Newsletter – January 2011

The Charlton Arms Hotel

We recently researched the history of the Charlton Arms Hotel on Ludford Bridge in Ludlow and found no end of interesting stories. Originally a thatched ale house called the Red Lion with ‘three very small rooms on the ground floor and a good cellar’, the property was extended by the Charlton family after whom the hotel was later named. Plans to widen Ludford Bridge in 1809 necessitated demolishing the front bar and kitchen and were the cause of a lawsuit issued by Edmund Charlton against the Ludlow Corporation. One version of the plans revealed a proposal to build a new bridge that would have demolished many of the houses in Lower Broad Street. In the late 19th century a major sale was held at the hotel when it changed hands. The 14 lots in the Smoke Room included a coloured engraving of The Colonel, a picture entitled The Belle of the Hunt, a ‘capital 8-day time piece’, a pair of spill vases, and a dozen egg cups. Later, clock golf was set up on the lawn, now the car park, and a tearoom offered guests pleasant views over the river Teme. Bed and breakfast in the 1930s cost 8s 6d a night, with bath and garage an extra shilling each.

The Charlton Arms’ history panel that we produced is on display in the front hall of the hotel.

Your licence please

If you had been strolling round Ludlow in 1834 you may have encountered the Clerk of the Peace or one of his minions checking that certain institutions about the town had the necessary licence for their operation. Apart from keeping an eye on local businesses, entertainments and the like, the Clerk was entitled to certain allowances on licences that he issued including those for every theatre and madhouse (£1 1s each) and this would no doubt have greatly encouraged him to be diligent in his duties. The Clerk also received an allowance for many aspects of his work such as attending court (13s 4d), calling and swearing a jury (4s), registering a printing press (5s), hearing insolvent debtors (5s), filing a bastardy certificate (1s), and registering the accounts of a turnpike road trust (6s 8d). Sounds like the ideal post for a ‘jobsworth’.

Secret mission

We have recently finished researching the history of a fabulous Gloucestershire manor house that was a surprise Christmas present for its lucky owner. What emerged as the research progressed back through the centuries was that the house had been owned by no fewer than ten generations of the same family over a period of almost three hundred years. By consulting many different sources, we were able to cover four and a half centuries of the property’s history. We also came across a gentleman named Posthumous Bell who may have been so named if he was born after his father had died. Even so, a lifetime of being reminded of such circumstances every time your name is mentioned seems unnecessarily unkind.

Photo opportunity

We recently commissioned Church Stretton photographer Julie Mellors to take some product photographs for our website and were delighted with the results. You can see the results on our website and more of Julie’s work on her blog.

Blogging on

On our blog these last few months we’ve discussed moving entire villages, field names, house log books, umbrella-dryers, and how I was almost locked in Preston record office car park.

From the archives – ‘Frost in July’

If you think we’ve had cold weather lately, a letter written by Humphrey Sandford of Shrewsbury to his son in December 1650 noting the weather for that year may put things in perspective:

‘January: Hard frost.

February: Moist weather with rain.

March: Winds and storms with rain.

April: Fair sunshine weather.

May: A little frost and fair sunshine weather with wind.

June: Fair bright sunshine days, a little frost.

July: A hard frost dark and cloudy all the day.

August: A hard hoar frost.

Sept: Snow and frost.

October: Hard frost and snow.

November: Hard frost and snow lying on the ground.

December: Frost and some snow.’

Wishing you a happy and successful 2011.

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