Barn Farm (Vick's Barn, Cold Elm Farm)

The earliest reference I have identified for this farm comes from the OS, 25inch, 1st Edition, map dated 1844-1888 at which time it was going by the name of ‘Vicks Barn’.  At the time the Inclosures came to Norton in 1807 there was no building on the site so that provides a rough idea as to when it was built.

In the terrier and valuation of the messuages, lands, and other hereditaments liable to poor rate in the parish of Norton from 1838 Richard Vick held a 60 acre un-named farm.  In the 1841 Census we also find a Richard Vick, farmer of an un-named property at Norton.  A document that appears to date from the 1840s, when Miss Elizabeth Frances Webb held the manor of Norton, records who occupied each of the farms on the estate.  The report closes with a note detailing the valuations of the farms at Norton that belonged to Edward Webb in terms of size and money; Richard Vick’s farm was 10-1-19 valued at £35.  By the time of the 1851 Census Richard Vick was farming 80 acres and employing 4 labourers, at Cold Elm, at a still un-named farm.  The map is the only document at this time that confirms Richard Vick was at what we now know as Barn Farm.

Richard Dobbyns Vick "whose integrity and benevolence endeared him to a large circle of relatives and friends", died in 1858 leaving his son Richard Martin Vick, a saddler of Gloucester, to inherit, and on 9 February 1858 Henry Bruton was instructed to sell at auction; "The valuable ricks of corn, livestock, &c, comprising two capital ricks of wheat, ricks of beans and barley, and 3 ricks of hay and clover (all exceedingly well harvested and part to go off) 120 bushels of capital old beans, 96 bushels of wheat, 5 cart horses, 13 prime fat ewes and wethers, 19 stock ewes, 27 lambs, 2 prime fat bacon pigs, nice weights, nearly 2000 gallons of cider and perry, excellent English oak hogsheads, harness, implements, household furniture &c will be described in catalogues".  

By the time of the 1861 Census the property had acquired a name being known as Cold Elm Farm, and was held as tenant, by Henry Merrett who was living there along with his wife Emily, brother John, and two young children. The farm was described as being 60 acres and employing 5 labourers.

On 19 August 1861 Henry Bruton were instructed by his trustees and executors to auction the estate at the Crown Inn, Cross Keys Lane, Gloucester.  "Lot 1.  A barn, stable and sheds, and 23a 3r 37p of rich and productive arable land and prime orcharding, divided into five closes, called Inland orchards and fields.  Lot 2.  29a 3r 30p of very rich and productive arable land, divided into four closes, adjoining the last Lot.  Lot 3.  A convenient farm house, newly erected mill-house, and cider mill (with granary over), piggeries, stable, productive garden and orchard, well stocked with fruit trees, containing 1a 2r 28p.  Lot 4.  A rich and productive pasture orchard, well stocked with fruit trees, containing 0a 3r 22p.  Lot 5.  very rich and productive meadow called Fore Meadow, containing 10a 0r 24p.  Lot 6.  Two cottages, with capital gardens, situate near to Yew Tree Farm, containing 1r 21p.  The above very eligible estate is situate in the parish of Norton (except 6a 0r 21p, part of Lot 2, which is in the parish of Sandhurst), about 3 miles from Gloucester; and the whole of the Lots, with the exception of the cottages, have good frontages to the Turnpike Road leading to Tewkesbury, and are adapted for garden land and building sites; the whole of which is in the occupation of Mr Henry Merrett.  NB. Possession of the estate cannot be had until Ladyday without the consent of the tenant".

The Gloucester Journal newspaper of 15 March 1862 included a sale advertisement whereby, on 26 March 1862, H Bruton was instructed to sell by auction; “3 valuable and powerful cart geldings and mare, in foal; half-bred brown gelding, 5 years old, 14 ½ hands high, with black legs, a capital hack and steady in harness; 2 promising two-year-old cart colts, 2 yelts (one in farrow), rick of prime hay and clover, stack of ditto, and rick of well-harvested white wheat, to go off; 1300 gallons of best and family cider and perry, capital casks and hogsheads, excellent farming implements, spring cart, harness, home-cured bacon, &c”. The instructions came from Mr Merrett who was quitting the estate and the farm being sold was named again as ‘Cold Elm Farm’.

It would appear that the Merrett’s time in the village had been very brief, likely only two years, between 1859-1862.

By the time of the OS, 25inch, 2nd Edition, map dated 1894-1903 the name of the farm had clearly become Cold Elm Farm.

In 1889, I found a William Wakefield, first appearing at Norton and qualified to be on the Electoral Roll as tenant of a roadside property with land and a tenement.  The 1891 Census confirms William farming a property known as The Barn.  A Henry Wakefield is listed in Kelly’s Trade Directory as a farmer in 1885 but does not appear anywhere again so perhaps these were one and the same person and there was some confusion over their names.  William Wakefield was born at Elmore, Gloucester, in 1848 and in 1851 was living with his single mother and sister Louisa, at Gloucester Union Workhouse, St Catherine’s, Gloucester.  He appears to have had relatives in this area which is probably what brought him here.  In 1891 he lived with his widowed mother, Mary Basely of Elmore, and a nephew, Frances Nash of Norton.  By 1901 his mother had died and he was living at what was then finally named as Barn Farm with an uncle and aunt, Joseph Lyes from Down Hatherley, who worked on the farm with him, and Eliza Lyes, a domestic housekeeper originally from Elmore; perhaps his mother’s sister. 

By the time of the OS, 25inch, 3rd Edition, map dated 1898-1939 the name of the farm had officially become Barn Farm but otherwise it still looks much the same.

As the result of a new Finance Act a national study was conducted in 1910 resulting in what was dubbed the Domesday Book.  In the section referring to properties at Norton we find that Barn Farm was owned by Richard Butt and Charles Brooke and had named tenants of William Wakefield and William Cooke.  Joseph Lyes was still at the farm in September 1913 when he died, aged 84 years, and was buried at St Mary’s, Norton.  William Wakefield continued to appear in village records until 1919 so would appear to have left at the time of the sale of Barn Farm, hence the vacant possession. 

Barn Farm was put up for auction, by Miss Butt, on Saturday 5th June 1915 at The Bell Hotel, Gloucester.  The following is an extract from the Bruton, Knowles & Co auction leaflet that gives a detailed description of how the property would have been constituted at that time.

“THE BARN FARM.  A valuable freehold small farm conveniently situate on the main road from Gloucester to Tewkesbury, about 3 miles from Gloucester.  It comprises a farmhouse, farm buildings and about 25a 0r 11p of superior pasture orcharding, pasture and arable land, of which the following is a schedule taken from the Second Edition of the Ordnance Map :-

No on Map      Description                                                      Quantity

 210                 Pasture, laid down by tenant                            6   3  27

 344                 Pasture orchard                                                  3   3    2

 345                 House, gardens, yards, and buildings             0   1  24

 346                 Pasture orchard (with well of water)               1   1  24

 347                 Pasture                                                                 5   0  30

 348                 Arable                                                                 10   1  24

                                                                                                      25  0  11

No 210 has been laid down by the tenant, who has the right to break up. The farmhouse is brick built with slate roof, contains sitting room, three bed rooms, box room, kitchen, dairy and pantry, and there is an outside back kitchen with furnace and pump.

The farm buildings, adjoining a fold yard, comprise open shed, brick built and tiled, the two ends of which have been enclosed by the tenant, second open shed, a barn, built of brick and timber (good barn, sound timbers) with corrugated iron roof, and cart-house at one end with thatched roof, poultry house, cart stable for three horses, etc.

The land lies in a ring fence with long frontage to the main road, (780ft frontage), and is bounded on other sides by property of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, Mrs C E Turner, and G Blizzard Esq.

The farm is let to Mr William Wakefield at £50 a year, the tenancy expiring on the 29th September, 1915, when vacant possession may be had.

It is subject to a quit rent of £1 13s 8d a year.  There is no tithe or land tax"..

The next reference I have found was in 1924 when the farm was owned by Charles and Alberta Brooks, probably the Charles Brooke from 1910.  He would have been at the farm at least a few years earlier than this as in September 1920 an Edgar Charles Evans Brookes, aged 17 years, of Barn Farm, was buried at St Mary’s.

The Gloucester Journal newspaper of 26 September 1925 advertised; “Barn Farm, Norton, within 3 miles of Gloucester and on the Gloucester and Tewkesbury motor bus route.  Bruton, Knowles and Co, are instructed by Mr C J Brookes, for whom they have let the farm, to sell by auction, on Friday, October 2nd, 1925, at one o’clock punctually; - 27 cattle including cow and calf, heifer and lugteat, 9 well bred dairy cows in milk or in calf, pair fresh two year old heifers, 11 coming two year old yearling heifers and steers, weaned heifer calf, shorthorn bull, 4 horses, quantity oat straw, harness house, harness, governess car, ralli car, 3 capital trollies, agricultural implements, blacksmiths tools, about 3 tons potatoes, and 60 head of poultry”.

In 1927 William Martin Coole was briefly here.

In 1931 Louis Henry Gingell is recorded here in Kellys Trade Directory and in that same year an Owen Randall first appeared at Ivy House Farm.  This last reference becomes relevant as by the time of the 1935 Directory Louis Henry Gingell is at Ivy House Farm and Owen Randall at Barn Farm; the two appear to have swapped tenancies.  In 1934 Charles and Alberta Brooks appear to have been briefly in residence.

The Citizen newspaper of 9 July 1934 reported a fire at Barn Farm; “Three hay ricks, a wheat rick, a barn, a fowls house, cattle sheds, pigsties, and farm implements, were destroyed in a fire at Barn Farm, Norton, yesterday.  Passing cyclists and motorists helped farm hands to remove some of the implements from the blazing sheds, and some chickens and a bull were released just before the fire spread to their pens.  The farmhouse, occupied by Mr Brooks, was in danger, and the Gloucester City Fire Brigade, who attended, had to demolish a shed in order to stop the fire from spreading.  The fire started in the barn, and within a short time had spread to the ricks, which blazed fiercely.  Passing motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians stopped to watch the fire and some of them helped to drag farm implements from the sheds.  A large crowd soon gathered along the main road.  The road is under repair near the farm, and one-way traffic was being operated, so that the crowd watching the fire considerably interfered with traffic.  When the City Fire Brigade arrived their first job was to demolish a shed to save the farmhouse as flames were leaping dangerously near the house.  This they did with heavy sledgehammers.  They were able to use water from a small pond.  Soon after they had started pumping the roof of the barn crashed to the ground.  Another danger was that the fire might spread to another rick and some other buildings at the back of the house, but the Brigade were able to avert that.  The ricks could not be saved as the supply of water was limited.  They had only been completed the day before.  The engine and some firemen stood by throughout the night in case the fire should break out again".

In 1935 Sidney and Charlotte Lulham were here but in October 1937, J Pearce Pope and Sons held a farm sale on the premises suggesting they were leaving.  Sidney Thomas Lulham was born in 1894 at Cranham, son of Arthur Robert and Sarah Lulham who farmed, and married Charlotte Lucy Organ in 1917 at Leckhampton.  Charlotte was born in 1895 at Great Witcombe, daughter of Sydney John and Annie Organ who later farmed at Briyon Farm, Leckhampton.  By 1939 Sidney had moved to Cheltenham and was employed as a car park attendant.  Sidney died in 1972 and Charlotte in 1982.

The property was then taken on by George and Millicent Pullin who had at least four children, Roy, Arthur, Graham and Vera.  They appear to have been tenants of Charles Brookes and were still at the farm during the Second World War when they took in an evacuee, John Doak from Aston, Birmingham.  John returned to Birmingham on 16 October 1939.  [Peter Doak, most likely John’s brother, lodged with Mr Spencer at The Red Lion Inn and remained a little longer, returning to Birmingham on 1 April 1940].  In a Ministry of Agriculture farm survey from 1941-3, Barn Farm was described as being “Class A, chiefly a dairy holding”.  George Stinchcombe Pullin died in May 1947.

In the 1962 Barn Farm was home to Dennis R and Vera M Kilburn.

In the 1980s Barn Farm was home to the Cullimore family.

In the early 1990s the farm seems briefly to have been known as Buttercup Farm and was business premises.

[November 1989]                                                 [July 1990]

Was marketed by Anthony Hickman, Gloucester, in October 1994 at £270,000; "detached farmhouse with paddock, accommodation includes 3 bedrooms and 4 reception rooms, outbuildings include workshops, barns, stabling and garaging".

In 2002 Andrew, Gerald, Judith & Tommy Lewis were living here.


The name returned to Barn Farm once again and in 2019 the old farmhouse was put up for sale, without a name or reference to its past at all.  It was priced at £325,000 and described as being; "A Spacious Bay Fronted Detached Home In Norton. Internally this property consists of an entrance hall leading to a modern kitchen, a large living/dining room and a shower room. On the first floor there are three bedrooms and a family bathroom. Outside the property benefits from a large garden and a driveway providing off road parking.  Entrance via door to hall. 

Kitchen; 18'1" x 11'5" (5.51m x 3.48m)Upvc double glazed windows to rear and side aspects. A range of wall and base mounted storage units with work surfaces, stainless steel sink unit. Wall mounted Valliant boiler. Grill and oven.

Shower Room; Upvc double glazed window to side aspect. Suite comprising low level WC, shower cubicle, pedestal wash hand basin. Tiling to floor and radiator.

Lounge/Diner; 28'4" x 14'9" (8.64m x 4.50m)Bay window to front aspect, radiator.

First Floor Landing; Aluminium double glazed window to rear aspect.

Bedroom One; 12'3" x 12'9" (3.73m x 3.89m)Aluminium double glazed window to front aspect, radiator.

Bedroom Two; 14'9" x 12'9" (4.50m x 3.89m)Aluminium double glazed window to front aspect.

Bedroom Three; 11'9" x 8'4" (3.58m x 2.54m)Aluminium double glazed window to side aspect, radiator.

Bathroom; Comprising panelled bath, low level WC, vanity wash hand basin, radiator.

Garden; Laid to lawn with fencing. Driveway providing vehicle parking.