A Shropshire farmer celebrating his 60th birthday has learned that his farm has been a true family home for the last 350 years. House historian Jill Ming of Building Beginnings was commissioned by John Parry’s daughter, Demelza, to research the history of Donington House Farm as a special birthday gift. Jill discovered that John Jellicorse bought the property in 1654 and he and his descendants lived there for over 150 years until his great-great-great grandson William was forced to sell the farm when he ran up massive debts and was declared bankrupt. George Jones, a coal miner who became a major Victorian industrialist, bought the property in 1835 and it was in his family for four generations.
The farm suffered in the Shropshire foot and mouth epidemic of the late 1870s that caused the tenant James Miller to emigrate to Canada. His descendants have since visited their ancestor’s old home, maintaining their family’s connection with the farm. Three generations of the Burton family then lived there for 80 years until John and Joy Parry bought the farm in 1983.
John Parry was delighted with all these discoveries about his home saying ‘It is remarkable how Jill has gleaned information from so many sources to create this intriguing history of families, wealth creation and tragic bankruptcies. The book has been the talking point of the community and given us real pride to be part of the farm’s history which we can savour for generations to come.’
Jill Ming said ‘I love researching the history of old properties and discovering secrets that have lain hidden for centuries. It brings the house to life and provides owners with real stories they can enjoy about their property. Learning that Donington House Farm was such a family home adds real warmth to its history.’
News update: An article based on this story was published in the February 2013 edition of Shropshire Life magazine.