Farming in Docking

 

 

Our latest project is to document the farms that have existed in Docking for centuries. It’s still ongoing and is based on research in 2023 and 2024, and these pages will be added to in the future. We’re very grateful for the research done to produce all this information by Gabby Mortlock, Judy Simmonds and Helena Aldis.

We are producing documents to download for each farm in the Docking area. Those already produced can be accessed below:

 

East End Farm

Grove Farm

Manor Farm

North Farm

North End Farm

Sunderland Farm

Locations

If you wish to see the location of each farm go to the Norfolk Historic Map Explorer, selecting the OS First Edition and enlarging it in the Docking area.

The 1918 Big Sale

Many of the farms in Docking and the surrounding area were sold in 1918. They included Manor Farm, Lugden Hill Farm, East End Farm, North End Farm plus smallholdings, cottages and land.

These farms and properties were bought by Thomas Francis Deacon (1869-1931), of Leicestershire. He lived in Manor Farm house in Docking.

We are lucky to have copies of the Estate Sale map and brochure, which make fascinating reading.

1918 Estate sale map

1918 Estate sale brochure

After Mr Deacon’s death, the estate was taken over by his daughter, Nancy Deacon.

Nancy Deacon (Mrs Ripper)

In 1933 Nancy married William Parker. They had 2 daughters. Nancy and William farmed the estate until their divorce. Nancy then continued to farm the estate, living in Manor Farmhouse.

In 1952 Nancy married Dr. Walter Eugene Ripper (1908-1965) who you can read about in People from the Past.  They continued to live in Manor Farmhouse and farmed the estate.

After Dr Ripper’s death, Nancy continued to farm Ripper Farms Ltd., until 1988 when, on the instructions of Ripper Farms Ltd., the Docking Manor Estate was sold.

The whole estate was purchased by William Irving Robinson (Robinson Farms (Carbrooke) Ltd.).

Nancy Ripper went to live in Grove Farmhouse and died in 1995.

Docking Disorder

Docking has a place in agricultural history for ‘Docking Disorder’.

This was the name given to a sugar beet disease in 1948 in a field belonging to Nancy Ripper (or Nancy Parker as she was then). It caused the seedlings to become stunted in their growth and their leaves to become yellow. Beet crops were not thriving. This disease was caused by a species of Eelworm called Stubby Root Eelworm or Needle Eelworm which were feeding on the developing roots.

Chemicals were found to combat the disease, but before they were applied it was necessary to manufacture a machine with tines, so that a chemical could be injected into the soil before the beet was drilled. This machine was made by Nancy Ripper’s mechanic, Mr. Charles Richardson.