King’s Cup Pilot, Alan Butler, Landed at Farncombe Estate in his de Havilland Aeroplane
During the afternoon of Sunday 10th September 1922, pilot, Alan Samuel Butler, flew from the de Havilland aerodrome in London to Broadway, landing his de Havilland bi-plane in the grounds of Farncombe Estate where he spent the weekend.
Butler (1898-1897) was the first private aeroplane owner. In 1921, Butler asked Geoffrey de Havilland to build him an aircraft to his own specifications and the first DH37 was built, which Butler named ‘Sylvia’ after his sister. Butler was one of 13 pilots to finish in the first King’s Cup Race held on 8th and 9th September 1922. The 810 mile race from Croydon to Glasgow, and back again after an overnight stop, was established by King George V as an incentive to the development of aircraft and engine design.
Butler was so impressed with the de Haviland company that he helped the company financially with their venture into aircraft manufacture and was appointed Chairman in 1923, a role he held until 1950.
On Saturday 3rd May 1952, Snowshill Manor near Broadway, which had been gifted to the National Trust by owner Charles Paget Wade1 in December 1951, was opened to the public by Professor E.A. Richardson RA.
Wade, an architect and owner of sugar plantations in the British West Indies, purchased Snowshill Manor, an adjacent cottage and 14 acres of land, in June 19162 when it was put up for auction. For generations it had been a farmhouse, and Wade spent much money restoring the house parts of which date back to the 15th century. The major part of the house is Tudor and the front door dates back to 1700. The farmyard was remodelled into an Arts and Crafts garden with the help of M.H. Baillie Scott (1865-1945).
Wade filled the manor house from floor to ceiling with antiques, curios, models and works of art. His eclectic collection attracted a number of visitors including J.B. Priestly, Virginia Woolf and Graham Greene. When Queen Mary visited it is reported that she said that the finest thing in the collection was Mr Wade himself.
Charles Paget Wade (1883-1956) was an English architect, artist and poet. He married Mary Graham (1902-1999) in 1946 and died suddenly on 28 June 1956 in hospital at Evesham.
The auction comprising of 8 lots, was held during the afternoon of 21 June 1916 in the Lifford Memorial Hall. The auctioneers were G.H. Bayley and Sons (Cheltenham and Broadway). Wade was serving with the Royal Engineers in France at the time and saw the auction advertised in Country Life Magazine. Lot 1, the house, farm buildings, stables and 213 acres of land sold for the sum of £5,800.
In April 1952, Major the Hon. Frederick Anthony Hamilton Wills, heir to Lord Dulverton of Batsford Park, purchased Middle Hill House and 1,100 acres of land on Broadway Hill.
Middle Hill had previously been owned by the sisters Lucy Miller Hingley and Emily Georgina Hingley who moved to Broadway shortly after the end of the First World War. Lucy Hingley died in 1942 and Emily Hingley in February 1946. By the terms of Miss Emily Hingley’s will (which amounted to £311,922 gross), Middle Hill was to be offered to the Friends of the Poor and if they were not willing to accept the bequest then to the Homes of Rest for Gentlewomen of the Church of England with a request that the house be known as The Hingley House of Rest. However, the Friends of the Poor declined to accept the property because of the huge cost of repairs needed to be spent on the house and ancillary buildings, and following a hearing at the Chancery Division in December 1951, it was decided that the gift had failed and declared that Miss Hingley had died intestate. Broadway Tower and the surrounding fields, also part of Miss Hingley’s estate, were bequeathed to the National Trust.
Following his purchase of the house and land, Wills was granted a £500 licence by Evesham Rural District Council to carry out the extensive repairs to make the house habitable. Wills was married with four children and lived at the house for many years returning the surrounding land to productive farmland.
Born on 19 December 1915, Wills was educated at Eton College and Magdalen College, Oxford. During the Second World War, Wills served with the Lovatt Scouts. He was an enthusiast about fieldcraft and was one of the Army’s leading experts on sniping. He founded and was chief instructor at a sniping wing at the War Office Advanced Handling and Fieldcraft School in North Wales. He gained the rank of Major in 1944 in the Royal Artillery. He succeeded as the 2nd Baron Dulverton, of Batsford, and 3rd Baronet Willow of Northmoor, Somerset, on 1 December 1956. Wills served as a Master of the North Cotswold Hunt for 8 years, resigning in 1960. He was appointed Commander, Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1974. He died on 7 February 1992 at the age of 76.
In 1751 George William Coventry inherited the title 6th Earl of Coventry, Croome Court and 15,000 acres of land in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. He was 29 years old and the speed with which he set about improving and modernising his inheritance implies that he had already made plans about what he would do.
His first act was to employ up and coming landscape management expert Lancelot Brown to work with him on the project. Brown was an instinctive engineer who knew how water and land could be moulded and controlled – he knew the ‘Capabilities’. The two men had met through a mutual association with Lord Cobham at Stowe and the young George William had recognised Brown’s potential. So it was that in 1752 the two began working in partnership; they first of all turned the existing 17th century house into a modern, symmetrical Palladian style mansion and then went on to create a vast, idyllic English landscape around it.
Whilst the basic ideas, and the boldness of style and design, were almost certainly the Earl’s, it was probably Brown’s skills in land and water management that gave him the confidence to have the 760 acres of land surrounding the house sculpted on a monumental scale, never before attempted.
The basic project took over ten years, but Brown continued to be involved – making adjustments to drainage right up until his death in 1783. So grateful to him was the Earl that he erected a monument in his memory beside the beautifullake he had created out of a ‘Morass’.
The creation of the Landscape Park had become a lifetime obsession for the 6th Earl of Coventry. He had also employed Robert Adam to design iconic buildings to form focal points and draw the eye to views that observers were intended to see. In this Adam, Brown and the Earl had worked closely together. However, by 1794 Brown and Adam were both dead, but the George William wasn’t finished.
Whilst he now had buildings to decorate the inner park, he was thinking on a wider scale and brought in the latest ‘must have’ architect, James Wyatt to finish the job. There was already an ‘eye-catcher’ to the south in the shape of gothic style Dunstall Castle, which Adam had designed in 1765, but now he wanted eye-catchers to the north, east and west of the house, to be placed on the most visible pieces of high ground that he owned. So, between 1794 and 1801 Wyatt designed the Panorama Tower to the west:
Pirton Castle to the north:
and, to the east, Broadway Tower.
Some miles to the east of Croome he owned Springhill House and some land on the high ridge near the village of Broadway and Wyatt’s design, in the Romanesque style fashionable at the time, completed the Earl’s vision of the ideal, allegorical landscape. The Tower could also perhaps have been intended as a monument to himself – standing proud on the hilltop, only distantly visible from Croome, but with views over sixteen counties. If this was the case, it worked because 220 years later, people still ask “Who built this? The answer is George William. 6th Earl of Coventry – thus his name lives on. So far from being a ‘Folly’ – it was a statement and had a purpose.
Our next meeting will take place in the Lifford Memorial Hall on Monday 21st March 2022 starting at 7pm. Nigel Smith, landlord of The Fleece Inn, Bretforton, will be giving an illustrated talk on the history of the Inn. The Inn was built in the late 15th century as a traditional longhouse, with both humans and livestock living under the same roof. The builder was a yeoman farmer named Byrd and the Byrd family owned the building until it was given to the National Trust in 1977.
The winter of 1947 was one of the severest on record. With the country still recovering from the impact of the Second World War, the UK was struck by one of the worst winters recorded. The cold snap was felt across Europe but the UK suffered the worst, and the country came to a standstill for many days. January started off mild but from 23rd January through to the middle of March, snow fell somewhere in the UK every day for 55 days and temperatures dropped to -21°C in some areas.
Broadway and the surrounding villages did not escape the icy blast of snow, fog, and gales from the east, resulting in freezing temperatures both day and night. The heaviest snow fell in the Cotswolds during the night of 5th February. Snowshill was cut off for a fortnight by deep snow and icy conditions until Broadway baker, Charles Jarrett, assisted by his son Ted, managed to get his van up the hill to deliver bread only to find the following week that the road was again blocked with drifts 4.5m deep. Spring Hill was cut off for much longer, and during the height of the blizzards one postman who became snowbound near the Jockey Stables on the Spring Hill Estate left his van and managed to walk back to Broadway despite the deep snow and freezing temperatures. In Evesham, sections of the River Avon froze to over a depth 4cm for more than a fortnight and a channel had to be cut in the ice to maintain the Hampton Ferry River Service.
Throughout the long winter there were delays in meat, grocery and coal deliveries and several villagers went without coal for weeks. The weight of snow and ice stretched telephone wires, water pipes froze and roofs and ceilings in many buildings collapsed under the sheer weight of the snow. Across the country, coal stocks at the power stations ran low, and the limited supplies were unable to make it through the blocked roads and railways. The government introduced measures to cut power consumption, including restricting domestic electricity to 19 hours per day and cutting industrial supplies completely. The Gordon Russell factory was forced to close for two weeks in the middle of February following the government’s ban on industrial consumption of electricity.
Towards the end of February the days brightened and spring appeared to be on its way as the sun put in an appearance. The respite, however, was short-lived and within a couple of days the weather turned colder again. Further heavy snowfalls followed and, combined with the high winds from the east, this led to more deep drifts across the area. On 5th March one of the worst blizzards of the 20th century hit the UK and by the following morning, Broadway was completely cut off from the outside world and movement around the village itself was practically impossible. Cars were abandoned, some completely buried, and only the tops of lorries and buses were left showing above the snow. Vehicles abandoned at the top of Fish Hill lay buried for several days. There were deep snowdrifts around Broadway Station, and the Broadway to Evesham Road was blocked by a drift almost 2m deep near the Murcot turn which was not cleared by snowploughs until late the following day.
Schools and businesses closed, bus services throughout the district were suspended and train services disrupted. An ex-US Army vehicle fitted with a snow-plough was used to help clear the High Street and a caterpillar tractor was used to deliver bread, milk and other supplies to stranded villagers. Groups of villagers joined snow-clearing parties in an effort to clear the roads known as Operation Snowdrift. Employees of local builders, Steward & Co., helped clear the road to Snowshill which was again cut off by drifts 3m high, and prisoners of war from the camps at Fladbury, South Littleton and Spring Hill were employed to help villagers across the vale clear the snow. It was estimated that during the week of 8th March, 1,500 tons of snow was cleared from the streets of Evesham.
The following week, the thaw set in accompanied by much rain. The melting snow and rain from the Cotswold hills poured into the streams and rivers. Many burst their banks and flooded nearby areas resulting in some of the worst floods recorded in the UK. The River Avon at Evesham peaked during the night of the 13th March flooding Waterside and Port Street. This was followed by 80mph gale force winds on 16th which brought down a number of trees along the Evesham Road once again blocking the road from Broadway and bringing down the telephone lines. The country as a whole was relieved when spring finally arrived after Easter but the winter had a lasting effect on Britain’s economy. By February 1947 it was already estimated that the year’s industrial output would be down by 10% that year and the effects of the March floods added a further £250–375 million (equivalent to £10–15 billion today) in damage. Fortunately it was 1963 before the village had to cope with such severe winter weather again.
Buried amongst 2,000 boxes of Phillipps’ papers in the Bodleian Old Library in Oxford are some unpublished local history notes. Local historian, David Ella, has transcribed The 1826 History of Middle Hill and Broadway written by Sir Thomas Phillipps (see link below).
Phillipps (1792-1872) was the greatest collector of books and manuscripts of the 19th century, and a prolific letter writer, keeping copies of his drafts and all manner of correspondence.
Next Meeting: Monday 21st February 2022 – 500 Years of Broadway Maps
Our next meeting will take place on Monday 21st February starting at 7pm in the Lifford Memorial Hall. The Society looks forward to welcoming back David Ella as our speaker with his illustrated talk entitled 500 Years of Broadway Maps.
During David’s talk we will be looking at a wide range of maps which include Broadway, created from the 1570s through to 2020. While interesting and attractive in themselves the maps will be used to try and resolve some unanswered historical questions about Broadway and Broadway Hill. We will look at old county maps, and also unpublished estate maps for Middle Hill, Spring Hill, and the Countess of Gainsborough’s estates in Chipping Campden, which ran to the top of Broadway Hill. Amongst other things, we will look at the engineer’s diagram for the 1820’s roadworks on Broadway Hill, alongside an angry letter from Sir Thomas Phillipps who provided the land. We will find out why Broadway is in Worcestershire, why Five Mile Drive is only two miles long, and finally try and resolve how Colonel Lygon displayed the Battle of Waterloo at his Spring Hill estate, just beyond Broadway Tower. Closer to the village we will look at the “Haunted House”, and understand why one of the houses in the High Street lies at 45 degrees to the road – with the help of the Broadway Enclosure Map.
There will be a table display of original 17th and 18th century maps which can be viewed either before or after David’s talk.
Hand sanitiser and masks will be available. The Comittee will set out the chairs prior to the start of the meeting but please feel free to move them if you would prefer to sit in a different location in the hall. In line with current guidance we will leave the doors to the hall open until just before the start of the talk to allow as much fresh air into the hall prior to the start of the meeting. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the committee.
Luggers Hall, Springfield Lane, was built in 1911 for the Broadway Colony artist and landscape designer Alfred Parsons (1847-1920). Parsons chose Scottish architect Andrew Noble Prentice FRIBA, to design the house for him. Prentice was well know for his work in and around Broadway having designed several prominent buildings and extensions. These amongst others include; a music room at Court Farm House (c1899), Orchard Farmhouse (c1905), Willersey House (1907), Barn House (1908), Buckland Manor (1910), Abbot’s Grange (1911) and later the Lifford Memorial Hall in 1915.
A close friendship between Parsons and the American artist Francis Davis ‘Frank’ Millet began when Parsons, Millet and the painter, Edwin Austin Abbey RA, lived together at 54 Bedford Gardens, London. The Broadway connection was cemented by regular visits from Mary Anderson de Navarro of Court Farm, a famous actress at the time. In the mid 1880s, Millet and Parsons moved to Broadway and Millet rented Farnham House, overlooking the green in the heart of the village. In 1896 Parsons designed the gardens at Court Farm and he also designed the gardens for Mr & Mrs Rees Price at Bannits, Church Street.
Around 1904 Alfred Parsons purchased the land on which Luggershill was built from his close friend Millet, who by then had moved to Russell House. Andrew Prentice having been appointed to design the house departed from his usual architectural detailing which has been compared to the Arts and Craft style of Lutyens, with tall chimneys, mullioned windows, traditional construction and handcrafted details. Luggershill is often quoted as being an Arts and Craft building but it is not. There is very little influence from this movement which was by the early 1900s coming to an end. The style of Luggershill is confusing, it is more Neo-Classical with Georgian all bar windows letting in plenty of light (as would be expected for a working artist).
The influence of Prentice on the house, however, is evident with its preponderance of tall chimneys and use of his typical staircase design which appears in several of his earlier buildings. Consistent with the area the Prentice chose local Cotswold stone from Guiting Power and a local natural stone on the roof. The design layout is simple using a ‘Z’ shape plan incorporating a large painters studio lit by a substantial north light window, together with sitting room, dining room, kitchen with scullery, and service rooms on the northern side. Although the design does not have the romanic details of many of the houses in the area it does enjoy a delightfully light interior with a near perfect floor plan for raising a family even today.
Parsons was successful both as an artist and landscape designer. He included in Luggers Hill a servants’ flat on the second floor with its own entrance and staircase. The original servants’ call system is still in place with bell pushes in all the principal rooms. Externally, Parsons created at Luggershill several small gardens incorporating a number of his well know design features. The original nut walk created from hazelnut trees and the curved stone colonnade across from the house on the same central axis are still in tact. The walled vegetable garden has gone and now contains a central fountain and rose garden. The parterre garden has also been re-configured in more recent times and the influence of Parsons’ favourite colours in the garden exist to this day with a preponderance of pinks, blues and yellows.
Restrictive covenants imposed by Parsons in the house deeds remove the rights to extend the house and Luggershill remains little altered since it was first built in 1911.
Mr. Rupert De la Bere, M.P. performed the opening ceremony at the annual fete in aid of funds of Broadway Congregational church which took place at Luggers Hill on Monday, by permission of Mr. Clement V. Parsons. A large number of people were present, Mr. D.G.S. Russell presided at the opening ceremony, and introduced Mr. De la Bere, who in declaring the fete open, thanked Mrs. Kemp for her work. The Rev. Arthur Wakelin (Broadway Congregational minister), thanked Mr. De la Bere and Mr. Don Russell for their presence and keen interest, also Mr. Clement Parsons for lending his beautiful gardens, and all who helped. A feature of the programme was a baby show, and the judge was Dr. Dorothy Neate, of Fladbury, assisted by Nurse Green of Guiting. The prize winners were, under 12 months, 1 Olive Whitton, 2 James Brookes; over 12 months 1 Brian Clarke, 2 Jean Warren. Another attractive item, “The Pageant of the Flowers” was presented by Mrs. Jones’s pupils. A fine programme of music was played, under the direction of Mr. L.J. Hensley. There were a number of stalls and sideshows. The programme wound up with a well attended dance in the Lifford Hall, when music was played by Frank Styles and his band, from Wickhamford.
On 14 December 1918, women in Broadway, providing they were over 30 and they or their husbands were an occupier of property, were able to vote in a general election for the first time. The 1918 election had been called by the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, immediately after the Armistice with Germany which ended the First World War.
Eight and a half million women in the UK were eligible to vote following the extension of the franchise in the Representation of the People Act 1918. This amendment to the Act had followed 50 years of campaigning by suffragettes across the world for suffrage or ‘Votes for Women’.
Broadway Suffragette who “Affronted the King by Creating a Scene in the Throne Room” (Daily Mirror, June 1914)
In Broadway, Rose ‘Eleanor’ Cecilia Blomfield (1890-1954) and Mary Esther Blomfield (1888-1950), daughters of Sir Arthur and Lady Sarah Louisa Blomfield of Springfield, were members of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Eleanor and Mary established a branch of the Non-Militant National Union Suffrage Society in the village and were founding members of Broadway Women’s Institute.
Mary Blomfield made the headlines in June 1914 when she fell to her knees before HRH King George V and Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace. Mary begged their Majesties to stop the force-feeding of suffragettes who’d gone on hunger strikes in prison, and was forcibly evicted from the Palace by the police.
Polling Day, 14th December 1918
The first polling day for women in Broadway passed without incidence. It was reported in The Evesham Standard on 21 December 1918 that:
Polling day at Broadway passed off with very little excitement. A gentle stream of voters made their way to the polling station during the day, and at no time was there any rush, in fact the last hour was the quietest of the day. It is believed the women polled as strongly as the men. Cars and carriages belonging to Commander Monsell’s supporters were busy, especially during the afternoon, and they are very confident of the result of their efforts at Broadway.
Voter turnout for the election across the country was low, however, the British Conservative Party candidate, Sir Bolton Eyres-Monsell, retained his Evesham seat in the election and continued as a Member of Parliament until October 1935.