Friday, August 12, 2022


The manor of Huntingdrop was a detached part of Dodderhill parish in the middle ages, when it belonged to the Peremorts of Purshall, Elmbridge. It passed through the hands of many of the major gentry of the area, finally ending up as part of the holding of the Vernons of Hanbury. Their estate map, drawn in 1735, shows two main houses, one certainly moated, with traces of the moat which are visible today. An inventory of the 17th century lists ten rooms though only one hearth in the kitchen was identified. Huntingdrop was one of the most highly taxed areas of the parish throughout its history.

Huntingdrop, sometimes known as Huntingtrap, or even Huntingthorpe, appears from 1300 to pass to the Manor of Purshall on the marriage of Margaret, daughter and heir of John de Peremort, to the lord of Purshall. The Lench family held it at the time of the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century, and although John Lench lost it at the time of his conviction for high treason, it was restored by Henry VII to his son, also named John. In Elizabethan times the Gower family owned it, and it was sold by them to the Wintours, Wyldes and Hanburys, eventually ending up as part of the estate of the Vernons of Hanbury.

At this time, thanks to the estate map made by the Doughertys in 1735, we can get detailed information about the houses and land forming Huntingdrop. Much of the land lies in dispersed strips in the common fields of Hanbury both north and south of the ‘Great Road to Wich’, and there is also a large area of common, known as Holders Common, which lies in Hadzor parish. Salt Meadow to the south of Huntingdrop is partly in Hadzor and partly in Dodderhill, so the whole picture is confusing. And the tithes seem to have changed hands independently of the land! But the overall plan can still be seen today, though a lot of drainage has taken place, and the main railway line from Gloucester to Birmingham slices through the western side.

Historically the land was always of good quality, but was then without timber or wood. The loss of the latter must have happened after the beginning of the 17th century when Richard Pardoe leased Huntingdrop from Robert Wyntour of Huddington, ‘except all trees and all maner his Royalties and Liberties of hawking, hunting and fowling’. Yet despite this, the value of the farm was throughout its history one of the highest in Dodderhill. Perhaps this is why it continued to remain part of the parish, though cut off from all the rest.

The tenants and owners have left surviving wills from 1600 to 1800, some with detailed inventories. Thomas Pardoe’s will, dated 25 April 1615, identifies 10 rooms, all named, with 1 hearth in the kitchen, and the value is £277 12s.0d. Aperline Harwood, widow of Philip, died in 1689, leaving a will full of detail, but the value of the inventory was only £59 9s 4d, though this was perhaps because much of the property had possibly already passed to another beneficiary prior to her death. By 1726 when Thomas Dewes, yeoman, died, the value was £476 3s 10d.

It seems possible that there were two main houses on the estate, one was certainly moated, and several cottages as well. A lot more investigation remains to be done to unravel the history of this isolated spot.

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