The Francis family at Grove Farm
Within living memory for older local residents, there was a farm quite centrally positioned in the village of Market Lavington. Younger folk and more recent arrivals to the village will think of the area, where fields once were, as the Grove Farm estate and Canada Rise. Where Grove Farmhouse and farmyard stood we now have the Community Hall and its car parks. There are already many entries connected to this farm on the Market Lavington Museum blog, but we are grateful to Philip Francis for the additional information on his oral history recording, which add to our knowledge of the farm under its last owner.
When the Francis family first moved to Grove Farm, they rented it from Henry Davis of Knapp Farm. They took it over from Henry Watts, whose name is remembered in Watts Way on the Grove Farm housing estate. Ron Francis ran the farm as a dairy farm. He and his wife had been given a dozen cows as a wedding present by a family member.
In 1952, the owner put the farm up for sale and Mr Francis was able to purchase it.
This picture of the farmhouse is part of of postcard image from about 1960 taken from the old recreation ground across the road known as The Spring.
We will consider more of Philip Francis’s memories of Grove Farm and his childhood there, next time.