The village of Kings Caple, nearly five miles from Ross on Wye, gained its name by dint of the fact that during the time of the Norman Conquest the residents were Welsh speaking people who owed allegiance to English kings – as opposed to neighbouring How Caple and Caplefore (Brockhampton) which belonged to the Canons of Hereford Cathedral.

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News from the Past Kings Caple

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  • Aramstone Court History

    The original Aramstone House dated back to the early 17th century, when it was owned by the Marrett family, then it passed to the Woodhouse family through marriage.  Francis Woodhouse rebuilt the house in around 1730 and it stood in gorgeous grounds close to the River Wye.  Outside features included an ice house;  a cold bath, glasshouses and a dovecote.

    In 1793 The Woodhouses moved away and Aramstone House was advertised for let, either furnished or unfurnished, for 3, 5 or 7 years and described thus:

    Description of Aramstone House

    Situated on a beautiful dry, healthy healthy spot on the banks of the river Wye in the parish of Kings Caple, a huge red brick mansion, consisting of a breakfast parlour;  dining parlour;  drawing room;  another parlour;  library;  housekeeper’s room;  six bedrooms on the first floor and six in the attic, with dressing rooms and closets.  New stove grates and other grates in all rooms.

    Servants hall;  butlers pantry;  kitchen;  Brewhouse;  dairy;  larder and other offices, with servants bedrooms;  very large vaulted cellars;  and excellent stables for twenty horses.  Coach houses for five carriages;  two large granaries;  a dove house;  large walled garden;  two hot houses;  forcing house;  greenhouse;  icehouse;  cold bath, shrubberies and pleasure grounds.

    It took some  time before a suitable tenant was found for this impressive house.

    1808 – Aramstone House

    In 1808, Aramstone House was once again up for rent, then in 1814 John Woodhouse was back in his family seat (or one of them anyway – he also owned Yatton Court in Aymestry), and he remained there for many years before finally putting the house up for auction in 1865, at which time Vice Admiral Hillyar was in residence.  He was followed by the Rev. Clement Ley, and I assume (but may be wrong of course) that the house didn’t sell and these two people were tenants.

    It does seem that one way and another, descendants of John Woodhouse retained ownership of Aramstone House until the mid 20th century.


    In 1861 Aramstone House was being looked after by a caretaker.

    1871 – Aramstone  House Household

    Robert Wyndham Smith 60 Landowner b.Monmouthshire
    Alice Woodhouse Smith 30 Wife b. Yatton Court, Aymestry, Herefordshire
    Robert Wyndham Smith Woodhouse 5 Son b. Bridstow, Herefordshire
    John Wyndham Smith Woodhouse 4 Son b. Bridstow,Herefordshire
    Elija Edward Thomas 27 Coachman b. Shrewsbury, Shropshire
    George Davis 25 Footman b. Bromfield, Shropshire
    Ann Moore 50 Cook b. Durham
    Selina Davis 29 Nurse b. Wiltshire
    Emma Davies 22 Housemaid b. Shropshire
    Alice Spencer 19 Kitchenmaid b. Herefordshire


    1881 – Aramstone House Household

    Robert Wyndham Smith 70 Landed Proprietor b. Monmouthshire
    Alice Wyndham Smith 40 Wife b. Yatton Court, Aymestry, Herefordshire
    Laura Portman 48 Cook b. Hay on Wye, Breconshire
    Selina Davies 38 Housemaid b. Studley, Wiltshire
    Jane Price 20 Under Housemaid b. Kington, Herefordshire
    John Pugh 28 Butler b. Clunbury, Shropshire
    Edward Rice 16 Under Groom b. Gloucestershire


    1891 – Aramstone House Household

    Robert Wyndham Woodhouse Smith 25 Living on own means b. Bridstow, Herefordshire
    John Wyndham Woodhouse Smith 24 Living on own means b.Bridstow, Herefordshire
    Thomas Jones 71 Retired Farmer b. Monmouthshire
    Louisa Jones 39 Housekeeper b. Abbeydore, Herefordshire
    Elizabeth White 49 Widow, Cook b. Gloucestershire
    Annie ? 32 Parlourmaid b. Birley, Herefordshire
    Elizabeth Heatton 17 Kitchenmaid b. Bridstow, Herefordshire
    Alfred Evans 16 Stable Boy b. Peterstow, Herefordshire


    1901 – Aramstone House Household

    William Forsyth 51  Indian Medical Surgeon b. Scotland
    Ada Drummond Forsyth 36 Wife b. Scotland
    Aileen May Drummond Forsyth 11 Daughter b. India
    Eden G. Drummond Forsyth 5 Daughter b. India
    James Arthur Robinson 40 India Civil Service b. India
    Minnie Bolton 36 Nurse b. Surrey
    Mary Ann Griffiths 23 Housemaid b. Abergavenny, Mondmouthshire
    Mary Prothero 48 Cook b. Radnorshire
    Jane Cooper 15 Kitchenmaid b.Little Dewchurch, Herefordshire
    Rose Kathleen Harris 18 Housemaid b. Kings Caple, Herefordshire
    Alfred Bishop 17 Houseboy b. Hoarwithy, Herefordshire


    Mr. Lea in residence;  outbreak of fire in the storeroom which destroyed books chairs and other articles.  The fire was thought to be caused by mice nibbling matches and causing them to ignite.


    1911 Aramstone House Household

    Horace William Plews Waters 44 Retired Army Captain b.Norfolk
    Isobella Waters 40 Wife b. Cheshire
    Ann Robinson 80 Nurse b. Cheshire
    Alfred Mitchell 27 Servant b. Perthshire
    Gertrude Jackson 26 Servant b. Bosbury, Herefordshire
    Lizzie Hodges 16 Servant b. Kings Caple, Herefordshire
    Martha Lotte Dawe 26 Servant b. Herefordshire
    Laura Dorothy Girling 25 Servant b.Herefordshire


    In 1957 the then owner, Mrs. Barbara Wyndham Williams found herself unable  to cope with the heavy burden of taxation on the house coupled with urgently required repairs and modernisation and decided to demolish Aramstone unless a new tenant could immediately be found. She estimated that at least £10,000 would be needed for the repairs alone.


    However, the Minister of Housing and Local Government held an enquiry to decide whether to confirm a provisional order that he had made to restrict any alteration or demolition of the house.

    As a result of that enquiry, the Minister said that nothing should be done until a scheduled article about Aramstone House had appeared in a national Magazine, in the hope that it would provoke interest from a suitable tenant.

    Sadly, despite the magazine plug the house remained empty and Aramstone House was demolished later that year;  it was not the only one to suffer this fate, and several other wonderful and very old houses were destroyed at this time in history.

    Some of the garden features survive, including the ice house and dovecote.


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