Many names but one family
in 1425 John Dumbleton and his wife, Emma Brockhampton built a timber framed manor house nestled deep in the Herefordshire hills. Discover the names and faces of the Brockhampton estate and learn how despite changing names, the estate stayed in the same family for almost six hundred years.
Bernard of Brockhampton
We can link the name ‘Brockhampton’ back to Bernard of Brockhampton from records collected by the Bishop of Hereford in in 1166. This is the earliest record we have of the name and we know very little about Bernard and his household. The first known occupation of Brockhampton came after Bernard’s time however it is thought that he was responsible for building the chapel here which still stands but as a ruin.
In the late 14th century, John Dumbleton (or Domulton) married Emma Brockhampton and in 1425 they commissioned the build of Lower Brockhampton Manor. Impressive for the time the manor featured just the Great Hall and east wing, they also renovated the chapel.
Brockhampton was later passed to John and Emma’s son Philip. After Philip, it passed to his son, another John, who married Agnes Croft of nearby Croft Castle. John and Agnes had no successive male heir and so, the estate passed onto their eldest daughter Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Dumbleton married William Habington early in the 15th century. It was their grandson, Richard Habington 2nd, who made significant changes to Lower Brockhampton Manor around 1520. Richard added a kitchen wing onto the manor as well as rebuilding some of the east wing. In time, he added more ostentatious additions such as extra timbers and the Gatehouse which stills stands today. A Gatehouse was an extravagant status symbol throughout the Tudor period.
Richard and his wife Joyce Shirley had three daughters, Mary, Eleanor and Jane. In 1552, Mary’s marriage to Richard Barneby brought the longest standing family to the estate.
The Barnebys resided on the estate for an impressive almost four hundred years. When John Barneby left the estate to his nephew, Bartholomew Lutley in 1726, he demanded he changed his name to Barneby; Bartholomew was just thirteen years old at the time.
Barneby borrowed a hefty £3000 from his mothers to make improvements to the estate, the equivalent of £600,000 today. With this money he built up the four farms on the estate, which in return made Bartholomew a very wealthy man.
Bartholomew found his inherited manor dark and old fashioned, not befitting for a man of his stature in the mid eighteenth century. In 1756 he married the daughter of family friends, Betty Freeman. With Betty’s dowry of £3000 and inherited money upon his father’s death in 1764, Bartholomew contacted architect Thomas Farnolls Pritchard and commissioned the build of a stylish red brick mansion within the estate.
Lower Brockhampton Manor became a tenanted farmhouse, rented out to farming families on the estate.
Joseph and Ann Curetons
Joseph Cureton was an important employee on the Brockhampton estate, long serving as an agricultural worker when he was promoted to ‘wagoner’ in 1861. This role was one of the most senior positions, he would be in charge of the horses; the beating heart of any Victorian farm.
Despite his status, the Curetons were not well off and most of Joseph’s earning went on food for their seven children. Lower Brockhampton Manor fell into a sorry state of repair and it is thought the family only lived within a few rooms as the others were simply too damp and cold.
In 1871, architect John Buckler was hired by John Habington Lutley to restore the manor house, determined he would not take away the manors ‘crooked charms’.
Sergeant Albert Sprague
Albert Sprague had spent his whole life on the Brockhampton estate. His father was head gamekeeper and Albert too worked there after he had finished school as an agricultural labourer.
On 7 August 1915, Albert joined the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry and was sent to the Western Front to fight in the First World War. Tragically he lost his life on 30 November 1917, by then a Sergeant, when fighting in the Battle of Cambrai. Albert has no known grave but is commemorated at the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval.
William Dennet was one of Brockhampton’s last gamekeepers. His wife, Alice would have spent a lot of time in the kitchen of Lower Brockhampton Manor preparing meals and heating water for washing. Shooting parties were held on the estate in autumn and winter, three day long shooting parties were one of the highlights of the Edwardian social calendar.
Guests staying at the mansion would come down to Lower Brockhampton to dine. Breakfast, afternoon tea and formal dinners were always served, and sometimes luncheons; all in all keeping Alice Dennett extremely busy.