Dulas Court is an 18th century mansion house built on the site of a 16th century house, which was rebuilt and improved for Colonel Feilden in the mid 19th century; it is now a Care Home.
In 1827 Dulas Court was put up for sale by auction by the owner Mr. Parry, and was described as “ a large, substantial mansion house with outhouses and buildings; 333 acres of land comprising arable, meadow and pasture with woodlands; also the Advowson or Presentation of a Minister to the perpetual care of the parish of Dulas, the present incumbent whereof is 89 years and upwards. Also the manor or lordship of Kavanback with all the rights and appurtenances thereto belonging”.
“The estate is very compact and is capable of producing sufficient fruit to make 100 hogsheads of cider a year. It is well supplied with water and has a constant stream running through the centre”.
James M. Parsons Hopton
In 1845 James Parsons Hopton married Miss Poole, the eldest daughter of Edward Poole of The Homend, and the occasion was reported with great rapture – it was very evident how highly esteemed the Hopton family was.
The village of Ewias (Ewyas) Harold was transformed after a good month’s work by the residents – it had been decided that a subscription was needed to carry out all the preparations and people held the Hoptons and Pooles in such high regard that the money was raised in no time at all.
Firstly a fine heifer was bought with a due proportion of cider to regale the labourers of Ewias (Ewyas) Harold and Dulas, and arrangements were made for the poor women and children to feast on plum cake and cider. Every house was decorated, and on the morning of the wedding the bells of the church “pealed forth their brazen harmony” and a battery of cannon at Ewias Harold “thundered forth an invitation to the inhabitants of the surrounding neighbourhood to hasten to the scene of the approaching festivity”.
“In the air, a thousand streamers flaunted fair,
Various in shape, device and hue –
Green sanguine, purple, red and blue,
Broad, narrow, swallow-tailed and square,
Scroll, pennon, pencil, bandrol there,
O’er every dwelling flew”
There were wonderful arches with inscriptions of good wishes for the couple, and beautiful decorations everywhere.
At 2 o’clock people sat down to an excellent dinner at the Dog Inn after which were the usual speeches and toasts; Mr. Parry’s band was in attendance, and eventually it led nearly two thousand people in procession from the Dog Inn to Pontrilas Bridge where they were received with much cheering. On returning, the band marched next to the carriage playing the favourite airs on these occasions.
Mr. J. Lewis of the Trap House with his good lady liberally plied 200 women and children with tea and plum cake, and the Sunday school children of Abbey Dore were also given tea and plum cake by Mrs. Wm. Gough. Why was it ALWAYS plum cake?!)
Mr. J. Hopton, with his usual kindness gave all his tradesmen and labourers a wonderful dinner at Dulas Court, with a sumptuous dinner also being provided for his tenantry at the Lion Inn, Abbey Dore.
James was a Magistrate and also a Captain in the North Gloucester Militia.
Christmas at Dulas
The poor of the parishes of Ewias Harold and Dulas were always well supplied with both beef and coal, the gift of James M.P. Hopton, and his wife was in the habit of distributing warm clothing to the poor at Christmas.
On Christmas Eve in 1851 for example, more than sixty boys and girls who were scholars of the National School of Ewyas Harold were given a feast of roast beef, puddings etc. supplied by Mrs. James Hopton, after being given the pleasant task of drawing the enormous Yule log which was blazing in the fireplace of the ancient dining room.
On Christmas Day itself, fifty three servants and workmen along with their wives feasted on old English food in the entrance hall of Dulas Court, in the company of their much respected employer J.P. Hopton and his wife.
On New Year’s Eve a ball was laid on for the tenantry and tradesmen.
All in all, it is clear that the Hoptons were a kind and generous family, and were much loved in return.
1853 James Hopton gave up his mountain farm and sold the whole of his celebrated flock of mountain sheep which had been carefully bred by crosses from Jonas Webb’s Downs and Mr. Edwards Shropshire Downs.
He also sold a great deal of livestock from Dulas Court, including 16 prime Herefordshire cows and heifers; fat sheep; ewes and lambs; many horses and 2 pigs. Also a thrashing machine and a broad wheel waggon; also an assortment of farming tools and an excellent gig and harness plus a 4 wheeled carriage.
The death of James Michael Parsons Hopton
James Michael Parsons Hopton died on 8th November 1855 at Cirencester from injuries caused by the upset of his dog cart. He was 46.
James had been driving the dog cart in Earl Bathurst’s park near Cirencester, with his wife and groom alongside. For some reason the horses became spooked and the groom jumped down hoping to reach the horses’ heads in order to calm them, but he never made it and the dog car was overturned with both James and his wife being thrown to the ground with some force. The groom rushed to help the pair who were unconscious, and then sought help – the injured couple were taken home and medical aid was administered, but Captain Hopton had multiple injuries including severe concussion of the brain from which he never recovered.
Mrs. Hopton, although seriously hurt did recover physically but was dreadfully shocked by the death of her husband, who was later described as being a senior captain in the militia and much loved by his brother officers and men. In the locality of Dulas, his loss was deeply regretted; he was an affectionate husband and parent; a kind landlord; a most friendly county gentleman and an inestimable friend to the poor.
James died intestate.
Dulas Court for Sale in 1857
In 1857 Dulas court along with 333 acres of land was put up for auction, and the following year all the household furniture was put up for sale:
“principally in deeply carved oak and marqueterie; comprising suitable appointments for two reception rooms and four bedrooms, selected at great expense and of corresponding character, presenting an opportunity rarely met with to purchase articles of this description.
Tapestry suitably fitted for four bedrooms; Turkey and other carpets; the furniture for seven other bedrooms; 14 goose feather beds in good condition; sets of blankets, counterpanes with usual appointments; Indian and other china; cut and engraved glass; a large collection of sporting requisites; large and small telescopes; numerous pieces of deeply carved oak; oil paintings; prints and engravings; sundry lots of gold coins from Charles 1st; ditto of silver from Edward 6th; ditto of copper; various ditto of medals; library of books; superior old port; 50 dozens of bottled cider; kitchen and culinary articles; stoves, engines etc.
Following this sale, a whole wealth of wines; Madeira; Sherry, brandy etc. as well as paintings; telescopes; rifle; spirit level and sundry other effects which were unsold before, an auction was arranged for later in the month of May.
Lt. Col. Robert Feilden was born in 1824 in Canterbury, Kent, being one of the Rev. Robert Mosley’s three sons.
He became known as the Warrior Son, and led the advance guard at the Seige of Sebastapol whilst serving in the 44th Regiment of Foot.
He married Louisa Willis in 1858 and although the couple had five children, she tragically died after giving birth to a stillborn baby in 1868.
When he took over Dulas Court he set about major renovations and improvements, and also had a church built within the grounds.
In 1861 Robert Feilden resigned his commission as Captain in the 1st Herefordshire Rifle Volunteer Corps in order to be appointed Lieutenant Colonel in the 1st Administrative Battalion.
Battallion Drill at Kington
The third battalion drill of the season of the Herefordshire Rifle Volunteers took place in August 1863 in Kington. The Volunteers were not so numerous as was expected, but the companies of Hereford, Leominster, Ross, Ledbury and Bromyard arrived by train in the morning, where many of the Kington Volunteers with their great little brass band were waiting.
The Battallion marched into Kington commanded by Col. Feilden who had also arrived by train with the Hereford brass band.
Kington welcomed the Battallion with pretty decorations, each shop sporting patriotic flags: (this is an interesting snapshot of the shops at the time)
Kington Shops in 1863
Mr. Davies, Grocer
Mr. Cook, Nag’s Head
Mr. Meredith, draper,
Mrs. Wishlade, butcher,
Mr. T. Luntley, Tailor
Mrs. Stanway, chemist
Mr. J. Morris, shoemaker
Mr. Pearce, chemist
Mr. T. Skarratt, draper
Mr. H. Skarratt, jeweller
Mr. A.E.Purchase, grocer
Mr. Powell, Lamb Inn
Mr. H.W. Morris, chemist
Mr. Parker, draper
Mr. Welson, wine vaults
Mr. Price, White Horse
Mr. H. Hatton, butcher
Mr. Hurry, printer
Mr. Davies, baker
Mr. James Peene, ironmonger
Mr. John Boulter, boot maker
In 1863 he was nominated for the office of High Sheriff, a post that he later took up.
He died at Dulas Court in 1874
Dulas Court Household 1851
|James M.P. Hopton||42||Magistrate, Farmer||b. City of Hereford|
|Mary Williams||39||Housekeeper||b. Kinnersley, Herefordshire|
|Ellen Holly||21||Cook and housemaid||b. St. Devereaux, Herefordshire|
|Sarah Holly||17||Laundrymaid||b. Bacton, Herefordshire|
|Ann Watkins||20||Dairymaid||b. Abbeydore, Herefordshire|
|Thos Leal||14||Servant||b. Worcestershire|
|Thos. Pendry||20||Cowman||b. Herefordshire|
|Thos. Jones||50||Carter’s boy||b. Dulas, Herefordshire|
Dulas Court Household 1861
|Robert Feilden||37||Lieutenant Colonel, Army, retired||b. Canterbury, Kent|
|Louisa W. Feilden||25||Wife||b. London, Middlesex|
|Herbert R. Feilden||2||Son||b. Witton, Lancashire|
|Frances L. Feilden||0||Daughter||b. Witton Lancashire|
|Edward G. Streatfeild||34||Visitor, Army Captain, retired||b. Sevenoaks, Kent|
|Mary Francis||46||Housekeeper||b. Shropshire|
|Eliza Mitchel||37||Nurse||b. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire|
|Mary Guildford||25||Lady’s Maid||b. Adderbury, Shropshire|
|Elizabeth Westcott||35||Housemaid||b. Highbury, Devon|
|Elizabeth Rowe||18||Housemaid||b. Shropshire|
|Mary Hague||18||Kitchen Maid||b. Blackburn, Lancashire|
|John Hoey||38||Butler||b. Ireland|
|John Nicholas||34||Coachman||b. Holmer, Herefordshire|
|Thomas Watkins||13||Errand Boy||b. Herefordshire|
Dulas Court Household 1871
|Robert Feilden||47||Lt. Colonel, 44th Reg. retired, widower||b. Canterbury, Kent|
|Herbert R. Feilden||12||Son||b. Witton, Lancashire|
|Robert B. Feilden||6||Son|
|Frances L. Feilden||10||Daughter||b. Witton, Lancashire|
|Evelyn C. W. Feilden||8||Daughter||b. Herefordshire|
|Martha A. Bailey||33||Governess||b. Middlesex|
|Ann Peat||48||Housekeeper||b. Leicestershire|
|Mary E. Whitworth||57||Nurse||b. Stepney, Middlesex|
|Martha Goodman||32||Housemaid||b. Middlesex|
|Eliza Griffiths||19||Domestic servant||b. Cheshire|
|Elizabeth Whale||20||Domestic servant||b. Wiltshire|
|Harriet Rogers||18||Domestic servant||b. Broadway, Worcestershire|
|Rhoda Woodley||18||Domestic Servant||b. Oxfordshire|
|Hannah Hampson||17||Domestic Servant||b. Salop|
|James Lewis||22||Coachman||b. Audley, Herefordshire|
|John Tailor||19||Footman||b. Salop|
Dulas Court Household 1881
|John T.C. Stacey||53||Clergyman Church of England without Cure of Souls||b. Cardiff, Glamorganshire|
|Emilia Blanche Stacey||38||Wife||b. Cardiff, Glamorganshire|
|Mary Stacey||18||Daughter||b. Kittisford, Somerset|
|Jane Stacey||16||Daughter||b. Whitchurch, Glamorganshire|
|Isabel Stacey||9||Daughter||b. Tockington, Gloucestershire|
|Thomas Stacey||7||Son||b. Tockington, Gloucestershire|
|Frances S. Cookson||26||Governess||b. London, Middlesex|
|Benjamin Daniel||50||Head Gardener||b. Cardiganshire|
|Albert Payne||34||Butler||b. Oxfordshire|
|George Neville||22||Footman||b. Gloucestershire|
|Mary Daniel||55||Cook, temporary||b. Fishguard, Pembrokeshire|
|Clara Susan Dingle||27||Lady’s Maid||b. Devon|
|Mary Handley||19||Childrens’ Maid||b. Hereford, Herefordshire|
|Jane Trills||32||b. Hereford, Herefordshire|
|Elizabeth Tucker||23||Housemaid||b. Somerset|
|Fanny Grubb||19||Laundrymaid||b. Herefordshire|
|Sarah Vale||20||Schoolroom Maid||b. Herefordshire|
|Fanny Magness||18||Kitchen Maid||b. Herefordshire|
|Margaret Williams||14||Housemaid||b. Glamorganshire|
Dulas Court Household 1891
|Cecil Butler||45||Living on own means||b. London, Middlesex|
|Alice Butler||34||Wife||b. Woolwich, Kent|
|Cecilia F. Butler||3||Daughter||b. Warwickshire|
|John William Dowsan||31||Butler||b. Yorkshire|
|Mary Barnes||51||Cook||b. Essex|
|Emma Hunt||21||Nursery Maid||b. Warwickshire|
|Annie E.L. Curtis||23||Laundress||b. London, Middlesex|
|Emma Croft||41||Lady’s Maid||b. Kent|
|Edward Jones||12||Poultry Boy||b. Herefordshire|
|William S. McEvan||17||Garden Labourer||b. Scotland|
|William G. Walker||17||Stable Boy||b. Herefordshire|
|Mary Lorkin||27||Housemaid||b. Scotland|
|Annie Jenkins||23||Housemaid||b. Herefordshire|
Dulas Court Household 1901
|John C.J. Drake||66||Retired Army Officer||b. Amersham, Buckinghamshire|
|Lydia M.J. Drake||66||Wife||b. Topsham, Devon|
|Mary E.H.J. Drake||38||Daughter||b. Topsham, Devon|
|Gertrude C.J. Drake||33||Daughter||b. Topsham, Devon|
|Ellen Simons||37||Housemaid||b. Priddington, Oxon|
|Fanny Ball||47||Lady’s Maid||b. Amersham, Buckinghamshire|
|Aida E. Morris||20||Cook||b. Welsh Newton, Herefordshire|
|Henry Westrope||39||Butler||b. High Wycombe, Bucks|
Dulas Court Household 1911
|John Charles T. Drake||76||Widower of independent means||b. Amersham, Buckinghamshire|
|Gertrude Cecilia J. Drake||42||Daughter||b. Topsham, Devon|
|Charles Horden||20||Servant||b. Norwich, Norfolk|
|William Holt||17||Servant||b. Arncote, Oxon|
|Alice Preece||29||Servant||b. Burton, Salop|
|Sidney McMhen (?)||54||Servant||b. Leicestershire|
|Edith Holt||21||Servant||b. Arncot, Oscot|
|Kate Bartlett||18||Servant||b. Great Bridge, Staffordshire|
|Edith Prosser||16||Servant||b. Herefordshire|
|Elsie Hart||18||Servant||Popes Hill, Gloucestershire|