The farm itself lies to the south of the ridge of high ground known as "Mare Ridge" and in Ballard's survey of 1762, buildings are shown in the same place as the farm is today. The land to the south as far as Ridgeway Lane had already been enclosed in a number of blocks as Sulhamstead Farm with Thomas Clarke as tenant. This land lay then in the parish of Sulhamstead but is clearly part of Powlett Wrighte's estate. To the west of this land is the common field of Sulhamstead, still laid out in strips at this time. Ballard does not show the land between Ridgeway Lane and the Bath Road but when Sulhamstead Field was enclosed in 1811 the map (right) shows it as extending to the Bath Road in a single enclosed parcel. To the east of Sulhamstead Field south of Ridgeway Lane are some smaller enclosures and these, with Sulhamstead Field and all the land on the other side of the Bath Road down to the river, are allotted to William Stone of Mile House Farm.
In the estate survey of 1844, when it is called “Mearidge” Farm and has Mr Hart as tenant, confirmed by a notice in the Reading Mercury of the marriage of his son in February 1850. Stephen Hart was still tenant of Mearidge Farm in 1851 but he had been succeeded by Mr John Harris within three years and again the farm is Mearidge Farm in the newspaper advertisement of a sale of sheep. John Harris died suddenly aged 64, probably from a stroke or cerebral haemorrhage, on the way home from Reading Market in January 1856. He left Reading in his gig at half past four in the afternoon and called at the Sun Inn where he picked up Abraham Parsons and took him to Englefield. Turning from the Bath Road towards Englefield he complained of a “curious pain” in his head but continued to talk to Mr Parsons until he left him. Shortly afterwards some men met the gig with the horse “going at a foot pace” and Mr Harris lying unconscious on the left hand side. In the newspaper report and the advertisements for the subsequent sale of the farm stock and other effects the farm is called Mearidge Farm.
The road that runs through the farm was originally on a slightly different course and the original farmhouse was on the opposite side of it to the current one. In the 1861 census the farmhouse (written now as "Mayridge") is inhabited by George King, a farmer, with the additional note that his tenancy ceased at Michaelmas - some six months earlier. There is also a second property called Mayridge Farm in which lives John Turner, the land agent. This being the current farmhouse, which Miss Winchcombe tells us was used by the agent until the Agency was built in the Englefield Road. Both the new and old houses seem to have continued in existence together until at least 1871, with the old house still the farmhouse and the new one the Agency occupied by John Turner. By 1881 the new house has become the farmhouse with George Levoy, a farmer, in situ, the new Agency having by then been built in the Englefield Road. The old farmhouse continued to house various estate workers until in the 1891 census it is shown as uninhabited and by 1901 it must have been demolished.
© 2020 Richard J Smith