THE BCH ARCHIVE
LOCAL HISTORY FOR
And The Surrounding District
BANNUT TREE HOUSE
Voysey’s design of 1890
"The Revival of English Domestic Architecture VI. The Work of Mr. C. F. A. Voysey." The Studio 11 (1897): 16-25. Internet Archive version of a copy from an unidentified library. Web. 8 May 2013.
Robert Henry Cazalet (1857-1932) the builder of Bannut Tree House, was born at Paddock Hurst, Sussex, 26 September 1857. His father, George Henry Cazalet (1824-1888), born at Hastings, and his mother, Emma Gertrude nee Philpott, born at Brighton about 1831, lived most of their married life in Worcestershire.
It was probably the death of his father, George Henry Cazalet, at Leigh Court on 29 February 1888 aged about sixty-four which provided the wherewithal for Robert to purchase this site and to commission the architect and designer Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857-1941) to construct Bannut Tree House along the lines we see today.
At the time Voysey was commissioned by Cazalet, he was beginning to build an extensive domestic practice. 'His buildings were extremely simple', and, if 'not particularly cheap', good value for money. Bannut Tree House is listed by English Heritage Grade II* as a dwelling of 'architectural and/or historic interest. The star suffix denotes a building of special merit within its class and is applied to less than five percent of all listed buildings:
Alternatively known as: Walnut Tree Farm House. 1890, by C F A Voysey. Roughcast with some applied timber-framing and tile roof. L-plan. One storey with attic. Windows have timber mullions and leaded glazing in rectangular panes. South facade, facing garden, has four gabled attic dormers with applied close-studding above the windows. At the left is a smaller dormer with flat roof. The upper storey oversails and is supported on buttresses. To the right of the first attic dormer is a chimney, with a chimney breast on the ground floor which is splayed at the left and contains a window: At first floor level is a plaque inscribed: "1890". The recess to the right of the chimney breast has a window, with a small window at the right against a buttress, lighting an inglenook. To the right of this buttress is another recessed window. To the right, under the second gable, is a window set forwards flush with the upper storey. Under the third gable a flat-roofed timber porch projects forwards on a roughcast base. At the right of the facade the upper storey forms a right-angle and the ground floor window is canted, continuing on the return wall. To the right of the first gable is a second chimney; forward of the ridge. At the rear the roof swept down to low eaves and the doorway is protected by a tiled gabled canopy on brackets. The house was originally known as Walnut Tree Farm: Preliminary and final designs for the house - with perspectives of the garden front-; are in the RIBA drawings collection (BOE; p ll5) INTERIOR largely complete with original features, including fireplaces, ledged-and-braced doors with ornate wrought-iron hinges, picture rails, window seats, unchamfered ceiling beams, and the staircase with simple stick balustrade, moulded handrail and tall pointed newels. SOURCE: Nikolaus Pevsner, Buildings of England, Worcestershire, 1968, p.115. (Listing NGR: SO7854237643)
During the period of rebuilding, Cazalet lived at an unidentified house in Great Malvern. On the 1891 census he appears to be described as 'farmer'. He also owned a property at Newchurch in Carmarthenshire. Here he was staying on the night of the 1901 census, when he gave his occupation as 'retired school tutor'. He seems to have been in no hurry to take up residence at Bannut Tree House and during the first years of its existence the property was let to the Daily Telegraph's influential theatre critic Clement William Scott (1841-1904) who was also a playwright, journalist, lyricist and travel writer.
Scott’s first wife died 26 November 1890. He left Bannut Tree House about 1894, at much the time he married the actress, Constance Margaret Brandon.
On 15 September 1894, Messrs Clutton, Crown Receivers, advertised the property to let, furnished, with horses, servants and shooting if required.
On 12 September 1894, the Morning Post carried the following advertisement: 'The Walnut Tree Farmhouse Castlemorton, To Let furnished, with servants, horses and shooting; lately occupied by Mr. Clement Scott and described in "Daily Telegraph" August 7; capital hunting country; immediate possession.'
The house was again advertised in 1896 when it was described as 'suitable for an artist. It is not known whether either advertisement produced a tenant, but about 1896-97 Robert Cazalet took the property into his own occupation. Initially, he appeared for it in the commercial section of the Worcestershire county directories as 'farmer'.
However, from about 1900 he appeared solely in the 'private residents' section, which was reserved for gentlemen and others who considered themselves above the hustle and bustle of 'trade'. He was active in parish and county affairs and in 1900 is listed as the representative for Castlemorton on the board of Worcestershire County Council.
In 1894 Cazlet was elected a Parish Councillor for Castlemorton and remained so up to at least 1910. He was Chairman of the Parish Council.
Small old fashioned country house to let, nicely furnished, 7 bed, bath, sitting-rooms, kitchen garden, stables, &co.; rent £5:5s, week. - Cazalet, Castlemorton, Published: Thursday 13 July 1899 Newspaper: Globe, London
By about 1900 he had converted a cottage on his property into ‘a Reading Room, Library and other amusements to entertain the young men and lads during winter evenings’. He and his wife supported a Parish Nurse and established a Mothers’ Meeting, Sewing Class and Clothing Club.
Mr Cazalet was also instrumental in opening an Agricultural Bank to enable Small Holders and working men to borrow small sums at low interest to buy pigs and other stock and seeds for their allotments.
In the 1901 Census, David N Martin, retired Lieutenant Colonel Indian Service was living there, with his wife Aethelreda and daughter Viola.
In the 1911 Census, Mr Bethel Dawes and his wife, son, nurse, cook and two servants are living there. He is from Surbiton and of independent means.
Around this date, gardener to Mr Cazalet was Joe Bunn, great grandfather of Anthony Bunn of Eight Oaks and Janet Hughes of Hunter’s Hall (which Joe bought as his first farm).
On 23 February 1922, Cazalets wife died. (Mrs Jessie Cazalet, Castlemorton, Malvern, Worcestershire, wife of Robert Henry Cazalet, net £ 11,622; gross, £ 15,734). He donated the Reading Room and land, now the site of the Parish Hall (excluding the land purchased in 2015) to the Parish and sold Bannut Tree House to Frank Noel Cross, a gentleman farmer, who features for it in the county directories until the Second World War.
These four photographs above hang in Bannut Tree House today.
Stables North of Bannut Tree House and Garden Wall Adjoining to East
Listing Date: 23 February 1987
Source: Historic England
English Heritage Legacy ID: 153186
Stables and wall. 1890 by C F A Voysey. Roughcast, tile roof. Single storey with loft. Four bays. Shallow horizontal windows are divided by timber mullions and have rectangular leaded panes. Doors, between first and second bays and third and fourth bays, have iron strap hinges. Eaves over- hang, with gutters carried on slim curved iron brackets. Chimney on ridge in line with third bay. Gables have applied close-studded timbering to upper storey, which has loading doors at both ends. Rear wall has buttresses at intervals and continues to east to form garden wall.
Listing NGR: SO7855337666
Walnut Tree Cottage and Bannut Tree House
The relationship between Walnut Tree Cottage and Bannut Tree House is not clear. The map on the 1811 Indenture shows two buildings.
However, the gates focus around the building on the west, suggesting it was agricultural. The farmhouse would therefore be on the east – Walnut Tree Cottage today.
In about 1990, renovation of the Walnut Tree Cottage was completed.
On 25 July 1922, Cazalet sold his local properties and land by auction. He must have bought Mason’s Farm as well as the Bannut tree, as it is Lot 2. Confusingly, the same picture of it appears on a postcard as Bannut tree Farm. Lot 3 is the land owned by Walnut tree Cottage today, to the north of the track alongside both properties.
The acquisition of Masons Farm allowed part of its land to become part of The Bannut Tree.
In the auction document, below, the parcels of land correspond with areas in the 1811 Indenture and Release:
Field 441 is fields 4 & 5 – bought by Charles Drinkwater Bunn Bunn (see purchase document below).
Fields 452 & 482 are fields 8 &9
Field 459 is field 11
Fields 458 & 460 are most of field 17
Fields 115 and 740 in Budenhill are part of the Common Land today, Nos 541,542, 543 and 544 on the 1839 Tithe Map.
Field 623, Summer Leasow, is part of the Common Land today, No 1120 on the Tithe Map.
About 1923 Cazalet left England or the other side of the world, never to return. He settled at a house overlooking the Bay of Plenty at Tauranga, on New Zealand's north island.
Around the time of World War II it was owned by Major Cross, who moved to The Dingle, Hollybush.
At some point post-war the property was acquired by Herbert Harms Cooke who died 23 February 1965 at Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. By this date Bannut Tree House was the home of the family of a retired felt manufacturer named E F Bensley. (in 1963 he was joint master of the Ledbury Hunt and had also lived at Mill Farm). It was next owned by John and Beryl Heywood who lived there for some 15 years and ran a busines called Orchard Apiaries in the outbuildings. They kept Walnut Tree Cottage and some land and sold the remainder to by Peter and Jean Reynolds in about 1990.
In the early 1980’s tiles from The Joyfields were used to repair the roof.
On 23 July 2010 Bannut Tree House was sold to the Edwards family, who at the time of writing, in March 2017, still live there.