Burghill House as the Court was originally known, was built by Benjamin Biddulph in the late 18th century, and was thought to have been designed by Anthony Keck of Gloucestershire.

Benjamin Biddulph died before the house was completed and nothing at all had been done to the surrounding grounds, and although some trees were planted along the years the full splendour of pleasure grounds, gardens, summer houses and parkland was not recorded until 1832.

The Woodhouses at Burghill Court

In 1874 the house was purchased by John Woodhouse, a wine merchant, and he set about rebuilding it and transforming it into a lovely big Georgian house which from then on was called Burghill Court.
John’s wife, Elinor along with her two daughters were well loved members of the community and were highly respected; they were also generous, and in 1898 Elinor built the club house in Tillington for use by local men, and also gave many to the church for necessary repairs.
The eldest daughter, Elinor Drinkwater Woodhouse, was at one time engaged to a missionary, but was grief stricken when she learned that he had been killed, and presumably eaten, by cannibals. She never married.
Elinor’s son John Gordon Woodhouse made a somewhat unwise marriage to Violet Gwynne of Folkington Manor, she being something of a shopaholic and rather flighty. They moved to London and her influence changed him for the worse – his mother Elinor was not so unkind as to totally disinherit him, but when she died in 1923 she was clever enough to leave him Burghill Court but only a pittance in cash, thus ensuring that he could never afford to live there and his two sisters could continue to do so in peace. John Gordon and Violet later moved to Stroud in Gloucestershire.
Murder at Burghill Court
Just three years later, the two sisters were brutally murdered by Charles Houghton, a long time employee of the Woodhouse family, being first taken on as a footman before rising to the post of butler.
After 22 years in service he became an alcoholic, and eventually Elinor and Martha Woodhouse were forced to dismiss him – he was given a month’s pay and asked to leave by the following day, but when he protested at such short notice he was told that he could stay until the end of the week.
The following morning he appeared to be normal, even attending family prayers and serving breakfast, but shortly afterwards he shot both sisters. The police broke into his room, where he had botched an attempt at suicide having cut himself seven times with a razor.
On 5th November 1926, Houghton was held in the condemned cell at Gloucester prison following his sentence of death, and although an appeal was made against the sentence this was withdrawn although his solicitors did try to plea insanity hoping that it might save Houghton from the scaffold. The Home Secretary refused to interfere with the sentence, and at 8 on Friday 3rd December 1926 Houghton was hanged by Thomas Pierrepoint.
Houghton was buried alongside the north wall of the prison, in a space reserved for such offenders.

Burghill House Household – 1851

 

Georgina Owen 4 Daughter and Lady b.Ireland
Ellen Owen 1 Daughter b. Shrewsbury
Jane Bright 27 Lady’s Maid b. Shrewsbury
Debra Charnock 40 Nurse b. Worcester
Elizabeth Davis 21 Housemaid b. Montgomerieshire
Helene Evans 18 Housemaid b. Merioneth
Daniel Bright 23 Footman b. Condover
George Bevan 26 Groom b. Wellington, Shropshire
John Price 21 Labourer b. Denbigh

 

1857 Thomas Monington Weston in residence.

 

Burghill House Household – 1861

Arthur Henry Wall 45 Magistrate b. Kington, Herefordshire
Margaret Wall 48 Wife b. Kington, Herefordshire
James Turner 41 Coachman b. Aymestry, Herefordshire
John Hoy 30 Butler b. Clifton, Bristol
Caroline Davis 40 Housemaid b. Leominster, Herefordshire
Anne Trehearne 27 Cook b. Ledbury, Herefordshire
Mary Drowns 19 Kitchenmaid b. Burghill, Herefordshire

 

Burghill House Household – 1871

Arthur H. Wall 55 Magistrate b. Kington, Herefordshire
Margaret Wall 58 Wife b. Kington, Herefordshire
Milbrough Taylor 69 Wife’s sister b. Kington, Herefordshire
Mary Wynn 48 visitor b. Hereford City, Herefordshire
John Hoy 40 Butler b. Bristol, Avon
Thomas Eastwood 31 Gardener b. Northumberland
Caroline Davis 50 Housemaid b. Leominster, Herefordshire
Sarah Plevy 35 Cook b. Presteign, Radnor
Elizabeth Plevy 33 Housemaid b. Presteign, Radnor
Eliza Phillips 16 Under Housemaid b. Presteign, Radnor

Burghill Court Household – 1881

John G. Woodhouse 57 Justice of the Peace, Herefordshire b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Elinor L. Woodhouse 51 Wife b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Frances H. Woodhouse 30 Step Daughter, school manager b. Cheshire
Elinor D. Woodhouse 19 Daughter, b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Martha G. Woodhouse 12 Daughter b. Liverpool Lancashire
John G. Woodhouse 10 Son b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Jessie L. Baskerville 35 Governess
James Hollis 30 Butler b. Oxfordshire
Mary Vale 40 Cook b. Almeley, Herefordshire
Ellen George 50 Housemaid b. Flint, Flintshire
Alice Morgan 20 Serving Maid b. Goodrich, Herefordshire
Sarah Dale 20 Housemaid b. Breinton, Herefordshire
Elizabeth Lloyd 20 Kitchen Maid b. Herefordshire

Burghill Court Household – 1891

Elinor L. Woodhouse 61 Widow living on own means b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Frances H. Woodhouse 40 Step Daughter, Clerk to School board b. Cheshire
Elinor D. Woodhouse 29 Daughter living on own means b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Martha G. Woodhouse 22 Daughter living on own means b. Liverpool, Lancashire
John G. Woodhouse 20 Son, Under Graduate Cambridge b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Frances E. Drinkwater 19 Niece living on own means b. Switzerland, British Subject
Charles Ines 33 Butler b. Aconbury, Herefordshire
Ellen Genge 60 Housemaid b. Flint, Flintshire
Selina Bowyer 21 Cook b. Shropshire
Sarah A. Bray 18 Housemaid b. Colwall, Herefordshire
Mary Davies 18 Kitchenmaid b. Herefordshire

Burghill Court Household – 1901

Elinor L. Woodhouse 71 Widow living on own means b. Liverpool Lancashire
Elinor Drinkwater Woodhouse 39 Daughter, living on own means b. Liverpool Lancashire
Martha Gordon Woodhouse 32 Daughter living on own means b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Frances Blanche Maude 20 Visitor b. Kensington, London
Jane Aubrey 32 Cook b. Brecknockshire
Ellen George 70 Housemaid b. Flint, Flintshire
Sarah Ann Anney 32 Housemaid b. Canon Pyon, Herefordshire
Constance Ellen Wilkes 17 Housemaid b. Kings Pyon, Herefordshire
Rosetta Preeece 29 Kitchen Maid b. Weston Beggard, Herefordshire
Edmund Vaine 43 Butler b. Stirling, Scotland

Burghill Court Household – 1911

Elinor L. Woodhouse 81 Widow living on own means b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Elinor Drinkwater Woodhouse 49 Daughter living on own means b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Martha Gordon Woodhouse 42 Daughter living on own means b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Alice Woodhouse 58 b. Cheshire
Annie Bunn 27 Cook b. Worcester
Alice Sarah Anne Probert 25 Housemaid b. Eye, Herefordshire
Beatrice Emma Lewis 18 Housemaid b. Stoke Prior, Herefordshire
Ella Dorothy Powell 16 Kitchenmaid b. Bullingham, Herefordshire
Charles Houghton 29 Butler (and murderer!) b. Cheshire