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.
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.
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.
Thomas Edgar Pemberton, theatre historian, playwright, critic and biographer, was born at Heath Green Cottage, Heath Green, Birmingham on 1 July 1849. Pemberton was the eldest son of Thomas Pemberton, the head of an established firm of brass founders in Livery Street, Birmingham, After education at school in Edgbaston, aged 19, Pemberton joined his father’s company, Messrs. Pemberton and Sons, and in due course gained control of the business, with which he was connected until 1900.
Pemberton married on 11 March 1873, in the Old Meeting House, Birmingham, Mary Elizabeth Townley, second daughter of Edward Richard Patie Townley of Edgbaston.
In 1885, Pemberton and his family moved to Broadway and they lived at Farnham House for four years before moving to Pye Corner House where he died in 1895.
Pemberton was a member of the Birmingham Dramatic and Literary Club and President and Honorary Secretary of Our Shakespeare Club. HIs funeral took place at St Eadburgha’s Church, Broadway, in October 1905 and he is buried in the churchyard. The service was conducted by the Rev. F.A. Morgan (Vicar of Broadway), B.L. Hall (Curate of Broadway), G.A. Jackson (St Mary’s, High Leigh) and F. Madona (Vicar of Cheadle and Pemberton’s uncle).
His wife continued to live at Pye Corner before moving to Sands Meadow which was built for her in 1914. Mary Pemberton continued to live at Sands Meadow until her death in 1938.
Axel Martin Fredrik Munthe (1857-1949), the Swedish physician, psychiatrist, and author of The Story of San Michele, first came to Broadway in 1907 and lived for a short time afterwards at The Malt House, High Street, Broadway.
Born in Sweden on 31 October 1857, Munthe studied medicine in Paris. He became a distinguished physician and was appointed chief physician to Queen Victoria of Sweden in 1892.
Munthe firstly married Ultima Hornberg, a Swede, on 24 November 1880, whom he met while she was studying art in Paris. They divorced in the late 1880s and in 1887, Munthe moved to Capri where he purchased and rebuilt the Villa San Michele in Anacapri.
On 16 May 1907, Munthe married English aristocrat, Hilda Pennington Mellor (1876–1967) at the Parish Church, Paddington, London. He was 49 and she was 29 years of age. The couple honeymooned at Sunnyside, 72 High Street, Broadway, a guest house run by Mrs Charlotte Kendrick. Sid Knight, who worked as a house boy at Sunnyside, recounts in his book Cotswold Lad the arrival of Dr and Mrs Munthe’s arrival at the guest house:
Presently the rumbling of wheels disturbed the quiet of the High Street as into view lumbered the station fly owned by the Lygon Arms Hotel, the top piled high with luggage bearing railway and hotel labels from all over Europe. The horse-drawn four-wheeler came to a sedate halt alongside the grass verge that separated roadway from sidewalk, and two imposing figures alighted. One was a woman who to my boyish mind was of unbelievable beauty and charm …… followed by a tall, well-built man, a menacing figure in black…. Over his dark suit he wore a dark, flowing cape ……… A black Homburg shaded his black spade beard, and down his face ran a deep scar ………. rumour said was caused by a falling chimney pot in Stockholm one dark, windy night….Big dark glasses obscured his eyes……..
After a period at Sunnyside, the couple went on to settle in the village at The Malt House, High Street. The Munthe household is recorded in the 1911 Census1:
Hilda Munthe, wife, 31 years old, living on own means, born France, British.
Viking John Axel (Peter) Munthe, son, 2 years old, born London, Swede.
Ludwig Malcolm Grane Munthe, son, 1 year old, born London, Swede.
Sarah Smith, servant – cook, 60 years old, married, born Battersea, London.
May Watts, servant – nurse, 16 years old, single, born Broadway, Worcestershire.
Irene Launer, servant – housemaid, 14 years old, single, born France, French.
Loetitia de Céligny, guest – visitor, 9 years old, born France, French.
Catherine de Céligny, guest – visitor, 31 years old, born France, French.
Sid Knight, who worked at Sunnyside as a houseboy, also worked at The Malt House as a houseboy and his cousin Ada was cook for the Munthe household for many years, travelling and living with them in Rome, Berlin and Stockholm before settling with them at San Michele were it is said King Edward2 used to visit them.
During 1910, Munthe had a 14-room summer home, Stengården, built in Leksand, Sweden as a gift to his wife. Hilda landscaped Stengården with an English garden, and furnished it with 17th, 18th and 19th-century art and furniture from Italy, England and France.
For s short period during the First World War, Munthe volunteered and served with the British Ambulance Corps in France3. After the war, Munthe was more often at San Michele until his eyesight deteriorated. Sid Knight recounts in his book his last memory of seeing Mrs Munthe in Broadway, towards the end of the First World War, by which time Munthe and his wife, Hilda, were separated.
Munthe’s autobiographical book, The Story of San Michele, was first published in 1929. It was later translated into 25 different languages. Following an operation in Zurich in 1934, his sight was partially restored.
It was reported in the Lancashire Evening Post on 13 August 1937:
Dr. Axel Munthe, having completed his annual visit to England, left to-day for Stockholm, where he will stay with one of his oldest friends – the King of Sweden.
Bearded, dark spectacled, elusive, Dr. Munthe is still a Swede by nationality. Before the war he was on the point of adopting British nationality. But the war delayed the process of nationalisation, and he abandoned his intention.
Formerly, Dr Munthe had a house at Broadway, in Worcestershire. Now, though he belongs to the St. James Club, he has no English residence. But he remains an Englishman in spirit, and frets at being obliged to pass through the aliens’ barrier whenever he lands in this country.
Munthe was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 1905. He died on 11 February 1949, aged 91, in the Royal Palace in Stockholm and his ashes were scattered in the North Sea.
The 1911 Census for England and Wales was taken on the night of Sunday 2 April, 1911.
From Cotswold Lad by Sid Knight, published 1960.
See Red Cross & Iron Cross by Axel Munthe, published 1916.
The Grange was built c1320 by William de Harvington, Abbot of Pershore. The Grange was restored by the American artist Francis ‘Frank’ Millet who lived at Farnham House and used the building as his studio.
Abbot’s Grange Cottages, Church Street: formerly two cottages, now one cottage.
Acton House: the former Co-op.
Alderton Lodge: now part of the Lygon Arms (the brasserie).
Aldington Lodge: located next to Broadway Close
Argyle Parade, Leamington Road: now Ashmore’s and Cotswold Building Supplies
Austin House, Church Street: the house was built in the early 1700s. It was once the home of Lord and Lady Lifford.
Bankside: Built in 1860, the home of the Hensley family and of Mr Jolly’s waggon and haulage business.
Bannits: Church Street: was the Baker’s Arms until 1912. Owned by Mr & Mrs Rees Price (with gardens designed by Alfred Parsons), Mr & Mrs Peter Lidner and the Juckes family.
Barn House: Originally built for Mr Jones, a baker in 1657. The house and barn were later converted by Mr G.B. Game (Mrs Folkes worked for the Game family). Other residents: Major Tristram (Fred Pendrey was his chauffeur) and Mrs Maudsley whose son, Squadron Leader Henry E. Maudslay, DFC (1921-1943) was killed during a Dambuster raid in 1943.
Bell Yard: c1700 once a coaching inn.
Belleview: Meadow Cottage, the end of Morris Road.
The Bindery: From 1907, bookbinder Miss Katharine Adams. Also Nason and Milne and used to hold Sunday School meetings.
Broad Close: Once the home of Isaac Averill, Bill Scott and the Keil family.
Broadway Mill: in 1528, the mill was rented by William Hannow.
Cambria House: Colonel Henry Sidney, DSO, Dr & Mrs Houghton and Major & Mrs Fanshawe (Master of the North Cotswold Hunt).
China Square: The two cottages to the left of the entrance to Springfield Lane. Before the Second World War the cottages were occupied by Nurse Bricknell and the Sollis family. It is believed that the cottages became known as China Square as a former resident was an amateur potter and a kiln is present among the brickwork.
Coach & Horses: A farm until 1837 when it was converted in to a pub.
Colletts Tea Rooms and Gardens
Copgrove, West End: a farmhouse was built in the 16th century and later converted into two cottages. The cottages were dismantled and a single dwelling, turned through 90 degrees was rebuilt (from 1906 to 1910) by architects, Charles Bateman and George Henry Hunt, for Mr G. Sewell. Mr & Mrs Pierce Duncombe later lived at Copgrove.
The Court, Snowshill Road: consists of a 16th century gatehouse for a mansion or court that once existed to the east.
Court Farm: Originally two farms. Purchased by Mr & Mrs de Navarro in 1893.
Cowley House: owned by Mr & Mrs R.B. Harbidge, Bill Clifton and the Kemp family.
Dickens House/Sands Farm: home of the Dickins family until the mid 1770s.
Fencote (see Roseville): Miss Massie lived at the house and ran it as a guesthouse. The house burnt down in January 1935 (Miss Massie escaped unhurt, saved by Mr H. Ellis). Also used as Steward’s Yard.
The Fish Garage: owned by the Jones family in the 1960s when it sold Esso petrol and secondhand cars and vans.
Fleabank or Shakespeare’s Cottages: many of the families who lived in the cottages were involved in glovemaking.
Forge House: one of the oldest cottages in the village.
Grey Gables: Originally known as ‘Gables’, the house dates back to the 17th century. Once the home of Sir Keyte, Mrs Ellison. Hon. R. Ward.
Hunters Lodge: also known previously as Ballybroust and Trinafour. Once owned by W.B. Game (of Barn House), Sir Andrew Skeen, and Kurt and Dottie Friendli who ran it as a restaurant and guesthouse.
Ivy House (also The Hollyhocks and the Broadway Hotel).
Kylsant House, Church Street: built by Tom Phillipps, the father of Sir Thomas Phillipps and named after a relative of the family. Once the home of; the author, Joan Fleming, Charles McNeill, Master of the North Cotswold Fox Hounds, and Audrey Withers, editor of Vogue.
Lifford Memorial Hall: built in 1915 in memory of Lord Lifford.
Low Farm: bought by Russell’s in 1920 as a showroom.
Lygon Arms formerly known as The White Hart: The first written record of the Lygon Arms dates back to 1377 when it was referred to as the White Hart. The hart, the personal symbol of King Richard II (1367-1400).
After Richard’s usurpation by his cousin Henry IV, the inn changed its name in 1400 to the White Swan (the swan a symbol of the House of Lancaster). Under Henry’s Lancastrian son, Henry V, the inn took on the name the Hart and Swan. However, Records from 1530 and Parish Records of 1532 record Thomas White, a local wool merchant, as the landlord of The White Hart.
In the reign of James I the inn was known as The George but by 1620 records show it was being referred to as The Swan again and by 1641 it had reverted back to The White Hart.
From 1604 to 1641 the landlord was John Trevis. He added the front door with its stone arch in 1620 upon which his initials, along with those of his wife, Ursula, are carved.
In the 18th century, the Inn became an important staging post for coaches travelling through Broadway along the main road from London to Worcester and Wales. To cope with the volume of business, the White Hart Inn was expanded and stabling for over 30 horses was built. The landlord at this time was Giles Atwood, who was commended for his fine management by Lord Torrington, a recognised diarist, and after whom the Lygon’s Torrington Room is named.
After 1815, Captain, later Major, Edward Lygon, an officer at Waterloo and son of the first Earl Beauchamp of Madresfield, who had purchased the nearby Springhill Estate, owned the inn and it was managed by his steward Charles Drury. Its name was subsequently changed to the Lygon Arms (recorded as such in the 1841 Census of Broadway). Charles Drury purchased the inn in 1867 and it remained in the Drury family until 1903 when it was purchased by Sidney Bolton Russell at the cost of £6,000.
In 1910 a major development was initiated by Sydney Russell. He employed Sir Aston Webb to construct a Great Hall over the hotel’s garden and the old 18th century assembly room. Webb, who had designed the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace, incorporated a salvaged 17th century barrel-vaulted ceiling into what is now the hotel’s dining room.
After World War I the premises of the Capital and County, Broadway’s first bank, were incorporated into the hotel. The ground floor of this extension served first as a Buttery and since 2013 it has been used as a Brasserie.
During the 1930s, Russell passed the management of the Lygon to his son Donald. Soon after he took over, the Second World War broke out. Among these visiting servicemen at the time was an Australian, Douglas Barrington. In 1945, after the war had ended, Barrington returned to The Lygon Arms and was appointed to the Board of Directors in 1946 and later Managing Director in 1956.
In 1986, the Savoy Group acquired the Lygon Arms at a cost of £4.7million. Kirk Ritchie was appointed Managing Director and General Manager, having been at the hotel since 1975.
The Malt House: Originally two cottages until 1893 when it was altered by Mrs Griffin. Axel Munthe then Colonel Henry Sidney, DSO (1879-1954) also lived at the house.
Middle Hill: Built by William Taylor, Recorder of Evesham in 1724.
Midland Bank Cottages: Mr & Mrs Fridlington, Steward.
Mill Hay, Snowshill Road: built c1651 as Upper Mill. It was bought by Mrs Chesterman (the daughter of Lord Carson) in the 1930s.
The Old Curiosity Shop
The Old Schoolrooms, High Street
Orchard Farm House: Once home to Lady Maud Bowes-Lyon, Sir Gerald Nabarro MP and the Misses Barrie.
Pear Tree House: Once school under Dr Parry. Miss Webb-Johnson, Morgan and Bland- Sutton.
Pethuel Lodge: later known as Barn Close.
Picton House: Sir Thomas Philipps and Miss Philipps.
Pike Cottage: also fondly known for many years as ‘Tup Stanley’s’. Tolls were collected until c1865.
Pond Close: Dr Alexander (Mrs Bown, surgery) and Mr Symondson.