In 1928 Hugh Herbert Walford, a solicitor in London, looked to buy a property near his family home in Alresford – somewhere to bring up his own family. The Old Rectory in Wolverton was being sold off by the church. At the same time Old Rectory Farm was available next door.
The farm continued to work in the same way, growing wheat and cutting the permanant pastures for hay until the 40’s.
In 1948 Hugh’s son, Jack with Diana and their 3 children moved into The Old House (as it had been renamed by Hugh who did not want to live in a rectory!) Jack and Diana were fine horsemen and both hunted with The Vine Hunt where they met. Diana’s family lived close to Wolverton at Beaurepaire House in Bramley.
Jack increased the size of the farm and introduced Traditional Hereford cattle and Hampshire Down sheep. With his love of hunting he became master of The Vine Hunt and moved the hounds to Wolverton.
Over the next 30 odd years the Wolverton herd of herefords and Flock of hampshire downs made their name on the show circuit. Life at The Old House continued with everyone helping to milk the jersey house cows and making butter and cream for the house and cottages. There were a few pigs for meat, horses and some comercial sheep. The farm also grew some wheat and barley for fodder and straw.
In 1974 Michael Walford (Jack’s son) took over the farm. He was not an animal man and sold all the livestock. At the time the goverment were paying incentives to rip out all the hedges and create big fields for the new big combines etc.
Michael took up this grant and the lansdcape changed and the farm was moved over to grain production only. The permanant pastures remained and were let out to others with cattle and sheep.
In 1992 Michael’s niece Sarah Sladen and her family came to live at The Old House. Although at first too busy with children and a full time job slowly her passion for the farm evolved. Her son Archie was born in 1996 and he was soon accompanying Michael on the tractor.
Having grown up on the farm at weekends and holidays with her grandparents the farm was deeply set in Sarah’s roots. She used to go to shows and help judge Herefords, make butter with her grandmother from the Jersey house cow and help with lambing.
In 2005 she started to introduce her own livestock to The Old House in the form of a couple of Kune Kune pigs.
Then in 2012 the Black Welsh Mountain Sheep arrived. Dexter Cattle followed and slowly Sarah became more and more involved in the farm.
Archie, having left his job as a professional Ballet dancer and living abroad, came home to help out in 2018. He has taken over the role of logging and tree maintanence, and getting the farm online and into the 21st century with social media.