OTHER LOCAL FARMS
The agriculture in parish has always been mixed farming. Pigs lived in the woods eating acorns, worms and whatever they could find. Cattle grazed in the fields of pasture on the clayey lowland soils. Sheep grazed on the fields along the top of the ridge and were followed by crops of cereals or vegetables.
At the beginning of the 19th century, to take advantage of the improvements offered by the Agricultural Revolution there was large-scale farm building programme on the clay lands at the foot of the Greensand Ridge. Their names give indication of that period when, following the French Revolution, British naval expeditions were taking action against the French in the Mediterranean - Gibraltar Farm, Port Mahon Farm and Waterloo Farm. Nearer Potton there were farms named Portobello and Carthagena. These were named after some of the successful battles of the campaign.
It was built in the 19th century opposite St Mary’s church using bricks from Everton brickyard. There was an earlier farm on the same site. The new farm was tenanted by Mr Roberts, then by Wally Smith's father. It included a smithy's yard and the tithe barn (burnt down in the 1960s) where the parish tithes were stored. Two tin-roofed cottages opposite the church were used as pig sties by Mr Croot. Mr Seward's stock yard and milking parlour/dairy was in one of the sheds. There was a steam engine in one shed that powered a feedmill for chopping feedstuffs for cattle. (Conversation with John Brooker, Everton)
In the 1980s the farm was demolished and the area built on with new houses in Church End and St Mary's Walk.
A small thatched hut stood inside the churchyard, thought to be the gravedigger's cottage but more likely a tool shed)
This was thought to have been an 18th century farm built on heavy clay land down the hill. In 1864 the tenant was John Smith. (Kelly’s Post Office Directory 1876) During the Second World War it was taken over by the R.A.F. The roof tiles were removed to make it look derelict. For the same reason much of the black weather-boarding was removed. Inside, the stairs, ceiling and first floor were removed to create a very large room. The inside walls were built up and reinforced. This was to be the airfield’s nerve centre.
Outside the pond was left and ducks were reported to fly in regularly to use it. Cattle were deliberately grazed on some of the fields when the runways were not in use to make the pilots of any German planes that managed to fly over think it was used for agricultural purposes. It succeeded. It is said that the aerial photographs taken by German pilots who flew over were interpreted as a disused airfield.
After the war it was demolished and in 1965 Francis Pym but sold to Mr Astell of Woodbury Hall. One abiding memory for any visitor to the airfield today is the memorial barn. It stands in lonely isolation amongst the fields of cereals. The black weatherboarding and internal structure has been restored but the inside has been left as it was when the agents arrived prior to take off. Here they were supplied with parachutes and important kit for their trip. Their plane taxied up to the entrance of the barn and they were then taken off into the moonlit night.
Bare and dusty concrete bunks line three sides. These were the shelves from which the agents were issued with their parachutes and supplies immediately before take-off. Photographs, mementoes and personal messages adorn parts of the walls. Every Remembrance Sunday the local British Legion leads a service. Poppies laid years ago gather dust but there are lots of messages left by the loved ones and those who remember the men and women who lost their lives when they were stationed at Tempsford. Outside the barn is a square of grass on which a number of young trees have been planted. At their base are small plaques commemorating individuals for their role or just thanks by veterans from those countries who had wartime connections with the base. Since the war ended reunions were held every year. Pilots, their crews, the ground crew, agents and others use
For more details of what went on during the war at Tempsford Airfield contact Bernard O'Connor at Fquirk202@aol.com
GREEN MAN FARM
This farm is in Tetworth, close to the crossroads at Gamlingay Cinques (TL 225530). The tenant in 1842 and 1864 was David Walcock who was also a brickmaker. (Kelly’s Post Office Directory 1846, 1864)
LOW FIELD FARM
This is situated on heavy clay land, part of Woodbury estate at the foot of the hill. Charlie Wagstaff farmed Low Field Farm in the late-19th century. Just to the west of the level crossing was an area of land known as “New Zealand“, divided among about 20 market gardeners. Each had between two and three acres of heavy clay land on which they grew seed potatoes and corn (wheat, oats and barley). The latter had clover planted between the rows so that once the corn was scythed the field would grow a field of hay.
Just to the northwest of Low field Farm there was a Duck Decoy, a wide stretch of water which was fenced in with netting. At the northern end was a trap. Ducks were scared by dogs up the stream and into a net where they were trapped. The farmer made additional income from selling them to local butchers.
PARK FARM, SANDY
This farm was built in 1837 by Francis Pym, the owner of Hazell’s estate, to capitalise on the ever-growing demand for food from the expanding urban settlements. It was located close to the parish boundary with Everton and consisted of a south-facing house with two rows of single-storey farm buildings and a barn behind. Together they formed a large square. Its name was later changed to Hazells Farm. (Pym, F. ‘Sentimental Journey, pp.76, 180)
PORT MAHON FARM
It is thought to have been an 18th century farm built on heavy clay land. Olney Folbigg was tenant in 1842 and in 1874. By 1876 William Kirkham was advertising as the tenant farmer.
During the Second World War, Port Mahon Farm was occupied by pilots who were taught the vital skill of recognising the silhouettes of planes. An old keeper's cottage near the entrance to the base was demolished. After the war the farm itself was demolished and on the site a semi-detached building was erected to house the farm manager and agricultural workers.
In 1864 Mark Newman was the tenant farmer. (Kelly’s Post Office Directory, 1864)
Farm manager was Mr Hunter who lived in Old Woodbury (?).
Joe Webb was Lady Astell's chauffeur who lived in the thatched lodge at the end of the drive.
Thought to have been an 18th century farm, situated on the clay land at the foot of Victoria Hill, reached by Walnut Tree Lane from St Mary’s Church. It and three agricultural labourers’ cottages were demolished in 1942 during the construction of Tempsford Airfield.
WARDEN HILL FARM
Warden Hill is an unusual feature in Everton. It is a symmetrical hill which may have had an occupation site on the top where a look out could be kept, hence the word, warden. Local rumour has it that a Viking longboat is buried beneath the hill but no records confirm this and excavation has not been done.
The earliest part of this farmhouse dates back to the 17th century. Inside is the remains of a "Beehive" bake oven which the farmer used to supply the labourers with bread as part payment of their wages. These beehive bread ovens date back to the 18th century. They were connected to the kitchen, dairy, buttery or to the backhouse, the alternative name for bakehouse in earlier times. (Beds. Mag.?) This was quite a usual arrangement as was the provision of beer in the fields at harvest time. A barrel might be taken out with three pints given out to each man. Another usual custom was for the farmer to entertain his labourers to a slap up meal after harvest. It was called the "Horkey" but the practise disappeared towards the end of the nineteenth century when cash payments were preferred.
A hollow trackway led down the hill to the fields on the clay where cattle were put to pasture. Over the centuries their hooves left a muddy track which, after the rains, would have the soil washed away.
Floor tiles in the outbuildings were supplied by Everton brickworks.
The tenant in 1876 were Matthew and John Bliss. By 1920 Peter Wisson had taken it over. (Kelly’s Post Office Directory 1876. 1885, 1920,1931)
The farm buildings and farm yard were sold in 19—and a new housing estate built. The house on the corner is the old farm house.
WATERLOO FARM (now FERNBURY FARM)
It was one of the 18th century farms built on the heavy clay land of the Pym estate. Henry Breed was the tenant in 1876 followed by William Flint. When he took it over is uncertain but he was advertising from 1920. (Kelly’s Post Office Directory 1876, 1920, 1931) During the depression of the 1930s the fields at the bottom of the hill suffered neglect and ruin. It was very heavy clay land much overgrown with hawthorn. Late every afternoon tens of thousands of starlings used to fly over the village and descend the hill to roost in the bushes. The noise was terrific. They would all fly off in great black flocks in the morning. Between three and four inches of bird droppings accumulated underneath. William Flint was still the tenant and it is said that he paid his rent by shooting rabbits. During the War it was taken over by Jonathon Hodson who used land girls to help with the work. All this was ploughed up and drained during the construction of the airfield. It was reinstated after the war and renamed Fernbury Farm.
This was the Pym’s estate office and home of Mr. Preedy, Pym's agent. Then occupied by Jonathon and Ruth Pym and family.
Fox hunting - ten foxes hung up by their neck.
In the early-1900s two farms supplied milk to the village. Tom Wisson's herd of cows supplied milk to the Sandy end of the village and Mr Seward of Park Farm supplied it to people living near the church.