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Wire Farm c 1914.    Chapel Cottage is in the distance and the Chapel itself can just be seen on the left. The pond appears muddy and the slipway approach to it is clearly visible.  The pond would have been very useful to the farm for washing down carts as well as providing water for the traction engines working in the village.

As well as the little girls outside Wire Farm, there are a further six people posing for the photograph beyond. A lady in the middle distance appears to be in her best dress and complete with a parasol. 

The earliest map reference I have for Wire Farm, Chrishall, as I write is 1777 but it is quite possible that the farmhouse we see at Wire Farm today stands on the foundations of a very ancient building. Below you can see some of the previous inhabitants of Wire Farm.  It seems that the Franklin’s left the farm sometime between 1911 and 1918.  Apparently the farm was bought by a dealer and it may have been the dealer who held the sale of farm stock in 1918 before selling the farm to the current owner’s grandfather.

If anyone has any more details on the above please let us know.  And is that Bessie Franklin (age 16) and Gladys Franklin (age 9) standing by the gate in the photograph above?

The farm is now run by the fourth generation of the family and obviously is a place that inspires family loyalty.  Maria Ellis who owned the farm in the 19th century certainly didn’t seem to want to let it go. You can read her story here.

wire farm chrishall

Previous inhabitants according to the census returns:

1901 / 1911 census: Charles and Mary Franklin

1891 census: Henry and Lydia Unwin, Farm Bailiff

1881 census: William and Emma Nichola, Farm Bailiff

1871 census: Maria Ellis, widower of 46, farming 300 acres and employing 11 men, 1 boy and 2 girls.

1861 census: Robert Crane and Mary Crane, Farm Bailiff for Maria Ellis of Suffolk, employing 13 men and 5 boys.

1851 census: George (31) and Maria (26) Ellis with 24 labourers, 420 acres, Amily aged 1, Maria aged 5 months and two servants Ann (21) and Sophia (19) Norris both from Heydon.


In the news… a sale advert from 1918

Sale of live and dead farming stock [1.Cambridge Daily News – 27 September 1918]:

11 horses, 3 shire mares and 1 filly foal, 5 working horses, 2 year old hackney filly, 5 year old cob, 30 head of cattle including 7 cows “in profit and in calf”, 3 heifers in calf, 13 steers and heifers, 6 weaning calves and well-bred Bull.  Also 40 head of poultry.

Agricultural implements including 6hp oil engine and grinding and crushing mill, 2 binders, corn and seed drill, mower, 5 ploughs, 6 sets of harrows, 2 rolls, horse rake, barn tackle, road waggon, 4 tumbril carts, water cart, troughs, bins, 3 horse hoes, Martin’s Cultivator, harness, milk separator, barrel and milk churns etc.


wire farm chrishall

The more modern photograph above shows a view that is changed very little today as you can see in Robert’s colour picture below.

The railings round the pond were re-aligned (in the late 1970’s?) to make room for the footpath which now passes in front of the pond and continues on up Crawley End.

(With thanks to the Rogers family for the photograph above).

Mrs Cranwell makes note that there was a lamp post by Wire Farm and the lamp was lit by Mr Ralph Cranwell – but I have been unable to see a lampost in the pictures I have found of Wire Farm so far!

Update April 2020: we now have a photograph of Wire Farm showing the lamp outside:

Wire Farm Chrishall with lamp


(Wire Farm today)


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