Northney Farm began developing into the farm it is today during the 1930s. Before then, large parts of the land were sectioned off into smallholdings and allotments. In earlier days, many of these plots of land were allocated to poor families and were therefore called the ‘poor fields’. A ‘poor house’ once stood on the edge of these fields in St Peter’s Road. It is long gone now. Local builder Noel Pycroft built two cottages there called North Cottage and Clamshells.

Prior to World War I Mr. Harvey Brown bought the land and started farming. He was a progressive farmer, employing artificial fertilisers before many had adopted them.

In 1927, Stoke Fruit Farm was in the ownership of Norman and Gertrude Wilson. They produced fruit and vegetables and sold them in their greengrocery shop in West Town (south Hayling). Norman died in 1939 and his daughter Nora ran the business during the war. She married Andrew Wilson in 1945 and they managed a very successful small holding and shop.

Then in 1952 Mr. Brown was taken ill and required help to keep the farm running. He created the farm company A.H.Brown Ltd with his wife Mabel, Andrew and Nora. He continued to take an active interest but sadly died in 1955. Mrs. Brown maintained her role in the company for many years until she died in 1977 and the farm passed to Andrew and Nora.

Potato Harvesting
Potato Harvesting

Simon Wilson started running Stoke Fruit Farm in 1970. His sister Mary was working at Plessey as a research mathematician at this time.

In June 1993, Simon and Mary’s father Andrew (Ambrose) Wilson died and Simon and Mary took the farm over – Mary having left Plessey. Together, Simon and Mary ran the farm in partnership with their families until 2008 when they divided the farm with Mary and family running the dairy herd and Simon and his family growing arable crops. More recently Simon has started keeping free range hens – the eggs produced are used and sold at the Tea Rooms.