Lodge Farm
Hawkes Lane, Bracon Ash

Originally called The Beeches, the house was built by James Church as a prestigious home for his growing family towards the end of the 19th Century.

James Church was a successful market gardener, with extensive glass-houses and a magnificent vineyard (housed in the largest glass-house on the map below).

Extract from OS map, 1906: part of Hawkes Lane with buildings shaded with diagonal lines; glass-houses with xx lines.
Extract from OS map, 1906: part of Hawkes Lane with buildings shaded with diagonal lines; glass-houses with xx lines.

When the business failed under James' son Joseph, the big house and much of the land was sold. The Berney family of Bracon Hall bought the house and some land and installed a tenant farmer. The Register of Electors lists George F Ringer (1929); then the Bowles family who were still there in 1939.

The last tenant farmer was Richard Henry White (1904-1993) who lived at Lodge Farm with his wife Emlyn (1908-1987) and both are buried in Bracon Ash churchyard. Mrs White is remembered for keeping the garden so beautiful: a terraced cottage garden. Mr White is remembered in Mulbarton for harvesting Mr berney's land to the south of Cuckoofield Lane. Their son, also Richard (known as Dicky) moved to Mulbarton but continued to help his father at busy times. It is said he hoped to be able to run the farm when his father retired, but Mr Berney wanted to sell the house and land.

Mr White harvesting land south of Cuckoofield Lane, Mulbarton
Mr White harvesting land south of Cuckoofield Lane, Mulbarton

When Mr White retired, the house and land were sold separately and Lodge Farm became a private dwelling and was modernised by its new owners who were Mormons. The garden was turned into grass and they entertained many Mormon families - to the extent that local rumour called it a 'commune'! 

Renovations at Lodge Farm when the windows were replaced.
Renovations at Lodge Farm when the windows were replaced.

The next owner turned it into a prestigious country house, and continued to make it a place of entertainment. Currently if is for sale again - to anyone with a million pounds....