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Vine Farm of Normandy

Vine Farm lies well back from the main road at the end of a track accessed off the north side of Pirbright Road about a mile and a half east of its junction with Guildford Road at Elm Hill.

As was the case with many of the smallholdings in this area; Vine Farm started life as an encroachment upon the waste of the Manor of Cleygate. It was successively enlarged by further encroachments that were accepted initially by the Lord of the Manor until the smallholding reached its greatest extent of about two and a half acres, since when it has been known variously as "The Vines", Vine Cottages" and finally "Vine Farm"; its present title.

In the early eighteenth century a two-storey farmhouse of brick with a tiled roof was built and at about the same time a pair of single-storey semi-detached cottages was built adjacent to the farmhouse. Later the two cottages were converted into a single dwelling. The foundations of the dwellings consisted of blocks of heath-stone. A feature of the farmhouse was a single window in the north-facing back wall of the dwelling probably as a defence against the biting north wind sweeping in from the sparse heath land. The facilities of the farmhouse included a large bread oven and water was drawn from a well ideally located between the two dwellings.

The first holder of The Vines, for which we have a record, was Thomas Vulven. He died, at some time between 1722 and 1731, when his wife claimed possession of the smallholding. Thereafter it descended to a great niece, Mary Ann Field. Until 1840 it changed hands several times but eventually it was acquired by the Collyer family, the family of which figures greatly in the history of Normandy with members of the family holding separate pieces of land at different times.

Map about 1900
Vine Farm (575 - 577), Map about 1900

Thomas Osgood, the brother-in-law of William Deedman of Fairview Farm in Normandy, was a most enterprising occupant of "The Vines", when living there as a tenant in 1885. Prior to his tenancy he had bought "The Glen", an adjoining property to The Vines, from Alice Daffarn; she being the married daughter, of Mrs Rose Mangles, the last civilian Lord of the Manor of Cleygate. In addition to The Vines he was renting land at Shawfields from Robert Madgwick and by 1891 had added to his land holding, having bought a smallholding of just under an acre (including two semi-detached cottages called "Spring Cottages"), just west of The Vines,. Over the next few years Thomas acquired more and more property and by 1904 he had bought Normandy Hill Cottage and cottages at Ash Wharf (later to be named Osgood Cottages). At that time he had business dealings in cattle and kept cows for milking at Shawfields, doing his delivery rounds with a pony and trap. He served as Parish Councillor for the Normandy Ward in the early years of Ash Parish Council. Regrettably, his son Thomas was killed in action in 1916 and his wife Mary died in 1933. Thomas, the family man and business man died in 1950 aged 94.years.

Thomas Osgood (1856 - 1950)Thomas Osgood
(1856 - 1950)

In 1896, George Collyer sold The Vines to Lord Pirbright. Later and by a quirk of fate and probate, it came into the possession of Sir Philip Henriques of Normandy Park, on the death of his only son Phillip, killed in action in 1915 and to whom The Vines had been bequeathed. Albert Goodchild and his brother acquired the lease of The Vines for the period 1931 to 1938, raising cows and chicken until they left in 1938. In 1939 David Richards, a haulage contractor and pig-keeper, during the war years 1939 to 1945, bought The Vines occupying the farmhouse until 1951 when he demolished it and built the present bungalow. He died in 1956 and his widow Margerie continued to live in the bungalow. In 1927, Jack Mullard obtained the lease of Vine Cottage and he and his family lived there until his death in 1983. Winifred, his widow continued to live in the cottage until 1985 when she moved to Primrose Court in Ash. The Ministry of Defence purchased the whole property and in 1987 Vine Cottage was demolished. The bungalow of 1951was taken over by a Ministry employee and the formerly cultivated land with the exception of the garden of the bungalow was encouraged to revert to heath land scrub.

Vine Cottage
Vine Cottage c1980
The Court Records of the Manor of Cleygate
For more on "The Glen"

Jack Kinder
My thanks to Arthur John Mullard (son of Jack Mullard),
for his help in compiling this article.

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