The Manor of Burton Court dates from around the 11th century, but the present house originated in the 14th century with rebuilds in the nineteenth century. Further work was carried out in 1912. The following photograph was kindly provided by Edward Simpson of Burton Court, which is enjoying a new lease of life as a hugely popular venue for weddings, as well as providing facilities for conferences etc.
If you are ever in the area, then a guided tour would not only fill a few pleasant hours, but would also help bring the history of this lovely building to life.
The Brewster family at Burton Court
The Brewster family appeared in mid 17th century, and it was John Brewster from neighbouring Gloucestershire who bought Burton court in April 1662. He and his wife Margaret had two sons, William and John, William was described as “middle sized, lame, and stump footed” which might account for the fact that he became scholarly rather than pursuing energetic outdoor activities, and which resulted in him becoming the well known Dr William Brewster of Hereford who was an eminent scholar with an impressive collection of important books. He died in 1715 leaving many of these books to All Saints Church Hereford, where they formed the famous chained library which can now be seen in Hereford Cathedral, where he himself was buried.
Margaret died when William was only three and a half years old, and she was buried at Eardisland on 18th April 1669, following which her widower John took himself a new, and much younger, wife in the shape of Blanche Howarth and they duly had a daughter, Elizabeth, followed by three more children.
Painting by unknown artist of Elizabeth Brewster, dated 1690. Please note the wording attached to the painting, as it is one of the few images on this site that cannot be freely taken.
Reproduced by permission of Hereford Museum and Art Gallery, Hereford Museum Service. Please contact the museum for permission to use this image firstname.lastname@example.org
John had settled Burton Court on this second wife, Blanche shortly after the birth of their first daughter, and after his death on 10th May 1684 he was buried in Eardisland Parish Church near to the grave of his first wife.
Blanche was Lady of the Manor of Burton as stipulated by John, and she remarried two years after his death, her new husband being Thomas de la Hay of Peterchurch, a widower. After this second husband died, in 1698 she settled Burton Court on her son Benjamin and upon his marriage he took up residence. They had three sons, and one daughter although they tragically lost their second son in 1706.
Benjamin died in 1737, and his wife shortly afterwards, and there followed a line of succession of Brewsters residing at Burton Court, until in 1774 John Brewster was left as the last surviving male member of the family at Burton Court where he lived with his ageing mother, Margaret; his wife Anne and daughters Margaret and Anna.
The Evans family at Burton Court
In 1782, daughter Margaret married William Evans, son of Arthur Evans of Buckland in the parish of Docklow, and by 1796 only an ageing John and his other daughter Anna remained in residence at Burton Court, his mother and wife both having died. After his death in 1804 his two daughters were joint heiresses, with only the unmarried Anna living at Burton Court and she made a will the contents of which she hoped would prevent her sister Margaret’s husband from ever getting his hands on Burton Court. Of course, with him being entitled by right of marriage to half of Margaret’s possessions this was never going to work and after Anna died in 1811 aged only thirty nine, the next Lord and Lady of the Manor were William Evans and his wife Margaret. They both died in 1822, and thus the occupation of Burton Court passed to the Evans family. Memorial in St. Mary the Virgin, Eardisland
Rev W.E. Evans
In 1830 the Rev. W.E. Evans, the youngest son of J. Evans M.D., married Elizabeth Evans, one of his cousins, who had inherited Burton Court. He had been educated at Cambridge and after taking Holy Orders became Curate of Llanymynech in Shropshire. In 1841 he was appointed prebendary of Hereford.
Rev. W.E. Evans was on the provisional Committee, and was a shareholder of the Welsh Midland Railway, which was to connect Birmingham with Swansea via Worcester, Leominster, Ludlow, Hereford, The Hay, Brecon, Llandovery, Llandilo. Capital to be raised was three and a half million pounds in 70 thousand shares. He became Canon of Hereford Cathedral and wrote several books which received acclaim, including one called “The Songs of the Birds” (or analogies of animal and spiritual life), which was re published after his death.
Burton Court Household – 1841 Census
|William E. Evans||b.1802||b. Shrewsbury|
|Elizabeth Evans||b.1801||b. Herefordshire|
|Mary Ann Evans||b. Herefordshire|
|William B. Evans||b. 1833||b. Herefordshire|
|Robert H. Evans||b. 1835||b. Herefordshire|
|Eliza Evans||b.1838||b. Herefordshire|
|Edward A. Evans||b. 1840||b. Herefordshire|
|Eliza Watkins||b.1768||b. Herefordshire|
Burton Court Household and Servants – 1851 Census
|William E. Evans||b.1802||Vicar of Madley b. Shrewsbury|
|Elizabeth Evans||b.1801||Wife b. Herefordshire|
|Elizabeth Jane Evans||b.1839||Daughter b. Burton Court, Herefordshire|
|Arthur Edward Evans||b.1841||Son b. Burton Court, Herefordshire|
|Emma Phillips||b.1823||Governess b. London|
|John Lomax||b.1831||Visitor b. Bury St. Edmonds|
|Martha Thomas||b.1837||Cook and Housekeeper b. Eardisland, Herefordshire|
|Jane Morris||b.1818||Maid b. Kingsland, Herefordshire|
|Margaret Williams||b.1831||Housemaid b. Monkland, Herefordshire|
|Clarinda Hodges||b.1832||Young Lady’s Maid b. Lydbrook, Gloucestershire|
|Mary Butcher||b.1832||Kitchen Maid b. Leominster, Herefordshire|
|Edward Gardner||b.1825||Footman b. Ross on Wye, Herefordshire|
|Thomas Williams||b.1829||Coachman b. Radnorshire|
Burton Court Household and Servants – 1871 Census
|John Clowes||b.1823||Derbyshire landowner and Magistrate, b. Sutton on the Hill|
|Peter Leigh Clowes||b.1854||Son b. Lancashire|
|Caroline Clowes||b.1855||Daughter b. Lancashire|
|George Gooch Clowes||b.1835||Visitor b. Egginton, Derbyshire|
|Emily King||b. 1835||Governess b. Newbury, Berkshire|
|Emma Soulinson||b.1835||Housekeeper b. Staffordshire|
|Anna Howlett||b.1842||Lady’s Maid b. Norfolk|
|Eliza Matthews||b.1844||Housemaid b. Monkland, Herefordshire|
|Mary A. Bayliss||b.1852||Under Housemaid b. Linton, Herefordshire|
|Jane Browfield||b.1851||Kitchen Maid b. Bristol|
|Elizabeth Taylor||b.1855||Scullery Maid b. Woolhope, Herefordshire|
|James Rodgers||b.1830||Under Houseman b. Radnorshire|
|Charles Machin||b.1855||Footman b. Edith Weston, Rutland|
|Thomas Glover||b.1842||Coachman, Staffordshire|
It is believed that in late 1873, John Clowes retired to his other property, Wardour Lodge, Sunningdale, Berkshire, leaving Burton Court available for rent until such time as his son married and took over the manor.
Burton Court Household and Servants – 1881 Census
|George Arbuthnot||b 1836||Lt. col. R.A retired. B. Madras, East Indies|
|Frances M.Arbuthnot||b.1872||Daughter b. London|
|John B. Arbuthnot||b.1876||Son b. London|
|Dorothy G. Arbuthnot||b.1878||Daughter b. London|
|Mary C. Arbuthnot||b.1880||Daughter b. London|
|John R. Symonds||b.1851||Visitor, Solicitor b. Hereford|
|Constance F. Playford||b.1857||Governess, b. Worth|
|Eliza A. Benmore||b. 1844||Housekeeper b. Bath|
|Priscilla R. Hunt||b.854||Nurse b. Downend|
|Ruth Brewster||b.1862||Under Nurse b. Suffolk|
|Julia Clarke||b.1866||Nursery Maid b. Flintshire|
|Fanny Andrews||b.1859||Housemaid b. Hampshire|
|Emma Watkins||b.1856||Housemaid b. Woolhope, Herefordshire|
|Sara Hulse||b.1854||Kitchenmaid b. Bodington, Herefordshire|
|Clara Smith||b.1862||Scullery Maid b. Farnham|
|Jane Ashburner||b.1852||Lady’s Maid b. Cumberland|
|William Jones||b.1862||Footman, b. London|
|Mary Hill||b.1821||General Servant b. Hereford|
The Clowes family at Burton Court
In September 1864, Burton Court was bought by John Clowes, a kindly gentleman who with his wife did a great deal for the village of Eardisland; they took a huge interest in the cricket matches and would provide teas which were served by local ladies from the village; they also held shoots and tennis parties at the Court, to which people would travel from miles around. Mrs. Clowes had an imposing black horse, on which she rode around the area, which with a somewhat stern countenance gave her the impression of being somewhat intimidating – however she had a very soft spot for the village children, and gave vast parties for them, especially at Christmas.
George Arbuthnot and Burton Court
Thus it was that George Arbuthnot and his family took up residence for a few years, until they moved to Norton Court in Gloucestershire. It is entirely possible, given that both John Clowes and George Arbuthnot were important military men, and that they both had strong connections with Sunningdale, that they were good friends and some sort of agreement may have been made so that in fact is was more that Burton Court was loaned to the Arbuthnots and not rented.
Whatever the arrangement, the Arbuthnots moved from Chelsea to Herefordshire after Lt. Col. R.A George Arbuthnot retired from the army life. He was born in Madras on 9th June 1836 and was educated at Eton.
He entered the army in 1855 and progressed from Captain, through Major to Lt. Colonel and served in India and Abyssinia and was mentioned in despatches three times. Once retired, he kept himself busy as M.P. for Hereford 1871 – 1874 and 1878 – 1889. Then on his move to Norton Court in Gloucestershire he became J.P for Gloucester, and J.P. and D.L for Hereford. He died 26th December 1912 at Hillingdon Middlesex, and was buried at Sunningdale.
In 1895 by Deed of Settlement in anticipation of marriage to Edith Emily Warren, John Clowes settled Burton Court and the Lordship of the Manor on his son Peter Legh Clowes . Ediths father was George Warren (of the Warren Steamship Line) of Woolton, Liverpool. The marriage took place in Leighton Buzzard, on 18th September.
Colonel Peter Legh Clowes was a serving Army Officer and commanded his Regiment in the South Africa Campaign 1897-1901; upon his return he went back to Burton Court and settled to civilian life. He had one son, Warren Peter Clowes, born in Kensington, who was commissioned into the 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars and who was killed in action in France on 30th March 1918, and when Peter himself died on 23rd February 1925 his wife Edith inherited the estate. She was some twelve years younger than her husband, and continued to run Burton Court and the Estate as well as she could until her eventual death in late 1949.
Colonel Peter Clowes left over £40,000 in his will, and Edith left over £126,000. The estate was sold off in lots in 1926.