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Guest Contribution: History of Whitehouse Estate by Arthur Seward Wood

Place name:

Vowchurch, Turnastone, St Margarets





This attempt to write a History of the Whitehouse and its Owners has been prompted by the example of Major O.G. S. Croft who has compiled a full sized volume, recently published, entitled Croft of Croft Castle.

The deeds and fortunes of many of his forebears were of eminent importance in the history of England, and their influence extended far beyond the boundaries of the County of Hereford.

My endeavour is gathered from material of a more humble scope and character, but none the less, I venture to say, worthy of placing on record, and circulation to the limited number of those who have past or present links with Whitehouse.

The three chief sources of information on which the history is based are firstly: Copies of Parry Wills, Brobury and Bredwardine Pitman Papers, and other items in the City Library, Hereford, from some original research, and as regards more recent detail, information handed down by Wm. Seward Wood to Herbert Howorth Wood, and with additions by the latter on to the author.

Secondly, excerpts from letters, accounts and various MSS. in the Whitehouse archives, only partially collated, some of which are in poor condition, legal documents, indentures, dating from 1607 comprising marriage settlements and agreements, those roughly for a period of 160 years up to 1770 being written in old style script and difficult to decipher.

As far as possible in making quotations the actual wording and spelling has been retained.  To have perused all the voluminous letters and copies of others relating to the legal entanglements would be a prolonged matter, and has not been attempted, otherwise this history would be expanded to twice its length, without adding greatly to its general interest.

Wm. Seward Wood embodied much data from these papers in his manuscript Register of the Wood family, which includes particulars of lineage, not only of the Howorth’s, Haselden’s and Wood's, but of more remote ancestors and connections by marriage.

And thirdly, from what may be called firsthand knowledge derived from events during the past fifty years.

That no genealogical tree has been inserted, is due to the difficulty of compressing it to reasonable limits, but the list of Owners and others closely connected provides a guide useful for reference.

This history is written without any claim to literary pretensions as to style and polish, and if a somewhat disjointed result has evolved, I must shelter under the stock apology, viz., crave your indulgence and beg your forbearance for any short comings, inconsistencies, and lack of clarity.

Arthur S. Wood, Ladywell House, Vowchurch, Hereford.

Successional List of the Owners of Whitehouse


Symond Parry





Griffith Joanes



Jane d of Symond of Moore or Whitehouse


Rowland Vaughan
(Grand nephew of 1)



(1) Elizabeth d of Rowland
Vaughan, M.P of Porthamel, Brecon


Epiphan Howorth



Blanch Joanes d of
Griffith Joanes of
Llowes, Brecon


Humfry Howorth
(3rd son of 4)



Susanne Shawe d of
James Shawe of Tregoze
(Susanne Shawe b 1625
living in 1679)


Thomas Howorth
(Eldest son of 5)



Mary Masters d of
Herbert Masters of
Burghill, Hereford
(Mary Masters 1656-1739)


Herbert Howorth
(Eldest son of 6)



Margaret Lutley d of
Bartholomew Lutley of
Newhall, Salop
Margaret Lutley 1675-1744)


Herbert Howorth
(Eldest son of 7)
known as  the Younger





Magdalan Howorth

Isabella Howorth
Elizabeth Howorth
(Daughters of 7, and
(Daughters of 7, and





Robert Hasleden of
Over Hulton, Lancs d.1768


Herbert Hasleden
(Did not own Whitehouse) Elder son of Robert and
Magdalen Hesleden



Mary Benbow d of
Samuel Benbow of
Shrewsbury (1740-1784)


Bartholomew Haselden
George Pardoe
(Grandsons of 7)



brother of Herbert Hasleden


William Wood



Frances Hasleden d of
Herbert Hasleden


William Seward Wood
(only son of 12)



Mary Ann Hardwick d of
Joseph Hardwick of
Madley, Hereford


Herbert Howorth Wood
(only son of 13)



Alice Wyatt Carrington d of
Samuel Carrington of


Arthur Seward Wood
(4th son of 14)



Honora Penelope Maden
d of Chas S Maden of
(1994- )

Note; Some of the earlier dates are approximate, but probably correct  within

a margin of 2-3 Years.

The Owners from 1573-1629.


Symond Parry

d 1573


Griffith Joanes

d 1577


Rowland Vaughan

d 1628

The first record of the name Whitehouse appears in the Will of Griffith Joanes, of Llowes, Co. Radnor (High Sheriff of Radnor 1567) which was dated 19 August 1577 and proved the following year in the prerogative Court of Canterbury.

The Estate is here described as “Whitehouse or Moore" and it was bequeathed to him by Symond Parry in whose Will, proved 24 June 1573, and proved a second time in 1580 by his sister Blanch, the first few lines read: (Ref. P.C.C. Langley 28)

“Symond Parry of the Moor, Vowchurch, Herefordshire. To be buried in the Chancel of Bacton, nearby brother Myles Parry, My mansion house and lands in Vowchurch, Turnastone, St. Margarets, and Bacton, to Griffith Jones and Jane his wife;” (Ref. P.C.C. Poter 25)

Symond Parry of the Moor, Vowchurch, was a younger son of Henry Myles Parry of Newcourt (who was three times High Sheriff of Herefordshire) and his wife Alys, eighth of the thirteen daughters, and co-heiresses of Simon Milbourne of Tillington, Herefordshire.

His eldest brother Myles Parry of Newcourt, married Elinor, daughter and co-heir of James Scudamore of Kentchurch, and died in 1544, leaving two daughters, Joan and Elisabeth, who thus inherited both Parry and  Scudamore property. At that time it included Newcourt, Bredwardine and other Manors. These heiresses married respectively Watkyn Vaughan, second son of Sir Wm. Vaughan of Porthamel, Breconshire, and Rowland Vaughan, M.P., son of Sir Roger Vaughan of Porthamel.

Of Symond’s four children, Miles, John, Jane, and Elisabeth; Miles, John, and Elizabeth, are described in his Will as base born. In leaving his mansion house and land to Griffith Joanes and his wife Jane, it is presumed that Jane was his daughter.

His sister Blanch Parry, died in 1589, and in her Will dated 21 June of the same year, she is described as " Gentlewoman of the Queen’s Privye Chamber" . It is of interest to add that she left part of a sum of money " towards repairing the highway between Newcourt and More" , and there can be little doubt that she was well acquainted with the home of Symond, her brother.There is a fine monument to her memory in the Chancel of Bacton Church.

The only previous mention of More so far discovered, occurs in Domesday Book 1086 as being situated in Stradel Hundred which is believed to have roughly corresponded in area to the present limits of the Grey and Golden Valleys. The entry under the lands belonging to the Canons of Hereford states that " in Stradel Hundred they had one hide worth 5/- in More…." . (one hyde equals 120 acres).

The Balliol Domesday Book 1160-1170, Pipe Roll Society Vol. 63, Herefordshire only, of which a collotype reissue was published in 1950 requotes the original Domesday Book " In Stradel Hundret In More est una hida que valet v solidoes. Ipsi canonic habent hidas iij Ibi iij clerici habent iij villanos cum iiij carucis.  Valet xv solidoss Ipsi cpiscopus Walterus habuit 3 hidam Walescam T.R.E. vastatan" . Consequently this version does not advance knowledge of the position of the Manor of More, or state the name of the actual occupier.

The late George Marshall, in his survey of the Norman Occupation of Lands in the Golden Valley (Woolhope Transactions 1938) expresses his inability to locate the More mentioned above. Had he been aware that Whitehouse was formerly called More, it might have assisted his analysis. The nearest point he presumed as a possible site, was on the bank of the Dore, therefore the conjecture that Whitehouse is the Domesday Book More, cannot be accepted as conclusive and needs confirmatory support.

Possibly there may be later reference to the Manor of More in Pipe Rolls, but it must be remembered that for some three centuries after the Norman Conquest affairs were in a very disturbed state on the Welsh border and no record may have survived. In fact, several Manors entered in Domesday Book as being situated in Valle Stradelie cannot be identified with present day place names.

In Inquisitions Post Mortem 1545 appears " Milo ap Harry, Armiger, brother to Symond of the Moore, (Vowchurch), held the Manor of Jenkyn ap Richard, and Manor of Mereguston”. The former Manor comprised copyhold rents only, and were payable to owners of Whitehouse by about 16 occupiers of land on what is now known as Lower, Middle and Upper Maescoed. This Manor, also described as " alias Newton" continued to be a part of the Whitehouse Estate for at least two centuries subsequently.

In 1679 the annual value was £3-3-5. and in 1742 £2.17.5. Thereafter the amount  seems to have gradually diminished until it ceased to be collected,
(For the final phase see Appendix A)

The location of the Manor of Mereguston cannot be identified. The first element of the word in Anglo Saxon times signified a boundary or possibly a mere, a lake

3. Rowland Vaughan (1559-1623)

The ownership of Whitehouse subsequent to the death of Griffith Joanes in 1577 for " the next 30 years, has not been ascertained, but in 1607 it was in the possession of Rowland Vaughan, the younger son of Watkin Vaughan of Bredwardine and Joan his wife, she being the lawful co-heiress (with her sister Elizabeth wife of Rowland Vaughan, M.P. of Porthamel, Brecon) of the Newcourt Parry Estates, may have established her title to the Whitehouse property, and dying in l603 it is assumed that Rowland inherited it from her.
(see Appendix 3)

There are numerous documentary references to Rowland Vaughan and taken in chronological order, the earliest is:-

(1) Star Chamber depositions P.R.O. S/C. 29 Eliz. 17/13/P- in which he gave his age as 28 in 1587, therefore Rowland Vaughan was born in 1559.

(2) In 1588 when the country was arming to resist the Spanish Armada he was named as the Captain of a Company of 100 men, armed with corselets shot and bows, raised from the Hundred of Webtree, Ewyas and the City of Hereford. On April 30, 1597 Rowland Vaughan applied through Sir Wm. Cecil and Sir Robt. Cecil to receive an appointment in Her Majesty's Guards, but notwithstanding their recommendation he failed to obtain it.

(3) In 1594 List of Vaughans in Webtree Hundred, under Bacton, appears: " Rowland Vaughan, Armiger" .

(4) In 1605 Rowland Vaughan entered his son John as a student at the Inner Temple.

(5) Feet of Fines, Hereford E.3 Jas. 1 1605 " Between Henry Vaughan, Armiger, plaintiff and Rowland Vaughan, Armiger, defendant, Manors of Backton, and Newton with perts and of the park of Newcourt with parts also of 3 messuages, 1 mill, 3 gardens, 40 acres of land, 140 of meadow; 120 of pasture and 6o/- rent with parts in Backton, St.Margarets, New'court and Newton”.

1.2.& 4. Extracted from " An unknown Elizabethan" by C.A.Bradford, 1937 Typescript at City Library, Hereford.
3.& 5 B & B Pitman Papers, City Library, Hereford. (see Appendix C)

(6) Snodhill Manor, 5 March 1606/7 deed. Conveyance of Rowland Vaughan of Whitehouse and John his son to Thomas Prosser of Mowbach of a moytie of Bullace lands, part of the Manor of Snodhill granted by George Parry by copy of court roll 31 May 1575 to George ap Richards and his  sisters for their lives, Bond by John Vaughan, attached. (Under Peterchurch, City Library, Hereford)

(7) Dated 1607 a tearear (sic) of the lands and possessions belonging to the Rectory of Turneston contains Rowland Vaughan's name three times, spelt 'Vahens, vahan, Vahaen’ as having land adjoining certain glebe enfilosures. (Whitehouse archives).

(8) 1607 Nov. 20. Indenture between John Parry of Poston, and Rowland Vaughan of Newcourt, being a deed of covenant whereby for the sum of £310, and other considerations, messuages, cottages, lands and tenements situated in the Parishes of Vowchurch and Turnastone, were conveyed by John Parry to Rowland Vaughan including the Advowson of the Rectory of Turnastone and the right of Patronage of the Parish Church. Also five acres adjoining land called Tyr Whitewall and certain land on Poston Hill.
note: This is extracted from the earliest original deed in the Whitehouse archives, and may apply to small parcels of land adjoining Whitehouse land, and not near Poston Court the ancestral home of the Parry's, at which members of the family continued to live for some 30 years or more after 1607. Tyr Whitewall is now incorporated in Dolward Farm.

(9) Cardwardine v Vaughan 1612, 12 May. 2 Jas 1C 4/7-
Bill of Jas Carwardine of Basham, Co. Hereford. Whereas Rowland Vaughan of Whitehouse, Co.Hereford, and Elisabeth his late wife about 27 years past were seised in their demesne as in the right of Elizabeth of and in the Manor of Bacton, Hereford, and of one messuage called Newcourt and all that Parke called Newcourt parke and of divers other lands, meadows, etc. in the Parish of Bacton.
And the said Elizabeth in performance of the agreement made with Rowland Vaughan before their marriage together with Rowland Vaughan her husband by Indenture between Rowland Vaughan and Elizabeth, and Roger Vaughan of Cliro, Radnor, Esquire, and Henry Vaughan of Bredwardine Esquire dated 1 Aug. 26 Eliz: 1584 did, covenant to levy a fine of said manor, etc. to Roger Vaughan and Henry Vaughan, and to the heirs of Roger to the use of the said Rowland Vaughan and Elizabeth Vaughan and the heirs of their bodies and in default of issue to the right heirs of Rowland Vaughan and the Fine was levied in the next Terma by force whereof the said Rowland and Elizabeth were duly seised of said manor, etc.

And they have issue John Vaughan son and heir and other children and after the said Elisabeth died. Since whose decease that is about one year past the said Rowland Vaughan and John Vaughan in consideration of £3000 paid by your Orator, did sell manor and lordship of Bacton with park, etc. together with deeds, etc.
(Extracted from B & B Pitman Papers, City Library, Hereford)

(10) Rowland Vaughan having mortgaged the Newcourt and Whitehouse with 500 acres of land, the manors of Bacton and Newcourt were sold in 1614. (Bradford " An unknown Elizabethan" )

(11) Chancery Proceedings G.2 Jas I H 16/3 1618 Feby. 8. Herbert v Vaughan,
Wm. Herbert of Oldstock, Monmouthshire, claimed ownership of Herbert's Dayeries (house and land) in Craswall and in consideration of £600 did convey to Rowland Vaughan.

Said Rowland Vaughan having made some estate to Henry Vaughan his brother, refused to allowed redemption, etc. Rowland Vaughan stated that among others, Kynnard Delaber Esq. had £200 invested in the property.

Agreed that Wm. Herbert should convey to Rowland Vaughan the property on payment of £600 at his house called Newcourt Lodge in the Parish of Bacton on All Saints Day 1597.
(Pitman Papers Vol 5 City Library, Hereford)

(12) In 1623 Rowland Vaughan brought a suit in Chancery against John Walcot, wherein he describes himself as late of Whitehouse in the Co. of Hereford, Esq. and recites that the defendant, late of Sherborne Dorsetshire, took to wife one Joan Wynston, one of the daughters of  Sir Hy.Wynston, of Standish, Gloucestershire, Kt. deceased, without the consent of her father or Rowland Vaughan he being Uncle on the mother's side (and her guardian) she having a portion of £1500 in land and money. (Bradford " An unknown Elizabethan" )

(13) Feb. 11 1629. Feoffmont between Henry Vaughan of Mockas, Esq., John Walcot, Esq., and John Vaughan, Gent, on the one part and Epiphan Howorth of Whitehouse, Esq. and Blanche his wife of the other part being a conveyance in consideration of a competent sum of money, etc., for the Manor of Jenkin ap Richard alias Newton and all lands thereto belonging, and several Farms, Houses, etc. in Newton St.Margarets, Clodock, Bacton, Turnastone and. Vowchurch, and all the lands and tenements which Rowland Vaughan thentofore purchased of John Parry of Poston, Esq., etc. and all the lands, etc. which were the Manors of the said Rowland Vaughan, decd, father of John and brother of Henry, which had been conveyed by the said Rowland and John to Wm. Pennymore Esq., etc, etc. To the uses of said Epiphan Howorth and wife as joint tenants in Fee. (Whitehouse archives)

Although Rowland Vaughan is more widely known as " of Newcourt" yet it is evident that his connection as the owner of Whitehouse from 1607, if not sooner, must have been of equal importance. It is not clear which he regarded as his head quarters, but that he had complete control of both properties, and probably of others adjoining in the Golden Valley, there can be no doubt.

As to his earlier life, details are chiefly drawn from the brief account in his book, referred to later that he spent some years at Queen Elisabeth's Court followed by three or four years serving in the Irish Wars, and that he contracted the " Country disease"   and returned to his home at Bredwardine to recuperate. Two years later he was on the point of setting out for the War in the Low Countries, when he met and married his kinswoman, and first wife, Elisabeth Vaughan, younger daughter of Rowland Vaughan, M.P. of Porthamel, Brecon, and his wife Elisabeth Parry of Newcourt, Hereford, in the year 1585.

She died in 1611. They had a son and heir John, a daughter Jane, who married Stephen Parry of Morehampton, Abbeydore, and other children. He married secondly Anne (maiden name unknown) as in the Marriage Settlement drawn up between Humfry Howorth and James Shaw dated 28 Sept. 1647, Elisabeth and Catherine, daughters of Rowland Vaughan of Whitehouse by Anne his wife, are described as his heirs:- their brother Richard being deceased.

Rowland Vaughan died previous to February 1629, he was buried, if Bradford’s identification is correct, at St. Dunstans in the West. For 30 years or more he had been engaged in constant litigation with relatives and neighbours over disputes arising from his numerous transactions connected with the purchase and sale of land, and loans and mortgages advanced thereon.

Rowland Vaughan’s chief claim to fame is as author of the book published in 1610 entitled " Most approved and Long experienced Water Workes. Containing, The manner of Winter and Summer drowning of Meadow and Pasture, by the advantage of the least, River, Brooke, Fount, or Waterprill adjacent: thereby to make those grounds (especially if they be drye) more Fertile Ten for One" .

As also a demonstration of a Project, for the great benefit of the Common Wealth generally, but of Herefordshire especially.

His book was republished and prefaced by Miss E B. Wood (no relation to the author's family) in 1897 (See Appendix D). In it he describes the elaborate system of irrigation trenches he constructed on his property, which account is singularly lacking in detail as to the position of the main courses, except for the trench royall which is stated to commence in Peterchurch Parish, but no names of the farms across which it convoyed water are given.

The remains of many of these trenches together with weirs and sluices can still be seen, and some were in continual use during the earlier years of this century, and occasionally at the present day, It should be explained that the trench-royall was fed by taking the water of the Trenant brook, a short distance from its confluence with the Dore River, and its course can easily be traced for some two miles down the centre of the Golden Valley through Poston Court, Turnastone Court and Chanstone Court  farms. Other trenches, ponds and water courses, around Whitehouse and adjoining lands, can be traced, and in fact every little stream was diverted into irrigation trenches following the contours of the hill sides for the purpose of enriching the meadow land at the lower levels with the silt carried down in times of flood. In addition to the method of irrigation by flood water in the winter time, he also gives account of how “summer drowning" of grassland could be done to ensure good hay crops, more especially in dry seasons. For this purpose the counter trenches topping or braving trenches, traversing trenches, in conjunction with control by weirs, stanks, lists and dams were brought into play, but the function of each is described in somewhat hazy terms. It would seem that the whole system required skilful supervision to operate, and sediment in the trenches would have to be removed frequently. In modern times, the chief reasons for the disuse of meadow irrigation, were the difficulties encountered by mowing machines and other implements in crossing the trenches, and thus harvesting work had to be done in awkward shaped patches.

The trench-royall, is claimed to have also served for transport of farm produce in barges, and the  Slough Brook, at a point on the Whitehouse -Turnastone Court boundary, was canalised, and given a direct course to Chanstone Court, and there unite with the trench-royall.

Though his " Water-Workes" were constructed and of lasting value there is no evidence to show that his " Project for the benefit of the Common Wealth" ever advanced beyond the realm of fantasy. His scheme comprised the employment of a large number of workmen engaged in the manufacture of cloth and other merchandise who were to be a self supporting community housed in buildings of special design, a plan of which forms the frontispiece of his book, and comprised a chapel, dining hall, hospital, almshouses, workshops and outbuildings.

No foundations or other indications of a large range of buildings for housing a numerous community can be traced either at Whitehouse or Newcourt, and statements that have been made based on his book that a large establishment of 2000 mechanicals actually existed in the Golden Valley in 1604 must be discounted. Also his description of the social and economic conditions prevailing at this period cannot be accepted as reliable.

That Rowland Vaughan was undoubtedly a pioneer in irrigation in this County and a skilful exponent of the art is proved by the relics of his works. His book is considered to be the earliest treatise on the subject of irrigation of agricultural land, but today is of more antiquarian than practical interest.

As a sidelight of local interest the following is introduced:-
Vaughan v Hoskyns 1670 Nov. 29 Bill of Roger Vaughan of Mockas, Hereford, Esq.  That whereas an estate of inheritance certain Manors etc. in the Counties of Hereford and Brecon descending to Rowland Vaughan (of Portharael) and Elizabeth his wife, and Watkin Vaughan and Joan his wife, some of your said Orator’s Ancestors and relations which said premises your Orator's Ancestors being jointly seized did agree to make partition (temp: Elisabeth) and there was some inequality in the  division and in recompense the said Rowland and Elizabeth did by deed assign to Watkin and Joan one male deer and one female, called a Buck and a Doe out of his Park of Newcourt, Co. Hereford and in default would pay 20/- to Watkin and Joan or their heirs. Which Buck and Doe were yearly paid during their lives and after to Henry Vaughan, your Orator's (Great) Grandfather son and heir of the said Watkin and Joan, etc. etc,

Answer of Bennett Hoskins (20 Jany, 22 Chas. ll) Denies claim of complainant. That possibly Henry Vaughan (Comp’s Grandfather) might receive a Buck and a Doe of the gift of Rowland Vaughan, until  the Park of Newcourt was disparked and most of the deer sent to the said Henry Vaughan to stock his Park at Mockas.
Extracted from B & B Pitman Papers Vol II Page 7, City Library, Hereford.

The owners from 1629 to 1775.

4. Epiphan Howorth 1560-1647. He was the oldest son of Humfrey Howorth (or Haworth) of Pryors Court,  Widemarsh Moor, Hereford, and grandson of Alexander Howorth, of Burghope, Wellington, Herefordshire, who was the first of that family to settle in the County on removal from Hawkesworth Hall, Nr. Rochdale, Lancs.

He married in 1550 Blanch, daughter of Griffith Joanes of Llowes, Co. Radnor, and they had issue 5 sons and 4 daughters, their eldest son being Rowland Howorth of " Wigmarsh More in the Citie of Hereford, who entered his pedigree with the Howorth Arms and Crest at the Visitation of Herefordshire 1634 made by Sir Richard St. George Clarenceau, King-of-Arms.

The wife of Rowland Haworth of Widemarah, was Jane Smalman of Kinnersley Castle, Herefordshire, who figures as one of the eight children depicted on the base of the elaborate monument to their parents in Kinnersley Church, 1632.

Not until 1954 when enquiry was made to the College of Arms was it established that Epiphan’s wife was the daughter of Griffith Joanes.

This set at rest much previous speculation and agrees with General Greenly’s version of the Howorth pedigree. In William Seward Wood's Register of the Wood family, he considered Blanch was a Parry, and in several printed genealogies she is stated to have been a Vaughan, which assumptions are incorrect.

It cannot be proved but the probability that Griffith Joanes married Symond aparrye’s natural daughter Jane is apparent.

Quoting a deed in Whitehouse archives it stated that in Feby 1629 Epiphan Howorth of Whitehouse, Esq. and Blanch his wife, purchased " for a competent sum of money" the manor of Jenkyn ap Richard alias Newton including all those lands sold to Rowland Vaughan by John Parry of Poston in 1607, from Henry Vaughan of Moccas, Esq. (elder brother of Rowland Vaughan) John Walcott, of Sherborne, Co. Dorset, Esq. and John Vaughan of Whitehouse, Gent, (son of Rowland Vaughan) acting on behalf of Rowland Vaughan’s heirs.

For how long Epiphan and Blanch had lived at Whitehouse before 1629 is not known, but it is probable that Blanch may have had an interest in the property by right of inheritance from her father Griffith Joanes.

Little record has survived of Epiphan’s lifetime, and the only documentary entries so far discovered relating to him other than in the Whitehouse archives are: 1597, Kilpeck Priory, Herefordshire, leased by the Crown to Epiphan Howorth and his two sons Rowland and Richard.

This is recorded in Parliamentary Surveys July 1650, and it is added that father (vis. Epiphan) and son Richard are dead, and that Rowland was about 60 years of age. And under St.Margarets in the City Library, Hereford, there is an indenture dated 1638, whereby Stanley Jennings and Katharine his wife of the Park, St.Margarets, give grant, etc. pasture and woodland to Epiphan Howorth and Blanch his wife. One of the witnesses is Hum. Howorth.

Epiphan made his Will in 1643 when he was in his 77th year. The exact year of his death is not known, but his Will was proved 28 April 1649. In it he bequeathed Dolward Farm to his daughters Blanch and Frances, with the stipulation that if his son Humfry paid his sisters 800 marks within one year then it was to become his property. Hannibal was to have two messuages in Turnastone. Dorothy, wife of Jas, Penore to have another and 100 marks, Humfry also to have Whitehouse and all surrounding land provided he made the payments to his sisters. Neptune to have some money and failing any and all, his grandson Humfry to be his heir at Common Law.

The following is an extract from an Indenture dated 26 November 1630 between Elizabeth Vaughan alias Damporte alias Davenporte and Katherine Vaughan daughters and heirs of Rowland Vaughan deceased, and Epiphan Howorth reciting fine levied and declaring the uses of Estates comprising 6 messuages, one water grist mill, 6 gardens, 6 orchards, 340 acres of land, 120 acres of meadow, 400 acres of pasture and 140 acres of wood in Vowchurch, Bacton, Newton, Turnastone and St.Margarets, should stand seised thereafter to the use of Epiphan Howorth in fee. (Whitehouse archives)
N.B. Damporte or Davenporte was the married name of Elizabeth.

It is presumed that the above listed lands etc. included the whole of Whitehouse Estate as it then existed, together with Dolward Farm, as it totals 1000 acres or more.

5. Humfrey Howorth (d. before 1679). He was the third son of Epiphan Howorth and Blanch his wife, and married Susannah Shawe only daughter of James Shawe of Tregoze, Co. Hereford in 1647. In the marriage settlement dated 28 Sept. of that year, it was provided that £800 should be paid to Humfrey as the marriage portion of Susannah; with the intent to provide a proper jointure in case she should survive her husband, and for settling the Whitehouse messuages, manor lands and hereditaments therein expressed “in the blood of the Howorths (if God permits) and for other good causes. The property is described in general terms much as it exists today but Dolward was excluded, and is stated to be in the possession of Blanch Howorth, spinster, Delabere Winston, and Frances his wife, (to whom it had been left under the Will of Epiphan Howorth). Humfrey died previous to 1679 as Susannah was then a widow living at Burlton, Burghill near Hereford. They had three sons and five daughters.

6. Thomas Howorth born 1653 was the eldest son of Humfrey and Susannah, and he married at Burghill on the 8 Aug. 1674 Mary Masters the only daughter and heiress of Herbert Masters of Burghill. They had three sons and five daughters. His Will is dated 11 September 1711. The year of his death is not known, but in an almanac in which his name is written the last entry is dated 1719. His widow died in 1739 and seems to have made Burlton her home, and was buried at Burghill, or at All Saints, Hereford.

7. Herbert Howorth (the elder) 1675-1728, eldest son and heir of Thomas Howorth was born at Burghill on 2 May 1675, and married Margaret Lutley, of Newhall in the Co. of Salop in 1695. He died in 1728, having made a Will dated 7 Aug. in the same year (and proved 30 March 1732) wherein he takes notices that by a Deed of Settlement made upon his marriage he is empowered to encumber his estate called Whitehouse, with the payment of £1000 to his younger children. He therefore bequeathed the sum of £1000 in the manner  following:
To Mary the wife of Geo. Pardoe £10, to Margaret the wife of Wm. Deem £70, and £920 to be divided equally between his younger son Bartholomew, and his younger daughters, Magdalen, Isabella, and Elisabeth, and to be paid to them respectively within two years after his decease.

In a Whitehouse notebook it is stated that this Will remained unexecuted 17 years after; viz. in 1745, the year of the death of his son Herbert.

They had three sons and five daughters, the eldest son and heir being Herbert Howorth (the Younger).

Bartholomew died in 1733 without having received any part of the £1000 left  to him, intestate and unmarried.

8. Herbert Howorth (the Younger) 1695-1745. Described as of Whitehouse and Burghill. 'He never married, and was the last Howorth in the male line to own Whitehouse.

His Will is dated 8 Feby. 1745, devising his estate to his three sisters and co-heirs.

Magdalen who married Robert Haselden of Over Hulton, Lancashire, in l729 and his maiden sisters Isabella and Elisabeth Howorth.

But firstly his sole executor, George Pardoe, his brother-in-law, the husband of Mary Howorth, was to discharge all debts and encumbrances, and to apply such sums as might be needed in the prosecution of a " certain cause" pending in His Majesty's High Court of Chancery against Mansell Powell Esq., and in a prosecution against the said Powell for forgery.

Isabella and Elizabeth received the Whitehouse rents during their lifetime. But it is recorded, that Magdalen received no part of her share of the £1000 limited under the Will of her father. She died in 1763 apparently in ignorance of her right under her brother’s will. Neither she nor her husband or her eldest son received any share of what was rightly due to them.

Elisabeth Howorth died in 1769 leaving her interest in the Estate to her sister Isabella, who dying in 1775 by her Will divided the Estate equally between her two nephews, George son of George Pardoe, and Bartholomew Haselden, the younger son of her sister Magdalen.

Herbert Haselden, the elder son of Magdalen and Robert had died in 1762 leaving an only daughter Frances, who being a minor at the time of Isabella's decease, her claim was entirely ignored, until many years later, when after vicissitudes, involving prolonged legal proceedings, her title to the Whitehouse Estate was fully established.

At this stage in the history of the Whitehouse as an example of how loosely property was described in legal deeds and documents, the following is extracted from an indenture referring to a sum of £1200 loaned by Somerset Davies of Croft Castle to Herbert Howorth in 1736 and secured on the Whitehouse Estate:

All that the Honor or Lordship of Whitehouse in the said County of Hereford with the rights, members and appurtenances thereto with all that capital house site or Mansion house, and also all and singular houses, out houses, buildings, barns, stables, dove-houses, water grist mill, that he himself drew for Herbert Howorth’s signature.

The total of outstanding mortgages and. interest, etc., on the estates were put at nearly £12000 in 1762, and presumably Burghill and Lyde properties were sold to discharge a portion of Herbert Howorth’s heavy debts.

There is a book with many pages missing both at the beginning and end, so author and date of publication are not known, giving a complete account of the fraudulent acts of Mansell Powell as in addition to Herbert Howorth being involved, several other prominent persons are mentioned: Sir Humfry Howorth of Maesllwch, a kinsman, and sometime M.P. for Radnorshire, Lord George Carpenter, of Ireland, Lord Thomas Weymouth, and John Greenly of Titley, Nr. Kington.

In 1749 the spurious will and deeds fabricated by Powell, were set aside, and the rights of the lunatic Barnsley son were restored.

2. In the year 1755 Thomas Howorth of Worcester a grandson of Thomas Howorth of Whitehouse and Mary his wife, set up a claim to the Whitehouse Estate, and in order to obtain possession, filed a bill in chancery against Wm. Deem, and Margaret his wife, Geo. Pardoe of Nash Court, Salop, and Mary his wife, Robert Haselden and Magdalen his wife, Isabella and Elizabeth Howorth.

The said bill set forth that a deed of settlement was made 1 Aug. 1674 by which the Whitehouse Estate (mentioned as having a yearly value of £200 and upwards) was entailed upon the male heirs of Thomas Howorth of Whitehouse, and secondly it further set forth that upon the marriage of Herbert Howorth with Mary Lutley, another deed of settlement was made dated 28 Aug. 1695 by which the estate was limited to the right heirs of Thomas Howorth of Whitehouse, and not to his male heirs, and that the parties to this latter deed had no right to make it.

That Herbert the lineal descendant and Bartholomew his brother, both dying unmarried, he the said Thomas Howorth of Worcester, was the male heir and had a right to the estate.

The bill was dismissed against Thomas Howorth of Worcester in 1753.

In 1784 Thomas Howorth of Worcester, nephew of above, and a great grandson of Thomas Howorth of Whitehouse filed another bill against Wm. Bird (a Solicitor of Hereford) to recover the Deed of Settlement made on the occasion of the marriage of Humfry Howorth of Whitehouse with Susanna Shawe, with the object of claiming the Whitehouse Estate under entail. It was dismissed with costs against him in 1786.

3. Wood v Downes

The following is a summary extracted from copies of several long letters written by Mr. B. Fallowses, Solicitor of Hereford, to a Col. Matthews of Belmont, Hereford, giving an account of the origin and course of the dispute between Wm, Wood and Wm. Downes, another Solicitor of Hereford, as to the Manor of Whitehouse, by Right of Wm. Wood’s wife Frances as the heiress of Magdalen Haselden, her grandmother

It should be observed that on the death of Bartholomew Haselden in 1783, Wm. Bird, Solicitor of Hereford, (the same as above), in order to patch up the secret defect in the title as to part, by reason of her undiscovered Right, and without Mr Apperley’s knowledge, procured Frances Haselden to execute certain deeds whereby she conveyed or joined in conveying the real estate of Bartholomew Haselden to John Havard Apperley and the said Wm. Bird upon Trust for Bartholomew’s two children Robert and Alice Lane in consideration for receiving £500. At that time Frances was ignorant of her Right in the Estate and in 1784 suspecting all was not in order she communicated to Wm. Wood what she had been induced to do, and he applied on her behalf to Mr. Downes, a rising Solicitor of Hereford, to investigate her Right, and to discover the content of the document she had signed, and to act on her behalf.

Fallowes begins to give an adequate idea of such very extensive transactions would require an octavo, perhaps a folio volume, all that can be attempted is to fix upon a leading point or two.

Her title was not known until the Will of a Mr. Howorth (out of which it arose) was discovered by a singular accident in July 1786. Previous to this event, we are to suppose that Downes had acquired such a knowledge of the pedigree as presently to see the effect of that Will and to be au fait in an instant or at least in a month or two.

That being done, the title stood thus: the Estate belonged of Right to three persons, as heirs in Common in Fee, each claiming an undivided third, namely: to Mr. Pardoe; Mr. Apperley, Trustee for Mr. Bartholomew Haselden’s children; and Mrs. Wood, then Miss Haselden

The latter however had not been in possession since the death of her Grandfather in 1768, for he lived in Lancashire, and her father dying at Stepney when she was young; she and her Mother had only a vague notion that the Estate belonged to the family.

Fallowes continues, from 1768 nobody coming to claim Mrs. Wood’s share, Pardoe and Apperley, and those under whom they claimed had held the Estate by Moieties to her exclusion, her title however being recent in law, for she was an infant until 1781, and Statutes of Limitation do not affect infants, was still good.

Now; upon the discovery of Howorth's Will in 1786 instead of pursuing the obvious course of his duty in imperiously demanding, and (if refused) instantly proceeding to recover Mrs. Wood's share, Mr. Downes having discovered that there were old and dormant claims and encumbrances, none of them acknowledge since 1740 and several of which, if established would go hard to swallow up the Estate, he assured Wm. Wood that formidable and endless suits would be necessary with the encumbrances as well as with other Tenants-in-Common. Suits which in narrow circumstances, with an increasing family, he trembled to encounter.

And thus was poor Wood finally (1791) led to sell the birthright of his wife for a mess of porridge to his trusty and clear sighted Attorney.

In 1789 Downes made a ten day journey in company with William Wood to Lancashire to see the Haselden relatives and in 1790 several trips to Ludlow and elsewhere to negotiate with the Pardoe’s and other people.

During the four years following the discovery of the Will, and while ostensibly employed in recovering the Right of Frances, Wm. Downes became so well acquainted with the circumstances relating to the Whitehouse Estate, and the rightful interests of the several parties concerned that in the words of John Havard Apperley, he formed a scheme for getting and acquiring to himself the possession and ownership of the Estate.

In furtherance of this scheme, in 1790 he obtained possession of Geo. Pardoe’s share for the sum of £1300. He then settled the pretended mortgage claimed by Somerset Davies for £630. In the following year he contracted with William to buy Frances' share for the sum of £1100 in an illegal agreement to which the unfortunate William was sworn to secrecy.

Being unsuccessful in his attempts to purchase from Apperley for a grossly inadequate sum, the moiety held by Bartholomew Haseldon’s children, in 1795 he filed a Bill of Ejectment against Apperley, in the name of Somerset Davies and obtaining Judgment entered into possession of the whole of the Whitehouse Estate, and was in receipt of the rents and profits, and continued so for a period of 14 years.

During this time he was alleged to have disposed of timber to the value of £12000.

Under the terms of the Downes-Wood agreement of 1791, Wood was to receive an initial sum of £100, which was paid to him. Downes at his own risk and expense was to sue for the property then withhold and when recovered by law; or by compromise would pay William Wood £1000, defray his own expenses, and any balance to be shared equally. If Downes failed neither the £100 nor the interest paid on the £1000 to be refunded. William Wood on learning that Downes had secured George Pardoe’s moiety, which included half of Frances' moiety (viz: one sixth of the whole) claimed £500 from Downes, and was paid £400 under protest " that the whole had not yet been recovered" .

This despicable meanness on the part of Downes did nothing to shake William Wood’s confidence in his friendship and trustworthiness, and in 1803 when William and Frances were living at Leominster, apparently in poor circumstances, Downes, to quote Fallowes again, who had never before gone beyond presenting then a little game, or such small beer, sent a cart with a dead fat pig, and ten bushels of old wheat, accompanied by a pleasant bantering letter, beginning with " My Ambassador the Pig" .

Patronage of this type embarrassed Frances Wood, and as the duplicity and cupidity of Downes became clear to her, she prevailed upon her husband to consult Mr. B. Fallowes, Solicitor of Hereford, and desire that he should make a thorough investigation into the concerns of the Whitehouse Estate, and to call Downes to account for his proceedings.

The choice of Mr. Fallowes proved most fortunate, an able and honourable man, he advised and encouraged William Wood to waste no time in suing Downes.  He sought the highest opinion in London on the matter, and on receiving a favourable reply it was decided to institute a case, and in the ensuing years he was indefatigable in sifting evidence and preparing their cause

This was heard before the Lord High Chancellor, Lord Eldon, in July and August 1811, occupying six days, and judgment pronounced in favour of William and Frances. The main points of the Decree ordered that:

The contract made between Wood and Downes was void, and should be given up to be cancelled

The conveyance should stand as a security for the money and costs of the purchase

Downes to have his costs as a Solicitor.

Downes to refund with costs (an estimated amount) from £12000 - £15000, and to completely lose the Estate.

Apperley and Parties to redeem on payment of £210, and £200 - £300 for immense profits.

The Estate was to be placed under the temporary management of a Master Extraordinary, and all deeds, documents etc, were to be surrendered.

A manuscript copy of the pleadings in the High Court action, running to over 250 pages, is preserved, giving a detailed history commencing as far back as 1695 and tracing all the early factors affecting the Howorth’s title to Whitehouse, the negotiations about the mortgages, the Mansell Powell embroilment, the claim of Thomas Howorth of Worcester, and much other relevant matter.

A word must be added about the singular accident of the discovery of Mr. Howorth’s Will (i.e. Herbert Howorth, the Younger) already referred to. In the pleadings Wood v Downes, the following account is given: " the said Plaintiff in 1786 came to Hereford for the purpose of making enquiries into the state of the said property, and in company with the said Defendant visited Mr. Bird who produced a large bundle of office copies, and other papers relative to the said Whitehouse Estate, and the same being loosely tied up, a small piece of paper dropped to the ground, and being taken up by the said Defendant appeared on examination to be the original Will of the said Herbert Howorth by which he devised the said Estate to his three sisters, Magdalen, Isabella and Elisabeth, and under which therefore the Plaintiff Frances Wood, as being the sole heiress of Magdalen was entitled to one third undivided part of the said Estate" .

The heavy damages assessed against Downes comprised proceeds of the sales of timber, which alone ran to many thousands of pounds of which he had received, the benefit. And the rents he had withheld must also have amounted to a considerable sum over the fourteen or more years he had collected them. And at the same time it is mentioned that the property had been much neglected as regards repairs, and that waste had occurred in other ways due to lack of supervision.

12. William Wood born 18 Oct. 1758, was the only son and heir-at-law of Nicholas Wood, Freeman of the City of Hereford, and Ann (formerly Ann Seward) The family lived at Hereford, and Nicholas, described as a baker, owned valuable property in, and on the outskirts of the City.

William married Frances Haselden at St. George’s Church, Bloomsbury, on the 15 April. In an Agreement dated 25 August 1789 in conjunction with a Wm. Haselden and others to institute a suit to try the title of Whitehouse Estate against George Pardoe, William Wood is described as of Little Russell Street, in the Parish of St. George, Bloornsbury, cyder merchant. In another document a project to manufacture casks is mentioned, presumably in connection with the cider business, William having considerable knowledge and skill in the uses of timber.

William and Frances moved to Church Street, Leominster, a few years after they were married, for of their children (7 daughters and one son) the two eldest daughters were born in London, one at Hereford, and the four youngest at Leominster. Their only son William Seward Wood was born at Leominster on 10 Dec. 1793.

On the successful issue of the Downes litigation, William and Frances, having the means available, decided to remove nearly half of the late 16th century timber framed and plaster fronted Whitehouse, which for many years past must have been in a bad state of repair, and in fact, 20 years or more earlier, it was said to be in a ruinous condition. An 1811 sketch of the old house shows heavy timber props placed against the walls to prevent collapse. There was a proposal to demolish the whole house, and build a new one on a site about 200 yards to the North at a lower level, and adjacent to the original drive.

This plan was not carried out and instead the two north east gables only were removed, and on the cleared site some 65'x 25' they built the new North and East fronts with stone and timber produced on the Estate.

The remaining Tudor period portion was extensively remodelled, so that only the three gabled North elevation, and a part of the South side, retain the original features.

A full description of this portion of the house is given in R.C.H.M. under St.Margarets, Vol.1 - S.W. Herefordshire, together with a photo of the original main staircase, now reset in a different position.

William Wood effected other alterations such as erecting a range of outbuildings, and demolishing a block of stables, barns, etc. situated in front of the house. A " sunk" fence was excavated around two sides of the garden, and a drive made affording a more direct approach with easier gradient from the main road. The Slough Brook was crossed by a substantial stone bridge (built at a cost of £80) whereas the old drive had nothing more than a fording place.

Trees of many varieties were planted in the grounds near the house, and bordering the drive. Some of these: Beech, Scots and Silver Firs, Larch and Wellingtonia, have grown to a great size. Others have been felled from time to time because of over shading the house, or obstructing the view.

Towards the end of the 18th century the Whitehouse Estate must have been heavily wooded, and in spite of the depredations of Downes, and others who are reported to have had a hand in felling timber and selling it or making use of it themselves, a valuation of 1796 indicates that there was £15024 worth still standing, the bulk of it being oak, and a much less proportion ash, wych elm, etc. Another valuation of 1806 indicates a figure of £20960.

At the time William Wood was building the new part of Whitehouse, in 1812-13, he decided to have marked for sale about 3300 trees valued at nearly £27000 by the same man, viz., Jacob Holland, who had undertaken the 1806 survey. Almost an identical number of trees, which would have been of smaller sizes, were at the same time, marked to stand, or in other words, to be reserved. Several sales followed by private treaty, and by auction, but there is no detailed summary of the total sum which accrued although reference is made to difficulty in obtaining the whole of purchase money from some of the buyers.

A few additional items about the disposal of the timber are worth including, vis, that an Auctioneer's poster has been preserved, announcing the sale to be held at the City Arms Hotel, Hereford, on 5th March 1813 and headed " Navy Timber of prime quality, very great lengths, and extraordinary large dimensions, situated on the Whitehouse Estate 6 miles from Canon Bridge (a ford actually) from whence down the navigable River Wye, it may be conveyed to any of the Ports or Yards in the Kingdom" . The method was to lash a few trees together in rafts, and float by 10-12 mile stages down the river to Chepstow, and so out into the Bristol Channel. The Napoleonic Wars had created a keen demand for timber of shipbuilding class with a consequent advance in value. But one oak of exceptional length and straightness was transported by road to a point on the coast near Tenby, and erected for fixing a lanthorn at the top to guide mariners out to sea.

Of the trees marked to stand, the original number, 289, in red paint, now oxidized to grey, can still be identified on a large oak growing in the Timber Yard, adjoining Whitehouse. This tree, perhaps 300 years old then, was valued at £18, but now is partially hollow and has lost several large limbs.

That Wm Wood required in 1812 and the next few years a considerable amount of ready cash is understandable, for there are entries of many hundred of pounds expended in building and repairs on the Estate, and in discharging debts and advances which were due to the heirs of Bartholomew Haselden and Geo. Pardoe, and also to his lawyers and other advisers.

Wm. Wood and his family must have settled in Whitehouse during 1814 as far as can be gathered, but part of the house was shared by a tenant farmer as specified in an unsigned agreement of 1816. Then the land together with Cothill Farm was let on a 7 years lease to Richard Skyrme for £410 per annum. The new wing of the house, and some buildings being reserved to the Landlord.

There are fragmentary notes of the letting of Whitehouse land as far back as 1720 in Mary and Herbert Howorth’s time. Not until 1740 is the rent mentioned, as being £115, but no particulars are given as to the acreage prior to 1789 when it was 342 acres, and the rent had risen to £214. In 1812, the Estate was 595 acres, inclusive of Whitehouse, Cothill, Slough, Broomloons, Lower Gilvach, Great and Blackpool Woods, and cottages at Turnastone.

Frances died in 1830 and was buried at Vowchurch.

William, who was a J.P. and D.L. for Co. of Hereford, made his Will on 11 Feb. 1833, charging his estate of Whitehouse, and his properties at Hereford, Holmer and in London, with the sum of £12000 which his only son William Seward Wood was to divide equally between his six surviving daughters, only one of whom was then married. William Seward succeeded to everything else.

William died in the following March and was buried at Vowchurch, and on the East wall of the Chancel is a marble monument to his and his wife's memory. A head and shoulders crayon portrait of him is in the possession of the author.

13.  William Seward Wood, 1793-1862, was by profession an Attorney-at-Law, and although some model wills and other legal exercises exist, he does not appear to have practised as such. At the age of 40 he inherited the Whitehouse Estate. He married,   1 Aug. 1833; Mary Ann, the only daughter and heiress of Jonathan Hardwick of Lulham, Madley, Co. of Hereford.

They had one son, Herbert Howorth, born 2 May 1834, and two daughters, Marianne Elizabeth, 12 Dec. 1835, and Sarah Frances, 11 May 1843.

He sold all the Hereford and London properties but had a half-share in Dolward Farm, 306 acres, (later acquiring the other half from a distant relative) which from the death of Epiphan Howorth, was parted from Whitehouse, and owned by Humfrey Howorth, a cousin of Thomas Howorth, in 1603. The intervening history of Dolward is not known. It was sold by Herbert Howorth Wood in 1920 to the tenant.

The stable and cider mill block at Whitehouse was-built in 1843, and Cothill farm house, added to the old cottage in 1839.

William Seward was a J.P, and D.L. for the Co. of Hereford, and was admitted a Freeman of the City of Hereford, 1817. He died 11 April 1862, at Lawnscroft, Hereford, which had been bought as a residence for his sisters, and was buried at Vowchurch. A monument to his memory and his wife who died in 1884, is situated on the North wall of the Chancel.

A curious incident is related about Elizabeth Lewis, a spinster Aunt of Mary Ann Wood - how she was once observed to be looking at the Tombstone in Dorstone Churchyard of an elder sister who died over 100 years before. The explanation is that this sister was born several years before Elizabeth, and whilst  she died in infancy, Elizabeth lived to be 95.

A few anecdotes about William Seward Wood may be recounted. He was a very big man, and said to have weighed 19 stone at middle age. He attended the Great Exhibition in 1651 at Hyde Park, and among other novelties was a personal weighing machine on to which he stepped. The attendant said " you are the heaviest gentleman so far weighed, you can have your penny back!”

Another little story, told to the author by the late Wm. Maddox, game keeper on the Poston Estate. William Seward had occasion to admonish a young Skyme, employed at Whitehouse, upon his untidy appearance and said to him " your hands are as black as my hat" . The boy replied " but please Sir, you be wearing a grey hat" .

Among other public offices that William Seward held was a Trusteeship of the Turnpike road from Peterchurch to the Bowling Green, 4 miles from Hereford. When portions of the road were being realigned, he made strenuous endeavours to have it carried through the Holsty Gap, and thus avoid the long uphill grade of the Batcho Hill. However, the Governors of Guy's Hospital, the owners of the land, refused to sell any, and the project fell through.

The condition previously of this road, more especially the stretch between the position of Vowchurch Vicarage and the foot of the Batcho Hill, was in winter time almost impassable for wheeled vehicles, and it is related that drovers of animals had to walk along the field sides of the hedges relying upon their dogs to urge the droves forward.

An interesting sidelight on William Seward’s life, was his fondness for walking, his most notable achievement being to travel to Bath, via Monmouth, Chepstow, and ferry across the Severn, fully 60 miles, " between 4 a.m. and 10 p.m. the same day.

In 1820 an extensive itinerary included several of the chief Midland towns, onwards through Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Lake District, the Border Country, and having an introduction to Sir Walter Scott, he and his friend James Wathen, called at Abbotsford, and stayed to lunch. Then to Edinburgh, Perth and Glasgow, from whence after traversing some 1000 mile a steam packet was taken to Liverpool, and by coach and walking, return to Hereford.

A diary has survived recording details of places they visited, people they met, accommodation provided, distances and costs. A water colour portrait of him is in the possession of the author.

14. Herbert Howorth Wood 1834-1924, Educated at Shrewsbury School, and St. John’s College, Oxford. M.A. degree in 1863. Married Alice Wyatt, youngest daughter of Samuel Carrington of Cheltenham on 1 Aug. 1867, and had issue 9 sons and 3 daughters.

Herbert Howorth resided at Whitehouse all his life, and was a J.P. and D.L. for the County of Hereford and an original member of the Herefordshire County Council, and latterly an Alderman. He was an Hereditary Freeman of the City of Hereford (his grandson, Herbert Howorth Wood of Nairobi, East Africa, is the present (1954) holder of that office).

He served on many public bodies, including Dore Board of Guardians and Rural District Council, local charity trusts, and school managers.

The formation and building of the Golden Valley Railway, was one of his chief interests in middle life. In common with his contemporary local landowners, the Revd. Thos. P. Powell of Dorstone, E.L. Gavin Robinson, the Esquire of Poston House, Capt. Freke Lewis of Abbeydore Court, and Sir George Cornewall, Bt. of Moccas Court, any land required for the construction of the line running through their estates was granted free of cost to the Company.

The first ticket, No.1, issued at Pontrilas, on the opening day of the Railway in 1881, was taken by William Howorth Wood, his eldest son (later Major R.E., M.C.,) and for many years after this ticket was kept at Whitehouse, but unfortunately cannot now be traced. As financially the venture was a failure, British Railways in 1952-4 dismantled the track, and offered to sell the land to the adjoining owners.

In conjunction with other local residents he founded the Vowchurch and Turnastone School in 1872 assisted by a grant from the National Society. A difficulty arose about the selected site, on which the tithe barn originally stood, the Church Commissioners being unwilling to sell it. In exchange for another piece of land of equal area, which although in Turnastone Parish, Herbert Howorth offered to give free of cost, the difficulty was overcome. Much later this piece of land was purchased by the Whitehouse Estate.

He took an active part in restorations of St.Margarets Church, and in the foundation of Newton Church. He died on the 5 May 1924, and was buried at Vowchurch, being survived by his wife and all his children. Alice Wyatt died 19 Dec. 1941 at Hereford and was buried at Vowchurch. A tablet to their memory is placed on the south wall of the Nave. An oil portrait of Herbert Howorth is in the possession of the author.

15. Arthur Seward Wood, 1860 - of Ladywell House, Vowchurch, born 1880 at Whitehouse, being the fourth son of Herbert Howorth Wood. Married 1921 Honora Penelope 2nd daughter of Charles Spencer Madan, of Lichfield. Acquired by purchase the Whitehouse Estate, under the terms of his father’s Will in 1943- J.P. County of Hereford 1922.

Has issue one son Geoffrey Howorth Spencer Wood, b. 1927, M.A, Oxon, F. Linn. Soc., and one daughter, Lilia Frances Penelope Bletchly, B.Sc.


A. In 1816 Wm. Wood made a claim as holder of the Manor of Jenkyn ap Richard for a share of the common 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 common 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, Lords Abergavenny and Jefferies appear to have been allotted practically the whole of the unenclosed land.

B. The family of Parry are reputed to have settled in Herefordshire early in the 12th Century when their common ancestor Moreiddig of the Golden Vale, son of the Danish Earl Idis Wylt and Elinor, daughter of Bleddin ap Maenarch, the last of the Welsh Reguli of Brecon, obtained land in the lordship of Ewyas Lacy by marrying Catherine, widow of Lord Thomas de Laci. Their descendants continued to hold land in this district for several centuries. In 1399 John ap Harry of Poston served as High Sheriff. of Herefordshire, and with his brother Thomas fought in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. In the Wars of the Roses Henry ap Griffith ap Harry of Poston and Bacton fought on the Lancastrian side at the battle of Mortimers Cross 1461. His son Myles ap Henry of Morehampton was an Escheator in 1471 and fought on Richmond’s side at the Battle of Bosworth Field.  A fine coloured glass window to his memory was in the east window of Bacton Church, until removed to Atcham in Shropshire in 1811. In the 16th century branches of this family were living at Poston, Newcourt, Morehampton, Dulas, Wormbridge, Kingston, Hinton in Peterchurch and Moore (or Whitehouse), but during the reign of Elizabeth, James Parry of Poston on marrying Jane Morgan of Llandevailog-tregraig, Co. Brecon, returned to the county of his ancestor and his descendants continued to live there until recent times. As stated elsewhere the Newcourt branch of this family ended in the two heiresses who married the Vaughans. Poston Court remained in the occupation of the descendants of James Parry by a first marriage until 1645 when it was sold to the Earl of Worcester.   The Civil War may have accounted for the disappearance of many of the ancient families from these parts. Morehampton was sold to Sergeant Hoskyns in 1621 and the Parrys of that branch removed to Arkstone in Kingstone where they continued to live until the death of Thomas Parry in 1774. (H.P.W.)

C. A legal authority kindly supplies the information that the transfer of property by " fine" was abolished in 1833. It took the form of a collusive action to recover the land to be alienated, in which the defendant acknowledged the plaintiff’s title. Thus, if you sold to Mr. Smith under this old method, Mr. Smith would have to commence an action in the High Court against you for the land, alleging that it was his. He would obtain judgment accordingly. It appears to have been a fairly common practice, and provided a means of surmounting difficulties in relation to the transfer of land, which, for instance, might be settled land.

D.  Comments on Miss E.B. Wood's Introduction to the 1897 reissue of Most Approved and Long Experienced Water-Workes by Rowland. Vaughan.

Miss Wood was quite wrong in alleging that no vestige of the water works exists, for although the trench-royall had almost been forgotten, yet some 80 years ago, several articles appeared in the " Hereford Journal" giving considerable detail about it and related matters. The late Mrs. Paul Chapman of Hereford collated these newspaper cuttings into a portfolio, together with other items about the Parrys and Vaughans, and it is now deposited in the City Library, Hereford.

More recently Mr. R.S. Gavin Robinson read a paper to the Woolhope Club (Trans: 1936) upon Rowland Vaughan's book, and generally upon the local conditions at that time, as outlined therein.

In 1943 Mrs. L.F.P. Bletchly, B.Sc. made a comprehensive survey of all the recognisable watercourses between the Trenant Brook and Newcourt, and the Whitehouse area, and embodied the results in a report and plan which also marked the position of weirs and control sluices.

Several statements in Miss Wood’s Introduction to Rowland Vaughan’s book are incorrect or misleading, thus on page 28 line 11, " That Blanch, one of his daughters married Epiphan Howorth" Blanch Howorth was a Joanes not a Vaughan.  Same page, line 14 " This (Whitehouse) was occupied " by descendants of hers until 50 years ago" whereas it has been owned " by direct descendants of Epiphan Howorth ever since he purchased it, or part purchased it about 1629, or perhaps a few years previously, and occupied for the greater part of that time " by members of the family, although the name has changed to firstly Haselden, and secondly Wood through breaks in the male line.

Same page, line 15 " Some chairs which belonged to Queen Elisabeth, and which she is said to have given to Henry Parry of Newcourt, Rowland's great grandfather; and a portrait of a lady in Welsh dress, bearing inscription, " Blanche Parry 1590" were bought at the sale, etc" .

The author's father, the late Herbert Howorth Wood of Whitehouse, used to say that these chairs and the portrait, were bought by his uncle by marriage, Dr. Henry Jones Jenkins, at a sale at Newcourt about the year I860.

No sale of these articles took place at Whitehouse, as Miss Wood infers, and their final dispersal was in 1908, at Copelands, Holmer, Hereford, following the death of Dr. Jenkins' second wife, when the chairs were bought by a London dealer for £40. The oil panel portrait was however purchased for £2 by the late Mr. Parry of Harewood Park, Hereford.

These chairs were listed in the sale catalogue as " Two oak arm chairs with carved deep spiral columns and regal crown, and two chairs of similar style with 3 regal crowns, all wool worked seated" and it adds " These lots were presented by Queen Elizabeth to Blanche Parry, the lady of the bedchamber" . This is far more probable than that they were given to Henry Parry, and the panel portrait may have been Blanch of the Morehamton, Abbeydore, branch of the Parry family.

It should be remarked that Miss Wood did not visit Whitehouse until after the republication of the book, and consequently was unaware of the above facts.


Ladywell House, built in 1924-5, is situated in a meadow (forming part of Cothill Farm) called Maesydilad; Welsh, the enclosure of coarse leaves or herbage.

Within 100 yards is an unfailing spring which undoubtedly is the well or stone referred to in Bishop Mascall's of Hereford inhibition of 1410 " that our subjects shall cease to visit the said well to take the water, and the mud of the same to keep as a relic, under pain of major excommunication and the said suspension to be publicly proclaimed, etc. etc. Thus the derivation: Our Lady’s Well.

The manner in which the name Vowchurch has been spelt over the past few centuries quoting in alphabetical order is somewhat amusing: Bowchurch, Cowchurch, Dowchurch, Foochurch, Fowerchurch, Fowchurch, Howchurch, Nowchurch, and possibly other variants. " Vow" may be derived from the O.E. tag meaning mottled or many coloured, There is a Frome Vauchurch in Dorset situated on the River Frome; Welsh, ffraw-fair.

A former Vicar of Vowchurch, the Rev. Beresford Lowther, who held the living 1838-1868, made a note in one of the Registers, that in 1841 there was a tombstone within the altar rails, but removed when the Church was refloored bearing the following inscription:

" In memory of Edward Howorth, Gent, late of the Parish of Letton, in ye County who departed, this life 20 Jan 1721. Aged 32. Also Alice wife of above who departed this life 28 Jany 1757. Aged 60" .

These appear to be the only recorded burials of members of the Howorth family in Vowchurch. The registers date from 1754.

In Vowchurch Church on the easternmost pillar on South side of nave, is a painted shield bearing the initials R.V. (Rowland Vaughan) and date 1613.

The heraldic description of the shield is: Vaughan; Sable three boy’s heads proper coupled at the shoulders each entwined round the neck with a serpent vert. Impaled Bleddyn ap Maenarch chevron between three spear heads argent.

Hung on the East side of the screen is a Howorth shield. Or a cross croselet gules. This was placed in the Church by Vicar Lowther about 1840, together with a number of other shields of former incumbents and local families.

Wm. Seward Wood in his Register notes that formerly in the Whitehouse dining room on two opposite pillars Epiphan Howorth’s arms are parted per pale with the Parry’s, and his father's (i.e. Hurafrey Howorth) with his mother's, Ann Berrington.

In the hall at Whitehouse mounted on a modern stand is the over mantel removed from the old dining room, elaborately carved in oak. It has two bays or panels, each covered by a painting of a bust of a man, and inscribed Tibi arrideo (and) pro te fleo.- I laugh at thee, I weep for thee, Also the Vaughan crest. Three boy’s heads entwined with a snake. The only relics of a pre Symond Parry Whitehouse, or Moore as it was then known, are a pair of stone lockers of 13th century date and the oak moulded jambs and lintel of a doorway,  both traditionally ascribed as belonging to the chapel.

There are large oil portraits at Whitehouse of (1) Herbert Howorth (the Eldar); (2) Margaret Lutley and (3) Isaac Seward, of Leominster.

A prehistoric object of interest on the Whitehouse Estate listed under St Margarets in R.C.H.M. Herefordshire Vol.I. S.W. is - Enclosure, in orchard, 100 yards S.W. of Whitehouse, is roughly rectangular, measuring approximately 9 by 7 yards internally and surrounded on three sides by a ditch, but on S.W. side is a berm with a scarp cut in the hillside. The purpose of this earthwork is not known.

St.Margarets, (not listed in R.C.H.M.), Long Barrow, half a mile nearly due West of Whitehouse in Cowpasture. Roughly 27 yards long by 6 yards wide and one and a half yards high. Slight bend at S. end. Condition undisturbed, in fact as " good as new" although possibly 2500 years old.

A legal document in the Whitehouse archives endorsed ‘Declaration in Ejectment’ which causes no little perplexity, although its purport appears to be plain, is dated 1785, and runs (abbreviated) thus; Simon Shuffle, late of Leominster, Gent. was attached to answer Theophilus Jones, Esq. in a plea wherefore the said S.S. with force or arms entered into the Manor of Jenkin ap Richard in the Co. of Hereford, and also into messuages, cottages, barns, stables, cow houses, grist mills, orchards, meadowland, woodland, etc. etc. which Thomas Howorth demised and granted to the said T.J. for a term that is not yet expired, and ejected the said T.J. from out of his said farm. And thereupon the said T.J.  by Wm Priddle his attorney complains that the said Thomas Howorth on the 2 Oct. 1769. had demised and granted unto the said T.J. the said Manor, etc. for the term of 31 years, and the said T.J. " being so possessed the said S.S. with force and arms (to wit) with swords, staves, sticks and knives entered into the said Manor, and ejected, drove out, expelled and moved the said T.J. from the said farm. And the said S.S, then and there did other wrongs to the said T.J. to the great damage of the said T.J. and against the Peace of our Lord the King, wherefore the said T.J, sayth he is injured, and hath sustained damage to the value of £10, and therefore he brings this suit.

This document is stamped and signed by Simon Shuffle, but there is no information as to the result of the plea which was to be heard at the Court of the King’s Bench, in the Michaelmas Term 1786. Whether the phraseology used was the normal legal formula in those days for getting rid of a tenant (or dispossession as it would be called now-a-days) is not known. Neither is any clue given as to the authority or position of this Thomas Howorth in regard to the management of the Estate when from other paper George Pardoe is stated to be still in control.

The farm referred to may have been the Gilvach (Newton Parish), as Whitehouse was let to a Thomas Price from 1748 to 1789; and a son Nathaniel Price, continued as tenant until 1796. Further, the amount of damages assessed at only £10 points to it having been a small farm.

But why make such a fuss about it is incomprehensible, and the author inclines to the view that the whole thing is & lawyer's joke, or leg puller.

The author has often been asked for information as to the rainfall in this locality. Here are a few details:

Ladywell House, at 406 feet above sea level, by a N & Z. 5" gauge.

Average for year


37.16 inches

Total for year


35.16 inches

Total for year


25.03 inches

Extreme low


23.04 inches

Extreme high


49.40 inches



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Ref: gc_gdv_2004