17th and 18th Century

The estate of Chester Farm was acquired from the Crown in 1616 by Thomas Ekins, a reasonably wealthy man from a good family of royal stewards, MPs and clergymen . It was this Thomas Ekins or his son who built the main house.

An inventory of 1662 describes a reasonably substantial home with hall, parlour, a room next to the parlour, kitchen and buttery on the ground floor, all with chambers over them, together with a wash-house and dairy-house.

By the time Captain Thomas Ekins died in 1754 he owned the whole of the Chester estate which he passed to his daughter Sarah. It was following her marriage to Dr James Stonhouse, that the estate was developed into the gentleman’s farm as recorded on a map dated 1756. This map shows the buildings standing at this time and each field with its name. The names of the closes indicate their attempt to create parkland e.g. the Walk, Upper Park and Nether Park closes. The map also depicts the roads and the various boundaries (hedges and fences).

Stonhouse and his wife were obviously very proud of their estate; it likely that he commissioned the erection of a folly at the southwest corner of the Roman town from which he could survey his lands. Access to this mock Chinese temple was via a hedge-lined path that would have obscured the view until arrival at the vantage point. Stonhouse is an important figure in Northamptonshire’s history, being a co-founder of Northampton Infirmary in 1743 as well as also being a prolific writer and publisher both as a physician and as a clergyman.  

The subsequent landscaping with Lime trees to create the imposing Lime Avenue entrance was probably undertaken in the late 18th century.

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Chester Farm

Chester Farm

about 2 days ago

Tim Allen on Twitter

Yes there is lots of amazing buried archaeology on our site, not least the whole of a Roman walled small town. https://t.co/5fqc0KXbmb

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Chester Farm

Chester Farm

about 2 months ago

Nene Valley on Twitter

Many thanks and we are glad you enjoyed it. A bit of dry weather is what we need so wellies aren’t so essential! https://t.co/xjkvlBq434

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Chester Farm

Chester Farm

about 3 months ago

Managing the farm

Thanks Jayne! It was lovely to talk to Mr Dickinson, the former estate manager, last year. Read more plus a lovely pic of Jayne as a child. https://t....

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Chester Farm

Chester Farm

about 3 months ago

R Neil Marshman on Twitter

It certainly is. The special & unusual thing about the site is that it offers evidence from nearly all periods across the last 10,000 years or thereab...

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Chester Farm

Chester Farm

about 4 months ago

R Neil Marshman on Twitter

Many apologies. The ‘cursus publicus’ is essentially a set route along which #Roman imperial messengers and messages were sent. Our small walled town ...

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Chester Farm

Chester Farm

about 4 months ago

Chester Farm on Twitter

That is, the cursus publicus. So we curse auto correct! https://t.co/lg02C343Lo

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