We Can Trace Our Family’s Involvement Here At Greatworth Hall Back To 1868 Which Means We Now Have The Sixth Generation Involved In The Farm
Our ancestor Francis Cox having lost the tenancy on his existing farm managed to secure the tenancy of Greatworth Hall and moved here with his family to start farming during Christmas 1868. Interestingly as he arrived a new railway line was to be built that split the farm in half and of course we face the same situation today with the plans for HS2.
The farm when Francis Cox took it was a relatively large farm for those days of around 300 acres. Francis farmed here until Christmas 1898 at which point he retired from farming and moved out. Sadly his first wife Sarah had died in 1865 so it was his second wife Lydia Maria who lived with him and the family at Greatworth Hall. Francis and his first wife Sarah had 3 children the youngest of whom was Sarah Ann who married Frederick Adkins in 1885, Sarah and Fredrick had 5 sons the 4th of which was my Grandfather Stanley Cox Adkins.
Following Francis Cox’s retirement from the farm, the tenancy was taken on by Bert Deeley. Bert was a very successful farmer in the early years of the century, running a considerable business. He and his wife Florence had 3 daughters the eldest one of whom was Violet. You can probably guess the next part in that Stanley met Violet, fell in love, married and had 3 children; 2 girls and finally a son – my father Ross.
Farming was very tough in the late 20’s and into the depression years of the 30’s Bert’s business and his involvement here ended in 1934 - we have a sale document on the wall of the farm office from when the contents of the house had to be sold. Stanley worked hard to keep the farm together and after Bert’s death, the owner of the land was pleased to let him take on the tenancy of the farm. So he moved his young family back to the farm where Violet had grown up – what a homecoming for her. Stanley and Violet had been farming in Greatworth before this, and this is still farmed today by Timothy and Angela Griffiths, Tim is my cousin, his mother Joyce was Stanley and Violet’s eldest daughter.
Stanley and Violet farmed through the war and into the 50’s when Ross started to get involved following a tragic accident in 1950 when Stanley lost his right leg in a farming accident. During the 1950’s the owner of the farm approached Stanley, Violet and Ross and asked if they would be interested in purchasing the farm – it seems a small amount of money today that they had to pay but it took a lot of finding at the time - Once they had gathered the funds they managed to buy the farm which then came in to our ownership today.
My father Ross married Mary Uff, who came from Quainton near Aylesbury in 1957 and they had 3 children. I am the oldest and have a younger sister Lois and brother Mark. Sadly we lost Mary in 2009 but Ross is still living on the farm and is involved today, even though he is now in his 80’s. When I left college in 1980 I became the next generation to be involved, along with my wife Jane after we married in 1985. We have 3 children Peter, Rosemary and James- all of whom are now married.
Things have changed at a fast pace over the last 35 years, we have expanded the land we farm and are involved in helping to farm some other land on contract. We have some traditional buildings that we have converted into high quality office space and rent to local businesses as well as workshops.
So that brings us up to date but its time for change again, we are excited that the 6th generation of the family in Rosie and her husband Nathan Jeffries are involved in the farm. Rosie is a primary school teacher and along with passion for sheep, wants to bring children out to the farm to provide outdoor learning. We also have some plans to look at running some bed and breakfast units and with all the change relating to HS2 coming through the farm you will see it’s an exciting and challenging time to be involved here.
- Stephen Adkins
5th Generation Farmer