Whitehouse Farm is on Wick Lane, in a part of Stinchcombe that used to be known as Southend. The farm opposite is still called Southend Farm. I’m grateful to the current occupant, my friend Ruth Sach, for sharing her recollections, documents and photograph albums and for showing me the various historic features.
The sketch above is late-Victorian, judging by the style of the ladies’ hats. Trudy Chinn spotted it on eBay a few years ago and Adrian Sach kindly bought it for his mother. Below is a photo of Ruth’s late husband Roger repairing the trellis porch, very little changed since the sketch.
The rest of this article is divided into two parts: the first about the house itself and the second about the occupants. It has been an interesting house to research because it turns out to be considerably older than its listing suggests. Eleven different families that have lived in it over the centuries have been identified. Prior to the 19th century the names of the tenants are not recorded, but there is evidence for the transfer of ownership between several families. Early on in Whitehouse Farm’s history there is a likely connection with a very famous local family.
Whitehouse Farm is a Grade II listed building. The listing is given in full below. As with some other houses in Stinchcombe, the date estimate has turned out to be conservative.
Historic England Listing
Dwelling, formerly farmhouse. C17. Rendered stonework, plus small upper section of walls on both main facades rendered lath, concrete tile roof. L-plan, wing to back left, gable stacks and one stack off-centre, left, and to left of door at former cross passage.
Two storeys and attic, 4-windowed, 3-light casements at ground floor, 2-light casements first floor, plus three small, shuttered openings immediately under eaves. At back, similar fenestration, but includes 2-light with mullion at first floor.
Interior: seven bay upper crock roof, heavy chamfered beams, major fire opening plus bacon-curing shaft, left of entrance; in attic thin lath and plaster wall, with shuttered openings, set to outer face of main wall.
Linda J. Hall’s assessment
We are fortunate to have a more thorough assessment by Linda J. Hall, an authority on period houses and the author of several books. Linda approached Ruth and Roger Sach a couple of years after they moved in. Unfortunately this was too late to give Whitehouse Farm more than a brief mention in her book “The Rural Houses of North Avon & South Gloucestershire 1400 – 1720”, published in 1983. It remains an excellent reference for anyone interested in vernacular architecture. Whitehouse Farm appears on p13 in a table listing possible longhouses.
The assessment report that Hall gave to the Sachs goes into much more detail about the likely age and evolution of the house. The main drawing and a summary of her observations are given below.
Origins as a medieval open-hall house?
Linda believed that the thick, irregular walls of the north end of the house suggest a much earlier origin than the 17th century – possibly a medieval open-hall house built in the 15th or 16th century. It would have been single storey, open to the roof and heated by an open hearth in the middle of the floor.
At some stage a massive brick buttress was added to support the north wall. In spite of this, extensive repairs became necessary in 2019. The builders observed that there had been a window at one time and that there were remnants of a staircase.
In Linda’s opinion, the original dwelling was probably what is known as a longhouse, with a byre for farm animals at the south end. Longhouses were common in south-west England. The byre would have been separated from the hall by a through passage. Usually the byre was built downhill of the hall so that animal effluent could drain away, which fits in with the north to south slope at Whitehouse Farm. At the other end of the hall, perhaps separated only by a low partition, would be an inner room or parlour. A web article about longhouses on Dartmoor explains their evolution and includes helpful diagrams and photographs. I love the observation that a cow gives out roughly the same amount of heat as a 1KW electric fire!
Post-medieval home improvements
As time went on people aspired to a less smokey environment, more distance between themselves and their animals and greater privacy. Linda’s interpretation is that the first improvement at Whitehouse Farm was the addition of a fireplace and chimney stack to the hall. She says that “the presence of the lintol at the west side of the stack suggests that the stack was almost certainly inserted into the original cross-passage”. A lintol (more usual spelling lintel) is a horizontal beam placed over an opening to support the load from the structure above it. The next addition, around 1600, would have been an upper room above the parlour.
When Ruth and Roger moved in the fireplace had been covered up with a built-in cupboard. Roger restored the fireplace and exposed the bricked up bread oven on the righthand side.
By the later 17th century the byre would have been rebuilt as a kitchen and the animals moved to an outbuilding. During restoration work it became clear that the fireplace and flue in the kitchen were constructed in brickwork let into the earlier stonework. This probably happened the 18th century. Other features at Whitehouse Farm such as the beams and the structure of the floor and roof are consistent with that date.
Linda observed that the timber framing of the upper floors is unusual in a village where most houses were built in stone. She accounted for this anomaly by the house’s proximity to an area i.e. Berkeley Vale where timber frame building predominates.
Clues to the farm produce
The attics have vents built into them suggesting that they were used as cheese lofts. These are still in existence, as shown in the interior and exterior photos below.
Stinchcombe had quite a name for cheese in the 18th century. In his “A New History of Gloucestershire” published in 1779, Samuel Rudder notes that the parish “consists chiefly of fine pasture, with some good arable, and produces excellent cheese”.
At the west side of the fireplace there is a bacon curing chamber, which has a separate flue within the main chimney stack. The bread oven was inserted into the curing chamber later and also has its own flue. Roger produced sketches of the fireplace and flues while he was carrying out repairs.
The brick wing at the rear of the house was built as a granary. It is shown on the 1840 post-enclosure map and was probably fairly new at that time. Farm buildings are coloured in grey to distinguish them from the houses shown in red. As the use of the land changed over the years, the granary became a hayloft. Eventually it did service as Ruth’s sewing room and as additional accommodation for guests.
The well in the back garden is shown on the 1903 edition of the 25” OS map and may be older than that. It is still used occasionally to provide water for the garden.
Current occupant Ruth Sach and her late husband, Roger, bought the house at auction in 1979. According to Ruth it was the most adventurous thing they ever did. They moved in with their children, Mel and Adrian, who were 12 and 10 at the time.
The original purchase included the adjoining hayloft, which became Ruth’s workroom for her upholstery business. The other outbuildings, which had been the dairy and pig stye, were bought from Mrs Marshall (see below) in 1986. These became Roger’s workshop – as well as working full-time at Berkeley Laboratories, he was a skilled craftsman. The fitted kitchen was completely built by him, starting with the delivery of a tree! He also built much of the furniture and the summerhouse.
The Coxes (late 1970s)
The previous occupants, Patricia and Martyn Cox, had been in residence for only about 18 months. Ruth doesn’t know much more about them.
The Williamses (late 1950s to mid-1970s)
Before the Coxes, two ladies were living at Whitehouse Farm. One of them was Ruth Williams, the younger daughter of Arthur and Mary Williams, who were the last people to actually farm there. Ruth appears on an early to mid-1950s photo of the pupils and teachers of Stinchcombe School – maybe someone in the village remembers her? She had a sister about 8 years older called Margaret. Margaret’s married name was Marshall and she lived at Hunt’s Court in North Nibley.
Arthur, who was born at Monmouth in 1903, had farmed at Standle Farm until the late 1950s. Farms were closely monitored during WWII to help maximise production. The National Archives at Kew have a survey carried out at Standle Farm in 1942. The farm management there was assessed as ‘fair’ due to Arthur’s ill health and shortage of capital.
We don’t know exactly when Arthur took over Whitehouse House Farm. He died in 1972, a year after his wife.
The Gazards (1921-1948)
Thomas Gazard came to Whitehouse Farm from Upper Knapp Farm in Cam around 1921. The Prevost Estate had auctioned off Whitehouse Farm, along with nearby Fortune Farm. Mr Gazard was a recent widower with two young daughters, Caroline and Elizabeth. While living at Whitehouse Farm he married a lady called Margaret and had a third daughter, Mary.
In the 1939 Register, Thomas is listed as a dairy farmer and his eldest daughter Caroline is a farming assistant. There was also a lodger called Jack Bailey who worked as a wood machinist. Caroline was an Air Raid Precautions (ARP) First Aider in WWII. The Western Daily Press of 20th February 1939 reports her success in the Stinchcombe first aid examination, along with eight others.
The wartime survey in the National Archives reveals that Thomas Gazard owned the farm himself and was a full-time farmer. The land is assessed as 10% good and 90% fair, with no infestations or derelict fields. There is piped water to the farmhouse and farm buildings and mains electricity. Thomas is given the middle grade of ‘B’ for farm management. He is marked down due to ‘old age’ – he would have been in his mid-sixties.
Thomas died in 1948 and his widow moved to live with her married daughter in Dursley. Caroline never married and died in her mid-forties. She is buried with her father at St Cyr’s in a grave that has become rather neglected.
The Gloucester Citizen, amongst other newspapers, announced the sale of the farm:
Valuable Freehold Property known as Whitehouse Farm with attractive house, excellent buildings and about 40a 0r 30p of wonderfully good Tithe-free pastureland in seven enclosures.
Electric light, water laid on, etc.
Auction at Prince of Wales Hotel 8th December 1948
J. Pearce Pope & Sons
The livestock and equipment were auctioned off separately 2 days later. The sale included:
- 11 dairy and store cattle
- 2 cart geldings
- 40 head of young poultry
- A 1942 Fordson tractor
The Woodwards (about 1881 – 1921)
It is possible that there was a Woodward at Whitehouse Farm from at least 1881. The census of that year does not mention the farm by name but George Woodward, an elderly farmer, is listed. He was living with his son Henry and daughter, Sarah. George died in 1882 and Henry was certainly at Whitehouse Farm by 1891. The Census of that year lists him, his wife, Julia, and a 16 year old son, Charles, who assists him on the farm. There is also a live-in servant girl, Charlotte Fryer.
This is possibly not the first time that Henry has lived at Whitehouse Farm. There is a cowman of the same name and about the right age working for the previous owners in 1861.
By 1911 Henry and Julia had taken in an elderly cousin, Selina Woodward. Alice Maud Hembrey, a companion/help and a servant May Ann Wyatt also lived at the farm. There are handsome granite memorials at St Cyr’s, distinctive amongst the limestone and sandstone, to Selina and to Julia and Henry. Henry carried on at Whitehouse Farm until his death in 1921.
The Allens (1870s)
In the 1871 Census, Whitehouse Farm was occupied by James Allen (agricultural labourer) and Ann Allen (laundress) both in their early forties. Nothing more is known about them.
The Shatfords (1860s)
It seems likely that Richard and Ann Shatford lived at Whitehouse Farm at the time of the 1861 Census. Richard is described as a farmer of 170 acres, employing 5 labourers and 2 boys. His household is listed immediately after that of his mother, Hannah Shatford. We know from the 1839 Tithe Apportionments that she occupied Southend Farm the other side of Wick Lane.
Ann Shatford’s maiden name was Cox and the two families were closely linked. Ann’s brother, John, married one of her husband’s sisters.
The Coxes (1830s – 1850s?)
Although Whitehouse Farm is not clearly identified in the 1851 Census, we can hazard a guess that John Cox, soon to marry Hannah Shatford junior, is the occupier. His widowed mother, Sarah, was the previous occupant of Whitehouse Farm. She had died in late 1850 and her will is available. Her daughter Ann Shatford, who we met above, inherited the best silver teaspoons and all the blue and white china.
Sarah Cox had lived at Whitehouse Farm for about 20 years. In the 1841 census, she was a 75-year-old widow, living with son John, a grandchild and two 15 year old servants. The 1839 Tithe Apportionments show that she was then renting the house, buildings, yard and garden from George Prevost. Land tax records for 1831 and 1832 show her renting a farm and land, probably Whitehouse Farm, from Henry Hicks Esq.
An aside on Henry Hicks
In his time, Henry Hicks had been a wealthy man, owning three mills in Eastington and one in Stonehouse. His property in Stinchcombe possibly came through his wife, whose mother was a Purnell. By the 1830s his business was in trouble and eventually failed in 1835. A year later Henry, his wife and two sons involved in the business were all dead and the estate had been split up. It would seem logical that George Prevost acquired Whitehouse Farm around that time, but I have not seen conclusive evidence.
John Gainer (1827-1830?)
Information from Ava Walker, based on her father’s family history notes, and Land Tax records suggest Henry Hicks rented Whitehouse Farm and its land to John Gainer from 1827 to 1830. John Gainer’s wife was Tabitha Cox so there may be some link with the Coxes who were there later.
Pre-1827: Mr Townsend’s Title Deeds
The trail could easily have gone cold at this stage but for a document in Gloucestershire Archives. It is called “Abstract of Mr Townsend’s Title Deeds”. The Mr Townsend in question was William Townsend (1700 -1754). He drew up a list and description of all his title deeds for Stinchcombe and neighbouring parishes.
Whitehouse Farm before it was white or had a name?
The first mention of somewhere that sounds like Whitehouse Farm in Mr Townsend’s little book is a description of a lease and release dated 1697. It involved three parties:
- Thomas Tyndale and his only daughter Elizabeth
- Onesiphorus Tyndale and Robert Theyer
- Thomas Theyer of Rodborow and Robert Theyer the Younger
Elizabeth Tyndale is marrying Robert Theyer the Younger from Brockworth, near Gloucester.
The property I believe to be Whitehouse Farm is described thus:
“one messuage or tenement at a place called Southend one orchard and garden adjoining thereto one close of meadow or pasture ground called Turners Hay and also one other close called Berryfield and also one other close called New Leaze one other close one other close called Berryfields Mead one other close called Berryfields Mead Splott(?) one other close called Deep Mead also Hooksmead one other close called the ?(illegible) one other ground called Cooks Mead and also one meadow called the Great Lye one other close called the Croft all which closes are lying at a place called Southend”.
A messuage is a plot of land for a dwelling house and things associated with the occupants’ lifestyle there.
Evidence from the map
The orchard and several of the fields named are shown close to Whitehouse Farm in a map from 1800. This is the earliest we have for this part of Stinchcombe. The original is held in Gloucestershire Archives, but I have redrawn part of it below.
A further mention in Mr Townsend’s book
The messuage at Southend is mentioned again in 1721. This time the deed described is a lease from Robert Theyer (Robert Theyer the younger of 1697) and his daughter Elizabeth to Charles Hyett. Robert’s mother was a Hyett so this is presumably a relative. Mr Townsend had the deeds only because he married Elizabeth Theyer.
The line of succession
The Townsends lived in Steanbridge, Painswick and presumably rented out Whitehouse Farm and their other property in Stinchcombe. William Townsend’s will mentions that his wife has settled the Stinchcombe properties on his three younger sons, William, Theyer and John. William Townsend junior had a son called Henry Tyndale Townsend. An indenture dated 1762 and relating to the Parish Lands in Stinchcombe confirms that some pieces of land near Whitehouse Farm passed from Robert Thayer to William Townsend to Henry Tyndale Townsend. It is probable that Whitehouse Farm followed the same line of succession.
Exploring the Tyndale connection
The 1697 lease and release implies that Whitehouse Farm was owned by the Tyndale family before the Theyers. Luckily for me, they are one of the most researched families in Gloucestershire because of William Tyndale (c.1491 – 1536), the Protestant reformer, translator of the Bible and martyr. There is already an article about him on this website though I’m not sure who wrote it.
The Tyndale monument above North Nibley was erected some three centuries after William Tyndale’s death. Not many people know that it could easily have ended up on Stinchcombe Hill – see Trudy Chinn’s new article.
D J P Mortimer’s Family Tree
D J P Mortimer’s excellent family tree on Ancestry.com includes two early Tyndales associated with Southend; William Tyndale (1594 – 1663) and Richard Tyndal(e) (1513 – 1573). The former actually refers to himself as William Tyndale of Southend in his will. He was the fifth son of Richard Tyndale who lived at Melksham Court. One of William’s brothers was Matthew Tyndale whose charitable bequest still continues as part of the Stinchcombe United Charities.
J H Cooke’s Paper of 1877
Let’s start by explaining who J H Cooke was. His full name was James Herbert Cooke and and he lived in Berkeley, working as the land agent of Lord Fitzhardinge. This would be Francis Berkeley, the 2nd Baron Fitzhardinge.
In 1877, Cooke had a learned paper published in the Transactions of the Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society. The letters FSA appear after Cooke’s name showing that he was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. The title of the paper is “On the Tyndales in Gloucestershire”. Read on to find out how useful it has proved.
Manorial Court Rolls
In those days scholarly gentlemen knew their Latin, so Cooke could translate the oldest manorial court rolls for Stinchcombe. Those produced in the 15th and 16th centuries are held at the National Archives in Kew rather than in the Gloucestershire Archives. This is for complicated reasons relating to the misdemeanours of a particular Lord of the Manor. Much of what follows must have come from those ancient rolls of parchment.
Arrival of the Huchyns
Two distinct households going by the surname Huchyns arrived in Stinchcombe around 1478. Later both households used the name Tyndale, almost certainly their real surname.
Richard Huchyns/Tyndale started off renting a modest messuage and a small amount of land. In 1485, he inherited an estate at Hurst (Slimbridge). His son, John, inherited his father’s lands and married a lady called Alice. (After his death she married again and was closely connected with the development of the woollen industry in the area.) Alice and John’s son was called Richard Tyndale junior in contemporary documents. This was to distinguish him from the now better known Richard Tyndale living at Melksham Court.
Richard Tyndale Junior
This is the same man referred to in the D J P Mortimer family tree as Richard Tyndal of Southend. Perhaps profiting from his mother’s involvement in the woollen industry, Richard Tyndale junior began buying more land in Stinchcombe from about 1547. By the time he died in 1573, he owned outright a messuage and 69 acres of land purchased from Lord Wentworth. The messuage seems to be one in which he had earlier bought a £20 share from one Robert Dorney.
The famous William Tyndale would have been at university when Richard Tyndale junior was born. It is not inconceivable that he came into contact with his Melksham Court relatives after his ordination in 1515. There is strong evidence that he was based about 13 miles away at Little Sodbury Manor in the early 1520s and possibly at Frampton on Severn and Breadstone before that. Richard was still a boy when William moved abroad, but as he grew to adulthood he was presumably aware of the career and tragic fate of his distant relative.
Transfer to the Melksham Court Tyndales
Richard’s daughters, Katherine and Alice, married brothers Robert and Thomas Ashton. The two couples eventually inherited his estate. They did not live locally and sold the estate to their distant relation, Richard Tyndale of Melksham Court. He was the father of the man referred to in D J P Mortimer’s family tree and in his own will as William Tyndale of Southend.
What has all this got to do with Whitehouse Farm?
There is a very strong possibility that Richard Tyndale junior’s Southend messuage was the original open hall that became Whitehouse Farm. My reasons for thinking this are:
- His dates (1513 – 1573) would tie in with Linda Hall’s estimate for age of the oldest part of the building;
- There are no other houses that old in the Southend part of Stinchcombe; and
- Cooke, a local land agent and a painstaking antiquarian, thought that once the Southend Tyndales became more prosperous they probably lived in “an old half-timber house at the south end of the village now in two tenaments but evidently one residence originally”.
Under its white rendering Whitehouse Farm is indeed half-timbered, as noted by Linda Hall in her assessment. It may well have been split into two dwellings when Cooke was writing in the 1870s, between the tenancies of the Shatfords and the Woodwards. The 1871 census records a labourer and his laundress wife living there, but it is unlikely that such humble people would occupy the whole building.
Quod erat demonstrandum, as J H Cooke might have said!
Well, perhaps not 100% proven, but I hope you’ll agree that it is a convincing arguament.