genealogy of the Bird and Musgrove families
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Shires Farm

I have discovered that the farm which my wife's 3x great grandfather, Paige Shire, farmed from 1815 to 1857 may have previously been farmed by her 5x great grandfather John Shire even before 1764 and may still be in the family !

Nearly 250 years ago in 1764, a 99 lease was granted for a lump sum of £80 (using RPI this would be £9,310) by the "lord of the manor of Blindmore, Buckland St Mary to John Shire of Blindmore, a clerk".  The dwelling house, orchard and garden had previously been lived in as a tenancy by Thomas Cross deceased, probably the father of Mary Cross who had married my wife's 5x great grandfather, John Shire (no details of marriage yet found), who at the time was a tenant of some of the farm land surrounding the house.  Described in the church where he was buried as "Rev. Mr" John Shire died in 1772 and is mentioned in the aisle of the Parish Church at Buckland St Mary (see below).  I would have liked to read his Will which is listed in "Calendar of Wills in Bundles 1597 - 1799", but understand most of the original wills proved in the Archdeaconry Court of Taunton before 1858 were destroyed when the Exeter probate registry was bombed in WW2.

John and Mary had two sons, one of whom died aged 7 and is buried in the Parish Church (see below).  The other son was John Shire (junior) who was born in 1749, sixteen months after the death of their first son, Paige.  John Shire (junior) purchased (what appears to be) part of an assignment of the lease for a term of 1,000 years in 1806, costing £300 (using RPI this would be £19,960 today).  John Shire (junior) died in 1818 but not before fathering 14 children including our Paige Shire who was born in Buckland St Mary in 1777. 

Paige was a widower when he married his second wife, Rachael Batten, on 29th December 1812.  When their first two children were born in 1813 and 1814 the baptism register for Buckland St Mary describes Page (sic) as "Otterford, farmer".  However, the baptisms register records that between 1816 and 1822 Paige is now a farmer at "Swifts Hill".  Rachael died in 1834 and, on the 1841 census, 65 year old Paige is now living with five of their children (aged between 15 and 20) at "Swiss Hill Estate".  Ten years later in 1851, Paige and two of his children are farming "Swifts Hill Farm" which suggests this was probably what it was called in 1841 as well.  There is no Swifts Hill Farm on any further census but there is a Shires Farm from 1861 onwards. Paige died in 1857 and my theory is that they changed the name of the farm to "Shires Farm" in his memory. 

I have found Shires Farm in Buckland St Mary with a postcode of TA20 3RB.  I am still trying to prove ownership passed to various family members over the past 200 years and so far have the following timeline : 

Prior to 1764 : John Shire is a tenant farmer on some of the land.

1764 : John Shire is granted a 99 year lease on the land.

1806 : John Shire (junior) purchases part of a long lease on the land.

1815 : Paige Shire begins to farm here.

1857 : Paige Shire died (need to find his Will - died one year before the National Probate Calendar was introduced) and the new owner became Simeon (sic) Quick.  He is there on the 1861 and 1871 census before his death in July 1877 (have been unable to find his Will).

1877 : Simeon's wife, Mary Quick, takes over as head of the farm and was there with their children in both 1881 and 1891.  I have, so far, not found a connection to the Shire family, but interestingly in 1868 Charles Board (see below) marries Eliza Ann Vickery.  Eliza has a brother called Simeon Vickery …… must surely be related to Simeon Quick ?

1896 : Mary Quick died (probate value of estate £289 - no mention of any land; she left very little and shared it pretty much between her 14 surviving children) and Samuel Wyatt Pym takes over.  Samuel was Paige Shire's grandson. 

1901 : Samuel and his wife are still farming here.  His wife was Elizabeth Pym nee Gollop.

1911 : At some point, Samuel must have retired and Alfred Gollop and his son Frederick took over.  Alfred's wife Jane Gollop nee Vickery had died the previous year.  Alfred was Elizabeth Pym's brother.

1913 : Samuel dies as "a retired farmer" (probate value of estate £908 - applied for).  Alfred was one of the executors.

1916 : Alfred dies (probate value of estate £519 - he died intestate and value suggests he didn't own the farm)

There is then a gap in our knowledge of the farm. 

1941 : Certainly the farm is now owned by William Charles Board as a local newspaper (transcribed below) shows him being summoned for using a car without a road fund licence. William was born in 1880, so it is not entirely improbable that he took over the farm in 1916.

1954 : A search of the Land Registry says there was a Deed dated 18th May 1954 which effected certain rights to the land and this was entered into between William and Edward William Walters Manley.  At what point did Edward own the farm, if at all ?  If he did, and this may be entirely wishful thinking and coincidental, there was a James Manley born 1774 Upottery, Devon whose children were all born in Buckland St Mary.  Edward Manley’s mother was Sarah Buttle born 1815 in Otterford.  A 10 year old Mary Buttle was living with Robert Pym on the 1841 census !!

2005 : The Land Registry search shows the farm was transferred to the current owner, Colin Arthur Board and his wife. 



Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser - Saturday 18 January 1941


UNLICENSED CAR. William Charles Board, farmer, Shires Farm, Buckland St Mary, was summoned for using a car without a Road Fund licence and when not insured. He admitted the first offence. PC Dyer said defendant told him he drove the car in order to charge the battery. Defendant had surrendered the tax and acquired another car. Defendant told the magistrates the policy for his new car also covered him while driving any other car not belonging to him. He said that he had sold the car and it was taken away on the day of the alleged offence. He was therefore covered by the other policy. He was fined £1 tor driving an unlicensed car and the other summons was dismissed.




In the north aisle.  Here lieth the body of Paige, the son of John and Mary SHIRE, who died the 24th day of August 1748, aged 7.  Also here lieth the body of the Rev: Mr: John Shire, father of the above Paige who died Nov: 22, 1772, aetat: suae 72



Visit Somerset Heritage Record office in Taunton to see old maps of the area to prove where Swifts Farm was. 

Also photographs of Page Shire (c1900) possibly Page & Martha , wedding of Ellen Shire and Robert Podbery (1911) Ellen being daughter of John Henry Shire who for some reason (not yet known) was brought up by his grand-parents and Arthur Shire bell ringing (1909) grandson of Paige Shire.

Most interestingly, a lease of some sort in May 1764 involving John Shire son of John Shire !

Finally listed on the online catalogue is 1997 "The Shire family of Somerset". 

Linked toPage Shire

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