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The Woodhouse Farm
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History of The Woodhouse Farm

The Woodhouse is an early C15th Grade II star hall house, mentioned in the National Commission for Historic Monuments, referred to in Nikolaus Pevsner’s Buildings of England and captured on the Images of England website. One of the oldest domestic buildings in the Ledbury area, it has been dendro-dated to the 1430s and is built on the site of an ancient settlement as the wonderful flint thumb-scraper which was found here testifies. The present house probably belonged to a wealthy yeoman farmer. It has been restored over several years by the owners, using traditional techniques and materials - wattle and daub, lime plaster, limewashes, casein paints and leaded windows using hand-made glass. The restoration was featured on Radio 4’s Open Country and in a national newspaper under the title Living a Restoration Drama and the house has been open on occasion for guided tours. The garden has seen parties with medieval minstrels and archery even in recent times!

The principal part of the house is the great hall. Originally open to the rafters, it would have had a hearth in the middle of the floor. During our restoration work we found evidence for the louvre in the roof through which smoke exited. The beams in the roof area remain blackened by the soot of centuries. There are holes in the timber at one end of the great hall which suggest the presence of a dais, where the owner would have sat whilst eating or conducting business. The presence of small burnt areas of timber in the shape of a candle flame show where sconces were placed for light.

Beyond the hearth was a passageway going from one side of the house to the other, with a door at either end. This was called the screens passage as a moveable screen could be placed across it to protect the great hall from the worst of the draughts. Part of the passage is made up of a spere truss; the speres are long upright timbers which reach into the roof above. On one side of the passage can be seen three door heads presumably for the pantry (for food), buttery (for butts of liquids) and the third possibly leading to a trap door to allow access to a storage area above.

Across the end of the great hall at the other end is a wing which incorporated the solar upstairs (private room for the owner) and storage downstairs.

The roof structure is particularly interesting as it is most unusual. It has what have been described as shouldered crucks as they are not the usual type but start higher up. There are three trusses which include braces which form quatrefoils and wind braces which support the purlins. There are one or two interesting mouldings and the openings for medieval windows which had been lost in earlier building work on the house.

Mention can be found of The Woodhouse in local records going back several hundred years although one has to be careful not to confuse the house with at least three others of the same name nearby. The owners owed tithes to the church in Ledbury during the C16th but over time the building must have fallen into disrepair. From architectural evidence it seems possible that one wall may have collapsed and by the end of the C18th, the house was inhabited by tenants. Now belonging to a large estate, it was home to the same family throughout the C19th. They may have bought it towards the end of the period. The farm grew the crop for which this area was famous - hops - though there were other crops too, as field names attest, for example pears. One field is called Perry Croft. Still being farmed in the middle of the twentieth century, hundreds of hop pickers lived in its hop barracks over the Summer and drank the water from its well.

Although agriculture is no longer the business of The Woodhouse Farm, we remain surrounded by farmland in a beautiful rural area.

COTTAGES | AVAILABILITY | CONTACT
THE WOODHOUSE FARM, LEDBURY — 01531 640030 (M: 07831 333360) — SUE@THEWOODHOUSEFARM.CO.UK

   

Luxury weekend getaways and self catering holiday cottages in english country cottages for romantic getaways or weekend breaks in Ledbury, Herefordshire accommodation close to the Cotswolds.

The Woodhouse Farm Cottages - luxury weekend getaways in english country cottages.

The english country cottages and grounds occupy one of Herefordshire's most charming spots for self catering weekend getaways in holiday cottages. The lovely countryside surrounding the picturesque and ancient market town of Ledbury is the perfect place from which to explore the three counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire and is close to the Cotswolds. This is the rural landscape which inspired poets from Langland to Masefield, and composers from Parry to Elgar. On weekend getaways come to walk the Malvern Hills, cycle the byways or canoe on the River Wye; visit the Marcher Castles, ancient cathedrals and churches, gardens, literary or music festivals. The Cotswolds is a short drive away.

The Woodhouse Farm english country cottages lie at the heart of 15 acres of land. Once a hop farm, its buildings are being converted and decorated in a way that reflects the individuality of each into self catering holiday cottages. The main cottage (The Woodhouse) is a 15th century hall house (listed grade II star) partially encircled by a moat.

Barn Croft is full of character and ideal for self catering weekend getaways - originally a calf house, adjoining a stone stable with loft above. Self catering accommodation consists of a large open plan kitchen, dining area and sitting room with woodburner and south facing views over the garden, moat and farmland. The large principal bedroom and bathroom are upstairs in the stone barn. Each downstairs bedroom has an en-suite shower.

Barn Croft has its own private terrace and garden ideal for romantic getaways, overlooking the carp-filled moat (parents of young children please note) and access to shared grounds.