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How old is Sacrewell Farm?

01 May 2017

Each week, we ask you to share your questions about farming, food or Sacrewell with us on Facebook. The person who writes the best question wins a free tractor ride for a child and accompanying adult, as well as having their question answered on our website. This question came from Sarah-Jayne Muller's little boys.

The modern story of Sacrewell Farm starts in 1917 (one hundred years ago), when a man called William Scott Abbott came to Sacrewell as a tenant farmer. His new ideas for farming were so successful that his family was able to buy the whole 550 acre farm in 1929 (88 years ago). The photograph shows a map of the farm from around this time. William Scott Abbott thought it was important for people to learn about farming and forestry and invited people to visit Sacrewell. When he died, his wife set up the William Scott Abbott Trust so that his vision of encouraging farming and countryside education for all could continue. Sacrewell Farm has been owned by the William Scott Abbott Trust since it was set up in 1964 (53 years ago) and with your support this will continue in to the future.  

However, the land at Sacrewell has been used by people for a very long time. Archeological studies of the 550 acre site have found evidence of people living and working here in the Bronze Age, which was around four thousand years ago. During the Bronze Age, some people would have been farmers who kept cows, pigs and sheep and grew crops like wheat and barley. They had also learned to use horses for transport. We don't know for sure that this is what the land was used for at Sacrewell, but it is possible that there has been farming on the site for around four thousand years.

Archeologists have also found evidence of Iron Age people at Sacrewell (around 2800 years ago) and a Roman millstone which was dated to 43 AD (2060 years ago) and is the earliest evidence of a watermill on the farm.

So this week's question has more than one answer; it’s been one hundred years since William Scott Abbott first came to farm at Sacrewell, but there may have been people farming at Sacrewell for four thousand years.

References:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/topics/z82hsbk

http://www.sacrewell.org.uk/sacrewell-timeline