This lovely manor house was once part of the Harley Estate and was used as a hunting lodge; It is also believed to have been lived in by the family of Florence Nightingale, and also Lord Byron who it was believed locally worked on “Childe Harold” here, although to date I can find no concrete proof of this and indeed a lady from “Byronmania” has contacted me saying that it is almost impossible for this to be true. Lord Byron wrote the piece before he leased Kinsham Court. She did concede that he could have written other poetry whilst at Kinsham.
The Rev. W. R. Arrowsmith
The Rev. W.R. Arrowsmith was resident at Kinsham Court during the 1850s, and was Headmaster of Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Leominster in the 1840s; he was made Rector of Byton in Herefordshire in 1853
He was somewhat abrasive at times, as was revealed in numerous letters to local papers, but mostly he was fighting for justice and few got the better of him. In 1858 he was brought before the court by Fishmongers in Leominster, and it was reported thus:
“The defendant is a clergyman of the Church of England and in 1849 resided at Leominster. He became a customer for turbot, lobsters etc. which were duly supplied him, but having shifted his residence, his address could not be ascertained and the debt therefore remained on the books until very recently, when he was written to at Kinsham Court Presteign, reminded of his debt of £2 9s. 1d, and requested to discharge it immediately. To this the defendant replied that he did not recollect having any goods off them since he left Leominster, and that previous to that time he presumed he had settled all his accounts. A second letter, a few days later, asks for the date and particulars of the bill, which were furnished; the items being 1849, Oct 15, turbot £1.; lobster, 4s.6d.; basket, 1s. 1850, Aug. 23, turbot 18s.; lobster 4s. 6d; basket 1s. In this second letter he says – “The post office at Presteign have had orders not to forward any letters to Mr. Arrowsmith, but such as bear his true address; and as Messrs Southan and Bebell could easily have obtained that in Leominster, Mr. A. is surprised that after an interval of heaven knows how many years, this should never have been done til a few days ago”. In answer to further applications, he begs in a third letter, dated Jan. 29 1858, “to inform Messrs Southan and Bebell that, as for neglecting to require receipts upon the payment of bills, he has been upon more than one occasion called to pay the same debt twice over, he shall feel it right to avail himself of the Statute of Limitations to bar their demand, unless some reasonable account be rendered why a debt more than seven years old has not been exacted before now”. Number 4, and final, letter dated February 1 1858, is written as if under the impression that he had previously paid the bill, and repeats his intention to plead the Statute of Limitations. His Honour was worry to say the that Rev. gentleman’s argument prevailed, and that he must nonsuit the plaintiffs.”
In 1860 Cornelius Hart was inducted to the livings of Kinsham and Lingen, having for many years been the incumbent of Old Street, St. Pancras London, where he was highly valued. His congregation there thought him kindly and they gave him their hearty good wishes for his future welfare, and he arrived in Herefordshire to take up residence at Kinsham Court.
Kinsham Court Household and Servants 1861 Census
|Cornelius Hart||54||Incumbent Curate of Lingen b. London|
|Elizabeth D. Hart||44||Wife|
|Henry W. Hart||9||Son b. London|
|Thomas D. Hart||6||Son b. London|
|Walter W. Hart||1||Son b. London|
|Emma Lloyd||15||Servant b. Leintwardine, Herefordshire|
|Anne Pritchard||26||Cook b. Richards Castle, Shropshire|
|Elizabeth Bounds||19||Housemaid b. Lingen, Herefordshire|
Francis Lyndon Evelyn
Francis Lyndon Evelyn went to Oxford University and gained his cricket blue in 1880; he was made High Sheriff of Radnorshire in 1887, but died in 1910 aged just 51 years
Kinsham Court Household and servants 1891 census
|Francis Lyndon Evelyn||31||Magistrate for Herefordshire & Radnorshire, b. Presteigne, Radnorshire|
|Susan Grace Evelyn||27||Wife b. Cheshire|
|Gwendolin Maud Evelyn||4||Daughter b. Kinsham, Herefordshire|
|Frances Mary Evelyn||3||Daughter b. Kinsham, Herefordshire|
|Francis Herron Lyndon Evelyn||1||Son b. Kinsham, Herefordshire|
|Alfred R. Wood||32||Visitor b. Middlesex|
|John Kinch||31||Butler b. Cuddelston, Oxfordshire|
|Martha James||23||Domestic Servant, b. Breconshire|
|Mary Ann Ball||23||Domestic Servant, b. Radnorshire|
|Margaret Davies||27||Domestic Servant, b. Pulverbatch, Salop|
|Helen Whittal||16||Domestic Servant, b. Kinsham, Herefordshire|
Kinsham Court Household and servants 1901 census
|Francis L. Evelyn||41||Living on own means, b. Presteigne, Radnorshire|
|Susan G. Evelyn||36||Wife b. Bowden, Cheshire|
|Adela C. Evelyn||6||Daughter b. London|
|John Kinch||41||Butler b. Cuddelston, Oxfordshire|
|Mary Williams||34||Cook, b. Herefordshire|
|Mary E. smith||26||Housemaid b. Manchester|
|Mary A. Colley||20||Serving Maid b. Herefordshire|
|Eliza A. Woodward||16||Undermaid|
Sir John Stanhope Arkwright
Kinsham Court was bought by the Arkwright family in the 20th century.
Sir John Stanhope Arkwright was born in 1872 at 11 Lowndes Street, London and was the only son of John Hungerford Arkwright of Hampton Court Castle, Herefordshire; he was educated at Eton and Christ Church Oxford and won the Newdigate prize for English Poetry in 1895.
In 1900, he was a Barrister, but had also been private secretary to the Home Secretary, Sir Matthew White Ridley, and he became the popular Conservative candidate for Hereford, being described as being a fluent speaker and a great lover of cricket and football. John was duly elected later that year but in 1912 he resigned due to ill health, and an impending operation.
Sir John Stanhope Arkwright composed the lyrics for a hymn – “O Valiant Hearts, The Supreme Sacrifice”, which was published by both the Hereford Times and The Times in mid 1917. Dr. Charles Harris, the vicar of Colwall, provided the music for the words and it was performed in Westminster Abbey as well as Hereford Cathedral to mark the third anniversary of the outbreak of war.
It is still used today as a requiem to the fallen, but there were some objections to one verse which appeared to compare the deaths of soldiers to the death of Christ and some churches decided to exclude the controversial verse.
He spent some years at Kinsham Court and in 1934 he was a awarded a Knighthood, following which he was presented with the freedom of the City of Hereford, it being reported in the Hereford Times:
“Sir John Stanhope Arkwright of Kinsham Court, Co. Hereford, author of the hymn O Valiant Hearts, was on Saturday presented with the freedom of the City of Hereford. He is the brother of Mrs. Chester-Master, widow of Major R.C. Chester-Master, D.S.O., K.R.R.C., Chief Constable of Gloucestershire, who was killed in Action in 1917”
He died in Presteigne on 19th September 1954