Cornwall Heritage Museum

The History of Dairyland Farm World

DAIRYLAND FARM WORLD and the working farm lie within the parish of St. Newlyn East. Farming has been carried on here for a very long time. Tresillian Barton, meaning the home farm in the sun was originally spelt Tresulian in 1335. It is likely that it has been the home farm of the Tresillian estate since medieval times. History records that the infamous Sir Robert Tresillian, was born in 1340 in the original manor house on the site of the present Tresillian House. In 1380, he was appointed Lord Chief Justice by King Richard II to suppress the Peasants revolt (the poor were angered by yet another tax). Within six months he had condemned 1500 peasants to death by hanging. However six years later he was caught for spying and was beheaded at Tyburn and finally hung upside down in chains!

The original farming business was started by Mr. Frederick Davey MBE in 1924. He was a highly respected farmer who represented the views of Cornwall in various national farming affairs. He and his wife, Florence, had five children, two of whom, Frank and Rex took over the business.  The machinery repair business began in 1938 after the death of the local blacksmith at Gummows shop. Realising how important the blacksmith was in a rural area we moved the old smithy to Tresillian Barton. During the war the Cornish War Agricultural Committee appointed Rex Davey as a farm machinery contractor. The business expanded and Frank Davey OBE (dec.) successfully took over the farm. In September 1950 the company F. Davey and Sons was established. Today it is known as DairyLand Farm World.

Lunch on the farm – 1800′s

The family were both pioneers and forward thinking. During a farmers tour in America Rex Davey visited a new design of parlour. The parlour caused so much local interest that it was opened to the public at weekends. The principle of this new concept combined with their concern over the ever increasing beef and milk mountains in Europe convinced the family of a new way ahead. The decision was made to install a new design of parlour, called the Rotary. The farm needed to upgrade its milking facilities to cope with a bigger herd and the design provided a perfect setting for the public to view the milking process. So started the link between town and country for which DairyLand is so well known. This farm became one of the first to open its doors to the public in the UK.

The farm today

Today the farm is smaller, 120 acres (plus some rented land) yet more efficient. Twenty years ago it was a genuinely mixed farm, (beef, cows, sheep and corn) employing over 10 people on the farm. But the severe reduction in farm prices and the increases in government regulations forced the family to make major decisions. The policy was to concentrate on milking and growing grass.

Diversification has saved this farm and we are proud to be part of a thriving tourist industry in Cornwall. But what is the future for other family farms who may not be able to diversify or afford to re-invest?

We hope your visit will help you to understand and appreciate the immense contribution our food and farming industry makes to Britain, not just to the economy but to our countryside and our whole way of life.

Fun at the Farm