Lodge Farm                                     

Lodge Farm, Rectory Lane

Lodge Farm is to the east of Mulbarton village, facing Rectory Lane. It has been closely associated with The Lodge for centuries, and The Lodge was probably built in its grounds.

On the 1724 estate map, the narrow house is aligned north-south (above, where Lodge Farm is the furthest left of the houses marked beside the road now Rectory Lane). This can still be seen today as the older part of the building (below). It was probably soon afterwards that a large and much grander extension was added and a new and more splendid entry was made in this south-facing side.

Lodge Farm House, Rectory Lane, showing west end of house, suggesting that this was once a smaller west-facing farm-house to which a large extension was added
Lodge Farm House, Rectory Lane, showing west end of house, suggesting that this was once a smaller west-facing farm-house to which a large extension was added

It is probable that the Farmhouse and Farm were leased out separately from the Lodge, whilst remaining in the ownership of The Lodge. Known residents include:
Randall King, occupier, 1864, 1868, 1869, 1876 1883, 1890, 1904 (directories & Poor Rate Book)
Owner = W H Hackblock, The Lodge. Area = 259 acres 0 rod 25 perches (with additional Glebe and Church land rented); rateable value £325.5s.0d)

James William Hill 1896, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1916 (directories)
In the early part of the 20th century, he was also farming land in Swainsthorpe and East Carlton. He died 11 Oct 1919, leaving an estate valued at £13,805 0s. 7d to his widow, Mary Charlotte Hill (nee Beverley, previously married to Arthur D Ringer who died in 1892). Probate granted to Mary Hill, along with William Herbert Owen Hill and Arthur Beverley Ringer (Mary's son from her 1st marriage), farmers.
James W Hill is remembered in Mulbarton for buying the 'Rent Charge' of the Parish (Wingfield) Hall and handing the Hall to the Parish. A brass plaque commemorates his generosity. He was a trustee of the Hall until he died in 1919, when his wife became a trustee in his place, and continued to live at Lodge Farm. Mary C. Hill is listed as 'farmer' in 1922. She was also a school governor and the first woman to be elected to Mulbarton Parish Council.
Through her first marriage she became an aunt of the artist Alfred J Munnings (1878-1959), best known for his paintings of horses. His mother was Mary Hill's sister-in-law and he often visited 'Aunt Polly', as he called her. In fact it was in Mulbarton that he ws blinded in one eye - apparently chasing after a dog through a hedge. He set up a studio in Swainsthorpe, but also received guests for sittings at Lodge Farm. One such painting was of Thomas Springfield, Master of the Dunstan Harriers whose portrait Munnings painted in two parts in 1905: Springfield posed at the farm on a wooden saddle, and his horse, Mangreen, was added later! Sir Alfred Munnings (as he became) set up home in Dedham, Essex, where a museum and gallery are devoted to his life and works.

Munnings portrait of Thomas Springfield on his horse 'Mangreen' with the Dunston hounds, partly painted at Lodge Farm.
Munnings portrait of Thomas Springfield on his horse 'Mangreen' with the Dunston hounds, partly painted at Lodge Farm.

[See below for information on the farm in 1919, the Hills' prize cattle and the sale of 1922.]

Ralph Ernest Cross 1933, 1937 (directories)
R E Cross at Lodge Farm was farming Old Hall Farm in 1922 before moving to Lodge Farm. He was also a member of Cross & Co., Barley Merchants and was a Churchwarden.
A dress box sent from Garlands to his daughter in 1933 is in the Bridewell Museum, Norwich. It was sent via 35 Cattle Market, Norwich (then the premises of Cross & Co, Seed, Oil Cake, Manure and Coal Merchants), presumably for Daddy to take home!

Dress box stored in the Bridewell Museum, Norwich
Dress box stored in the Bridewell Museum, Norwich

Auction of The Lodge and Lodge Farm on Saturday 25th September 1948, at the Royal Hotel, Norwich.
'Charming Freehold Residence and Grounds, The Lodge, Mulbarton...and the Deep Soil Well-Farmed Residential Agricultural Occupation, The Lodge Farm, Mulbarton.'

LOT 2 - The Compact Freehold Residential Occupation.... Being The Lodge Farm, Mulbarton and extending to 256 acres approximately.
The attractive residence built of brick with tile roof contains: Entrance hall and staircase; Dining Room; Drawing Room; Breakfast Room; Lavatory; Kitchen; Store Room; Back Hall; Scullery; Dairy, with loft over; Coal cellar.

The farmland included fields north of Lodge Farm, between Rectory Lane and the track to Swainsthorpe; most of the fields between Rectory Lane and The Rosary; four fields south of The Rosary; six fields east of Shotesham Lane.
It seems that Mr. R. Cross continued to live in the house and farm the land after the 1948 sale.

In 1958, Brigadier Harris of Swardeston House bought Lodge Farm from Ralph Cross's widow, adding the land to what he already owned from Swardeston House and the land that was once attached to Hall Farm, Mulbarton. The total area was 511 acres (207 hectares) and was managed by Peter Lockhart who lived in the Lodge Farm House. Peter Lockhart is remembered in the village as a former Parish Council chairman who was very involved in the regeneration of Mulbarton Common and other projects. The agricultural activities of this mixed farm are described under farming.

Peter Lockhart (left) with 3 other Parish Council Chairs & the Clerk retiring after 10 years. Also L>R Peter Mickleburgh; E A Marlow (Clerk); John Wheeler; Val Grogutt. Dec. 1983
Peter Lockhart (left) with 3 other Parish Council Chairs & the Clerk retiring after 10 years. Also L>R Peter Mickleburgh; E A Marlow (Clerk); John Wheeler; Val Grogutt. Dec. 1983

Brigadier and Mrs. Harris died within 48 hours of each other in 1979, and the following year his estate was put up for sale by Irelands auctioneers - their family firm:

A Fine East Anglian Residential and Agricultural Estate...For Sale by Auction in 5 Lots at The Royal, Agricultural Plain, Norwich on Friday 19th September, 1980 at 12 noon (unless sold privately beforehand).

LOT 4 - Lodge Farm, Mulbarton, 319.47 acres
Lodge Farm House, situated adjoining Rectory Lane, built mainly of brick and tile and facing due south. It contains:
Ground Floor: Entrance Hall; Drawing Room; Dining Room; Morning Room; Kitchen; Back Hall; Office/Utility Room.
First Floor: 2 landings; 5 bedrooms (1 with dressing room); bathroom.
Easily managed attractive garden with gravelled driveway.
Outbuildings: Conservatory; 2 garages; former stables; dairy.

Premises: Barn; cattleshed; cow house
New buildings (on corner of Rectory Lane): Shed with cattle pens; Dutch barn.
319.47 acres mainly arable land.

At the sale of the estate in 1980, the 380 acres in Lodge Farm was a high proportion of the remaining farmland in Mulbarton parish. It was described as 'mainly arable and of good medium/heavy soil capable of producing high yielding crops. A considerable head of livestock has been kept and regular applications of farmyard manure made.' Sugar beet was still growing on the land at the time of the sale (19th September 1980) and the Vendors claimed the right to harvest it.

Following the sale, Lodge Farm and its land was reunited with The Lodge next-door, and Mr. A Trafford lived in the house until 2004. In July 2004 Lodge Farm house was up for sale again, but without the farmland. It was described as "A magnificent 18th Century farmhouse, some 5 miles south of [Norwich] city centre. Many original features, 4 reception rooms, luxury kitchen/breakfast room, 5 bedrooms (master en-suite), family bathroom & shower room, garage, stables, set in 2 acres.' The asking price was £795,000. The new owners renamed it Willow Grange.


Farming at Lodge Farm

LODGE FARM IN 1919 - the year of James William Hill's death on 11th October

Besides the land to the north and east of Lodge Farm, land in East Carleton and in Swainsthorpe is also listed. From August 1919 'Swainsthorpe' is listed separately for labour and work cycle. This land appears to be close to the Union Workhouse (later Swainsthorpe Hospital) and by 1922 was being farmed by Mrs Hill's son by her first marriage, Arthur Beverley Ringer (born 1892, the year his father died).

Mulbarton: (typical weekly pay - varies with season)
S Tooke Foreman, 1st Teamman £2. 5s. 0d
G Crown 2nd Teamman 
I Lake 3rd Teamman & Milker 
M Allan Head cowman £2. 7s. 0d
J Sturman Milker £2. 6s. 8d
S Potter Milker £2. 2s. 6d
F Mitchell Pig-feeder £2. 6s 0d
T Knapps / J Huggins / W Alborough / A Willer / A Tooke / H Tooke / L Tooke - (East) Carleton Laborers - paid between £1. 15s. 8d and £2. 0s. 4d a week
R Andrews / W Neeve - Boys £1 (Andrews) 18/6d (Neeve)
G Rice / S Potter - Boys, Sat & Sun 2 shillings
A Rice Groom £2

F Thrower Head Teamman & Fowl-man £2. 2s. 6d
F Lincoln Foreman, milker £2. 3s. 6d
F Huggins / W Stackyard / S Stackyard / H Larter - Laborers £1. 6s. 6d
R Chamberlain Boy & Milker £1

Above; 'Harvest at Mulbarton' is thought to be at Lodge Farm. People include Mr. Potter, Mr. & Mrs. Tooke and sons, Mr. & Mrs Albert Rice and other members of his family, all of whom are named in the list worker above.

No details of day-to-day farmwork, apart from milking and pig-feeding
Harvest began 12th Aug 1919 when all the men were put to work carting & cutting & stacking.
Harvest work lasted 18 days
The men earned £14 for the period (approx.. 3 weeks); boys £4. 10s. 0d - £5. 10s. 0d

Named fields/areas harvested include:
8 acres Glebe (oats);
8 acres Fyers Grove (oats);
8 acres Middle Grove oats);
7 acres Drinkets (wheat);
12 acres Crow Field (wheat)
Clamp Close
Bullock Shed Field
Old High (barley)
Broom Field (barley)
9 acres Corner Field
14 acres Hickling Lane (8 acres wheat; 6 acres oats)
Hall's Land - barley (probably a field rented from land belonging to the Old Hall)
Probably also had other land with other crops - record of sowing Wood Close with mangels 5th May 1919
Also record of cutting flax in Wood Close; clover seed in Corner Grove; and linseed (no field given) in October 1919
Wheat for next year sown Oct 20th & 24th
Swainsthorpe: Union Piece (barley) and 12 acres Pit (barley) and possibly other unnamed fields. These must be around the Union Workhouse (later Swainsthorpe Hospital).
Record of sowing Swainsthorpe Corner Piece with peas

Income: Harvest 1919 - 18 days - Value - £269
Outgoings:  Days' wages - £62. 14s. 10d

47 Cows are listed by name, with details of when they calved and their milk yield
Names: Lydite; Dot; Lily; Hammond's; Dutchess; Blanche; Sprite; Horny; Tiny; Roany; Flossy; Strawberry; Rosebud; Skylark; Grinny; Snowflake; Daisy; Dorothy; Winnie; Eliza; Bluebell; Slug; Fanny; Princess; Friday; Owlet; Cherry; Floss; Prittee; Rose; Kitty; Pansy; Edith; Mystery; Lankey; Topsy; Millie; Primrose; Snowdrop; Butterfly; Dollar; Polly; Molly; Peggy; Star; Tulip; Lily

Another list adds 14 more names: Kelly; Tulip; Madeline; Nellie; Swainsthorpe; Rose; Cowslip; Ugly; Violet; Nigger; Totty; Jenny; Jolly; Duchess

These were prize pedigree cattle - SEE BELOW

Total calves born 1919:
Mulbarton A Herd - 66 calves = 30 heifers; 34 bulls; 2 died
Swainsthorpe B herd - not known

Milk Yields: 19 cows gave 6402 lbs Jan (av. 337)
                    22 cows gave 7403 lbs Feb (av. 336)
                    26 cows gave 8104 lbs March (av. 312)
                    29 cows gave 9707 lbs April (av. 335)
                    44 cows gave 13,506 lbs May (av.346)
                    39 cows gave 11,609 lbs June (av. 298)
                    40 cows gave 11,901 lbs July (av. 298)
                    40 cows gave 11,901 lbs Aug (av. 298)

Cattle are mostly sold at Norwich Hill (Cattle Market) and to Blake (Swardeston butcher) with a few to individuals (N Hill; J Betts; Irlands - probably Irelands; A R Ringer; Draper (resident at Mulbarton Old Hall)

Horses are sold - several at Seething
Most of the pigs go to Blake, some to Algar
                    123 fat pigs sold winter 1918-19 = £1571 6s (av. £12. 16s. 3d per pig)

Chickens to various people, incl. Mr Bartel; N Hill; Vincents; Clowes & Nash

Eggs:  Jan - 43 score; Feb - 47 score; March 127 score; April 137 score; 
           May 169½ score. 5 months = 523 score = £150. 2s.
           June 122 score; July 120 score; Aug 138 score; Sept 69 score; Oct 28 score; 
           Nov 8½ score; Dec 15½ score. 7 mths = 501 score = £188. 4s. 6d
           [score = 20] Mostly sold to Mrs Ringer*

Other produce: record of apples sold in 1919 & 1920
Sheepdog and rabbits bought, reared and sold for profit
Other income - brick-carting for Swainsthorpe Brickyard (Jan - Feb and Sept - Jan)

Named: 1. Mulbarton Lily; 13. Lady; 43. Louisa; 12. Dollar; 7. Madeline; 9. Maisie; 33. Blanche
Named: 1. Mulbarton Lily; 13. Lady; 43. Louisa; 12. Dollar; 7. Madeline; 9. Maisie; 33. Blanche


The dairy cows named in the farm account book were prize pedigree Red Polls, each name prefaced by 'Mulbarton'. In 1920 the herd won 2nd prize in the Silcock Cup competition for the best dairy herd in Britain against all breeds. They were mostly the product of Red Poll bulls from Gressingham, owned by James Hill's brother J E Hill. In 1921-22 'Mulbarton Princess' was the only Red Poll in the country that has ever officially yielded over 2000 gallons a year - beating 'Mulbarton Dorothy' who gave the highest yield in the records for 1919-20.

By 1922 the herd had grown to 200 and outgrown the farm, so 52 cows in milk and heifers (belonging to Mrs Hill); 2 purebred Shorthorns (belonging to Mr Ringer); and 3 purebred bulls were put up for sale by auction on February 2nd. 'Conveyances will meet the trins at Swainsthorpe on the morning of the sale'. The sale included record-holders 'Mulbarton Princess' (Lot 5 - below) and 'Mulbarton Dorothy' (Lot 11) and even the unfortunately named 'Mulbarton Ugly' (Lot 51), a roan Shorthorn!

Thanks to Jill Hammond for loan of Farm Log Book for 1919 and Sale document for 1922 

Memories of Ralph Cross

'I remember the horses on Ralph Cross's farm as we spent many happy hours working together. Most of them were Suffolk Punch horses. Boxer was the biggest; next came Stormer: I had to climb into the manger to reach the heads of these big horses to put their bridles on. Three others were used for ploughing and harrowing: Darling was an old bay mare - a bit slow; Blackie, a shire mare, had a reputation [for being hard to handle]; Dolly was small and white; and there was an ex-hunter called Bronco.
There was some mechanisation: One of the oil engines was housed between the Wymers' house and the brick barn driving the hay cutter, the cow cake breaker and the grinding mill; one was behind the wooden barn facing the road to drive the corn dresser. I think the other would have been at the dairy farm. I drove both the tractors at times and helped (?) Norman Williams with a bit of maintenance and learned how to make a paper gasket for the sump.                                                                                                                                George Skipper 

Bill for manure sold from the dairy
Bill for manure sold from the dairy

 Rene Carlton can remember when there was a foot-and-mouth outbreak on Lodge Farm, around 1930:
'My parents lived in Rectory Lane and my father was cowman for Mr. Cross. There was a foot-and-mouth outbreak there when I was about 10 or 11. There was a disinfectant dip at the entry and a policeman on duty at the gate. Once the men were on the farm they couldn't leave till the end of the day. I'd go up to the gate to run errands for them - I'd go down to the Tradesman's [Arms] for beer and cigarettes. The cows had to be slaughtered and they dug a huge pit to bury them. There's a small wood on it now.'

I remember Mr & Mrs Cross mostly went to church in a pony and trap.        (Evelyn Smith)

Lodge Farm (now Willow Grange) from Rectory Lane showing East side, including the great barn
Lodge Farm (now Willow Grange) from Rectory Lane showing East side, including the great barn


During Mr. Lockhart's time as Manager, much of the land was used for the usual arable crops - barley, wheat and sugar beet. At first, the sugar beet was still 'topped' by hand. A considerable acreage of peas and dwarf beans were grown for Birdseye. Up to 100 acres at one time, but this was reduced to 50 - 60 acres. The peas were harvested mechanically, and a group of farms in the area co-operated to share the necessary machinery. The crop had to be harvested exactly when Birdseye directed, and to get it to the factory farm-fresh the harvesters worked day and night. The beans were picked by hand - a gang of about 20 ladies from the village were 'on call' to harvest the crop.
These ladies also harvested the broad beans that were sold off the farm, and the blackcurrants grown in two fields on either side of Rectory Lane. These were sold to Norfolk Fruit Growers at Wroxham.
About 150 cattle were kept in sheds at the corner east end of Rectory Lane (where the farm machinery store stores now stand) and were fattened for market. Through the winter, 400-500 sheep were brought in for winter fattening and lambing - though lambing was stopped when the work became too much. There were three house cows by Lodge Farm House, and Mrs. Lockhart remembers making butter along with her other work supervising the women workers and paying their wages.            

(Based on information kindly given by Mr. & Mrs. P. Lockhart)