At Lacock Abbey the National Trust currently have an installation to mark the site of the 13th century convent church founded by Ela (pronounced eelah) of Salisbury.
Chitterne was part of the large area of southern England inherited by Ela following the death of her father William Longespee in 1226. Soon after this she donated her Chitterne lands and farm to her newly founded abbey at Lacock, and the thousands of sheep kept at Chitterne became the Lacock nuns’ main source of revenue.
The installation consists of three panes of glass depicting a stone arch, scenes of abbey life in medieval times and Ela’s seal. These are positioned on the grass that now covers the convent church site.
I was expecting a little more than these when I visited, but all inside the abbey was as usual, there were no new items concerning Ela on display.
In the early 1900s Frederick Wallis (1858-1941), the farmer at The Manor, Chitterne St Mary, grew barley and malted it in Chitterne. He leased the 10 quarter malthouse in Chitterne St Mary from Sir Walter Hume Long for this, as we know from the brochure for the 1896 sale of the Chitterne estate. Recently I have been looking at Frederick Wallis’ farm account book and in particular at his record of malt sales from 1906 to 1914, when it appears he gave up malting altogether.
His main customers for the malt he produced were Joseph Lewis at the Dragon Brewery, Barford St Martin and Charles Price of West Street Brewery behind The Cock Inn, Warminster. The two establishments still exist, although The Dragon at Barford is now called The Barford Inn.
Joseph Lewis at Barford bought up to 280 bushels of Chitterne malt per year, between 1906 and 1914, in lots of 100 or 80 bushels at an average of 5 shillings (25p) per bushel. Part of his payment to Frederick Wallis was in beer, presumably made using Chitterne malt. (A bushel is a measure of capacity equal to 8 gallons or 36.4 litres).
Charles Price at West Street, Warminster bought upwards of 800 bushels each year between 1907 and 1912 at 4 shillings and 9 pence per bushel to start with, rising to 5 shillings in 1908. Charles Price died in 1912 but Frederick Wallis was still selling malt to the executors of his estate after his death. The Cock Inn was my maternal grandfather’s local, so he must have known Charles Price and supped beer brewed with Chitterne malt. Charles and my grandfather, Albert Frank Reynolds, may even have been related as Albert’s mother was Louisa Price.
When I started looking into malting I was unsure what the process involved, so in case you are equally baffled, malting is done by immersing the barley in water to encourage the grains to sprout, then drying the barley to halt the progress when the sprouting begins.
I am grateful to CJW for the loan of her great grandfather’s Farm Accounts Book.
60 years ago you could borrow books from The Stores in Townsend, Chitterne for 3d. per week. If you kept the book for longer it would cost you an extra 1d. per day.
This village facility was offered by John Brown and his wife Eileen, who ran the shop for 20 years from about 1954. In those days the village Post Office was at 65 Bidden Lane and the Browns shop at 17 Townsend mainly sold groceries and lent out books. So you could pick up a western with your Weetabix, or take home a romance with your root veg. I guess it’s not such a strange idea as the same could happen today at some supermarkets, except you’d have to buy the book outright of course.
We don’t know how well used the Chitterne lending library was, but at least one western book has survived called “Night Riders” by Abel Short: “The tale of special officer big Joe Gannon who rode into Maddox and into a living death.” It retailed for 5 shillings (25 pence). Some things do change!
Thank you AS for keeping this copy and passing it on to me.
This is the last part of the 1896 Sale Brochure. Lots 10, Meadow Cottage, 11 the Malthouse, and 12 Well Cottage. Meadow Cottage at first appeared in error in the last part of this series, but is now in its correct place here.
Lot number 10: 99 Chitterne, Meadow Cottage
Three cottages stood on this site in 1826. Presumably two of them are the “building” mentioned in the particulars above, but no longer inhabited by 1896. This lot was withdrawn from the auction.
George and Elizabeth Poolman (nee Ashley) lived here in 1896. The same George Poolman who bought the Round House in 1917. Frederick and Doll White (nee Meaden) occupied Meadow Cottage in the 1930s, and Ernest and Leonettie Moores next until the early 1960s. They were followed by Stephen and Lilian Adkins. Lilian died in 1968 and Stephen married Hilda, they both died in the late 1970s.
Lot number 11: The Malthouse
This is a listed building, built in the 18th century. The house adjoining the malthouse has had several names over the years. In 1891 it was known as Chestnut Villa, from 1901 to 1925 it was Pine Cottage, and now as the Old Malthouse. The house and malthouse were withdrawn from sale at the auction, but at some stage the house was purchased by a Miss Woodley, who sold it for £900 to Robin and Julia Mount in 1938. I have not been able to discover who Miss Woodley was. The Mounts expanded the size of the house, planted the yew hedge in front, and in the 1960s, sold the house for £4000 to Francis and Hester Gyngell. I am not sure when the malthouse building was demolished, I am told a building once stood near the road, to the left of the present drive, but I am not sure if that was the malthouse, nor am I sure when the house became known as the Old Malthouse.
Looking back further into the history we see that in 1826 Charles Baker leased the malthouse, house and garden, and Hand’s Close (site of Inholmes next door) from the Methuen family. Later in the 1800s, under the Longs ownership, the Wallis family of The Manor leased the malthouse for many years when they were growing and malting their own barley, and running the King’s Head. This ceased when it became uneconomic in the early years of the 20th century, although Frederick Wallis still described himself as a maltster in 1911. In 1903 he had offered the malthouse to the Baptists for their meetings after their chapel was destroyed by fire.
So, back in 1896 the house (Chestnut Villa) was occupied by Mrs George (possibly Ann George nee Whittaker, widow of Thomas George), while Frederick Wallis kept the malthouse. By 1901 Mary Bartlett, a relative of Frederick’s wife Ann, lived in the house (Pine Cottage) with her nephew William Mark Wallis. In 1911 the house was unoccupied. Tom Wilkins lived there in 1925, perhaps he was the dairyman at Clump Farm who I have been told lived in the house in those days. There were still cattle-milking sheds behind the house in the 1970s. After purchasing the house in 1938 Robin and Julia Mount raised their two children there. Their son has written affectionately of his time growing up in Chitterne in his autobiographical book ‘Cold Cream’, which is well worth reading to get the feel of the village in those days.
Lot number 12: 94 Chitterne, Well Cottage
This is another ancient house, listed grade two, which may have its origins in the 16th century, although the listing details say late 18th century. It was purchased at the auction by Frank Polden for £38, when it was known as Clematis Cottages, so it may have housed more than one family. The Polden family and their descendants, the Downs, lived there until 1950. It was purchased by Mr Shippam, of Shippams paste fame, in the 1950s according to Bill Windsor, but Lily Poolman gave number 94 as her address on the Church Electoral Roll of 1955. Incidentally, Lily’s parents were Mark and Maltese Mary Poolman of Ivy Cottage in part 3. Under the ownership of Aubrey and Barbara Miller in the 1970s it was a single dwelling known as Well House. After the Millers died it was sold in 2002 and re-named Well Cottage. Sadly, I have no old photograph of this property.
The Edward Fry (see below for more on this) mentioned in the particulars above is a bit of a mystery. He may have been the son of a Martha Fry who was a schoolmistress in Chitterne in 1841, and he was probably only living in a part of the house in 1896, because according to the 1891 records it was Augustus Polden’s home. Augustus Polden was Frank Polden’s uncle, he was married to Ann, nee Lucas, and they appear to have lived at the cottage for many years, perhaps since they married in 1859. Both Augustus and Frank were masons/bricklayers and part of the Polden building family. Augustus and Ann’s eldest daughter, Frances married James Down, but was widowed early when James died of smallpox in 1894, consequently Augustus and Ann took in Frances’s three youngest sons, Leslie, Douglas and Bertie, which is why the Downs were still living at Clematis Cottage until 1950.
That concludes our look at the properties put up for sale in 1896 by Walter Hume Long. The sale started the final break-up of his estate and the the end of an era. This estate had been owned since the 17th century by a succession of wealthy and titled families, the Paulets, the Methuens and the Longs. By the beginning of the 20th century much had changed. There were no big estate owners in Chitterne St Mary, and soon the War Department would acquire the other large estate in Chitterne All saints.
Whizz researchers J & R have looked into Edward Fry and discovered that he was not the same person as I thought but somehow connected to Augustus Polden.The connection between Edward and Augustus is tentative. Edward (1832-1910) was a shepherd from Pitton, Wiltshire. Augustus’ father, James Polden (Parish Clerk), was the witness at the marriage of a William James Fry (1825-1881) and Ann Grant in Chitterne in 1852. We have yet to find a connection bewteen Edward and William James, but they both hailed from south Wiltshire. William James never lived in Chitterne but Edward Fry lived at Clematis Cottage from 1893 to 1900 and ended his days at a cottage in Pitt’s Lane, attached to Pitt’s House, where his daughter Ellen and her husband Frank Sheppard lived.
The third part of the sale brochure for the 1896 auction.
Lot 7: 105 and 106 Chitterne, Vicarage Cottages or Glebe Farm Cottages
The site of these cottages had been part of the Chitterne estate owned by the Lord of the Manor since before 1826. The sale particulars of 1896 mention that one cottage is of recent erection. Before 1965 the two cottages were known as Vicarage Cottages, and after as Glebe Farm Cottages. In the past, when The Manor farm and Glebe Farm were run in tandem by the Wallis family, number 106 housed a farm worker at The Manor and number 105 a Glebe Farm man. In 1953 Glebe Farm and both cottages were purchased by Charles Giles of Teffont for his daughter and son-in-law. The Giles family still own Glebe Farm, but sold the cottages in 2000 after building Glebe Farm House next door. The two cottages were converted into one house by the new owners and re-named Dolphin House. The paddock mentioned above on the west side is now the site of Sunnydene bungalow.
In 1896 number 105 was occupied by George and Ann Furnell (nee Mead), and after by Richard and Harriet Feltham (nee Windsor). Francis and Julia Crossman (nee Giles) lived there from the mid 1950s until they moved to Home Farm, Teffont in 1965. After they left the cottage was occupied by the manager of Glebe Farm until 1981, when the Crossman’s nephew and his wife took over the running of the farm and moved in.
Number 106 was occupied in 1896 by Mark and Elizabeth Titt (nee Poolman) and then by their son Edwin Titt. Thomas and Doris George (nee Boulter) and family lived there in the 1960s.
Both lot number 7 and the lot number 8 were withdrawn from the auction.
Lot number 8: 104 Chitterne, Ivy Cottage
Ivy Cottage was a very ancient structure. The upper floor was reached by ladder according to an evacuee who lived there with his mother, Lilian John, in the second World War. The cottage was knocked down in the early 1960s and a new house built on the site by Robert Potter and given the name Arlington by its new owners. It has since been renamed Woodlea. The paddock mentioned above is now the site of Glebe Farm House.
Alfred and Maria Stokes (nee Wadhams) lived at Ivy Cottage in 1896, they were followed before 1901 by Mark and Mary Poolman (nee Sosia). Mark served in the Royal Artillery for 25 years and met Mary when he was stationed for 12 years in Malta. They had six children, the three eldest were born in Malta. After his army servce in the mid 1880s Mark brought Mary back home to Chitterne and worked as a cattle drover, Mary worked as a laundress. Mary was always known as Maltese Mary in the village. Mark died in 1915 and Mary in 1936. Mary Poolman and her daughter Louisa are pictured outside Ivy Cottage.
Lot number 9: 98 Chitterne
98 Chitterne was the home of the Feltham family for at least 120 years. It had been rented by the family from Walter Hume Long since before 1881. At the auction William James Feltham purchased the house for £100. The house is listed grade 2 and is thought to have been built in the early years of the 19th century, under the ownership of the Methuen family. I have no photograph of the house in its heyday, but the feltham family were avid collectors of village memorabilia, which is still being sifted through by relatives, so I hope that one will turn up in the future.
William James and Alma Charlesanna Feltham (nee Polden) brought up their five children in the house. After their deaths their three unmarried daughters, Beryl, Esme and Nora, stayed on and lived out their lives at number 98. Their nephew Raymond joined them after a while, and he remained living in the house until he fell ill and died in 2015. The house was auctioned in 2016, 120 years since the previous auction, and now has a new owner.
Part two of the auction of properties in Chitterne held on 12 September 1896.
Lot number 4: The Grange (known as The Lodge in 1896) and Holmrooke House.
The annotation alongside lots 4 and 5 tells us that in 1896 both lots were withdrawn from the sale. The estate may not have been sold until Lt. Col. Richard Morse bought it in about 1918. Walter Hume Long had kept this estate for his own use and let it to his relatives in the 1880s, and then to the Misses Hitchcock, formerly of All Saints Manor Farm, in the early 1890s, but by 1896 the tenant was William Beak, previously a landlord tenant of the King’s Head Inn.
Besides The Grange itself, the estate included another substantial building which housed the coaches, stables and servants quarters. The estate has had a few name changes over the years. In 1896 it was The Lodge, as we have seen, by 1901 it was known as The Old Lodge, presumably because by then the present Chitterne Lodge had been so named by Walter Hume Long, who used it as his country retreat in the early 1900s. By 1911 it was being called The Grange. In October 1924 it was renamed Holmrook Grange by the new owner Ernest Lowthorpe-Lutwidge after his birthplace Holme Rook Hall. The name stuck during Miss Margaret Frances Awdry’s ownership from 1932 to 1949 and Group Capt. Leo Maxton’s from 1949 to 1973. It was after the Maxtons died that the outbuilding was separated from the Grange. Allan Fair purchased The Grange and the outbuilding was bought by Paddy O’Riordan and converted by 1975 to the Long House, now renamed Holmrooke House by the present owners. For more on Holmrook Grange:
Lot number 5: The paddock behind the Church, Village Hall and Bow House.
This paddock was withdrawn from the auction, it was being used by Mr Beak, the tenant of lot number 4, in 1896. The measurement equates to almost three quarters of an acre and stretched from the back of the church to the back of Bow House. GD told me that Leo Maxton sold the part of the paddock behind Bow House to his father in the 1950s, so perhaps the whole paddock was owned by the person who owned the Grange estate up to that point.
Lot number 6: The Round House.
This is my house. It was not sold at the auction but purchased the following year for £70 by Miss Alice Mary Langford, niece of Frederick Wallis of The Manor. Alice was a tutor, she lived here for the next 20 years. Before that, from 1880 onwards, the Round House was being used by the constabulary to house the local village policeman. I am not going into more of the house history here, it’s available on the web, but according to recently discovered letters at 98 Chitterne, it seems that there was some thought to demolish the house after the death of Charles Morris in 1879.
Following on from my last blog here are the details of the properties that were offered for sale by Walter Hume Long in 1896 from a copy of the auction particulars found at 98 Chitterne. Most of the properties were in St Mary’s parish, apart from a couple in All Saints. Some were sold, some were not, and some were withdrawn from the sale.
Lot number 1: The White Hart Inn.
The tenant at the time was William Poolman, a member of the very large Poolman family that had lived in Chitterne since at least 1737. He is usually known as William Meade Poolman to distinguish him from other Williams in the family. In 1865 he married Sarah George, niece of Thomas George previous tenant of the inn, and ran the White Hart Inn from then until Sarah died in 1906. He was a carrier and landlord of cottages as well as an innkeeper and owned quite a few cottages scattered around the village. He has appeared in my blogs before as landlord of 8 cottages in Bidden Lane. As the village carrier he ran a regular service to the local towns and markets.
The inn was purchased at auction for £2000 by Margant Bladworth (or Margan & Bladworth, it is not clear) according to the pencilled note on the excerpt above. I have not been able to find out who that was. It may have been an agent for a brewery as the same person/s also purchased the King’s Head Inn.
Lot number 2: The King’s Head Inn.
The tenant of the King’s Head in 1896 was George Brown. I have very little idea who he was. His name appears in the Pig Club ledger for providing a Pig Club supper in 1895, 1896 and 1897, but not in any parish records, neither does he appear to be related to the Browns who taught at the school at that time.
The King’s Head was purchased for £1350 at auction by the same person/s who bought the White Hart Inn, Margant Bladworth or Margan & Bladworth, possibly agents for a brewery.
Lot number 3: Bridge Cottage.
The sitting tenant, Miss Annie Compton, purchased Bridge Cottage for £55 at auction. She had been living there since before 1891, and stayed until her death in 1931. She was one of the first women in the country to be elected to serve on a council. In 1894 she was elected to the Rural District Council representing Chitterne, and remained so for almost 40 years. She was also a member of the Board of Guardians of Warminster Workhouse until she was 90 years old.
Bridge Cottage is named for the bridge over the Chitterne Brook, which it fronts. The bridge was always known as Compton’s Bridge by the locals in those days. It was hump-backed until the second World War, when it was flattened to allow for easier movement of military transport. American troops who were billeted in Chitterne made use of the Bridge Café run by Henry Slater and Lily Poolman at Bridge Cottage during the war.