Built 1712 with extensions late 18th century the acres belonging to this mansion have long been known for its excellent fruit production
The Stocks of Putley Court
John Skinner Stock
John Skinner Stock came from a wealthy Gloucestershire family and took possession of Putley court in 1781 but died a relatively short time later in 1795 when the estate was passed to his brother William Stock, a druggist as there were no children from John’s marriage to Susannah.
Although John had been well respected in Putley along with Susannah, they spent little time on the estate, and in fact both were buried in Gloucester. However the pair were generous to the poor of Putley whilst living, and left bequests to the poor women and children.
After the death of Susannah, John Skinner Stock’s brother took ownership of Putley Court and he did choose to live there.
William died in 1812, and although his son Charles was down to inherit the estate, William had been aware that leaving him too much capital would have been a bad idea as he was not the most steady of characters, so a trust was formed allowing Charles to inherit the estate but not the money. This appears to be immaterial as Charles was most likely dead.
Lieutenant William Stock
Mary James, previously married daughter of William Stock, was widowed and she went on to marry William’s nephew, Lt. William Stock in 1820 – he was her toy boy being a good 10 years younger – and the pair took up residence in Putley Court.
Lt. William began his Navy life as an able seaman and gradually progressed to the rank of Lieutenant in 1807 and he served on the Royal Sovereign – Flagship for Vice Admiral Collingwood, which was crucial in the Battle of Trafalgar.
Back at Putley Court, William set about modernising the house, but he died suddenly at the tender age of 43 in 1828, and being known as a most honourable and hospitable man, he was sorely missed.
His wife, a pious Christian, died just one year later.
John Rodway Stock
The will of Lt. William Stock gave Putley Court to his youngest brother, John Rodway Stock, who lived there with his wife Susan.
John had served to the Bengal Native Infantry as Captain, progressing to Major in later years.
It seems that life at Putley Court was not totally the be all and end all for the pair, and they moved to Cheltenham where he died in 1868.
The Putley Court estate was offered for sale by auction; including the Manor of Putley and the mansion house along with outbuildings; water corn mill; farm houses; cottages and 316 acres of arable, meadow, pasture, orchard and woodland.
The estates are in the midst of good roads and at convenient distances from Hereford and Gloucester, and the town of Ledbury.
Putley Court mansion put up for let…..partly furnished or unfurnished on a lease or yearly….with lawns, shrubberies, fruit and kitchen garden; with or without 23 acres of rich orchard and meadow land.
The house comprised entrance hall; dining room; breakfast room; drawing room; small drawing room; 5 bedrooms; dressing rooms; six secondary bedrooms with a principal and back staircase.
The offices comprised a small servants’ waiting hall; butlers’s pantry; store room; best kitchen; back kitchen; scullery; larder, and excellent cellars. Dairy, stables; coach house, harness room, and cider mill.
The property is in the middle of good hunting country and the tenant may have the shooting over 600 acres of land.
Lame Horse at Putley court leads to Court Case
There was a major court case in 1858, concerning a horse bought by John Rodway Stock from a dealer in Ledbury, Mr. William Scattergood.
On 27th January the dealer sold John a grey cob which he verbally warranted to be sound and quiet in all respects; relying on this warrant, John paid £38 for the horse…….£28 of which was a cheque and £10 being the value of a horse that John gave in part exchange so to speak.
After the horse was inspected by a vet called Mr. Thomas and proclaimed to be sound and quiet as described, it was left with John and the horse that he was giving in part exchange was taken back to Ledbury.
For some 11 weeks John used the horse and liked it very much; he never used it for long journeys, mostly just the five miles to Ledbury and back two or three times a week, but on 13th April the horse went stiff and began to stumble.
On the 15th of the same month on a slightly longer journey the horse again went lame, and it took two and a half hours to get back home. A few days later John contacted the dealer to say that he was going to have the horse examined again and if it was found to be unsound then he would return him.
The horse was sent to Hereford for inspection by Mr. Musgrave, veterinary surgeon, who pronounced the horse to have been unsound for months due to ossification of the side cartilages of the fore feet and gave a certificate to that effect.
The dealer was asked to take back the horse, but he refused, so John asked yet another vet, Mr. Hall of Hereford, for his opinion……..it was the same as that given by Mr. Musgrave; he said that there was ossification in the cartilages in both fore feet, of many months’ standing; the ossification must have commenced before the purchase of the horse by John. Ossification is the termination of inflammation and generally begins in horses from their being worked before they should be when young. Acting on these opinions, John sent the horse to the dealer in Ledbury, but he refused to receive it so the horse was put at livery at the Feathers Hotel to await the decision of the court.
The dealer, William Scattergood denied in court that he had ever verbally warranted the horse sound.
A difference of Opinion
The original vet, Mr. Thomas had another look at the horse and this time found the disease as described by Mr. Hall and Mr. Musgrave, but said that it could have been caused by bad shoeing or by being driven fast, or even by being put away in a cold stable whilst still hot from work, and also considered that the disease could develop in just three to eight weeks, thus disagreeing with the other two vets.
The judge explained to the jury the points at issue, saying that a difference in opinion existed among the veterinary surgeons and called their attention to two points; whether there was indeed a warranty, and whether the unsoundness existed at the time of sale.
The jury consulted for an hour and a half then returned with a verdict in favour of the dealer; they added that they were of the opinion that a warranty of soundness had been given by the defendant, but the horse was not proved to be unsound at the time of sale.
A new trial was requested by John.
Two years later, house is up for let again in 1860, furnished or unfurnished.
Then a little later in 1862 all the household furniture was for sale by auction, comprising various suites of dining, drawing and bedroom and other apartments of the mansion, with the numerous excellent culinary and other requisites of the servants’ offices; dairy; Brewhouse and cellars, together with the carriages, dairy cows, sheep, pigs and a great variety of effects.
sees Putley court up for sale by auction, along with Hall Court at nearby Kinaston.
Launcelot John Cockroft Riley, eldest son of J. Riley, celebrated his coming of age with lavish festivities, including dinner and fireworks.
Putley Court described as possibly the prettiest and best cultivated fruit farm in the county. At this time owned by Mr. Riley, some forty acres of fruit were laid out on the slope of a hill; 20 acres were plum trees which were planted in 1881, and apples were set between them to come into their own when the plum trees go past their best in 20 years.
Between some of the other trees (pears and cherry) Mr. Riley had planted strawberries, and elsewhere there were gooseberries and black currants.
Herefordshire Cider – “Dreadful Draught”
As a by the by, the describer above was rather less pleased with Herefordshire’s cider, saying that “I drank cider – family cider is the correct appellation – the memory of which, or of its effects, will never leave me so long as I may live. This dreadful draught which tastes like steel filings mixed with vinegar and mud, is, it appears, compounded of more or less rotten apples heaped up in orchards for pigs and fowls to feed, whereof the juice expressed into dirty casks may be at times diluted with water from a neighbouring horse pond!”
Again Putley Court plantations attracted great praise, and in this year many of the plum trees had to have their branches well supported by props due to profusion of fruit. Varieties included Belle de Levaine; Czars; Victorias and Rivers’s early prolifics.
1910 – Butler at Putley Court charged with Theft
Charles Edward Lambert, a Butler at Putley Court was charged with the theft of various items; namely six bottles of brandy, one bottle of cider, one bottle of whisky, four bottles of claret, three scrubbing brushes, two black lead brushes, three hand brushes, one sponge, one brass scrubbing brush, three melons, one box of soap, two packets of black lead, two pieces of soap, two pots of shaving cream, one bottle of boot polish, one piece of emery cloth, three eggs, one tine of tea, two pounds of sugar, three glass jars, one box of polishing powder and one jar of jam. The whole valued at £4 6s.
Launcelot Riley, living at Putley Court with his father to whom Charles was Butler. Charles was spotted taking a bag to his room and Launcelot was suspicious so later on he conducted a search of the room in the presence of Charles and found all the articles listed above which he could identify as belonging to his father. The police were called, and when Charles confessed and said “All I can say is that I am very sorry” he was arrested.
In court, the prisoner pleaded guilty and asked if he could be dealt with under the First Offenders Act – it was stated by Supt. Phillips that there was nothing previously known against the prisoner and that he had been a Butler at Putley Court for seven years, with ten years’ character.
Charles was sentenced to two months’ hard labour at Hereford Gaol, with the Bench considering it a serious offence……the prisoner had been placed in a position of responsibility and he had abused the confidence placed in him. He was liable to a six month imprisonment sentence but as this was his first offence it was reduced to two months, and he was told to think himself lucky.
John Rodway Stock, died in Cheltenham in 1868 aged 75
1841 – Putley Court Household
|James Garner||55||Independent means|
|Hannah Woodyatt||55||Independent means||b. Herefordshire|
|Thomas Saunders||25||b. Herefordshire|
|Jane Edwards||35||b. Herefordshire|
|Mary Price||25||b. Herefordshire|
|Elizabeth Morris||15||b. Herefordshire|
1851 – Putley Court Household
|John R Stock||58||Captain East India Co, retired||b. Goucestershire|
|Susan Stock||45||Wife||b. Bristol|
|Hannah Hooper||35||Housekeeper||b. Mathon, Worcestershire|
|Elizabeth Smith||36||Housemaid||b. Ledbury, Herefordshire|
|Helen Chamberlain||24||Cook||b. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire|
|John Newman||26||Groom||b. Somerset|
|Harriet Hodges||15||Kitchen Maid||B. Dymock, Gloucestershire|
|George Grey||16||Page||b. Dover, Kent|
1861 – Putley Court Household
|John Rodway Stock||68||Major East India Service, retired||b. Gloucestershire|
|Susan Stock||55||Wife||b. Bristol|
|Thomas Bruce Swinhoe||21||Nephew, Undergraduate, Christ College, Cambridge||b. East Indies, British Subject|
|Samuel Jones||57||Visitor, Landed Proprietor||b. Gloucestershire|
|Mary Ann Jones||47||b. North Stoneham, Sussex|
|William Jones||18||Groom||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Sophia Hichings||31||Cook||b. Holmer, Herefordshire|
|Ann Watkins||23||Housemaid||b. Herefordshire|
|Jane Cotterell||20||Parlourmaid||b. Much Marcle, Herefordshire|
|Betsey Suff||16||Kitchen Girl||b. Pixley, Herefordshire|
1871 – Putley Court Household
|Mary Summerhays||57||Servant||b. Somerset|
|Jane Hallett||44||Servant||b. Somerset|
|Mary A. Bevan||25||Servant||b. Gloucestershire|
|James Bell||16||Servant||b. Somerset|
John Riley lived at Putley Court from 1872 until 1922, and was a fair and respected man – not only an excellent fruit grower, he also kept Longhorn Cattle and Tamworth Pigs as well as well bred sheep.
In 1927 his children erected the Putley village hall in his honour.
It is remarkable that so many of the children of John and Lucy Riley remained living at home and were unmarried.
1881 – Putley Court Household
|John Riley||32||J.P., Landowner of 300 acres||b. Halifax, Yorkshire|
|Lucy Martin Riley||29||Wife||b. London, Middlesex|
|Lucy G. Riley||7||Daughter||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Hilda Mary Riley||6||Daughter||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Lancelot John Cockcroft Riley||5||Son||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Edith Elaine Riley||3||Daughter||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Oswald Charles Riley||2||Son||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Agnes Dorothy Hamlet Riley||1||Daughter||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Lucyanne Phillips||27||Governess||b. Knighton, Radnorshire|
|Elizabeth Probert||56||Cook||b. Berkely, Gloucestershire|
|Hannah Davies||30||Waitress||b. Bosbury, Herefordshire|
|Jane Barbara Hall||29||Housemaid||b. Ross on Wye, Herefordshire|
|Mary Jane Cook||26||Nurse||b. Clun, Shropshire|
|Kate Burgess||16||Under Nurse||b. Littledean, Gloucestershire|
|Ellen Barnes||15||Kitchenmaid||b. Ledbury, Herefordshire|
1891 – Putley Court Household
|John Riley||43||b. Halifax, Yorkshire|
|Lucy Martin Riley||39||Wife||b. London, Middlesex|
|Lucy G. Riley||17||Daughter||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Albert Turber||28||Butler||b. Cradley, Herefordshire|
|Eliza Shepherd||33||Cook||b. Whitchurch, Herefordshire|
|Harriett Money||32||Housemaid||b. East Woodhay, Hampshire|
|Mary Crye||18||Housemaid||b. Bradbourne, Derbyshire|
|Fanny Eliz. Porter||15||Nurse||b. Hill Croome, Worcestershire|
|Francis Maud Porter||18||Servant||b. Hill Croome, Worcestershire|
1901 – Putley Court Household
|John Riley||52||Magistrate, Fruit Farmer||b. Halifax, Yorkshire|
|Lucy M. Riley||48||Wife||b. London, Middlesex|
|Hilda M. Riley||26||Daughter||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Launcelot J.R. Riley||25||Son||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Edith E. Riley||24||Daughter||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Oswald C.D. Riley||22||Son||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Agnes D. Riley||21||Daughter||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Ealilgyth(?) M. Riley||19||Daughter||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Margery J.A. Riley||18||Daughter||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Alfric J.A. Riley||15||Son||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Elfrida G. Riley||13||Daughter||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Ursula V.H. Riley||6||Daughter||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|John Randall||59||Butler||b. London, Middlesex|
|Jane Walker||23||Cook||b. Worcestershire|
|Eva J. Smith||20||Kitchenmaid||b. Gloucestershire|
|Emma Skippens||19||Waitress||b. Whitbourne, Worcestershire|
|Annie Davies||27||Housemaid||b. Gloucestershire|
|Ethel M. Haynes||18||Housemaid|
|Mildred Powell||27||Nurse||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
1911 – Putley Court Household
|John Riley||62||Farmer and fruit grower||b. Halifax, Yorkshire|
|Lucy Martin Riley||58||Wife||b. London, Middlesex|
|Hilda Mary Riley||37||Daughter, Private means||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Agnes Dorothy Riley||29||Daughter, Private Means||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Ealdgarth Muriel Riley||28||Daughter, Private Means||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Margery Joan A. Riley||27||Daughter, Private Means||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|James Riley||26||Son, Private Means||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Elfrida Gwendoline Riley||24||Daughter, Private Means||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Ursula Veronica Hopton Riley||16||Daughter, Private Means||b. Putley, Herefordshire|
|Mary Jane Choisill||54||Cook||b. Leigh Sinton, Worcestershire|
|Charlotte Agnes Fletcher||28||Waitress||b. Broxwood, Herefordshire|
|Lilian Shott||30||Housemaid||b. Littledean, Gloucestershire|
|Ada Mary Cissy Bowers||19||Waitress||b. Withington, Herefordshire|
|Jessie Brown||20||Housemaid||b. Worcestershire|
|Emily Howell||20||Kitchenmaid||b. Bridgnorth, Worcestershire|
|Mildred Powell||37||Lady’s Maid||b. Putley, Herefordshire|