Braithwell, Micklebring and Clifton History and Heritage

Hall Farm and Smallholding, Clifton

Hall Farm – from farmyard to modern home

Trudy Pankhurst Green

Earliest Record

William Bower to Fountaine John Woodyeare of Crookhill Hall

In April1811 Fountaine John Elwin, who acquired the name Woodyeare in 1812, bought a significant property described as ‘dwelling houses, croft, orchard, hereditaments and premises’ for £250 from William Bower. The only farm fitting this description was Beech House Farm (numbers 49 on the 1838/40 Tithe Map). The sale also included ‘a close with the cottage or tenement standing therein called Well Yard,’ 1 ½ acres (number 34). The buildings and yard later called Hall Farm, (number 50) were also part of Beech House Farm.

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 Extract from 1838 Tithe Map for clifton: Hall Farm

Henry Peace

 By 1838 that part of the farm to the south, with separate access from Common Lane, was let separately and walled off from the farmhouse/cottage on the main site. It was let to Henry Peace, a wheelwright, who was also sharing the tenancy of Well Yard (34) with John Nettleship.

The plot (number 50) was a triangular yard with a one-storey stone barn on Common Lane and a small stone stable with loft above opposite. Both buildings were built in the 18th Century and originally had thatched rooves with Yorkshire stone slates over the top of the double walls to prevent water reaching the rubble infill. The barn would have provided an ample workshop for a wheelwright. The plot was not yet known as Hall Farm

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 Wheelwright's workshop from lane
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  The Workshop's double doors and extension for engine room and pig styes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Front of the cottage  Hugh and Sid retiling the roof The back from Holly House Drive

 

Judging from the Tithe Map and Index, the cottage was built on the site between the dates of the  survey and the publication of the Index (1838/40). The map shows no buildings on the southern boundary between plot 50 and plot 51, now Holly House, but the Index records a cottage on the site. The cottage was typical of 19th century agricultural buildings, and may have been thatched originally, but now has a pantile roof. What was unusual about this cottage was that it was built of dressed limestone rather than the mixture of limestone and sandstone, in many sizes, used for the outbuildings. This adds weight to the belief in the village that the cottage was ‘moved’ from the Haig Homestead and that the farm there was once important. (See Haig Homestead)

The accommodation consisted downstairs of a large kitchen/living room with a Yorkshire Range, and a small parlour that was probably used as a bedroom. Up the narrow staircase or ladder there were 2 bedrooms of the same proportions as the rooms below. Under the stairs was a barrel-vaulted cellar There were 2 wells: one in the cellar and the other outside the kitchen window. Presumably, there was an outside toilet; a double wooden seat was found in the cow shed! It could have been replaced by the small building used as a wash house, with a flush toilet on the end when piped water came to the village. This building is not on a sale map dated 1903.

The cottage was already small for its occupants in 1841, but perhaps the older boys slept in the outbuildings. Henry Peace (40yrs) and his wife, Mary (40yrs) would use the small bedroom, while William (18yrs), George (10yrs, died 1857), Joseph, (7yrs) and Joseph Handley, a sixteen year old apprentice, would share the large bedroom and perhaps the parlour. Mary (2yrs) and Melissa (1yr) would probably stay with their parents for a few years.

By 1851 Henry’s business seems to have been doing well as he described himself as ‘Wheelwright and farmer employing 5 men’. William had served his apprenticeship and Joseph was an apprentice to his father. Mary, Melissa and Henry (6yrs) were also at home and the Peaces were housing a journeyman wheelwright, another apprentice and a 14 year old niece as a house servant.

Melissa Peace / Beighton

In the 1861 census Henry Peace described himself as a wheelwright employing 6 men, but Mary, his wife was missing. She died in 1854 and was probably worn out! Both William and Joseph were fully trained wheelwrights and the household included 2 young journeymen wheelwrights, fully trained and employed in the business. Mary Peace was acting as housekeeper in her mother’s place. Henry junior was 16 years old and still at school.

Melissa was no longer with the family, but she turns up living with Joseph Beighton, a journeyman joiner, in the Conisbrough home of his ‘aunt’, Hannah Storrs. Joseph and Melissa were calling themselves Hannah’s nephew and niece! Apparently, the young couple were married in 1854 in Rotherham, not Conisbrough or Braithwell. That would mean that Melissa was about 13 years old when they married. The reason for Melissa’s flight was eventually accepted by her father and sister as she appears at Hall Farm on the 1861 census as ‘Mary Beighton, granddaughter, aged 3 years’. It looks as though Melissa was pregnant when she married and she was estranged from her family, but the child had been accepted by 1861. Family shame could have been a factor in the death of Mary Peace in the year of Melissa’s marriage, 1854!

Whether Mary Beighton had been taken in or was just visiting on the night of the 1861 census, it is impossible to tell, but it would be difficult for the ‘niece’ and ‘nephew’ to have a young child with them in Conisbrough. In 1871, however, Joseph and Melissa had Mary living with them, along with Henry (9yrs), Martha (6yrs), Hannah (4yrs) and George (1yr). Surprisingly, the household in Providence Place also included Henry Peace, ‘father-in-law’, ‘widower’ and ‘retired wheelwright’ and Ann Beighton, ‘widow’ and ‘mother’ of Joseph. Melissa appears to have been forgiven and now had a house full! The Beightons went on to have 5 sons and 3 daughters, the surviving sons becoming wheelwrights or joiners.  Her sons would be successfully trained in the business. Her father probably lived with the family for the rest of his life.

Joseph Peace

Before dying in 1875, (aged 80), Henry Peace had released Hall Farm to his son, Joseph (38yrs), (NB Manorial roll) who had taken over the business and was training at least 2 apprentices. He was employing 4 men and 2 boys, but he did not claim to be a farmer. In 1871 he had a 1year old daughter, Mary. The property still belonged to Rev Woodyeare, who died in 1880, leaving his property in the hands of trustees for his wife’s lifetime.

In 1878 Joseph Peace became owner (admitted to the manorial roll) of ‘Beacon House’ but the property, then 2 cottages, had been let to Joseph Reed and Thomas and John Markham. Joseph (48yrs) and his family were living at Hall Farm in 1881. They had another daughter, Anne (9yrs) and a servant, but, apparently, no apprentices. Another wheelwright, Charles Jones, was working in the village in 1881 and perhaps there was too much competition. The tale passed on to us when Hugh Carson took on Hall Farm was that Joseph began to drink excessively and his horse would bring him home safely from the pub. One night in 1885 the top door of the stable had not been opened and the horse went under, knocking Joseph off and killing him. Whether this is true or not, I have yet to discover! (report of inquest)

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 The old stable, where the accident occurred?
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 Inquest: South Yorkshire Times, 23 October 18

Henry Sargan

Henry Peace, Joseph’s brother, became a trustee of his will, looking after the affairs of his sister-in law and her daughters. His property was in Bramley, Thrybergh, about 6 miles from Clifton. In 1881 he described himself as a ‘joiner’ and was married with 3 sons. Also in the household were two apprentices, one of whom, HENRY SARGAN (18yrs) was the son of Joseph Sargan and Hannah Peace and grandson of Henry Peace, wheelwright and tenant of Hall Farm in 1841 and to at least 1861.

Anne (widow), Mary and Ann Peace moved out of Clifton at some point and by 1911 were living in Priory Place, central Doncaster.

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 One of Henry Sargan's girls on Hall Farm step about 1914

By 1891, HENRY SARGAN had married and established his family of 3 boys, including HENRY ALWYN, and 3 girls, all under 10 years, at Hall Farm. He described himself as a joiner, but by 1901 he included ‘wheelwright’ and ‘employer’. By 1901 he and Ellen had had a further 3 girls and 1 boy and there was also an 18 year old ‘joiner/carpenter improver’ living with them.

In 1918 Henry Peace, trustee of Anne Peace, sold ‘Beacon House’ for £320 to Joseph Sargan, butcher of Conisbrough, who was also a son of Joseph Sargan and Hannah Peace. The house was still divided and was tenanted by a Mrs Mills and HENRY ALWYN SARGAN, son of HENRY SARGAN of Hall farm. In 1924 Joseph Sargan (retired butcher) sold his property to his nephew, HENRY ALWYN SARGAN, and the two cottages became one, Beacon House. Henry Alwyn and his wife, Mary, lived there with three children, Betty, Chrissie and Arthur, who was killed in the Second World War.

Meanwhile, ownership of Hall Farm had passed to Lawrence Woodyeare Blomefield, heir of Mrs Woodyeare of Crookhill Hall, who had died in 1919. Over the years the farm buildings had been increased by pig styes, an extension that doubled the size of the workshop and a cowshed that may originally have had bays for carts and equipment. It is difficult to date these, but except for the workshop, the buildings were of brick. The house, however, remained ‘two up’ and ‘two down’.

 Henry Sargan, Henry Alwyn’s father, remained tenant at Hall Farm after Blomefield sold it to William John Milnes and his wife for £305 in 1925. The Hall Farm family, reduced to Henry, Ellen and John, moved to Carr Grange Farm in 1929, leaving Cecil and his wife living on Church Lane, Clifton. The new Hall Farm tenants probably moved in in 1930, but there is some confusion about their name – Hellman or Gaukrodger. There is a marriage certificate for Beatrice Gaukrodger and Albert Shaw, both of Hall Farm, in 1931.

William Milnes died in December 1931, leaving Hall Farm to his widow, Florence Elizabeth Milnes.

Hugh and Florence Annie Carson

Hugh Carson was a wood turner by trade, working with his father and brothers at the family sawmill in Balby, before he joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1916 as a fitter (Memories of Hugh Carson). He was married to Florence Annie Green in 1911 and had a daughter, Joyce, born in 1912. The family lived in a rented terrace house in Balby, Doncaster. After Hugh was released from service in 1919, after a frustrating wait, and returning to the sawmill, he wanted to find a piece of land on which to live and be more independent.

In 1931 he was looking for a ‘cottage holding’ and applied to rent a property in Loversall, where he had spent part of his childhood, using an army form as a reference. He must have been unsuccessful because in February 1932 he began to rent Hall Farm, Clifton, and the plot of land at the end of Well Lane (34 on the Tithe Map) that went with it. He was paying 12s/8d in rent per week to Mrs Milnes and 6s/0d per week in rates. (rent book). His daughter did not want to move to such a wreck of a place with no inside piped water, gas or electricity, but she was mainly in Hull completing her training to be a teacher.

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Hall Farm in 1960s, much the same as in 1930s

 

In May 1933 for £350, including £168 from the Halifax Building Society, Hugh and Florence Carson bought Hall Farm from Florence Milnes. Hugh began to improve the property, paying F. Jackson, Builder and Property Repairer, £16/12/1d for replacing windows and front door, taking out the kitchen range, etc, (mainly for labour) – work that would probably cost more than £2,000 today.

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 Hugh outside the cottage in 1960s, showing the window and  door he put in in 1933.

Hugh also created an L-shaped bathroom by dividing off a slice off the main bedroom along the main beam and placing a bath partly over the stairwell in the cupboard space. The long part of the L contained the toilet and basin as well as two dark-wood chests of drawers. Later, the door to the bathroom was too narrow to get the furniture out!

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 Florence Annie Carson in the yard

Hugh continued to travel each day, later on a motor bike, to do a day’s work at the sawmill in Balby. At Hall Farm he turned the old wheelwright’s shop with its double doors into his own wood turning workshop, using axles, wheels and belts to drive lathes and other tools from a 1920s Lister diesel engine. The rest of that building became pig styes with a loft for feed up above.

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Hugh surveys the yard

The pigs were kept in the yard and Hugh kept hundreds of chickens on his 1 ½ acre plot down Well Lane. In 1937 Florence Carson applied to the Coronation Planting Committee for 6 ash trees to be planted ‘in honour of the Coronation of His Majesty King George V1. These were planted on the boundary between the Hall Farm Plot and the field now known as Beacon Field.

 Hugh also rented the piece of land known as the Croft that ran along the south of Well Lane and linked his plot to Common Lane. This was his vegetable garden, plus another large hen house. The Croft belonged to the owners of Holly House and Hugh was able to buy it from the Farran’s after they bought Holly House during the second World War. He was not afraid of hard work and worked on the smallholding or in the turning shop after completing a full day’s work at the sawmill. He was able to make quality furniture such as Windsor chairs, but by the 1930s furniture was being cheaply mass produced and no one wanted the traditional styles. At Hall farm he made stools, bowls, broom handles, smokers' stands and lamp bases. In 1985 the workshop was full of wood shavings, just as he had left it in 1968. The house contained many examples of turning by Hugh and his brothers.

Joyce Green

Joyce Carson returned to Hall Farm after her teacher training and gained a post at Hexthorpe Junior Mixed School, travelling there by bus after walking out of the village in all weathers. Sometimes she could hitch a lift in the sidecar to her father’s motorbike. She met Sydney Green at the school and they married in 1940 when he was on leave from the RAF in North Africa. Joyce was dismissed from Hexthorpe when she married, but she was soon brought back and taught there until the end of the war. They were glad to have her and gave her a glowing reference, particularly for keeping the school’s sports teams going. Sydney returned to the school on de-mobilisation but did not look well.

Joyce and Sydney were hoping to buy the house next to Hall Farm, Holly House, but the family that had rented it for the duration of the war bought it and left the young couple living at Hall Farm until the Council Houses, now Beacon Square, were built in 1948.They chose number 7. Philip Duncan Green, my husband, was born in Hall Farm in 1946. They lived in the tiny cottage with Philip’s grandparents, a large Alsatian dog and a terrier, plus numerous cats. The parlour was kept for ‘best’ in case someone important arrived, but gradually it became Florence’s workshop as she used her skills as a seamstress to contribute to the household. Friends were invited to evenings playing billiards or making music in the farmhouse kitchen.

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 Children from St George's School entertained by Joyce and Sidney in No 7 during an expedition to Clifton

Sydney became headmaster of the school attached to Doncaster St George’s Church and they moved to the new house. Sadly, Sydney had developed Hodgkins Disease and was very ill by 1952. He died in January 1953. Joyce was able to return to teaching and joined the staff of Beechfield School, teaching 40+ boys of 8 years old. She persuaded the Education Committee to allow Philip to attend the school instead of Braithwell School where most of the village children went. It was a long bus ride and so he would have lunch with Florence Carson’s sisters in Doncaster and return to spend his time at Hall Farm.

In 1964 Phil left Maltby Grammar School to take a degree at Reading University. Joyce had decided that after all her years of teaching, it was time to build her own house and gained permission to build it on Hugh’s precious garden, opposite Hall Farm. She moved into The Croft in 1968, but in January 1969 Hugh Carson died. Phil was away at Keele University working on his Phd.

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 The Croft, Common Lane

 

Florence Annie Carson and Joyce Green

Hugh’s property passed to his wife, Florence Annie Carson, who moved across the road to live with Joyce at the Croft. Hall Farm was locked up exactly as it was when Hugh died. Unfortunately, Florence was becoming confused and she died aged 82yrs in 1971. Joyce inherited Hall Farm and the Croft and continued teaching. She could not face dealing with Hall Farm and it remained a time capsule until it was burgled. Luckily, only small things were taken, but it was necessary to unlock the house to assess the losses. There was no insurance as Hugh had always kept a big dog!

By that time Philip Green had married Trudy Pankhurst and they were living in Staffordshire, visiting Clifton as often as they could to work on the land at the back of the Croft. The burglary led to some discussion of what to do with Hall Farm and Philip and Trudy felt that they would like to live there if they could find employment in the area. Joyce was pleased with this idea and took up the suggestion of applying to Doncaster Rural District Council for an Improvement Grant. In February 1972 the authority agreed a grant of £1,410 against an estimate of £1,881 for the work stipulated. Unfortunately, it stipulated that certain character features of the cottage must be removed, some being the improvements that Hugh Carson had put in!

It was an incredible job to empty the cottage as Hugh and Florence had rarely thrown anything away. Amongst the papers rescued were details of constructing WW1 planes from Hugh’s service as a fitter, Edwardian fashion magazines and legal documents about the conveyance of the house and the sale of properties in the village. By the time the excellent young builders had completed their work, damp proofing, fitting new windows, replacing the kitchen range, etc, the cottage was fit to live in, but it was still only 2 rooms up plus the bathroom and 2 rooms down. In the drought of 1976, the wash house fell down. More improvements would be necessary!

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 The back of the cottage showing the attached coal house belonging to Holly House

There was one way to increase the accommodation which became possible with the

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 1970s showing the wash house and the back of the barn and coal house

death of Mrs Theodora Farran in 1975 and the decision of her executors to sell Holly House. At some point, probably in the 19th Century, the owners of Holly House had built a 2 storey stone barn about eight feet from the side of the Hall Farm cottage and had joined it to the next door property by a sloping roof, a back wall on the Hall Farm side and double doors to the front. This was only possible because of the shape of the plots and the slope of the land. The barn had recently been used as a stable with accommodation above and the joining construction as a coal shed. The buildings represented three extra rooms for the farmhouse if a short staircase access could be built from the kitchen. Joyce Green was able to persuade Mrs Farran’s son to agree to the sale in November 1976.

The young builders, who had been kept busy replacing rooves on the farm buildings, set to and created the new rooms with windows facing the yard and a wooden staircase replacing the ladder in the barn. The downstairs room became a sitting room with a free-standing multi-fuel stove and the coal shed made a very cramped dining area as it was narrow and lost part of its length with the stairs from the kitchen. At the time, it seemed to give us so much more room, mainly to store the large wooden furniture that had originally filled the tiny cottage! Phil and I began to sleep there when we visited from Staffordshire. We slept on a feather mattress on a bed that was part of an art nouveau, mahogany bedroom suite. It seems that Hugh and Florence had furnished their cottage from sales of much grander houses!

Phil Green and Trudy Pankhurst Green

At last, Philip was offered the job he had always hoped for and started as a lecturer at Sheffield University in May 1985. I was left in Staffordshire to work out my notice, sit some exams, and pack up the house after I’d sold it! With five geese in the back, I arrived at Hall Farm. Joyce gave us the property and we thought it would be our final home.

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  Celebrations!

We soon had a shock! A friend came round from next door to ask if we knew that our house was falling down! Investigation revealed that a large part of the outer stone skin at the corner of the additional rooms was sliding away from the inner wall. We won an insurance claim and found a builder.

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 First phase with 3 extra rooms accessed from the kitchen

The first phase was to build a new extension butting up against the barn and providing stability. This would be a back way in and lobby with a utility room to the left and a toilet to the right. A flight of stairs would lead to the ground floor of the barn. The back and side double skinned walls and roof of the barn were demolished and rebuilt after a concrete raft was laid under the building. A spiral staircase, found in a malting in Goole, replaced the wooden steps to the first floor bedroom under the roof.

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 Spiral staircase to first floor in barn

 

 

 

 

 

While this work was in progress a new factor brought an opportunity to increase the size of the Hall Farm plot and create a more efficient and comfortable use of rooms in the house

The piece of land belonging to Harold Haig, on which had stood the Beech House farmhouse/cottages, came up for sale in 1987. In partnership with our builder, Derrick Sturgess of Wilsic Construction we agreed to bid for the plot and, if successful, divide it between us.

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 The cleared area that was once the Beech House Cottages. Some of the Beeches still standing.
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1950s Beech House farm cottages demolished by Harold Haigh

 

 

 

The land was bought. Derrick had plans to build a house for himself and Jean, who became good neighbours. We put in for planning permission for a back drive with a double garage at the top, attached to the utility room. The wall between Hall Farm and Beech House Farm that had stood since the 1830s was demolished, along with the old brick pig styes.

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Back drive and double garage: stable on right.

Access for vehicles would be from the drive to Beech House and there would be room for gardens on either side of the of the drive.

 

We brought in an architect who cleverly juggled the different parts and levels of the house to meet our needs. He designed the house to make use of the space available across the top of the yard, adding a bathroom above what had been the coal shed, with access from the main house and the bedroom in the barn.

Sadly, Phil’s mum’s health deteriorated and she moved to a nursing home. She died there in 1990.

By 1991 a new sitting room was planned to span Hall Farm’s old drive off Common Lane. It was to be one storey, from the old parlour to the workshop building. There were windows on the road side, in the roof and down the yard side, with French windows leading out into the yard. taking in part of the workshop and accessed from the sitting room down 2 steps where the original window to the right of the front door had been. That door was to become a feature of the new room. The new front door replaced the window on to the road, with a hall giving access to the parlour, now the dining room, and across the cellar steps to the kitchen.  At last, the north-facing house would have a large, light and airy room for relaxing in!

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 Bathroom over the 'coal shed' and sitting room across the old drive

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Steps up into Dining Room through outer wall
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 Sitting Room extending into old Workshop

 

 

The final addition to the farm was the geodesic dome  that was added to the yard and accessed through a small conservatory attached to the sitting room. We used this to grow interesting plants and as an area for entertaining.

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 Hall Farm for Sale 2017/18

 

By 2017 health and other issues were making life in Clifton difficult. Much to our regret, it was time to pass on the smallholding and to sell Hall Farm. We found an ideal house in Howden, East Yorkshire and moved in August 2018.