Blog - Building Beginnings

Now we are ten (again)

BB 10 cake 1We celebrated our tenth anniversary with a special lunch for business associates and networking friends. I tried my hand at icing our logo on the birthday cakes – perhaps one could say it was ‘representative’. But the cake was good!

Here are some more of our favourite stories discovered during our decade of house history research:

The Charlton Arms in Ludlow was the subject of a court case in the early 19th century when plans to widen Ludford Bridge required the demolition of the kitchen, bar and staircase. Although the work was carried out at Edmund Lechmere Charlton’s expense, the Ludlow Corporation refused to reimburse him because the original resolution had not been properly sealed. In 1891 the hotel advertised billiards, a bowling alley, and free fishing. Later, clock golf was set out on lawns behind the Hotel, and the stables were converted into a tea room and dance hall with a verandah overlooking the River Teme.

From property deeds, taxation, parish, manorial and other records emerged the extraordinary story of the descent of a Gloucestershire manor house through ten generations of the same family covering three centuries, from yeoman farmer John Woodward to his 8 x great-grandson John Pauncefoot Hawkins.

An intriguing description of the inhabitants of a Worcestershire village in 1829 written by the departing rector’s wife revealed those who were ‘respectable’, ‘hard-working’ and ‘industrious’ – and some who were not.

Presenting architectural historian Sue O'Dowd with a celebratory bouquet

Presenting architectural historian Sue O’Dowd with a celebratory bouquet


William Smith who lived in a former Shropshire shop and post office was the inventor and proprietor of the ‘invincible Ploughman’s Drops’, and following his death, there was a year-long argument aired in the Salopian Journal between his son-in-law and nephew over who had been left the recipe and was entitled to sell it.

Many aspects of the family who owed a Shropshire mansion were revealed in ‘scurrilous letters’ written by a serving church minister in his later years for which he was successfully sued. We also discovered a case in Chancery concerning the alleged misappropriation of the rents and profits of the estate during the minority of its inheritor.

We found the 1820 plans for rebuilding a Shropshire rectory. The rector was one of the parties in a local society established in 1819 to try to combat local crime. When the alarm was raised, each person had to note the description of the offender’s horse and give chase along agreed routes. Anyone who caught the offender was to convey them to the parish constable or JP.

A Herefordshire house was home to the same family for a century from 1819. Several accidents befell one of them including losing two fingers in a threshing machine and two lightning strikes on his house, one of which in 1831 set fire to the bed curtains.

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