The Farming Community of Watton By Chris Pye

Chris Pye was a farmer for many years and his family have owned farmland near Watton since the beginning of the last century.

Watton was a real Market Town

The very existence of Watton, was largely because of agriculture. Watton was a market town, and the farming community would come to town, to bring its wares to market; cattle, sheep, pigs, ducks, chickens, eggs and the like. The livestock market, or Hall and Palmers sale yard, as it was known in the mid twentieth century, was in the area between Tescos and the Norwich Road. Another market was Barnhams sale yard, which was also situated on Norwich Road, and was later to become Noel Abels sale yard.

Daisy Farm near Watton about 1965

Wednesday was market day, and for most of the populace it was the most exciting day of the week. It seemed as if the world and his wife came to town that day, the hustle and bustle provided a thrill into peoples lives that were normally very monotonous, and knew only hard work from dawn to dusk. The pubs in Watton were lively places on a Wednesday, the traditional place to conduct a successful deal between farmers.

Many drovers, who were employed by the farmers, to drive the livestock to and from market were necessary. It was a common sight to see a herd of cattle or sheep being herded along the roads, and the importance of every home owner surrounding their property with adequate fences and gates went without saying! This became less and less common with the advent of mechanisation and the subsequent progression of road hauliers.

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