|Farms & Fields
Jump to: | South West Farm | Fancy Field | Red House Farm | Monkseaton Farms | East Farm
Out of a total of fourteen recorded farms in Monkseaton, South West Farm was one of the smallest.
The farm dates from the early 1700s, and occupied an area of almost 244 acres of land, however many documents relating to this farm are missing or incomplete, so details tend to be very sketchy, and therefore many calculated assumptions have been made over the years.
According to details taken from an old tithe map, the farmland radiated outwards to the west in a triangular shape from Chapel Lane, and roughly encompassed the area now enclosed by Front Street, Cauldwell Lane, Seatonville Road and Bromley Avenue. It also included a square of land to the west of Seatonville Road, enclosed by the present housing built between Cauldwell Avenue and Athol Gardens to the boundary which includes Langley Playing Fields.
Other maps indicate that fields extending south towards Hillheads, and recorded under neighbouring South Farm, also formed part of South West Farm.
To a certain extent, nearly all of the old South West farm buildings still remain. The actual farmhouse is situated within the original stackyard, just off Chapel Lane, to the rear of Bygate Road.
When Chapel Lane was widened in 1952, the old stackyard wall was demolished and rebuilt slightly to the east, however it still remains, and encloses new luxury apartments to the rear of the present Spar shop.
The large stone buildings which back onto Chapel Lane have undergone a number of different uses over the years, including storage and garaging, and latterly offices with facilities for a Funeral Furnisher.
The outbuildings and byres facing Front Street were altered and converted in the early 1950s to become a showroom and offices for a local builders merchant, R.A. Gofton, and named 'Corner House'.
In later years, the showroom was renovated and became a small supermarket, eventually being taken over by the Spar Group to become a large convenience store.
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Over one hundred years ago, and up to the very early 1900s, in order to walk from Whitley to Monkseaton Village it was necessary to follow a pretty country field path, which followed the course of the present Norham Road. This path then crossed over the railway lines towards what is now Marmion Terrace.
It was this point which formed the eastern edge of what was commonly known as 'Fancy Field', a part of North-East or 'Village Farm', bounded to the south by Bygate Farm. Immediately after crossing the railway lines, the pathway then ran between two wooden gates and continued into the South Eastern corner of Monkseaton Village, closely following the route of what was later to become St Ronan's Road.
Studying this 1893 illustration by Thomas Eyre Macklin, we have our back to the railway lines, looking west from a point close to what is now the 90º corner of Marmion Terrace and St. Ronan's Road. Bygate Farm buildings can be seen at the far end of the pathway, and the remaining structures and hedgerow follow the line of Coronation Crescent. The large whitewashed building and tall chimney to the right belong to Monkseaton Brewery on Front Street.
Horses and cattle grazed freely here, and 'Fancy Field' disappeared when the present housing including Kensington Gardens, Kenilworth Road, Waverley Avenue and Melrose Avenue were laid out in the early 1900s. The origin of this colourful field name remains a mystery.
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Until the late 1960s, one of the most well known farms in Monkseaton was 'Red House Farm', or to give it its correct title, 'Monkseaton Red House'.
In years gone by, to reach this farm from the village, it was necessary to turn left off Monkseaton Front Street at Monkseaton Brewery and travel for approximately a quarter mile mile along Turpin's Lane (Relton Terrace), onto a field path (which later formed the route of Deneholm) passing the area which is now occupied by Whitley Bay High School, before reaching the farmhouse on the opposite side of Monkseaton Drive (bearing in mind this section of Monkseaton Drive was non-existent then).
An old wooden sign on Relton Terrace which was only recently removed still indicated the presence of Red House Farm (see image below).
The farmlands, which were recorded as measuring between 117 and 125 acres in extent stood slightly northwest of the village on the area and now accommodate part of the Beaumont Park Housing Estate, as well as Whitley Bay High School and the adjacent allotment gardens behind both Deneholm and Alder Grove.
Despite what may be otherwise suggested by the name, the nearby Red House Farm Housing Estate was actually built completely within the adjoining lands of neighbouring North West Farm, and is completely separate and not connected with any of the original lands of Red House Farm.
The earliest records go back to 1687, when the farm was surrendered by the owners to a John Clark of North Shields. It subsequently passed through the hands of numerous owners and tenants.
In 1763, the representatives of Jonathan Hyndmer sold the farm to an Anthony Pearson of North Shields which eventually passed under his will to William Linskill of Tynemouth House.
Since 1897, the Dunns have been tenants and became a very prominent and well respected farming family in the area, and along with the related Nicholson Family, their name features frequently with periodic tenancies of many of the other farms in Monkseaton Village.
Much of the farmland belonging to Monkseaton Red House eventually disappeared under the housing development of the 1960s and 1970s.
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It is difficult to imagine that up to the end of the 1800s, Monkseaton was just a tiny village, surrounded by dozens of fields and farms.
At this time, the nearest villages were Earsdon to the North, Preston to the South, Murton and New York to the West, and Whitley to the East. The plan shown below is based on an old 1850 tithe map, showing a total of 14 different farms which were recorded in Monkseaton, the lands of which nearly all radiated outwards from the village centre.
Several fields within each area of farmland were sometimes allocated names, which made them easily identifiable to the individual farmers, and those that are known are indicated on the accompanying list.
In Monkseaton Village, Pykerley Road is a name derived from Far Pickerlaw or Peckerlaw Hill which also stood within the boundary of Northwest Farm, as well as Hill Field, from nearby North Farm. Some other obvious assumptions can be made from names such as 'Wellfield', 'Springfield' and 'Closefield'.
The largest farm in the area was North West Farm, which covered an area of over 184 acres and extended north from Cauldwell Lane towards Earsdon Village and the smallest; Bygate Farm covered an area of around only 23 acres and was situated to the south of Bygate Road and St. Ronan's Road.
Others included East Farm, North East (Village Farm), Red House Farm, North Farm, West Farm, South West Farm, Seatonville Farm, Burnt House Farm, Rake House Farm, South Farm, Hill Heads Farm and Blacksmiths Farm, (sometimes referred to as Dickies Holm Farm).
An area of common land known as Chamberlain's Meadow took in the area now occupied by Monkseaton First School and part of Churchill, Roker and Maple Avenue. Since 1850, many fields and farms were sold off to accommodate housing and expanding development, as a result of which, some newer and smaller farms came into being. These included Newsteads Farm at West Monkseaton from within the lands of North West Farm, and also Burnt House Nurseries, which were created from the last remaining fields of Burnt House Farm following its demolition in 1929.
Two other areas of farmland not included in this field plan, stood immediately outside the boundary of Monkseaton: Briar Dene Farm to the North and Murton Steads Farm to the SouthWest.
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East Farm and its outbuildings stood slightly to the east of the present Ship Inn, on the corner of what is now Percy Terrace and Lyndhurst Road, and probably dates to the 1600s.
Originally the home of a Henry Nicholson, the first record of the building appears in 1710 when it was surrendered by a John Mills together with the principal part of the stackyard to his son, John Mills. The Mills family were, at this time, prominent land and property owners in the village.
By 1757, East Farm was shown to be in the possession of a Henry Hudson Esq. It is recorded that during the 1800s whilst some wallpaper was being removed from a room in the farmhouse, a large oil painting was found on a stone above a chimney-piece. The painting was said to be in a 'remarkable state of preservation', and depicted a ruined castle on a hill surrounded by trees. Nothing further is known of this picture.
In another room, a romantic legend was found scratched on a glass window pane which read: "John Bennet, Margaret Hall, 1796 — Lovers". Sadly nothing is known of this couple.
Between 1827 to sometime after 1841, the tenant of East Farm was recorded as an Ann Nixon, which for many years thereafter was locally referred to as 'Nixon's Farm'. A well which stood close to East Farm was known as 'Nixon's Well' or 'Nixon's Pond' and could be topped up and fed by diverting the water course running from the higher Cold Well. This pond was regularly used as the watering place for cattle and horses.
Another well which stood in a nearby field and known as the 'Far Well' was occasionally used when other water supplies failed.
Other tenant farmers over the years have included Percival Wright (1851), Thomas Wright (1871), William Nesbit (1887), William Harrett (1889), John Nellis (1899), and Henry James (1924). The farmhouse was uninhabited during 1881, and the site was demolished and cleared in 1961 to make way for new housing on Percy Terrace under the name of Relton Place.
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