How did the road get its name?
At the beginning of the 19th century, the road we know today as Badsey Fields Lane was then known as Pitchness Lane as it led to three pieces of land called Pitchness. In the Enclosure Awards of 1815 it was described as: “One other private Carriage Road and Drift Way of the breadth of thirty feet marked Number 10 on the said plan.” At that stage, the road ran from the junction with what is now Chapel Street, as far as what is now 37 Badsey Fields Lane on the north side and 34 Badsey Fields Lane on the south side. It was for the sole use of the four landowners and their workers, to enable them to have access to their land. At the entrance to the road, on the southern corner, a pool (called in later documents Sand Pool or Green Pool) was situated, and was in existence until at least 1883 where it can be seen on the Ordnance Survey map. Some time between 1815 and 1841, the landowner, Thomas Byrd extended the lane across Pitchness Closes and over the western part of a very large field called Foxhill and built a farm at the end of the lane. By 1861, the farm was being referred to as Badsey Field and, by 1901, the whole road was being referred to as Badsey Field Lane. The Ordnance Survey map of 1923 gives the road name as Badsey Field Road, but by 1938 it was known by its present name of Badsey Fields Lane.
When did housing development begin?
In about 1820, a farm was built at the end of Badsey Fields Lane. For some decades, the only housing was the farmhouse, buildings and cottages at the end of the lane, because it was a private road. However, development began on the south side in the 1890s when land owned by the Byrd family was sold – Norfolk House, Sandford Villa, Summerfield Cottage and The Cottage all appearing. Development occurred in the 1890s on the north side with the present-day numbers 1 and 3, and continued in the early years of the 20th century as more land came up for sale. Further development took place in the latter part of the 20th century and, in 2010, a housing estate was built on the spare land behind the Recreation Ground. Whilst most of the houses were given an address of Stone Pippin Orchard, three of the houses, which fronted on to Badsey Fields Lane, had Badsey Fields Lane as their address. Building at Stone Pippin Orchard commenced too late for it to be included in the 2008 Photographic Survey of Badsey, but John Bolton, one of the 2008 photographers, took a series of photos of the site before building started.
Initially, all the houses on Badsey Fields Lane had names but, by January 1959, the houses had been given numbers. The houses were numbered 1-41. There was no number 16, 18, 20 or 22 and the numbering on the south side finished at Number 34. Numbers 16-22 were kept free in anticipation of the land by the Recreation Ground being developed, something which indeed happened, but not until 50 years later. As at 2017, there are now 16, 18 and 20 Badsey Fields Lane, but not 22. Where infill has occurred, the appropriate number has been appended with A or B (eg 1A, 23A, 23B, 24A, 32A, 32B). The houses in the small cluster of buildings at the far end of Badsey Fields Lane are not numbered.
19th and early 20th century auctions
Most of the land on both the north and south sides of the road, and including the road, was owned by the Byrd family in the 19th century (the land at the east end having been allotted by the Enclosure Commissioners to Thomas Byrd in 1815 and the land at the west end having been acquired by siblings Sarah, William and Mary Byrd in 1831). The land passed by inheritance to William Byrd (1841-1902) and Henry Byrd (1843-1908), the nephews of Sarah, William and Mary Byrd. By the latter part of the 19th century, it had been divided up into smaller strips and let out to tenant market gardeners under the Evesham Custom. William Byrd got into financial difficulties and appeared in a debtors’ court in 1880; by the 1890s, William Smith, the Trustee, was entitled to all William Byrd’s land-holdings and began to sell of the land, much of which was sold in 1890. Percy Byrd, the son of Henry, also ran into financial difficulties, and his land was put up for sale in 1912. The auction was in 58 lots, giving tenants the chance to buy their own plots. The total area was 136 acres, but of this, 67 acres were unsold. The existing mortgages were repaid from the proceeds and a further loan of £1800 raised on the part unsold. This land was sold off at various dates by the time the loan was repaid in 1919. This then paved the way for development along the road.