Fryth Farm, Noak Hill

In 1955, at the age of 16, my husband Chris worked as a stable boy for Mr Buckenham on Fryth Farm; he would cycle from Dickens Drive, Laindon, to the farm at the top of Noak Hill near Kennel Lane, then home again at the end of the day.

Chris describes Mr Buckenham as an old fashioned gentleman farmer, who wore a white hat and jacket, brown checked shirt, tie to match, brown jodhpurs and highly polished long riding boots. He says Mr Buckenham was a stern, disciplined, but very hard-working man who would do manual work like knocking in, mending fences etc, and though smartly dressed, would never get dirty!

Mr Buckenham knew horses inside out and amongst things, taught Chris to ride a horse, firstly without a saddle – there’s a scar to prove that! He had to ride the very big horses from Fryth Farm onto the main road and down to the blacksmiths at the Old Fortune for shoeing.

Chris also looked after polo ponies and went on hunts and polo matches attended by people like Jimmy Edwards (the comedian with handle-bar moustache) and the Duke of Edinburgh. These meets took place on Sundays in areas like Bishops Stortford, but was considered as unpaid work for Chris.

I would like to find out more about Mr Buckenham, his farm and what has happened to it all now.

Comments about this page

Add your own comment

  • As I understand it Charles born 1866 had a son called Robert, who then had a son called Brian, and he is my Grandfather,

    As I understand it he was born in Laindon/Billericay and moved to Southend on sea later in life where my father grew up and lives his life.

    by pure chance I’m living close by to Laindon now before I read into any history of my family. seems that we never can stray too far from Laindon.

    By Jack Buckenham (02/11/2023)
  • This is all fascinating reading! I am married to Howard’s youngest son Nick and will have to share all your memories with them.

    By Rachel Buckenham (14/06/2023)
  • I remember the two Buckenham brothers, Paul and Howard, from the Young Conservatives Club situated in an old bungalow in Laindon High Road. My brother Derek Banks, Tony Payne and his old friends from school joined, then I did. I became friendly with Howard and we went out a few times. Then the bungalow was pulled down and the club was situated in Laindon High Road, The Laindon Hotel.
    My Mum and I too, used to buy all our meat from the Buckenham butchers in Laindon High Road, now a sofa shop. Brings back memories.

    By Cherry Pulley (19/02/2021)
  • Dear Editor,
    I must apologise for attributing the articles written by Jean Rowe and W H Diment incorrectly as the year 2019 when it was 2011.
    Paul Buckenham

    By PAUL BUCKENHAM (20/11/2020)
  • Dear Editor,
    Further to my comment of an hour ago, I should have said that I am not the Paul Buckenham who is at Sellars Farm in Dunton Road and whose great grandfather was Charles. His brother Eldred was my grandfather farming at Mundles Farm, Wash Road.
    The names of Charles and Eldred go back two centuries. My Father was Leonard Charles and I am Paul Eldred Buckenham.

    By PAUL BUCKENHAM (18/11/2020)
  • Further to Jean Rowe (21.11.2019) and W H Diment, (19.11.2019)my cousin Brenda Buckenham is now in a nursing home near Chester. After getting married she and her husband moved to what is now Malawi where her husband was involved in the security of president Hastings Banda. Her brother Geoffrey sadly died three years ago after several years service with Basildon Town Council.

    By Paul Buckenham (18/11/2020)
  • Andrea, I’ve just found your comments whilst looking for something else and I’m glad I did because they and the other connected entries are very illuminating. I’ve known Frith Farm for as long as I can remember having been brought-up at Blackmore (& Bungs) Farm just 400 yards down Noak Hill Road from Frith Farm. My father farmed at B&B Farm, and as children we were always made aware that the occupants of Frith Farm were part of the ‘Landed Gentry’ whilst Father was an actual working Farmer!

    I remember vividly the Hunt Meetings that would congregate on the triangle opposite Frifh Farm and down the Bridlepath towards the Dukes Head where, invariably, the Hunters would partake of their stirrup-cup before setting-off. White-Post Farm opposite Frith, which then included the farm manager’s house now independently owned and run as The Whitepost Retreat, was in those days leased or rented, (as I now understand it), from the Buckenhams by another farming family called Thorogood. I believe WP was one of three or four farms owned/rented by that family, producing market garden vegetables in the main which were transported to the London Markets most mornings on Thorogoods trucks.

    When my father finally gave-in to the fact that he on his own and without significant investment couldn’t make our 30 acre Blackmore (dairy) Farm profitable, he went working as a tractor driver for Thorogoods at WPF for about 5 years before taking an inside job at Balls Plastics Factory in Kennel Lane. I am back living in the BF house myself, and my brothers and I still own the land that was/is BF.

    I was particularly interested in the link between Frith Farm and Wheatsheaf Cottages. I remember that building as four dwellings, (and by the way it is right now being converted back into four cottages!), and the fact that the last Hos’man (Horse-man – Sam, still employed as such in my distant memory) at White Post Farm, lived in one of them. If the cottages were then owned by the Buckenham Family, I wonder if Sam was transfered to Thorogood’s employ when the farm land was let to them, on the understanding that the last Buckenham working-horse and its handler be kept-on until their retirement.

    By Trevor Linahan (14/11/2019)
  • Thank you so much, that’s really nice of you.

    By Julie Topper (24/05/2019)
  • Hi, you gave me information from an electoral register that Henry A Baker who lived at Wadhurst in 1949 and 1959 had a poultry farm, I have tried to look this up but can’t find this information, where did you get yours or could you send me a photo shot of that information to my email.

    Editor: The Electoral Registers aren’t online. They are kept at the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford. I have copies of some of them. I have arranged to have the information scanned and sent to you.

    By Julie Topper (24/05/2019)
  • Many thanks for all your help.

    By Julie Topper (18/05/2019)
  • Hi, you mention that from 1949 to 1959 Wadhurst, New Road, was a Poultry Farm, I just wondered whether before that you know whether it was a pig farm, run by Mr Henry Baker.

    Editor: The 1949 Electoral Register shows Mr Henry Baker at ‘Wadhurst’, described as a ‘poultry farm’, New Road, Rectory Road, Little Burstead. Maybe he also kept pigs there but I have been unable to find any further information prior to 1949.

    By Julie Topper (18/05/2019)
  • Can anyone remember a pig farm in New Road, I think it’s now called Wadhurst and the man that owned it was called Baker (surname) I would really appreciate if anyone has any memory of this pig farm.

    Editor: – A little research has shown that on the 1949 and 1959 Electoral Registers Henry A and Dorothy M Baker were living in ‘Wadhurst’, (The Poultry Farm), New Road, Rectory Road, Little Burstead, Billericay. This was off Dunton Road leading to Little Burstead. They had married in 1920. Henry died 22nd February 1979 while still living in ‘Wadhurst’.

    By Julie Topper (17/05/2019)
  • Ethel Mary was my Grandmother. Therefore Miss Margaret Buckenham was my Great Aunt. I have many fond memories of the Frith and its summerhouse under the willow tree as a child. When she moved to Wheatsheaf Cottage, probably in the early 80s, my wife Tracey and I treated it to a coat of black sadolin in 1985 or 86. She loved her Gin and her fags. Known as the spinster of the parish there wasn’t a party that she wasn’t invited to. Stern woman but a lovely one.

    By Richard Penney (03/05/2017)
  • Yes it’s all interesting.

    By Jack Buckenham (09/12/2016)
  • I am intrigued by the Buckenham family. I have vague memories of Charles Buckenham at Sellars Farm, Dunton Road as my mother cleaned for him in the early fifties. The Buckenham’s must have been huge land owners as I have so far found reference to the following farms, Sellars Farm, Fryth Farm, Watch House Farm, Little and Great Malgraves Farm, Mundles Farm and Steeple View Farm. Can anybody throw some light on how one family came to such prominence?

    By Paul Stickland (16/09/2016)
  • Does anybody remember our family. We lived in a Little Malgraves Cottage. I remember Alan lived next door but I was between 2 and 9 and was in 50’s and 60’s so don’t remember any surnames. Mr Buckenham had the farm next door, might have been John, he had battery hens and heavy horses in field. We used to bring orphan lambs home to raise. Very happy memories.

    By Jacqui Walker (11/09/2016)
  • I knew Paul Buckenham from the Young Conservatives in Laindon and wondered if he was still around and if I could contact you Paul it would be wonderful Joan White.

    By Joan Goodfellow nee Merchant (16/01/2015)
  • Regarding the farmers Buckenham. From December 1957 to December 1963 I was the village constable at Horndon-on-the-Hill. Two farmers Buckenham had farms on ‘my patch’. There was Mr Jack Buckenham who had Great Malgraves farm and his brother Bill, who owned Little Malgraves farm. Bill also managed a butchers shop in Laindon High Road. I had occasions to visit them regularly and was visited by them usually for animal movement licences. 

    Jack, I imagine, is the one described by Andrea Ash and then living at Frith’s farm. He was a stalwart supporter of the Essex Farmers Hunt and point to point races. I remember his daughter Joan in the same class as me at Laindon High Road school in the ’30s

    By Harry Rossiter (17/06/2012)
  • Wheatsheaf cottages: my grandparents, Ted and Ada Pond lived in one of the 4 cottages for many years. I was only young but have always believed they rented it off the Buckenham family. Ted died in 1954, Ada died the previous year and their son Stan (my dad) died the year before that, very sad. 

    My sister was born in Wheatsheaf Cottage so happy memories also. I remember it well, no sink only a galvanised bucket under a cold tap. Wooden toilet in the back garden with an smelly open pit where all the waste was tipped.

    By Sue (04/02/2012)
  • Wendy writes of the Wheatsheaf pub in Laindon Common Rd. which bercame a house. If my memory is correct, it was always a house with a side entrance into a small room which could accomodate perhaps a dozen people and the landlady would fetch beer in a jug from another room. It underwent some refurbishment when returning to a household dwelling.

    By Wh.Diment (20/01/2012)
  • In the early 70s Miss Margaret Buckenham still owned and lived at Frith Farm, by then called The Frith. She also owned a row of cottages called Wheatsheaf Cottages next to the former Wheatsheaf pub (now a house) in Laindon Common Road, Little Burstead. My elder sister Linda (nee Cowell) and her late husband Chris Wheatley rented one of the cottages from Miss Buckenham when they married in 1968 and later bought Frith Cottage (previously a terrace of 3 farm cottages) which is next door but one to The Frith. When Miss Buckenham decided to sell The Frith she had Wheatsheaf Cottages knocked into one house and modernised. I can’t remember when that was, but probably sometime in the late 70s or early 80s. Miss Buckenham then lived at Wheatsheaf Cottage until she died.

    By Wendy Barnes (17/12/2011)
  • Hi my nan used to be a housekeeper for Charlie Buckenham in 1954 that was at Sellars farm in Lower Dunton Road, my mum and I moved to be with her at about that time. I remember Alf Buckenham very well, in fact I used to play with his sons Howard and Paul. By the way Paul still farms in that area.

    By Joe Rudniski (14/12/2011)
  • Hi I remember Reg Buckenham’s farm in Wash Road., we used to get our milk from there.  I am sure Geoffrey and his wife had a chicken farm, as I remember getting eggs from there. I am sure Reg moved to Noak Hill Road.

    I had many happy memories of walking down field, paddling in the brook, picking mushrooms and listening to skylarks

    By Keith Nock (22/11/2011)
  • I remember the Buckenham’s at the farm in Wash Road in 1958/59. Their daughter Brenda was involved in the Dagenham Rail Crash along with me and we meet in Oldchurch Hospital, Romford and became good friends. Thay had a dairy farm I believe. I know that Brenda married and went to South Africa, but sadly we lost touch.

    By Jean Rowe née Pattle (21/11/2011)
  • Further to the comment by Nina Burton, I suggest she is incorrect in stating that an Alfred and Alice Buckenham farmed at Mundles in Wash Rd. From the early twenties, I remember it was Eldred Buckenham who farmed there, but who sadly commited suicide leaving the farm to Reginald. After Reg retired his son Geoffrey did not continue but entered local politics as a councillor and is still so engaged, but the Mundles farmhouse and buildings have long since disapperared although a new house called Mundles was built. I believe Geoffrey now lives in Gt. Burstead.

    By WH.Diment (19/11/2011)
  • Mr Diment. Well spotted. You are quite correct. I have re-checked my copy of the 1949 electorial roll and now realise I misread Eldred as Alfred. I should have gone to Specsavers! Listed at Mundles Farm in Wash Road were: Alice M Buckenham, Eldred Buckenham and Molly E Buckenham. Thank you for pointing it out to me. I will now book an eye test, urgently! Best wishes. Nina

    By Nina Burton (19/11/2011)
  • Thanks Ken (Porter) for the bit of history and look forward to hearing more. I know Chris will be very interested.

    By Andrea (18/11/2011)
  • My brother Dennis left Laindon High Road School in 1944 when he was 14 and his first job was working on Buckenham’s Farm. He stayed there a year before moving on to other things. Our bungalow ‘Spion Kop’ was bordered by Buckenham’s fields and in the early fifties I remember watching a horse and plough on the other side of our hedge (a lovely scene). The man driving the plough used to stop and chat to my dad while the horse waited patiently. Bourne Close was subsequently built on that field. I have a copy of the 1949 Burstead/Laindon electoral roll where there are five addresses listed for ‘Buckenham’ as follows. Alfred and Alice Buckenham “Mundles Farm”, Wash Road, Laindon. Alfred and Gwendoline Buckenham “Steeple View Farm” Arterial Road, Laindon. Charles, Daphne, Vera and Joan Buckenham “Cranleigh” Dunton Road. William J, William C, Jean, Nora and Jean (5 family members) Buckenham “Hereby” High Road, Laindon. Brian, Pauline and Robert Buckenham “Londesbro” High Road, Laindon. (I assume that “Fryth Farm” must have come under Billericay).

    By Nina Burton (18/11/2011)
  • Thank you so much Nina; it’s lovely to have this information and I will also pass it on to my husband. Incidentally, I have been enjoying all your contributions to the site – you certainly have a way with words.

    By Andrea (18/11/2011)
  • Gday Andy and all the rest of you, many years ago my old man [Charlie] used to buy soft shelled and cracked eggs from Buckenham’s farm on the A127. He was one of the first farmers to keep chooks in cages in the 50s [battery hens] and also kept pigs in small styes [deep litter] to fatten them up quickly. Charlie used to sort the eggs out at home and then take them to Sherwoods Paints in Barking where he worked, he sold these eggs for about a shilling a dozen [10p], remember that rationing was still on until 53 so I guess he was a black marketeer. 

    As some of the chooks ceased laying he would buy these from Mr Buckenham, kill them and we would sit at home for hours plucking and gutting them, not a job for the faint hearted. He would then sell these birds for about 5 bob each [25p] at work. Around Christmas time the orders for chickens would skyrocket and we would do the plucking etc for days, he also sold home grown flowers to his workmates as well.

    When going to work early one morning on his old ex-army Indian motor bike and sidecar with a load of possibly illegal eggs and chooks under a tarp and bunches of flowers he was pulled over by the cops for a routine check going along Fen Lane, Bulphan. They commented on his lovely flowers and when he offered them a bunch they let him on his way without further ado, phew!! 

    He traded with and did odd jobs in his spare time for Buckenham for years until he sold most of the farm to Fords where their research place is now. It was from Buckenham that dad got the idea of keeping a few pigs at home, he did this for a few years breeding from a big saddle back sow we had called Sally, she was a lovely old thing and used to love having her ears scratched. We bred two big litters from her [12 piglets at a time], which when marketing time came we had to walk to a holding pen on Lower Dunton Road.

    Interesting time that was walking 12 pigs from Ronald Ave, down Second Ave to Lower Dunton Rd, some of the neighbours chipped in to help on these occasions. If the pigs had made a run for it into the bushes we probably wouldn’t have seen them again. Charlie gave up pig farming not long after mum got her job with Tollworthy’s butchers, I wonder why??

    By Ken Page (17/11/2011)
  • Hi Andrea Yes, Buckenham had farmed from Frith Farm for nearly 100 years and the one you are referring to was known locally as the squire. As you possible know the old parish of Laindon stretched up just beyond the farm. The farm house is believed to have been built on the site of the Manor House of ‘Wella Manor’. Wella Manor being one of the three manors of Laindon. The others being Laindon Hall and Gobions (Manor House). Laindon Common nearby was orginally called Leyndon Fryth. “Fryth” is a derivation of an old English wordmeaning ‘a plain amidst the woods’. I cannot remember how old the current building is but when I find my notes I will post another comment.

    By Ken Porter (17/11/2011)
  • Hi Ken – lovely story. Think there were a few Buckenhams about – obviously the Butchers in Laindon apart from Mr B at Fryth Farm. You made me laugh about the chickens because my Dad bred them in Denbigh Road and sometimes he would wring their necks (errrr!) and we would sit merrily around an old tin bath and pluck them. I was only little but I could not do that now! I also remember the smell (yuk). We had geese in there too that would chase me down the path hissing at me – one used to put his beak around the back door knob and try to open the door. I remember the yellow baby chickens hatching from the eggs. I also remember having a big goose egg for brekky.

    By Andrea (17/11/2011)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.