Kentchurch Court dates back to the 14th century and has been the home of the Scudamore family for all of its long life, currently being cared for by the latest in the long line of Lucas-Scudamores.

The Scudamore family at Kentchurch Court

The Scudamores were hugely influential in the West of England, and the Kentchurch branch became separate from the line that developed at Holme Lacy – their coat of arms consisted of two opposing quarters containing stirrups and leathers, and the other two quarters contain a crossed square with an inverted triangle at the bottom
The crest is a crown, from which a bear’s paw reaches upwards.
The lineage of Scudamores leading up to the 18th century went something like this:
John Scudamore – married Eleanor from Carmarthenshire.
Their son Thomas – married Margaret
His eldest son, James (who lived at the time of Henry 7th) married Joan Sibell Baskerville of Eardisley
Their daughters were co heirs to Kentchurch Court, and daughter Joan married her cousin, Philip Scudamore of Rowlestone.
Their son was John, who leased land in Langua in 1562. H married Margaret Pollard.
Their son was Thomas, who first married Jane Scudamore of Holme Lacy, then Agnes White, and finally Anne Middlemore who was a widow.
His named successor was John Scudamore, who married Amy Starkey of Chester. They had eight sons and one daughter. He died in 1616.
His heir was John, who married Elizabeth Cooke of Highnam, Gloucester. He died in 1670
The next heir was John who married Mary Lloyd of Salop; they had six sons and three daughters
Yet another John then took over Kentchurch Court, and on his death was succeeded by his grandson….
William Scudamore, who married Penelope Lechmere of Hanley Castle. He died in 1741, and as his only son, John, died before he did, Kentchurch Court passed to his cousin.
Now we are getting more up to date.

Col. John Scudamore

John Scudamore was baptised in 1727, and married Sarah Wescombe.
He modernised Kentchurch Court during the 18th century, and in 1773 the interior was totally redesigned but before the renovation could be completed John died and it was not until the 1820s that work continued when his son, John Lucy Scudamore inherited the house.
Col. John Scudamore was a Hereford Magistrate, and he was clearly very cross when he posted the following advertisement in 1794 after poachers attacked the deer on his land:
“Whereas some evil disposed persons did, on Wednesday night, the 23rd inst. Enter Kentchurch Park in this county and wilfully and maliciously kill and destroy three bucks and wound several others; and there being also great reason to apprehend that several other deer were at the same time taken and carried off – Whoever will discover the offender or offenders, so that he or they may be brought to justice, shall receive a reward of Twenty Guineas, to be paid on conviction of each offender, exclusive of the reward allowed by Act of Parliament”
At the time, twenty guineas was a great deal of money, and it must have been very tempting for accomplices in the “evil deed” to come forward with information, especially as John went on to state that if this should happen, there would be no come back on that person or persons.
I suspect that poaching had become an increasing problem for him, and he was coming to the end of his patience.
He died 4th July 1796, was succeeded by his eldest son.

John Scudamore

John was a Colonel in the Duke of Ancaster’s regiment of Light Dragoons, and after the death of his father he was elected MP for Hrereford. He married Lucy Walwyn in 1797
who died in childbirth in 1798. The child lived, and on the death of John in 1805 John Lucy Scudamore inherited the estate.

Col. John Scudamore

Col. John Lucy Scudamore was born in 1798 and died in 1875, and was given Kentchurch Court by his mother.
Poaching was clearly still a big problem on the Estate, and in 1835 John Lucy Scudamore’s tenants jointly expressed great regret at the expense and trouble incurred for the preservation of his game. They decided to preserve the game on their respective farms for the sole use of John Lucy Scudamore, and resolved to prosecute any poachers at their joint expense, even signing a declaration to this effect.

The tenants of Kentchurch Court 1835

William Bill John Price
Thomas Hill James Goode
John Gwillim William Rollands
John Parker Partridge Sims
James Prosser Joseph Garland
Lewis Davis Richard Arther
John Cook William Par
Richard Morgan Thomas Pool
John Beavan David Gilbert
John Woodhill Thomas Williams
William Holley William Lloyd
Thomas Beavan

In 1841 there was still stealing from the Estate, but this time, the poaching was not game but tame rabbits from Kentchurch Court, and James Hoskins of Garway was found guilty at Monmouthshire Quarter Sessions. He was subsequently sentenced to seven years transportation, which sounds incredibly harsh, but to be fair he had only just been released from Hereford gaol where he was held for housebreaking!

The Re-0pening of the Lower Road courtesy of Colonel Scudamore

In 1861 the newspapers reported as follows:
“…We believe that the public generally will be gratified to learn that the road leading from Monmouth Cap to Llanfihangel and Abergavenny, known by the name of the Lower Road, and which for several years past has been impassable, is now undergoing thorough repair by the direction of Colonel Scudamore of Kentchurch Court. This gentleman has recently purchased the road of the railway company. The country will no doubt fully appreciate the privilege of again obtaining the use of a road so desirable as the one in question, on the payment of a moderate toll. “
He proved to be the final in the Kentchurch Court line of true Scudamores, as his only son tragically died as a child in 1832 aged just 9 years.

Laura Adelaide Scudamore

Laura Adelaide, daughter of Colonel John Lucy Scudamore, was born in 1831 and died in 1912; she inherited Kentchurch Court from her father and whilst she married twice she only produced one son courtesy of husband number two whom she married in 1852 – the Hon. Edward Lucas P.C. M.P. of County Monaghan, Ireland. This son was Edward Lucas.

Edward Lucas Scudamore

Edward was born in 1853, and took on the additional surname and arms of SCUDAMORE by Royal Licence on 30th November 1900 thus ensuring that the name of Scudamore continued at Kentchurch Court which was made over to him whilst his mother was still alive.
Educated initially at Eton, he went on to Christ Church Oxford and became a Magistrate for Monmouthshire and Radnorshire; High Sheriff of County Monaghan, and Lt. Colonel and Honorary Colonel 4th Battalion Shropshire Light Infantry.
Edward was selected as the Liberal candidate for the city of Hereford, in opposition to Mr. J.S. Arkwright, and voters were reminded that in 1886 he opposed Sir James Rankin the Leominster, but was heavily defeated.
He married Sybil Frances in December 1900, and died 9th March 1917, leaving a son to take over the Court.
As a matter of interest, George Bernard Shaw was a good friend of Sybil and often paid her a visit.

John Harford Stanhope Lucas Scudamore

John Harford Stanhope Lucas Scudamore was born in 1902 and saw service during WW11 as Lt. Commander. He married three times, the third wife being the only child of the 12th Earl of Chesterfield, the widow Lady Evelyn Patricia. John added Stanhope to his name from this earl.
He had just one son, John Edward Stanhope Lucas Scudamore, who now lives at Kentchurch Court with his wife who is the owner.

Flood at Kentchurch Court

In 1959 the Court suffered a major flood, which caused massive destruction. The carpets on the ground floor were ruined, as were much of the furnishings and much of the house had to be demolished.
However, massive support from volunteers who tirelessly worked to save as much as possible made restoration viable, even though it took some two years for everything to dry out sufficiently for the family to return to the Court.

Very unhelpfully, the Scudamore family were rarely at home at the time of the Census over the years, and mostly just a skeleton staff was manning the fort, so one assumes that the family were either away visiting or up in London perhaps.

Kentchurch Court Household and servants 1841 census

Laura Adelaid Scudamore 10
George Beathem 40
Sarah Beatham 40
Louisa Charles 40

Kentchurch Court Household and servants 1851 census

 

John L. Scudamore 53 Lt. Col. Landed Proprietor, b. London
Laura Scudamore 54 Wife b. Herefordshire
Adelaide Scudamore 19 Daughter, b. London
Martha Powell 42 Servant b. Burghill, Hereford
Elizabeth Holman 20 Servant b. Herefordshire
Catherine Hunt 29 Servant b. Bath Somerset
Elizabeth Bishop 20 Servant b. Bishopstone, Herefordshire
Mary Ann Cooke 30 Servant b. Herefordshire
Frederick Nelson 40 Servant, b. Sweden
James Hutchison 45 Servant b. Scotland
Robert White 29 Servant b. Herefordshire
William King 19 Servant

Kentchurch Court Household 1861 census

 

George Singleton 50 Butler b. Richmond, Surrey
William Heaver 40 Coachman, b. Sussex
Richard Lott 15 Page b. Bristol
Ann Landon 28 Housemaid b. Cambridgeshire
Susan Bayford 36 Housekeeper
Sarah Smith 21 Housemaid b. Radnorshire
Jemima Young 23 Kitchenmaid b. Worcestershire
Harriet Rowland 18 Scullery Maid b. Herefordshire
Alice Coke 21 Kitchenmaid b. Presteign, Radnorshire

 

Kentchurch Court Household 1871 census

Elizabeth Price 25 Housemaid b. Radnorshire
Susan Barrell 20 Kitchenmaid b. Kilpeck Herefordshire
Thomas Williams 26 Groom b. Clodock, Herefordshire
Mary Smith 23 Visitor, kitchenmaid out of employment, b. Garway, Herefordshire

 

Kentchurch Court Household 1881 census

Martha Baker 32 Stillroom Maid b. Huntington, Herefordshire
Rachel Vaughan 20 Housemaid b. Pontypool, Monmouthshire
Robert Pearson 66 Gardener, b. Yorkshire

 

Present day Kentchurch Court

This lovely building is thriving in its new life as a venue for weddings, and it is also open to visitors by appointment.