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Article researched and compiled by John Meads 2006

The Attfield Family

The two farm houses lived in by the Attfield brothers c 1950.
The two farm houses lived in by the Attfield brothers c 1950.
Windmill Farm, where William & Beatrice May lived, is in the centre.
Frank & Dorothy lived in the house on the right.

William Walter Attfield came to Burton Latimer from Ashby Magna in the late 1880s as farm manager/bailiff for Rector Newman and was responsible for the 450 acres of Glebe, then on the Wold. He married Mary Ellen Gross in 1892. Mary was the daughter of William John Gross, a farmer who lived at Home Farm, Kettering Road who later moved to 'The Laurels' on the corner of Church Street and Cranford Road , nearly opposite the farm houses that made up Windmill Farm and which the Attfield family would occupy for the next hundred years. Mary's unmarried sister, Miss Margaret Gross, was a teacher at the Infants School in the High Street and was its head when she retired in 1933. William Walter stood as Church candidate for the Parish Council in 1896 and was successful four years later, serving for eight years from 1900.

William Walter and Mary had four children:­

The Attfield children. Frank, Mary, Ellen and William c1907
The Attfield children: Frank, Mary, Ellen and William c1907

1893 Frank - served in the Army Veterinary Corps in WW1, he married Dorothy Lansom in 1927 and farmed in Burton Latimer all his life. He died in 1972.

1895 Mary - did not marry, died in 1984

1897 William - known as 'Bibs' – farmed in Burton Latimer all his life until his death in 1971. He married Beatrice May Pinnock from Cranford in 1925. (Beatrice was the sister of Mrs. Bernard Saddington). They had two sons, Robin William and John T. Robin continued farming until his death in 1994 (to read about Robin's funeral, click here) and has been followed by his son David.       

1900 Ellen - married Leonard Baden Pentelow in 1928. They were postmaster and postmistress at Finedon Post Office for many years until retiring to Burton Latimer to live in a bungalow they had built on the corner of Cranford Road and Woodcock Street.

Frank Attfield Mary Attfield Ellen Attfield
Frank Attfield and his sisters Mary (left) and Ellen (right). William (‘Bibs’) is featured below.

The Attfields were staunch supporters of the Parish Church and their horse drawn wagons were always available to convey children and adults on school and church outings, often journeying many miles to visit places of interest.

A Church procession with ‘Bibs’ Attfield in charge of the first farm wagon.
A young ‘Bibs’ Attfield is in charge of the first farm wagon being used in this Church procession.
Photograph taken c1904 showing another of the Attfield wagons.
This photograph, taken c1904, shows another of the Attfield wagons. On the left is William Walter Attfield’s farm looking towards Woodcock Street.

According to an elderly resident, Attfield’s annual harvest supper was an event enjoyed by all those men and women who had helped the regular farm workers at a very busy time. In the 1890s and early 1900s, it was held in one of the barns and attended by upwards of 60 people, some of them pit workers who had taken time off to help, and who were seated at long trestle tables. Mr Attfield would preside over a feast that would include baked potatoes and crust with Yorkshire pudding and plenty of meat, all of which was cooked at Talbutt’s bakehouse. After the meal the revellers would take part in sing-songs and entertainment, and would be provided with jugs of beer, which sometimes resulted in a certain amount of drunkenness.

An interesting ‘snapshot’ of the Attfield’s farm was provided when a farm survey of all farms in England and Wales was ordered by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1941. At that time, Frank and William Attfield were tenants of Capt. Harpur (120 acres), Burton Latimer Glebe (265 acres) and Richard Thomas Ltd., the ironstone company (25 acres). More than half the acreage was on Burton Wold where 259 acres had been requisitioned by the War Office as a training area, leaving just 151 acres, of which 130 acres were arable land. A flock of 200 ewes had to be sold because of the requisitioning but the brothers had grazing rights on 31 acres belonging to fellow farmer Jim Bennie of Home Farm, Kettering Road, which was used as grasskeeping. The farm had a total of 61 cattle and calves, 194 sheep and lambs, 11 pigs, 150 fowls and four horses. There was one Fordson tractor and four full-time family members were employed; the annual rent was £325.

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