Thorpe Lodge Farm, 1862–1958
James Henry Gibbard lived at Thorpe Lodge Farm, farming the land previously farmed by his father and grandfather before him. At the age of 32 he married Gertrude England and they had three children. In the early 1900s the Gibbards used a pony and trap for their visits to Banbury, leaving it at the White Lion public house.
Jim took an active role in the community. He was a councillor at Brackley Rural District Council from 1895 until 1934 and he became a Justice of the Peace in 1932. His village activities included being churchwarden for forty years.
As retirement approached he built a retirement bungalow on his land in the early 1930s. Parishioners recall collecting their food and clothing ration books from Jim at The Bungalow during and after the 1939-45 war.
Jim Gibbard died in 1958, aged 96.
Jim had kept daily diaries from 1880 to 1957 providing a wealth of farming, climate and social history. The diaries are held at Northamptonshire Record Office. Extracts give us an insight into his times:
11 January – Fetched half ton of coal for threshing machine (to thresh barley rick)
16 January – Horse show at Banbury. Showed my grey horse for a hunter but was not very good
25 January – Went to smoking concert at Town Hall
13 March – Went to Brackley Steeplechase
11 April – Went hunting to Weedon with Grafton Hounds
23 May – Horse-hoeing peas in Tanners Close with young black horse
29 November – Went to Brackley R.D.C. by bicycle
2 December – Hounds met at Thorpe
3 February – Fetched half ton of coal for school from Farthinghoe Station
5 February – Killed two pigs for house
30 March – Went to Liverpool by (railway) excursion to see Grand National
14 July – Rode to Banbury and got school accounts audited
16 July – Went fishing at Culworth Mill
7 December – Organ dedication service at Thorpe church
8 December – Rode to Brackley Old Fair
2 June (Coronation Day, Queen Elizabeth II ) – Very cold and stormy. Rain at times all day. Went to 8.20 communion service. Children had mugs and tea. Adults, cold meal later.
(Main photograph: Hanging Hill Barn, Thorpe Lodge Farm, 2003)