Newport House was also known as Nieuport House, and stands just under a mile out of Almeley village in beautiful countryside; although there is no known architect it is assumed that it was a mason from either Hereford or Worcester.
The original medieval house is said to have been inhabited by Sir John Oldcastle – the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Falstaff, and a Lollard martyr. You can read all about him by clicking on the link at the top right of this page.
The Foley Family and Newport House
The house was owned by Thomas Pember and his brothers, and when they put it up for sale in 1712 it was bought by Lord Foley of Whitley Court who set about tearing it down and then building the rather splendid house which was completed in around 1718. Lord Foley was an ironmaster and had bought many properties in Herefordshire, and eventually he passed Newport House to his cousin, Paul Foley, who was a lawyer.
Paul Foley died in 1730, and as he had no heir Newport House passed to his nephew, Thomas Foley of Stoke Edith but none of these gentlemen spent a great deal of time at the house as they had other residences. The house however remained owned by the Foley family until 1863, and Miss Elizabeth Foley, eldest daughter of the Hon. Andrew Foley, spent a great deal of time and money looking after the poor of Almeley; for example every year she donated fine fat heifers (butchered by a local butcher) and large amounts of wheat for the poor on St. Thomas’s Day.
Elizabeth Foley died on 3rd December 1861 in London.
James Watt Gibbs
Newport House was sold by Richard Foley Onslow to James Watt Gibbs, the grandson of James Watt (famous for his steam engine). James remained there for ten years making many alterations and additions as well as substantially improving the garden and grounds.
Over the ensuing years Newport House had many owners, and was tenanted much of the time, until it was bought by the council in 1919 who converted it into a TB hospital. After the Second World War, in 1953 it became a home for Latvians until 1996 when property developers bought it but thankfully left it as it was. Since then it has been owned by people who have extensively renovated and improved the house and gardens.
1871 – Newport House Household
|David Binning||34||Gardener||b. Scotland|
|Margret Binning||40||Wife||b. Scotland|
|Fanny Tedstone||23||Domestic Servant||b. Knighton, Wales|
The following from the census return is a little iffy in translation, but the handwriting of the enumerator was appalling.
As with the 1871 census, the owners of Newport House were absent on census night.
1881 – Newport House Household
|Thomas Chambers||29 (?)||Butler||b. Staffordshire|
|Charles Slugs||26||Footman||b. Yorkshire|
|James Thomas||16||Hall Boy||b. almeley, Herefordshire|
|William Grimthorpe||19||Helper in Stables||b. Hereford|
|James Davies||20||Helper in Stables||b. Hereford|
|Thomas Paton||21||Helper in Stables||b. Hereford|
|Mary Williams||35||Housekeeper||b. Denby, Worcestershire|
|Sarah Thomas||29||Nurse||b. Berkshire|
|Elizabeth King||23||Housemaid||b. Dorset|
|Martha Heldsmith||18||Kitchenmaid||b. Herefordshire|
|Ellen Hatcher||25||Housemaid||b. London|
|Susannah Hope (?)||19||Housemaid||b. Radnor, Radnorshire|
|Jane James||17||Scullery Maid||b. Pembridge, Herefordshire|
1891 – Newport House Household
|William B. Giles||35||Surgeon||b. Staunton on Wye, Herefordshire|
|Ellen A. Giles||30||Wife||b. Liverpool, Lancashire|
|Amie B. Giles||9 mths||Daughter||b. Staunton on Wye, Herefordshire|
|Caroline B. Giles||64||Mother, living on own means||b. St. Nicholas, Herefordshire|
|Caroline B. Giles||36||Sister||b. Staunton on Wye, Herefordshire|
|Charles Giles||38||Visitor, Broker||b. Tenbury, Worcestershire|
|Harriet Shepperd||35||Cook||b. Wiltshire|
|Mary Probert||18||Kitchenmaid||b. Smallbrook, Wiltshire|
|Sarah Lewis||27||Housemaid||b. Garway, Herefordshire|
|Marie Matthews||20||Housemaid||b. Moccas, Herefordshire|
|Catherine Isaacs||34||Nurse||b. Zurich, Switzerland|
|Martha Parry||15||Nurse||b. Newport, Monmouth|
|Elizabeth Thomas||16||Scullery Maid||b. Kington, Herefordshire|
|Charles Richards||12||Page Boy||b. Broadway, Worcestershire|
1901 – Newport House Household
|Richard W. Vigors||79||Clerk in Holy Orders||b. b. Ross on Wye, Herefordshire|
|T.R. Decliffe Vigors||30||Son||b. Littleton, Gloucestershire|
|Jean Beckton||29||Hospital Nurse||b. South Bank, Yorkshire|
|E. Moore||20||Housemaid||b. Longhope, Gloucestershire|
|W.E. Leyland||14||Scullery Maid|
|A Gazzard||16||Pantry Maid|
|W.A. Bounds||18||Kitchenmaid||b. Green End, Presteign, Radnorshire|
|Emma Peake||44||Cook||b. Norfolk|
|Mary A. Hall||37||Parlour Maid||b. Yazor, Herefordshire|
|Alice Hall||24||Sewing Maid||b. Hampton Bishop, Herefordshire|
1911 – Newport House Household
|Richard W. Vigors||88||Late clerk in Holy Orders||b. Ross on Wye, Herefordshire|
|Emily Vigors||74||Wife, private means||b. Gloucestershire|
|DeCliffe Vigors||40||Son, Gentleman||b. Littleton, Gloucestershire|
|R. Percy L. Vigors||38||Son, Gentleman||b. Littleton, Gloucestershire|
|Olive M. Vigors||28||Daughter in Law, private means||b. Woolwich|
|Philip Urban Vigors||35||Son, Gentleman||b. Littleton, Gloucestershire|
|Jean A. Beckton||39||Sick Nurse||b. South Bank, Yorkshire|
|Mary Walker||27||Housemaid||b. Gloucestershire|
|Sarah A. Ricketts||28||Cook||b. Herefordshire|
|Emily Ricketts||26||Parlourmaid||b. Dilwyn, Herefordshire|
|Rose Knight||19||Housemaid||b. Dilwyn, Herefordshire|
|Florence Ferris||21||Kitchenmaid||b. Yatton, Herefordshire|
|Sarah Bigglestone||18||Parlourmaid||b. Norton Canon, Herefordshire|
|Nellie Pocknall||19||Housemaid||b. Fownhope, Herefordshire|
|Louise Tong||16||Scullery Maid||b. Clifford, Herefordshire|