Great Brampton House is a Regency Building on the Site of an older property, probably built for John Pye who sold it in 1825 to Charles Ballinger. In 1853 the house was acquired by the Murray Aynsley family who are thought to have made many of the alterations that leave the house in the basic form which we see today.

Charles Ballinger

The original house was bought in 1825 by Charles Ballinger who died in 1851. He was buried at the parish church of Goodrich, and in the evening the bell ringers at Madley rang out the age of Charles Ballinger (78 years) in a muffled peal. It was certainly a laborious struggle for the ringers as the whole thing took nearly 8 hours. The tenor bell which weighed 1 ton was in constant motion, and it was calculated that it revolved on its axis 12,324 times. This incredible feat reflected the fact that Charles was very highly respected and much loved by friends and neighbours alike. It was said that his death for the parishioners was the loss of a good neighbour, and for the poor, a kind friend.
The bell ringers :
Treble – John Taylor, carpenter; 2nd Jas. Bethell, shoemaker; 3rd Benjam Tristram, carpenter; 4th William Jones, carpenter; 5th James Morgan, shoemaker assisted by John Harris; tenor Richard Foster, butcher and John Lloyd alternately.
Conductor of the peal and timekeeper – John Drewer.


The following year the executors of his Will directed Morgan and Son to organise an auction to sell all of the household furniture, carriages, harness, cider, casks, garden tools……and a rick of well tended hay!
Later the same year, Great Brampton House and estate were put up for sale and described thus:
“A Mansion complete, with every convenience and calculated for the residence of a large family, with walled gardens, shrubberies, fish ponds, enclosed yard with double and single coach houses, stables, loose boxes and harness room.
Also, a farmhouse with all requisite and most convenient folds and buildings; seven cottages and gardens for labourers and very excellent arable, meadow, pasture and orcharding situate in the parishes of Madley and AbbeyDore”

The mansion and estate were bought by John Murray Aynsley, of Underdown near Ledbury, for over £20,000

John Murray Aynsley b 1796 died 1880

Initially John Murray Aynsley rented out Great Brampton House, one tenant being John Powell who died in 1856, whereupon all of his furniture and effects from inside the house were sold by auction. The house was then advertised again for let:

Description of Great Brampton House in 1856

“on the ground floor – entrance hall; geometrical oak staircase; dining room; drawing room; breakfast room; servants hall; butler’s and housemaid’s pantries; large kitchen; back kitchen; dairy; Brewhouse; laundry; laundry yard, and all requisite offices; spring and soft water pumps; arched cellaring etc.
On the second floor – six best bedrooms and water closet; china closet and store room, over which are five large and well lighted attics, two of them approached by a third and separate staircase.
Attached to the mansion are enclosed walled gardens well planted with choice fruit trees; fish pond; shrubberies and a portion of meadow land with the right of shooting over 560 acres, including woods and coverts. There is also a capital trout stream within easy distance and the Herefordshire Hounds meet in the neighbourhood.”
The house stayed in the family for some time, until it was acquired by Colonel Lionel Beaumont Thomas.


Lionel Beaumont Thomas

Lionel Beaumont Thomas was born in 1893 in Lydney, Gloucestershire and became Conservative MP for Birmingham King’s Norton.  He was educated at Rugby school and as well as business interests he became a Colonel in the British Army  and also a Justice of the Peace.

He enjoyed splashing the cash, and held extravagant parties which were sometimes attended by high profile guests, but the high life was not enjoyed by his wife who preferred to look after their children and run the home.  Perhaps this left Lionel a little too much time on his own, and he embarked on a pretty serious affair which resulted in him standing down from his seat in Parliament.  Although he claimed that this was due to ill health, it was in fact so that he could be out of the spotlight and divorce his wife in peace.

Eventually he moved his mistress into Great Brampton House, and she proceeded to redecorate in alarmingly modern fashion – inbetween dashing down to the South of France.


To his credit, he was awarded the Military Cross in January 1917.


In December 1942 Colonel Lionel Beaumont Thomas was aboard the U – boat Henry Stanley when it was attacked in the North Atlantic, he and all the crew were killed.

The Removal of the Top Layer of Great Brampton House

Great Brampton House was purchased in the 1950s by a gentleman who wished to give the mansion to his new wife.  However, she was horrified at the size of the place (perhaps he had refused a request for staff!) and he was so hurt by her refusal of his gift that he had the whole of the top layer of Great Brampton House removed – well, she did say that the house was way too big!  The removed layer was buried in the grounds.

Following this episode, Great Brampton House changed hands several times, and at one time was a successful antique centre as well as a family home for Lady Pamela Pidgeon.

1881 – Great Brampton House Household


Richard Dalley 60 Widower, Gamekeeper b. Ledbury, Herefordshire
Clara Dalley 19 Daughter b. Ledbury, Herefordshire

1891 – Great Brampton House Household

John Seubert 61 Caretaker b. Germany
Sarah Seubert 54 Wife b. Bodenham, Herefordshire
Caroline Crump 29 Housemaid b. Madley, Herefordshire

1901 – Great Brampton House Household

John Cruger Murray Aynsley 76 Clergyman, Church of England b. Torkington, Gloucestershire
Harriet J. Prust 32 Niece b. France
Charles M.T. Weston 18 Nephew b. India
Lizzy Dunmore 52 Housekeeper b. Monmouthshire
Albert Bethel 26 Butler b. Staunton on Wye, Herefordshire
Evelyn Burns 32 Cook b. Kington, Herefordshire
Eliza Gatehouse 24 Lady’s Maid b. Stretford, Herefordshire
Alice Millington 17 Housemaid b. Much Marcle, Herefordshire
Florence Virgo 16 Kitchen Maid b. Ewyas Harold, Herefordshire

1911 – Great Brampton House Household

John Conger Murray Aynsley 86 Widower, Clergyman, Church of England b. Torkington, Gloucestershire
Dorothy Norton 22 Niece b. Plymouth, Devon
Lizzie Dunmore 65 Housekeeper b. Monmouthshire
Louise Sprenger 52 Cook b. Radnorshire
Emily James 26 Housemaid b. Herefordshire
Herbert Bailey 23 Butler b. Hatfield
Sylvia Terret 18 Under Housemaid b. Gloucestershire
Sarah Williams 15 Kitchen Maid b. Birmingham

1921 – Great Brampton House Household

Major Beaumont Thomas, Head,  absent


Adeline D. Meares b. Dunedin, New Zealand 1875 Nursery Governess
Richard L. Beaumont-Thompson b. London 1915 Son
Cyril Beaumont- Thomas b. London 1916 Son
Paul Beaumont-Thompson b. London 1919 Son
Constance Hansford b. Surrey 1880 Children’s Nurse
Dorothy L. Phillips b. Essex 1901 Under Nurse
Agnes S. Sayce b. Monmouth, Monmouthshire 1879 Housemaid
Mary Shirras b. Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 1892 Cook
Marjorie Eckley b. Leominster, Herefordshire 1902 Kitchen Maid