Nynehead lies a mile or so NNE of Wellington in Somerset. John, eldest son of William and Ann Kidner of Bickley Farm, Milverton, moved to Heywood Farm, Nynehead, at some point between 1861 and 1871. At the 1871 census John farmed 350 acres at Heywood, and employed 10 men, 4 women and 4 boys. John and his future wife Emily nee Elworthy raised a family at Heywood before moving to Dodhill House at Kingston St Mary in 1902.
Heywood Farm today looks very tired, many of the outbuildings in a state of complete disrepair. The deterioration started early, however. Sybil, the youngest of John and Emily's children, recalled the farm when she wrote a brief memoir in the 1960s:
When I last saw it (1926) it had become a very ordinary old farmhouse, with no sort of beauty; but in the days I remember, it must have had considerable charm - for a wide verandah, stone flagged, ran all the length of the house; this was supported by good solid tree trunks covered with roses, which romped all over both these pillars, and the mossy slated roof of the verandah. This was a wonderful place on wet days, when it was possible to tear up and down in tricycle races; from one end of the verandah it was a hop, skip and jump across a path to the old single-storied, lattice-windowed room that was our school room. There the Governess reigned, and taught us surprisingly well, and when we later went to school (not before 13 or 14 years old) we all managed to take our places without disgrace.
In those days at the rear of the house was a rambling muddle of rooms of all sorts - huge kitchens, and over them bedrooms, the 'apple-room', glorious fields for hide-and-seek on wet days, and there were three stair-cases - at the front decent carpeted wide stairs, and gradually degenerating at the back to scrubbed bare boards, or rough wooden affairs leading to the queer odd rooms that seemed to have been forgotten. I was ten years old when we left this, my first home, but, if those strange, labyrinthine apartments still existed, I could find my way there unerringly; but when we left the house was changed: the first thing to go was the verandah, and then all but the front part of the house was pulled down, leaving just a bare little house, showing a mean front of a front door, flanked by two windows below, with three windows above, and the whole whitewashed. Even the school room was pulled down, and what had been an ample home for seven children, with two or three maids and a Governess, was, no doubt, a much more convenient small farmhouse for a young working farmer and his wife.
Heywood Farm lies a short walk north of Nynehead Church, through the site of old orchards (grubbed up long ago, one suspects), past Nynehead Court, once home to the Sanford family but now an Old People's Home.
Above, Nynehead Church
One Kidner marriage is recorded at Nynehead: In 1693, on 8th September, Charles Cary married Elianor Kidner of Bradford [on Tone].
Appendix 29 - Nynehead