The 1851 census shows 61 year old George Deeley, living near Lye Cross, to be a mining agent and farmer, but it is not known where he farmed. It is possible that he owned Freehold Farm and rented it out, or that he had a manager running the farm. His youngest son, Richard, born 1832, was a clerk at a clayworks. Thirty six year old Richard wed twenty year old Hannah Plant, daughter of Daniel Plant and Elizabeth Gill, in 1868 at St. Mary's Church, Oldswinford, Worcs.
At about this time they moved into ‘Deeley’s Farm’, later known as Freehold Farm, and are shown there with their one year old daughter Alice Elizabeth in the 1871 census. The house appears to have been ‘semi-detached’, as George Phillips, along with his wife and two sons, was living at the same address.
The 1881 census shows the farm is recorded as Freehold Farm. The Deeleys now have another daughter, Phoebe Louise (b 1871), and two sons George Plant (b 1883) and Richard David (b 1879), all shown as born at Freehold Farm. Richard is listed as a mine agent. They have a domestic servant, twenty year old Ann Scott, born in Oldswinford. The farm still appears to be ‘semi-detached’ as Elijah Yardley and his family are shown at the same address.
By 1891, the Deeleys have moved to Mousehall Farm, a few hundred yards to the north of Freehold Farm. The census also shows the birth of Winifred Hannah Plant (b 1885) and Reuben Charles Plant (b 1889), both born at Freehold Farm. The census also shows three other families listed under Mousehall farm.
In 1911 the farm was inhabited by the Cox family.
Freehold Farm House, which lies on the banks of the River Stour as it wends its way towards Stourbridge, still looks much the same as it did when it was a mainly dairy farm run by William Chance. Sons Robert and Harry Chance lived there until 2011, and remember the Caledonia housing estate gradually replacing little lanes, scattered cottages, smallholdings, mine workings and of course fields. The sewerage farm adjoining Freehold was built in the late 1940s and takes it's name from Freehold Farm.
As a lad in the 1940s Robert Chance sold milk, initially from the farm cows. The milk round grew with the arrival of the houses and it was a daily treat to see the horse and cart arriving with the pinta. Christmas Day was the only time there was no delivery. The children especially enjoyed taking an apple or carrot to feed the horse. Robert knew every child's name, and had a friendly word for everyone. Over the years several horses worked on the delivery, they were either named Tommy or Dolly depending on their gender!
One horse, Tommy, pulled the cart for 15 years. he learned where to stop and would turn round while the milk was being taken to the houses. The roads were quieter then! During the 1970s Robert won 'Milkman of the Year' competition run by Birmingham Dairies and Sunday Mercury.
© M.P.L.H.G. 2011
Tommy - Stamford Road - late 1950's.
Dolly - Hungary Hill - late 1970's.
photo courtesy of John James
Freehold Farm 1999
photo courtesy of Mike Perkins
Gill Savage visiting Freehold Farm 20th July 2010
1851 census Back
1871 census Back
1881 census Back
1891 census Back