Barton Place Farm

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Location: St David, Exeter, Englandmap
Surname/tag: Wreford
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Barton Place Farm c1904

Barton Place Farm (also known as Barton Farm) was "beautifully situated near Cowley Bridge, at the junctions of the rivers Exe and Creedy, and adjoining the estate of Pynes, the seat of the Northcote family."[1]

Barton Place and its farm were owned by the Merivale family:

"John Merivale’s retiring nature and inherited wealth meant he neither wanted nor needed to earn a living, and when his uncle Walter Shellaber died in 1780 he inherited the estate at Annery, which he sold and used the money to build a country house, Barton Place, which still stands near Cowley Bridge. Here he lived the life of a gentleman looking after his small estate and ensuring a good education and social connections for his son and daughters." [2]

The Wreford family lived at Barton Place Farm for nearly 70 years.

William Wreford became tenant of the farm in the early 19th century. The earliest record of William at Barton Place was in December 1810, when he placed an advertisement for two stray lambs to be collected. He was referred to as 'the Hind, on Barton Place'. [3] A hind was a farm labourer who lived in a cottage belonging to the farm and did general work on the farm."[4] His son, also named, William Wreford, took on the tenancy after his father died in 1841, and remained there until his death in 1879.



  • Not to be confused with Barton Place Farm in the parish of Barton Mills, Suffolk
  • Location of Barton Place Farm on modern map - GoogleMaps
  • Accounts of a B.P . Sampson between the 1896 - 1950 are held at the Devon Archives via National Archives

Newspaper Mentions


TWO HOG LAMBS having lately been found in a Field near Mary-Poll-Head, whoever can prove them to be their property, may have them restored, on payment for their keep and the expence of advertising, on application to Mr. William Wreford, the HInd, on Barton Place.
December 12th, 1810." Exeter Flying Post 13 December 1810, p4, c4

LANDS at BARTON PLACE, parish of St. David, EXETER.
TO be LET by publich survey, at the Old London Inn, in Exeter, at six o'clock in the afternoon, of Saturday the third day of August, for a term of seven years, from Michaelmas next, the following CLOSES of good ARABLE, MEADOW, and PASTURE GROUND.
Lot 1.- Twho closes, called BELLEVUE and CANARY FIELDS, containing together about 14 acres.
Lot 2.- Four closes, called BOUND-STONE, LILLY MARSH, EIGHT ACRES, and CROCKER's FIELD, containing together about 25 acres. Lot 3.- Two closes, called The TEN ACRES and The FOURTEEN ACRES, containing together about 22 acres.
N.B. The taker may also be accommodated with teh use of a Barn and Threshing-Mill.
For viewing the fame, and for further particulars, apply to Mr. Wm. Wreford, the hind at Barton Place aforesaid.
Dated Exeter, 3d July, 1811." Exeter Flying Post, 25 July 1811, p1, c4

"BARTON PLACE, Parish of St. David, EXETER.
TO be LET for a term of years, either entire or in lots, about Sixty Acres of PASTURE and TILLAGE GROUND. The lease to begin at Michaelmas, but the tenant may rent and take possession of the ground from Midsummer.
For a view of the premises, and farther particulars, apply to William Wreford, the hind, at Barton Place.
The tenant may be accommodated with the use of a barn and thrashing-machine. -About 60 couple of fine EWES and LAMBS, &c. &c. to be disposed of. Enquire as above." Exeter Flying Post 04 June 1812, p1, c4

TO be LET, for a Term of 21 Years, determinable at the end of the first 10 or 14 Years, by either party, all that desirable FARM, (part of the capital Messuage and Lands, called BARTON PLACE;) consisting of a commodious dwelling-house and offices, with about 108 acres of arable, meadow, pasture, and orchard land, situate in the parish of St. David, near Cowley Bridge, about two miles from Exeter.
For this purpose a survey will be held at the Star Inn, in the city of Exeter, on Friday the 21st day of this inst. August, by four o'clock in the afternoon; and in the mean time the estate may be viewed, by application to Mr. Wreford, the Hind at Barton Place; and further information may be had of Messrs. Eales and James, attornies-at-law, in Exeter.
Exeter, August 11, 1818." Exeter Flying Post 13 August 1818, p4, c4


"Serious Accident. -On Friday last, as some men were unloading a cart belonging to Mr. William Wreford, of Barton Farm, near Cowley Bridge on the new Tiverton road,in backing the horses the cart was driven too near the edge of the road and precipitated over the embankment into the stream below, when two valuable horses were unfortunately drowned, and the cart materially damaged." North Devon Journal, 02 December 1841, p3, c4

"On the night of the 1st inst., a lamb, the property of Mr. Wreford, was killed on Barton Farm, St. David's. The carcase was carried off - the skin and entrails were left in the field." Western Times, 12 August 1843, p3, c3


-Two lambs, belonging to Mr. William Wreford, of Barton Place Farm, in the parish of St. David's, were stolen from a field, on Friday night or Saturday morning last. The skins and heads of the animals were left behind. A reward of £10 has been offered for the apprehension of the offenders." Western Times 13 October 1855, p5, c4


-A man calling himself Smith was commited for trial last week for a burglary committed near Moreton. It was then discovered by the boots he wore, that he is a deserter, and a sergeant of the Carbineers stationed here, indentifed him as one of that regiment, whose real name is Davey. He committed a burglary about a month ago at Barton Place Farm, near Cowley Bridge." Western Times, 05 October 1861 p5, c5

"Wm. Dodge, who stated that he was a drover, was brought up Mr. Wreford, of Barton Place Farm, Cowley Bridge, for getting into a hay-loft on the above farm that morning. Mr. Wreford stated that he was awakened by the dog barking about three o'clock in the morning, and on getting up and going to the hay-loft, he found the prisoner there, and at once brought him to the Station-house. Prisoner said he had come from Tiverton, and only went there for the purpose of resting himself; he was on his road to Yeovil, where he had friends; he had driven cattle for many persons in the county, and named Mr. H. Bond, of Exeter, as one of those who had employed him. The Bench, after cuationing the prisoner as to his future conduct, dismissed him. "Western Times, 21 December 1861, p11, c3

"Thomas Andrews, a young lad, was charged with stealing apples from the orchard of Mr. Wreford, of Barton Farm, Cowley, on Sunday last. Mr. Floud appeared for the prosecution. Latterly the farm has been subject to frequent depredations; on Sunday, the prisoner, with about a score of other youngsters, entered the orchard by climbing over the gate and helped themselves freely to the apples. Mr. Wreford and his son, John, came up at the time, adn gave chase; the defendant, who was captured, threw away some of the tempting fruit. The Bench were asked to be as lenient as possible; all that Mr. Wreford wanted was to caution other boys. Mr. Hooper addressed the defendant impressively on the serious crime he had committed, and said he had to thank Mr. Wreford for his appeal. He must pay a fine of 5s and costs; in default a week's imprisonment." Western Times, 06 November 1866, p6, c3

-A rick of hay, the property of Mr. W. Wreford, of Barton Place Farm, near Cowley Bridge, was totally destroyed by fire last night. The fire was discovered soon after its outbreak - about six o'clock - but the flames spread so rapidly that all attempts to extinguish them proved unavailing. The rick was situate in a field adjoining the lane leading to Marypole Head; and there was no water nearer than the river at Cowley Bridge. The fire brigades could under the circumstances have rendered little or no service, and the engines were not sent for. The only property near was another large rick of hay on the opposite side of the lane, belonging to Mr. Connett; but the wind was fortunately blowing in an opposite direction. The rick must have been fired - whether wilfully or accidentally is not known; but the fact that a similar occurrence took place in the same neighbourhood on Friday afternoon seems to point to the former supposition. About £50 worth of hay was burnt. It was not insured." Express and Echo, 17 February 1868, p1, c3

EXETER POLICE COURT, THIS DAY. -Before R. Sanders, J. Templeton, W. Tombs, and S. S. Bastard, Esqrs. -GEO. PONSFORD, a boy, about 13 years of age was brought up in custody charged with feloniously setting fire to a rick of hay, the property of Mr. W. Wreford, of Barton Place Farm, St. David's. On Sunday evening Mr. Wreford had a rick of hay worth between £40 and £50 destroyed by fire. The fire was seen soon after it broke out, and the prisoner having passed the rick only a few minutes previously, suspicion attached to him. He was in the service of the prosecutor, and passed the rick on his road home from the marsh, whether he had been sent for the cows. It was ascertained that he had matches in his possession, and having given contradictory and improbable stories about his conduct, he was given into custody, charged with having set fire to the rick. Mr. Wreford told him he had better tell the truth about it; and the prisoner then said- "Yes; I did do it. I had a match and struck it on a stone and set fire to some loose hay that was close to the rick, and then lighted the browse." The "browse" consisted of some faggots, which had formed the foundation of a former rick, and was close to the hayrick. The boy added that when he got further up the lane he looked back and saw the rick burning. On the application of Mr. Floud, who appeared for the prosecution, the prisoner was remanded until Saturday. Additional evidence will then be produced shewing that the prisoner was the only person near the rick soon after the fire broke out. Express and Echo, 20 February 1868, p1 c4

"SETTING A HAY-RICK ON FIRE.- George Ponsford, a little boy about 12 or 14 years old, was charged on his own confession, with setting a hay-rick on fire on Sunday last. -Mr. William Wreyford said he was a farmer living at Barton Place Farm, Cowley. The prisoner was in his employ. About five or six o'clock on Sunday last, he observed his rick was on fire whilst going through the fields. He went home to get assistance, and saw the boy there, and said to him, "The hay-rick is on fire," to which he replied, "Is it." He then got a ladder and went to the rick, the boy carrying the ladder. The boy had to fetch the cows from a meadow adjoining the Bristol and Exeter railway. He would have passed the rick in taking the cows home to their sheds. They then tried to put the fire out, but the whole of the rick was destroyed. The boy said he had struck a match on the stone and set fire to some hay to burn faggots by the rick. Inspector Martin said the prisoner on being taken into custody by him confessed that he did it, and said he lit a match to set fire to some loose hay and faggots, and saw it burning when half way up the lane. -Mr. Floud. who appeared to prosecute, asked for a remand, which was granted to Saturday next." Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 21 February 1868, p9, c5

"INCENDIARISM.- GEORGE PONSFORD, a boy 14 years of age, was brought up on remand, charged with setting fire to a hayrick, the property of his master, Mr. W. Wreford of Barton Place Farm, St. David's. Mr. Floud, who appeared for the prosecution, said there was substantially no evidence against the accused beyond his own confession that he had committed the arson. That confession was obtained after pressure, and under circumstances which would probably be held by the judge to amount to a promise; and it would therefore be inadmissible as evidence. Moreover, if it were taken at all it must be taken as a whole; and while fully acknowledging that he had fired the rick he also added that he didn't try to do it. Acting under his advice, the prosecutor therefore would not proceed further with the case, unless the Bench directed him to do so. It was impossible to divine any notice for the act, as the prisoner had always been on good terms with his master. The Chairman cautioned the boy as to his future conduct, and dismissed him." Express and Echo, 22 February 1868, p1, c3


31 Dec 1872 Shotgun death of son - see John Wreford

- An inquest before Mr. Coroner Hooper was held at the Cowley Bridge Inn yesterday on the body of John Wreford, a young man whose death was caused by the discharge of a gun.
-Mr. William Wreford of Barton Farm, father of the deceased, said his son was 24 years of age and lived with him. On Tuesday he was at work in the courtyard - where witness last saw him about two o'clock. Deceased had been ill about a fortnight and was under medical care, but there was nothing peculiar about him at the time. Witness went out and returned about six, when his daughter informed him that deceased had not been home since dinner. He then went into the farmyard, and seeing a lad there, asked him if he had seen John. The lad said he had seen him go into the cellar-chamber, and on going there he found the door open. He went upstairs, and on reaching the top discovered the deceased lying on his back with his feet towards the stairs. There was a quantity of blood on the floor; lying across the feet of the deceased was a double-barrelled gun, the butt-end of which was towards the window. The gun was usually kept in the room, and witness put it there loaded and capped on Thursday, last week. Frank Gribble deposed to seeing the deceased several times during the afternoon when he came in and out of the courtyard. Witness was in the linhay about a quarter to four, when deceased came in and spoke to him about some wood. He then came in from the linhay and went up to the cellar-chamber, and in about five minutes after witness heard the report of a gun. He took no notice of this as there were several persons about shooting, and he thought the sound proceeded from one of their guns.
-Mr. Cumming, surgeon, said he had attended deceased from the 15th to the 22nd December for a sore throat. He was called to attend the deceased again on Tuesday evening, when he found him in the cellar-chamber lying on his back quite dead. On examination of his head he found a large wound on the left ear, and also a wound on the other side of the head; under the deceased's body was an iron stay of a waggon. He examined the gun and found the left hand barrel had been discharged, while the other remained at half-cock. The discharge of the gun must have entered the left side of the head and penetrated through, causing instantaneous death. The jury returned an open verdict - "That deceased's death resulted from a gun-shot wound, but how or by what means inflicted there was no evidence to show." " Western Times, 03 January 1873, p8, c1

-An inquest was held at the Cowley Bridge Inn, yesterday, before H. W. Hooper, Esq., city coroner, on the body of John Wreford, who met his death on Tuesday last, from a gun wound in the head.
-Mr. Wm. Wreford, the father of the deceased, said he was a yeoman, residing at Barton Farm. His son was twenty-four years of age, and lived with him, assisting him in the work of the farm. On Tuesday last he was at work in the courtyard. He saw him there about two o'clock. He had directed him to repair a waggon, and informed him that he would find material for his purpose in the loft over the cellar. He did not see him afterwards alive. They dined together at one o'clock, and his son then appeared in good health. He had been ill about a fortnight before, and was then under medical care. He had never observed anything peculiar in his mind, and that he was both temperate and sober. He knew of nothing that was likely to disturb his mind. About six o'clock he (witness) returned to the farm, and his daughter then told him that the deceased was not at home, that he had not been in since dinner. He then went into the yard, and saw his servant boy, who told him that he had seen his son going towards the cellar. He obtained a light, and went there. The cellar door was open, and also the door of the loft. He went up-stairs, and in the chamber he found the body of his son, lying on its back. His feet were towards the stairs. He was quite dead, apparently having been shot through the head. There was a double-barrelled gun lying by his body, the butt being across his son's thigh. The gun was usually kept in the loft. Sometimes it was loaded and sometimes it was not. He (witness) put the gun there on Thursday, and he knew that it was loaded and capped. He had been out shooting that day. It would have been necessary for the deceased to go into the loft to get the material to repair the waggon. Deceased certainly had not appeared so cheerful in the past month as before.
-By a Juryman: His son knew that it was his habit to leave the gun there. He was aware that at times it was left there loaded. He saw no material that he had picked out for repairing the waggon.
-Mr. Cumming said he took a long iron stay from under the deceased's body; he must have fallen on it, and that evidently was not the place of it.
-Frank Gribble, a farm boy in Mr. Wreford's employ, said on Tuesday afternoon he saw the deceased mending a waggon. About a quarter to four he (witness) was in the linhay, and the deceased came in. He asked him if he should cut up some dry wood, and he then gave him two posts to cut up. He saw him leave the linhay and go up-stairs into the loft. About five minutes afterwards he heard the report of a gun, but he did not know whether it proceeded from the chamber of from anybody shooting near, and he took no notice of it. He heard nothing more about deceased until his master came home. When he spoke to him deceased appeared to be in his usual spirits.
-Mr. A. Cumming, surgeon, said he attended the deceased from the 15th to the 22nd December last for a sore throat. During the time he attended him he never observed anything the matter with his mind. He had attended him before, and he appeared to be in his usual natural state. He was sent for on Tuesday last, and saw the body of the deceased in the cellar chamber. He was quite dead. There was a gunshot wound through the head just above the ears. Under the body was an iron stay of a waggon. He saw a gun, which was then placed in an old corn-bin. The left-hand barrel had been discharged, and the right was loaded, had a cap on, and was at half-cock. There was no wire or anything attached to the trigger of the gun.
-Mr Wreford, sen., was recalled, and, in answer to the jury, said he usually left the gun at half-cock when a cap was on, for that was the safest.
-The Coroner said there were two questions for the jury to consider - first of all, whether the deed was wilful and suicidal, or an accident. He certainly could not find any evidence to show which it was, and it was exactly a similar case to that of the rifleman that lately occurred in Exeter, where the poor fellow was found with a gunshot wound through his head.
-The jury returned an open verdict." Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 03 January 1873, p5 c5

"GALLANT RESCUE FROM DROWNING. -In the small hours of yesterday morning, Major Wyatt-Edgell, of Cowley House, heard cries of distress proceeding from the diirection of the marshes near his residence. Dressing himself, he procured a rope, and went down to the river. Shouts of "Help, help-drowning," had also aroused two men, named Mark Haydon and Harding, gardeners, who live near Cowley House. Some little distance below the bridge which crosses the Creedy the Major and the two gardeners saw a man in the middle of the river, clutching at some old bushes which had drifted down the stream. Major Edgell undressed, and plunged into the river; and, swimming out, succeeded in bringing him to the bank. The rescued man proved to be Edward Harding, who was conveyed to Cowley House, where every means were used to revive him. On the arrival of a surgeon, Harding was still unconscious, but animation had been restored, and he was afterwards removed to the Devon and Exeter Hospital. Harding is in the employ of Mr Wreford, of Barton Place Farm, and he left his master's house the previous afternoon, saying he was going to Exeter. He should have returned at eight or nine o'clock in the evening, but did not do so. He says that he fell over the bridge, but gives no explanation as to how he came on the bridge at midnight." Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 27 February 1877, p3, c1

"LOST, from Barton Place Farm, Cowley Bridge, near Exeter, a white-faced two-year-old HEIFER. Whoever will return the same to Mr. W. WREFORD, at the above Farm, will be rewarded, and all expenses paid." Exeter Flying Post, 18 July 1877, p1, c5

MESSRS. HUSSEY and SON have received instructions from the Exectutors of the late Mr. Wm. Wreford, deceased, to SELL by Auction, on TUESDAY, 23rd SEPT., 1879, the whole of the valuable LIVESTOCK, Implements, Corn and Hay in Rick, Wool, Dung, Apples, Potatoes, and a portion of the Household Furniture, &c, as described in posters. As the lots are numerous a punctualy attendance is requested.
Luncheon will be provided at 11.30, and Sale to commence at 12.30.
Mrs. Wreford, at the Farm, will direct someone to show the lots.
25 per cent. deposit for the Corn and Hay to be paid at the close of the Auction.
Dated 14, Queen-street, Exeter, Sept. 8th, 1879.
Agents to the Royal Farmers' Insurance Company." Western Times, 12 September 1879, p1, c1

1880s (Post Wreford)

CHARLES HARRIS - took the farm at Michaelmas 1879

March 1886 bankrupt 1886 Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 03 March 1886, p4, c2

Selling up - Express and Echo, 01 March 1886, p2, c2

April 1886

To be let - Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 02 April 1886, p1, c7

Tender for erection of outbuildings - Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 16 April 1886, p4 c2


"FARMING. WANTED, by a respectable Farmer's Son, Situation as BAILIFF, or help in the management of a farm. Thoroughly experienced; good character.-Address, T. Westcott, Barton place Farm, St. Savid's, Exeter." Bristol Mercury, 25 July 1889, p2 c1


  1. Western Times, 21 September 1909, p4, c6-7 via FindMyPast
  3. Exeter Flying Post 13 December 1810, p4, c4 via FindMyPast
  4. A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921, Ministry of Labour, 1927. Digitised by Peter Christian, August, 2016. [via]

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Barton Place Farm
Barton Place Farm


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