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Long Lost Balls Farm

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Balls Farm was most probably demolished around the middle part of 1943,
as it stood directly in the path of the proposed Wormingford Airfield.

balls farm location
The 1825 map of the area shows three cottages along Balls Chase, no idea if these were demolished together with Balls Farm.

Aerial Photograph taken November 1943

Balls, Ablongrove, Harveys Farm together with Woodhouse all demolished.

Redundant entrance,
Balls Chase leading to Balls Farm
Photographs taken by the RAF in June 1943
These buildings appear to have been abandoned for several years.
Photos supplied from the Natural England Archives

Very little is known about this property, apart from the references listed below:-

(a) Court Rolls of 1769 indicate, John Patterson as Landlord with Thomas Rayner as Tenant paying £3.8s rent annually
Ref: Ida Mcmasters Book page 138

(b) Philip Salmon Snr father of (c) married Mary Game (possibly 1776)farmed this property but dates unknown
Presumably between (a)1769 and (c)1841

(c) Philip Salmon Jnr, (b 1781)
Philip Salmon was born in 1781 in Bures St Mary and was baptised there in 1782.
In 1804 he married Elizabeth Leggett in West Bergholt. She died in 1825,
He subsequently married Lydia Mills in Little Bromley Church 3rd April 1832, although he was a resident of Mount Bures

Later to be Tenant of Balls Farm as shown in Census returns for 1848 and 1851

Farm consisted of 110 acres acres with 4 farm labourers
Philip died in 1853, and his wife Lydia 5 years later.
His daughter, Mary Salmon b1814 married John Newman

(d) Mount Bures Workhouse 1841.
The Poor House did not last long. It was sold by the Guardians
at the Sudbury Union to Mrs Mary Newman, wife of John Newman, miller, and daughter of Philip Salmon of Balls farm


(e)Whites Trade Directory 1848
Philip Salmon, Farmer

(f)Register of Electors County of Essex 1841/42

This seems to indicate the Salmons were tenant farmers. The owner being Joseph Wilkinson

(g)1851 Mount Bures Census
Philip Salmon b1781, so at this Census date he would have been 70

(h) 1853, Philip Salmon deceased

(i) History of Wormingford Airfield
" Wormingford was originally earmarked for an Eighth Heavy Bomb Group, being built by Richard Costain Ltd. and helped by a number of sub contractors during the period 1942/1943"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Wormingford .
How could it have been in operation in 1942, when the Balls Farm photographed in June 1943, shows it still standing

(j) 1871 Census
John Clampin age 37 Head (Labourer)
Eliza Clampin age 33 Wife

(k) British History online
"In 1943 the airfield was extended to provide 3 runways, 2 hangars, 50 aircraft parking areas, and living quarters for 3,000 men"
This seems to be a more likely statement

(l)Ida McMaster in her bóok "Mount Bures Its Lands and its Peoples" makes only two references:-

Page 91:- No early records have been found for Balls Farm, they may well be with the War Department"
Page 104- see reference above (a) but with the addition of:- "Balls was demolished in 1942 for the war time airfield"

(m) Arthur Bartholomew, Farmer
Recorded in 1911 Census, aged 40 married to Bertha
Son Alan together with Harriet Green, Mother in law
Recorded as farmer in the 1914 Kellys Trade Directory

Last known Tenant

****Further references concerning:-
Philip Salmon, wife Elizabeth and their 3 children

(1)Philip (1816-1880),
(3)Henry around 1920.
In 1841, Henry was living with brother Philip at Sturgeons, Canewdon, Rochford..
On the 1851 census, Henry was a tenant farmer with 40 acres and 2 workers in Fordham, and in 1861, it's listed as Crooks Farm, then in 1871 as Crookes Farm.
By 1881 Henry was an agricultural labourer living in Heath, Fordham

The father of the Philip Salmon who farmed at Ball's Farm was also called Philip, and his mother was Mary Game

Research Alan Beales 25/02/2017
updated 20/3/2017
Clampin update 12/2018
****With thanks to Pauline Philips, descendant of Philip Salmon for additional information on the family connection with Balls Farm