DATA BASE REF: A/F 1001
MICHAEL AND RUTH LONGFOOT OF MODEL FARM, UPTON nr PETERBOROUGH
Michael and Ruth Longfoot farm at Model Farm Upton with their son David
Michael’s great-grandfather, Richard Longfoot is buried in Castor Churchyard. He had two sons, Matthew and George (Michael’s grandfather)
Matthew George Frederick
Longfoot Longfoot m Emma Poll m Annie
(Green Fm Castor) (Home Fm Castor)
Dick Len Harry Walter m Kathleen Bob
Longfoot Longfoot Longfoot Longfoot Poll Poll
(Green Fm Castor) (Home Fm Castor) (Home Fm Castor)
(Model Fm Upton)
Jack Roland Michael Ruth
Longfoot Longfoot Longfoot m Watts
(Model Fm Upton)
Richard Colin m Janet David Jane
Longfoot Longfoot Longfoot b Aug 1956 (Webb) b Jul 1959
(Rector of (Model Fm Upton)
Farms Associated with the Longfoots:
George Longfoot farmed Green Farm Castor, but his son Walter (Wally) became an engineer at Brotherhoods, and so Green Farm was then farmed by George’s nephew Harry Longfoot, and then Harry’s son Roly Longfoot.
Dick and Len Longfoot farmed The Limes Farm Castor
Walter Longfoot reverted to farming when he married Kathleen Poll the daughter of Frederick Poll of Home Farm Castor.
Home Farm Castor, attached to Castor House was part of the White’s estate. Castor House and the attached
Home Farm were sold by the White’s to some-one of German origin in 1914 (there used to be a big eagle on the gate), and then split up and sold again in 1919.
Frederick Poll, who had been a farm manager at Holiwell nr Stamford, bought Home Farm in 1919. This was to be the only owner-farm in the area. It was about 190 acres. All the other farmers were tenants of either the Fitzwilliams of Milton or the Church Commissioners. Sir Richard Winfrey MP bought Castor House and its grounds at the same time.
After Frederick Poll died, the ownership of Home Farm went to his son Bob, but was farmed by his son-in-law Walter Longfoot, with the new owner Bob Poll working on the farm for Walter Longfoot.
In 1934 Walter Longfoot took on the additional tenancy of Model Farm Upton from the Fitzwilliams; he farmed the land but let the house until 1955 the year his son married Ruth Watts. Michael and Ruth, the daughter of Joseph and Kate Watts, were married at Aynhoe on 14 May 1955. Michael and Ruth moved into Model Farm and farmed it in partnership with his father. Michael now farms it in partnership with their son David.
Before the Longfoots, the tenants of Model Farm Upton had been Fred Allen, and before him Wilfred Holmes, who also farmed Lower Lodge Farm Upton.
Meanwhile, Home Farm Castor was auctioned by the Polls in 1961. Milton Estates (the Fitzwilliams) bought most of the land and the Winfreys of Castor House bought the farmhouse with a bit of land. At the same time Michael Longfoot bought the meadows by the river which he still farms.
Farming at Model Farm Upton
For many years the family farmed Home Farm Castor and Model Farm Upton simultaneously.
The last field to be ploughed by a horse-drawn plough was the field behind the former council houses in Upton in 1948. The plough had one furrow and you could do about an acre a day with the horse. The ploughman was Fred Hornsby (Lynn Bell of Upton’s uncle). Three of the horses were sold in 1949 for a total of £60. The Longfoots still kept four horses for pulling muck-carts etc. Their names were Flower and Beauty (Percherons) and Sharper and Jewell (Shires). Fred Hornsby would come into the yard at 6am to feed the horses to get them ready for work in the fields by 7am. The last working horses went in 1960, the year Walter Longfoot died.
While at Home Farm Castor, they had a dairy and a milk round in the village (which they gave up in 1952). The dairy stopped in 1961 when Home Farm Castor was sold. In Upton there was no dairy at Model Farm, although the Herberts at Manor Farm Upton milked, as did the Harrises at Top Lodge Farm.
The Longfoots bought the site of the bungalow in Mill Lane for Walter and Kathleen Longfoot to live in when they retired from farming. Sadly Walter died, but Kathleen Longfoot lived in it until her own death in 1980.
Farming at Model farm included arable, sheep, pigs, and bullocks. Ruth also did the hens, which at their peak included 8-900 hundred hens. They also did turkeys, Christmas birds but stopped the hens in c 1970. They supplied eggs to the Means’ shop in Castor. While they were farming Home Farm Castor and Model Farm Upton together, as well as some land they bought at Southorpe, the Longfoots employed 12 men. They now only have two men, Sam Jefferies and Mick Hill. The really big change was of course the advent of tractors and combines. Michael can recall in the early days the barn at Poll’s Yard (Home Farm) would be filled with barley and then the Gibbonses would come in with their threshing machines. The Longfoots bought their first combine harvester in 1950. It was a red, petrol- driven Massey Harris and cost £1000. The change-over was gradual, they still had binders for making sheaves, and haymaking; sugarbeet was still picked by hand, knocked and laid in 1960s. Taylor’s’ lorries (Taylor’s Transport of Ailsworth) would take away 7 or 8 tons having taken 5 or 6 hours to load a lorry. Now a 28-ton lorry is loaded in 10-15 minutes. The generation that has seen the real change would be that of Ruth Longfoot’s mother, (a farmer’s wife) who died in 1990 aged 95.
These notes were made by W Burke talking to Michael and Ruth Longfoot at Model farm on 29 Apr 2002.
Attached in a sleeve is the Catalogue for the farm sale of the stock, machinery and implements for Home Farm Castor which was conducted by Fox and Vergette as instructed by the Executors of the late WW Longfoot. The sale took place at the farm on Thursday 5th October 1961.