Peadown Farm, West Hanningfield

Peadowns Farmhouse (The Sphere, 1948)
Peadowns Farm
Map showing the original layout and where the reservoir is today

Peadown Farm was first recorded on the Quarter Session Rolls in 1677. The Courts of Quarter Sessions were local courts that were held at four set times each year. The inhabitants of West Hanningfield went before the court ‘for not repairing the highway from “Peadown to the 3 elms”, leading to Chelmsford containing 80 roods in length’.

John Chapman and Peter André created a detailed map of Essex in 1777. Peadown Farm is marked on the map, but it was not named.

The 1881 census recorded Peadown Farm as standing on Peadown Road. This is likely to be the road that went south to Gifford’s Farm.

Ten years earlier and the census showed that the farm was being run by Mr Joseph Magner, a 60-year-old ‘farmer of 20 acres.’ He was living with his wife, Elizabeth’ and their 13-year-old son, Louis.

By 1881 The Magner’s had left and been replaced by John and Catherine Freshwater. John was 45, had been born in Writtle, and gave his occupation as ‘Agricultural Labourer’. The Freshwaters had two children, the eldest was also called John, 15, and was employed as an ‘Agricultural Labourer’.

The farm was recorded as ‘Pea Downs’ in West Hanningfield at the time of the 1901 census. Three households were listed as living on the farm.

Joseph Cox’s occupation was given as ‘Yardman on cattle farm’. He was 51 at the time, and living with his wife, Martha, and their three sons. All three were listed as ‘Agricultural Labourers’.

Charles Doe was a ploughman on Peasdown in 1901 Twenty years earlier he had been working on Gifford’s Farm. His 23-year-old son was also a ploughman. They lived with Charles’ wife Sarah and their daughter, Elizabeth.

Also working as a labourer, at the age of 72, was George Cox from West Hanningfield. His son, William, was working as a ‘Stockman of Cattle’. They lived with George’s 18-year-old granddaughter, Maud.

Peadowns, West Hanningfield, had two families living and working on the farm in 1911. Joseph Cole, and his wife Martha, were living in one property. Joseph was a 62-year-old Stockman on the farm.

Leonard Frances Gale was employed as a Coachman and was living with his wife, Emma, and their daughter, also called Emma.

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