Blakeshall Farm, Blakeshall, Wolverley, Kidderminster. Historic Building Recording. (OASIS ID: borderar1-219108)

Border Archaeology, 2018

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Border Archaeology (2018) Blakeshall Farm, Blakeshall, Wolverley, Kidderminster. Historic Building Recording. (OASIS ID: borderar1-219108) [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]


Blakeshall Farm, Blakeshall, Wolverley, Kidderminster. Historic Building Recording. (OASIS ID: borderar1-219108)

The results of this programme of historic building recording, supplemented by documentary research, on the complex of outbuildings at Blakeshall Farm, Wolverley revealed evidence of three broad phases of construction and rebuilding ranging in date from c.1840-50 up to the mid-20th century.

The farmhouse and associated complex of outbuildings at Blakeshall Farm, comprising a threshing barn, granary and cartshed, stabling and cattle shed, represent a reasonably complete example of a mid-Victorian ‘model farm’, which appears largely to have been constructed in a single phase, probably at some time between 1838 and 1850 (when the earliest documented reference to the farm occurs).

The building of the farm was almost certainly carried out under the auspices of William Hancocks, then owner of the Blakeshall Estate, and may well be contemporary with his rebuilding of Blakeshall Hall in 1845. The substantial nature of the threshing barn suggests that the farm, when originally established, was primarily focused on arable cultivation rather than livestock husbandry.

A secondary phase of activity, datable to c.1850-83 is represented by the addition of the lean-to brick piggery and enclosed yard at the southwest end of the southeast -facing elevation of the large threshing barn (Building A). Evidence was noted for a vertical construction break between the threshing barn and the piggery, as well as a noticeable difference in the brick bonding used in the construction of the latter building.

The addition of the lean-to brick structure indicates a diversification of farming activity towards the end of the 19th century, with a greater emphasis on livestock husbandry, and this appears to be confirmed by the evidence of a sale catalogue for implements and stock at Blakeshall Farm dated 1904, which mentions a large herd of sheep and smaller numbers of pigs and cattle.

A tertiary phase of building activity is primarily represented by the construction of the substantial dairy/milking parlour (Building D) to the southwest of the main complex of outbuildings and may be dated to between 1947 and 1954. The construction of the dairy complex represents a distinct shift in farming activity in the years immediately following the Second World War, from a mixed-farming regime (both arable and livestock husbandry) to dairy farming. The northwest -facing wall and the northeast gable end of Building C also appear to have been substantially rebuilt in the mid-late 20th century.