Please note: this photograph was taken by me and may not be reproduced elsewhere or uploaded to other websites without permission.
Downend Park Farm is the oldest surviving building in Horfield after the parish church. Believed to have
been built in around 1630, the farm is said to have been used as a hiding place by Royalist soldiers during
the English Civil War. In 1752 Ebenezer Hare obtained the copyhold of the land and successive generations
of the Hare family held it until the early 20th century. My great-great-great-grandfather William Smith was
the tenant here from around 1840 until his death in 1880, after which his son Joseph Timothy Smith became
the occupier. The 1901 census shows William Wills from Wells, Somerset living at the farm, but by 1913
Joseph Sherrell was the tenant. In 1930 the Bristol Corporation acquired the farm from William Vowles and
it was subsequently re-let to Joseph Sherrell. An agreement was reached that the farm would not be altered
or demolished as long as Sherrell's wife Eliza was still alive. Eliza died in 1946 and two years later the Bristol
Corporation decided to bulldoze the building. However Joseph and Eliza Sherrell's daughter Margaret
enlisted the help of local antiquarians and with the help of a petition and a press campaign the farm was
saved. Once situated in the countryside and surrounded on all sides by open fields, the farm is
now hidden amongst 20th century housing in a busy Bristol suburb.