And The Surrounding District


Bannut Tree House (a bannut tree is type of walnut tree) at Castlemorton in Worcestershire stands on land which in 972 was given by King Edgar to the Abbey of Pershore. The Manor of Castlemorton, including the site of Bannut Tree House, was held in the time of Edward the Confessor by his kinsman, Earl Odda (d.959).

The original small, timber-framed dwelling on this site, called Walnut Tree Farm in early records, was probably constructed in the sixteenth century.

We know nothing of its occupants until the early 1800’s when it was tenanted by a family named Smith.

In 1811 it was sold to Edward Jakeman and the sale document shows that William Pewtriss once owned it, then John Dee senior and then John Dee junior (who sold it to Edward Jakeman). One of the John Dee’s, it is not clear which, is described as undertenant to John Kitt. Legal documents of the time were sometimes deliberately confusing to avoid land ownership being traced. Although this seems to be sale document to Jakeman, in 1825 it still belonged to John Dee.

In 1825, 27 October, following John Dee’s death, the Bannut Tree was for sale by private contract. Lot 1 was the farm house (lately put in complete repair) with barn, stables and other buildings and two pieces of old pasture and two pieces of arable land all planted with choice fruit trees in full bearing immediately adjoining the farmhouse called Homestead Orchard, the Orchard opposite the Homestead, Newlands Croft and Sling Orchard and containing altogether 11 acres.  The Bannut Tree on its own had previously been offered for sale by auction, following the death of John Dee in May that year. This would indicate that Dee had bought it back from Jakeman.

In the 1841 Census, it is occupied by Richard Stone, Farmer (born about 1806), his wife Elizabeth and children Ann and Richard, and 6 Agricultural Labourers and two lodgers.

By 1850 it was called Bannut Tree Farm, although for many years the two names were interchangeable.

In the 1851 census shows it divided into two sections, one occupied by the family of a 31-year-old farmer named Francis Tombs and the other by the family of John Goode 38, who farmed fifty acres with the help of one agricultural labourer.In 1852, 26 February it was auctioned at The Plume of Feathers. Lot 1 a freehold messuage or farm house, garden, barn, stable, mill house, cider mill and two pieces of arable land ( 5 acres, 3 rods) called Newlands and Lower Orchard, adjoining the road from Little Malvern to Castlemorton Church bounded by lands of Thomas Higgin Esq and Gloucester College Land. Lot 2 Gatfields Orchard (1 acre, 1 rod, 19 perches) of arable and orchard land. Lot 3 arable land called Wall Ridding (3 acres, 2 rods) bounded by other parts of Wall Ridding common field. Unlimited rights attached to these lots over the extensive waste lands of the Commons.

In 1859, 28 August, David Genifer aged 63 died at Bannut Tree Farm.

In 1861, 6 February, there was an auction at the Plume of Feathers of the Bannut tree Estate, 43 acres in the occupation of Job Drinkwater and John Brown as yearly tenants.

In 1861, 15 March there was an auction of farming stock at Bannut Tree Farm.  Three powerful young cart horses and a cart colt, two cos and a calf, three in calf cows, a heifer, two yearlings, eighteen ewes and rams, growing crops of what and seeds, about 10 tons of hay, what and bean straw, about 20 bags of beans, one ditto of barley and two of seed vetches, ploughs, drills, scuffler, 5 units of gears etc, about 2,300 gallons of prime cider and perry, a 400 and 300 gallon casks, first rate hogshead ditto, and an assortment of useful household furniture, bedding, chests and chests of drawers, numerous kitchen and culinary requisites, dairy utensils, four sides of prime bacon and other effects, late the property of Mr Job Drinkwater, deceased. (He died 28 February 1861, a widower, his estate passing to his only son Samuel Drinkwater who was serving as a Private in the 17th Brigade Artillery at Madras in the East Indies).

In 1861, 7 April (Census night), the property was occupied by Charlotte Clent, Housekeeper, and her children John and Mary Ann.

In 1861, 13 November the property was auctioned, this time at the Foley Arms, Malvern. Is was described as Bannut Tree Estate comprising 35 acres, in the occupation of Mr Thomas Lawrence under a lease of 7 years from 2 February 1861, together with a newly erected dwelling house and five acres in yearly tenancy to Mr Turner. The greater part of the land is planted with fruit trees.

In 1862, 2 July On Wednesday, at the Feathers Inn, Mr. W. Knowles, of Gloucester, offered for sale by auction the above estate, containing about 36 acres of old pasture and arable land and orcharding, with farm-house and buildings, and a leasehold dwelling-house and garden near thereto. The first lot, about 16 acres, with cottage, was bought by Mr. J. R. Lane, for £740. Lot 2, being over 3 1/2 acres of arable orchard, by Mr. G. Connop, for £310. Lot 3, being over 5 1/2 acres of pasture orchard, sold to Mr. S. Smith, for £380. Lot 4, the Bannnut Tree House, and nearly 10 acres of pasture and arable orchard, to Mr. Lane, for £655, exclusive of timber. Lot 5 was not sold.

By 1868 'Bannot Tree Farm' was back in single family occupation with Charles Ginniver, who died the following year. The farming operation then passed to his widow,

Sarah (b.1808) who farmed fífteen acres with the help another son, John (b.1834).

In the 1871 Census it is occupied by Sarah Ginafer, farmer of 16 acres employing one labourer, and her son John

The 1881 census shows the manorial tenant farmer as John Spires 52, who husbanded thirty fíve acres.

By the late 1880s the farmhouse is said to have been in a semi-ruinous condition.In 1887, 16 July, the Bannut Tree Estate was auctioned at The Foley Arms Hotel in Malvern (31 acres, 3 rods, 22 perches) in the occupation of William Lane Junior. A commodious farmhouse with agricultural buildings and several enclosures of valuable pasture, productive arable and luxuriant orchard land.

It was possibly purchased then by Robert Henry Cazalet (1857-1932) who built Bannut Tree House over the site.

Bannut Tree House

Page 2 The Voysey House

16 July 1887

Lot 6 - A very desirable estate, known as Bannut Tree Farm situate at the junction of the road leading to Gloucester and Worcester, comprising a commodious Farm House, Agricultural Buildings, and several enclosures of valuable Pasture, productive arable, and luxuriant orchard land, containing in the whole 31 acres 38 rods. 22 perches or thereabouts, in the occupation of Mr. Wm. Lane, jun.

Further particulars may be obtained aa to Lots 6 and 7, of Messrs. Masefield and Sons, Solicitors, Ledbury as to Lots 1 to 5, of Messrs. Moores and Roknet, Solicitors, Tewkesbury; as to Lots I to 6, of Messrs. Albert Buck and Son, Surveyors, Worcester ; as to Lots 8 and 9, of H. Goldingham, Esq. Solicitor, Worcester; and as to the whole, of the Auctioneers, Tewkesbury and Upton-on-Severn.