History

The definite age of the farm and buildings is unknown, but it appears on the first Ordnance Survey maps produced from 1825.

Owned until 1955 by the Chatsworth estate, the whole farm including West Barn was then sold to meet 80% death duties of the 10th Duke of Devonshire. Netherloads Farm was bought by the Kendal family and inherited by their son David.

David and his wife Audrey raised their children here and ran the farm as primarily a dairy farm until it became uneconomical. Audrey had also set up a horse livery business in the stables building that is the current West Barn. Wishing to be secure in their retirement, they decided to sell the East & West Barns at auction.

We purchased West Barn in 2005, as soon as we saw the site and the stream in particular, we knew we had to buy it. Shortly before that, it’s neighbour, East Barn was sold at auction with West Barn failing to sell. The plot being offered was amended to include the piece of land over the stream and the rear garden beyond the large ash tree.

By the time we acquired the barn (as we know it), it had become quite derelict. What is now the garage was almost totally collapsed. At that time it was divided into 5 stables/stalls, and the current front doors/windows were the former stable doors. There was a hay loft over the stables, inhabited by dozens of swallows that have sadly moved on. The ground level to the side and rear was up to the living room window sill level, which caused a lot of damp to the walls.

A local elderly man told us he had worked at the farm as a boy over 75 years ago and at that time West Barn had a third floor and a stone roof, but that the Chatsworth estate had removed those for re-use elsewhere.

RENOVATION

We were fortunate to enlist the help of a local builder and the demolition works started in December 2005.

Our goal was to complete the restoration of West Barn in 2006 and to stay in the barn when visiting the Chatsworth country show in early September 2006. As with many building projects things did over-run a little but we did manage to camp in the unfinished barn in September and we did visit the show.

The works to the house, drive and pathways were largely complete in 2008.

Since then, we have tried to reinstate some appropriate features – Stone troughs, young birch, beach, hazel and ash and fruit trees (one is a rare-breed Beeley Pippin apple, named by a former vicar of the nearby Chatsworth-estate village) and other shrubs and water loving plants.

The stone cobbles and flags to the front came from a local farm yard that was being modernised. Stone gate posts were installed, dry-stone walling was repaired and some new boundary walls added – 700ft in total. The rockery is actually a pile of stone that was left over from the build!

After David died, the farmhouse and top fields (11-acres) were sold in 2014 by Audrey to the current owners – Kathy & Max Riecke, the 4-acre field to the front was sold to the Dales of East Barn and the still derelict ‘Top’ barn was also sold.