The History Of Bulkington Families
Some of the families living in Bulkington have associations with the village going back several generations. Most of the information given here has come from their families or friends.
Breach Family and Manor Farm, Bulkington. (Written April 2021)
The Breach family came to Bulkington from Seend. In 1859 John Breach (born 1830 in Chittoe) took over the Barge Inn, Seend, also known as Seend Wharf, with his wife Matilda and young son Herbert William (1858). He was a ‘coal merchant, beer retailer and shopkeeper’. He lived there for about ten years, during which time he added ‘farmer’ to his list of occupations. In about 1870 a bakery was built for him at the corner of Perry’s Lane. He moved into this and became baker/farmer. He lived to be over 90. Meanwhile Herbert William took over the running of their farm at Inmarsh with Matilda, but by 1899 was living in a dwelling house in Keevil Road, Bulkington, with his wife Selina. He had taken over the lease of Manor Farm, Bulkington but his nephew lived in the house as manager. By the turn of the century Herbert and Selina had moved into the farmhouse. Herbert Breach was Christ Church Warden 1900-1903.
Although Bulkington had been declared a Parish in 1884, the land, consisting mainly of 4 farms – Home Farm, Lawn Farm, Bulkington Mill Farm and Manor Farm - was still owned by Thomas Gaisford of Keevil. In 1919 the entire estate, 845 acres, was sold to a syndicate of Bulkington tenants – HW Breach, Mr Tucker, Mr Rose and Mr Willis – for £40,000. It was all split and settled by 1921 and Herbert Breach had gained Manor Farm. In 1923 Herbert sold it to his son John Herbert (Jack) Breach who had been living with his wife Gladys in a farm cottage in the middle of the village and already had the first of their four sons, William. In 1947 Westview (which had once been the village blacksmith’s) was bought by Jack and added to the farm shortly before his death in 1948. After his death the farm remained in the name of his second wife Kitty and was worked in partnership by sons William (Bill), Thomas (Tom), and Richard (Dick). The fourth son, Bob, had taken a different path in life, becoming a teacher. Dick left the partnership around 1960 to take up his own farm near Bath, and some years later Tom also left the partnership, so Bill Breach and his wife, Joan, continued to run the farm with their growing family. When the dust settled after Kitty’s death in 1990, Bill’s elder son John purchased Manor Farm and the younger son, Robert, took on Westview Cottage and various acreages which he farms with his wife Helen and their two grown children. Bill and Joan also had two daughters, Jane and Susan, who left the district on marrying. Bill dedicated much time and energy to the village and was also Church Warden for 50 years. He passed away in July 2002, less than a year after Joan.
Meanwhile, John and his wife Gill had three sons and one of them, Alex Breach, is now working Manor Farm with brother Edward, and living in one of the semi-detached farm cottages in the middle of the village with wife, Hannah, and two young sons. John and Gill are in the process of retiring. Their third son, Ollie, and wife Harriet, with third child on the way, have recently returned to live in the village, having renovated Lawn Farm farmhouse. Lawn Farm had been split and sold for housing during the past decade.
The story continues!
Sources of information found in County Library, Wiltshire:
Seend, A Wiltshire Village, Past and Present. P.114
Kelly’s Dictionary: 1889, 1895,1899,1903
Electoral rolls 1895, 1897, 1899,1901
A History of Wiltshire
Plus Bill Breach’s memories. Current family knowledge.
Aerial photographs of Manor Farm, Bulkington
The following are observations by Jane Coupe (nee Breach) on the two aerial photographs above:
I find the first photograph the most interesting as it shows Westview, which used to be the village blacksmith's. The house clearly has an early building with an extension. My brother Rob and wife Helen further extended when they moved in after their marriage. I lived in this house from birth till 3 years old and have a few early memories. Then we moved across into Manor Farm and my Uncle Dick moved into Westview with his new wife, Rose. At the same time, my grandmother moved down the road from the farmhouse into her newly built bungalow - it was a pretty white building but has now been sold and 'built over' - I'm afraid I don't like it now! Dick and Rose had three children (my cousins), then bought their own farm near Bath. Westview was rented for quite a while before Rob and Helen moved in.
In that photo there is also the church and the church hall which was there all through my childhood but has since been demolished. It was used for all sorts of things from youth club, to choir clothes storage, to church meetings, harvest festival sales (each year Dad auctioned off the produce that decorated the church windows - there was always one huge pumpkin which was the final item of the night) I think there were also whist drives there and Vicar Baron's wife taught Scottish Dancing. I also remember doing a basic first aid course in that hall as a teenager. I can also see Aunty Rose's hen-house - the first one an old Nissan Hut which were cheap to buy after the war, and the much newer one. When Dick and Rose moved, my mother took over the henhouses. She never liked the 'battery' system - much preferring 'deep litter'.
The second photo shows Manor Farm House and if you look carefully as the side that's visible you can see a bricked-up window - that had to be done when the government brought in a 'light tax'. There's at least one more like it around the other side of the house. My mother painted them in the same colours as the rest of the windows so that they didn't show up as being different! The farmyards are very different now, having undergone several re-incarnations over the years. Even the cows are different as we used to milk Ayrshires, but then changed over to Freisians. The basic farm buildings around the yards haven't changed as I believe there is an historical preservation order on them, but the more modern buildings in the 'rick yard' (hay rick is the old name for a hay stack) keep on increasing in number! I remember the early ones being built and several more have been added since I left. Rob will know all about it.
The Northcote Family
The Northcote Family
Early in the 1920’s, The Well public house was known as The Bell and run by the Northcote family. John Northcote ran the pub for over twenty years from 1924 until he died in Bulkington in 1945. Before taking over the pub he was a serving officer with the Metropolitan Police. During WW1, when soldiers were being trained at Keevil, they would come through the village of Bulkington on training exercises. John is rumoured to have pints lined up for them to gulp down when they jumped over the pub garden wall.
John Northcote was born in Millom, Cumberland in 1877. We have recently been informed that his parents were Henry Northcote and Margaret Alice Wilson who married in June 1874. Both appear to have come from around Bootle, Cumberland.
John married Annie Elizabeth Forster (1885 - 1942). They had four sons named Hartley, Victor Hugh, Leonard John and Henry Wilson. Hartley took over the pub when his father died and ran it until the late 1950’s. They also had four daughters - Joan, Ivy Ethel (known as Betty), Patricia and Phyllis Ann. Tragically, Phyllis Ann died in 1915 when she was only two years old and Patricia died in 1938 aged only 14 years old. Annie Northcote died in 1942.
John and Annie Northcote and family outside the Bell, Bulkington
Before she married John, Annie Northcote was an assistant for vaudeville and silent screen siren Maisie Gay. Later in life Maisie took over as landlady of the Northey Arms in Box. Amongst her theatrical friends was Noel Coward who regularly visited her there and is rumoured to occasionally have served behind the bar. Maisie Gay visited Ann at the Bell in Bulkington after she was married.
John’s younger brother Henry Northcote was born in 1883; he died in 1944. He married Emma Moss (1883-1946). He too was a London Policeman.
Hartley Northcote married Edith Ann Skilling (a second cousin). Before he took over the pub from his father he was in the Secret Service MI5. He also served with the Scots Guards and at one time was Batman for Lord Strathmore ( formerly Bowes-Lyon), the Queen Mother's father. He sold the pub in the 1950's and moved to Trowbridge. He died in 1980.
Victor Northcote worked for Spencers in Melksham but moved to Marshmead, Hilperton, when a housing scheme was developed there. He died a few years ago but is survived by his daughter who still lives there.
Henry Wilson Northcote was in the RAF but also served with the Canadian services. After the war he moved to Canada.
Leonard John Northcote was another serving Police Officer.
Ivy Ethel (Betty) Northcote was Joan Northcote’s sister and married Jack Orchard at Christ Church, Bulkington. Jack was a 'Gentleman Farmer'. Betty eventually moved to Beckhampton where she ran the 'Wagon and Horses' public house.
Ivy Ethel (Betty) and Jack Orchard's Wedding in Bulkington
The grave of John Northcote (1877-1945), Annie Elizabeth Northcote (1885-1942) and their son Hartley (1915-1980) is in the churchyard of Christchurch, Bulkington, where there is also a large memorial to Patricia Northcote, Victor Hugh Northcote (1927-2006) and his wife Josephine Dawn Northcote ( 1928-2001).
The Rose Family
George Herbert Rose was the second eldest of the four Rose bothers. In 1901 he was living in Church Farm and by 1911 he was living in Lawn Farm. His WWII records show he was wounded in WWI and was in France from May 1916 until September 1919. He joined the RAF for WWII ( he was 46) as an engineer and was generally based around Swindon but sometimes was in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. He was discharged sometime during 1945 and died shortly afterwards of acute bronchitis following an accident in the dairy on 6 August 1945 (VJ day) where he inhaled gaseous ammonia following the explosion of a farm compressor. His address is shown as West View - so he probably moved from Lawn farm when he was in the RAF. He in buried in the churchyard and has an RAF headstone as well as being in the family plot.
The Rose Family Tree
George Herbert Rose 1893-1945