The Farmers

Joseph Reffell (1789-1848)

During 1789, two children were born with the name Joseph Reffell. One of these became the head of the Buckinghamshire* farming branch and he married Elizabeth Fowler (1787-1862) who was born at Burnham in Buckinghamshire. Joseph and Elizabeth had eleven children – Mary Ann (1814-1890), James (1815-1878), Charles (1816-1834), Raymond (1818-1882), Eliza (1819-1898), Alfred (1821-1844), Agnes (1822-1847), Elizabeth (1824-1879), Ursula (1826-1870), Edwin (1828-1895) and Albert William (1834-1886). All the children up to Ursula were christened at St. Mary the Virgin at Datchet, and Joseph’s occupation is given as either a servant or a gardener in the parish registers, in this case probably relating to being in service in a local estate. From this relatively lowly status, around 1828 he becomes a tenant farmer at the next village along, Horton. Joseph died on 13 September 1848 aged 49, at Manor Farm Horton. Many of the children and grandchildren became farmers and in time there were a number of farms that were owned by the Reffell family and descendants;

Manor Farm, HortonManor Farm, WraysburyMildridge Farm, HortonYeoveney Farm, StainesPaddington Farm, Abinger

The church of St. Michael Horton played an important part in the lives of the members of the Buckinghamshire branch. Joseph was involved early on with it and was a Churchwarden between 1828 and 1829. It appears that for a number of generations, wherever they died, they were brought back to rest at Horton. There are at least 22 related people buried here. When Raymond died, he left a will valued at £10,036 (worth over £500,000 today), son Joseph was left the Manor Farm at Horton and Alfred was left the Manor Farm at Wraysbury and Wraysbury Tithe Farm. This can be compared to his father Joseph who left under £100 in 1848.

Today the area is noisily dominated by London Heathrow Airport, the M25 and water. The 1881 map of the area shows evidence of gravel extraction, and these gravel pits eventually became the lakes and reservoirs that exist there today. The locations of the first four farms is indicated by the red stars on the above maps of today (right) and a century ago; from top to bottom Mildridge Farm, Manor Farm Horton, Manor Farm Wraysbury & Yeoveney Farm. Paddington Farm Abinger is approximately twenty miles to the south.

* This area transferred from Buckinghamshire to Berkshire in 1974