For centuries life in the village has been dominated by farming and fishing, and there were farmhouses right in the middle of the village and farms surrounding the village included within the Parish. Today farming is heavily influenced by national and international conditions and the European climate, which largely results from the ease of transportation of farm produce, but two centuries ago and before, the local farms were supplying local needs with a diverse range of produce. As transportation improved the local farms specialised in produce suited to the drier local climate and terrain, such as peas and soft fruits, etc.
The earliest records of farming come from the Domesday Book entry for Goldhanger and that indicated that farming was predominately sheep and pig livestock production, with the amount of land under cultivation being extremely small ie 50 acres in total. In Goldhanger - an estuary Village, Maura Benham notes on page-25 that between the 11th and 16th centuries sheep production and cheese making from ewes reared on the salt marshes was the major local farming activity. The reclamation of salt marshes by farmers through building seawalls to create more productive farming land continued over many centuries.
A reliable supply of fresh water on a farm was essential to rear livestock, and all the local farms had their own well for human consumption and a pond close by for the animals. Today it is unclear whether the farms were originally built close to a natural pond (see... Glacial ponds), or whether the ponds were artificially created by damming a stream. In the 16th and 17th centuries all the farms adjacent to the estuary had duck decoy ponds on their land to benefit from harvesting the large numbers of wildfowl on the marshes in winter months.
Up to the 19th century farming was very labour intensive with large numbers of men and horses used to cultivate land, providing the main source of employment for villagers. As farm machinery developed, the demand for labour receded, the smaller farms were taken over and the farmhouses became private residences. The farm buildings adjacent to these farmhouses became redundant and many of the barns were lost including the village Tithe Barn.
Photographs of farms only go back to the early 1900s. However much earlier maps exist that details of the farms and associated buildings and ponds. Extracts have been made from the most appropriate early maps and are show below.
Most of the farmhouses and some of the barns are listed buildings. External links to those entries are provided below (but the links may become outdated in time). Some of the farms have had different names over the centuries, named after the farmer or landowner of the day. The interactive map here uses the modern names...
select a farm from the map, or scroll down through the farms below ( in alphabetic order )
Bounds Farm English Heritage extract
In the 1700s Bounds Farmer Mr Lee built a new seawall around the farm. In Goldhanger - an estuary Village, Maura Benham describes this on pages 49 and 50.
The field at the east of Bounds is the site of a saltworks in the 1700s. See... Salt extraction on the Blackwater
The Bounds Farm entries in the Tithe Awards for 1820 and 1838 refer to:
18 named fields and marshes, owned by Samuel Gurney and farmed by Robert Francis.
The farm was called Brands Farm on the 1880 OS map and in Fitchʼs 1898 book.
from... Birds of Essex, by Miller Christy in 1890
The farmhouse was called Boundless in Stanley Wilkinʼs letters of the 1930s.
Bounds Farm has been owned by Wilkin & Sons of Tiptree since the 1920s and the company has grown soft fruits there ever since for their products. In recent years the farm has been their main site for strawberries grown under under polythene. There are past images of the farm as part of biographical details of... Stanley Wilkin
Cobbs Farm English Heritage extract
The farm is said to be named after William Cobb in 1222
Referred to as Cobbes in ERO D/DVz/359 in 1569
Referred to as Cobbs Croft in ERO D/DR T28/2 in 1643
In the late 1700s Cobbs was the home of William Bentall inventor of the Goldhanger plough. To make the parts he developed a small foundary in a field opposite the farmhouse. More about... William Bentall.
In the 1800s Cobbs Farm was owned by the Coe family, who were wealthy Maldon merchants, and in 1841 it was inherited by local author Henry Coe Coape. More about... The Coe-Coape and Coape-Arnold families.
On the 1820 Tithe Awards, Henry Coape is listed as owner and James Wood as farmer.
Deeds of 1860 in ERO (D/DU 627/4) refer to Cobbs and Sewells Farm: 101 acres, lands: 21 acres and marshes: 38 acres near GOLDHANGER Wash.
In the 1920 & 30s Cobbs was farmed by Ernest Lancelot Pledger, who was Chairman of the Parish Council and also the Village Hall committee.
Church Farm / Old Rectory Farm English Heritage extract
Church Farm has been known by many names over its long history...
It was the Rectory from the 1500s to the 1800s and in 1650 was home to author the Revd Edward Howes.
On the 1820 and 1838 Tithe Awards it was named as The Glebe, and Parsonage House.
The house was used a Dame School / Parochial school in the early 1800s. More about... Village School
It was The Glebe in Crockfords Clerical Directory of 1868
Called Street Farm in a 1906 sales brochure, however Hall Farm has also been known by this name.
Called Rectory Farm in a newspaper article in 1922
Called Old Rectory Fruit Farm in a newspaper article in 1934. At this was at a time when the farmer was the innovative and locally well known Charles Page (more images shown there).
Since the 1960s the house has been a private residence known as The Old Rectory.
Falcons Hall English Heritage extract
The farm was named after the original owner John Ffalons or Ffawcon in 1346.
Ffakons is dated 1445 in ʼThe place-names of Essexʼ and then named as Ffacones in 1484.
Sir Thomas Huett, a London merchant, created a trust in his Will of 1632, leaving a charge on his lands at Falcons Hall and Bakers (Green). The Charge and the Trust remained in place until at least 1904.
Follyfaunts English Heritage extract
Before the Reformation Follyfaunts belonged to Beeliegh Abbey but Henry VIII sold it to Stephen Beckingham in 1543.
In the 1820 Tithe Awards the Revd Edward Leigh is listed as owner and Thomas Francis as farmer.
It was part of the Coe-Coape & Coape-Arnold family estate in the 1800s.
From 1930s Follyfants belonged to the McMullen family who renovated the house. Maud McMullen Mrs Maude McMullen who was president of the "Goldhanger Players" Drama Society in the 1940s and 50s. A chair in the Village Hall is dedicated to her.
In 1939 Follyfants was the home of author and Ming China collector... Major Lindsay Fitzgerald Hay
There was a 3-page article about Follyfaunts and the major in Homes & Gardens magazine of 1939.
In the 1960s electric robotic elephants was developed and marketed at Follyfaunts by Lord Hillingdon.
In 1962 Mr & Mrs Jenkinson purchased Folly Fants House. They ran their business of Verine Products from the outbuildings for around forty years and during the summer months opened the gardens to raise funds for the Red Cross. At the turn of the Millennium they commissioned professional historian Peter Bushell to research and record The history of the Folly Fants house and farm. His research identified twenty-one previous owners and farmers of the manor over seven centuries.
The Farm is identified as Vaulty Wick Marsh, on a Will of 1561
It was called Fawlty Farm on a 173 map and the 1777 map ( the same name was later used by Vaulty Manor )
In the 1700s the farm included a very profitable Decoy Pond.
Gardner's Farm on 1820 Tithe map & Awards and on the 1838 Tithe map & Awards
On the 1820 &1838 Tithe Awards, Henry Coape is listed as owner and Isaac Foster as farmer.
The farm was part of the Coe-Coape & Coape-Arnold family estate in the 1800s.
It was called Gardner's on 1841 census and Gardeners Farm on 1880 OS map
Gardeners Farm was the site of a Royal Flying Corps Flight Station in the Great War
Hall Farm English Heritage extract
The farm was called Joyces on the 1820 Tithe map and on the censuses of 1841 & 1851
On the 1820 Tithe Awards the owner is listed as Henry Coape and the farmer as William Wade.
It was also called Goldhanger Hall and The Hall, in newspaper adverts in the 1800s
It was called Street Farm in Kelly's Directory of 1892 & 1899 (Church Farm / Old Rectory was also called this)
It was Hall Farm, advert in 1926
Hall Farm barn was sold in the 1970s, dismantled and move to Tiptree heath, where it remains as a private house.
Past owner/farmers have included:
Mid 1800s - John Steadman, or Stedman, who was a Churchwarden in 1848.
By 1850 he was in the debtors goal at Springfield.
1900-20s - The Dobson family, the son became a well known local catholic priest, Canon Francis Dobson
The Dobson family also farmed Gardeners Farm during WW-1
1920s-50s - The Simpson Sisters maintained a dairy herd at the Farm and sold dairy products at the gate.
1950s-90s - Barry and Jean Rose converted the farm to arable with poultry sheds behind the farmhouse.
Hall Farm has been a private residence since the the Millennium when St Peters Close was built on the farmyard.
Highams Farm English Heritage extract
Farm was once within Goldhanger Parish, but today is within Tolleshunt Major Parish.
Before the Reformation Highams belonged to Beeliegh Abbey but Henry VIII sold it to Stephen Beckingham in 1543 along with several of the other local farms.
As stated in Phillip Morantʼs book above, in the 1400s Highams was the family seat for members of the Higham Family
It was called Highums Farm in 1631 (or mis-spelt in ERO D/DVz/359 )
In 1641 Sir Christopher Clitherow, Lord Mayor of London in 1635, set up a trust fund for the poor in his Will with income from Highams Farm. See... Sir Christopher Clitherowʼs Trust
In the 1700s the farm included a profitable Decoy Pond close to The Shoe.
It was named or mis-spelt Highlands Farm on the 1838 Tithe map, the 1880 & 1906 OS maps.
Robert Cresswell was the farmer in the mid-late 1800s. He hosted several regattas at The Shoe.
The Page family farmed Highams from the 1870s until they bought Church Farm, probably in 1906.
In Kelly's Directory of 1899 Robert Page is listed as farmer at Highams.
See... Charles Page (some images of Highams Farm shown).
In the early 1900s rail tracks were laid to the seawall at Highams farm and horses and carts were used on the tracks in winter months to move clay from the ditches to raise the level of the seawall.
In 1975 a member of the Higham family wrote a 78-page booklet on the family history. Four pages of the booklet refer to Highams Farm and the members of the family who lived there and there is a sketch that shows that the house has a Crown Post beams in its roof confirming the building as a 1400s structure...
Extracts from the booklet referring to Goldhanger are available here on this website
Before the Reformation Longwick belonged to Beeliegh Abbey but Henry VIII sold it to Stephen Beckingham in 1543 along with several of the other local farms.
Named Long Wyke in Henry VIII letters of 1543.
Deed of Livery, 1569, (ERO D/DVz 359) includes... Manor of Fallyfantes, Longwick Farm, Grange of Langwyke,
Joyces Farm, Highums Farm, in previous possession of Monastery of Beeleigh, and purchased from Henry VIII
as part of the... local Reformation effect
From ERO D/P 240/1/3 1598-1769: ʼ60 acres called Langewich occupied by John Parrʼ.
Deed of Livery 1569, with Extent (ERO D/DVz 359) including grange of Langwyke, in previous possession of Monastery of Coggeshall in Goldhanger.
Deeds of 1613 (ERO D/DVz 359) includes...
Manor of Fallyfantes, Longhouse Farm, Longwick Farm, Joyces Farm, Highums Farm.
Deeds of 1708-1739 refer to ʼa farm called Longwick and decoyʼ (ERO D/DEl T86).
Called Long Wick Farm in the 1820 Tithe Awards, the owner is listed as Henry Lambirth and the farmer as John Hutley.
Longwicke Farm was leased to Robert Page along with Highams Farm in 1878 (ERO A8512).
Called Longwicke Farm on 1906 sales brochure.
By the late 1900s the farm had been unused and derelict for 40 years, and was purchased by Maldon Crystal Salt Company, who built a new sea-salt processing facility on the old farmyard which opened in 2006.
Little London Farm
In the 1940s Jack Cohen founder TESCO purchased Little London Farm as a second home...
While staying at Little London Farm Cohen created and very successfully developed Goldhanger Fruit Farms which was actually a fruit and vegetable canning factory in the centre of nearby Tolleshunt Major.
In Pile it High, Sell it Cheap, the authorised biography of Sir John (Jack) Cohen, written by Maurice Corina, Cohenʼs association with Little London Farm and Goldhanger Fruit Farms is described in several pages of chapter-7 which is entitled ʼGoldhangerʼ. The biography tells us that the person who introduced Cohen to Little London Farm was a local man by the name of ʼMajor Frostʼ. Perhaps this could have been Crawshay Frost of Fish St Goldhanger, who liked to be known as Major Frost. The factory changed owners several times over the years and is now Beckingham Business Park. See more about...Sir John (Jack) Cohen
Pumphouse Farm Deeds of 1750 - 1760 (ERO D/DBt T3) refer to the Will of Robert Harrington, a Goldhanger yeoman.
The 1810 Deeds of the Manor of Follifaunts refer to a ʼmessuage called Pumphouseʼ.
The Pumphouse entries in the Tithe Awards for 1820 the owner is Revd Edward Leigh and refers to:
Four Acres field, Lower Three Acres, Comer field, the Pightle and a Homestead occupied by Revd. E M Leigh.
In the 1841 census the occupier was William Bonner, farm bailiff.
In the Kellyʼs 1899 Directory George Cracknell is named as farmer at Falcon Hall, Pumphouse & Carters Farms.
It became a separate property in the 1980s.
The ʼPump Houseʼ presumably had associations with pumping water. Despite being the high land in the village, the area has always been very wet, with ponds and springs nearby.
Scotts and Motts / Charity Farm English Heritage extract
Several early references have been found linking Scotts & Motts at Goldhanger to the Newland Street Almshouses in Witham, and are recorded in... Charities for the Sick & Poor - Newland St Almshouses
Deeds of 1571-1653 (ERO D/DHt T325/1):
Bargain and Sale Christian Tendringe of Boreham, yeoman,/Duke of Buckingham, Lord High Admiral, of parkland at New Hall, ... sold to John and Thomas Corter by feffees Boreham etc. of poor in Witham, 1626... Cottage and land called Scotts (10a.) and Motts (30a.) in Goldhanger. Includes licence of alienation from Robert Mildmay to William Ward, 1637
Sessions Rolls of 1599 (ERO Q/SR 148/125):
We, Peter Tuke and Christopher Chibborne, esquires, Justices, upon the complaint of John Scott of Goldhanger, yeoman, went to the house of the said John in Goldhanger called "Scottis" and there found John Denye and Richard Person Forcibly keeping the same, contrary to the Stature of 8 Henry VI... and committed them to gaol until they should paya fins.
Deeds of 1742 (ERO D/P 30/25/72):
St. Nicolas, Witham, Bridge Street Almshouse Charity, Unknown donor. Lease for 21 years at ₤18 per annum to John Holt Goldhanger yeoman. Cottage and 4 crofts of land (10 acres) called Scotts, and lands (30 acres) in occupation of Daniel Constable.
(There are 12 others similar Deeds in ERO between 1626 - 1808)
A reference to: ʼScotts and Motts, alias Westwoods, in Goldhangreʼ by Phillip Morant in 1768
Called Scotts and Motts in ʼThe people's history of Essexʼ in 1861
On the 1820 Tithe Awards:
Owner: Trustees of Witham poor - Occupier in the Homestead: William Wade (building not named)
On the 1838 Tithe Awards:
Homestead Scottes & Mottes - Owner: Trustees of Witham poor - Occupier: William Wade
an extract from... SEAX / English Heritage listing (SMR 46262) dated 2007
Charity cottage, Goldhanger. The cottage stands on site of farmhouse along the Maldon Road, west of the village once known as Scotts and Motts, a former poorhouse used since at least 1626. Early deeds dating back to 1626 reveal that a messuage with 4 crofts called Scotts, lands called Motts (ERO D/DHt 354/1) was being used as a feoffment on trust (ERO D/P 30/25/65) for the poor of Witham (ERO D/P 30/25/81) by the Bridge Street Almshouse Charity, whose donor is unknown. The house and land seems to have been used up to at least 1803 and possibly later as in 1848 there is a mention of a farm at Goldhanger used for the endowment of 10 widows. There appears to have been a house on the same site until now but it is unclear whether this is the original house used by the charity.
The house has been called Charity Farm on recent electoral rolls. Scott & Motts has all but disappeared.
Vaulty Manor English Heritage extract
Before the Reformation the manor belonged to Beeliegh Abbey, but Henry VIII sold it to Charles Brandon,
Duke of Suffolk in 1538.
The name of the Manor has has been spelt many ways over the centuries...
Fawlty in ʼThe Reformation in Essex to The Death Of Maryʼ in 1538
Fauty in 1565 (ERO D/DBe T14)
Faltey in Henry VIIIʼs Roll 28, Monasterium Bileigh
Faity, in this legal dispute 1573...
Faltie alias Pawtie, ERO on deed and Marriage settlement of 1643 (ERO D/DR T28/2)
Vantie alias Faltie ERO on deeds in 1677 (ERO D/DR T28/3)
Falty, alias/with: Ravens Croft, Ravens Marshes, Pipers & Pipers Marsh on deeds of 1709 (ERO D/DR T28/6)
Fawlty in ʼExcursions in the County of Essexʼ in 1818 and in...
ʼThe History and Topography of the County of Essexʼ in 1831
(both extracts are shown in... Ancient Goldhanger Documents)
Called Jehews Farm in the 1820 Tithe Awards, Henry Coape is listed as owner and James Wood as the farmer,
and in 1842 James Wood advertised for an apprentice at the water corn-mill at Goldhanger...
Called Jehurs Farm, in 1841 census and on the 1880 OS map.
The farm was part of the Coe-Coape & Coape-Arnold family estate in the 1800s.
The name Faulty was also used in the 1700s for Gardeners Farm