Moor Barton Farm had been occupied by Richard Wills early in the 19th century; it was bought by George Wills on his return from Australia in the 1870’s and leased to his brother Thomas whose family lived there, and whose ten children were born there. In 1892 the Torquay Corporation, which had already built the Tottiford and Kennick reservoirs, wanted to buy Moor Barton as well to protect their water supply, but at first there was considerable public opposition. Finally, in 1901, after a drought, they decided to build a third reservoir, Trenchford, which was finished in 1907, but at the cost of evicting 119 people from the farms around, so that there would be no contamination of the water by sheep or cattle grazinng. This meant that 11 farms and eight cottages were abandoned and the buildings gradually felt into ruin. The old Moor Barton farm house, of which we have several pictures, had a fine monkey puzzle tree; it burnt down as the family moved out. A new house has now been built in the farm buildings.
See Moor Barton Press for notice of sales at Moor Barton in the Exeter Flying Post, which give you a good idea of what was considered important at various periods and notice the early emphasis on the presence of a lime kiln and a supply of lime, and the much later mention of the gentry in the neighbourhood, and the offer of a free bus from the station for those buying at the sale.