Auction helps meet farmer’s final request
A property auction in Devizes turned into an emotional day when the last wishes of farmer Eddie Look, who died last year aged 100, were partly fulfilled.
Mr Look, whose family had owned Manor Farm, Erlestoke, since 1920, wanted his estate to be sold at auction at The Bear Hotel, as it had been when his father bought it 93 years earlier.
Last Wednesday, farm and rural agents Woolley & Wallis brought the hammer down on more than 183 acres of land, a farm cottage and farm buildings when neighbouring farmer Tim Johnston bid more than £1.6 million.
Mr Johnston, who was near to tears at the end of the auction, had known Mr Look all of his life.
He said: “I am delighted to have bought this land and cottage. I have been renting the land anyway, so it is fantastic that everything can go on as it has been.”
It also pleased Aileen Cox, 86, who lives in the adjoining cottage. She came to the farm in 1949 when husband Fred became herdsman.
Mr Johnston said: “Mrs Cox is an amazing woman who did so much to take care of Mr Look in his later years. My wife and I are really pleased we will be able to continue to help her.”
Mrs Cox said: “It has been quite an emotional day. I am glad Tim and his father Sam have bought the lot.”
Mr Johnston’s tenant in the cottage he bought will be Mrs Cox’s daughter Norma Redhouse, who babysat for him when he was a boy.
Ben Marshall, a partner with Woolley & Wallis, was auctioneer. The first lot of the main farmhouse and land of about 93 acres was sold shortly after the auction.
Richard Nocton, a fellow partner, said: “The reserve was narrowly missed and there followed a series of offers for Lot 1 with buyers not wishing to miss out on the opportunity. A sale was agreed shortly afterwards at the guide price of £1,150,000.”