Pynning's Farm, West Hanningfield

Pynning's Farm
Pynnings Farm

A magazine article written by Richard Pusey in the 1980s explained that Pynning’s Farm dated back to the 13th century and took its name from William Pynning.

The Essex Records Office holds details of the deeds for Pynning’s Farm, starting from 1638, but a 1628 Survey of the Hanningfields states that the farm was owned by Sir Henry Cloville. His family had been granted the land by William II.

On the 17th June 1845 the Essex Herald published a notice about a setter being found running stray on Pynning’s Farm, West Hanningfield on the 27th May. The notice went on to say that the owner could collect the dog there, or it would be sold.

The 1848 edition of White’s Directory listed Thomas Blyth as the farmer at Pynning’s.

The Chelmsford Chronicle, published on the 8th October 1897 told its readers about the successful harvest on ‘Pinning’s Farm’ the previous Saturday.

Mr Colin Benson held a dinner for the men, their wives and children, and the tenants on the farmland at ‘Pinning’s Farm.’  A barn was decorated and around 40 people enjoyed the roast beef and plum pudding that was made for the celebrations.

A concert party was put on to entertain anyone that attended and the entertainers were treated to supper.

Mr William Benson was employing Arthur Cooper as a horseman on Pinning’s Farm in February 1901 when he suffered a severe kick to the stomach from one of the horses.

Mr Cooper, then 32 years-old, was taken to his home where he was attended to by Dr. Lyster of Great Baddow. Arthur succumbed to his injuries.

The Essex Newsman reported on the 23rd February 1901 that an inquest held at West Hanningfield returned a verdict of “accidental death”.

Hewell and Alice Collis were living on Pynning’s Farm when the 1901 census was taken. Hewell, from Terling, was employed as the farm bailiff.

Pynning’s Farm was again recorded as being in West Hanningfield when the 1911 census was taken.

The head of the house was Walter Smith a 46-year-old farmer from Carnarvon. He appears to have moved his family down from Lancashire 4 or 5 years earlier, to take over the running of the farm.

Walter’s wife, Jessie, and their first three children were all from Lancashire. Their last three, the eldest of which was Wilmot Hodge, 4, are recorded as being born in West Hanningfield.

The Chelmsford Chronicle reported on ploughing matches that were held at ‘Pinning’s Farm’ on Saturday 14 October 1911. Mr S. Hodge lent a field for the occasion.

The competition was the idea of Mr Walter Hill, of Peadowns, and he offered the prizes. The event was arranged by Mr C. J. Benson and farm workers from both East and West Hanningfield were invited to enter.

Judges looked on as each competitor worked an area of half an acre each. Those judges commented that it was perhaps some of the best ploughing they’d witness in the county, other than at Ilford.

The men’s competition was won by a Mr H. Cooper, who was employed by Mr Benson, with A. Martin winning the Under 21’s competition.

The Stationery Office produced ‘An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, volume 4, South East’ in 1923 and recorded details about Pynning’s Farm.

The walls were partly of brick and the roof was covered with slate. It appeared that most of the house had been rebuilt in the 18th century, but the central chimney stack was thought to date from the early 17th century, which was ‘of cross-shaped plan and set diagonally.’

An auction of farming implements from Pynning’s Farm took place on Saturday 9 March 1942. The Chelmsford Chronicle listed them with the prices they were sold for:
Potato riddler £16
Hay grip £13
Potato plough £12.10s
Horses up to 54½ Guineas
Tractor £120
Cultivator £54
Corn and seed drill £40
Waggon £57

Sylvia Kent wrote a report for the Great British Life website having spoken with Mr Derek Owen.

Mr Owen was born in 1932 and had lived on Pynning’s Farm. His father and uncle grew vegetables and kept pigs there.

Mike Miners, a reporter with the Echo, spoke with Ann and Robert Cooper as they visited the Reservoir in 2007, as they had both grown up on Pynning’s Farm.

Robert’s father was a tenant farmer but was forced to move in 1954. He could remember Peasdown Cottage, which stood nearby.

Ann’s father was Alec Frood, who was filmed by Pathé News in 1954 as he moved his family out of the area. Alec died in 1984.

Pynning’s Farm Lane runs from West Hanningfield and along part of the reservoir, where it joins up with Seaman’s Lane. It once ran into the valley where the farm stood, and met up with Gifford’s Lane.


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  • My parents, Audrey and Peter Vincett, were tenants of Mr and Mrs Frood around 1952 after they were married, and before moving to a new bungalow in Widford. There are photos of the farm in some albums. My mum is just approaching 100 in a care home in Warwickshire. My dad passed away in 2015 in Danbury, Essex.

    By Chris Vincett (01/01/2023)
  • Essex Herald 22 January 1839 and Chelmsford Chronicle 25 January 1839.
    Charity Commissioners Report by Mr Wrottesly.

    Parish of Great Baddow. Jeffrey’s Free School.
    Jeffery Jasper. Will proved 8 November 1731.

    Money to the sum of £990 arising from the sale of the estate of the late Jasper Jeffrey, cooper of London, was used to purchase Pynnings Farm and this was conveyed by an indenture dated 17 March 1747 to the executors. About 106 acres (with outbuildings), with certain woods, underwoods and springs inclosed (about 6 acres), meadow ground (1 acre), plus one rood with cottage from the waste ground formerly of the manor of Clovill’s.

    1834 – Pynnings – farm house and out buildings. 121 acres, 1r, 6p, mainly arable (only 20 acres meadow) let to William Benson on a 14 year lease from 1829 at £165 (previously rate was £120).

    From 1795 to 1816 the rate was £90.

    Rate raised to £160 in 1816

    Rate lowered to £120 in 1823.
    An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex. Royal Commission 1923.

    Pynnings Farm – Walls part brick and roof of slate. Rebuilt 18c except 17c chimney stack.

    By David C Rayment (01/08/2021)

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