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Estate overseers

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As with similar estates, the Fleming Estate was managed by a series of officials with the Steward or Land Agent at the top; with the Bailiff or sub-steward beneath him; and a further level of local sub-bailiffs and foremen.

The Estate in mainland Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight seems to have been managed as a single unit. In 1770 Charles Le Gay was Steward of both the mainland and Island manors[1]. In 1853 the Bailiff, Robert Cowen, was expected to visit the Isle of Wight Estates only twice a year, but to ‘proceed in every respect there as at Stoneham[2]. In 1910, William Salmon was the local bailiff on the Island, resident at Havenstreet, while John Booth was the bailiff at Stoneham. Between the wars, Alan Arnold in addition had to manage properties in Scotland; quite apart from problems caused by the geographical distance, he experienced a culture shock: ‘This is a very different atmosphere to that I have been accustomed to’, he wrote to John Willis Fleming in 1936, ‘and not half as congenial’[3].


The role of the Steward / Land Agent

The most important position on the Estate was the Steward, who was the chief administrator and, in earlier times, the lord of the manor's deputy. The Steward wielded considerable executive authority. He transacted all the legal and other business of the manor estate, kept the court rolls, etc.

From the mid 1800s, the Fleming Estate employed a professional Land Agent as Steward: Richard Pink and the firm of Pink & Arnold.

The Steward was usually resident on the Estate. For instance, Richard Pink lived sometime at Chilworth House; Alan Arnold at The Cottage, Stoneham Park.

The Steward was responsible for finding tenants for farms, negotiating leases, recommending and supervising improvements, and collecting and disbursing estate revenues. His influence certainly also extended into the domestic realm of the Willis Fleming family.

The role of the Bailiff

The Bailiff managed the agricultural property of the estate and superintended its cultivation. In particular, he supervised workmen such as the gamekeepers, the woodmen, and the labourers on the home farms. A job description of 1853 describes the Bailiff’s duties in some detail.

Under the Bailiff, there was also a tier of sub-bailiffs and foremen, who were part-time.

List of Stewards & Land Agents; Bailiffs; Foremen

  • John Ray (17thC), Romsey
  • Richard Holloway, bailiff (1730), Stoneham &c.
  • Isaac Le Gay (1749), Stoneham &c.
  • Charles Le Gay (1770), Stoneham &c.
  • William Daman (18thC, 1833), Stoneham &c.
  • -- Barnes
  • Brown Hearn of Heasley (Early 19thC)
  • James Parsons, steward (1832[4], 1844)
  • George Watson, bailiff, Isle of Wight (1832[5],)
  • Thomas Willis Fleming, steward (-1853), Stoneham &c.
  • John Barfoot (-1853), Stoneham &c.
  • -- Cheater (1853), Farm Bailiff, Chilworth
  • Robert Cowen, bailiff (1853), Stoneham &c.
  • Charles Knight, foreman and head carter (1853)
  • John Henry Hearn, bailiff & solicitor (1853)
  • Richard Pink, steward (1853-), Stoneham &c.
  • Francis Arnold (late 19thC), Stoneham &c.
  • John Boyes, foreman (1874 &c.), Stoneham & Chilworth
  • John Booth, steward and foreman (1903, 1907), Stoneham Park
  • William Salmon, bailiff (c.1900), Isle of Wight
  • Alan Arnold (20thC), Stoneham &c.
  • Arthur Arnold (20thC), Isle of Wight
  • Gus Read (1952), foreman, Isle of Wight

Related articles


  1. Declaration by John Fleming, 24 Oct 1770
  2. Directions given to the Person holding the situation of Bailiff, 1853
  3. Letter of Alan Arnold to John Willis Fleming, 28 Aug 1938
  4. Perambulation of the boundaries of the Fleming estate in the Isle of Wight, 1832
  5. Perambulation of the boundaries of the Fleming estate in the Isle of Wight, 1832
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