At 2pm on 25 May 1910 a sale began at the Malt Scoop Inn to sell some 209 acres of Lapford land and buildings. The property had been acquired by the late William Croote, a former land agent of the Earl of Portsmouth who for many years had operated his land agency business from Lapford. William had, during his lifetime, been a well known village benefactor giving land for the building of the Congregational Chapel and allowing rent free use of a property (now called Barton View) in the heart of the village as a Manse for the minster. He was also largely responsible for the building of the Congregational Church at neighbouring Zeal Monochorum. At least two charities were established by William to benefit needy Lapford residents.
On his death in 1876 William’s estate passed to his nephew George who had also acquired his fathers estate. George emigrated to South Africa to prosper further from his acquired wealth. For 34 years he had the fortune to benefit substantially from the rental income of his uncle’s Lapford property. I wonder how Lapford residents felt that a large portion of the earnings were handed across to be spent in Africa? This situation came to an end with the 1910 sale.
The sale included Lapford Mill, Highfield House, Lowerfield House, Lower Place Farm and Higher Place Farm and variety of other village houses and cottages. Most of Lapford’s later building development was on land acquired at the sale.
The sale was well advertised in newspapers over several weeks
The auctioneers desire to call special attention to this important sale; it appeals all classes of investors. The village of Lapford is noted for its cleanliness, situation and proximity to the Railway. Many the lots are suitable for building and no doubt additional railway facilities will be given when the doubling of the line is completed.
At least two copies of the sale brochure survive. One can be viewed at the Devon Record Offices; the other resides in the village archives and is reproduced in part in this website. The brochure contains two detailed pull out maps of the village, photographs and descriptions of each property. It also provides a record of tenants at the time of the sale.
Newspaper reports of the sale provide a record of sale prices and Lapford’s new property owners.