Moving with the Times

Paul Newton By Charley Snowdon

reputation preceeded him and whose bark was infamously equal to his bite…


Paul’s questionable reputation dates to the days before mobile phones when you (if the rumours are true), would not have wanted to be caught trespassing, be parked up having a cheeky kiss with a beau or have an uncontrollable dog on his land. Paul’s time in Hertford Young Farmers was also eventful, where Paul was suspected of being behind nearly all ‘unauthorised explosions’! I meet Paul at Ware Park Farm in East Hertfordshire, where

he resides with his wife Sally and their two (slightly wilful) liver and white spaniels Fred and Benji. Perhaps, maybe surprisingly to some, Benji and Fred have the run of the house, the bedrooms, the sofas and Fred quite happily will choose a tractor cab or any other vehicle that looks accommodating for a snooze. “The dogs definitely come first in Paul’s eyes”, says Sally. “Fred is oſten at the bottom of the bed and Paul will happily share his meals with the pair of them.” Paul’s affinity with animals is not just limited to his dogs and he even put a ban on the shooting of muntjac on the farm. “We had a pet muntjac called Flinty named aſter the piece of flint I used to perform a caesarean aſter shooting the mother deerstalking at Woodhall Park”, recalls Paul. “Flinty lived like one of the dogs until one day she met a mate and leſt the house, but I could still whistle for her and she would come.”

Born in Braughing in Hertfordshire, Paul was riding in a

basket saddle before he could walk with his mother Rona. “Mother loved her horses and grazed them alongside a few sheep”, says Paul. “Originally, mother and father lived on neighbouring farms near Maplestead but it wasn’t until the army, where mother was a land girl and my father Donald was a Colonel in the Royal Artillery that the pair actually met.” Donald and Rona bought Ware Park Farm in 1956 where Rona ran the farm and Donald continued working as a civil engineer. “It was just before my 6th birthday when my parents bought Ware Park”, recalls Paul. “Mother ran the farm and I would drive the tractor and trailer whilst she tended to the animals, I could barely reach the peddles!” Paul had found his calling and by the age of sixteen was

farming full time whilst regularly winning ploughing matches as an active member of Hertford Young Farmers in the Watton and District. “Young Farmers was a good place to be and I met my lifelong best friends there”, says Paul. “One very good friend from Young Farmers is Ivor Williams from Tewin. Ivor will still come out year aſter year and help with the harvest. He is one of the nicest and most decent people you could ever wish to meet.” Soon the farm was expanding due to Rona’s successful passion for breeding sheep and this brought about their


otorious, nutty and terrifying are just some of the words I had heard over the years to describe my interviewee Paul Newton, a farmer whose

tenancy and subsequent ownership of St Leonards Farm in Nazeing, Essex. “Mother bred Finnish Landrace Sheep that would have anything up to six lambs a piece”, says Paul. “We would then cross breed them to produce three or four lambs per ewe, but the problem was they only had two teats!” There were many sleepless nights for Paul during lambing time on the farms, but he relished every second and would oſten become attached to many a new-born. “The problem was I tended to outlive my pets!” laughs Paul. “The Finnish sheep would give birth like piglets and sometimes you would have to give the odd one a swing by the legs to free their airways. I remember once swinging one and I accidently let go and the lamb landed in the water tank, swiſtly followed by me to retrieve it! They’re such a hardy breed and this lamb was testament to this as it was soon suckling on mum and was perfectly fine.” Paul is a self-confessed collector maniac and perhaps, some might say a bit of a hoarder! “I still have and use today, my Ford 4000 that I drove in ploughing competitions along with my three furrow Ransome Plough. My friend George Little from Watton will sometimes borrow the plough for competitions and will still win with her now!” says Paul. “The first tractor we owned was a Fordson Major that we did everything with, she’s had one gearbox and five engine replacements over the years, but she is still here in the barn at Ware Park and I know that if I went and put a battery on her now she’d start.”

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