Newport House was also known as Nieuport House, and stands just under a mile out of Almeley village in beautiful countryside; although there is no known architect it is assumed that it was a mason from either Hereford or Worcester.

The original medieval house is said to have been inhabited by Sir John Oldcastle – the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Falstaff, and a Lollard martyr.  You can read all about him by clicking on the link at the top right of this page.

The Foley Family and Newport House

The house was owned by Thomas Pember and his brothers, and when they put it up for sale in 1712 it was bought by Lord Foley of Whitley Court who set about tearing it down and then building the rather splendid house which was completed in around 1718. Lord Foley was an ironmaster and had bought many properties in Herefordshire, and eventually he passed Newport House to his cousin, Paul Foley, who was a lawyer.
Paul Foley died in 1730, and as he had no heir Newport House passed to his nephew, Thomas Foley of Stoke Edith but none of these gentlemen spent a great deal of time at the house as they had other residences. The house however remained owned by the Foley family until 1863, and Miss Elizabeth Foley, eldest daughter of the Hon. Andrew Foley, spent a great deal of time and money looking after the poor of Almeley; for example every year she donated fine fat heifers (butchered by a local butcher) and large amounts of wheat for the poor on St. Thomas’s Day.
Elizabeth Foley died on 3rd December 1861 in London.

James Watt Gibbs

Newport House was sold by Richard Foley Onslow to James Watt Gibbs, the grandson of James Watt (famous for his steam engine). James remained there for ten years making many alterations and additions as well as substantially improving the garden and grounds.
Over the ensuing years Newport House had many owners, and was tenanted much of the time, until it was bought by the council in 1919 who converted it into a TB hospital. After the Second World War, in 1953 it became a home for Latvians until 1996 when property developers bought it but thankfully left it as it was. Since then it has been owned by people who have extensively renovated and improved the house and gardens.


1871 – Newport House Household

David Binning 34 Gardener b. Scotland
Margret Binning 40 Wife b. Scotland
Fanny Tedstone 23 Domestic Servant b. Knighton, Wales


The following from the census return is a little iffy in translation, but the handwriting of the enumerator was appalling.

As with the 1871 census, the owners of Newport House were absent on census night.

1881 – Newport House Household

Thomas Chambers 29 (?) Butler b. Staffordshire
Charles Slugs 26 Footman b. Yorkshire
James Thomas 16 Hall Boy b. almeley, Herefordshire
William Grimthorpe 19 Helper in Stables b. Hereford
James Davies 20 Helper in Stables b. Hereford
Thomas Paton 21 Helper in Stables b. Hereford
Mary Williams 35 Housekeeper b. Denby, Worcestershire
Sarah Thomas 29 Nurse b. Berkshire
Elizabeth King 23 Housemaid b. Dorset
Martha Heldsmith 18 Kitchenmaid b. Herefordshire
Ellen Hatcher 25 Housemaid b. London
Susannah Hope (?) 19 Housemaid b. Radnor, Radnorshire
Jane James 17 Scullery Maid b. Pembridge, Herefordshire

1891 – Newport House Household

William B. Giles 35 Surgeon b. Staunton on Wye, Herefordshire
Ellen A. Giles 30 Wife b. Liverpool, Lancashire
Amie B. Giles 9 mths Daughter b. Staunton on Wye, Herefordshire
Caroline B. Giles 64 Mother, living on own means b. St. Nicholas, Herefordshire
Caroline B. Giles 36 Sister b. Staunton on Wye, Herefordshire
Charles Giles 38 Visitor, Broker b. Tenbury, Worcestershire
Harriet Shepperd 35 Cook b. Wiltshire
Mary Probert 18 Kitchenmaid b. Smallbrook, Wiltshire
Sarah Lewis 27 Housemaid b. Garway, Herefordshire
Marie Matthews 20 Housemaid b. Moccas, Herefordshire
Catherine Isaacs 34 Nurse b. Zurich, Switzerland
Martha Parry 15 Nurse b. Newport, Monmouth
Elizabeth Thomas 16 Scullery Maid b. Kington, Herefordshire
Charles Richards 12 Page Boy b. Broadway, Worcestershire


1901 – Newport House Household

Richard W. Vigors 79 Clerk in Holy Orders b. b. Ross on Wye, Herefordshire
T.R. Decliffe Vigors 30 Son b. Littleton, Gloucestershire
Jean Beckton 29 Hospital Nurse b. South Bank, Yorkshire
E. Moore 20 Housemaid b. Longhope, Gloucestershire
W.E. Leyland 14 Scullery Maid
A Gazzard 16 Pantry Maid
W.A. Bounds 18 Kitchenmaid b. Green End, Presteign, Radnorshire
Emma Peake 44 Cook b. Norfolk
Mary A. Hall 37 Parlour Maid b. Yazor, Herefordshire
Alice Hall 24 Sewing Maid b. Hampton Bishop, Herefordshire

1911 – Newport House Household

Richard W. Vigors 88 Late clerk in Holy Orders b. Ross on Wye, Herefordshire
Emily Vigors 74 Wife, private means b. Gloucestershire
DeCliffe Vigors 40 Son, Gentleman b. Littleton, Gloucestershire
R. Percy L. Vigors 38 Son, Gentleman b. Littleton, Gloucestershire
Olive M. Vigors 28 Daughter in Law, private means b. Woolwich
Philip Urban Vigors 35 Son, Gentleman b. Littleton, Gloucestershire
Jean A. Beckton 39 Sick Nurse b. South Bank, Yorkshire
Mary Walker 27 Housemaid b. Gloucestershire
Sarah A. Ricketts 28 Cook b. Herefordshire
Emily Ricketts 26 Parlourmaid b. Dilwyn, Herefordshire
Rose Knight 19 Housemaid b. Dilwyn, Herefordshire
Florence Ferris 21 Kitchenmaid b. Yatton, Herefordshire
Sarah Bigglestone 18 Parlourmaid b. Norton Canon, Herefordshire
Nellie Pocknall 19 Housemaid b. Fownhope, Herefordshire
Louise Tong 16 Scullery Maid b. Clifford, Herefordshire

1921 – Newport House Household

Richard W. Vigors b. New Ross County, Wexford Ireland 1823 Late Clerk in Holy Orders
Emily Vigors b. Redland, Gloucestershire 1837 Wife
De Cliffe Vigors b. Littleton Gloucestershire 1871 Son, Gentleman
R. Percy L. Vigors b. Littleton Gloucestershire 1876 Son, Gentleman
Olive Vigors b. Woolwich 1883 Daughter in Law
Philip Urban Vigors b. Littleton Gloucestershire 1876 Son, Gentleman
Jean A. Beckton b. South Bank, Yorkshire 1872 Sick Nurse, Widow
Mary Walker b. Beverstone, Yorkshire 1884 Housemaid
Sarah A. Ricketts b. Dilwyn, Herefordshire 1883 Cook
Emily Ricketts b. Dilwyn, Herefordshire 1885 Parlourmaid
Rose Knight b. Redditch, Worcestershire 1892 Housemaid
Florence Jervis b. Yatton, Herefordshire 1890 Kitchenmaid
Sarah J. Bigglestone b. Norton Canon, Herefordshire 1893 Parlourmaid
Nellie Pocknall b. Fownhope, Herefordshire 1892 Housemaid
Louise Tong b. Clifford, Herefordshire 1895 Scullerymaid