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Manor Farm at Halfpenny Green
 

1400-1700 Much of the area around Manor Farm was previously common land, waste and marsh. Drainage of Halfpenny Lake, ditches and dykes was carried out in the first half of this period, and for the whole period the Dickens family lived at Leighton Hall. They were the Lords of Churchill in Worcestershire and in the mid 1600’s had a Tythe Barn in the centre of Bobbington Common, and also owned Hay Farm at Six Ashes. This Tythe Barn is now part of the present Manor Farm and the massive tree trunks supporting the roof are most probably parts of the original building.

Attempts to connect Charles Dickens to this property have proved unsuccessful.
 
1684 Sir Thomas Wilbraham of Cheshire, the then Lord of Bobbington Manor, purchased the barn and 40 acres, and through inheritance it passed to Lord Cavendish, Baron of Stafford and Earl of Dorchester etc.
 

1821 -Thomas Bowen, farmer of Bradney, Worfield purchased Bobbington Manor Farm and 40 acres for £2600. Manor Farm, from a study of field names was apparently on Tom Lane next to the Royal Oak and these buildings listed until at least 1840. The Bowens already owned the Royal Oak and Blakelands. Also in 1821 Walter Henry Moseley, whose father purchased Leighton Hall from the Dickens in 1747, purchased the Lordship and Manor of Bobbington for £1200 from Lord Cavendish. In 1804 it was Mrs Moseley who presumably built the first part of the present house next to the Tythe Barn , no doubt as a cottage for a tenant farmer. They then extended the Tythe Barn and at some point installed a chaffing machine made in New Mallen in 1721. They had also purchased the Windmill built in 1769 and only 250 yards or so north of the farm, paying John Sparrow £99 for it in 1814. But the Moseleys were about to expand their ownership yet again.

 

1827 -Bobbington Waste or Common was enclosed. As Lord of the Manor, Squire and largest land owner in the Parish, the Moseleys were entitled to the largest share of the land. Given the title Manor Common Farm the Tythe Barn and its surrounding buildings now compromised 216 acres and the family owned over 1500 acres in Bobbington.

 

1877 The Moseleys sell to the Earl of Dudley with the name as Bobbington Manor Farm. Substantial changes are made with a further barn added to the Tythe Barn, a cowshed and piggeries, coach houses with storage over, and a 70 foot square Dutch Barn, a 1905 extension to the house as well as the Manor Cottages built on Gospel Ash Road. Tom Jones their shepherd lived in one of the four cottages where Manor Lodge now stands.

 

1946 The Earl sells the farm and its 228 acres to the tenant George Booth as The Manor Halfpenny Green and the family quite quickly sell all but the buildings and 4 acres. Purchasers included Wenlocks, Shakespeare, Crumps and Mundey now Herman-Smith and Singh.

 
1975 The Amies purchase as the Manor Halfpenny Green.
 

1985 Norman and Tina Jones purchase as Manor Farm. The Dutch Barn is demolished and a flat is created for a parent. The house is extended, again, and then in 2001, two of the barns are converted into residences. Two of the mill stones and the chaffing machine are now modern ornaments. The chaffing machine was last used in the 1870’s for straw wimbling, to make straw rope to protect packages and barrels (But see footnote) and this is recorded on the new sign recently erected on Halfpenny Green.

 

Footnotes

"I have read the article regarding Manor Farm in the latest edition of the Bobbington Parish Magazine. I would like to point out that the chaffing machine was in use in the early 1960's. I know this for a fact, because I used it myself along with the late Mr Bill Lawley, who used to live in Manor Cottages. We used to make rope for the then owners of the farm Godfrey and Kay Booth, I lived at the farm in a caravan that was in the apple orchard, I later moved up into the village where I have lived for nearly 40 years."

Doreen Petch


"Godfrey Booth was an entrant n the TV Programme ~ “What’s My Line”.  He won his round with a job title of “A kak-handed straw windler”.

Eric G Knowles


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