. . . . . . . Support your local heritage - become a member or volunteer . . . . . . .

Hoo Ash Farm

Location

Hoo Ash Farm gave its name to the Hoo Ash Island roundabout at the south end of Swannington.  Hoo Ash Farm House is in Ravenstone, but a significant portion of the farmed land at the time of the Second World War was in Swannington.

Farmers at Hoo Ash Farm

1856 Henry Burton

After the death of his father James Burton 1773-1851, the family farm at the top of Burton’s Lane, Swannington, was sold and proceeds split between the brothers.  Henry became a tenant at Hoo Ash Farm but found it to be a huge struggle because of the lack of water.  Henry thus decided to sell up and emigrate to the United States.  The 2nd May 1856 Leicester Journal contained the following advertisement, which gives a fascinating insight into mid nineteenth century farming.

Hoo Ash Farm near Swannington Station, Leicestershire – Important Sale of Farming Stock

THOS. DAVENPORT Is favoured with instructions from Mr. Hy. Burton (who is leaving the country)

TO SELL BY AUCTION On the above Premises, on Wednesday next, the 7th day of May, 1856, commencing at Eleven o’clock (prompt), ALL the valuable Live and Dead FARMING STOCK, comprising

  • 3 new-milch cows, 1 barren cow, 10 calved or incalf heifers, 4 incalf sturks, 20 barren sturks,
  • 75 Leicester ewes and lambs, 84 ditto wether and ewe hogs,
  • a team of 5 very useful draught horses, brown cob, superior thorough-bred mare by Dr. Faustus, infoal to Mr. Hasard’s horse, promising chestnut filly by Phenomenon.

 

The implements are modern, and mostly recently new, consisting in part,

  • 3 narrow-wheel waggons, two 4 1/2 inch and one 6 inch carts, water-cart,
  • double and single plough; scuffler, scarifier, harrows, Bentall’s broadshare (new), iron subsoil plough,
  • six-row steer corn drill (nearly new), horse-hoe, turnip and manure drill (new),
  • capital winnowing machine (nearly new) by Choyce,
  • land roll, turnip-cutter by Gardener (nearly new),
  • chaff engine,
  • adders, about 80 sacks, patent weighing machine, sack barrow,
  • 100 yards tarred sheep netting, 12 sheep troughs, fleaks,
  • horse tackle, capital Whitechapel trap (nearly new),

 

Hoo Ash Farm is distant from Coalville Station one mile, Swannington a quarter of a mile, and Ashby-de-la-Zouch four miles.

1926-1941 (probably longer) Reginald Charles Waltho

The 1939 register recorded:

  • Reginald Charles Waltho, General Farmer, born 1910 (Newborough Staffordshire)
  • Kathleen Muriel Bennion Waltho (nee Walthew), Unpaid Domestic Duties, born 1914 (Seal Wood, Linton, Derbyshire)
  • John K Waltho, Under School Age, born 1937 (Ravenstone).

 

During World War Two they had two more sons..

Reginald’s sister Linda Margaret Waltho (1908 Newborough – 1993 Griffydam) married Swannington Butcher Arthur George Toon, whose shop was just up Hough Hill from the Station Inn.

Fordson model F tractor with 20 horse power last made 1928 - image posted on Youtube by steamer123

World War Two Farm Survey

Reginald Charles Waltho paid an annual rent of £369 to Wyggeston Hospital for his expanding farm.  He had farmed 128 acres since 1926, added 50 acres in 1937 and a further 73 acres in 1940.  It is not known if his fields were in a single block.

He had a 3.5 horsepower Hornsby engine and a 20 horsepower Fordson tractor (this would have been a model F which ceased production in 1928)

The soil in half of the land was described as good and half as fair, none as bad.  The farm had both piped water and a pond.

The assessor wrote

  • This farmer has recently become tenant of some of the land included in this survey.  This land is in a poor condition and the hedges and ditches are bad.  Nevertheless I feel sure that the present tenant is capable of bringing it back to good condition.

For 1941 the Wartime Agricultural Executive Committee instructed him to plough up 6 acres of grassland, 5 for oats and 1 for barley.

Farm size = 244 acres

  • Grain – 93 acres
  • Roots – 22 acres
  • Fodder – 7 acres
  • Grass for mowing – 33 acres
  • Grass for grazing – 89 acres

 

Farm animals

  • Cattle – 105
  • Sheep – 130
  • Pigs – 14
  • Fowls – 232
  • Ducks – 43
  • Horses – 12