Farms.

STONE FARM in 1720 was part of the Foxgrove Manor lands owned by Lancelot Tolson of Plaistow,Bromley. Possibly brought into Tolson possession by John Tolson from the sold estate of Sir Francis Leigh who died in 1711 with debts that required Foxgrove to be sold but also possibly by his brother Lancelot Tolson around 1716. Evidence is in some ways contradictory. Stone Farm’s position at that time was about half way along Wickham Road between what is now Court Downs Road and Stone Park Avenue. From Lancelot Tolson it descended by about four deaths and bequests to Joseph Grove who sold it to John Cator. Stone Farm had it seems several outlying fields not directly connected to it but mingled with Kelsey or Langley fields. John Cator sold a small part of it to the Burrells and leased the house to a maker of harpsichords. Another map dated to 1780 shows Stone Farm ‘let to Porson’ along with land on the other side of Wickham Road so it would appear that some fields called Great Broomy, Little Broomy and Coots Land also constituted part of Stone Farm. In 1793 Cator exchanged Stone Farm along with other land with Peter Burrell Lord (Baron) Gwydir and according to a map of the Burrell estates the farm land was absorbed into his Kelsey parkland, the buildings presumably being demolished as they are not illustrated on the map. Subsequently a farm called Home farm was on the corner of what is now Wickham Road and Stone Park Avenue and that was renamed Stone Farm. In 1809 a Burrell estate book shows Kelsey Park leased to Henry Alexander Bennett who had married a Burrell daughter. The corner of Wickham Road and South Eden Park Avenue (before Stone Park Avenue was built) is the position of Home Farm buildings and the fields are opposite taking in the aforementioned Broomys, which in fact on an earlier map were named Bromley Lands. This illustrates quite well some of the changes and evolution of the landscape.

 

 

Hence, situated on the right hand side of Wickham Road, opposite Hayes Lane, the buildings only being pulled down when the Park Langley shops and Stone Park Avenue were developed. A footpath through the farm ran over the hill to Eden Farm. Stone Farm belonged to the Burrell Family. At that time, the property consisted of about sixty acres of Land and an excellent dwelling house. It was then in possession of William Rodgers, and some of the farmland was in the possession of A.W. Colville. In 1809 the farm consisted of 153 acres under lease to Edward Brown but subsequently to William Rodgers circa 1820. The Burrell estate book listed tenants with some crossed out and new tenants pencilled in. Field names, acreages and some crops grown are identified.

 

 

 


The house was subsequently in the occupation of Michael Mathew, who lived there until the year 1860. It is, we think of interest to note that in the lease dated 1854 several acres of farmland were in cultivation for hops whereas in the 1809 book the crops are oats and wheat with meadow and fallow land. The farm remained, more or less in the same condition for many years and was one of the only houses in Beckenham, which did not undergo any alteration during, half-a-century. The entrance to “Park Langley”, the name adopted for the building estate, which took place of Langley Park, did not improve the surroundings of Stone Farm.

 

KELSEY PARK FARM, a dairy farm, was almost adjoining in Wickham Road. The date of its establishment is unknown and the last of the old buildings were demolished for the erection of Park Farm Court.

KELSEY FARM (also known as Kelsey Cottage) in old Kelsey Lane, built in 1832 by John Woolley, was 6 years later the residence of Herbert Jenner. It stood on the present site of Uplands and part of Forest Ridge, and in 1875, according to a local directory, was occupied by Alexander Strickland. It was a large house and farm with a chapel, the entrance being opposite Sandhills School, with a lodge, still in existence although altered and enlarged; this was occupied by Mark Webster, head gardener to Mr. Preston, who recalled that when Selfridges Store was first opened in London some cotton plants were sent to him and when developed, these plants were used for window display in the Oxford Street store. The main house was lighted by electricity generated by gas engine, long before electricity was introduced locally.

 

ELMERS END NEW FARM, situated in Croydon Road, Elmers End almost facing Elmer Lodge, was occupied in 1820 by Robert Brown and subsequently by Peter Paget. As late as 1849 steeple chasing was run from this farm across fields to Sidney Cottage, on the corner of Sidney Road at Clock House. Research reveals that land ownership was perhaps more volatile than one thinks. Successful businessmen and merchants ‘banked’ their wealth in land ownership and sought income from rents from tenant farmers. Some leases show that an owner of a somewhat isolated field may lease it to the nearby farm.

ELMERS END OLD FARM In 1735 Thomas Motley owned Elmers End Old Farm, tenant Nicholas Hodges, and Elmers End New Farm, tenant Daniel Hodges Thomas. Motley was a wealthy Dyer from Southwark and had substantial property in other counties. His name appears on various documents connected with other local families. He will be mentioned again under the Village section.

 

There was a picturesque cottage at Elmers End Green that was the home of the Hazelton family, from about 1906, until demolished for the erection of the Odeon cinema (now demolished) and the adjoining shops about 1938/39. The Motley map shows several houses and farm buildings around Elmers End Green

 

THAYERS FARM or THAYRES NEW FARM on the 1735 Map of Thomas Motleys lands shows separate sections for Thayers Farm (Thayres New Farm) next to Clockhouse in the occupation of tenant William Lewin, as well as Motley’s other properties at Elmers End and the High Street. The farm was bounded by the lands of he Honourable John St. John and William Lethieullier. Only 18 acres in area it would be absorbed into the Cator estate and carved up by the coming of the railways. Its name survives as Thayers Farm Road.


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