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Bowden Farm



Bowden Farm lies on the hill to the north of Yealmpton. In the records it is referred to as Bowdon, Boudon and Bowden, and the name of the Copplestone family to whom it originally belonged varies too. 
It seems that the farm was so called by Walter Coplestone who named it after his wife, Elizabeth de Bowden, when he purchased the farm in the mid-fifteenth century. Walter died in 1457.


The written records do not stretch back as far as this, but we have brief references to John Coplestone of Bowden, Lord of the Manor of Brixton English about 1552, to another John Copples-ton of Bowden in 1684, and to Thomas Copleston of Bowdon in 1720.


The most interesting reference to the Copplestone family, and, incidentally, to the farm, is an altar tomb in Yealmpton Church. There are seven figures: father, mother, one son, three daughters, and a baby asleep in a cradle. The inscription reads:

"Here lieth the Body of Mary, the wife of Henry Coplestone, of Boudon, Esqire, and eldest daughter of Humfry Were, of Halberton in Devon, Esqr, Counsel-at-Law, who died the last of June ano Dominy 1630. Christus nobis vita".


In the mid-eighteenth century the Bastard family of Kitley held the Barton (this is the old word for the farmhouse, yard and buildings) of Bowdon and they, in turn, leased the farm to Francis Algar of Yealmpton, to Mr. Thomas Leigh of Holbeton in 1805, and later to Thomas Parnell of Moorleigh. Further leasings continued for another century, the tenants including a Mr. Ford, Mr. Brooking and Mr. Ben Luscombe until we came to 1938 when Mr. Dennis took on the tenancy, moving there from Yealmpstone, Plympton. Mr. & Mrs Dennis already had two daughters and two more were born to them at Bowden.


Soon after they were settled in the farmhouse and had begun to work the 290 acre farm, the war started. For a while the Granary, instead of being put to its normal use, became a dormitory for people seeking a night's rest away from the German air-raids on Plymouth. The farmlands themselves had their share of incend­iaries and three bombs, but the only known casualty was an unwary fox!


Thirty-four years later, in 1972, owing to Mr. Dennis's ill-health, Mr. and Mrs Dennis moved to "Bowden Rise", a bungalow built within the walled garden of the farmhouse. At this time the Kitley Estate took over the working of the farm, leasing part of it to Mr. Roy Pratt. The farmhouse and courtyard buildings were subsequently sold and their conversion to the new housing development was implemented. The farmhouse had become a listed building in 1977 to ensure its preservation, and indeed, the characteristics of the whole of this lovely old farm have been preserved as far as possible for posterity.
Taken from the Yealmpton Press, March 1987