Introduction to the Whitehouse Estate


1566 - 1833

Whitehouse is an extensive estate originally well over a thousand acres, comprising the demise Home farm with its land and woods and a series of adjacent tenanted farms, cottages and properties.

The main house is in Turnastone parish on the rising ground west of the Golden Valley with fine views across Vowchurch and the valley. The lands of the estate were in Turnastone, Vowchurch and St.Margarets but also extended into Newton and Bacton. In Newton they were most probably in the Gilvach area. There is a record in the Whitehouse papers of the purchase of the "Jenkin ap Richard" Manor of Newton in 17?? Parts of the estate have been sold off or disposed of over the years. The last major sale of the Estate took place recent years when the main house, 3 let farms and 3 cottages, totalling over 930 acres were sold.

The first recorded owners of Whitehouse were the Parry's, Joanes's, and Vaughan's. From 1566 to 1745 five generations of the Howarth family owned and occupied Whitehouse. The last of the male line was Herbert Howorth who died in 1745. The estate then descended to his three sisters, Magdalen (1701-1763), Isabella (1703- 1775), Elizabeth (1703-1769) and to his fathers sister. All of these had moved out of the area and none of them occupied Whitehouse. His aunt and Magdalen had married, and their families also had an interest. The estate appears to have been poorly managed for a long period with rents not being collected and allowed to get into arrears. The wills of Herbert and his father were either obscure or deliberately hidden, and an extended family dispute arose which lasted for many years. The legal wrangle was only resolved in a major London court case which also went on for a long time, not to be fully sorted out till the 1790's. By this time all the original beneficiaries had died. Perhaps, as so often is the case the lawyers were the only ones to profit by it. Costs are reported to have been £12,000. In an attempt to collect outstanding rents Bartholomew Hasleden, a son of Magdalene and grandson of Herbert visited Whitehouse and reported in a letter to George Pardoe, a nephew of Herbert. This letter has survived and a photocopy from the HRO together with a transcription for easier reading is available (see below). This letter gives a vivid and in retrospect amusing account of a journey made by horseback from Whitehouse to Ewyas Harold and his return through Newton (the Manor of "Jenkin ap Richard" ) The Mr. Price and his wife who received Bartholomew at Whitehouse would be Mr. Nathaniel Price who with his father Thomas were tenants at Whitehouse from 1748 to 1796. Thomas died 31st January 1778 and his wife Sarah died 25th December 1786. Both are buried at St Margarets.

In an appendix to his History of Whitehouse by Arthur Seward Wood, written in 1954, we are told: -

“In 1816 Wm. Wood made a claim as holder of the Manor of Jenkyn ap Richard for a share of the commonable and waste lands situated in the Parishes of Newton and St Margarets, which were about to be enclosed. The claim was based upon the ownership of 364 acres in St Margarets, but no data as to the area of the commonable land is stated. From a reference some 40 years earlier, it appears that the Manor had been much encroached upon by tenants of Lord Abergavenny holding adjoining land. The result of the claim is not recorded, but in later years Lord Abergavenny and Jefferies appear to have been allocated practically the whole of the unenclosed Lands."

In this respect it is to be noted that the Act of Parliament of 1816 refers to Newton and not St.Margarets. The Lord of Abergavenny was Lord of the Lower and Upper Maescoed but not Middle Maescoed, the subject of the post 1816 enclosure. Jefferies was a Brecon Lawyer who came to own the Middle Maescoed Lordship at about the time of its enclosure, perhaps as a speculative venture. The Wood family came into the estate by the marriage of William Wood (1758-1833) to Frances Haseleden a daughter of Herbert Howorth the elder. They held it for four generations.

Whitehouse in 1812, when it was a ‘White’ house

Whitehouse, a more recent photograph

To see all documents relating to Whitehouse, click here

For an Aerial Photograph of the Whitehouse area, click here

For a letter written from Whitehouse in1774, click here 

For details of a Sale of Navy Timber from the Estate in 1812 click here       

For a history of Whitehouse written by A.S.Wood in 1954, click here

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Ref: gc_gdv_2003