DATA BASE REF: A/F 1010
JARVIS FAMILY FARMING OF BELSIZE FARM, MARHOLM nr PETERBOROUGH
Although Belsize Farm is considered to be in Marholm, it is in fact both in Castor Ecclesiastical Parish and Castor Civil Parish. Trevor Jarvis and his wife Jane now farm it, Trevor’s father Dick(Cyril) having retired.
George Jarvis who died in 1957, came to Belsize after the Great War. Before that he had been a carrier based in Helpston, transporting, gravel, wood, timber etc. Vic Winterton claims that when George Jarvis came back from the 14-18 War, Helpston village helped him buy his first horse and cart.
George m Edith
Arthur Jack m Rose Watts George Ernie
Jarvis Jarvis Jarvis Jarvis
(Home d.1957 (these 2 brothers came out of farming 1947)
Farm) (Belsize Farm)
Toby Stan Peter Gordon Cyril m Jean Colin m Lily Brian Graham
(Dick) Ayres (Jagger) Dytham
Trevor m Jane Sandra
Melissa Isabel Gavin Stephanie
Jarvis Jarvis Cooper Cooper
Notes: Cyril Jarvis, son of Jack(John) is always known as Dick. He married at Marholm Church in 1954 to Jean, daughter of Sid and Liz Ayres who lived at Pellat Hall (where Jean was born in 1931) as tenants of Milton Estate.
Farms Associated with the Jarvis Family :
George Jarvis came to Belsize after the Great War in the 20s. He took on about 230 acres. The Pike family had been the previous tenants. He took the land rent-free for the first two years, and when he told Lord Fitzwilliam that he was not going to be able to make it pay the rent, Lord Fitzwilliam told him to work it until it was profitable. Times were very hard then due to the agricultural depression. George must have been a hard man but shrewd farmer. He farmed it with all four of his sons. Jack Jarvis (Dick’s father) married in 1928, and at about that time George then took on Home Farm Marholm and the Fruit Farm (now Milton Woodyard). George moved into Fruit Farm Cottage, leaving son Jack at Belsize and his son Arthur at Home Farm. They farmed it all as one unit.
In 1947 George Jarvis sold up to retire, but his son Arthur took on the tenancy of Home Farm and his son Jack took on Belsize Farm. George built a bungalow in Woodcroft Road (where Selma Roth lived latterly) and he and Ethel lived there until they died. The bungalow is owned by Milton Estate now. Jack died 12th December 1979
In 1962 Dick took on Belsize from his father and retired in 1996, and his son Trevor now farms Belsize on his own. His parents Dick and Jean still live on the farm in Belsize Cottage.
Farming at Belsize Farm:
Belsize Farm was originally a “grange farm” for the monks of Peterborough Abbey. The barn and buildings are very old – the huge barn certainly medieval, with a Collyweston Slate roof. There are the remains of Carp Ponds, a bank known as Roman Bank, and old cobbling under the turf in places. In 1976 it was a dry summer, and Peter Sharpe a pilot, flying above the farm saw dry marks outlining ancient buildings and paths etc.
On the wall of the barn there are a number of facts painted including the fact that the “Pikes left in 1917”. Also written on the wall is the number of quarters of wheat that were threshed on Armistice Day 11 November 1918.
At Belsize they had beef cattle and a dairy as well as a dairy at Home Farm. There were ten working horses(mixture of Percherons and Blues, 6 in one stable, 4 in another) and a hacking pony.
They last ploughed behind a horse in 1946, in Eight Acre Field, just below Marholm Lodges. It was a single furrow plough and Jim Coles was the horse-keeper living at Home Farm. Jim Coles was a real character, also being the gravedigger, the “layer-out” and the haircutter. On one occasion he was digging drainage to stop water running through Marholm Churchyard, and the parson, the Revd White came across him and said “Have you tried damming it?”. Jim said he had cursed it and called it everything to no effect.
In 1947 George sold his horses, but Jack had horses thereafter. He used three at Belsize, called Dolly, Punch and Sabre. They were used for hoeing, sugar beet drilling and carting. The last horse was sold in 1961. It had been used to take feed to the cattle.
The dairy at Belsize stopped in 1962, when father Jack was ill, and the dairy herd was sold.
The first tractor was bought in 1947, a grey petrol-driven Ford Ferguson. The first Combine came in 1948; it was a 12ft red Massey-Harris and cost about £800 second-hand.
Jack Jarvis used to employ seven men at Belsize over and above family. From 1962, Dick employed four men there, His son Trevor now employs none.
Notes made by W Burke on 14 May 2002 (Feast of St Matthias) with Dick Jarvis, Trevor Jarvis and Trevor’s wife Jane