YARDLEY GOBION FIELD MAPS
Before the Enclosure of 1775 the land of Yardley lay in three large open fields, divided into strips of various sizes, each man’s holding of strips scattered over the three fields. The field to the east of the village was Eastfield (hence Eastfield Crescent), that to the north towards Grafton was Dun Field, and to the west was Rowe Field. The brook which runs under Stanbridge on the Northampton Road was the Rowe Brook. Two fields were cultivated and one left fallow each year in turn. Oats, wheat, barley and beans were the principle crops, and everyone grew the same crops in order that the harvest might be taken off at the same time. After harvest the cattle were turned on to eat the aftermath. This system must have been uneconomical but it did enable a young man to make a start with one strip and gradually build up a holding. The Duke of Grafton obtained the consent of a majority of the farmers to apply for an Enclosure Act, and in due course the land was surveyed and measured and allocated in blocks. Eighteen persons received allocations, of whom the largest was the Duke’s followed by Nash Mason a non-resident who owned the present Manor Farm and Hall Close and other land, Thomas Horton, William Brown, John Boswell, Christopher Harris, Thomas Brown and Mary Brown; after this the rest held only small lots. With the exception of Nash Mason’s property, which remained intact until 1846 when it was sold but bought in two lots by local farmers, almost all the rest gradually fell into the hands of the Dukes of Grafton who retained it until the break-up of the estate in 1920. The last of the Brown family was John, or Johnny Brown as he was called, who owned a cottage and field at the end of nineteenth century. He was an independent type and would not work regularly for a farmer, but helped at harvest and haytime. His cottage and field passed into the possession of Jonathan Smith who lived at what is now called Stonebank, and was demolished by Mrs Leach when she had her new house built. The field was bought by Mackenzie Hill and the Brown family who had been farmers, stonemasons, blacksmiths and victuallers for hundreds of years are commemorated in Brownsfield Road.
Written by Mrs Warren.