Houses

HOUSES

 

There are today 99 houses in Eaton Bishop, 22 of them built or created since l945.

Of this number, 78 have electric light but only 36 mains water. This in spite of the fact that the pumping station started during the war to provide water for the aerodrome at Madley, is actually within the parish boundary. Ruckhall is by far the “blackest” area where water is concerned, only one out of 36 having mains supply and old cottagers having to carry buckets long distances to provide drinking water. All have rainwater tanks but in times of drought these dry up and every drop has to be carried.

No-one has a sewer but 51 have a septic tank or other satisfactory means of disposal. About the same number have bathrooms and 58 have solid fuel or electric cookers.

A very great deal has been done since the war to improve facilities, especially by owner-occupiers and by the owners of Lane Head and Marsh Farm (O. S. Hellyer and Major Bucknall) who both have model farm cottages for their workmen.

The total rateable value of the village is today only £1,064 compared with 1875 when it was £4,520. The area of the village was then 2,112 acres, however, compared with the present 1,629 acres, Stretton Sugwas having been separated from it by the Divided Parishes Act of 1884 and the river now forming the boundary. Another reason for the drop is the derating of agricultural property in 1929.

Sir Charles Pulley had his own electricity plant but received a mains supply, contributing to the cost, in 1929. Nearby houses were able to use this supply but the rest of the village did not get electricity until 1st January, 1954.

Major Stephens of Cagebrook was the first to have a telephone installed in 1923 and there are now 20 subscribers in the village. The Post Office Call Box was installed in 1929 and the village kiosk in 1938. Monthly dustbin collections have been made since 1949.

During the 100 years, several cottages have been demolished or fallen down. They include the clayfloored one known as the “Palace” behind the Chapel at Ruckhall where Mr Edgar Davies, who has been so helpful with his memories for this history, was born. Another is one in the grounds of Sunny Bank, (formerly Bolton’s Bank) where Mrs Julia Mitchell was born. Tom Perfrement’s cottage on the site of Beth Car is no more, nor are two which used to stand opposite Ruckhall Chapel, and one or two in the field opposite the Rectory Barn at Eaton. Little Marsh has gone and another on Honeymoor Common is now derelict.

Only two years ago Carpenter’s Cottage was demolished to be replaced by an entirely new 1954 version.

Every house in the village has a good garden. Small mechanical cultivators are in use by some, electric hedge clippers, flame guns for weeds also help.

An interesting facet of the old days of master and servant is revealed in Lower Eaton and the Rectory by the domestic quarters being so arranged that servants could not overlook their employers in the gardens or grounds.

The kitchen window at the Rectory is well above eye level; at Lower Eaton outbuildings shield the garden from view of the domestic wing and there used to be non-transparent glass in all the lower windows overlooking the front lawn.

 

Lower Eaton

There has been a house on the site of Lower Eaton on the bank of the Wye for more than 200 years. The original belonged to a yeoman farmer named Ravenhill. When, in 1743, the heiress to this estate married Thomas Phillips of Huntington, he rebuilt it. A grandson sold it to G. Percival Smith who sold it, in 1866, to Joseph - later Sir Joseph - Pulley. The following year he began to enlarge it, adding a billiard room and (probably) lowering some first floor rooms to make attics. It says something for his aesthetic taste, Victorian though he was, that he was never completely satisfied with the result and wished later that he had pulled it down and started afresh.

Today the best that can be said of it is that, though it lacks the charm of the small Georgian dwelling it originally was, it does not display the worst features of Victorian country house architecture. Large plate glass windows make the rooms light and pleasant - though the sunniest aspect of the collection of buildings is reserved for - the stables!

The cellars beneath what is now Manor House, Lower Eaton, were probably the original ones of the mediaeval house.

Sir Joseph’s nephew, Charles, inherited in 1901 and it continued to be run as a luxurious country residence until his death in 1947 when it was bought by Mrs Daisy Bishop who modernised it by installing washbasins in all bedrooms, putting in new fireplaces, redecorating and opening it as “The Mansion Hotel”.

A licence was refused and by March 1951, for the second time in five years, the contents of Lower Eaton were up for auction.

Three self-contained homes were then created from it, Lower Eaton House and Manor House from the main block overlooking the river, Park View from what had been the domestic wing. Dogs and cars are now the sole occupants of the stables where once famous racehorses lived.

Manor House was purchased by the present owners, Mr & Mrs K. Craddock in December 1951, Lower Eaton House by the present owner, Mr Harvey Dixon and a relative who later left in Spring 1952. Park View was purchased in Spring 1953 by the present owners, Mr and Mrs Jurkowski.

 

Sugwas Court

On the opposite bank of the river to Lower Eaton, Sugwas Court was the original Manor House of the village being, as all the reference books repeat monotonously, “The favourite residence of Bishop Cantilupe”. It was rebuilt in 1795 and Judge James T. Ingham was the best known owner in the late 1800’s. For more than 30 years he used to cross the ferry to attend Eaton Bishop church, no matter how high the water. The present occupiers, Captain and Mrs Mumford, are tenants of Captain J.G. P. Ingham of 45 Bellfield Avenue, Harrow Weald, Middlesex. They say, “as far as we know there have been no changes at Sugwas since the house was rebuilt in 1795”. Sugwas was separated from Eaton Bishop by the Divided Parishes Act of 1884.

 

The Rectory (Now Martin’s Croft)

This stands opposite Eaton Bishop Church and appears to be a Georgian house with Victorian additions. Actually it was originally a two-storey, half-timbered farmhouse dating back to about 1400. Thomas Russell or John Parry was the first Rector to live there in the 1750’s and in 1761 it was cased in brick, this date appearing on a brick of a chimney which was unfortunately lost during renovations to the Manor House next door in 1954.

The Tithe Barn belonging to it is still timbered and wattle with a stone base and is almost as old as the house. The rotting of oak pegs holding the stone tiles caused the roof to be dangerous and it was replaced by asbestos sheets in 1954.

The bay window and porch at the front and other additions at the rear are obviously of Victorian origin. The Rectory was sold in 1952 to Mr and Mrs Leslie Powell who still live there.

 

Manor House

This stands immediately beside the Rectory and was the home of the Snead-Cox family, one of the three biggest landowners in Eaton Bishop in 1855. Family legend says it was half-timbered and Samuel Cox had it cased in brick, adding many windows which, since the window tax was in force then, caused it to be known as “Sam’s folly”.

The last Cox to live there was Richard Snead-Cox who was the only survivor of 11 children and within six weeks in 1853 he inherited two estates.

He was about to be married, but instead of bringing his bride to the Manor House, chose instead to build a new home on the other estate at Broxwood near Pembridge, where the family still live.

The Manor was let and later sold to Sir Joseph Pulley who housed various members of his staff there. It was bought after the death of his heir, Sir Charles Pulley, by Mr Ismay and later by Mr Percy Monkley who has entirely modernised it, taking off the top floor and removing the portion added on the left.

 

Green Court

This is one of the oldest houses in the village and also belonged to the Cox estate, being the home of Richard Snead (Sheriff 1666) when he first purchased the Eaton Bishop property in l664. It is not known when his descendents moved from there to the Manor House. It was a farmhouse let at £150 a year, later £140 a year in the 1880’s. Sir Charles Pulley eventually bought it and members of his staff lived there, Robert Richard Jay coming on 2nd November 1917 to be stud groom and his son not leaving until 1954, by which time it was two portions let at 3/- and 6/- a week respectively. It has been purchased this year (1955) by Mr and Mrs Bartlam and is at present unoccupied. At the back is a stone trough which used to be used for salting beef.

 

Cagebrook

This is believed to be an Adam house and was the home for several generations of the Moore Greens (Sheriffs 1748, 1796). There are records from 1806-1815 of a Mr Green giving 2gns. a year for the poor of the vil1age.

It went with an heiress to Mr J. S. Gowland who by the middle of the century was one of the chief landowners in the village and who is described in an 1858 directory as “lord of the manor”.

It afterwards passed into the hands of Admiral Reginald Yorke and in 1874 was bought as wedding present for Clare Trafford of Michaelchurch Court by an aunt. Her husband was Lieut.General Sir Edward Hopton who was at various times, Governor of Jersey, Commander of the Forces in Gibraltar and had a command in Ireland, so that Cagebrook was the family home only for leaves. (Information from their daughter, Mrs Gadesden of Stretton Grandison).

In 1905 it was bought by a Tom Oram who lived there until 1911 when it became empty and remained so for three years.

The present owners, Major and Mrs Gerard Stephens, came as tenants in 1914, buying it in l9l8. It is here that the first meetings of Eaton Bishop WI took place.

A Victorian bay window has been added and on the right there used to be a large drawing room 26’ x 30’ with a bedroom above, but in a gale of 1947 lead was ripped from the roof and this had to be taken down, the contractor removing 25,000 bricks.

Major Stephens himself panelled the lounge hall in oak from trees on the 30 acre estate, now run as a farm.

 

New Mills

This is another centuries old building, part stone, part brick, part timbered with brick between. The stone tiles were removed and replaced by the present corrugated iron 30-40 years ago.

On the bank of Cagebrook and by the mill race, it was a mill for 70 of the past 100 years, being bought by James Lewis from Guy’s Hospital in l849. It passed from him to his son Charles who went to farm at Allansmore and in January 1907 his son Reginald was renting it from his father for £25 a year.

Reginald, however, was about to emigrate to Australia and the mill was auctioned and bought by a brother, Harry. When he left to farm elsewhere a third brother, Tom Clarke Lewis who was farming at nearby Crossways, worked the mill. During the 1914-18 war, two sisters ran it, one, Nellie, giving up nursing to do so and the other, Beatrice, helping while acting as her father’s housekeeper.

They kept it going throughout the war until the return of the present owner. Ferdinand Geoffrey Lewis, son of Tom Lewis.

In the early 1920’s it became uneconomical to operate the milling side of the business so a wholesale corn merchants was developed and is still being carried on there, a son, Allan, continuing the tradition. There are six acres of land. The wheel is still in position. It was an overshot wheel, the water being directed on top of it.

 

Millville

The handsome square house near New Mills was built by “grandfather” Charles Lewis who, on his retirement from farming at Allansmore, lived there. Ferdinand Lewis remembers a family story that he hauled all his own bricks with three horses and a wagon.

It is now run as a smallholding by Mr and Mrs Austin Lilwall.

 

Tuck Mill

As it is on the opposite side of Cagebrook, Tuck Mill is technically in the parish of Clehonger, but for so many years it supplied WI Presidents - Miss Angus, Mrs Cochrane, Mrs Montefiore - that we have included it!

Its name suggests that it was actually a Weaving Mill at one time, but within living memory it has been used only for grinding corn, For 50 years it has been a private house with the original mill being a service cottage.

 

The Terrace

Those cottages, on the way to Tuck Mill, were originally six one-up and one-down dwellings where the Ruck Mill weavers lived. In the end one, a family of nine children is reputed to have been brought up!

During the last century when they were owned by Judge Ingham of Sugwas, they were made into three cottages, and in one of them lives the present owner, Miss Catherine M. Holtom whose family bought them from Judge Ingham about l906.

 

Camp Inn

This, one of our best known buildings beyond the village borders, was built about 1837. It was originally a shop, later a forge and it was here that the present postmaster, William Jones came as a smith.

In the 80’s and 90’s it was kept by Mr and Mrs James Holder and had by that time become a licensed beer and cider house, though smithing was still carried on there.

It was bought by what is now the Cheltenham and Hereford Breweries in August 1898 and Betty Phillips was licensee for many years. She served food as well as drink and it became known as “Betty’s” - a name still used by older Hereford people. Mr and MrsW. Jones were licensees for a time during World War 1 and members of the Fleckner family, who are today tenants, have been there for many years. In the present public room there used to be a horse-operated cider press.

 

Marsh Farm

What at first glance looks to be the oldest part of Marsh Farm is in fact a “Victorian half-timbered” addition made to the original farmhouse which goes back many centuries. The present farm, 186½ acres, was originally two, Marsh House and Little Marsh. Little Marsh has gone, but its wonderful old barn with the carpenters’ marks on the beams, is still there.

There is a record in the Charity book of Mr Williams of Marsh House dispensing Smith’s Charity in 1781 but the earliest record we have discovered is of MrWashington Taylor Pencoed buying Marsh House about 1890. When he died his widow married W.J.Powell of Madley and she bought Little Marsh about 1900, thus combining the two farms.

Marsh House has been completely modernised, by its present owner, Major H.L.F.Bucknall of Devon, who bought it from G.W.Barton in 1948. Two of the farm cottages have had every modern convenience installed, and three completely new cottages have been built. Water is supplied from a spring by a ram to all the buildings and some of the fields,

It is now an up-to-date dairy farm with a herd of pedigree TT and Attested Ayrshires, the average yield for 1954 being just over 1,000 gallons per cow. In the corner of this farm, bounded by the Madley road and Stoney Street were Poor’s Meadow and Poor’s Plock which yielded charity money for distribution on Easter Monday.

 

Lane Head Farm

Formerly the Home Farm of the Pulleys, it has been owned by Mr O.S.Hellyer since 1950 when the nucleus of the present wonderful herd of 100 pedigree Hereford cattle was brought from another farm belonging to Mr Hellyer in Yorkshire.

The farmhouse, occupied by the manager, Mr William Hamilton and his family, is a square stone building, probably 18th or early 19th century and now completely modern in its equipment.

Four farm cottages of about the same date, only brick, have also had electric light, bathrooms etc. installed and two new cottages have been built. A seventh is of Tudor origin and until early this year had a stone-built bread oven.

Though it is primarily a pedigree cattle farm, there are also 10 dairy cows to provide milk for the staff, pigs, sheep, several orchards and hay, corn, potatoes, linseed and root crops are grown.

Mr Hellyer, whose home is at Brixham, Devon where his family were trawler owners, has built for himself (1954) York Cottage on the estate and spends a good deal of time in Eaton Bishop, taking a keen personal interest in the farm.

 

Warlow Farm

Situated on Stony Street (the original Roman Road) this is one of the oldest  buildings in the village. The gable end facing the road is half-timbered and as recently as 30 years ago, there were traces of l6th or early 17th century panelling which are now gone. It was altered in the 18th century.

One large barn and two other outbuildings were blown down in the great gale of March 17th 1947. There are 144 acres. It is at present being modernised. Installation of a bathroom, hot water system, etc. was in 1943 and two years later the old peg-tiled roof was removed. In 1949 was installed its own electricity plant. In the 1840 Tithe Map referred to as “Warley”, but this is probably a printing error.

 

Red House (Honeymoor)

This is believed to be Queen Anne. It had until recently, a pan with an 18th century date scratched upon it - but this was broken by a child’s ball.

The back portion of the house is newer, but the original back door is in use.

It was formerly Cox property - the Samuel Cox who fell down the saw pit lived here. There are 20 acres of land.

 

Honeymoor Farm

The original farmhouse, half-timbered, can be seen on the left hand side of the newer building. The old part is now used as an outbuilding. The neat brick house is probably early Victorian. There are 17 acres. One of the fields was named Pitbroom in 1840.

 

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