Like most of the municipal districts of Victoria the town of Colwood started as a farm. Esquimalt Farm founded in the mid 1800's and locally known as Colwood Farm, was originally placed under Captain Langford's management. It was on the far side of Esquimalt Harbor, the most isolated of the four farms and the farthest away from the Fort. It had the great advantage, however, of being near the saw and grist mills, established in 1848 and 1850 respectively, near the mouth of Mill Stream.
The six hundred acre farm was not a compact block but long and narrow with a corridor, half a mile wide, running up from Esquimalt Harbor. Its waterfrontage was from Paterson Point to the mouth of Mill Stream. The landing place was a short distance below the present Parson's Bridge. The farm's lower boundary ran from Paterson Point to the northeast corner of the old Hatley Park estate, now the grounds of the Royal Canadian Naval College, Royal Roads. Swinging slightly north, it continued westward to the far end of Colwood Lake, that picturesque ribbon of water enclosed in the Royal Colwood Golf Course, whose fairways were once a part of the old Colwood Farm. From the lake's end the boundary turned at right angles and ran in a straight line until it met Mill Stream. It followed the course of Mill Stream back toward the harbor.
Just before the grist and saw mills were reached, it swung away from the stream and ran in a southeasterly direction to the harbor. The mills were left on neutral ground to be used by all the farms. The first trees were felled on Esquimalt Farm soon after the arrival of the Langfords. Indians and Kanakas, who were excellent axe men, together with the farm hands who had come out with Captain Langford in the Tory, worked with a will under his direction. The walls of the Langfords' future home were soon rising. The glass for the windows and bricks for the chimneys were brought from England in the Tory. Some small cottages were built for the men and their families. By the end of 1854 there were twelve dwelling houses, according to the report of Governor Douglas, with a population on the farm of thirty, including six children under ten years of age. By the same report, at the end of three and a half years' work, 190 acres of the heavily timbered land had been cleared.
The stock on the farm consisted of 13 horses, 9 milk cows, 8 working oxen, 14 other cattle, 523 sheep, 97 swine and 80 poultry. The main crops were wheat, oats, peas and wool. The Langfords called their new home "Colwood" after their old home in Sussex. For some reason, Captain Langford chose to build at the extreme end of the farm lands. The peppery Captain may have decided to remove his bevy of beauty as far as possible from the Fort, one daughter, Mary, having already incurred his displeasure on the voyage by falling in love with Herbert George Lewis, a very junior officer of the Tory, in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company. Or his choice of homesite may have ·been guided by the beauty at the time of that section. Today we can glimpse something of its old-world loveliness in the fairways of the Colwood Golf Course. "Colwood" stood just south of the present entrance to the Golf Course, across the Island Highway which today runs from end to end of the old Esquimalt Farm property.
Nothing of "Colwood" is left standing today. Slowly disintegrating from neglect and decay, it was finally pulled down. The masonry walls of the old dairy still stand without roof, door or windows, the only memento of the past. To early pioneers of Captain Langford's character, sterling and upright though unadaptable, this colony was indebted for the championing of certain democratic principles. To his wife and daughters we owe a great debt. They brought to the life of this crude, young fur-trading post a grace and daintiness of living. The women of the Langford family, the first complete family to arrive direct from England, reproduced in this new land the way of life in their English home, the lovely flower garden, the homelike surroundings, the dainty, fashionable costumes and the good manners to which they were accustomed. They planted on this southern tip of Vancouver Island "a little bit of Old England."
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