Before its recent sale, the farm had been in the Foster Family for 75 years. David Foster lived on the land for 69 years having continuous and active involvement in the farming of it.
John Foster bought the farm, which was originally 500 acres. The land was mainly covered in gorse and broom, with low numbers of sheep grazing on the cleared areas. Horses pulling a swamp plough* were used to clear the gorse and broom in the early part of John’s ownership. *Later Bush and Bog Discs, pulled by a tractor, made progress in clearing the land.
An Observatory was erected for research by Ilam University with American investment. It was shifted to Mt. John in the late 1960s. Some concrete portions of floor remain on the land.
David Foster (John’s son) left school at 15 years old to work for his father, tractor driving, clearing gorse and growing oats. As a sideline David raised pigs in sties, using food scraps from Lincoln College which he cooked using a steam boiler, before being fed to the pigs.
John Foster died and David worked for the Estate. He Introduced the spreading of large quantities of lime to increase the growth of clover and grass and reduce the growth of gorse and broom.
The Norman Kirk Labour Government proposed “Rolleston New Town”, a Satellite City with the intention to stop the population drift North. The family received a formal letter of the Governments intention to compulsory acquire the farm under the Public Works Act. The farm was purchased from the Estate with the intention of selling to the Government and buying another farm, but in 1975 the Government changed and withdrew the proposed New Town idea. The Labour Government had brought up about 1/3 of land required by this stage. Rolleston was left in Limbo for many years.
David brought the farm from the Estate and for the next 30+ years he increased sheep numbers for fat lamb farming, cropped barley and oats, produced Lucerne for hay to sell off farm.
The farm was leased for cattle grazing and the growing of Lucerne and oats for silage making.
Faringdon subdivision / real estate development transformation begins.