The History of The Foster Family at Field House and High Barn
The Fosters have occupied Field House since 1887, having lived and farmed in the wider area for several hundred years. It seems likely that the Vosters, as they were then named, came over to Filey from The Low countries in the 1600’s.
Field House was part of the Sewerby Hall Estate, owned by the Lloyd Graeme family when John’s great- grandfather, Francis, became one of his tenants in the latter part of the 19th century. Subsequently, in 1919, this tenancy was passed to John’s grandfather, William upon his return from The First World War.
Following the war, farming experienced hard times in the 1920’s/1930’s and many estates were broken up. At this time, Lloyd Graeme, offered John’s granddad, William the opportunity to buy, and this he did, thus becoming the freeholder of Field House, which included High Barn and about 250 acres of land.In the early days the farming was mixed i.e. a bit of everything – sheep, pigs, beef, milk, chickens, ducks geese, cereals and, of course heavy horses to do the farm work.
John’s father, Thomas, followed on and continued to farm until he was joined by John, who returned in 1975, after university and working elsewhere. By this time the farm had streamlined its operations, becoming a dairying and arable enterprise, letting all the other enterprises go. Additional land near RSPB Bempton Cliffs was purchased in 1985, and the farm continued to grow cereals and to maintain a milking herd, but on a larger scale.
John and I moved here in 1983 with our children James and Lucy and made our first foray into the holiday cottage trade in 1984, realising that our lovely setting and close proximity to the stunning Yorkshire Coast made us an ideal spot for a holiday destination. We configured some simple alterations to one end of the farmhouse and got going. Initially, and for the following few years, we only opened during the 6 weeks summer holiday period to make a little ‘pin’ money.Very gradually we started to look at the wider picture.
In 2000, we upgraded a tied cottage and created Hind’s. Soon after this, another cottage, The Byre, was opened to holiday visitors. Slowly we began to realise that we had created a viable alternative enterprise, which was growing each year.
With the collapse of the dairy industry at the turn of the 21st century, and after 30 years of milking cows, John decided to sell his herd. With the help of a grant for the encouragement of rural tourism we developed most of our Victorian farm buildings at Field House and added Ostler’s, The Roost, The Old Dairy and The Turnip House. Following this development, we created five more luxury cottages at High Barn, powered by environmentally friendly technology, which opened in 2012- The Cake House, The Hayloft, The Granary, The Owl House and The Spinney. We have added another branch to the business by acquiring three super holiday apartments in a converted old brewery, very close to York Minster. They are named the Hop Store, The Malt House and The Brew House.
James joined us in 2015 and is fully part of the business. His partner, Sarah-Jane and their two young boys, Harry and Jack spend a lot of their free time here. Lucy also, retains her interest in all that is going on, but lives in Buckinghamshire, so sadly, we see less of her, Jonny her husband and their little ones, Blake and Evie.
They all give us confidence that they’ll continue to add to our family story here at Field House in future years.