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.
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 This lot was withdrawn from the auction.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.
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.
Lord of the Manor, Walter Hume Long, sold off most of his Chitterne properties in 1896, including the two public houses, but he kept hold of a few cottages in Chitterne All Saints. In 1905 he sold these remaining cottages to Harman Bros, estate agents and surveyors, of Cheapside, London. This last sale finally severed the link between the Long family and Chitterne, which had lasted 75 years.
Harman Bros offered the cottages for sale and a copy of their brochure has recently been found amongst the effects of the late Raymond Feltham. The brochure is interesting for its descriptions of the cottages and the photographs.
As far as I can tell Rose Cottages were demolished to make way for 58 and 59 Bidden Lane by Polden brothers, builders. Eric Polden lived in 58 and Gerald Polden in 59.
Flint House was purchased by Clement Polden and became home to Polden & Feltham, wheelwrights, carpenters and farriers. The Feltham part of the outfit was Jimmy Feltham, Raymond’s grandfather. Clement and Jimmy were succeeded by Clement’s sons, Owen and Alban Polden. When they retired and sold up Alban built the Walnut Tree bungalow on the back half of the garden for himself and his wife.
Frank Sheppard bought Pitt’s House and ran his business from there. He started out as a carpenter, but later he mended clocks and mechanical devices, charged accumulators, repaired and sold bicycles and was an agent for motor vehicles.
2 Woodbine Cottages became the home of the village policeman until the 1960s. The County Police bought the properties for £332.9s.2d. in 1906.
The Poplars was the village smithy from at least the early 1800s. Clement Polden rented and lived here before purchasing Flint House. I do not know who purchased the cottage in 1905/6 but in about 1924 Arthur Polden bought it and gave it the look we see today. He demolished the smithy and raised the roof of the single storey part of the building nearest Woodbine Cottages, moving the front door to the centre at the same time.
Chestnut Cottages were built at the request of one of Walter Hume Long’s predecessors, Richard Penruddocke Long. I have written about the unusual construction of these cottages in an earlier blog, “Researching Concrete Houses” on 23 September 2014, to be found in my old blog archive. Number 60 was built as a grocery store or ale house with a storage cellar beneath. It was run by the Bartlett family before the sale, but I do not know who purchased the cottages in 1905/6.
With special thanks to SH and JF for the copy of the brochure.
The Dated Buildings Project currently being undertaken by Wiltshire Buildings Record led me to think of the dated buildings we have in Chitterne. Off the top of my head there are at least six in the village, ranging from the elaborate dated inscription to the lowly scratched in plaster type.
Last weekend’s open gardens provided a good opportunity to photograph a few of them. Chitterne House has more than one. Over the front door is a square stone tablet.
This stone tablet is thought to have been re-sited from its previous position, perhaps when the entrance was moved from Back Lane to the Tilshead Road? I have no idea who GD was.
Other dates have been scratched in the stones either side of the front door at Chitterne House.
The stable at Chitterne House also has an inscribed datestone.
Near Chitterne House, and built on part of the garden, is Pitts Cottage. This cottage is thought to have housed the Chitterne House gardener in days gone by. It was built by Richard Hayward, owner of Chitterne House in 1870. It also has a datestone.
The Long family left their mark on the village. Just across Pitts Lane from Pitts Cottage is Pitts House, built by Walter Hume Long in 1891.
An earlier member of the Long family, Richard Penruddocke Long, left his mark on Chestnut Cottages in Bidden Lane in 1874.
The Old Baptist Chapel has quite a large stone memorial tablet.
Inscriptions can be a lot less fancy than those above, but be just as interesting and useful. A name and date scratched in the plaster of the chimney breast in the loft at my house was probably done when the roof was renewed or changed in 1882 by Poldens, the builders.
It was some time before we spotted this simple 1880 scratched on a brick at the entrance to the old stable at the Round House. What could it signify? A rebuild, a repair?
If your house in Chitterne has a date inscription, please leave a comment, or contact me on the ‘About’ page.
The Arch was the hump-backed bridge over the Cut (Chitterne Brook) in Townsend. Arch Cottages were the four terraced cottages numbered 20, 21, 22 and 23 alongside the Arch.
During the second World War the bridge was flattened and the narrow road widened either by Italian prisoners of war (Chitterne Chat May 1992) or by conscientious objectors (see blog: Who Lined The Cut? dated 23 Jan 2017). Unfortunately I have no photograph of the old bridge, but it looks, from this old map, as if the road at that time made a sharp bend where it crossed the bridge.
The cottages appear on maps as far back as 1826. In 1882 the four cottages were owned by Joseph Dean of Chitterne Farm, but the gardens behind and alongside were part of the Chitterne estate owned by Walter Hume Long of Rood Ashton. According to a schedule of Corn Rents dated 1882 Joseph Dean was letting the cottages to shepherd Henry Farley, and others, but the schedule is probably out of date because Henry Farley had left Chitterne by 1881. The census that year has Thomas Coles, William Grant, Frederick Grant and John Furnell and families living there. Thomas and Frederick were shepherds, and William and John were agricultural labourers, most likely employed at Chitterne Farm.
The four cottages continued to be occupied by farm workers in 1891. By 1901 and 1911 one cottage was uninhabited. The vicar, Rev. John Canner, recorded Sidney and Ellen Parrett and Harry and Ellen Beaumont living in two of the cottages in 1925; and then we have no further information as the names of the occupants in the 1939 register are redacted. Presumably the cottages, as part of Chitterne Farm, were under War Department ownership by then.
By the time George and Jessie Clarke came to live here in 1966 some of the cottages were condemned. The Clarks bought number 20 first and later the other three when they came up for sale. They made 20 and 21 into one dwelling for themselves, moving in 1971, and 22 and 23 into another to rent out. George Clark died in 1976 and Jessie in 2005. The two cottages, 20 and 22, remained in the same family until quite recently and have since been renovated again.