THE BCH ARCHIVE

LOCAL HISTORY FOR

BIRTSMORTON

CASTLEMORTON

HOLLYBUSH

And The Surrounding District

Hill House

Other names          Hill House Farm, The Retreat


Origin of name          Presumably from being a farm by the hills


Date built     The farm is listed on the Historic Buildings of Worcestershire project: Farm outbuilding with rough Malvern Stone walls and brick quoins and door surrounds.


Clutterbuck Family

The Clutterbuck family have owned Hill House Farm from at least 1839 to the present day.  Clutterbuck is a rare Gloucestershire surname and the Anglicized form of a Dutch name which may have arrived in England at two periods in English history. Firstly, it may have arrived in Gloucestershire when Edward 111 brought Flemish weavers over to teach their craft to the English, with many settling in the Cotswolds. More likely however, the name followed later from Holland due to the religious persecution of French Huguenots, by the Duke of Alba who suppressed the Protestant revolt in the Netherlands (1567 - 1572), and who fled to nearby countries. The Clutterbucks were prominent in Gloucestershire life for many generations. The name first appears in records in the mid 16th Century (see below). A member of the family was mayor of Bristol in 1739. Henry Clutterbuck (1767 - 1856), studied medicine at Edinburgh 1802, and Glasgow 1804, and became a leading physician in London. Robert Clutterbuck (1772 - 1831), was a topographer who was educated at Oxford in 1794. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of one Clutterbuck, which was dated 1545, who was mayor of Gloucestershire, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547.


Their story in Castlemorton beings with William Clutterbuck, born 1773 in Gloucestershire. He married Mary Heaven at Eastington in 1797 and by 1839 owned Hill House Farm near The Gullet in Castlemorton.


The 1839 Tithe records him as owner and occupier of Nos 60, 61, 62, 63, 65 and 65a (6 acres in total). He was renting No 224 as a garden (near Hollybed Farm) from the Dean & Chapter of Westminster; and with John Tombs jointly renting No 254 (The Grove, at the top of Hollybed Common) from the Dean & Chapter of Westminster.


In 1841, William is living there as a Farmer with his wife Mary; and a 35 year old Agricultural Labourer called Thomas Hughes.


In 1843, another William Clutterbuck, alias Greening, 30, labourer, was charged with stealing a duck and a drake, the property John Wadley, at Birtsmorton. The taking of the ducks was substantially proved, but the felonious intent was disputed Mr. Cook, the defendant's counsel, who attempted to show that the thing had been done as a lark, after the prisoner had been imbibing a plentiful supply of cider, whilst mowing for a farmer in the neighbourhood. The prisoner received a good character, but ‘facts are stubborn things’ and a verdict was returned of guilty with a recommendation to mercy. Two weeks imprisonments.

In March 1844, we have the account of a robbery: John Powell, 55, sawyer, was charged with burglariously entering into the house of William Clutterbuck, at Castlemorton on the 26th of December last. Mr. Huddleston, for the defence, called William Clutterbuck, the prosecutor. On the 26th of December last I went to bed about one o'clock, after seeing all the windows and doors safe. My wife got first the morning. When I went down I found that the parlour window had been taken out and the bar burst. I heard no noise in the night. It was six o'clock when I came down stairs in the morning. The bar was nailed top and bottom. The back door was also open. It could not have been opened from the outside in a proper manner. I found the bolts forced back. I missed two lanterns, a new hat, a pair of gaiters, an umbrella, a quantity of bacon and butter, and a pair of new shoes, which I pulled off when I went to bed. John woodman to Mr. Cliffe, of Cradle. On the 28th of December last I was in a piece of land called the Birches, belonging to my master, when saw the prisoner walking about. It was the next day but one after the robbery. I don't know the distance from Castlemorton. He was near some bushes. I saw him go to the bushes and pull out a saw. Then went straight to some other bushes. Had bag, lantern, and an umbrella, with him. I went to him and asked him what he had in his bag. He said it was nothing to me. I insisted on seeing what he had, when he said, Before I'll be took it shall be life for life. I took hold of him and he dropt on his knees and begged for pardon, saying he would give meall he had in his bag if I would let him go. The bag contained a quantity of butter and bacon. I went with him to the policeman Malvern. On going back to the bushes I found a crock and a lantern. I gave all the things I found to policeman Stretton. P. C. Stretton: I received the prisoner in custody on the 28th, and some property from the last witness. (The lanterns, saw, umbrella, &c., were here produced) I know Castlemorton, and also the bush mentioned by last witness. I should think the places were between four and five miles distant. The property was identified by prosecutor; the bacon he could swear to, the bottle he could swear to, for it was all gin; and so he identified every article from some well-remembered peculiarity belonging to each, amid roars laughter on all sides, in which his Lordship heartily joined. Guilty. The prisoner admitted having been convicted at Hereford about thirteen years ago.—Ten years transportation.


In 1851, William is living at Berrow Down (next door to Hill House Farm) and describing himself as a Landed Proprietor aged 78. With him is Elizabeth West, House Servant, aged 60. His wife had died in 1850. Hill House Farm, then known as The Retreat, was rented to the Taylor family who ran it as a Beerhouse. William died in 1857 and his Will was proved in the Prerogative court of Canterbury, meaning he was wealthy and may well have owned land in more than one county.


In 1855, a William Greening, Labourer, aged 40 was sentenced to 3 months imprisonment for stealing two pecks of wheat at Castlemorton. He had been previously convicted under the name Clutterbuck. (see above).


By 1861 the farm was back in family occupation. Living there was William’s grandson John (1830-1903), Cider House Keeper, his wife Ann (nee Jakeman, aged 21) and their children William (aged 2) and John C (aged 1).


In 1871, John is now a Farmer of 7 acres, living at Hill House Farm with his wife Ann and children William, John Charles and Maria (aged 9).


In 1879, John’s two sons, labourers (on bail), pleaded not guilty to stealing two geese, at Castlemorton on the 20th May, the property of John Webb. Mr. Marshall Todd prosecuted. The prosecutor had two geese grazing on Castlemorton Common, and the day named above he missed them. The prisoners were seen by a man named Bullock driving the geese from the Common about eight o'clock at night, and when the police visited their house next day part of the body of one goose was found and the whole of grey goose which was dead. It was proved that the prisoners did not keep geese. They were found guilty by the Jury, and sentenced to three months hard labour.


In 1880, Charles Clutterbuck, of Birtsmorton, labourer, was charged with assaulting Mary Lambert, on the 12th July. Defendant did not appear. Mary Lambert said: On the day question defendant came to me and asked I had said something about his wife. I said No." He also said "What have you been telling James Kendrick about me?" I denied telling him anything. Defendant then caught hold of me by the wrists, shook me, and swung me round, and I fell on the pavement. I lay there for about half-an-hour, when he came and picked me up, and put me in the back kitchen. George Lane was called as a witness, but he said he " heard nor knowed nothun," but afterwards admitted that "heead her a groanin," meaning complainant. Fined 10s. and costs; in default, 14 days.

In 1881, John is living on his own as a widower and Farmer of 6 acres.

In 1891, John is living at Hill House Farm with his new wife Mary Jane (nee Green) (aged 54), her mother and his two grandsons William and James (sons of his son William, aged 12 and 6).

In 1901, John and Mary are still there, with their grandson James Clutterbuck, Labourer on Farm (aged 16).  

In September 1906, Charles Clutterbuck, living at Castlemorton, was summoned by Thomas Morgan, gamekeeper to Mr. Farquhar, Eastnor Castle, for being in pursuit of game near the Herefordshire Beacon, on September 2nd. Witness saw him go to some wires, and asked him what he wanted: Defendant replied: "A rabbit for Sunday's dinner." Witness took eight wires and one rabbit off him; he also had a gun. Clutterbuck did not appear, and was fined 5s. and 8s. costs.


In 1911, James has succeeded to the farm, his grandfather dying in 1903. With him, is his wife Edith (aged 25) and children Mabel (aged 4), Thomas (aged 2) and William (aged under 1).

In 1939, James was the head of the household, now divorced and working as a Roadstone Quarrier. With him was his brother Charles, also a Roadstone Quarrier, with his wife Edith (aged 22) and daughter Jean M (aged 1).


When the Parish Allotments to the east of Dales Hall were given up and the land sold by the Somers family. The Cutterbucks ended up owning some 25 acre of this, which was purchased from them by Malvern Hills Trust in 2019 to provided enclosed land to enable graziers to take animals off the Common.

James died in 1956 and Edith in 1984. They had four children: Mabel Edith Mary, Thomas John, William Ivor and Percy Albert. Hill House Farm appears to have been passed to Thomas John Clutterbuck (1909-1986).

Thomas married Edith Laura Hathaway in 1936 and they had seven children: Jean Mavis, Shirley Joyce, John (known as Jack), Bryan Thomas, Gillian Iris, Clive Anthony and Graham James. The farm was taken on by Bryan and Clive, who ran sheep on the Common. David Smallwood recalls being told they had one dog between them, but two whistles, so the dog knew who it was taking instructions from.

Clive died in 2007 leaving Bryan to farm on his own.