Indeed in the 1851 Census Return William E Rump is there shown as farming 171 acres and employing seven labourers. However, Mr John Rump must have decided to give up his tenancy of Hole_Farm since on May 14th 1810 Whitney wrote to Lord Suffield (as Colonel Harbord had now become) to say that Mr Stephen Store had come “to treat for the farm in Mr John Rump's occupation at Hempstead, your Lordship having given him the refusal of it”. The rent was to be £434 - showing that it was appreciably larger than Church Farm (and perhaps with no ''coarse quality'' meadows). Mr Storey remained tenant until 1824 when Mr Johnstone took his place. In his letter Whitney adds the words “Your Lordship reserving to yourself the Pond Hills and the double cottage near the ponds”.

In his description of the Church Farm Cottages, Whitney lists and describes them and their tenants as follows -
One cottage with Tenements occupied by Dennis and Allen in bad repair £4-0-0 One ditto with two Tenements occupied by Hasell and Watson in middling repair with large gardens £6-0-0
One ditto with two Tenements occupied by Brown and Grimes in bad repair £5-0-0

This bundle of papers is the first evidence of the Blickling Estate's active involvement in Hempstead. The reference to “ponds'' in the plural in relation to Pond Hills must show that the pond below the road (where a hefty bank can be seen to this day) was then in existence. And what were the ponds for? Fishing? Or storing water for some sort of mill? After this date any maps of the area only show the pond which still exists.

It seems likely that the three Church Farm cottages each then occupied by two families are the same three double cottages of which two passed to the Youngs family with Pit Farm in 1936 to be sold off the farm in 1970 (that is “Marlpits'' and “Tinkers Cottage”) and one (“Pond Hills Cottages”) which remained with Church Farm which was sold in the eighties by the Carvers. Alternatively they may have been the predecessors of the three surviving “pairs'' (now each one house), with Lady Suffield rebuilding on the same sites over a period of time. This theory is borne out by the 1841 Tithe Map which shows Lady Suffield as owner and the (now) two pairs in Marlpit Lane occupied by William Allen and others. On the map only one half of Marlpit Cottage now owned by Mr & Mrs Durst is shown as then existing, possibly indicating that the rebuilding process was still incomplete.

Farming was very profitable in the Napoleonic Wars. The rents charged by Whitney would in real terms exceed those paid by farmers today. It would seem highly likely that the Blickling Estate would have built these cottages out of their high farming rents to enable the Rump tenant to house his workers. The fact that one pair of cottages enjoyed ''large gardens'' ties up with the fact that the pair alongside Church Farm Barns had far larger gardens than their fellows in Marlpit Lane.

It was following the death in 1793 of John, the second Earl of Buckinghamshire (and Robert Britiffe’s grandson) without male issue, that Lady Caroline Suffield, the second daughter, inherited the Blickling Estate - the eldest daughter Harriet having married the Sixth Marquis of Lothian. Caroline was married to Colonel Harbord, who later became Lord Suffield, and it was he who then administered the estate until he died in 1821.
Hempstead, A Norfolk Village - Robin Carver, 2000

26th October 1999
26th October 1999
Church Farm - left; Lynwood House - right (old dairy);
Church Farm Lodge bungalow (old bullock shed)

NRO MC3 10/4 is a fine map dated 1805 and prepared by Richard Funnell junior. The heading is:
“Map of lands situate in Edgefield and Hempstead in the County of Norfolk the property of Hon Col Harbord''
This is misleading since the lands were actually the property of his wife Caroline.

Detached from the main holdings were some meadows and fields adjoining the Glaven above the bridge on the Edgefield to Holt Road. What is now known as Edgefield Old Hall is clearly shown and is numbered 1 on the schedule but is only described as “Houses yards gardens etc”.

The map is tantalising for what at omits. It does not show Pond Hills Cottages or the Pond. Instead it leaves the area blank as belonging to “Hon Col Harbord”. It looks as though the map maker was told to ignore Hole_Farm, already in the same ownership. The map maker shows the prominent mound (now afforested) at the joining of the Pond Hills woods and Church Farm's 6 acre field. Even the heading to the map is misleading since the map only shows part of the Colonel's lands (his wife's) in Hempstead. The clue may lie on a note written on the outside of the plan apparently reading “Survey of Yard(?) Farm Edgefield (Col Harbord) 1805”.

The total acreage was 263 acres of which 18 was pasture and 39 woods - Pond Hills woods are marked throughout as “Coneygrounds''.

lt seems that Lady Suffield, who, following her husband's death in 1821, had taken on the full management of the estate, was particularly interested in its western extremities. It was she who built the first Stody Lodge and other cottages and laid out the Stody Woods in the 1830s, In Hunworth she built Breck Farm, overlooking the Glaven, and the School and the Rectory. Thus she could well have rebuilt the three pairs of estate cottages by Church Farm and in the Marlpit Lane Hempstead. Again it may well have been she who built the great double barn at Church Farm, now converted into two good houses.

At the Norwich Record Office (NRS21406) there is a delightful 1824 map of the Pond Hills area by Mr Funnel of Stody. The pond is shown as an exact square (like a medieval fish pond) and the cottage is called “Pond House''. The roadway, passing this house towards the east (and which comes out at the north-east corner of Pond Hills Woods) then went straight across the Hole_Farm field to the corner where the Baconsthorpe road and the Plumstead road part company. All the Hole_Farm land which appears on the map is shown as being owned by Lady Suffield and occupied by ''Mr Johnson”. Also included is a letter dated January 10th 1824 from Mr Funnel to Lady Suffield enclosing the map and telling her what the various letters on the map represented, where she entered the wood, where she met somebody, where she moved onto land occupied by another tenant, etc. It sounds as though this must have been Lady Suffield’s first visit to Pond Hills (coming as it did only three years after her husband's death) because Mr Funnel writes that he will make a “more perfect plan” after “her Ladyship shall have made such alterations and improvements as your ladyship shall think proper”. Lady Suffield is already shown in the 1815 Edgefield Enclosure Award Map as owning adjoining land to the south, and indeed she had owned all this land since the death of her father in 1793, so it does seem odd that she had never previously visited Pond Hills.

Running through Pond Hills are some gravelled and well graded roadways with all the appearance of being carriage drives. Adjoining them are many splendid oaks and beeches and a fine Wellingtonia. Oaks grow slowly in Norfolk. Those farming the belt to the south of the Pond Hills were planted at the time of the Crimean War and when one was cut down in the nineties this dating was confirmed by the number of rings. The Pond Hills oaks are appreciably larger than those in the belt and hence it seems more likely that not that they were planted by Lady Suffield in the 1820s and that she was responsible for the carriage drives. It was, after all, the date of the craze for the “Picturesque'' and Humphrey Repton was producing his Red Books of many of the neighbouring estates.

Very little has been found about the economic importance of the Pond Hills Woods to the Blickling estate. Presumably valuable timber was taken from time to time when oak trees were felled. However, the underwood would undoubtedly have been harvested on a regular basis. At the NRO ref MC/3/'258 (468x4) there is an account for the years 1857 to 1863 prepared for Lord Lothian by “Robert Fairbarn Forester”. It deals with the woods at Hunworth, Stody, Edgefield and Hempstead, but for the years in question there seems to have been no produce from Pond Hills. Hurdles, “branch bundles'' (kindling wood?) and faggots were all produced. Edgefield produced £59-16-10½ profit for the six-year period, so the operations were profitable enough.
Hempstead, A Norfolk Village - Robin Carver, 2000

9th August 2009
9th August 2009

One cannot but wonder why Church Farm House together with its pond and fine barn seems to have been built, not at the centre, but towards the north-west corner of its farmland. The likely reason emerges from a contract of exchange (NRS 13479 28 85) dated February 26th 1828 between Lady Suffield and Mr R H Gurney, presumably motivated by a mutual desire to tidy up their boundaries. Lady Suffield agreed to convey to Mr R H Gurney numerous fields in Hempstead, particularly around the Church and Marlpit Lane. In exchange Mr R H Gurney agreed to convey land of his in Baconsthorpe and Stody. An appreciable part of Church Farm was thus conveyed away by Lady Suffield but subject to the lease of Thomas Rump who (see above) eighteen years before, was tenant of 143 acres. Of this farm some 50 acres were to pass to the Gurney estate. This may have made the rest of Church Farm unlettable when the Rump family eventually gave up its tenancies. The 1841 Tithe Map shows 53 acres of Gurney-owned land still farmed by William Rump.
Nonetheless the Rumps were able to continue farming there for many years since the 1871 Census shows Mrs Catherine Rump, a widow, in occupation of 115 acres.
Hempstead, A Norfolk Village - Robin Carver, 2000

Thomas Rump - Amy Nash marriage certificate
Marriage certificate of the marriage of Thomas Rumpe and Amy Nash of Plumstead at Hempstead - 13th October 1785
Thomas and Amy were the parents of William Elden Rump b.1809

William Rump - Catherine marriage certificate
Marriage certificate of the marriage of William Elden Rump to Catherine Hendry (née Leeder) at Wells - 14th July 1864
Catherine had previously been married to Thomas Hendry and her son, also Thomas, later came to help her run the farm

Census 1871: Catherine Rump (52) b.Wells, farmer of 115 acres employing 3 men, 3 woman and 1 boy
Thomas Hendry (22) b.Wells, Farmer's Son
Ann Loynes (35) b.Holt, General Servant, Domestic

Census 1881: Catherine Rump (61) b.Wells, farmer of 166 acres employing four men, one woman and two boys
Thomas Hendry (32) b.Wells, Son
Ellen Knowles (18) b.Hunworth, General Servant

Census 1891: Catherine Rump (70) b.Wells, Farmer
Thomas Hendry (42) b.Wells, Farmer
Martha Pentney (35) b.Baconsthorpe, General Servant, Domestic

Census 1901
Census 1901

The history of Church Farm in the latter part of the 19th Century is not very clear but it does seem that (presumably following the death of Mrs Catherine Rump) it came to be farmed directly by the Blickling Estate as an “in hand'' farm. How else can one account for the existence at the NRO (Ref MC3467 515 x 3) of a series of farm accounts, invoices and receipts dated 1883-86 showing that Lady Lothian was farming very actively at ''Hempstead Farm”? Mr W Howes was her foreman and submitted his labour accounts (presumably for reimbursement) fortnightly. The area farmed was 143 acres.

The accounts are meticulously kept and show a busy mixed farm. Sheep were sent by rail to Leicester market. Beef cattle were sold in Dereham. Pigs and fowls were also sold. Barley was sold to Bullards Brewery. Linseed cake arrived by rail. A huge amount of work was required of the blacksmith - mostly the supply and repair of agricultural machinery - as were the calls of the vet. Mr Howes was paid £1 per week. In the harvest months over twenty people were employed - half of whom were described as ''Boy Smith'' etc. Not surprisingly perhaps, 24 pints of beer had to be supplied “for thrashing”.

ln 1933 in order to raise the Estate Duty payable following the death of the 10th Marquis of Lothian, the Hempstead and Stody Estate was sold to Lord Rothermere, the founder of The Daily Mail.

The forced sale of (inter alia) Hole_Farm and Church Farm had an interesting result in that it encouraged the 11th Marquis of Lothian (who was an active Liberal politician) to consider carefully the whole question of the breaking up of old estates, the selling off of historic houses and their valuable contents (the wonderful original library at Blickling having been broken up in a big sale in 1932 to fund the self-same death duties).

He wrote to Lloyd George on his accession to the Peerage and to Blickling ''largely as a result of your all too admirable work a well-diluted peerage is now possessed of almost no powers and I discover that I have to pay to our exhausted Exchequer almost 40% of the capital value of a mainly agricultural estate. In my capacity as an ordinary citizen I think highly of these arrangements but as an inheritor of a title and estates thereto they well prove somewhat embarrassing'.

Addressing the National Trust AGM in 1934 Lord Lothian outlined the basis of what was to become the Country Houses Scheme, a system whereby in lieu of cash the Exchequer would accept complete estates including whole houses and their contents. Parliament enacted the bill in 1937 and the gift of Blickling to the National Trust was the first use made of the new Act of Parliament paving the way for the future saving of countless estates and country houses for the nation.

The forced sale of half the parish of Hempstead was thus partly responsible for the law being changed and the huge increase in property accepted by the National Trust in satisfaction of death duties.
Hempstead, A Norfolk Village - Robin Carver, 2000

9th October 2019
9th October 2019
Church Farm House - top left ; Lynwood House - top right (old dairy);
Church Farm Lodge bungalow - centre right (old bullock house)

In notes left by Rev. Auden appears the following: -
“When Thomas Hendry who had been one of the Churchwardens who lived at Church Farm was retiring he had a sale of his goods. A pile of what he thought useless articles and refuse was made in the yard. Edmund Ling of Hempstead_Hall discovered on this rubbish heap a battered silver cup much tarnished. He begged it from Mr Hendry and had it cleaned and repaired in Norwich when it was seen to be the Church Chalice. When Edward Ling died his sister Mrs Alfred Ling happened to show the cup to Mr J H Gurney who promptly told her it was church property and should be returned to the church. Much against her will this was done under pressure in 1913”.
Hempstead, A Norfolk Village - Robin Carver, 2000

Communion Cup 1568
Communion Cup

In 1935 Mr John Hagen died at Hole Farm and his Obituary, headed “Hempstead's Grand Old Man'', was duly published. Through his generosity the large debt on the Village Hall was paid. His last public function was the unveiling of the Jubilee seat in the village on Jubilee Day.

Lord Rothermere died in November 1940 and in 1941 Hole_farm and Church Farms with the rest of the Stody Estate were sold to Mr George Knight. Mr Knight died in 1963, learning a large estate coupled with large borrowings so that the farms again had to be sold off to raise the duty and to repay the debt. Mr Knight’s executors sold Pond Hills Cottage but retained the Pond Hills Woods. Pond Hills Cottage was bought by Tessa Moorhouse, a District Judge, who some twenty years later sold it to Adrian Taylor and Yvette Gibson. Tessa Moorhouse had only used the cottage for holidays. The surrounding area had become very overgrown and the dam below the house had fallen into total disrepair. However, in the nineties, Adrian Taylor and Yvette Gibson were able to restore the dam, open up its surrounds, raise the water levels and make a fine garden running down to the water.

It was in October 1964 that Mr David Johnson bought Hole_Farm (317 acres) and Church Farm (134 acres). With Church Farm went the four “White Horse Cottages,'' formerly belonging to the Gurney estate, which Mr David Johnson then sold off. Church Farm was then resold to ''the Crook Trustees'' of Bristol in 1965.

Mr David Johnson, a farmer from the Fends farmed both farms as one. He also farmed several other farms in Norfolk for institutional owners and was largely responsible for the removal of almost all the hedges and trees from the farms - prairie farming at its worst. As a result of this whenever there was heavy rain, the water ran off the land, causing flooding through the Hole_Farm buildings, Church Farmhouse was sold off and split up. Hole_Farm House was sold off to a pub-keeper in Essex (who left it to rot). Mr David Johnson did not endear himself to the village when his first act was to fell and sell the three walnut trees planted alongside the horse pond at Church Farm. He was indeed the original asset stripper.

In 1982 the Carver family bought the two farms. They built a large grainstore and spent the next fifteen years replanting the trees and hedges (but in different positions) that Mr Johnson had removed. The two cottages and the Church Farm Barn on the Pond Hills Road were sold off - the former were converted from two small cottages into one fine house, while the Barn was also very well converted into two substantial houses.

Having bought the farmhouse at Hole_Farm, the Carvers rebuilt it and several of the adjoining buildings in 1990.

By the end of the century the Carvers had planted or replanted 43 acres of woodland involving the planting of 27,000 trees and eight and a half miles of new hedges.
Hempstead, A Norfolk Village - Robin Carver, 2000

Church Farm - 1971 11th March 2022
11th March 2022

28Dec2015 17May2023
28th December 2015
17th May 2023

31st August 1933
Map of Church Farm and Hole Farm combined land showing acreages
as sold to
Henry Robert Johnson & Litcol Estates Ltd
31st August 1933

18th December 1941
Map of Church Farm and its land
as sold to Stody Estates Ltd
18th December 1941

O. S. Map 1885
O. S. Map 1885
Church Farm house and buildings shown in red
Courtesy of NLS map images

O. S. Map 1905
O. S. Map 1905
Church Farm house and buildings shown in red
Small building to the west of the farmhouse is the double outside privy
Courtesy of NLS map images

1825: Thomas Rump, farmer & overseer

27th June 1835: Thomas Rump buried aged 78 (had 12 children)

White's 1836: William Rump, farmer

Tithe map 10th Sept 1839:
Owner: Dowager Lady Caroline Hans Suffield;
Occupier: William Rump - house, stables, barn

12th Nov 1839: William Elden Rump's daughter, Mary Ann, married Bernard William Bowles at Banningham

4th April 1840: Wilhelmina Maria Ann Rump buried aged 40

Poor Rate 27th January 1841:
William Rump farming 120a.4r. 0p. as tenant of Suffield Gurney rated at 1/ 9d. in the pound on £148.15s 0d. paying £13.0.3¾d

Census 1841:
William Rump (30) Farmer
Amy Rump (75)
Sarah Bix (15)
William Bullock (20)
William Harmer (15)
Stephen Newstead (15)

27th Sept 1842: William Elden Rump married the widow innkeeper Pleasance Smith (née Fiddy) at Wells

White’s 1845: William Elsden Rump, farmer

17th July 1845: Amy Rump (William's mother) buried aged 78

1849: William Rump, farmer & overseer

Census 1851:
William E Rump (40) b.Hempstead, Farmer of 171 acres employing 7 labourers
Pleasance Rump (48) b.St Faiths, Farmers wife
John Fiddy (35) b.Buxton, Mariner (visitor)
Elizabeth Fiddy (30) b.Wells, (visitor)
Richard Fiddy (22) b.St Faiths, Journeyman Carpenter (visitor)
Cecelia Hazlewood (23) b.Baconsthorpe, House Servant
John Grand (24) b.Hempstead, Agricultural Labourer
Edmund Hazel (18) b.Matlaske, Agricultural Labourer
John Money (16) b.Hempstead, Agricultural Labourer

Kelly's 1858: William E Rump, Farmer

Census 1861:
William E Rump (51) b.Hempstead, Farmer of 170 acres employing 6 men and 2 boys
Pleasance Rump (59) b.St Faiths, Farmers Wife
Elizabeth Gray (21) b.St Faiths, Draper's Assistant
Margaret Rider (21) b.Hempstead, Dairy Maid
John Warner (20) b.Baconsthorpe, Carter
William Ottey (19) b.Baconsthorpe, Carter
William Wright (16) b.Hempstead, Carter

Register of Electors 1861: William Rump, Church Farm

Harrods 1863: William Eldon Rump, Farmer, Church Farm

8th April 1863: Pleasance Rump buried aged 62

14th July 1864: William Elden Rump married Catherine Hendry (née Leeder) at Wells

White’s 1864: William Elden Rump, farmer

11th November 1866: William Elden Rump buried aged 57

Census 1871:
Catherine Rump (52) b.Wells, Farmer of 115 acres empl 3 men, 3 women & 1 boy
Thomas Hendry (22) b.Wells, Farmer's Son
Ann Loynes (35) b.Hempstead, General Domestic Servant

Kelly’s 1879: Catherine Rump (Mrs.) farmer

Census 1881:
Catherine Rump (61) b.Wells, Farmer of 166 acres emp 4 men, 1 woman & 2 boys
Thomas Hendry (22) b.Wells, Farmer
Ellen Knowles (12) b.Hunworth, General Servant

White’s 1883: Mrs. C. Rump, farmer, Church farm

White’s 1890: Rump & Hendry, farmers, Church farm; Rump, Mrs. C. (R. & Hendry)

Census 1891:
Catherine Rump (70) b.Wells, Farmer
Thomas Hendry (42) b.Wells, Son, Farmer
Martha Pentney (23) b.Baconsthorpe, General Servant/Domestic

Kelly’s 1892: Rump & Hendry, farmers

Kelly’s 1896: Rump & Hendry, farmers

On beam in attic: Sept 19 1898 F. Turner

Census 1901:
William Mussett (40) b.Binham, Farm Bailiff
Christina Mussett (32) b.Binham
Rosina Mussett (14) b.Binham
Gladys Mussett (9 mnths) b.Hempstead
Address: Bakers Farm

Census 1911:
Alfred Roy (40) b.Stanfield, Farm Labourer
Sarah Elizabeth Roy (42) b.Hempstead
Anna Alethea Allard (21) b.Hempstead, Step Daughter, Dairy Work
Ernest Victor Roy (8) b.Hempstead, Son
Charles John Roy (6) b.Hempstead, Son
8 rooms

Census 1921:
Alfred Roy (50) b.Stanfield, Horseman for J Hagen, Farmer, Hempstead
Sarah Elizabeth Roy (58) b.Baconsthorpe, Home Duties
Ernest Victor Roy (18) b.Hempstead, Horseman for D W Hagen, Farmer, Hempstead
Charles John Roy (16) b.Hempstead, Farm Hand
Winifred Mary Roy (10) b.Hempstead, Scholar
Chrisannie Grand (78) b.Hempstead, Mother in Law
10 rooms

Kelly's 1925: John Hagen, farmer, The Hole & Church Farms

Kelly's 1929: John Hagen, farmer, The Hole & Church Farms

Kelly's 1933: John Hagen, farmer, The Hole & Church Farms

31st Aug 1933:
The Most Honourable Philip Henry Marquis of Lothian sold large estate in several villages to Henry Robert Johnson & Litcol Estates Ltd

Kelly’s 1937: David William Hagen, farmer, Green, Red House & Church farms. Holt 88

Nat Register 1939:
Stanley J Scarff b.26Jun1903, Milk Roundsman, Poultry
Mildred M Scarff b.29Dec1905, Unpaid domestic duties
Robert J Scarff b.10Jan1936, Under school age
Peter B Scarff b.29May1937, Under School age

18th Dec 1941:
Litcol Estates Ltd sold to Stody Farms Ltd large estate in several villages £77,180

Saturday 16th June 1945: George Knight bought the Hempstead Estate from the Gurney family

27 pure bred attested Friesian dairy cattle, 3 horses and agricultural implements were offered for sale by Savills on behalf of R. C. Knight & Sons

5th Oct 1965:
G.C. & F.C. Knight Ltd (formerly Stody Farms Ltd) sold to David Charles Johnson - Estate of Church Farm, 41 & 42 Pond Hills Road and White Horse Cottages (terrace of four) £25,000

16th Oct 1967:
David Charles Johnson sold to Audrey Winifred Radcliffe Battine. Farmhouse and buildings farmland and hereditament being Church Farm including 41 & 42 Pond Hills Road and 132.333 acres (120.334 farmland, 9.872 pasture and 2.127 woodland) £33,500
AWRB died 12th Dec 1965 after monies paid but before conveyance issued by executor & daughter Monica Victoria Somerset Black

13th Mar 1972:
Monica Victoria Somerset Black (executor & daughter) sold to Lionel Harrold Hicks - Church Farm complex £2,500

14th Mar 1972: Plans passed at NNDC re. proposed re-siting of kitchen-bathroom and annexe

14th Mar 1972:
Lionel Harrold Hicks sold to Douglas Llewellyn James Gregg & Irene Lillian Baldwin-Hunt - Church Farm complex £2,500

6th Jan 1975:
Douglas Llewellyn James Gregg & Irene Lillian Gregg sold Lynnwood House to Lionel Harold Hicks

22nd Jul 1975:
Douglas Llewellyn James Gregg & Irene Lillian Gregg sold Church Farmhouse to Alan Sidney Stephens & Penelope Norma Veronica Younghusband-Francis £14,250

12th May 1982:
Alan Sidney Stephens & Penelope Norma Veronica Stephens sold to Wallace Herbert Bird Fletcher & Joan Rose May Fletcher £44,000

21st Sept 1982:
Helena Mary Crook to Rose Ferlina Garrett Carver - Easements relating to land adjacent to garage

15th Oct 1986:
Wallace Herbert Bird Fletcher & Joan Rose May Fletcher sold to Malcolm Leslie Freeguard & Rosemary Addison Freeguard £82,500

17th Aug 2009: Airle Anne Inglis sold to Rosemary Addison Freeguard - Garage area

30th Oct 2009: Rosemary Addison Freeguard sold to Jonathan Neville

If you have any memories, anecdotes or photos please let us know and we may be able to use them to update the site. Please or telephone 07836 675369

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