Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Wychbold Hall

There are plans to develop the land where once Wychbold Hall stood. In fact there were two buildings on the site, the second built in 1937 and demolished in 1995.

“The Amphlett story at Wychbold began with Revd. Richard Holmdon Amphlett. He was rector at Hadzor and lies buried in the family vaults at Hadzor Church. Due to financial difficulties he sold Hadzor Hall, the traditional family seat, and bought an old farmhouse at Wychbold in 1825. This was restored and enlarged. It became known as New Hall until later being re-named Wychbold Hall (1). A number of old large stone urns which decorated the gardens of Wychbold Hall (1) were bought as ancestoral souvenirs from Hadzor Hall.

“The Judge Richard Holden Amphlett K.C. lived at Wychbold Hall, he and his wife Sophia used to hold annual events at the Hall park. These included a visit by the Salvation Army Band. The opening of the park on Rhododendron Sunday, Outings, was a combined treat for the school children of Rashwood and Stoke, and boys from the Edward Paul Memorial Home, Droitwich; this was also when sporting events were held in the spacious grounds. The vast expanses of lawn were mown by a pony called “Blackbird”, fitted with leather boots over his hoofs to prevent marking the turf. If the weather was inclement they all went inside the Hall filling most of the downstairs rooms to enjoy their tea and cakes.

“(The first) Wychbold Hall was built mainly of sandstone and red brick, but unfortunately subsidence from the constant pumping of brine from an underground brine stream at Droitwich and Stoke caused the Hall to slip gradually sideways. This however gave children great fun, sliding down corridors and playing with balls which always rolled back.

“One night the foundations moved enough to prevent the Judge leaving his bedroom before a carpenter was called from the village to free the door. It was here in 1932 on a sloping floor that Sophia fell and broke her hip and then struggled upstairs.

“On the death of his grandmother Sophia in 1936 Richard John Marshall became heir to the estate at twenty two years of age. He decided to build a new Hall as the brine stream had by now caused the foundations of the first Hall to ‘break in half’.

“Richard employed the services of a water diviner to establish a site for (a second) Hall in the park which was completely cleared of all underground water.

“(The second) Wychbold Hall was designed by Guy Pemberton F.R.I.B.A., in the Queen Anne style, and built on a substantial concrete platform. A foundation stone was set in the west wall, and was inscribed:-

“WYCHBOLD HALL
REBUILT BY
RICHARD JOHN MARSHALL
AMPHLETT 1937
THIS STONE WAS LAID BY
HIS MOTHER
MARY BLACKFORD AMPHLETT

“When Caroline and Richard [sister and brother of Richard Amphlett] left the family seat to live away, their mother and Mary [their sister] were to find life very different. The first outward sign of austerity at the Hall was when Mary Blackford [their mother] sat in the back of their now visibly neglected Humber, and Mary [their sister] drove the car herself to church. Eventually they both decided it was just too large and too expensive to live at the Hall. It was sold by auction under the direction of Rev. Richard John Marshall on Wednesday 20th October 1955. Mary Blackford and daughter Mary then moved to become permanent residents at St Andrew’s House, Witton, Droitwich.

“Wychbold Hall was sold and remained unoccupied. It was allowed to fall into a completely ruinous and dangerous state, and was demolished in December 1995.”

Extracts from the text of “Memories of Wychbold before the Motorway” have been reproduced with the permission of Robin Skerratt.

The first Wychbold Hall

The first Wychold Hall, pictured in the 1920s.

The second Wychbold Hall, pictured in the sale brochure of 1955.

The second Wychbold Hall – a photograph from the sale brochure of 1955.

National Lottery - Heritage Lottery Fund© Dodderhill Parish Survey Project 2007 | Site Design & Build: Red Box Consultants Ltd.