239 Hayes Lane
Grade II Listed Building
The death of the tenant farmer George Hoeltschi in December 2018 resulted in the farmhouse and its associated farmyard and buildings, commonly known as Hayes Street Farm, ceasing to exist for any agricultural purposes. However, the farmhouse, which is situated to the north of the George Inn and has been in use for over 200 years, was preserved in the development plans.
The exact date of the existing farmhouse remains unknown but a building is shown in its location on the 1767 Pitt map and it is likely that it was this property that was later developed. In 1779 Gandy Cooper passed the house and lands to his son Thomas Cooper of Riverhead, a brewer, and in 1782 Edward Cooper, a senior labourer, lived there with his family. When the property was sold to James Bond of Hayes Place in 1785 it was described as, ‘an excellent Farm house, with large new erected barn, stables, cow house, sheds, etc.’ The comfortable brick dwelling house was occupied by Robert Nisbet and bought about 1800 by George Norman. It still today retains its connection with the Norman family.
The national listing made in 1973 describes the building as ‘early 19th century, 2 storeys and attic. 5 windows. 3 dormers. Faced with napped flints with red brick window dressings and quoins. Slate roof. Door of 6 fielded panels. Glazing bars missing’.
It is a simple design, rectangular with a side to side gable, and it has an identical structure with gable at the back, suggesting that the house was doubled in size sometime after its original construction. In the 1960s the front porch was filled in, but with its slate roof and use of flint blends in well.
The house has witnessed many occupants over the centuries and changes have been made to the building. James Harrod, who owned the General Stores in the Village, took over the lease in 1878 for his third son William. In 1881 William lived there with his wife Esther, 5 children under 9, two farm labourers and a boarder. His father James died in 1894 and in 1896 William Harrod made a 21 years lease at £33 a year. Esther died in 1901 but William remained in the farmhouse assisted by his son William and two unmarried daughters.
He gave up the farmhouse shortly after 1911 and the lease was taken over by James Marden and then D C Haldeman. In 1924 Sidney Rose was appointed the farm bailiff and he stayed for almost forty years, continuing under R C Fisher when Mr Haldeman left the area. The farm had about 150 pigs, 60 cows and 70 calves and was well known for the quality of its milk. During the Second World War the building survived, although incendiaries and bombs fell close by in neighbouring fields and roads.
In 1962, George Hoeltschi senior moved to Hayes Street Farm from Hayesford Farm and he was followed by his son George who lived there until his death.
In about 1987 the house was extended at the rear. It incorporated the use of slate and flint although few of the windows at the rear of the house match the original style of the house.
The south side of the house shows clear evidence of changes that took place over the centuries with a bricked in window and door entrance and the use of different bricks, only to be expected in a working building. The blocked up doorway was said by Mrs Hoeltschi to have been used as an entrance to the basement in the time of Mr Fisher. On the north elevation a modern French window and concrete lintel have been inserted.
Today the farmyard development is under way but the farmhouse has been preserved.