THE BCH ARCHIVE

LOCAL HISTORY FOR

BIRTSMORTON

CASTLEMORTON

HOLLYBUSH

And The Surrounding District

Penbode


The 1839 Tithe Map shows John Somers Earl Somers as the owner and Christopher Vine as the tenant. It is No 327 on the Tithe Map, 1 rod and 4 perches, cottage with outbuildings and garden.


The plan, above, show the original house in red and two non-residential building to the north, now part of the house and the garage. The outbuilding near the road is gone. The brick building which housed the outside toilet is still visible behind the new wooden stables, at the end facing the road.


The 1841 Census shows the property as Club House, occupied by Christopher Vine (Shoemaker), his wife Ann, daughter Ann and Betty Dee (aged 65, Independent). She is the widow of Thomas Dee of what is now Dee’s Cottage.


It was called The Club House because at some date before 1837. A money lender from Birmingham lived there and ran a sort of savings club.



The 1851 Census shows Christopher Vine still living there, aged 60, Agricultural Labourer, with his wife Ann (aged 74) and sister in law Grace Devereux (aged 698 single). Grace and Ann are also Agricultural Labourers.


The 1861 Census shows Christopher Vine, aged 68, Agricultural Labourer, with his daughter Ann (aged 41, Servant, single) and Grace Devereux aged 76 as a Visitor.


The 1871 Census shows Christopher Vine, aged 80, Gardener, remarried to Mary (aged 73) and Charles Vine, their son, aged 12!.


The 1881 Census shows Henry Fowler, Agricultural Labourer, and his wife Emma living there.


The 1885 Ordnance Survey Map shows the same layout as in 1839.


The 1891 Census shows Henry Fowler, Road Labourer, and his wife Emma, his widowed mother Eliza, and his children Beatrice, Edith and Gertrude living there.


The 1901 Census shows Henry Fowler, Road Labourer, and his wife Emma and daughter Gertie living there.


The 1911 Census shows Henry Fowler, Roadman, and his wife Emma, daughter Gertrude (single, aged 22) and granddaughter Violet Fowler aged 5. His other two children are alive and he married Emma in 1880.


1911-1930’s is the gap


Thomas and Rosetta Chatterton bought Penbode in the 1930’s, when Thomas retired from the Midlands. In 1935, their granddaughter Theodora Grainger (now Mrs P Tierney,) was born there. She has provided the following account: The cottage was 2 up 2 down when her grandparents purchased it. They had a spiral staircase removed and a new one built opposite the front door. The kitchen floor was lowered so that they were not continually knocking their heads on the beams, but the other room was left at its original height. There were no windows at the back. They added the sitting room, bedroom above, back hall leading to the bathroom and a Triplex Stove to heat the water and cook in. Although they didn’t have a car, they had the garage built.


In 1939, occupied by Thomas Chatterton, Retired Schooolmaster (aged 69), his wife Rosetta E (aged 69) and Elsie M Grainger (married, aged 36).


As they were away from friends and family contact was made by letter, hence Penbode – a contraction of pen-abode. In 1941, Theodora, her sister and mother went to live with them for the duration of the war. Her father had a shop in Essex and his wife (Margaret) went backwards and forwards between Essex and Castlemorton.



Rosetta Chatterton with her grandchildren Theodora and Margaret, 1941 or 1942.


All the water had to be pumped. Kettles were filled on the one with the trough and the force pump filled the tank in the airing cupboard and was heated by the open fire in the Triplex Stove. Kettles were boiled and flat irons heated in front of this fire and food cooked in the fast and slow ovens. All lighting was by oil lamp. There were two bracket lamps in the kitchen, a hanging and a standard lamp in the sitting room and various other lamps kept outside the sitting room door for carrying about. There were little ones called Kelly lamps and some much larger for putting onto tables. Grandpa’s tasks were to collect the lamps, clean the glass chimneys, trim the wicks, replenish with oil, then fetch coal and anthracite from the brick built sheds in the garden. I think one might have been the privy at one time. Certainly, there was no such facility inside the cottage. Milk was delivered daily to the kitchen window, then put in a bowl of water and a cloth, large enough to dip into the water, was draped over the bottles. Weekly deliveries were made to the window by ‘Tipping and Morris’ of Malvern, as was fish, bread, meat and post.


Although living in Castlemorton we attended Welland School. I had to learn to cycle there. Later we walked with our friends Thelma Davies from the Plume of Feathers and Gilliam Mear from Joyfields. Sometimes we got a lift in the back of the Post Van, as he had to empty the post box in the wall at the Plume of Feathers. Other children came walking down quarry road from across the common and poles were erected to prevent planes from landing. We joined Welland Brownies – first task was to build your own hat. This was held in the Parish Room which was a school room for evacuees from Birmingham. Mother joined the WVS and looked after evacuated infants. I remember her mentioning ringwork and impetigo. The evacuees had their own teachers with them. In the village school we had three rooms. One for infants 5-6 years, one for juniors 7-10 years and one for seniors 11-14 years. There were just four children my age, Thelma, me and 2 boys. It was hard work for teachers with such an age range – 2 ladies and a headmaster. We enjoyed helping on the farms. We helped hay making, corn stoking. All work was done by hand or horse drawn appliances. We used to play up on the common sometimes by Hunters Cottage (now Fairfield) and go to the little bridge across the brook and turn somersaults on the hand rail. We roamed everywhere, climbed trees, picked daffodils. It was an idyllic care-free childhood, but we could hear the drone of Lancaster bombers at night. We returned to Twickenham because my sister passed her 11+ just in time for the doodlebugs and V2’s, but visited Penbode until my grandparents died in about 1950/51, but my aunt (Tessa Chatterton) continued to live there until she became crippled with arthritis and had to sell up and come to live with my mother. Doras grandmother and mother both played the piano which Dora enjoyed listening to when in bed in the room above. She still has the piano. In the large bedroom there were two beds with feather mattresses and bolsters. At the back of the garden there was a gate near the garage so they could get to the back ditch to clear it.


The present owners have the Deeds going back to 1969. Penbode was sold in that year by Tessa Chatterton, a spinster, (who moved to Weston super Mare) to Ronald Kenneth James Leach for £4850, she providing a mortgage of £2500. Tessa worked in the office at the garage in Welland and need help with financial and domestic matters, so she had two live in ladies. She had osteo and then rheumatoid arthritis and moved to live with her Dora’s mother.


Extensive alterations were carried out in 1979, including the erection of a double garage, replacement porch and additional dormer windows. Mr Leach died in 1981 and it passed to his widow Joan Phyllis Leach.

In 1987 Mrs Leach sold the property to Mrs Rhys William Matthews and his wife Jacqueline Mary Matthews for £84,000


Tony and Dawn Beech bought Penbode in 1993 for £128,000. This included the fields to the rear above the curved hatched black line on the plan. This additional land, formerly the property of Ronald Bunn of Hunters Hall, and Walter and Fred Bunn before him (sold to Ron in 1949) was purchased in by the Matthews 1990 for £12,000.


Dawn and Tony purchased the additional land below the curved hatched black line from Ron Bunn in 2005, to keep horses and llamas. (In the 1939 Tithe Map, these were part of one large field known as Davis’s Field). Two hundred native British trees were planted in the field nearest Gloucester Road in 2006.


In 2007, the single story garage was demolished and a new two story structure added on comprising a ground floor garage, with a bathroom and bedroom above. The single story bathroom on the ground floor in the left of the property was turned into a two stories – a toilet/cloakroom downstairs and an en suite bathroom upstairs.


Solar panels were fitted in 2011.