History - The Farm
The farm steading at Dickinson Place dates back to the 1660s and like most coastal farms the land spread out behind the steading in a narrow strip. The first field behind the steading was always called 'The Croft' and this is still the case today.
All the fields had names - Walker's field, The garden Fields, Tarn Hill and Tommy's field are but a few. Leading to the fields were lanes or 'lonnings' such as Bogs Lonning, Moss Lane, and Cross 'Went. 'Each one carrying a little bit of history with it.
The steading itself was built round a central courtyard with a very narrow entrance which could be closed off to allow cattle the freedom to drink from a well in the yard. Where the rockery is now, there was a pig sty with hayloft above and chicken coup.
The buildings around the yard have changed little over the years, and we have named the cottages by their historical use. Thus, Barley Store, Turnip House and the others all give an insight into a very efficient working dairy farm.
In the early 1960s the total workforce at Dickinson Place was 3 hired men, a dairy maid and a housemaid for general duties. The income from milking 19 cows and keeping a few sheep was suffice to pay their wages. By the mid 1990s a herd of 100 cows was being milked, 400 sheep were being wintered or fattened and all the young stock were bred and kept on the farm - the females to provide milk cows in the future and the beef animals to sell on maturity at auction. Such is the efficiency of British agriculture that by then the total workforce was father and son with all seasonal work done by contractors.
Twice a day the cows would be brought home to be milked. They would cross over the road from the fields, walk slowly down the bank led by a 'boss' cow, and then cross over again to enter the narrow entrance of the farm.
Diversification is not a new trait in the Williamson family. Cousin Eric who farmed Dickinson Place in the 1950s built a turkey shed and reared turkeys for Christmas markets, as well as developing a small caravan park in the Croft behind the milking parlour. The parents of the present owner expanded the caravan park in the late 1960s and also had good doorstep sales for cartons of fresh milk and vegetables. But it was the present owners who performed the most radical changes to the steading.