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(Court) Green Farm

Green Farm - 21st March 2020
Green Farm - 21st March 2020

A developed farmyard is shown to the east of the farmhouse on the 1841 tithe map and this included the late 18th/early 19th century crop storage barn with a small lean-to cattle shed projecting from the eastern wall and further cattle shelters or cart-sheds to the west. The crop storage barn formed the northern extent of a range of earlier buildings the earliest of which was an early 18th century threshing barn.
S. Howard (NLA) - 29th March 2010


17th century flint and brick,  pantiled. Long single range five bays, 5th bay  an addition. Bays  1 and 2 to left lobby entrance, bays  3 and 4 to right through passage. Two storeys and attic. Two axial stacks, right hand being between original and extension, left hand between bays  1 and 2, and between 3 and 4. 19th century porches. Windows altered. Left hand gable  of coursed flint with two blocked windows under brick hoodmoulds. Fourth bay  has interior roll moulded beam with run out stops.
Barn across the road. 18th century, coursed flint, brick dressings, flint plinth capped in brick. Brick patterning of hearts in gables  and over ventilation slits. Six bays  with large door on 4th.

E. Rose (NAU) - 9th July 1986

27th May 2020
Green Farm - 27th May 2020

At the NRO (NRS 13477 28 B5) there is an abstract of title to “an Estate at Hempstead'' late belonging to Richard Gurney Esq. It was presumably prepared after the death of Richard Joseph Gurney in 1811. It is marked “No 3'' and seemingly shows title to what is now Green Farm. Presumably the abstracts numbered 1 and 2 related to the Red House Farm and the rest of the Gurneys' Hempstead Estate.

Abstracts can be difficult to understand because they seemingly record no more than a series of mortgages and remortgages. They do, however repeat the recitals in earlier deeds referred to. Though the abstract may have led to confusion the history contained in it, supported by two estate maps referred to below, seems to be reasonably consistent, despite the fact that there had been three successive owners called “John Wood”.

1705
The owners of Green Farm were Joseph Church and his wife Mary. They mortgaged the form to William Churchman and Robert Britiffe for £6O5, increased in 1711. Mary was a daughter of John Wood I described as “of ye City of Norwich Gent” and in another later document as “then late of Hempstead”. John Wood I had two wives, both called Elizabeth and both buried in Baconsthorpe Church - surprisingly because they were married to “John Wood of Hempstead”. John Wood had two children one of whom was his son John Wood II, the other of whom was his daughter Mart Churchman. Robert Britiffe was the same major local magnate who became father-in-law to Sir John Hobart of Blickling and who transferred the southern part of the parish to the Blickling Estate.

Some time between 1711 and 1717 John Wood I bought Green Farm from his daughter Mary and his son-in-law and shortly afterwards he died.

1717
John Wood II was now the owner and he owed money to his sister Mary and brother-in-law Joseph. By way of security he charged his lands in Hempstead naming a series of the then occupiers (tenants). The farm consisted of . . . “3 messuages, 2 barns, 1 garden, 2 orchards, 120 acres of land, 20 acres of meadow and 20 acres of pasturage''.

1728
John Wood II was proud of his farm and commissioned a map in 1728 by James Corbridge. This exists at the NR0 under ref 74 BCH. James Corbridge must have become popular in the area for in 1726 Robert Britiffe had commissioned a map of the Hunworth Estate and in the same year William Newman had commissioned his book and maps.

There were thirty-four fields or enclosures totalling 198 acres. The buildings of what is now Green Farm are clearly sketched as is the barn across the road, The area to the north (up to the Baconsthorpe Road) and to the east is shown as orchard.

In this map the Church is well sketched showing the original chancel still in place and an appreciably taller tower (which collapsed some time between 1728 and 1743). To the south of what is now Chapel Lane the village pit (now disused) is shown as “marlpit''. Several modern public footpaths are shown as “packways''. There is no sign of any mill adjoining Court Green.

1729
John Wood II married Martha “daughter of John Fountaine late of Hoddesden in the County of Herts Gent”. By his will made in April 1729 John Wood II left his estate to his son John Wood III subject to an annuity of £60 pa to his widow Martha.

In the same year John Wood II described as “Worstead Weaver'' charged the farm then “in the occupation of Daniel Abel'' to Mr Harbord Harbord of Gunton (Robert Britiffe’s grandson) to secure a £400 mortgage.

John Wood II died sometime between 1729 and 1738.

1738
John Wood III was in the saddle and paid off the Harbord mortgage so as to enable himself to make a marriage settlement on the occasion of his manage to Mary Green, the beneficiaries being himself, Mary as widow, and then his male and female issue.

1740
John Wood III was described as “Citizen and Alderman of Norwich”.

1750
John Wood III commissioned a map of his farm. Perhaps by now being an Alderman he wanted to emphasise his status and in the descriptive plaque to Thomas Hawker's map (NRO Ref 66 BCH) John Wood is apparently referred to as being of “the Manor of Hempstead”. The plan is a poor one and is now almost impossible to read. The site of the Losehall_Manor was of course subsequently re-discovered on land belonging to Green Farm near the Church.

1773
John Wood III died. By his Bill he appointed Anne his wife and Richard Joseph Gurney as his executors. From this existence of a differently named wife and the fact that John Wood III was able to dispose of his estate under his will it follows that his first wife Mary would have died childless and that he had married again. The beneficiaries of the marriage settlement having disappeared, the estate would have reverted to him. He left Anne a life-interest and otherwise left everything to his ''much esteemed friend ye aforesaid Richard Gurney of ye Parish of St Saviours in ye City of Norwich merchant''.

Seemingly all three of the John Woods were successful Norwich weavers just like John Gurney (“the weavers friend”) of Norwich who was the uncle of John Wood III's beneficiary, Richard Joseph Gurney. It seems unlikely that any of them lived at Hempstead.

The 1851 Census shows that the Gurneys had let “Court Green Farm House'' to the Reverend Arthur Langton, then fifty years of age, Rector of Matlaske and Plumstead plus his wife and children and two servants totalling eleven people in all.
Hempstead, A Norfolk Village - Robin Carver, 2000

in 1743, John Wood, Gent of Green Farm was then almost certainly the most influential village resident.


Green Farm harvest - c.1920
Harvest on Mr. D. W. Hagen's Green Farm - c.1920
Some of the men are holding sythes and others have dogs, ready for the rabbits.

In 1911 Mr Daniel W. Hagen became tenant of Green Farm. He was the son of Mr John Hagen of Hole_Farm and took over the tenancy on the death of Edmund Ling.
Some time after the departure of the Langtons the farmhouse had been divided into three cottages. The Gurneys converted the three cottages back into a farmhouse for Mr Daniel Hagen on his taking the farm tenancy.
In 1945 the farm was bought by Mr George Knight as part of the Gurney’s Hempstead Estate. He acquired vacant possession by allowing Mr D W Hagen to continue to live in the farmhouse for the rest of his life on condition that he otherwise surrendered his lease. The farm was sold in 1965 to Mr Richard Harmer who added Mill_Farm and other land to make up the farm to its present size of 340 acres, farmed by his son Mr Bertie Harmer.

Hempstead, A Norfolk Village - Robin Carver, 2000

Green Farm - 21st July 2020
Green Farm - 21st July 2020

When I left school I went to work as a domestic servant for Mr and Mrs Hagen, Green farm, Hempstead, whom I felt sure were past retiring age when I joined them. But of course nobody retired during the war. It was a very busy, dairy farm with a Friesian herd and Mrs Hagen was very proud of her cows and dairy. Even there I could not escape the jam making, as Mrs Hagen was president of the, W.I., also known as Jam and Jerusalem.
Mrs Hagen was also president of the district nursing association and on the county committee of the land army, sorting out billets, placements and their welfare. We had many land army girls come to the farm, and being city girls they found it very difficult to fit into farm life. I suppose it was a bit of a culture shock for them coming from homes where bathrooms and flush toilets were the norm, to just a wash bowl and outside privy. But some found that they loved the country life, and soon learned the tricks of the trade for example, when threshing corn it was wise to tie string around the bottom of their trouser legs, so as when they reached the bottom of the stack and all the rats and mice ran out, none would be able to get up their trouser legs.

By the time I was old enough to register for war service, the ministry of labour had decided that due to the amount of work and extra paper work that farmers had to do. Domestic servants to farmers would be classed as a reserve occupation, so I did not get out into the wide world so to speak. But as North Norfolk had many airfields and troops passing through life was not dull. Once when I was returning to Hempstead from Holt by bicycle (the only transport available in those days) I found my way was blocked at a level crossing, by a troop train. The front of the train was in Holt station discharging troops and the rear end was a long way past the level crossing, so I thought I would be in for a long wait, but no, the soldiers on the train saw me waiting, so they lifted me and my bike into the train then lowered me out the other side.
Richard C. Gray, WW2 People’s War - 1st September 2005

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