Townsend Farm

[Extract from “History of Some of the Old Buildings in Rode” by Dawna Pine, second edition]:

2 High Street (Townsend Farm) is listed as early 19th century. It is described in Jonathan Noad’s will of 1809 as “a dwellinghouse and garden with a barn, barton, stables and other sheds and erections at the Townsend of Road.” His son Thomas Whitaker Noad, of Southfield House, inherited it in 1814 but by 1839 it was in the ownership of Henry Batten Pooll. In the 1871 census it is described as Merfield Farm and occupied by John Moore. By 1878 Daniel Taylor a fuller at Scutt’s Bridge Mill was living here. The 1901 and 1911 censuses record Daniel’s brother, Thomas, as farming here. Daniel’s children, Frederick and Lucy Taylor, purchased the property in 1954 following the death of Capt. Walter S. Batten-Pooll. Frederick died just a week later but Lucy continued living here until her death in 1965.

Above: Excerpt from 1844 Ordnance Survey map, showing western end of the village, and Townsend Farm


BUILT ? Same time as Merfield House (1808?) or shortly after. BY Noad family? Then bought by Batten Pooll?

1839 TITHE APPORTIONMENT: LOT 323 “House, Yard, Garden” (Lot 323 is also stated in 1954 conveyancy) Owned and “occupied” by Henry Batten Pooll in 1839

1841 CENSUS: No farm listed but

  • In Townsend: William Rose,29 +Harriett,24 + Aaron, 4+ John (11 mths)
  • Townsend House (Mayfield?): Thomas Pooll + Ann Bourne, 19 and Hillary Bourne, 14

1851 CENSUS: No farm listed but

  • In Townsend – William Rose, 37 (b.1814, Road) servant + wife Harriett (b. 1817), 5 sons: Aaron(1837), John (1842), James(1845), Thomas (1847), William (1850) (note: William Rose is in HBPooll’s Will for £19 19sh if still in employment)
  • Mayfield?: James Bailey (land proprietor, 60) + Ann Bailey,60 + Sarah Bunt 22 and Helen Dixon 21, both servants

1860 Will of Henry Batten Pooll (1776-1861).

  • William Rose given £19 19sh
  • Codicil gives 25 pounds to John Moore
  • “give to my Sister Mrs. (Ann) Bailey the house she now resides in at Townsend in the Village of Road with the Gardens and Premises belonging thereto for her life”: Mayfield House? (most probably)

1861 CENSUS: No farm listed but

  • In Upper Street: William Rose (coachman)with wife Harriett and their 5 sons
  • In Townsend (Mayfield?): Mary Bunt, 59 (b.1802, Bradford Wilts) Housekeeper and Sarah Blackmoore, 25 (b.1836 Bradford, Wilts) housemaid.
  • In Northfield house (road manor?): Cook Elizabeth Walker, Housemaid Ann Blackmoore and James Moore retired ironmonger
  • Henry Batten Pooll lives in Merfield house

Rockabella is occupied by James Taylor, 53 (b.1808), his wife Martha, sons Daniel and Thomas and daughters Sarah and Eliza. John Moore, 34 (b.1827) is a servant (general labourer) at Merfield House

1871 CENSUS: Listed as “Merfield Farm” and occupied by

  • Head: John Moore, 43 (b.1828, Road)

Farmer of 37 acres employing 1 man. Note: In his will, Henry Batten Pooll left £25 to John Moore

  • Wife: Sarah Moore, 35 (b.1836, Southwick)
  • Son: Frank Moore, 6 (b. 1865, Road)
  • Son: Tom H. Moore, 2 (b.1869, Road)
  • Daughter: Annie Moore, 2 m (b.1871, Road)

1881 CENSUS: Listed as “Townsend Farm” and occupied by

  • Head: Daniel Taylor, 45 (b. 1836, Monkton Farleigh)

Woollen manufacturer employing 2 men, 2 boys, 2 girls

  • Wife: Charlotte Taylor (nee Smith), 42 (b. 1839, Road)
  • Daughter: Kate Taylor, 12 (b. 1869, Road)
  • Son: William Sidney Taylor, 10 (b.1871, Road)
  • Daughter: Amy Taylor, 8 (b. 1873, Road)
  • Daughter: Lucy Taylor, 7 (b.1874, Road)
  • Son: Henry Edward Taylor, 5 (b.1876, Road)
  • Son: Frederick Charles Taylor,3 (b.1878, Road)

1891 CENSUS: Listed as “Farm near Merfield: and occupied by

  • Head: Daniel Taylor, 55 (b. 1836, Monkton Farleigh)

Woollen cloth manufacturer and farmer

  • Daughter: Kate Taylor, 22 (b. 1869, Road)
  • Son: William Sidney Taylor, 20 (b.1871, Road)
  • Son: Frederick Charles Taylor,13 (b.1878, Road)

Where are the other members of the family in 1891?

  • Wife: Charlotte Taylor (nee Smith), died in 1883
  • Daughter: Amy Taylor, 18 (b. 1873, Road) – lives in Upper Street, Road with her grandmother Charlotte Smith, 80 (b.1811 in Norton St Philip) “living on her own means” and widow of William Sidney Smith, former innkeeper of the George Inn.
  • Daughter: Lucy Taylor, 17 (b.1874, Road) – lives 65 Oakfield, Clifton, Bristol with her uncle George Taylor 62 (b.1829), manager of coal depot and his wife Emma
  • Son: Henry Edward Taylor, 15 (b.1876, Road) – lives at 80 St Mary’s Street in Bridgwater and is a “draper apprentice”

1901 CENSUS: Listed as “Townsend Farm” and occupied by

  • Head Thomas Taylor, 60 (b.1841, Farleigh) Farmer on his own account, brother of Daniel Taylor

In 1881 and 1891, lived in Rockabella

  • Wife: Ann Taylor (nee ), 50 (b.1851, Road)

Where are the previous occupants in 1901?

  • Head: Daniel Taylor, 65 – lives in Rockabella with son Frederick, 23 and with his 2 sisters Sarah 57 and Eliza 55, spinsters, housekeeper and household helper
  • Daughter: Kate Taylor, 32 (b. 1869, Road)?
  • Son: William Sidney Taylor, 30 (b.1871, Road) – lives in Doulting, Shepton Mallet and works as a dairyman for Martha Candy, farmer
  • Daughter: Amy Taylor, 28 (b. 1873, Road) – is a housekeeper for Sidney Gregory at Rotton Park, Edgbaston?
  • Daughter: Lucy Taylor, 27 (b.1874, Road) – lives 65 Oakfield, Clifton, Bristol with her uncle George Taylor, 62 (b.1829), manager of coal depot and his wife Emma
  • Son: Henry Edward Taylor, 25 (b.1876, Road) – lives in Longleat estate and is Head groom at the Longleat stables

1911 CENSUS: Listed as Townsend Farm. Occupied by

  • Head: Thomas Taylor, 70 (b.1841, Farleigh) – Farmer on his own account. Brother of Daniel Taylor

In 1881 and 1891, lived in Rockabella

  • Wife: Ann Taylor , 60 (b.1851, Road)
  • Niece: Amy Jane Smith, 28 (b. 1883) assisting in house

Where are the previous occupants in 1911?

  • Head: Daniel Taylor, 75 (retired cloth miller and farmer) – lives in Rockabella with son Frederick, 33 and with his sister Sarah 67, spinster
  • Daughter: Kate Taylor, 42 (b. 1869, Road) – lives 53 Fernlea Road in Harwich Essex and works as nurse for the Cooke family
  • Son: William Sidney Taylor, 40 (b.1871, Road) – lives in Hurlingpot, Shepton Mallet and is a cheese maker for the Stone Family (dairy farmers)
  • Daughter: Amy Taylor, 38 (b. 1873, Road) – is a servant for the Wall family, 4 Willow Vale in Frome.
  • Daughter: Lucy Taylor, 37 (b.1874, Road) – lives 34 Moyser Road, West Stratham, Wandsworth London with 2nd cousin Florence Martha Taylor, 73 (widow of hat manufacturer, private means)
  • Son: Henry Edward Taylor, 35 (b.1876, Road) – lives at the Lodge, Hambaze, Keynsham as a gardener with his wife Mary, 24 and 2 sons Harold James, 2 and Clifford Frederick, 4 mths

07 JULY 1954 Lucy Taylor, spinster and her brother Frederick Charles Taylor, bachelor, bought Townsend Farmhouse for £1000 from Estate of late Captain Walter Stewart Batten Pooll

Frederick Charles Taylor dies in 16 July 1954, aged 76

05 JAN 1965 Lucy Taylor sold Townsend Farmhouse to Richard Kenneth Oatley for £5300

Lucy Taylor dies in September 1965, aged 92.

1965-2010 Townsend Farmhouse remains empty and unoccupied.

1984: Townsend Farmhouse is listed grade II

2003: Programme of renovation

10 OCT 2010 Feather family moves in.

A summary of the ownership and occupation of Townsend Farm from the early 19th century can be downloaded here:

20 March 2024
Last Updated
20 March 2024