Many of the Jesty family have been farmers, but my generation--Old
Charles's great-great grandchildren-- is probably the last of them in
Dorset, at least for the present. This page collects some of the Dorset
farms that Jestys have farmed. Most were tenant farmers. These are in
approximate order of Jesty occupancy. [Click on the thumbnails to see
the pictures. These files are fairly small; if you want an original (all
except Frankham)--good for a high-quality print up to 6x8 inches or
was farmed in the 1700s by Robin (Robert) Jesty (1696-1751). It is about 1 mile south of
on the Chetnole road, immediately beside the railway, a good part of
was built by his great grandson, Charles Jesty (1800-1897). The
which was likely built in Robin's time, and the barn, which is possibly
earlier, are now, I think, separate from the farm.
Farm was farmed by Robin's eldest
son, Robert Jesty (1722-1778).
It is about 2 miles west of Yetminster on the road to East Coker.
in Yetminster was Benjamin
Jesty's (1736-1816) first
farm, until the 1790s. He was the 4th son of Robin and brother of
It is when he was living here that he did the first recorded
with cowpox. The farm is immediately by Yetminster church. It is the
Jesty farmhouse that we know, probably dating (my guess) from the
The handsome plaque, donated by the Yetminster Hundred History Society
in 1994, is on the wall of the house opposite the farm.
is Benjamin's second farm, to which the family moved in the 1790s. It
is a beautiful Purbeck manor house,
from the 1640s. It was the home of Mary Spencer Watson, a well-known
sculptor for more than 50 years, who was kind enough to talk with us
about the house and
its history. She died in 2005, well into her nineties, and still
sculpting. Benjamin and his
Elizabeth died here, and are buried in Worth Matravers churchyard,
2 miles south. Downshay is about 1 mile south of Harman's Cross,
Corfe Castle and Swanage.
We don't know if Benjamin actually lived in this
manor house, but Mary Spencer Watson certainly knew well of the Jesty
history at Downshay/Dunshay. The present Downshay farmhouse on the
adjacent farm (just to the south) was not yet built, but it is feasible
that Benjamin lived in a previous farmhouse on that site.
was farmed in the 1800s by Benjamin's son, George
(1782-1845). The farm, which is still substantial, is about 1 mile
NE of Puddletown on the Piddletrenthide road. George died in 1845, and
his sons Thomas and George farmed it until 1852, when the business was sold. (See Sheet B for details.) Druce was Thomas Hardy's
model for the farm of Mr Boldwood, Bathsheba's suitor in Far From the
had at least two Jesty tenants. "Old" Charles was the first, and then
his son William Ainsworth. But I don't know if either of them actually
lived there. The farm is about 3 miles south of Bere
on the Hyde road, near where Bere stream runs into the Piddle. The odd
house was built by the Drax estate, probably about 1900, and perhaps after the Jesty
Roke Farm had three generations of Jesty tenants: Old
Charles, his son Henry Robert, and grandson Harry Robert, until the 1950s. The farmhouse is now occupied separate
from the farm. Roke is about 1 mile NW of Bere Regis on the Milborne
road, beside the outlet of Bere Stream from Roke Pond, and there was a
mill here for many (probably many hundreds of) years. The undershot wheel, a fairly modern steel
one, and the driving
gear are still there--but no longer in working order--beside the stream.
farmed by William
Ainsworth Jesty (1850-1917) towards the end of his farming career and then by his son Robert (1880-1964), from ca.
It is now farmed by the Mayos.
Buckland Newton, is 2-3 miles south of Almshouse, west off the
"high" road from Middlemarsh to
Charminster. It was farmed by Robert's son William Albert (1906-1989)
until the 1970s. A spring on the farm is a main source of the Caundle
Brook (see pond in photo). After more than 600
recorded years (see A.D. Mills's Dorset Place Names), Clinger's
recently changed to Lyons Head by a new owner.
(or Dodding's) Farm, Bere Regis. William Bedford moved
from Hertfordshire to Doddings in the 1890s to grow watercress, and
new house was built in 1904, using bricks from the Doddings brick
(The house includes bricks signed by his three daughters before
His second daughter, Emily Rebecca (Reca), married Henry Robert Jesty's son,
Frederick Thomas of Roke Farm (1889-1934), and the company Bedford
Jesty was formed to both farm and grow watercress at Doddings. This
was sold in the 1980s, ending the 140-year links with the Drax estate and the farming history of Jestys
Tunnel. Charles Jesty
(1800-1897), "Old Charles", was a surveyor and major road and rail
before he retired to farm. A major early piece of work (for the Great Western Railway system) was a part of
Dorchester-Yeovil railway line, including the 1/2-mile tunnel at
The line runs right through early Jesty
territory from Yetminster to Holywell (past Winterhays, Chetnole,
Melbury Bubb), and is still in operation. This is the south entrance of
the tunnel in Holywell.
Vale and the Wriggle Valley.
Jesty territory, from the time of John Justy in the 1600s, is at the
end of the Blackmoor Vale (some say it should be Blackmore),
bounded on the south by the high downs of
Hill and Telegraph Hill. This is a view from Batcombe, looking north
towards Leigh,Yetminster, and
Longburton. The far horizon (barely visible) is the Mendip Hills in
Somerset. The Wriggle River rises below Batcombe and flows north
Chetnole, Yetminster, and Beer Hackett before joining the River Yeo.