And The Surrounding District

The Plough is a smallholding of about six acres on Castlemorton Common situated at Eight Oaks, a typical settlement of squatter development dating from late 17th century.  If a person could build a house overnight, construct a chimney, boil a pot on the fire and enclose an area of ground, without being molested, it became their own by established custom.

From the early 1700s a cottage inhabited by the Lewis family stood on the site of what is currently known as The Plough.  By 1752 Richard Bullock of Castlemorton had acquired the cottage with three acres of land and an orchard from Michael Hunt, also Hill Patch formerly belonging to Peter Dee, and a "toft or piece of ground where a cottage or tenement and barn formerly stood in which Mary Hubert and Andrew her son did dwell", purchased from Thomas Birchley.  After Richard Bullock's death in 1795 his son William inherited this estate.

A 1798 mortgage confirms that the property now owned by William Bullock, although occupied by William Warrender, consisted of a house and garden with arable of 1½ acres, a close of 1½ acres, a one acre orchard, Hill Patch of 1½ acres and a toft of one acre, making a total of approximately six and a half acres.  The property continued to be mortgaged and a series of early 19th century documents show that the smallholding was transferred to William's brother Thomas, then to John Bullock a malter from Stafford.

John Bullock took out a Further Charge in 1832, added some "new erections", and at some time during his occupation established a beer house.  The 1839 Tithe Map of Castlemorton records John Bullock as the owner and occupier of the house, outbuildings and garden with orchards extending to 6 acres 1 rod 1 perch.  Also recorded were William Bullock and Richard, son of Thomas Bullock residing at other properties on the common, and the Dean and Chapter of Westminster as Lords of the Manor.

In 1855 John Bullock was trading as a poulterer, and under the terms of his mortgage was instructed to insure his premises "in case of loss by fire".  His loan was repaid in 1865 when he sold the property for £640 to Francis Davis, a farmer and dealer from Castlemorton.  Concern of fire arose again in 1879 when the house, now the 'Plough Inn' was to be "well and sufficiently insured for loss or damage by fire".

With debts amounting to over £700 Francis Davis was saved by the Trustees of the Severns Pride Lodge of Oddfellows, a Friendly Society established in 1875 at Upton-on-Severn.  Unfortunately by 1886 Davis, unable to settle his financial affairs, was served with an Order for Absolute Foreclosure by the High Court.  The Trustees of the Severns Pride Lodge were left in possession of the Plough Inn with William Hooper as tenant "beer retailer".

In 1897 the Trustees sold "All that messuage tenement or Beerhouse known as The Plough Inn …. with the outbuildings, garden, orchard and pieces or parcels of land" to Arnold Perrett & Co. Ltd. for £800.  This Gloucestershire brewery was later taken over by a Cheltenham company in 1924 when the Plough Inn was sold to George and Susannah Prosser.

George was a former blacksmith married to Susannah a music teacher.  They moved to the Malvern area because of George's health and made the Plough Inn their home.  They continued to run the beer house until around 1927 when the inn was de-licensed.  At this date, it was valued at £1,200 and renamed 'Eight Oakes', a name that only lasted a short time.  In 1932 the property was described as the 'Plough' a smallholding at Castlemorton owned by George and Susannah Prosser, the ancestors of the present owners.

© Heather Hurley, 1997

From the Newspaper Archives

Upton-upon-Severn. Petty Sessions. Friday. Before Mr H. Willan. Police Sergeant Merryfield charged George Hart and Allen Bullock with being drunk and disorderly on licensed premises, at Castlemorton, on the 14th inst. — Charles Hawker, of Castlemorton, labourer, gave evidence in support of the complaint.— Fined 2s. Cd.  each and costs.

Francis Davis, beerhouse-keeper of Castlemorton, was charged by Sergeant Merryfield with allowing gaming in his house, on 14th inst. The only witness was Charles Hawker, who gave his evidence very unwillingly. He said he saw some men in the kitchen tossing up penny pieces, but what was their reason for doing so he did not know. The Bench did not consider the evidence sufficient and dismissed the case.

25 May 1875, Worcester Journal

BANKRUPTCY AT CASTLEMORTON. The public examination of William Hall, of the Plough Inn, Castlemorton, by the Official Receiver (Mr. C. M. Downes), took place on Tuesday, at the Guildhall, before Mr A. S. Allen (Registrar). Debtor returned his gross liabilities at £175:19:6d. There were no assets. Debtor began business four or five years ago at the Anchor Inn, Welland, previously to which he was a journeyman plumber at Malvern. He commenced business with money borrowed from the Malvern Wells Brewery, and from his father. Two years after going to the Anchor, debtor compounded with his creditors, paying them 5s. in the £. The amount of the composition was £40 and the expenses of distributing it were £12. Debtor's father advanced the money to pay the composition. About a month before the present bankruptcy debtor executed a bill of sale in favour of his father for £78. This included the money advanced to pay the creditors and what was lent the debtor when he first went into business at the Anchor Inn. The examination was closed.

Worcester Journal

28 August 1886

In 1910, occupied by Alfred Poole – Parish Council elections.

The Plough Inn