Ref No







Chris Harrison-Smith used to farm Manor Farm, Ailsworth , now farmed by his son Andrew. Chris lives with his wife Anne at Midstone House Southorpe..





Percy Smith m Mary Harrison                                                                Joe Harrison bachelor farmer of Thorney

farmer                                                                                                  and lived with sister Milie

Methodist preacher




Frederick Harrison Smith  m Gladys Mary Rowling dau of Canon Rowling (of Leeds, missionary)

b.1902                                      b.1902 in Uganda





Anne                Margaret                                  Christopher


m 1st 1963  then  2nd Anne



Andrew                        Martin              Clare                Eleanor

b.1964              b.1965




Chris Harrison-Smith’s grandfather Percy Smith farmed in Yorks, then near Bourne (Cambs). He bought 1000 acres to farm in 1918 for £22 per acre, and sold it in 1922 for £18 per acre! Frederick Harrison-Smith, who wanted really to be an engineer, went to live with his uncle JJ Harrison, a successful farmer with 1000 acres of best land near Thorney. Uncle Joe Harrison taught Fred the rudiemnts of farming, while Fred worked for next to nothing and his keep.fred met Chris’s mother Gladys Mary Rowling, daughter of an Anglican priest, Canon Frank Rowling and his wife Eileen nee Brown. Canon Rowling had been a missionary in Uganda, and Chris’s mother was the first white baby known to be born in Uganda. By the time Fred met her, her father was Vicar of Harleton Cambridge. When Fred wanted to marry, Uncle Joe said “right Fred, I give you a choice; you can either have £1000, or be taught how to make £1000.” So he worked for him for another five years. It had always been assumed that Uncle Joe would leave his farm to Fred, as he had no direct heir of his own. But Joe was murdered in 1940, hit over the head with a bottle by a farm-worker, before he had time to change his will, and so Middlewest Farm was sold up, and the proceeds all went to Thorney Methodist Chapel.


Farming at Manor Farm Ailsworth:

In April 1945 Fred Harrison-Smith took on the tenancy of Manor Farm Ailsworth from the Church Commissioners. This consisted of 500 acres, the farm house and nine cottages and two yards for £952 per year. The previous tenant was a Mr Feeney. They started with nine working horses, 120 cattle, 20 pigs, and a labour force of nine men and three women. When Fred Harrison-Smith farmed never did his men work on a Sunday.


Further details are contained in Chris Harrison-Smith’s own notes attached to this document.


Midstone House Southorpe

Chris and Anne Harrison-Smith moved to Midstone House Southorpe in 1988, It was originally known as Middle Farm and had been a 120acre dairy farm at the turn of the 19th /20th Century. It ceased to be a farm in about 1970( Mr and Mrs Norman Turner). The last person to farm Middle Farm (Midstone House) as  a farm  was Jack Bettinson. The farm-house is about 250 years old, 1787 on the sales particulars. It was once probably part of the Walcot Estate.


(notes made by W Burke talking to Chris at Midstone House, May and June 2002, but then expanded by Chris’s own notes attached).