The current Hope End House (now a hotel) is in a glorious setting on the hillside above Ledbury.

The original house  was built in the mid 18th century, but was reduced in height and converted to stables when a new house was built alongside by Edward Moulton Barrett,


Edward Moulton Barrett

The estate was bought by Edward Moulton Barrett from Sir Henry Vane Tempest in 1809.

Born in 1785 in Jamaica, Edward didn’t get on too well with his father Charles Moulton, but his hugely wealthy grandfather Edward Barrett needed an heir so had the name Barrett added to Moulton before he died.  Edward Moulton Barrett and his brother then inherited their grandfather’s plantations and fortune.

Edward was educated at Harrow for a while until he was accused of burning the toast and suffered an appalling punishment for the crime at the hands of the lad whose fag Edward was.  He was taken out of school and eventually attended Trinity College Cambridge.

He married Mary Graham Clarke in 1805, and after a few years bought the Hope End Estate whereupon he set about building a new house which had a rich and sumptuous interior and rather bizarrely had an oriental look with minarets at one end. Not in keeping with rural Herefordshire at all but hugely admired nonetheless.
Edward and his wife Mary had a prodigious number of children – 12 in all, one of which was the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning who was to enjoy an all too brief time at Hope End.
Not long after the huge expense of rebuilding  Hope End, the African slaves took their rebellion in Jamaica up a notch, and many escaped from the plantations or flatly refused to work. Houses were burnt down and sugar cane was destroyed by the rebels, who also took control of many plantations. Of course in the end the rebellion was quashed, although it did help to accelerate the end of slavery, but the damage to plantation owners was immense and Edward lost a vast amount of his wealth. His mortgage was foreclosed and he was forced to sell Hope End shortly after the death of his wife.

Tragedy struck again when his brother died in 1837, and in 1840, when two of  Edward’s  sons were drowned in an accident near Teignmouth.

Edward died at Wimpole Street in London aged 72, after a period of illness.

Hope End Mansion For Sale

Hope End was put up for sale in 1831 and was said to vie in importance and grandeur with Eastnor Castle.

“Hope End Mansion is adapted for the accommodation of a Nobleman, or family of the first distinction; pleasantly situated in its own grounds, lawn in front, with a fine sheet of water stored with fish, fed by springs, cascade etc. The residences erected in the eastern style of architecture, and may justly be considered a chef d’oeuvre, unrivalled in this kingdom. An extensive carriage drive leads through the grounds, which are laid out in park like style.
The domestic offices are well arranged, and the whole amply supplied with excellent water, commodious stabling, coach houses and various out offices. Beautiful pleasure grounds, with extensive gravelled walks, shrubbery ornamented with magnificent timber trees, thriving evergreens, parterres of flowers, and an alcove, productive walled garden, clothed with choice fruit trees, grapery etc.
A well constructed farmyard, with bailiff’s house and agricultural buildings substantially built, planned in superior style, sundry cottages with gardens and upwards of four hundred and seventy acres of excellent grass and meadow, arable, woodland, hop ground and plantation in a thriving state.”

Thomas Heywood

The estate was bought by the antiquary Thomas Heywood, whose life was tinged with tragedy when his six week old son, John died in 1833.

Herefordshire Bowmen Meeting at Hope End

Perhaps Thomas was something of an archer, because in 1836 he held the first Herefordshire Bowman meeting of the year at Hope End.

An extract from the newspapers of the time reads:

“The company began to assemble soon after 12 o’clock and all the avenues leading to Hope End presented a most animated scene, from the number of equipages posting from different directions, and by one o’clock upwards of 200 ladies and gentlemen of the rank and fashion of this and adjoin counties were present.  At one, the shooting commenced at four targets placed the usual long distance, and the pastime was continued until three, when the numerous company sat down to an excellent dinner comprising every delicacy of the season in the magnificent tent belonging to the Bowmen;  at five the shooting was resumed, and at seven the party assembled in the tent to partake of tea and coffee when the Lady Paramount, Mrs. Scudamore of Kentchurch Court, presented the prizes to the successful shots.  Dancing then commenced and the gay disciples of Terpsichore kept up the festive enjoyment until a late, or rather early, hour, when the party separated delighted with the hospitable and friendly attentions of their worthy host.  The Hereford Militia and Quadrille Band attended”

Thomas Heywood became High Sheriff of Herefordshire and in 1840 there is a wonderful description of the opening of the Lent Assizes

Herefordshire Lent Assizes

“The High Sheriff of this county, Thos. Heywood Esq. of Hope End, was on Monday about one o’clock escorted into this city by a numerous body of his friends, tenantry and neighbours upon horseback.  There were 12 carriages and vehicles in the procession, which comprised upwards of 150 highly respectable individuals, and was preceded by the javelin men, also mounted and very neatly attired in blue coats, primrose waistcoats, and drab kerseymere small clothes.  The Sheriff’s carriage was drawn by four beautiful greys, and the equipage had a very elegant appearance.

The party proceeded to the City Arms Hotel and partook of a cold collation.  Sir John Cotterell, Bart.  Sir Edwyn Scudamore Stanhope, Bart and many other gentlemen of the city and county were present, and after the usual loyal toasts, the healths of the High Sheriff and his amiable lady were given with the utmost animation and applause.  Mr. Heywood and his friends then proceeded to meet Mr. Justice Patteson who arrived at half past two, and opened the Commission at the Shire Hall, where he was met by Capt. Pateshall, R.N. the Mayor, and several members of the Town Council.”

Thomas Heywood was a great benefactor of the neighbourhood, and he donated land and necessary materials to facilitate the building of a new church and parsonage house at Wellington Heath.  The site had been carefully selected to enable easy access for farming families and labourers, and in 1841 the new church was finished and consecrated.  He served as Justice of the Peace for the county for over thirty years.

Thomas was also Chairman of the Worcester and Hereford Railway, and held a good number of shares in the company.

In 1848, Thomas’s daughter Mary married the Rev. George Sumner, fourth son of the Bishop of Winchester and Hope End was the scene of lavish festivities.

A High Society mid 19th century Wedding at Hope End Mansion

It was said that a fairer scene could not be imagined than that witnessed on the morning of the wedding.  On the rocks above Hope Mansion were banners and streamers of many colours “flouting the air” and producing a glorious effect despite the less than clement weather.  At the end of the lawn, a beautiful triumphal arch and the meteor flag could be seen, standing out in bold relief against the verdant plantations on the slopes, which ended with the serried ridges of the Herefordshire Beacon.

Groups of elegant ladies in colourful dresses ignored the rain and stood on the banks in order to get a good view, and at half past nine Walker’s Malvern band arrived on the lawn in front of the dining and drawing room windows, trailing glorious penons, and they proceded to serenade the distinguished party who had gathered.  They continued to perform appropriate songs and tunes for an hour whilst gleaming carriages arrived one after the other in endless procession to collect and convey all relatives and friends of the bride and groom to Colwall parish church.

At the church the wedding party found glorious decorations – from the church tower a striking streamer of pink and azure waved in the breeze, and all paths to the church were spanned by masses of evergreen arches, woven with bouquets and wreaths of flowers.  Children from all the local schools lined the walkways waiting for their benefactress, “with dimpled cheek and russet gown”, and it was noticeable how enthusiastically they threw their flowers into the path of the bride.

The interior of the church was heavily decorated with evergreens, and the altar rails were festooned with flowers, and friends and neighbours packed the pews.

The Bishop of Winchester. Prelate of the Order of the Garter and father of the bridegroom, conducted the wedding ceremony, and all turned to see the lovely bride walk down the aisle on the arm of her father, followed by six young compeers all in uniform and elegant attire, the bridesmaids each wore a white lily in their bonnets and the bride’s dress was stunning.

After the service,  the handsome couple returned to Hope End Mansion along with their friends to the merry pealing of the church bells, receiving congratulations and good wishes from all and sundry who lined the route.

The band was waiting, and once again started to play as the procession came into sight, then at one o’clock an elegant chariot pulled by four smart grey horses, the postilions wearing white favours, drove up to the mansion.  Amidst the hearty cheering of tenantry and school children, and the warm valedictions of the vast assemblage of friends and relatives, the happy pair set off for Letton Court for a brief rest.

At two o’clock a massive and delicious lunch was served to fifty guests, and no expense was spared to ensure that they had every indulgence possible.  Many toasts were drunk!

By three o’clock it was time for the poor of the neighbourhood to enjoy the generosity of the Heywoods, and rustic games, foot and hurdle races;  leaping and other pastimes of “merrie Englonde” took place on a large meadow on the estate.  Younger members of the home party joined in with great gusto and a good time was had by all with much merriment. Eventually, the band once again struck up the air “Roast Beef of Old England”, which summoned the assemblage of the residents of Wellington Heath, as well as the labourers and tenants from Munsley, Coddington, Bosbury and Colwall to a feast of roast beef and plum cake.  12 young men, carefully selected for their steadiness and good conduct were decorated with colourful rosettes, and they helped to keep order whilst handing out old Herefordshire cider.  More than 600 people took part in the feast, and the school children were giving their own splendid meal at the upper lodge.

At six o’clock, the principal tenant of the Hope End estates, Mr. Chichester, gave a sumptuous repast to his brother tenants, and they sat down to a vast haunch of venison donated by Mr. Heywood which was soon demolished.

The festivities continued well into the night, with everyone declaring their respect and high regard for the “worthy family at The Hall”.

Death of Thomas Heywood

Thomas died 20th November 1866 aged 69  having been unwell for a short time.  He seemed to rally at one stage, and took himself off for a long walk, but then suffered a relapse and died the following morning.  He was described as having been a real gentleman.

Hope End was put up for sale in 1867, and was subsequently purchased by C.A. Hewitt.

1851 – Hope End House Household

Thomas Heywood 53 b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Mary Elizabeth Heywood 51 Wife b. Manchester, Lancashire
Alfred B. Campion 30 Butler b. Exeter, Devon
James Matthews 28 Gardener b. Grantchester, Cambridgeshire
Esther Matthews 34 Housekeeper b. Wombourne, Staffordshire
Betty Howard 37 School Mistress b. Essex
Harriett Hooper 35 General Servant b. Gloucestershire
Mary Jackson 21 General Servant b. Tarrington, Herefordshire
Sarah Smith 21 General Servant b. Ledbury, Herefordshire
Mary Lewis 40 General Servant b. Ledbury, Herefordshire

1861 – Hope End House Household

Thomas Heywood 63 Magistrate b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Mary Elizabeth Heywood 61 Wife b. Manchester, Lancashire
Thomas Heywood 34 Son, widower, Magistrate b. Salford, Lancashire
Henry de la Boer Bousford 6 Grandson b. Colwall, Herefordshire
Constance Mary Heywood 5 Granddaughter b. Colwall, Herefordshire
Emily Frances Heywood 3 Granddaughter b. London, Middlesex
Catharine Coulter 62 Nurse, widow b. Ireland
Sarah York 21 Ladies Maid
Eliza Leak 21 Cook b. Langford, Nottinghamshire
Mary Ballimore 19 Under Nurse b. Lincolnshire
Ann Saunders 25 Housemaid b. Cheshire
Mary Davis 23 Under Housemaid b. Bodenham, Herefordshire
Ann Dale 25 Kitchen Maid b. Herefordshire
James Spencer 19 Footman b. Tarrington, Herefordshire

1881 – Hope End House Household

Ella C. Hewitt 9 Daughter b. Westbury, Somerset
Harold C.R. Hewitt 7 Son b. Colwall, Herefordshire
John W. Hewitt 4 Son b. Colwall, Herefordshire
Kathleen S.J. Hewitt 2 Daughter b. Colwall, Herefordshire
Edith R. Clarke 35 Governess b. Writtle, Essex
Joseph Wright 45 Butler b. Devon
Emma Scott 44 Cook b. Lincolnshire
Elizabeth Davies 29 Kitchenmaid b. Herefordshire
Rosa Clarke 28 Housemaid b. Wittington, Staffordshire
Emma Cook 59 Nurse b. St. John, Gloucester
Annie Hunt 16 Scullery Maid b. Tarrington, Herefordshire
Elizabeth Mackinge 18 Housemaid b. Malvern, Worcestershire
James Wilkinson 21 Footman b. Shropshire
William Powell 17 Groom b. Monmouth

1891 – Hope End House Household

James C.A. Hewitt 54 Magistrate living on own means b. Ireland
Jane H. Hewitt 47 Wife b. St. Day, Cornwall
Harold C. Hewitt 17 Son b. Colwall, Herefordshire
John W. Hewitt 14 Son b. Colwall, Herefordshire
Kathleen S. Hewitt 12 Daughter b. Colwall, Herefordshire
Cecil J. Hewitt 9 Son b. Colwall, Herefordshire
Mary Anne Hewitt 49 Sister b. Ireland
Louise Golez 27 Governess to Children b. Switzerland
Clara Turner 30 Cook b. Marylebone, London
Sophie Hubener 47 Ladies’ Maid b. Hanover, Germany
Emma Cook 66 Nurse b. Gloucester
Catherine Chamberlain 33 Housemaid b. Stoke Lacy, Herefordshire
Miriam Davies 23 Kitchenmaid b. Brecon, Wales
Margaret Higgins 19 Under Nurse b. Dorstone, Herefordshire
Olive M. Lane 19 Under Housemaid b. Wellington Heath, Herefordshire
Mary Ann Stallard 22 Scullery Maid b. Ashperton, Herefordshire
James T. Ponton 48 Butler b. Edinburgh, Scotland
Arthur F. Lane 17 Footman b. Wellington Heath, Herefordshire
Walter Kite 20 Groom b. Malvern, Worcestershire

1901 – Hope End House Household

Charles A. Hewitt 64 Magistrate and Farmer b. Ireland
Jane H. Hewitt 57 Wife b. St. Day Cornwall
John W. Hewitt 24 Son b. Colwall, Herefordshire
Kathleen S.J. Hewitt 22 Daughter b. Colwall, Herefordshire
Emily J. Rogers 53 Cook b. Bloomsbury, London
Asenath Morris 48 Ladies’ Maid b. London
Emily E. Whale 24 Housemaid b. Bishopstoke, Hampshire
Matilda E. Pelley 22 Kitchenmaid b. Over Compton, Dorset
Sara A. Lloyd 16 Under Housemaid b. Stokesay, Shropshire
Minnie Tyler 18 Scullery Maid b. Donnington, Herefordshire
William Saunderson 40 Butler b. Hampshire
Arthur Matless 18 Footman b. Hove, Sussex
George Pettinger 18 Groom b. Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk
William Brydges 16 House Boy b. Ledbury, Herefordshire

1911 – Hope End House Household

John Wilfred Hewitt 34 Barrister at Law, managing estate and farm for his mother b. Colwall, Herefordshire
Florence Mabel Hewitt 33 Wife b. Bath, Somerset
Harriet Gurney 27 Parlour Maid b. Ross on Wye, Herefordshire
Emily Jane Gurney 24 Cook b. Ross on Wye, Herefordshire
Ernest Henry Wilson 14 House, kennel and dairy boy b. Ilford, Essex