Newsletter Four

Autumn 1972.
Editor: Joan Leese.
Assisted by:  Jean Hopkinson, Jennifer McCulloch, Daphne Davies, Mildred. Shepherd and Deborah Wailer.

An  Exploration  of the Parish of Linton    –    Phyllis D. Williams

The parish of Linton covers some 2,500 acres and was formerly the township of Linton, within the manor and parish of Bromyard. Linton is an Anglo-Saxon name meaning ‘ton where flax was grown.’ A ‘gigbridge’, near the road from Linton Green to Bromyard Down, is recorded in this township in 1738. A ‘gig’ was a machine for putting a nap on cloth, and could be run by a water mill. Possibly this points to a local cloth industry. 

Within Linton township were the manors or estates of Hodgebatch, Yearsett and Clater, and also the villages or hamlets of Linton, Southington, Ashminton and Shortgrove. All were recorded as centers of medieval settlement about 1285. The suffix, ‘ton’, to three of these place names suggests a small group of early Anglo-Saxon settlements. There was probably even earlier settlement on the hill that commands these three hamlets. Earthworks on the high ground to the south – west, SO 671532, may be the remains of an Iron Age hill fort. This could explain the place name of Burley, which means ‘clearing by the fortified place’. The common open fields of Linton Township included Burley Field, Avenbury Perryfield, Eden Field and Ridgeway.

On Sunday, 16th April 1972, Miss Rosamund Hickling led an enthusiastic party from the Society round the parish.

The first visit of the afternoon was to Yearsett. Here the boundary oak, SO 707536, represents a landmark, once used for the annual perambulation of the parish bounds. The Gospel Oak, on Bringsty, which also marks the boundary between the parishes of Linton and Whitbourne, records where a pause was made, to read a passage from the Scriptures. It was in the field to the north­east of the boundary oak that the Worcester, Bromyard and Leominster Railway Company erected a temporary wooden railway station in 1874, known as Yearsett Halt. This marked the end of the single line track from Worcester, passengers and goods to Bromyard had to complete their journey by road. Bromyard railway station was opened amidst great rejoicing in 1877. 

Yearsett Court

Mr. and Mrs. Edward Lane of Yearsett Court, very kindly invited us in to look over their fine 17th-century timber-framed house, which marks the site of the manor of Yearsett. The house was probably built by the Romney family who lived and farmed at Yearsett during the 17th and 18th centuries. Between 1663 and 1672 there was a dispute between Richard Spooner, who lived at  the farmhouse now known as Old Yearsett, and Paul Romney, gentleman, regarding a right-of-way from Richard Spooner’s house over Paul Romney’s land and then passing the boundary oak. As this footpath had never been questioned before in living memory, according to the jurors at the Manorial Court, It could well be that Paul Romney was trying to secure privacy for his imposing new house. The jurors upheld Richard Spooner’s claim to the right of way.

Yearsett was earlier spelt ‘Ersete’. In the 13th century both.: Stephen of Ersete and Reginald of Ersete held land in the manors foreign of Bromyard. Over 250 years ago this area of some 400 acres was divided between several farms, Yearsett Court, Upper Yearsett, Lower Yearsett, Old Yearsett, Earsett, the Old House and the Moors. Four of these farmhouses are still standing, but most of the land belongs to Yearsett Court and Lower Yearsett farms.

Going westward from Yearsett, past Ridgeway field on the right and through Linley Green – which is a cluster of 17th, 8th and 19th~century houses, two of which have been blacksmiths shops – the party proceeded to visit the Bank House, by kind permission of’ Mr. D. Watkins. Eden Hill field lies to the north of the road between Linley Green and this house.

The Bank House is now empty and is basic ally a timber-framed house of about 1500, extended and. in part re-walled with stone about 1800. The main fireplace is particularly interesting, having a moulded beam and stopped stone uprights. From the house, there is a clear view of Clater Park. Known as Cletera in 1166 arid Clatére in 1269 this property was held by knight’s service of the manor of Bromyard. The name could well derive from the old English word, ‘clatter’, meaning ‘loose stones’. Held by  Roger of Evesham about 1285, Clater was later the seat of the Nicolette family of Avenbury. Then in 1702 the home of Grimbold Pauncefoot who subscribed generously towards the Congregational Chapel built in Bromyard that year. The present house was bui1t by Robert Pauncefoot who died before1752. He .was attorney-general to Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of King George the second. It has been suggested that the unusual and imposthg1farmyard wall to the Bank House was a “castle folly” erected by the Pauncefoot family to improve their view.                   

Miss Hickling has an aerial photograph showing a network of tracks, seeming to be medieval, near the fishpond between the Bank House and Clater Park. There are further extensive earth-works in the field between the Bank House and Linton Brook farm. 

These could represent a deserted village sit, possibly that of the village of Linton or Lintons Green. An alternative site for the village of Linton, could be beneath Linton Tile Works.

Taking the road to Bromyard Hospital, and turning left there for Burley, the party arrived above Ashminton. A well ­defined hollow way runs down to the ruined farm-house, SO 676532, This stone house of the mid-l7th century formed part of the marriage settlement in 1694 between Ann, the daughter of William and Mary Jones of Ashminton and Paul, the son of Paul Romney the elder of Linton, who probably lived at Yearsett Court. The remains of substantial farm buildings and three small fish pools can be clearly seen. There are interesting earthworks all round this site.

On the summit east of Ashminton, SO 673531, stands the old Bromyard Isolation Hospital, built in 1893, in consequence of a local epidemic of smallpox. Then a cottage at Burley with five acres of land it was bought by the local government authorities for £260. This cottage, a timber-framed house of the 17th century or earlier (it had been encased in stone in the 18th century) was put into immediate repair. Six bell tents were also bought, to be erected should the need arise. A wing was added to the cottage and the hospital built nearby. This comprised a central room with a male and female ward either side. There were two convalescent rooms above and the kitchens behind. Cases of smallpox, diptheria and scarlet fever were nursed here, The hospital, which was the joint responsibility of the Bromyard U. D. C. and R. D. C., was taken over by the Birmingham Regional Hospital Board on the advent of the National Health Service. The Regional Board decided to sell the hospital in 1949, since then it does not seem to have been used for its original purpose. The building has recently, been modernized and effectively, converted into a private house by Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd.

The party concluded the exploration of Linton Parish by walking north-west from the old Isolation Hospital to examine the earthworks at Burley. Towards the highest point above the 550 ft contour, the western bank is clearly defined; some flint chippings have been found in the vicinity.

The Society would like to thank Miss Hickling for leading the party on this most enjoyable field day.

Water Mill Survey
An Interim Report  – by   Jennifer McCulloch

The following notes give some idea of the kind of situation which is being found. Fifty-five mills or sites have so far been visited nearly all in Herefordshire, but a few just over the Worcestershire border The rivers Frome, Lodon, Cradley and Leigh Brook, Sapey Brook and their tributaries have been completed – in so far as an undertaking of this kind can ever be said to be complete. Other mills visited are on various tributaries of the river Lugg, Cheaten and Stretford Brook, Humber and Holly Brooks, and also the river Leadon, but these streams are not yet completed. My thanks are due to all farmers and mill owners for their help and hospitality, and to Mrs. P. D. Williams for going over some of the buildings.

Of the 55 mills or sites, only 9 have machinery which may be recorded. They are Acton (wheel only), Birchley in Bockleton, Bridges Stone, Alfrick, Beanhouse, Cradley; Hope, Lower Sapey, Much Cowarne, Risbury, Rowden, Winslow, and Thornbury. All the wheels are overshot except at Cradley which has a high-breast-shot wheel, and Rowden which has a turbine. There are two wheels at, Bridges Stone. 

Caste Iron & Wooden Machinery Cogs in Much Cowarne Mill

Three mills have machinery but the buildings are too dangerous for it to be recorded. These are Little Frome in Avenbury, Barrow, Crad1ey, and Riffins at Bodenham,

Three mills still work. These are Much Cowarne; Beanhouse at Cradley; and Bridges Stone where the corn grinding machinery has been removed to make way for water-powered engineering works.

The mills in and around N.E. Herefordshire, although in many cases found in delightful settings, do not compare architecturally with some of the mills in the southern counties. They are generally small, functional and largely follow the style of local farm buildings. At. 17 mills, the buildings remain although the machinery has gone. These range from some which are ruinous, e.g. Fromey Mill, Castle Frome, to some which are in good condition and have been put to other uses, e.g. Paunton at Bishops Frome which is used for modern electrical farm grinding, and Leigh, now an attractive house. The earliest buildings seem to be those of c.1600, e.g. Fromey, which has some possible medieval timber, and Rowden, and the latest is Much Cowarne built in 1903 replacing an earlier mill which had been burnt down. 

Much Cowarne Mill

The remainder can be classed as sites and range from Butterly at Wacton, where the mill house, foundations of the mill and watercourses remain, to Callow, near Hawkhurst, Winslow, which is only a name on Bryant’s Map of Herefordshire, 1835.

Facts recorded include the following where possible:­ a general description with information on siting, approaches, size of building, external appearance, materials of construction, number of floors, wheels, mill pond, watercourses, etc. Historical facts and dates have been recorded where immediately available but it is felt that this research may be done later. Meanwhile there is an urgency to do the fieldwork before more mills disappear or become converted. Detailed descriptions with measurements have been made of’ the machinery, and all mills have been photographed. 

It is hoped that when the survey has been completed a full report will be written and all notes and photographs lodged In the County Record Office, and completed record cards will be sent to the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings who are engaged in a national survey of mills.


The Scandalous  Affair of Rowden  and Mace

The following item from 1956 records of the Harlélan Society has been provided by one of our members, Mr. I.0. Capper. It is an extract from the Court of Chivalry’Report, 1623-1732.


(Cur. Mil., Boxes 9/lf; 9/4/11, 14; ll/30a-g; Cur.Mil. I, 212-221)

This was a cause of scandalous words provocative of a duel, promoted by Edward Rowden of Rowden, Co. Hereford, gent., against Richard Mace of Bromyard, Co. Hereford.

9th May 1635. The libel alleged the Plaintiff to be son and heir of Richard Rowden of Rowden, and the Defendant to be no gentleman. The Defendant said that the Plaintiff and his father were not gentlemen; that they usurped the name of Rowden; and that he (the Defendant) was near of kin to Queen Elizabeth.

Dr. Duck for the Plaintiff,

Dr. Talbot and Dr. Irwin for the Defendant.

10th September 1635. The following witnesses gave evidence on behalf of the Plaintiff .

1.        Thomas Dabitot of Munderfield Harold, en. Hereford, gent.; lived there for:19 years; aged 38; born at Bromyard.

2.       Thomas Cooper of Berdenbury, Co. Hereford, born there, aged 55; miller and turner by trade. Known Richard Rowden for 50 years and Edward Rowden for 30 years. Defendant said that he was a  better man than the Rowdens, for his mother was cousin to Queen Elizabeth and attended her, and that the Rowdens usurped the name of Rowden.

3.        Thomas Blake of Bromyard, tailor, born there, aged 40. Deponent knew Henry Mace, father of the defendant and Anthony Rowden of Rowden, grandfather of Plaintiff. Thomas Cooper is a miller and also a relator or informer to the Counci1 of the Marches.

4.    Thomas Smart of Grindon, Co. Hereford, gent., lived there 13 years; aged 60; born at Hartbury, Co.   Gloucester. Heard Defendant say that Plaintiff’s name was Townley.

5.     Richard Cooper of Bromyard, weaver; lived there for 20 years, born at Birdenbury, Co. Hereford, aged 35. Thomas Blake was accused of begetting a bastard child by a woman of lewd life.

6.       John Bradford of Wacton, Co. Hereford, tailor, lived there for 40 years; born, there; aged 48 (sic). Defendant is styled by some “goodman,” by some “uncle,” and by others. “Mr.Mace.”        Defendant told Deponent that the. Rowdens were called Towneley alias Rowden, and asked Deponent   what the word “alias” meant. Deponent said that he did not know what it meant, whereupon   Defendant said that the Rowdens came of a base line for that they had the name of the father and the  mother. Deponent has heard that about 10 years ago Thomas Dabitot killed a man, for which he was   arraigned and acquitted. He has also heard that Thomas Cooper had had a base child.

12th November 1635. The defence alleged that the Plaintiff’s ancestors were known by the name of Townley and not Rowden. The Defendant exhibited the following pedigree

Raduiphus Moigne miles de Bowdon =

Johartnes Moigne miles =

Radulphus Moigne miles =

Thomas Townlay Servus =   Alicia filia et haeres

Comitis Lancast                   Radulphi Moigne militis de Rowdon

Johannes Townley filius Tho =     Margeria filia

seipsum nominavit Rowdon

“This John first tooke the name of Rowdon as may appeare by severall bookes remaying in the Office of Armes and other Collections”

Ricus Rowdon = Alicia filia

Willus Rowdon = Margeria filia

“John Rowdon mencioned in the last Visitacon made for the County of Hereford from whom Richard Rowdon now of Rowdon of (sic) the said County is discended father to Edward now “plaintiffe from Sr Raph Moigne the first menconed in this descent to the last John Rowden next above written is prooved and set downe in the old visitacon made for Herefordshire by Robt Cooke then Clarenceux Ao 1569 and from that John Rowdon to Edward Rowdon now of Rowdon in the County of Heref: is prooved by the last visitacon taken 1635 at the Office of  Armes 4to febr 1635 Wm Penson, Lancaster.”

28th April 1636. The following witnesses gave evidence on behalf of the Defendant.

1.       Anne, wife of Christopher Capper alias Whittingeslow of Bromyard, butcher; aged 30; born   at Boculton co. Worcester.

2.       Elizabeth Cherry of Boculton, co. Worcester, sp., aged 24.

3.       Roger Wednester of Bromyard, co. Hereford, aged 40..

4.  Christopher Capper alias Whittingeslow of Bromyard., butcher, aged 52. .

5,       Anthnny Holder of C(ollington ?), co. Here ford, yeoman, aged 58.

Early Herefordshire Hop – Growing Field Day  –        Joan Leese

As a sequel to his talk on early hop-growing in the county, which he gave in March, Mr. Inett Homes conducted a tour of various farms in June, when we examined old kilns and looked at the evidence of treading holes. Hops are no longer grown at any of these farms.

At Hamish Park, Whitbourne, (the home of our members, Mr. and Mrs. N. W. Williams) in a building away from the house, there are the remains of two brick hopper kilns and practically over the exterior doorway is an octagonal treading­ hole. Mr. Homes surmised that this was a late hole, probably having been made about 1825, as earlier ones were round. This building is stone up to the first floor and then brick. We also saw an early press for pressing hops into socks, a refinement on the treading process done by a man.

Hamish Park

On the other side of the road from Hamish Pork and standing on the side of a pleasant valley is the ruined farmhouse of Lower Elmores End. The time when it was built is uncertain, perhaps about 1620 or so. It is likely that the two kiln fireplaces we saw here were put in after 1670 or 1680. These kilns would be part of the house until the late 18th century. Mr. Homes pointed out how they were used with a slatted wooden floor above them covered with the horsehair kiln mat on which the hops were spread. Below the slatted floor was a stone plate to protect. the hops from flying sparks. There was, evidence of two treading holes, one of them at the bottom of the stairs leading to the attic which ran the full length of the house. At the Thrift, Tedstone. Delamere, the remains of three kilns are in a building, across the yard from the house, showing the increased affluence of the farm in the second half of the 18th century. The kilns had brick, hopper fire places like those at Hamish Park, and were put in when the building was erected in 1750 – 1770. Next door to the kilns was a cider press, which was often the usual arrangement on farms.

All trace of kilns has gone at Church Farm, Lower Sapey, except for three louvres in the ridge of the roof of a 17th-century building across the yard from the house. Mr. Homes told us there was evidence of a treading-hole at both ends of this building, and that in the house there was one in the floor of the parlour above the cellar.

Wandering from hop kilns for a while we inspected Lower Sapey Old Church, passing a sitting hen in the porch, at the bottom of the Church Farm garden. This church was abandoned in 1877. Now it is empty and is used as a farm building, as may he guessed from the sitting hen, but one of our members, Miss M.A. Lane, recalled childhood games in it when the pulpit and. pews were still in place. 

The kilns at Upper Norton (the home of our members, Mr. and Mrs. C. Page) are practically complete. There was a treading hole in the building, and also one in the ceiling of the cellar under the sitting-room of the house, which was built soon after 1700.

We looked at the two round kilns at The Farm, Norton, from the outside. They are unusual in being brick all the way to the top, Mr. Homes told us, instead of having their upper parts made of slate. Their date is mid l9th century. On them was a swinging cowl which always had its back to the wind, thereby increasing the draught and keeping out rain.

The society thanks these farmers for allowing us to look at their buildings, we are very grateful for their generosity. 

The Annual General Meeting  1972

The society’s annual general meeting took place on 27th 0ctober in the Council Chamber, R. P. C. Offices, Bromyard.
Officers for the current year, 1972-73, are:-
President:                             Mr. R.W. Williams.
Chairman:                            Dr. P.H. Crosskey.
Joint Hon. Secretaries:     Mrs. J. McCulloch and Mrs. D. Davies.
Treasurer:                            Mrs. J. Hopkinson.

Committee:                         Miss M.A. Lane, Mr. T. Weale, Mr.H. Bemand, Mr. G. Perkins,   Miss.E.M. Leese, Mr. P.J. Nichols,    Miss M. Shepherd and Mr. R.J. Jenkins.

Publication Secretary:       Mrs. P.D.Williams. Collator of Research:. Miss E.D. Pearson.

Increase in Subscription.    
The meeting agreed to increase the annual subscription from 50p to 75p. 

The treasurer, Mrs. Hopkinson, reported that the Society’s total funds amounted to £367 on 31st August 1972. Of this £100 is reserved for necessary expenses.

“Bromyard – A Local History”
At 31st August, 318 unbound copies and 8 bound copies of the book remain unsold.