John Horn's Farm
The John Horn referred to in Ballard’s survey was at least the third of that name in direct succession. John Horn(1) was born in 1665 and married Elizabeth Haines, by whom he had a son John(2) born in 1694. This second John Horn married Sarah Keywell and their eldest son was John Horn(3), born in 1719, is the one in Ballard’s survey. Another son was Thomas Horn. John Horn(3) married Ann Justice and they had a son John(4) in 1748.
In Ballard’s survey in 1762, John Horn(3) and his brother Thomas are shown as freeholders of enclosed land in Englefield and also in the open fields. This John Horn had actually died in 1759 and by his will, proved in 1760, he left all his lands to his wife Ann for her lifetime and then to be split between his three sons John(4), William and Thomas, who were all less than 12 years old when he died. Ballard’s survey shows the land as it was before it was split.
The photograph below (click for larger version) shows the land belonging to members of the Horn family at the time of Ballard’s survey and up to 1820.
The land outlined on the image in orange and in green is that owned by John Horn in Englefield according to Ballard. The orange outlined areas went eventually to his son John and consist of a small block near Chalkpit Farm (including a field known as Horn’s Ground), two holdings in the Englefield Great Field and one in the Englefield Meadow. These latter three plots are shown in the plan believed from about 1690 as belonging to John’s grandfather. The large area outlined in red (which includes Horn’s Copse) is blank on Ballard’s map being in the parish of Tilehurst; the name “Horn” is, however, written in pencil on this space. The later Tilehurst enclosure map of 1817 shows this land, and the other blocks in red, as belonging to “the heirs and devisees of John Horn”. This by then being John Horn(4), the son of the John Horn in Ballard’s survey, who had died in 1813, before the enclosure process was completed. Only the two areas in solid red fill, one in the Theale Meadow and one at Kentwood in Tilehurst, were part of the enclosure agreement, indicating that the other blocks outlined in red were already enclosed land belonging to John Horn before then. We know from the will of John Horn(3) in 1759 that he had six acres in Theale Meadow “butting and joining to the Handitch on the left hand of the path leading from Theale to Sheffield Shivill Mill”.
The small area in light blue is the land that John Horn(4) received in 1774 in exchange for his holding in the Great Field and the two small blocks in dark blue are those given in 1810 in exchange for his holding in the Englefield Meadow and his rights of common. The much larger area in yellow enclosing these two pieces was being rented by John Horn(4) in 1803, as was part of the Dairies on the River Pang just to the north of where the M4 motorway crosses the modern A340 diagonally through the centre of the image. All of this land was sold to Richard Benyon in 1819.
The land outlined in green is that which John(3) left to son William Horn. This was Bucklesmoor (though Ballard incorrectly calls this Busheymoor in his listing; Busheymoor is in fact the piece of land immediately to the south of Bucklesmoor and is marked as such by Ballard on the map) and a small piece just on the other side of the old Tidmarsh Road. By 1809 William Horn had also acquired two small pieces of land in the Englefield Meadow and the small block in solid dark green on the north side of Bucklesmoor was given to him in exchange for these and his common rights in 1810.
Thomas Horn, the brother of John Horn(3) had houses, a hop garden, orchard and two other pieces of land in the centre of Englefield, straddling the Street, outlined in pink above, as well as five plots in the Great Field, one in the Puntfield and one eighth of two sections in the Hides. These are outlined in the sand colour and the plots in the Great Field and Puntfield are exactly the same as those shown belonging to John Horn in the plan believed to be from about 1690, so presumably came down to Thomas, as did perhaps the property in Englefield Street. Nothing further is known of Thomas Horn and like his brother he seems also to died shortly before 1762 for Ballard’s survey has some land as “Thomas Horn’s now Thomas Draper’s” and he was not part of the agreement on farming in the Great Field made in that year and his holdings in the common fields were certainly in the hands of others by 1774.
The will of John Horn(3) in 1759 mentions three houses: “New House” and "Knapp's" in Englefield, and "Bunce's" in Tilehurst. New House was inherited by John Horne(4) and is thought to have been the one close to Chalkpit Farm. Miss Winchcomb said that her mother’s ancestors occupied a farmhouse here, the foundations of which were still visible at the start of the 20th century.
Knapp's was close to Bucklesmoor and Farley Mill on the river Pang and was inherited in 1760 by William Horne. Again, Miss Winchcomb recalled that her grandfather’s uncle William had a house and smallholding on the right hand side of the Pangbourne Road a little before Hogmoor Bridge and the entrance to Piper’s Lane. From here her mother (born 1856) would fetch eggs and butter when she was a child. In 1844 William Horne lived with his mother Mary in a house just where the modern A340 climbs up to cross the M4. However, Knapp's was likely the house on the opposite side of the road and like New House demolished by 1844.
The location of Bunce's is unknown but there was also a house in North Street, known to Miss Winchcomb as the "Timbered Cottage", at the junction with Piper’s Lane and on the main block of John Horn's land, where her mother was born. In 1817 there was a collection of buildings on this site and in 1844 there were three separate dwellings there. The site was cleared in 1860 and the New Inn built. Alternatively, this may be a mis-transcription of "Dunces" by which the small farm just at the bottom of Englefield Street was known in 1728.
All the land was sold to Richard Benyon at the start of the 1820s but in the tithe return of 1844 Mary Horne held the tenancy of Bucklesmoor, Busheymoor and Hogmoor Bridge Meadow and Sarah Horne was the occupier of the Timbered Cottage.
© 2020 Richard J Smith