Abbey Farmhouse was built in 1894 by Stanley Austin (1860–1916), a prominent local landowner. His family came from Baltonsborough but they made their fortune as sheep farmers in Australia.
The farmhouse is built of Blue Lias limestone quarried at Charlton Mackrell. Stone from Doulting was used for the windows and door frames. An earlier brick cottage adjoins the farmhouse at the back.
Abbey Farm was chiefly a dairy farm. The cows grazed the fields nearby and were brought in for milking. To the left of the farmhouse are the dairy and cheese store.
Who lived here?
George Mapstone (1866–1938) was tenant of Abbey Farm from 1917 and lived here with his wife Louisa and their family. As well as dairy cattle he also kept sheep, pigs and chickens.
When George retired in 1938 the tenancy passed to his son Harold Robert (Bob) Mapstone (1900–1969). Bob bought the farm outright in 1942 together with 160 acres of land.
Abbey Farm was also a family home. During the Second World War evacuees lived here with the Masptones and neighbours used the cellar as an air raid shelter.
The Mapstone family outside Abbey Farm, 1918
Decendants of the Mapstone family recreating the photo from 1918 on opening day of the Museum
The first visitors entering the museum
The restored Farmhouse