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.


William Stock

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.

Trouble Afoot

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 Verdict

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