FARMING ON THE EMM BROOK

As far as my research shows, over the years there has been 5 farms along the course of the Emm Brook. None of which still exist. These are:

MODEL FARM, Molly Millars Lane

Model Farm appears in a 1916 Directory and on a 1932 Ordance Survey Map of the area.It appears to show a Boat House to the rear of the farm with a pond/lake and channel whether that was part of the farm I do not know.

Model Farm 1932

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is listed on the 1891 Census in East Heath (off Molly Millars Lane) occupied by Richard Jarvis a Farm Bailiff, his wife Emily and 5 sons and 2 daughters Little else is known about this farm.

1891 Census

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WESTWARD HO, Woosehill Lane

Westward Ho appears on an OS Map dated 1960. It was demolished as part of the Woosehill development in approxiamately 1973.

Westward Ho 1960

 

 

 

 

 

 

The farmer of 14 years at that time was a Mr. Jim Mattinson. During that time he built up a herd of 260 beef cattle and a flock of 150 sheep. He rented the farm from a Mr. Hillman, a director of Calgary and Edmonton, part of the consortium who wanted to develop Woosehill.

BAKERS FARM, Reading Road

Bakers Farm appears on A Map of Windsor Forest and Its Vicinity 1823 by Henry Walter. New Edition Revised and Corrected 1856. It appears to be on the site of Emmbrook House and is owned by John Walter.

A Map of Windsor Forest and Its Vicinity1823 by Henry Walter

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Berkshire Record Office there are copies of correspondence from Eliza[beth] Warriner in London to the same( George Warriner) at John Baker Esq.'s Embrook House, near Wokingham, Berks., 1st November 1798 . Correspondence continues till 1801

EMMBROOK FARM, Reading Road

Emmbrook Farm first appears in a sale document of 1808 when the Embrook Farm & Estate was sold by Nathaniel W Peach to J Leverson Gower of Bill-Hill.The entrance to the farm run under the Raiway Bridge and can still be seen today as the footway/cycleway that runs from Reading Road via Mill Mead to Brook Close.

Emmbrook Farm 1872

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The farm has had many occupants and was finally demolished in the 1960's when the land became the estate around Clifton Road.

Emmbrook Farm Occupants

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOORES FARM, Watmore Lane

The only reference that I can find about this farm is that it is shown on an OS map of 1911 . It was on the site of the Winnersh Gate devolopment.

Moores Farm1911

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIGH CHIMNEYS FARM , Davis Street Adjacent to the Farm is High Chimneys, a manor house built in the early seventeenth century by Galen Cope, whose initials can still bee seen in one of the bricks today. You can still see the house nowadays, by the side of Dinton's main driveway. The land around has been farmed by various tenants over the years, but it was not until 1904 that High Chimney's dairy farm (now the Country Park cafť & office) was built. This marked the increased popularity and profitability of dairy farming at the turn of the century. In later years piggeries, poultry houses and stabling were added as the farm diversified. Dairy farming remained the principal activity however as this extract from a catalogue of sale shows 'a first-class dairy farm and gentleman's residence'.

High Chimneys Farm 1911

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The use of the land for farming stopped in 1969 when Berkshire County Council bought the land for gravel, to be used in the construction of the A329(M). Further extractions were made in 1970, to be used for the building of the Reading to Theale sections of the M4. Permission for the digging was only given on condition that the area would be re-landscaped once all the gravel had been removed. Dinton was clear of gravel workings by 1976. Major Oldfield, the then owner of the site, had some topsoil dumped in the south east corner of the site to form a golf course and stocked, what was now White Swan Lake with fish, to encourage leisure on the site. In 1978 Major Oldfield sold the site to Wokingham Borough Council and the Countryside Commission, who had plans to "create a natural, quiet open space area for the district". This aerial phote is from 1973.

High Chimneys Farm 1973

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ridge and Furrow

Ridge & Furrow Whilst looking at Google Maps I noticed that the Wokingham Borough Council Open space (Emmbrook Walk) opposite Emmbrook School had a 'corrugated' appearance to the ground surface. This is indicative of ancient ďridge and furrowĒ farming techniques, a remnant of medieval farming. Ridge and furrow is the result of ploughing by teams of oxen with non-reversible ploughs.

In the Middle Ages families owned strips of land dotted throughout large common fields, so the ploughing location didnít change much over the years, the ploughing motion built up earth in the centre of their strip and left a dip between each ridge. This technique offered the advantage of better drained soils. These techniques pretty much ended when enclosure and modern farming techniques came along, this changed everything in the countryside and through itís knock on effects, displaced peasants, richer single landowners changed pretty much everything else in the world through itís speeding up of the industrial revolution. This meant though that evidence of ridge and furrow patterns have only survived where modern ploughing hasnít continued. So thatís fields that have been kept for pasture as grasslands and areas like country estate gardens.

It is claimed by some that Imperial measures on the land were derived from open-field farming methods. A ploughman's stick, used to prod the oxen was known as a rod, pole or perch, and was five-and-a-half yards long. Laying the pole four times across the field came to 22 yards (a chain); laying the pole 40 times down the field came to 220 yards (a farrowlength, furrowlength or furlong). The area so formed, 4840 square yards, was an acre and was considered the area a plough team could reasonably plough in a day. Map data ©2014 Google