THE BCH ARCHIVE

LOCAL HISTORY FOR

BIRTSMORTON

CASTLEMORTON

HOLLYBUSH

And The Surrounding District

THE HISTORY OF


DINGLE FIELD, BERROW, WORCESTERSHIRE

WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO

DINGLE HILL SOMETIME KNOWN AS DINGLE COTTAGE,

DINGLE HILL VILLA OR THE DINGLE


By Michael Morris

At sometime in the late 1720s, a John Clarke (Gentleman) of Bridgenorth in Shropshire inherited substantial plots of land from his father (Thomas Clarke of the Grime, Rye Street, Berrow) in Longdon, Castlemorton and Berrow in the County of Worcestershire. In 1733 John Clarke placed all the property in Berrow (consisting of:- One Messurage, one barn, one stable, two gardens, one orchard, 60 acres of land, 20 acres of meadow, 50 acres of pasture, 2 acres of wood and common of pasture for all manner of cattle with the appurits in the Parish of Berrow) in trust for his future wife, Isabel Pardoe of Bridgenorth, to provide an annuity of £25

John Clarke had a sister, Catherine, who had married a John Bray (Yoeman) of Castlemorton (the 1st.). They had a son, also John Bray (identified here as “of Longdon”). (the 2nd.)

On 17 February 1739 John Clarke died leaving all his property in Borrow, Birtsmorton and Longdon to his wife in trust and on her death to John Bray (of Longdon). On 31 May 1753 Isabel Clarke’s Trustees had to raise the sum of £545 to pay off John Clarke’s debts. The land tax returns of 1797/9 records that amongst the property John Bray of Longdon owned in Berrow was a house called “Poplar” which was occupied by John Yeomans  

John Bray, of Longdon, died on 10 December 1803 and left his son William “two freehold Messuages Tenements in the Parishes of Berrow, Birtsmorton and Castlemorton known as “Poplands”  

On 12 June 1812 William mortgaged or tenanted all property in Berrow, Birtsmorton and Castlemorton (described as two messuages, two gardens, 26 acres of land,15 acres of meadow, 33 acres of pasture and common pasture of all manner of cattle in Berrow and Birtsmorton) to William Ainsworth of Upton upon Seven. The land tax return of 1815/16 lists the owner of “Poplar” as William Bray and the occupier as Thomas Sevill. No trace can be found where William Bray lived although both William Bray and Thomas Sevill are recorded in the 1820 directory as being farmers in Berrow (no addresses given)

At some stage between 1812 and 1821 William borrowed, by a “Note in Hand”, £470 from Thomas Webb of Cammers Green. On 11 April 1821, William borrowed a further £30 from Thomas Webb and mortgaged for £500 to him the property consisting of “all that already tenanted by Tomas Webb plus 8 acres (description provided) plus a parcel of

At sometime in the late 1720s, a John Clarke (Gentleman) of Bridgenorth in Shropshire inherited substantial plots of land from his father (Thomas Clarke of the Grime, Rye Street, Berrow) in Longdon, Castlemorton and Berrow in the County of Worcestershire. In 1733 John Clarke placed all the property in Berrow (consisting of:- One Messurage, one barn, one stable, two gardens, one orchard, 60 acres of land, 20 acres of meadow, 50 acres of pasture, 2 acres of wood and common of pasture for all manner of cattle with the appurits in the Parish of Berrow) in trust for his future wife, Isabel Pardoe of Bridgenorth, to provide an annuity of £25.

John Clarke had a sister, Catherine, who had married a John Bray (Yoeman) of Castlemorton (the 1st.). They had a son, also John Bray (identified here as “of Longdon”). (the 2nd.)

On 17 February 1739 John Clarke died leaving all his property in Berrow, Birtsmorton and Longdon to his wife in trust and on her death to John Bray (of Longdon). On 31 May 1753 Isabel Clarke’s Trustees had to raise the sum of £545 to pay off John Clarke’s debts. The land tax returns of 1797/9 records that amongst the property John Bray of Longdon owned in Berrow was a house called “Poplar” which was occupied by John Yeomans

John Bray, of Longdon, died on 10 December 1803 and left his son William “two freehold Messuages Tenements in the Parishes of Berrow, Birtsmorton and Castlemorton known as “Poplands”

On 12 June 1812 William mortgaged or tenanted all property in Berrow, Birtsmorton and Castlemorton (described as two messuages, two gardens, 26 acres of land,15 acres of meadow, 33 acres of pasture and common pasture of all manner of cattle in Berrow and Birtsmorton) to William Ainsworth of Upton upon Seven. The land tax return of 1815/16 lists the owner of “Poplar” as William Bray and the occupier as Thomas Sevill. No trace can be found where William Bray lived although both William Bray and Thomas Sevill are recorded in the 1820 directory as being farmers in Berrow (no addresses given)

At some stage between 1812 and 1821 William borrowed, by a “Note in Hand”, £470 from Thomas Webb of Cammers Green. On 11 April 1821, William borrowed a further £30 from Thomas Webb and mortgaged for £500 to him the property consisting of “all that already tenanted by Tomas Webb plus 8 acres (description provided) plus a parcel of arable land containing 8 acres more or less called or known by the name of the Dingle.

On 27 June 1823 William Bray died and left the whole of the above property to his nephew, John Bray of Poplands.(the 3rd.) The 1824 land tax return records that John Bray late (of) Phillips owned and lived at Poplar

On 1 June 1824 Thomas Webb assigned the £500 mortgage to Thomas Lane of Ledbury.  

John Bray (3rd.) is recorded in the 1826 land tax returns as owning and occupying both Poplar and Phillips. At the end of April 1827 he sold Poplands to James Hodges a publican of Berrow for £950; Thomas Lane’s mortgage being assigned to James Hodges. The Deeds describe the property (Poplands) as “(being) and for a short time past used as an Inn or Public House called or known by the name or sign of the Duke of York”. Albeit that the 1827 and 1832 land tax returns record the name of James Hodges’ property still as “Poplar”. The first reference to the Duke of York appears in 1841 Bentley’s History.

The Deeds of the Poplands/the Duke of York covered all John Bray’s property in Berrow but when he sold Poplands to James Hodges he retained ownership of the Dingle. By a Deed dated 17 October 1828 James Hodges agreed to produce the original Deeds as and when required by John Bray or his successors. This Deed refers to “the newly erected Messurage or Tenement land and Premises so belonging to (John Bray) called or known by the name of Dingle Cottage”.

It is apparent that John Bray retained other property as well for, on 10 January 1829, he mortgaged Churchfield and Little Churchfield together with two cottages in Berrow to Thomas Greenway for £300 (plus £120 already lent on 19 September 1823) and yet a further £80 mortgages on Dingle Field in the parish of Berrow and the newly erected Messurage or Tenement Garden (presumably Dingle Cottage) and occupied by John Bray “having the new road from Ledbury to Tewkesbury on the North and North East parts a Lane called Dingle Lane on the East and South parts …..”

John Bray (3rd.) owned and occupied “Dingle” as well as owned Phillips still in 1832, the latter being tenanted.

Sometime in 1833, Thomas Greenway died. John Bray borrowed £1000 from Samual Higgins of Berrow on 22/23 April 1833 to pay off the £500 mortgage he had from Thomas Greenway. Samual Higgins died on 27 January 1838. Sometime between 1832 and 1838, John Bray moved to Woolhope as a farmer and had let Dingle Cottage to a Mrs. Selwyn. On 22 May 1839 the mortgage of £1000 was transferred to Maria Cox of Ledbury.

By 1847, John Bray had left Woolhope and returned to Berrow as a shopkeeper and is said to be occupying Dingle Cottage. He re-mortgaged all his property in Berrow to Joseph Cooper of Cliffton Nr. Bristol to pay off Maria Cox’s £1000 but also a further £50 “to answer his other occasions” for the total sum of £1050. This property included Dingle Cottage, its front field called the Bank, its back field called the Meadow and its top field called the Field. This later field is currently (2007) owned by the Dutch House as is part of the Meadow. It also included Ivy Cottage (now confusingly called Dingle Cottage) which at that time was occupied by a Joseph Maisey. Ivy Cottage had not been referred to in the Deeds prior to 1847.

In 1848 John Bray was unable to pay off the mortgage and interest and his property was effectively repossessed. The property was auctioned on 1 January 1849 but failed to sell. It was re-auctioned on 4 April 1849 and bought by Thomas Ward for £1,180. He sold it to James Gregg on 1 August 1849 for £1,182. The property consisted of Phillips (and other buildings, including an ale house, and land), Dinglehill Cottage, the Bank. the Meadow, the Field, the cottage or tenement and garden called Ivy Cottage and other land.

Ten years latter the rights of the property were established by way of “Attestments” by “the oldest living inhabitants of Berrow and Pendock”. In summary they refer to the considerable estates of William Bray in the parish of Berrow including “The Dingle field containing about five or six acres now comprising the lands belonging to the Dinglehill and Ivy Cottages as well as certain land belonging to Poplands now called the Duke of York. William Bray occupied Poplands and Dingle field for several years then let it. William Bray who died in 1823 intestate. John Bray his nephew inherited. John Bray lived at Poplands and opened it as an Inn by the sign of the Duke of York. He sold it to James Hodges and built Dinglehill Cottage and Ivy Cottage. The Turnpike road was made in 1835 Prior to that there was no road. The property had rights of pasturage and common on Berrow Meadow, Windmill field, Standallfield and the Malvern Chase.

“Billings” Directory for 1855 records that Mrs Matilda Warburton was living at “Dingley” Hill Cottage. On 2 February 1859 James Gregg sold Dinglehill and Ivy Cottages to Sidney Gregg for £1000. (No mention is made of Phillips so it is assumed that this had been sold separately). It is speculated that the Georgian front part of Dingle Hill was built about this time as in the 1871 Census the House is called Dingle Hill Villa with Sidney Gregg described as a farmer aged 70. Interestedly Ivy Cottage is, in the 1871 Census, called Dingle Cottage and is occupied by a farm labourer. In the 1876 Post Office Directory, Dingle Hill Villa is listed as a Private Residence as distinct from a Commercial one i.e. a farm.

Sidney Gregg died in 1878 and his wife Mary in 1881 (aged 90). John Peters (master mariner) purchased Dingle Hill Villa and Ivy Cottage in 1882 for £720. He gave this property to his wife, Georgina Amelia Peters in 1886 who had been living there while her husband was at sea. The Census of 1891 records that Georgina was away but that she had left four children under 10 with three servants! She had moved away by 1892 and had let it to William Sivell. In 1893 she sold the property to John Thackwell, of Wilton House, Dymock, a large landowner locally (including White House Farm) and was Lord of the Manor. In 1904, Richard Waller, a farmer occupied “the Dingle”. By 1908 The Dingle was described as apartments and occupied by Miss Mary Hughes, who was still in occupation in 1912. John Thackwell died in 1914 and his son John Henry Cam Thackwell inherited his estate including Dingle Hill Villa. In 1915 Dingle Hill Villa was mortgaged to William Skittery of Little Marcle for £400. J.H.C. Thackwell sold Dingle Hill Villa and Ivy Cottage to Miss Edith Hannah (paying off the mortgage) for £850 in 1918. Miss Hannah married Frederick Charles Price in 1930 and presumably left to live with him as in 1932 The Dingle was occupied by Keith Pope, a smallholder. It is speculated that before she married Miss Hannah may have re-modeled the entrance and staircase of the house and built the chicken sheds. She had returned to live there by 1940 (as Mrs Price) described also as a smallholder. She sold Ivy Cottage to James Powell in 1947. (Prior to that date Ivy Cottage, which had only two bedrooms, had been occupied by a roadman called Alsop who had six children. His wife became caretaker for the school in Rye Street and moved to the cottage next door to the school. Three of those children still (2007) live in the old school house. Margaret, the youngest, recalls walking from Ivy Cottage to school through the Walnut orchard in the Meadow and being told off by Mrs Price for stealing walnuts).

In 1951 Mrs. Price sold Dingle Hill to Major F N Cox DSO. Major Cox had previously lived in the Voisy House in Castlemorton. He was a great gardener and was said to have moved to Dingle Hill because it had an alpine house. He is responsible for much of the old planting in the garden and, from an aerial photograph taken in 1966, cultivated a large vegetable plot. He also built an aviary and summerhouse on top of the septic tank. It is thought that he probably built a small bungalow called Hillside (now incorporated into the Dutch House) for his gardener. In 1959 he arranged for the mains water supply feeding the then Vicarage to be extended to Dingle Hill and Hillside. Up until then the water for the house came from the well and from the run off from the roofs. He sold the property to a Vice Admiral Brooke in 1967 for £19,000. Nothing is known about Admiral Brooke although it is thought that he may have been responsible for taking out of the old coal-fired central heating system and installing two oil-fired heaters in the front and back halls and night storage heaters in the rooms.

In 1972 Admiral Brooke sold The Dingle to J A N Burra. Either Admiral Brooke or J A N Burra sold Hillside to J P M Burra, J A N’s brother. Apparently J P M asked his brother to view The Dingle for him and his brother promptly bought it allowing J P M to buy Hillside or selling it to him with the Field and part of the Meadow including one of the chicken sheds.

J Patrick M Burra had three children by his first wife and then married the children’s nanny and had three more. He moved to the area so as to send these latter children to school in Malvern. He built a two story extension to the original bungalow that was Hillside and called the extended house Dolphin House. Dolphin House deteriorated over the years and was sold in 2003 to Mr. and Mrs. Veldboer, who completely renovated it and changed its name to the Dutch House.

J A N Burra’s mother in law occupied a mobile home on the front lawn of the Dingle and a lean-to porch was constructed from the front door to the front of the house to give access to this. It is thought that J A N Burra did little maintenance to the house while he lived there. He said in a note to the current (2007) owners, that in the mid 1970 there was an earth tremor and the Ha-Ha fell over. Apart from clearing up and burying the bricks no attempt was made to rebuild it. It is probable that this earth tremor cracked the damp-proof course as damp started to become evident by 1979.

In 1975 the agreement with the Diocese regarding the water supply was varied to include Dingle Cottage which also up to that date had to rely on its well.

In 1979 the Dingle was sold to Lt. Col. Elvins. He also did little or no maintenance. He died in 1988 and the house remained empty until 1991 when Susan and Michael Morris bought it. At that time the gardens were overgrown and completely over-run by rabbits, the fences to the fields were almost non-existent and the only thing that had been done since Major Cox’s time was the planting of over a dozen damson trees. In the house the damp was between six and nine feet up the walls in the drawing room and kitchen, the plumbing ancient, the wiring dangerous, the heating almost non-existent. These were rectified in the Georgian part of the building and an AGA installed in the kitchen (although there is evidence that the kitchen had a previous AGA) which was also refitted. The rear of the house, which had originally been a barn consisted of double garages with up-and-over doors on the ground floor. The upstairs had evidently been the servants quarters with three bedrooms, one leading into the other. The room over the now utility room but then a garden store with an earth floor was linked to the store with a ladder. There was a bathroom where the airing cupboard now is. The bathroom consisted of two old doors and an asbestos sheet! The whole of the original barn was gutted, the ground floor lowered a foot and made into the sitting room. A bathroom and a bedroom accessed from a corridor constructed above. A concrete floor was laid in the old garden store and the walls were dry lined. A dormer window was constructed in the room above.

Outside, a lean-to greenhouse demolished, the remnants of the alpine house cleared away, the garage constructed and the Ha-Ha rebuilt. Later an extension to the kitchen was added.

DINGLE HILL