Lower Farm, Itchington




Lower Farm was bought at the break-up of the estate of Lord Willoughby de Broke in 1828 by Richard Honnywill, in whose family it remained up to the 1st World War in 1914. The tenant in 1769 was James Witcombe, while at Manor Farm was a Mr Tyler. Subsequent generations of Tyler bearing the family name of Whitcombe suggests a marriage between these families about this time. Successive tenants were John Ford, John Savage (in 1861 he farmed 260 acres with 3 men and two boys), John Hewett (for 30 years), and in 1895 Herbert Charles Pearce, followed by his son George, up to 1954. Lower Farm is currently occupied by Christopher Pearce (of a different branch of the family). Herbert Pearce took the tenancy from the Rev. Mr Honnywill at the nadir of farming depression, bought the farm after Mr Honnywill' death, and bought Mill Farm in Tytherington after the 1st World War for his son Lionel, his youngest son George taking over at Lower Farm on his father's retirement since Reg, the eldest, died in 1925 of war injuries. Lionel's son Douglas and grandson Reg now farm extensively in Thornbury and Elberton as well as in Tytherington

A curious and unexplored feature of Lower Farm is the drainage system in 'The Moor', possibly installed in the mid 1800s. In 1769 the ownership of the former Open Field called Itchington Moor was fragmented, and even in 1839, 70 years later, some furlongs were not incorporated in Lower Farm. It was probably not long afterwards, however, that this wet area (the Tithe Award includes the field name of 'The Lake') was tidied into one ownership and an extensive system of drainage seems to have been installed. Herbert Pearce recorded finding clay drain pipes 8 feet down; there were three properly masoned wells in the Moors area, and below Moorleaze there was a strong flowing spring partially bricked over. He himself built a concrete cattle drinking trough, fed by two field drains which came into the trough at two levels. About 1914 the upper flow ceased; this was ascribed to increased pumping by Bristol Waterworks at Frampton Cotterell and a consequent lowering of the water table. Drainage of the whole area is much improved; postman Vizard did the Itchington round on his bicycle between the wars and tells how the brook by Lower Farm sometimes flooded the road right up to the letters in the pillar box 'Water went in one end of Hopyard Cottage', he recounted, `and out of the other'.

Before he died, George Pearce (1901-1980) recalled his early life at Lower Farm, Itchington.  His memories can be found here:-  Farming in the 1920's