Pengethley Manor was originally called Pengethley House, and is situated in the village of Sellack, close to Ross on Wye, in an absolutely glorious setting.

I have been contacted by a descendant of the Powell family who owned Pengethley for a great many years (Nicholas Waloff) who has spent some considerable time and effort researching his family tree. I am always indebted to those who take the trouble to correct or add to this website and extend my thanks to him for his contribution.

This is what he wrote:
“It starts with Richard Powell of Harewood, Herefordshire, who had 4 sons, including Edmund and his brother John. They jointly acquired Pengethley in 1583 from Edward Brown of Harewood for 1000 marks, and a deed of sale survives which is quoted in Charles Feret’s History of Fulham, ii, p.183.

Both John and Edmund were employed in the Royal Household of Queen Elizabeth I, and John for a brief period in King James I’s household. John was the Clerk of the Market of the Royal Household, responsible for enforcement of legally defined weights and measures in Southern England. He lived in Fulham, Middlesex, as well as Pengethley. Edmund was the Deputy Clerk of the Market at the same time. John wrote a famous treatise, ‘The Assize of Bread’, which amongst other things established the legal pint line around pint beer glasses (or rather pewter mugs at the time).

In 1594, John acquired the Mynde Park Estate in Sellack (Mynde Park Deeds, National Library of Wales)

John died in 1606 and bequeathed his share of Pengethley to Edmund, who then passed it on to Sir Edward Powell, his son.

John’s daughter, who did not inherit Pengethley, was the 15th great grandmother of Diana, Princess of Wales and a possible similar great grandmother to Baroness Margaret Thatcher.

So the Powells acquired Pengethley in 1583.”

Edward Powell was created a Baronet in January 1621. He married, but died without having children, so left his estates to his nephew William Hinson of Pengethley, who took on the name and arms* of Powell and who was created a Baronet in January 1660. Despite being married twice, William only had one child – a daughter, Mary, who inherited the estates. Mary married Sir John Williams of Eltham in Kent, and their youngest daughter Penelope married Thomas Symonds of Sugwas, Herefordshire and she conveyed Pengethley house to him.
* This has been called into question by Nicholas Waloff, who has extensively researched the coats of arms used – he does believe that William Hinson kept his own coat of arms.

The Symonds Family at Pengethley Manor

Their great grandson was Thomas Powell Symonds who married Elizabeth Turner in 1816, and he totally rebuilt the house after the original building suffered a dreadful fire in the early 19th century. although he had two sons, it was the eldest by a year, Thomas Powell, who inherited Pengethley Manor.
The Symonds family remained in residence until the death of Caroline Symonds in 1947; she had never married and in the absence of heirs the estate was sold.

Dr. John Hagmann at Pengethley Manor

It changed hands many times before eventually being turned into a hotel, and at one time, in 2007, Pengethley Manor was bought by an American – Dr John Hagmann, who although making improvements and renovations, gave the house a rather dark period. There is a great deal on the internet about this man and his rather ghastly experiments, many of which were carried out at Pengethley Manor – one description of him being “he was like a diabolical mad scientist at work in a horror movie”. Certainly I am not about to write it all down here given how recent the events were, and the fact that most of those involved are still alive – however if you want the grisly details then just Google John Hagmann.

Of course, if it had all occurred more than a hundred years ago, then I would definitely have written the whole thing up!

The Ghosts of Pengethley Manor

There are reputedly two ghosts at Pengethley Manor; one is a little girl called Harriet who tragically died when she was trapped in the fire that destroyed most of the house in the early 1800s. It is said that she is naughty and plays childish tricks as she haunts the main part of the house.
The other ghost is an old lady dressed in black, who appears to be searching for someone as she wanders around the ruined area.
Strange goings on have also been reported, such as furniture moving around and footsteps being heard when nobody is there.


William Harris – Butler at Pengethley Manor

Set out below is an email received from a family history researcher regarding her relative William Harris.  If anyone can help with this, please contact me and I will put her in touch.


I’m hoping you can help me with my intrepid search into my family’s past. My great great grandfather, William Harris, was the Butler at Pengethley Manor House from 1861 until 1881, according to the censuses for those years. I am related to him through his daughter, Elizabeth, her daughter, Ethel Ann and then down through to my mother, Jean.

My husband and I visited Pengethley last week to see if they had any old photos or information I could possibly look at, but, unfortunately they had nothing at all on the past apart from some old weddings used for publicity purposes from the early 1980’s.

I have since found your article on Pengethley and the information on a butler’s duties, all of which was extremely informative. I was, therefore wondering if either you or your readers may have anything at all on William Harris that they may be willing to share with me.

Thank you in anticipation of what may emerge. Here’s hoping!

1851 – Pengethley Manor Household

Thomas Powell Symonds 62 Magistrate;  Clergyman not having care of Souls b. Dymock, Gloucestershire
Elizabeth Symonds 55 Wife b. London, Middlesex
Thomas Powell Symonds 34 Son, Magistrate, Militia Officer b. Kent
Louisa Spill 27 Servant b. Gloucestershire
Sophia Spill 33 Servant b. Gloucestershire
Eliza Williams 24 Servant b. Llangarron, Herefordshire
William Digwood 32 Coachman b. Llanwarne, Herefordshire

1861 – Pengethley Manor Household

Thomas Powell Symonds 73 Clergyman without care of souls b. Dymock, Gloucestershire
Elizabeth Symonds 65 Wife b. Marylebone, Middlesex
Thomas P. Symonds 43 Son, Major of Militia b. Isle of Thanet Kent
William Harris 41 Servant b. Herefordshire
Catherine E. Powell 29 Servant b. Monmouthshire
Ellen Price 23 Servant b. Monmouthshire
Sarah J. Hoffard 19 Servant b. Woolhope, Herefordshire

1871 – Pengethley Manor Household

Thomas P. Symonds 54 Commander Herefordshire Militia b. Isle of Thanet,  Kent
Caroline E. Symonds 3 Daughter b. St. Peters, Southampton
Elizabeth Symonds 75 Mother b. London, Middlesex
William Harris 52 Butler b. Ross on Wye, Herefordshire
Mary Watt 26 Cook b. Winforton, Herefordshire
Fanny Probert 17 Housemaid b.  Lyonshall, Herefordshire
Julia Taynton 24 Nurse b. Ross on Wye,  Herefordshire

1881 – Pengethley Manor Household

William T. Cahusac 58 Colonel, Bombay Staff Corps, and Farmer b. Cheshire
Janette Cahusac 50 Wife b. Hampton Bishop, Herefordshire
Emily Sarah Cahusac 80 Mother, Widow b. Rickmansworth, Herefordshire
Matilda Layton 34 Visitor b. Blackheath, Kent
Thomas Evans 26 Groom b. Brinsop, Herefordshire
Mary Fowler 41 Lady’s Maid b. Herefordshire
Caroline Gwilliam 24 Housemaid b. Bridstow, Herefordshire
Jane Duggan 29 Cook b. Clifford, Herefordshire
Eliza Moore 19 Housemaid b. Newnham, Herefordshire
Lucy Preseth 17 Kitchenmaid b. Redmarley, Gloucestershire

1891 – Pengethley Manor Household

Caroline Symonds 25 Living on own means b. Southampton
Anna Symonds 52 Mother, Widow b. Litchfield, Hants
Frances M. Butlin 26 Visitor, living on own means b. Ealing, Middlesex
Harriet Wood 28 Cook b. Bridstow, Herefordshire
William Ireland 27 Butler b. Kinnerton, Radnorshire
Sara Parker 25 Housemaid b. Staffordshire
Sarah Powell 16 Kitchenmaid b. Garway, Herefordshire

1901 – Pengethley Manor Household

Caroline E. Symonds 35 Single, living on own means b. Southampton, Hants
Annie Symonds 62 Mother, widow, living on own means b. Litchfield, Hants
Rose A. Crumpton 29 Cook b. Radnor
Myra Hohlds 16 Kitchenmaid b. Llanwarne, Herefordshire
Annie M. Heayns 32 Housemaid b. Cornwall
David E.S. Small 24 Butler b. Scotland