WEST HARPTREE – White Rose Farm (WIP)



In sale literature from Estate Agents (Setter & Lee) in July 2010, it states that the original house is thought to be more than two hundred years old.  What follows, is all the information that I’ve been able to find, so far, about the history of what is currently called “White Rose Farm” in Ridge Lane, West Harptree, Somerset, and something of the people who have lived there over the years.

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Over the past hundred years or so, the house has been known by at least two names: “Rose Tree Farm” and also “White Rose Farm.”  Research at the Somerset Heritage Centre reveals three or four documents relating to the property in the late 18th and early 19th Century – when it was known by yet other names:

The first document I’ve come across (Ref: DD/SOG 429-443 c/3176), is dated 1799 and refers back to 1780 and mentions a James Holbrook (Tailor) and James Vowels (Carpenter).  The document goes on to state:

“All that messuage or tenement called Snooks, formerly part of the tenement Carters fronting northwards upon West Harptree Street and westwards upon Old Street (now Ridge Lane) containing in length from Old Street to the west end of the tenement called Pilewell 430 feet and in breadth from West Harptree Street to the north end of Carters tenement 34 feet or thereabouts.

And also all that backside lying on the east side of the said messuage or tenement containing by estimation ½ an acre as was the same then divided from the orchard belonging to Carters tenement by a quickset hedge and so ranging in a strait line from the said hedge to the said messuage called Carters within three foot of the northeast corner of Carters tenement, saving and receiving to the occupiers of Carters tenement the right of going thro’ the said backside  into Carters tenement with waggons or carts upon all needful or necessary occasions . . . . . promises parcel of the Manor of Tilly.

Part of the backside is divided from other parts of the premises by a road or way leading from West Harptree Street to the orchard behind Carters tenement and is now and for many years past has been planted to an orchard and in possession of the said James Vowles as tenant to the same James Holbrook.”

*SNOOKS is what is now the village shop and Post Office.   PILEWELL is at the eastern end of the village shop, and CARTERS is what is now “White Rose Farm,” and was part of the TILLY MANOR ESTATE owned, at that time, by Josepha Sophia Newton (only child of the late Francis Milner Newton [1720-1794] of Barton Grange, Taunton) and her husband Col. Clifton Wheat.

The second document (Ref: DD\SPY/88) is from the West Harptree Tilly Manor Survey Book(s) which appear to have been maintained by the bailiff or land agent of the owner of the estate – the date of the basic information is 1797 [The Estate then would have belonged to Col. Clifton Wheat and his wife Josepha Sophia Wheat (nee Newton)].  There are entries for each of several holdings such as Shortcombe Farm down to individual cottages in the village.  On pages 13 and 14 are details of CARTERS or, as it also seems to have been known, FRAPWELLS.

“All that messuage or tenement called Carters or Frapwells situate being and lying in West Harptree aforesaid with several lands, meadows, feedings and pastures thereto belonging (that is to say) a dwelling house with a carthouse outbuildings two gardens orchard and backside containing by estimate 2R 20P, a close of meadow called Deadmore 1A 3R 18P, a close of meadow called Hams 2A 3R 13P, a close of pasture called Innicks 1A 1R 23P, a close of pasture called East Leaze 3A 1R 26P, a close of meadow called Highfield Close 3A 33P, and one other close of meadow also called Highfield Close 2A 2R 34P

The accompanying schedule has the following information in tabular form:

img478* 1 rood = 1/4 of an acre or 40 perches

On the left-hand page, there are notes made at a later date, which state the following:

“Leases to Richard Lane 20th Aug 1807.  Lives also include James and John Lane, who were respectively 44 and 36 years old in 1842.  Lease surrendered on 15th Sept 1846 and new lease granted 16th Sept 1846 to William Rendall with additional lives of John (18), Simon (15) and Richard (4).”

Further on in the books (pages 73-75-77) are further descriptions of Snooks and Pilewell in relation to their close proximity to Carters or Frapwells.

Page 73 states the following about Snooks in blue writing:

“Curreys part.  This tenement now belongs to James York he having purchased it of Wm Currey before he went to America with his wife Honor.  It consists of two under rooms and back kitchen with three upper rooms, stable, outhouse & small garden extending to the way leading from The Street to Frapwells orchard.”

The next part is written in black:

“All that messuage tenement or dwelling house commonly called or known by the name of Snooks now in the occupation of Arthur Spear formerly part of a tenement called Carters fronting northwards upon West Harptree Street and westwards upon Old Street (Ridge Lane) in West Harptree aforesaid to commence on the death of Beryl Griffin then aged 59 upon whose life the premises were held under lease granted to Hannah Lasbury dated 19th Nov 1801.”

On the left-hand page is a sketch showing (ref. R2) the messuage & garden & orchard on the right hand side of a bend in the road with Leased to James Vowels” alongside.  (Ref. r1) is a narrow L-shaped strip on the opposite side with Leased to William Currey.”  The following is crossed through: Lease to Wm Currey dated 20 May 1819.  Lease to James York dated 30 May 1838.”

Page 75 is titled “Other part Snooks.”  The schedule lists (Ref 22) as Snooks Orchard of 2 Roods.  It goes on to state the following:

All that orchard being part and parcel of the premises formerly attached to the messuage and tenement called Carters but lately known by the name of Snooks.”

In blue writing is written the following:

Orchard now used as a garden and (yard ?) and is incorporated with the other property held by Mr Vowles and the whole is occupied by him.  Except the cottage adjoining Yorks and the fields.”

Notes on the left-hand page state:

“Lease to James Vowles dated 20th May 1819.Lives:                                                             Lessee 32 years dec’d 1856; William York 28 years; John York 18 years.”

Page 77 is titled “Welchay and Pilewell” and includes

“All that dwelling house or cottage formerly called Grimbsbys situate near to a well called Pilewell and adjoining a dwelling house called Snooks with a garden or small plot of ground to the said cottage belonging. . . .”

  The third document at the Somerset Heritage Centre is an Enclosure Map, dated 1790.  This Enclosure Map identifies parcels of grazing land on top of Mendip for use by the tenants of just a few identifiable (and probably significant) properties in West Harptree.  Plot 30 and 31 (3 acres, 0 roods & 1 perch) are marked as being allocated to Carters and used by “William Frapwell and others.”

It would seem that the right to use these identifiable portions of grazing land on Mendip by the tenants of significant properties in West Harptree, may well have been in existence from a much earlier time – perhaps even from late medieval times. This poses the possibility that there may have been an earlier dwelling on the site of what is now White Rose Farm.

The fourth document is an Indenture dated in 1807 made between Josepha Sophia Wheat and a Richard Lane. The document also contains the crossed-out name of Josepha’s husband (Clifton Wheat) in several places – he had died in 1807 and presumably this document was in the process of being drawn up at the time of his death.  It was probably easier to cross his name out rather than draw up a totally new document.

The first part of this document is a follows:

“This Indenture made the twentieth day of August in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Seven.  Between Josepha Sophia Wheat of Barton House in the County of Somerset Widow of Clifton Wheat of the one part and Richard Lane of West Harptree aforesaid Carpenter of the other part.  Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of Five Hundred and Twelve Pounds Eight Shillings of Lawful Money of the United Kingdom of Great Britain  and Ireland as current in England to her the said Josepha Sophia Wheat  and Clifton Wheat in hand paid by the said Richard Lane at or before the sealing and delivery of these presents the Receipt whereof she doth hereby acknowledge and thereof Acquit Release and discharge the said Richard Lane his Heirs Executors or Administrators for ever by these presents as of Lent Heriot Covenants and Agreements hereinafter reserved and contained on the part of the said Richard Lane, his Executors Administrators or Assigns to be paid kept done and performed.  She the said Clifton Wheat and Josepha Sophia Wheat hath demised granted and to farm letten and by these presents doth demise grant and to farm let unto the said Richard Lane and his Executors Administrators or Assigns.  All that Messuage or Tenement called Carters or Frapwells Situate lying and being in West Harptree aforesaid with the several Lands Meadows feedings and Pastures thereunto belonging that is to say A Dwelling House with a Carthouse Outbuildings ,Two Gardens Orchards and backside containing by estimation Five Roods and Twenty Perches.  A Close of Meadow called Deadmour containing by estimation One Acre Three Roods and Eighteen Perches.  A Close of Meadow called Hams containing by estimation Five Acres Three Roods and Thirteen Perches. A Close of Pasture called Innicks containing by estimation One Acre One Rood and Twenty three Perches.  A Close of Pasture called East Lease containing by estimation Three Acres One Rood and Twenty Six Perches. A Close of Meadow called Highfield Close containing by estimation Three Acres and Thirty three Perches and one other Close of Meadow also called Highfield Close containing by estimation Two Acres Two Roods and Thirty four Perches be the several quantities more or less.”

The Indenture goes on to say:

“All which said Messuage or Dwelling House Outbuildings  and Premises with the Appurts together with the said several Closes of Land thereto belonging do contain together Sixteen Acres and Two Perches are in the Occupation or Renting of Hannah Lasbury and particularly described in the plan in the Margin of these presents together with all ways Waters Watercourses Hedges Hedge Rows Woods Underwoods Commons and Common of Pasture for all Manner of Cattle Rights privileges Advantages and Appurts whatsoever to the same Messuage or Tenement and premises belonging or Appertaining Except and to be reserved out of this demise unto the said Clifton Wheat and Josepha Sophia Wheat.  All Timber Trees and other Trees likely to become Timber now growing or which may hereafter grow in or upon the said demised premises or any part thereof And also except the Bodies of all pollards and all Mines or Quarries of lead ore, Copper, Calamine, Coals other Stone Gravel Brick Earth Sand and all other Minerals Whatsoever with full liberty for the said Clifton Wheat and Josepha Sophia Wheat her Heirs Executors Administrators or Assigns to fell, grub open dig for convert and carry away at fit and convenient times and seasons all such Timber Lead ore, Copper, coal, Calamine other Stone Earth or other Mineral whatsoever as often as need shall require.”  

There may well be other documents that will come to light, in the course of time, that will mention earlier names for what is now called White Rose Farm.


MAPS: The TUDOR MAP of COMPTON MARTIN 1594, a sketch MAP from the papers of WILLIAM EARLE from the early part of the 18th Century, WEST HARPTREE MANOR MAP 1793, the 1819 ORDNANCE SURVEY MAP, the 1841 TITHE MAP and the 1841 CENSUS.

The original “Tudor Map of Compton Martin” is held at the Somerset Heritage Centre. The map is absolutely stunning, with bright colours demarcating pastures, plough land and hillside.

It was created, in all likelihood to clarify rights of pasture of over 1260 acres of land on the Mendip hilltop, above the parish of Compton Martin. It details the manor houses belonging to the Roynon family – Tilly Manor at West Harptree, Bickfield at Compton Martin and Hasel Manor in Ubley.   In fact, there was a dispute recorded in the Courts of Chancery in 1574 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and this is the suggested date for the Tudor Map.

It shows features which were important within the dispute, the big houses, the churches, and whilst the author of the map remains unknown, there are plenty of  clues as to whom it might be

It is thought that the map was probably based on work done by John Roynon who had sketched what he saw from Breach Hill and measured the distances between villages from West Harptree to Blagdon plus Smetham, Haselles west corner and Bickfold using a rood pole (16’6″ or 5 metres long) to give a scale.

The centre part of the pictorial “Tudor Map of Compton Martin” shows the area of West Harptree (just above panel 2) with the Church, and the significant buildings of Gournay Court and Tilly Manor.  Whilst roads are shown, they are not named, nor are there indications of other dwellings in the centre of the village, but these obviously existed at the time.

After John Roynon’s death in 1570, Peter Roynon of Tilly Manor, West Harptree probably worked with Francis Roynon to complete the map.  There are many documents relating to the Roynon family in the Newton Collection at Somerset Heritage Centre and at the National Archive from the Court of Chancery in London in the mid to late 1570s, but none so far found refer specifically to the map.

Bickfield was eventually sold to an investor from London in 1582 and it seems that the Tudor Map and the Roynon family documents went to Tilly Manor, West Harptree for safe keeping. John Roynon was followed by his son Peter and by his son, another Peter (1616-1696), who rebuilt Tilly Manor between 1659–1667.  His second son Henry (Harry), inherited the estate but he was declared bankrupt and Tilly Manor was sold in 1699.  It is believed that the Tudor Map and documents remained there after the sale. The new owner of Tilly Manor was William Earle, son of Sir Thomas Earle, a merchant, MP and Mayor of Bristol.

img555 (1)Part of the Compton Martin Tudor Map (circa 1594) – with later annotations

Amongst his papers, William Earle, who owned Tilly Manor in 1699, left a rough sketch map of the countryside looking southwards from East and West Harptree.  The map (probably done in the first half of the C18th), shows parcels of land – some of which are named.  It also shows some of the lanes – though it’s difficult to identify exactly which they are.


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The earliest more-detailed map that I’ve encountered, is a map of the Manor of West Harptree, dating from 1793. It shows unnamed roads radiating from the village centre, the location of Gournay Court and Till(e)y, the Church and the Vicarage.  Parcels of land and woodland or orchard are identified with numbers and the position of some buildings adjacent to the roads, are suggested with shading. It’s possible to identify two buildings on the eastern corner of Old Street Lane where it meets The Street – these are undoubtedly Snooks and Carters.  The location of Carters is easily identifiable on the map because the huge stone within the front boundary wall (adjacent to the small pedestrian gate) causes a kink in the road – this kink is clearly shown on the map.


The first “accurate” detailed map of West Harptree is probably the 1841 Tithe Map. The parcels of land have been allocated Plot Numbers for easy identification.  On the east side of Old Street Lane (now Ridge Lane), Plot Nos. 243, 244, 246, 247, 249, 250 and 254 are shown.


Plot No 243 is described as a house and garden (now the village shop and post office) which in 1841 was owned and occupied by James York and his family.  The 1841 Tithe Map shows what is now “White Rose Farm” (Plot 244), as a detached property with a walkway from Old Street Lane (Ridge Lane), between it and what is now the Village Shop/Post Office next door.  Joseph Collins, the shop-keeper from 1861-1891, converted this walkway area into a kitchen – thus changing the building that is now “White Rose Farm” from being a detached to a semi-detached property.


Tithe Plot No. 244, (now “White Rose Farm”) is described on the Tithe Schedule as a House and garden with an area of 0:0:26 perches.  It was then owned by a William Rendall and occupied by Mark Chapman and his family.  Tithe Plot No. 245 (orchard) with an area of 0:0:36 perches – now the site of the four houses in The Courtyard – was also owned by William Rendall and occupied by Mark Chapman.

On the 1841 Census, Mark Chapman is aged 35 and his occupation is given as Plumber.  His wife is Mary, aged 30.  They have two children: Agnes (aged 5) and James (aged 2) – also living with them are Ann Chapman (aged 75) and of Independent Means, John Clark, a 15 year old Plumber’s Apprentice and Ann Dymock, who is 12 years old and described as a Farm Labourer.


Part of my research has involved trying to find out about the previous occupants of what is now “White Rose Farm.”  But investigating who might have lived in which property in Old Street Lane (Ridge Lane) from the 1841 Tithe Schedule onwards, is not an easy task.  Census enumerators tended not to record property names on various Census returns and there is an additional problem in that 1841 Census householders’ names do not appear to match the alleged occupiers on the 1841 Tithe Schedule.

Plot 246, described as a cottage and garden of 9 perches, is what is now called “White Rose Cottage.”  In the 1841 Tithe Schedule, like Plot 244, it was owned by William Rendall, but occupied apparently by a William Moon.  On the 1841 Census however, William Moon is not down as living in Old Street Lane, but appears elsewhere in West Harptree, aged 55 and described as an Agricultural Labourer.  His wife Ann is aged 55, his son James Moon is 25 and is also an Agricultural Labourer.  Francis is 15 and John Moon is 6 months old.  There is also a daughter, Jane who is 20 years old.

Plot 247, described on the 1841 Tithe Schedule as a house and garden of 1 rood and 9 perches, has since disappeared. It is approximately where the detached stone built garage belonging to the property “Wiscana” now stands.  In 1841, it was owned and occupied by George Chapman.  On the 1841 Census, George is said to be 50 years old and is described as a Farmer.  With him lives 20 year old Richard Chapman, described as a Smith, and 15 year old Ann Chapman.

Plot 249, described on the 1841 Schedule as a “House, garden and yard of 24 perches,” has also since disappeared.  The 1841 Tithe Schedule states it was owned and occupied by Richard Weston.  On the 1841 Census Richard was 35 years of age and described as a Farmer.  His wife was Elizabeth Weston, aged 40.  They also had a Mary Popel living with them – she was 20 years old and described as a Farm Labourer.

Plot 250, described as a “Cottage and garden of 25 perches,” was owned and occupied by John Lane.  This property still exists and is now called “Ridgeway.”  On the 1841 Census, John Lane is aged 35 and is described as a Carpenter.  His wife Mary is 25 years old and they have three children – all daughters: Elizabeth (6), Sarah (3) and Elizabeth (1 year).

Plot 254, described as a “House and Barton” has since disappeared and is now the site of the first house on the south side of Ridgeway Close.  In 1841, the owner and occupier of Plot 254 was James Lane.

On the west side of Old Street Lane in 1841, were at least four properties.  Plot 257, described in 1841 as a “Cottage and garden of 15 perches” was owned by Charles Wilkins and occupied by William Wilkins.  This property is now called “Ridge Cottage” and is opposite the property currently called “Ridgeway.”

Opposite what is now “White Rose Cottage,” are the semi-detached cottages now called “Rose Cottage” and “Jasmine Cottage.  On the 1841 Tithe Map” they appear part of Plot No. 259 which is described as a “House, shop and yard” which is accessed to the left of the current “Rose Cottage.”

The remaining property on Ridge Lane, now called “Goose Cottage” may have been originally part of the Plots 260, 261, 262, 263 and 263a which fronted directly onto The Street.  In 1841, they were owned by Thomas Wise and occupied by George Peddle (260), William Styles (261), George Maggs (262), Gemima Chapman (263), and Thomas Page (263a)

The 1841 Census describes George Peddle (Plot 260) as being 65 years old and a Shoemaker by trade.  Living with him is 70 year old Hannah Peddle and 10 year old Maria Peddle.

THE CENSUS RETURNS from 1851 to 1911.

The family of Mark Chapman, who were living in what is now called “White Rose Farm” on the 1841 Census, were not living there by the time of the 1851 Census – they had moved to Newport, Monmouthshire.  On the 1851 Census, there is no mention of Ann Chapman (aged 75 in 1841) – presumably she had died, and there are two additional children in the family:  John Chapman (aged 6) and Cecilia Chapman (aged 4).  Both these children are stated as having been born in Newport – thus indicating that the family would have left “White Rose Farm” from about 1845.

One would suppose that the Census Returns from 1851 onwards to 1911 should make it possible to identify the potential owners and/or tenants of “White Rose Farm” during that period.  Unfortunately that is not the case, because most of the Returns do not give the names of properties – except when significant properties or locations are identified.

Further difficulties are caused by not knowing how the Enumerators collected the data from properties in Old Street Lane.  For one Census they may have walked up the lane on the left and down on the other side, in the next Census, they may have walked up the lane on the right and down again on the left side.  Ten years later in the Census after that, the Enumerator may have criss-crossed the lane from one side to the other and back again to gain information about the inhabitants.

What follows, therefore, is a summary of the West Harptree Census information covering the period from 1851 to 1911:

1851 Census:  The unamed enumerator for the 1851 Census Returns for West Harptree gives no indication whatsoever, as to the identity of any of the properties or even where they are to be found within the village.  The 1851 Census Return is purely a list of names given in household groups, and is, therefore, of little value in determining who might have lived in “White Rose Farm” at the time of the Census.

1861 Census: The enumerator for the 1861 West Harptree Census Returns was a Mr John James.  He lists households by location, for example: there are several families listed as living in “Rudge,” and also two households living in “Rudge Lane.”  He then gives a list of households in “Old St. Lane” (schedule nos. 67-77), but it’s impossible to distinguish from these latter households, who might have lived at “White Rose Farm” at the time of the 1861 Census.



1871 Census: Mr John Wookey, a farmer of 20 acres at Lamb’s Bottom, was the enumerator for the 1871 Census in West Harptree.  John Wookey has identified 12 households (schedule nos. 68-79) living in “Ridge” and a further 11 households (schedule nos. 80-90) living in what he calls “Ridge Lane.”  Once again, because he has not identified any properties there, it is not possible to accurately determine who might have been living at “White Rose Farm” in 1871.



1881 Census: The 1881 Census enumerator for West Harptree was Charles Jesse Redwood. He had been born in West Harptree, and at the time of the Census, was 21 years old and employed as a gardener at Harptree House, in East Harptree.  Charles Redwood doesn’t identify “Ridge Lane” as such on the Census, but appears to have called it “Old Street.”

Households listed in “Old Street” (schedule nos. 51-64), contain some of the names listed in the 1871 Census for “Ridge Lane,” so one can presume they are one and the same – even though it’s not possible to identify the actual properties by name, or ascertain who might have lived where.



1891 Census: The Enumerator for the 1891 Census in West Harptree, was again, Charles Jesse Redwood – by now he had risen from being a lowly gardener and in 1891 was now employed as sub-postmaster and grocer in East Harptree.

Although Charles Redwood has identified streets and some properties by name in West Harptree, rather worryingly, in view of his given occupation (Sub-Postmaster), as stated on the Census, there are many crossings out and alterations in his records – and even, what appears, to be inaccurate information.

For example: No. 35 on his schedule (page 4) is recorded as “White Cross Farm” but No. 58 on his schedule (page 7) is also recorded as “Whitecross Farm.”  I believe this latter to be an error and that No. 58 is actually, “White Rose Farm” – this belief is further supported by the fact that it appears amongst the listing of households in Ridge Lane.

SOMRG12_1922_1924-0543.jpgIf No. 58 on the schedule is “White Rose Farm,” then the occupier and tenant of our house for the 1891 Census was Thomas Weaver, his wife Amelia, their daughter Annie, and a farm labourer named Robert Evans.


1901 and 1911 Census: The Enumerator for the 1901 Census in West Harptree was William John Flower – a 27 year old carpenter who lived in West Harptree.  His records are precise and clear, and he identified many properties by name and street location – though he didn’t actually identify “White Rose Farm” in the 1901 Census records.


From later information, we do know that the occupier of “White Rose Farm” in 1901 was John Watts, his wife Florence and their two children: Farnham and Amy.  Though I haven’t determined the actual date when they had become tenants, we do know that they were living at “White Rose Farm” prior to the 1901 Census, and we know that they were still tenants in 1911.  The 1911 Census was the first time that Heads of the Family completed the actual Census Forms in their own hand.


Further confirmation that the Watts Family lived at “White Rose Farm” is shown by the address on Farnham John Watts’ World War I British Army Service Records.


We also know that in June 1917, John Watts and his family were still living at “White Rose Farm.”



From sale information dated 28th June 1917, White Rose Farm had been part of the Tilly Manor Estate, though exactly when it became part of that Estate, is unclear.

Originally, the name Tilly comes from a Henry de Tilli, who was given the estate by William the Conqueror.  It stayed in the Family for 250 years and the last incumbent went by the name of Lionel Tilly – he lived in the 15th Century.  The Tilly family were related to the de Harptree family.  The departure of the Tilly family saw the Manor pass into the hands of Sir Walter Rodney, who in turn, passed it over to William Roynon in 1476.

The present Tilly Manor House was built for Peter Roynon in 1659 and completed in 1667.  It is said to have been a much larger building then, than it is nowadays, with a third storey and wings on both sides.  When Peter Roynon died in 1696, the House passed to his wastrel son, Harry Roynon.  Harry dissipated his inheritance and was declared bankrupt.

In 1699, one William Earle bought the property.  He was married to Henrietta Goodenough, and their son, Goodenough Earl(e) took over the Estate in 1739 – it is the Goodenough arms that one can now see adorning the front of the House.  When he passed away in 1789, his cousin, Francis Milner Newton, was left Tilly Manor.

Francis Milner Newton was a portrait painter of note and a royal academician.  He had been born in London in 1720 and was the son of Edward Newton by the elder daughter of Smart Goodenough of Barton Grange, Corfe, near Taunton.  Francis was prominent among artists who desired to establish a national academy of art and this was finally achieved under the royal patronage of George III in 1768.  The Royal Academy of Art had Sir Joshua Reynolds as its first President and Francis Milner Newton was elected the first Secretary – a post he held till 1788.


Francis was appointed by his cousin, Goodenough Earle, who had inherited the Barton Grange property, as guardian to Earle’s only daughter, with the reversion of the property. When Goodenough died, Francis Milner Newton inherited the property and retired to Barton Grange, where he spent the rest of his life until his death on 14th August 1794, and was buried at Corfe.

Francis Milner Newton and his wife Frances had only one child, a daughter born on the 30th June 1764, named Josepha Sophia Newton.  She was christened on 14th July 1764 at St Mary’s, Marylebone Road, London.  Josepha married first to Col. Clifton Wheat in 1787 (who died in 1807) and secondly Sir Frederick Grey Cooper (d. 1840).  When Josepha died, without issue, in Taunton in late 1848, aged 84, she had bequeathed the Barton Grange property to a cousin, Francis Wheat Newton.

Francis Wheat Newton was born between April and early May of 1813.  He was the son of John Newton, a Brewer from Brentford in Middlesex – his mother’s name was Martha. Francis Wheat Newton was baptised on the 12th May 1813 in Ealing.

Francis Wheat Newton married Catherine Bayley on the 18th January 1849 at St Mary the Virgin in Send, near Guildford, Surrey.  They had four children: Emily Margaret Newton (born about 1850), Francis Murray Newton (born c1852), Mary Caroline Newton (born c 1855) and Arthur Edward Newton (born 12th September 1862).

Little is known about the early life of Francis Wheat Newton in London – though in his thirties, he came into property and fortune through family links to his late famous forebear  – Francis Milner Newton.

He certainly had both power and influence in a number of area of both London and Somerset.  Francis Wheat Newton became a J.P., and in 1861 was appointed High Sheriff of Somerset.  Francis inherited Barton Grange and its estate in 1848/9 – including land and properties in West Harptree.

Within The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868), it states the following:

“WEST HARPTREE, a parish in the hundred of Chewton, county Somerset, 8 miles N. of Bath, and 11 miles S.W. of Bristol.  It is situated on the turnpike road leading from Bristol to Wells.  The soil is light, with subsoil of gravel and sand, resting on limestone rock, which abounds with lapis calaminaris, and contains in some places iron ore and lead.  The land is chiefly pasture, with a small extent of orchard and woodland.  The lands in the upper part of the parish, on the Mendip hills, are well wooded with oak and elm.  The impropriate tithes have been commuted for a rent charge of £159 10s., and the vicarial for £220.  The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Bath and Wells, value £126.  The church, dedicated to St Mary, is an ancient stone structure with tower surmounted with a spire, and containing a clock and four bells.  The register dates from 1660.  The parochial charities produce £76 per annum, of which £15 goes to support Lockier’s school.  There is a parochial school for both sexes.  The ancient manor houses of Gownay (Gournay) and Silly (Tilly), in this parish, are now converted to farmhouses.  The Prince of Wales is lord of the former manor, and W.F. Newton, Esq., of Barton Green (Grange), of the latter.”

The W.F. Newton referred to in the above Gazetteer was Francis Wheat Newton.

img409.jpgAs previously stated, the property now known as “White Rose Farm,” was part of the Tilly Manor Estate (also known as the “West Harptree Estate”) of Francis Wheat Newton, formerly of Barton Grange, Taunton.  The West Harptree Estate is mentioned in his will of 11th July 1895 – Francis died on the 26th November 1895.

Under the terms of the will, the “lands, rents and hereditaments forming part of The West Harptree Estate” passed into the hands of his second son, Arthur Edward Newton of Dipford House, Trull, Taunton.


Arthur Edward Newton was born at Barton Grange, Corfe, Taunton, on 12th September 1862, and died at Dipford House, Trull, Taunton on the 15th September 1952.  His primary interest was playing cricket, and he played cricket for Somerset in the county’s pre-first-class days, and then for more than twenty years after the team entered the County Championship in 1891.


Arthur Edward Newton was a right-handed lower order batsman and a wicket keeper.  Against Middlesex at Lords in 1901, he dismissed nine batsmen in the match, with six catches and three stumpings – this set a Somerset record for first-class cricket that has never been surpassed.  Despite his abilities, Arthur never progressed to Test selection.  He continued to play regularly for Somerset until three weeks before the outbreak of World War I.

According to Wisden, A. E. Newton “showed remarkable form behind the wickets for a man approaching the age of fifty-two.”  He continued to play club cricket well beyond normal retirement age – Wisden records in his obituary that he played for the Somerset Stragglers until he was 81.  It noted that “when 71, having cycled to the Taunton ground, he demonstrated that his ability had not seriously declined by stumping five batsmen.”

In 1917, Arthur Edward Newton decided to dispose of the Tilly Manor Estate – the sale took place on the 28th June at the Grand Hotel, Bristol.



The Sales Literature gives details of some 37 lots as described above –  included in the sale are Tilly Manor Farm (Lot 1), Parsonage Farm (Lot 2), White Rose Farm (Lot 3), and Shortcombe Farm (Lot 26).



It is recorded that Joseph Atkins of West Harptree made the successful bid of £680 for White Rose Farm, its ten acres and timber (worth £8).  It is also recorded that the current tenant of White Rose Farm was Mr John Watts.  John Watts paid £2,650 for Parsonage Farm at the same sale.



Later documentation shows Arthur Edward Newton actually sold “White Rose Farm,” its farm buildings and closes of land by Conveyance dated 4th October 1917 to Joseph Atkins for the sum of seven hundred and thirty-eight pounds – this is more than the published sale price at the auction in the previous June – one wonders why Joseph Atkins finally paid more in October 1917 than his accepted offer in June.

The property at that time consisted of ten acres, one rood and six perches made up of the following:

(i)    White Rose Farm House, Old Cottage, Buildings Yards and Gardens known as the “Homestead” amounting to 2 roods and 2 perches (Part OS Plot No. 218)

(ii)    Buildings and Yard amounting to 11 perches (Part OS Plot No. 217)

(iii)   Orchard of 1 acre and 31 perches (OS Plot No 215)

(iv)    Cottage, Buildings Yard and Garden of 1 rood and 11 perches (OS Plot No 216)

(v)     Stable and Cart Shed of 1 perch (Part OS Plot No. 213)

(vi)    Junicks (meadow) of 2 acres, 2 roods and 8 perches (Part OS Plot No. 209)

(vii)   East Leaze Orchard of 2 roods and 4 perches (Part OS Plot No. 210)

(viii)  East Leaze (meadow) of 4 acres, 3 roods and 16 perches (Part OS Plot No. 122)

(ix)     Old Smithy and Yard of 5 perches (Part OS Plot No. 217)

(x)      Garden of 37 perches  (Part OS Plot No. 217)

img490.jpgWhite Rose Farm (sometime also known as Rose Tree Farm) showing extent of farm house, cottage, farm buildings, closes of orchard and meadow land using 1903 Edition 1/2500 Ordnance Survey Map

A Memorandum on this 1917 document states that on 31st January 1928, a Conveyance was made between Mr Joseph Atkins and Leslie Payne about the piece of land and buildings containing 11 perches (Part Plot 217 on the OS Map)

Joseph Atkins – described as a Farmer – died on the 10th January 1936.  The property was then known as ROSE TREE FARM.

In his will made on 12th December 1919, Joseph Atkins had appointed William John Flower, a Builder & Contractor of West Harptree, together with Charles Wesley Caple, a Builder from Bath Road, Frome, as his Executors.

Probate was granted on 23rd March 1936 and a Conveyance (dated 29th June 1936) was made between them and Thomas Brookman – described as a Yeoman, of Brook Lodge, Cowslip Green, Wrington.


For the sum of £350, Thomas Brookman purchased the “messuage or dwellinghouse known as  ROSE TREE FARM at Ridge Lane, together with the Outbuildings consisting of two piggeries, cow stall with loft and two open Sheds, Garden, Yard and Closes of Pasture and Orchard Land forming Parts OS Numbers 209, 210 and 218 and containing together three acres, one rood and thirty-nine perches now in the occupation of Mr W. H. Shipsey as Tenant, together with all Rights of Way over adjoining property of Messrs Payne.”

A further Memorandum on the 1917 document states that a Conveyance was made on 14th May 1936 between Charles Wesley Caple and William John Flower of the one part and Clutton Rural District Council of the other part, the Cottage garden and buildings and lands adjoining comprising OS Plots no. 215, 216 and part of 213.

A further Memorandum on this same document states that by a Conveyance dated 5th June 1936 between Charles Wesley Caple and William John Flower of the one part and Leonard Albert Body of the other part.  A piece of land containing 4 acres, 3 roods and 16 perches “more or less situate fronting the road leading from West Harptree to East Harptree was conveyed to the said Leonard Albert Body.” (Part OS Plot No 122)


In a Conveyance dated 14th April 1942 between Thomas Brookman (formerly of Brook Lodge, Cowslip Green, Wrington, and now (April 1942) of Trelinda, Rushmoor Lane, West Town), and one Albert Henry Watts – a Farmer of Walnut Tree Farm, Ubley.  The “messuage or dwellinghouse, called or known as ROSE TREE FARM, together with outbuildings consisting of two piggeries, cow stall with loft and two open sheds, garden, yard and closes of pasture and orchard land forming Part OS Plot Nos. 209, 210 and 218 and containing three acres, one rood and thirty-nine perches (more or less) formerly in the occupation of Mr W H Shipsey but now void, together with the rights of way to the yard over the adjoining property now or late of Messrs Payne as now existing.”  Albert Henry Watts paid the sum of seven hundred and eighty pounds to purchase the property from Thomas Brookman.


In a Memorandum on this 1942 Conveyance, dated 16th January 1950, Albert Henry Watts conveyed to Clutton Rural District Council, two parcels of Pasture Land forming Part OS Plots 209A and 210 containing 1.678 and 0.490 acres respectively.


A further Memorandum on this 1942 Conveyance, dated 26th July 1951, Albert Henry Watts conveyed all the Yard and Outbuildings (forming Part OS Plot No. 218) to M. Taviner & Sons.

A Deed of Gift dated 11th December 1964 was made between Albert Henry Watts – described as a retired Farmer and formerly of Walnut Tree Farm, Ubley and now of Ivanhoe, West Harptree and his niece Edith Emily Taviner of White Rose Farm (Edith was the wife of Harold Keith Taviner.)

The Deed of Gift conveys to Edith Taviner the “messuage or dwellinghouse formerly called Rose Tree Farm, but now called White Rose Farm and the outbuildings which form Part OS Plot no 218 and are now in the occupation of Edith Taviner as tenant.

The Deed of Gift conveys to Edith Taviner the “messuage or dwellinghouse formerly called Rose Tree Farm, but now called White Rose Farm and the outbuildings which form Part OS Plot no 218 and are now in the occupation of Edith Taviner as tenant.

A further Deed of Gift was made on 15th October 1985 by Edith Emily Taviner of White Rose Farm to her husband Harold Keith Taviner for them to hold as beneficial joint tenants in equity and their survivor to become the sole legal and beneficial owner of the property.

(Photo of Harold and Edith Taviner)

A Deed dated 30th June 1994 between M Taviner & Sons Ltd. (Grantor) of White Rose Yards, West Harptree and Harold Keith Taviner (Grantee) of White Rose Farm sets out the rights for the Grantee and his successors in title the owners or occupiers of land (marked in “blue” on the map) called White Rose Farm.  It concerns right of access to the rear of White Rose Farm with or without vehicles and animals along the lane from The Street (marked in “brown” on the map) and the right to turn vehicles on the remainder of the “red” land (formerly White Rose Yard).  It also allows for access/repairs/renewal to water and drainage pipes going from the “blue” land onto the “red” land and vice versa.

White Rose Yard with its cottage and associated buildings and Shop were sold with planning permission for residential development, at auction on the 7th July 1994.  The Shop is now called The White Rose Beauty Parlour, and the former White Rose Yard (now called The Courtyard) was cleared and now has four semi-detached properties with integral garages, open-plan gardens and communal parking areas.

A Statutory Declaration made by Robert Taviner of 2 Lakeways Bungalow, Station Road, Blagdon, dated 2nd June 2005, refers to the fact that he is one of the Executors of the Estate of his late father Harold Keith Taviner.  He declares that his father and his late mother Edith Emily Taviner had lived at the property known as White Rose Farm since about 1952/3 though they had not owned it until the Deed of Gift made in December 1964.

He declares that for as long as he can remember, access to the rear of the property has been made by the family and visitors by the lane (marked in “brown”) which also now serves four other properties.  This access to White Rose Farm has continued certainly from the time his parents moved to White Rose Farm up to the present day “without the consent of any person and without any interruption or payment or acknowledgement of any person.”  He further declares that “use of the road has been to pass and repass at all times of the day and night with or without vehicles of any description and with or without animals of any kind for all purposes connected with the use of the Property as a private dwelling.”

White Rose Farm and its garden was bought by Mr and Mrs Michael Thomas on 16th June 2005 and they had extensive alterations carried out within the house.  White Rose Farm was sold again on 18th August 2010 and since that time, more alterations have taken place and the garden has been extensively re-landscaped including a pergola and paved areas.

img488.jpg    View from pedestrian gate at “White Rose Farm” up Ridge Lane – c1890                                                     



















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