Rectory Farm

By Sue Miller

Photo:Rectory Farm (shaded blue) in 1941

Rectory Farm (shaded blue) in 1941

The 262 acres of Rectory Farm, on the north side of Cambridge Road, (A603), are now part of the National Trust’s Wimpole Hall estate, but were the property of the Orwell Rector until about 1936.  340 acres had been allotted to the Rectory in lieu of tithes under  the 1837 Enclosure Act for Orwell, out of which 229 acres were first let as Rectory Farm in 1854. A further 33 acres 3 roods and 8 poles were added when the adjoining Maypole Farm was sold in 1923.

The chalky boulder clay of Rectory Farm is heavy and wet at the bottom of the hills, chalky on the slopes, and capped with clay on the top, and is difficult and expensive to cultivate.  None of the hard-working men who held the tenancy between 1854 and 1986 were able to farm it successfully and the local War Agricultural Committee had to step in to assist the tenant during World War II.

Richard Hoole took on Rectory Farm, together with Cobb’s Wood Farm, as a contractor in 1986 and, with the advantages of modern machinery and plant breeding, plus a university training in soil science and farm management, was able after several years' hard work, to restructure the subsoil and improve the crop yields.  Cultivation is now (2013) back in the hands of the National Trust who are following a five year plan of fully organic farming which concludes in 2014.

The modest Victorian yellow brick farmhouse, built in about 1854, was sold by the National Trust in 1996. Extended and much improved by the new owners, it is now set in beautifully landscaped grounds, but retains some of the old farm buildings, while others have been converted to residential use.

 

This page was added by Sue Miller on 05/01/2013.

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