Jim’s oral history recording (see Easterton boyhood memories 1940s-60s) also reminds us that the main employment for local villagers was either at the jam factory (see Jam factory memories 1960s-1990s) or in farm work.
Jim himself came from a farming family. His grandfather, James Spencer, had Halstead Farm, Easterton, with its farmhouse on the village street. Jim remembered this being owned by his Uncle Norman, who was helped by another uncle, Laurie.
Back in the 1950s, it was more common for farms to be smaller, family run businesses. Jim had another uncle, Harry, who farmed locally too, at Sands Farm.
Whilst Jim’s father had been up White Street, at Fairfield Farm, for a couple of years, he took the opportunity to purchase land up Kings Road on the Sands on other side of the village. This had been the village playing fields, but was well out of the village centre. Wilf Moore, of the jam factory, donated a more convenient parcel of land to the parish council as a site for building the village hall and providing a recreation ground, so the land up Kings Road was put up for sale. Jim’s family lived in a caravan in 1949, whilst their bungalow was being built and they established a small farm there with a dozen cows and a few pigs.
Mains water had not yet come to the those farms on the Sands and Jim recalled theirs had a 90 foot borehole, whilst Sands Farm had an 120 foot deep well.
Of course, not all the Easterton Farms had connections to Jim’s family. Amongst the others were Vicarage Farm (see At Vicarage Farm), Hillcroft Farm, Easterton Clay Farm and Jim recalled Mr Robertson having Ansells, down at the Folly.