All About the Farm

What's on the Farm
The Victorian farmhouse, which dates from the 1890’s, was built on the foundation of an earlier house and is now being fully restored. Beginning in 2003 we put in all new lavender with ten raised beds with seven to ten rows per bed and currently have about 1500 plants in the ground. Our goal is 2600 plants with more than thirty varieties of lavender. There are several lavender iris gardens, day lily gardens and a small orchard where apple, peach, cherry and pear trees grow. Around the farm are many small gardens, including a shade garden, beautiful lavender and rose hollyhock stands, dotted with Rose of Sharon trees. In 2005 we put in a one-tenth of an acre flower and herb garden between the store and barn.

Our cottage store opened in the spring of 2004 and was quickly filled with all things lavender where we sell lavender plants, body care products, culinary delights, and a wide variety of crafts made on premises. We have restored the old wooden milking barn, which is used for workshops and special events and for drying lavender in its loft. Other improvements planned for the future include adding a three sided porch to the house, putting in a lavender labyrinth, building a garden terrace for parties and barbeques, expanding the driveway to the barn, creating an observation tower in one of the two concrete silos and adding an outside restroom for guests.

 

History of the Barn
The land on which the barn stands was part of a 1000-acre patent made by William Penn in 1684 to Hendrick Molestine and John Kipshaven. In 1685 Molestine sold his share (516 acres known as the “White Meadows Farm”) to Thomas Fisher. Thomas’s son, Joshua, inherited the farm and sold it to Reverend James Martin in 1736. The Fisher house (later the Martin homestead) stood near the intersection of Coolspring and Fisher Roads and is now known as the “Fisher-Martin House.” The historic house was moved to Lewes in 1980 where it serves as an information and exhibition center.

In 1761, 250 acres of the Martin farm were conveyed to Joseph Warrington and described in deeds as the Warrington “Home Farm.” The first Warrington home built near the existing house was abandoned after the Civil War in favor of a new home near Springfield Crossroads. Joseph’s son, James Reed Warrington, owned five farms, including the Home Farm. He was a slave owner and fought in the War of 1812. When he died in 1856, his son, William Torbert Warrington, took over the farm. William T. was a pioneer fruit grower in the county and had 3,400 peach trees as well as apples, pears and small fruits, all of which were very profitable. He also grew grain and sugar cane, from which he manufactured sorghum. He was a Captain in the Civil War and was assigned to guard the prisoner stockade at Fort Delaware. He married Rhoda Ann Martin, the daughter of James and Ellen Martin. William Torbert’s son, James Edward Warrington (1847-1918), married Sarah Elizabeth Martin, the daughter of John and Emeline Martin. Around the turn of the century James demolished the old house and built the current one. James’s son, Wilbur Othneil Warrington (1876-1960), the last Warrington to live on the land, sold it in 1946 to Stephen and Jean Vaughn.

The barn was built around the same time as the house, the turn of the century. It was a typical field barn of the period built with heavy timber, one and one half stories high with a gabled roof. Since farms were horse-powered, it probably served as a stable for the horses with hay and oats stored in the loft. Although the Warringtons were not dairy farmers, they probably kept a few cows for milk.

The Vaughns sold the farm (now 213 acres) in 1958 to W. Weldon and Elizabeth Brittingham. The Brittinghams, who were owners of the Lewes Dairy, were dairy farmers. They added the silos, corn crib and the milking shed, which allowed them to process their milk on the farm prior to transfer. They also added a metal Quonset hut, a lean-to shed between the silos and another larger barn, all of which were demolished in the 1970’s. The Brittinghams sold the property in 1973, subdividing it and selling five acres with the house and barn to John and Martha Heickel. The Heickels used the milking shed as a temporary kitchen while they restored the house. They lived on the property for 21 years, selling it in 1994 to Pauline Petitt (known as the “Lavender Lady”). Pauline Petitt renamed the farm, “Manor at Cool Spring Bed and Breakfast and Lavender Farm” and used the barn as a storage shed. She sold the farm to the current owners in October 2002 and moved to Australia. The old barn was almost lost during Hurricane Isabel but was saved and is being used as a meeting room with the loft used for drying lavender.