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1898 – Ernest Doe takes lease on a blacksmiths

Very much a family firm, the company can trace its history back to June 1898 when Ernest Doe took the lease on a blacksmiths shop at Ulting near Maldon Essex. Work consisted mainly of shoeing horses and repairing agricultural implements.


1910 – Business prospering

The business prospered and by 1910, Ernest Doe had not only bought the freehold of the blacksmiths, but also the neighbouring farm. By this time Ernest had three sons; Ernest Charles, Hugh and Herbert.


1920 – Tractor business investment

After the war, in 1920 Ernest Charles persuaded his father to buy some of the 6000 tractors which had been sent from the United States to help the war effort. This was the start of the tractor business.


1930s – War effort

During the 1930s the firm began selling Case tractors and Ransomes implements. During the Second World War, every possible acre was put to the plough and Ernest Doe & Sons did its part in supplying the tractors to do it in Essex.


1943 – First company branches

In 1943 the first branches of the company were established. The first at Fyfield near Ongar and the second at Hythe Hill Colchester. By 1947 a further four branches had been opened.


1950s – Ford and the Doe Triple D

During the 1950s the company was selling the products of several tractor manufacturers, but in 1957 a decision was made to hold a sole franchise – that of the Ford brand.


1950s – Diversifing in to Construction

The company diversified into selling and maintaining construction equipment in the 1950s and began distributing the JCB excavator in the south of England in 1959, later becoming distributor for the Ford industrial range in 1965.


1950s onwards – Development and Ford dealer

The 1950s, 60s and 70s periods saw further development of the company under Ernest Charles and Alan Ernest. The company signed an agreement to become a Ford tractor main dealer in 1956.


1970 – Garden machinery

The 1970s saw the company beginning to sell garden machinery and new showrooms were built to accommodate these products as well as the many other tools and ironmongery items which the company was selling successfully to farmers, the construction industry and the general public.


2000s – Working with Ford

The Ford tractors franchise developed through an association with Fiat into the New Holland tractor and combine franchise of today. The development of Ernest Doe Power and the Case IH franchise began with the purchase of Framlingham Tractors in Suffolk, followed in 2004 with the purchase of Harper & Eede in Sussex.

The history of a farming legend - Ernest Doe