The Modern Victorian Farm – Farmhouses

I’m continuing my series on Victorian farms. In this post, I’m excerpting sections from The Farm Homesteads of England containing farmhouse plans.

I had trouble finding illustrations or paintings for English farmhouses in the Victorian era (I’m sure I’ll stumble across a trove of Victorian farmhouse paintings just as soon as I press the Publish button), so I posted some works of home interiors by Mary Ellen Best (that’s her in the post’s featured image) and others.

Farm and farmhouse plan

The farmers of England have made a very rapid advance during the past thirty years, both in education and refinement; and the improvement might have been still more deep and extensive, had not the majority of landowners checked it by neglecting to raise the character of the farm houses. Education expands the desires and refines the taste; and if the landowner will have his estate well managed, he must obtain men of parts, who will not submit to occupy houses fit only for their labourers, but who require to be surrounded by those comforts of life to which their capital would introduce them were it employed either in commerce or trade. A superior tenantry implies superior house accommodation : intelligence and capital are ever found associated with a comfortable home. considerable number of the farmers of the present day have received a collegiate education ; it is no longer customary for the sons of the tenantry to herd with the children of their labourers at the village school, but they are sent from home, and return with the feelings and aspirations common to those who have received a respectable middle class training. This change in the habits of the tenantry certainly renders necessary some change in the home, rendering it suitable to their improved condition.

No Farm should be so small that it cannot support a house above the pretensions of a bailiff’s cottage. It is found better for both owners and tenants, as well as for the community at large, that where the tenure of land has been in small holdings, two or more should be thrown into one good farm; and one of the criteria is the test prescribed, namely, the capability of maintaining a farm house of the proper character.

Miss Crompton's Room.  Mary Ellen Best.
Miss Crompton’s Room. Mary Ellen Best.

I. For a Farm of 200 acres of dairy or mixed husbandry. The farm house should contain the following accommodation :

Ground Floor, Basement, and attached Outbuildings.—One or two sitting or ” living” rooms (in the latter case the second room will be used for an office); kitchen ; back kitchen or scullery ; pantry ; larder ; cellarage, and apple chamber ; dairy and dairy offices (see pages 174 to 177 inclusive) ; wood and coal houses, ash-pit, and privy :

And on the Upper or Chamber Floor, five bed-rooms.

Plan No 1, represents a farm house which may be taken as a specimen of this class. It was erected by the Editor for the Right Honourable the Viscount Palmerston, at Toothill Farm, near Romsey.

Plan No 1, represents a farm house which may be taken as a specimen of this class. It was erected by the Editor for the Right Honourable the Viscount Palmerston, at Toothill Farm, near Romsey.
General Norcliffe in his study at Langton Hall. Mary Ellen Best.
General Norcliffe in his study at Langton Hall. Mary Ellen Best.

II. For a Farm of 500 acres, of tillage or mixed husbandry, the following house accommodation would be required :

Ground Floor, Basement, and attached Outbuildings.—Parlour ; “living ” room; store-room ; kitchen ; back kitchen or scullery; pantry ; larder ; cellarage, and apple chamber ; dairy offices ; brewhouse ; wood and coal houses, ash-pit, and privy.

On the Upper or Chamber Floor.—Six bed-rooms of larger size, to include one spare room ; linen closet; and water-closet.

PLAN No. 2.—The specimen of this class of farm house was designed by Mr. John Hawkins, of Hitchin, for William Alexander Dashwood, Esq., at Little Almshoe. It was built in the year 1855, by Mr. J. Jeeves, and is attached to a farm of only 350 acres, though fitted for a farm of larger area.

of Hitchin, for William Alexander Dashwood, Esq., at Little Almshoe, near Hitchin, Herts. It was built in the year 1855, by Mr. J. Jeeves, and is attached to a farm of only 350 acres, though fitted for a farm of larger area.
Drawing Room, Guys Cliffe, Warwickshire.
Drawing Room, Guys Cliffe, Warwickshire.

III. For a Farm of 1000 acres, of tillage or mixed husbandry, the arrangements for the farm house should be as follow :-

Ground Floor, Basement, and attached Outbuildings.-Parlour, sitting-room, and office ; store-room ; china closet and water-closet ; kitchen ; back kitchen or scullery; pantry and larder ; cellarage, and apple chamber ; dairy offices ; brewhouse, bake­ house, wood and coal houses, ash-pit, and privy.

Upper or Chamber Floor.-Seven bed-rooms of superior character, including two spare rooms, one dressing room ; a linen closet, and water-closet.

Plan No. 3.—An example of this class of farm house is given in the following drawing, representing a house near Wisbeach, erected by Mr. John Beasley, of Chapel Brampton, Northampton, for the Right Honourable the Lord Overstone, in the year 1860.

Plan No. 3.—An example of this class of farm house is given in the following drawing, representing a house near Wisbeach, erected by Mr. John Beasley, of Chapel Brampton, Northampton, for the Right Honourable the Lord Overstone, in the year 1860.
A farm house for a mixed farm of 500 acres, erected by the Earl Spencer, at Boddington, Northamptonshire

PLATE 66.-A farm house for a mixed farm of 500 acres, erected by the Earl Spencer, at Boddington, Northamptonshire. It was designed by Mr. John Beasley, of Chapel Brampton, Northampton. It is built of stone, not highly dressed, and is roofed with Welsh slates, the work being executed by estate workmen, at a cost, exclusive of the carriage of materials, of 900l.

The farm house, erected by the Right Honourable the Earl Powis, at Styche, Shropshire, is for a dairy farm of 400 acres. The house was built by contract, in the year 1863, from designs furnished by Messrs. Burd of Shrewsbury. It is constructed of brick, and is roofed with Welsh slates, and was completed at a cost of 13801., including the carriage of materials.

A farm house, or bailiff's house, on a home farm of 227 acres, erected by Matthew Bell, Esq., at Lenhall Farm, near Canterbury, Kent, designed by the Editor.

PLATE 67.—A farm house, or bailiff’s house, on a home farm of 227 acres, erected by Matthew Bell, Esq., at Lenhall Farm, near Canterbury, Kent, designed by the Editor. It was built by contract, in 1861, of bricks and Welsh slate, at a total cost, including the carriage of materials, of 898l. 11s., the bricks being made by the proprietor, and supplied by him to the contractor at 20s. per thousand.

The farm house, erected by W. Hans Sloane Stanley, Esq., at Rollestone, near Southampton, Hampshire, and designed by Mr. F. Eggar, Romsey, is for a mixed farm of 294 acres. The house was built by contract, in 1862, of bricks and Welsh slates, at a total cost, including carriage of materials, of 1266l. 9s. 3d.

Drawing Room.
Drawing Room

To justify the conveniences above enumerated, it should be borne in mind that the capital employed by the tenants of the several sized farms specified should amount to 2500l. for 200 acres of land, 5250l. for 500 acres, and 10,000l. for 1000 acres ; sums which, if employed in trade or commerce, would afford even greater accommodation.

There is one rule that should be arbitrarily adhered to in the erection of farm houses ; this is, that the rooms generally occupied should look at once into the homestead. The kitchen and back offices, also, should be so arranged that the means of communication between them, the cow-house, piggery, and poultry-houses should be easy and convenient.

A very complete arrangement of farm house and connecting out-offices, which illustrates this remark, is shown in the drawing beneath. It was designed by Mr. W. H. Rice, architect, and was erected at Cartuther, Cornwall.

A very complete arrangement of farm house and connecting out-offices.

The treatment of this part of the subject is necessarily of a general nature. There is only one instance in which it assumes a special character, and this is where the farmer uses a certain portion of the house for conducting an important branch of his business, as in the dairy districts. The accommodation required for the manufacture of cheese and butter, &c., will be found specially set forth in the Digest.

Ford Farm
Ground Plan of Ford Farm
Bemerton Farm
Broxton Farm
An Interior. Mary Ellen Best.
An Interior. Mary Ellen Best.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.