Posts Tagged ‘Pond Farm’

Pond Farm – then and now

March 21, 2015

Pond Farm is one of the lost farms on Salisbury Plain. It was an active farm until about 1910, albeit its piece was disturbed by the summer regimental camps which took place there.

Then it became part of the artillery range on a permanent basis. Occupants moved out and farming ceased.

Here we merge two pictures. One dates from the Edwardian era and is, of course, black and white and shows the farm in its remote setting.

The second dates from 1977 which at 38 years ago is hardly now, but these days there is no public access to the area. Back then it was possible to recognise the area as the same. The 1977 picture is in colour and no doubt it looks much the same today.

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The pictures should merge, one into the other, every few seconds. There are arrows to click if you feel a need to speed things up.





Pond Farm for sale

January 10, 2015

Today we look at an extract from the Bath Evening Chronicle for Monday June 11th 1877.

Masthead of Bath Evening Chronicle - 1877 style

Masthead of Bath Evening Chronicle – 1877 style

Little details are always of interest. This paper, it says, was produced every afternoon at five o’clock and sold for the princely sum of one halfpenny. For those who don’t remember our pre-decimal currency, if you had a pound you could have bought 480 copies of the paper.

But it is one of the adverts that adds to the interest, big time, here.


Pond Farm – for sale by auction

This was a sale by auction of an Easterton property. This was the farm known as Pond Farm which once stood up on Salisbury Plain.

We have photos of the farm, but a written statement adds extra information.

Lot 1 – Comprising a comfortable well-arranged farm residence containing sitting room, kitchen, back kitchen, dairy, wash house, wood house, four bedrooms, attics and WC and having good yards, barn, stabling for nine horses cow house to tie eight cows, calf house, piggeries, waggon house &c together with about 52 acres of valuable rich arable, orchard and garden land now in the occupation of the Messrs Hampton

Lot 2 – Three well erected freehold cottages and gardens in the occupation of respectable tenants and at present let at a rental of £11 12s (£11.60) per annum.

This was all being offered for auction by Messrs Marsh and Dawes with the sale to be at The Green Dragon in Market Lavington on Tuesday 26th June 1877 at three for four o’clock in the afternoon precisely.

So here we get information about the rooms in the house and the farm out buildings and cottages. One of the cottages was in the possession of a member of the Burnett family and another member added ‘Gran’s Home’, in hand writing.

It all makes for a fascinating document.

Pond Farm again

November 24, 2014

We looked at Pond Farm back in 2013 and you can click here to see that post.

Pond Farm was one of the hill farms up on Salisbury Plain. It was up above Easterton and the area remains in the Easterton parish. Although used for agriculture, until 1910, Pond Farm land was also used for summer camps by reservist soldiers for some years prior to 1910.

But as the Edwardian era ended the War Department decided that areas of Salisbury Plain in both Market Lavington and Easterton should become a part of a permanent military range. This scene, showing a farm, was to become history.

Pond Farm in Edwardian days - the loneliness of Salisburyn Plain is clear to see

Pond Farm in Edwardian days – the loneliness of Salisburyn Plain is clear to see

This postcard was recently acquired – an EBay purchase then donated to the museum. The card seller dated it as 1905. We’ll just call it Edwardian. It shows the isolated farm, with its shelter belt of trees.

Close up on the farm

Close up on the farm

We can see there is more than one dwelling – a house and a cottage at least. There are sheds and a large barn and a very neat and well thatched stack up on the hill.

A farm was sited here because it was possible to access water in this little valley. That also made it suitable for an army camp and Pond Farm took that role again in 1914 when Canadian soldiers were stationed in the tented encampment whilst training for front line duties.

But by then the farm had gone. It was used as a target by training UK soldiers and no trace of it remains today.

Sadly, too, the location is not now accessible to the public.




Before World War One

October 20, 2014

This year, and quite rightly, there has been much talk about World War One – and we’ve done our share of that. But of course, parts of our area were militarised before the Great War – that war which was supposed to end all wars – began. In an attempt to keep body and soul comfortably together, our Manorial Lord had sold his lands on Salisbury Plain to the War Department. Tenant farmers continued to user the land for several years but at Pond Farm, now in Easterton parish, an annual summer camp for reservists took place.

In the Edwardian era the whole area was closed and it became a permanent military training area. Local photographers made sure the last of the fairly open summer camps were well recorded. And here we have one such photo.

Soldiers at Pond Farm Camp in 1909

Soldiers at Pond Farm Camp in 1909

This card shows signs of its past life as a piece of pub décor. It has been in the museum for some years but had an earlier home at The Drummer Boy which has now closed.

The card gives a real sense of the vast openness of Salisbury Plain. If it wasn’t for the soldiers, the area would really look empty. Somehow that distant horse and rider on the horizon adds to the sense of huge space.

The year is clearly given on the card. It is 1909. The regiment here are obviously ‘of horse’. Regular summer campers were a regiment known as the London Rough Riders. Here the troops look anything but rough as they maintain a neat formation led by their officers.

The vast open space of Salisbury Plain

The vast open space of Salisbury Plain

What a lovely image and it can remind us that when the war started, just five years later, the horse was still the mainstay for haulage and transport. Sad to say horses suffered very badly in the war, just as the men did.

The Story of Laura Hughes

July 9, 2014

Laura was one of the last people to live at Pond Farm on the downs above Easterton. By the time she was there it was no longer a farm and her dad was employed to operate the water pumping engine.

Laura Lavinia Hayward was born around 1905 at Ludgershall but we can find her at Pond Farm with Dad, Mum and little sister at the time of the 1911 census.

In 1995 Laura was 90 and was called Laura Hughes. She lived in Warminster but she was taken on a surprise visit to her old home. This was reported in the Warminster Journal for 1st September 1995.

It is their report we show below. The story is told by Laura’s son.

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These pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

What a delightful story – and what a strange life for Laura as a young lass on remote Salisbury Plain.

We’d love to hear from any descendants.

Pond Farm

October 1, 2013

Pond Farm was one of the hill farms of our parish. These days it is in a part of Easterton which the military authorities on Salisbury Plain have completely closed to the public. Our old photo, taken in the Edwardian era, shows the bustling farm, with house, cottages and associated buildings and a really well used track across Salisbury Plain.

Pond Farm, Easterton in about 1908

Pond Farm, Easterton in about 1908

Our second photo shows the same scene before it was closed to the public but long after the farm had vanished.. It was taken in 1977 and it portrays the bleak emptiness of the Salisbury Plain landscape. The trackway was still clearly visible, but no longer bore the hallmarks of heavy use.

The site of Pond Farm in 1977

The site of Pond Farm in 1977

Let’s take a look at the photos  as a kind of two shot slideshow.

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It would be good if the path across to Pond Farm could be re-opened, like the re-opened Jubilee Path in Market and West Lavington.

The Man in White

June 25, 2013

Pictures of Pond Farm Camp have featured from time to time on the blog. This was the military encampment up on Salisbury Plain above Easterton. Market Lavington Museum has recently received further photos which portray something of camp life.

The photos all pre-date World War 1. This was a time when regiments of regulars and volunteers had summer camps. No doubt they were training camps but at times they look a bit like a summer holiday for the lads. That is certainly the case in this photo.

A group of men at a Pond Farm Camp probably about 1909.

A group of men at a Pond Farm Camp probably about 1909.

Here we have a group of men relaxing outside a Pond Farm Camp bell tent. Let’s look at the chap in white.

William Davies hailed from Llanfihangel in Breconshire

William Davies hailed from Llanfihangel in Breconshire

He looks a picture of elegance, from his hat right down to his footwear – slippers. His mode of dress seems entirely unsuited to life at Pond Farm which was famed for its mud during World War 1.

We know who this man is. He’s William Davies and he came from Llanfihangel in Breconshire. It’s a bad choice of name and location for finding him on a census. There are dozens and dozens of people called William Davies and quite a few Llanfihangels as well. However, his granddaughter, who sent us the photo has some knowledge and thinks he may have been working in London in about 1908/9. Virtually all of our photos of Pond Farm Camp date from 1909, so William may have been a Londoner at the time this photo was taken.

But he had grown up on the family farm in Wales and in 1912 (probably) he emigrated to Australia. His descendant who sent us the photo lives in Canberra.

We do not know the names of the other men but two of them have a military cap on, with a cap badge. We are hoping that an expert out there might recognise the badge.



It would be a very long shot to have anybody actually recognise the men, but do get in touch if you can, or if you can identify the cap badge.