Saturday, November 25, 2017

Richard Holmden Amphlett 1847-1925

Richard Holmden Amphlett, known locally as “The Judge”, was a great benefactor to the village of Wychbold in the late 19th century and early 20th century. He provided, together with John Corbett, more than half the £6000 building costs for the church of St Mary de Wyche, (consecrated in1888), and built the Mission Room for the villagers so that they might be “enriched by lectures of enlightenment”.

He built many other houses for local people to live in, including Rose Villa (1886), General Stores(1886), The Haven and Laurel Cottage (1897) and the Blacksmiths House (1906).

He was also a regular speaker at the Chapel in Chapel Lane.

There is a stained glass window dedicated to him in the church of St Mary de Wyche and he is still remembered in the 21st century with a road on the new housing estate next to the motorway junction having been named Amphlett Way.

Richard Holmden Amphlett, known locally as “The Judge”, was a great benefactor to the village of Wychbold in the late 19th century and early 20th century. He provided, together with John Corbett, more than half the £6000 building costs for the church of St Mary de Wyche, (consecrated in1888), and built the Mission Room for the villagers so that they might be “enriched by lectures of enlightenment”.

He built many other houses for local people to live in, including Rose Villa (1886), General Stores(1886), The Haven and Laurel Cottage (1897) and the Blacksmiths House (1906).

He was also a regular speaker at the Chapel in Chapel Lane.

There is a stained glass window dedicated to him in the church of St Mary de Wyche and he is still remembered in the 21st century with a road on the new housing estate next to the motorway junction having been named Amphlett Way.

_His Honour Judge Amphlett K.C. (i.e. The Judge) was highly respected in legal and social circles throughout the Midlands. He was well known at Worcester Quarter Sessions and for his judicial work at Birmingham County Court.

In 1907 the Judge offered £100 if the parishioners would find a like sum to form a parish charity. The fund was named the “Amphlett Charity” and the interest on the £200 proved very useful in assisting those in need of medical treatment, and in helping to provide the necessities to the poor of the village.

As “Squire” of Wychbold, the Judge took a kindly interest in the social welfare of the village, and built a Mission Room opposite the Post Office for recreational purposes and lectures. He provided the tenants of his cottages with gardens and allotments and in 1917 gave them the opportunity to purchase their own houses, and many took advantage of this generous offer.

The Judge’s wife Sophia was a Devonian with all the sterner qualities of the Victorian age. She had remarkable business abilities, but seemed to gain great pleasure by arranging social functions for others to enjoy, – particularly children.

The Judge and 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._

Reproduced with permission from ‘Memories of Wychbold before the Motorway’ by Robin Skerratt.

Amphlett Family Crest
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