Built in around the 17th century on the site of an earlier mansion some 8 miles south west of Hereford, Whitfield House was enlarged in the late 1800s and much altered in the mid 1900s when a third floor was added; however later the additions were removed.
The estate of Wormbridge was bestowed by Richard 1 on the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who were then established at Dinmore. After the order was dissolved by Henry VIII it again became Royal property; in 1596 Elizabeth made one of her favourites, Sir Christopher Hatton, a present of the estate, and from him it was bought by Rowland Vaughan. In 1609, it passed to James Husbands and Martin Leather; James married Martin’s daughter and their daughter Kitty inherited the estate.
Kitty went on to marry George Clive of Salop in 1652, and thus the Clive family were established at Wormbridge.
The Clive Family
The Clive family arrived at Whitfield House in the 1790s, having previously lived at Wormbridge Court and descendants continued to live in the mansion until recent times.
Kitty was an excellent writer of plays and a very good actress – Horace Walpole was so admiring of her that he gave her a cottage, Clivedon, at Strawberry Hill and also wrote an epitaph which is inscribed on a monumental urn:
“Ye smiles and jests still hover round,
This is mirth’s consecrated ground,
Here lived the laughter-loving dame
A matchless actress, Clive her name.
The comic muse with her retired
And shed a tear when she expired”
As written in the Hereford Journal in 1850:
“Mrs. Clive was the most famous actress, in her peculiar line, that ever trod the stage; her equal is not to be found in theatrical history, either before or since the era in which she flourished. Her mirth was so genuine, that whether it was restrained to the arch sneer, and the suppressed half laugh, widened to the broad grin, or extended to the downright honest burst of loud laughter, the audience were sure to accompany her. She excelled alike in chambermaids; the affected or capricious lady of fashion, country girls, romps, hoydens, and dowdies, superannuated beauties, viragoes and humourists.”
Kitty Clive was just as bubbly and entertaining in her private life, and maintained an unsullied reputation whilst attracting friends of both sexes of high rank.
She performed in Dublin, as well as Covent Garden and did her last performance on 24th April 1769 – The Wonder and Lethe – before retiring.
Kitty Clive died on 6th December 1785
The Rev. Archer Clive
The Rev Archer Clive was the second son of Edward Bolton Clive (MP for Hereford)
He received the education that would prepare him for duties both clerical and laie, which he so ably discharged, at Oxford, where he became a B.A. in 1821 and M.A, in 1823. He was ordained a deacon in 1825 and priest in the following year.
The Rev. Archer Clive occupied a stall as prebend of Pyon Parva in Hereford Cathedral from 1850 and became Chancellor of the choir of the Cathedral in 1868, and he was the highly esteemed Rector of Solihull, Warwickshire from 1829 to 1847.
Archer was appointed chief steward of the city of Hereford on the death of the Right Honourable Sr. George Cornewall Lewis in 1863 and he was also a JP for Herefordshire; a deputy Lieutenant; Chairman of the Lunatic Asylum Committee; Lord of the manors of Treville and Wormbridge, and patron of the joint livings of Wormbridge and St. Devereaux.
Archer Clive married Caroline Meysey Wigley, and they had one son, Charles Meysey Bolton Clive who succeeded to the property, and one daughter who became the wife of Colonel Greathead.
In 1861 the Rev Archer Clive hosted a “brilliant assemblage of neighbours and friends. He clearly had a great many, as there were at least 96 horses and 46 carriages which all required stabling and storing – many of the visitors were staying in the house so it must have been a noisy and jolly household.
Dancing began at around ten o’clock to the competently played music of the Monmouthshire Militia Band with refreshments being served in the entrance hall, which with its exquisitely painted panels was greatly admired as a true work of art.
At midnight, supper was laid out in the dining room as follows:
10 brace of pheasant
10 couples of fowls du roti
6 ditto au Bechamel
3 ornamental hams
6 ornamental tongues
2 Dindon gelatine en aspic
2 ditto du roti
6 salad d’Homeul
6 ditto Italienne
6 Gelee de Noyau
6 Gelee au viu
8 Gelee a l’orange
4 Gatian Neapolitan
6 dishes Italian Merangue
6 ditto mince pies
6 ditto French pasty
6 ornamental Savoy cakes
20 ditto fancy biscuits
The chef of the household was Mrs. Gurney who made sure that the feast was presented in a splendid manner.
After supper, everyone went back to the ballroom and continued dancing until dawn.
Archer Clive acted on the Finance Committee and was a faithful guardian of the ratepayers’ interests. He did much to promote the sociability of the county of Herefordshire by the establishment of the Herefordshire Club, and although he dined with the great he never forgot the poor and was an attentive and kind friend to same.
He was described as a model country gentleman and an encouraging and liberal landlord. He gave generously to charities of every kind, and listened “with kindly patience” to the tales of distress from the poor.
The Rev Archer Clive died in 1878
Charles Meysey Bolton Clive
Charles Meysey Bolton Clive was born in 1842 and died in 1883. He was married on 10th January 1867 to Lady Katherine Elizabeth Mary Julia Fielding and they had six children; Marjory Katharine Clive, Mabel Adelaide Clive, Percy Clive, Wilfred Clive, Robert Clive and one other.
Charles became Dept. Lieut. Of County of Hereford and was a J.P. for Herefordshire. Educated at Balliol College.
Percy Archer Clive was born in 1873, his great great grandfather being a first cousin of Clive of India, and became a British army officer and Liberal Unionist MP.
He was the eldest son of Charles Meysey Bolton Clive and was educated at Eton before going on to Sandhurst Military Academy. He married Alice Muriel, daughter of Colonel G.F. Dallas and together they had five children – his youngest son, Lewis Clive, won a gold medal for rowing at the 1932 Olympics
Percy’s military career began with the Grenadier Guards in 1891 and he fought in the Boer War, and then again in World War 1 – he was wounded twice, and was given bravery awards as well as being mentioned in Despatches. He was Lieutenant Colonel of the Grenadier Guards when he was killed in action in 1918 at Bucquoy. He was the twentieth MP (or former MP) to die whilst fighting in WW1, and his memorial in Hereford Cathedral records that he “died a gallant death”. Percy was attempting to rescue a fallen comrade, but was shot.
Fire at Whitfield House
A fire broke out at Whitfield House in 1899, and a telegram was sent to Hereford Police Station requesting help. The fire brigade immediately set off under the command of Captain Richardson – it took them nearly an hour to cover the nearly nine miles, and the horses must have been exhausted on arrival. Once they arrived, it was found that some of the outbuildings were well alight but not Whitfield House itself.
The buildings were tenanted by a Wheelwright named Morgan and were stuffed full with the produce of around 40 acres, and the fire brigade lost no time in bringing the fire under control; a great deal of hay and some of the buildings were saved……….the tenant was not insured, but more surprisingly neither was the owner, Mr. P.A. Clive.
1851 – Whitfield House Household
|Archer Clive||51||Hon. Prebend of Hereford Cathedral||b. Marylebone, London|
|Peter Milroy||35||Gardener||b. Scotland|
|Walter Parry||20||Groom||b. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire|
|Margaret James||42||Housekeeper||b. Ludlow, Salop|
|Charlotte Moore||30||Laundry Maid||b. Burbage, Leicester|
|Frances Meredith||18||Still Room Maid||b. Herefordshire|
|Anne Hewett||20||Laundry Maid||b. Solihull, Warwickshire|
1861 – Whitfield House Household
|Archer Clive||61||Clergyman without Cure of Souls||b. London|
|Caroline Clive||59||Wife||b. Brompton, Middlesex|
|Charles Clive||19||Son, Undergraduate at Oxford||b. Worcestershire|
|Alice Clive||17||Daughter||b. Worcestershire|
|Jane E. Harley||65||Guest, Baroness Langdale|
|Frances E. Harcourt||56||Daughter of late Earl of Oxford||b. Titley, Herefordshire|
|Robert Devereux||18||Viscount Hereford|
|Ferdinand Eber||34||General of Brigade of Stationery|
|Thomas Blake||33||Butler||b. Bardsea, Somerset|
|George Parson||38||Coachman||b. Kingstone, Dorset|
|Joseph Smith||29||Footman||b. Hampstead, Berkshire|
|Thomas Taylor||21||Footman||b. Bloxham, Oxfordshire|
|Joseph ?||29||Guest, Footman to Lady Langdale|
|George Powell||19||Groom||b. Herefordshire|
|Elizabeth Gurney||49||Housekeeper||b. Felton, Northumberland|
|Esther Edwards||46||Guest, Lodging House Keeper||b. Shropshire|
|Mary Ardell||27||Cook||b. Paddington Middlesex|
|Josephine Delaine||33||Lady’s Maid||b. France|
|Antonia Begamaster||41||Lady’s Maid to Lady Langdale||b. Austria|
|Eliza Hodkiss||28||Lady’s Maid to Lady Harcourt||b. Shropshire|
|Lydia Parsons||40||Laundry Maid||b. Herefordshire|
|Eliza Gate||23||Under Housemaid||b. Worcestershire|
|Jane Williams||20||Under Housemaid||b. Abbey Dore, Herefordshire|
|Eliza Watkins||19||Laundry Maid||b. Hammersmith, London|
|Harriet Pullen||21||Lady’s Maid||b. Devon|
|Emma Pugh||18||Housemaid||b. Bacton, Herefordshire|
|Sarah J. Meck||17||Laundry Maid||b. Winforton, Herefordshire|
|Marian G. Watton||36||Kitchen Maid||b. Kilpeck, Herefordshire|
|Annabella ?||20||Kitchen Maid|
|Daniel Millard||19||Helper||b. Herefordshire|
|Thomas Bayliss||53||Guest, Coachman||b. Eye, Herefordshire|
1871 – Whitfield House Household
|Archer Clive||71||Magistrate for Herefordshire||b. London|
|Caroline Clive||69||Wife||b. London|
|Mary Greathead||6||Grand daughter||b. Middlesex|
The rest of the household is very hard to decipher due to faded, poor writing and there is little point in guessing. However there were 19 servants: Governess, Cook, Nurse, Ladys Maid, Butler, Coachman, Footman, Groom, another Coachman, another groom, maid, kitchen maid, dairy maid, two housemaids a scullery maid and one indecipherable.
1881 – Whitfield House Household
|Meysey Clive||39||J.P. County of Hereford||b. Solihull Warwickshire|
|Lady Katharine Clive||38||Wife, Peer’s daughter||b. London, Middlesex|
|Mabel A. Clive||9||Daughter||b. London, Middlesex|
|Percy Clive||8||Son||b. London, Middlesex|
|Wilfred Clive||6||Son||b. London, Middlesex|
|Robert Clive||3||Son||b. London, Middlesex|
|Fraulein Reubend||29||Governess||b. Kronenberg, Germany|
|Thomas Taylor||40||Butler||b. Kingham,|
|William Miller||24||Footman||b. Paddington, Middlesex|
|Edmund Crampton||21||Head Cowman||b. Hereford City|
|Thomas Jones||24||Groom||b. Hereford City|
|Charles Smith||30||Coachman||b. Berkshire|
|William Lewis||16||Stable boy||b. Wormbridge, Herefordshire|
|Harry Jones||20||Helper||b. Kentchurch, Herefordshire|
|Frances Flint||40||Housekeeper||b. Huntington|
|May Pollard||22||Lady’s Maid||b. London, Middlesex|
|Margaret Wadham||31||Cook||b. London, Middlesex|
|Sarah Green||28||Nurse||b. Herefordshire|
|Jane Jones||31||Kitchenmaid||b. Thruxton, Herefordshire|
|Elizabeth ?aymond||19||Nursery Maid||b. Honiton, Devon|
|Louisa Griffiths||18||Scullery Maid||b. Madley, Herefordshire|
|Ellen Lewis||18||Under Housemaid||b. Wormbridge, Herefordshire|
|Alice Smith||18||Housemaid||b. St. Devereaux, Herefordshire|
1891 – Whitfield House Household
|Alice Greathed||47||Living on own Means||b. Solihull, Warwickshire|
|Percy A. Clive||18||Gent Cadet Royal Miler College||b. London, Middlesex|
|Mabel A. Clive||19||Niece||b. London, Middlesex|
|Robert H. Clive||13||Nephew||b.London, Middlesex|
|Marjory K. Clive||9||Niece||b. London, Middlesex|
|Mary C. Darling||26||Daughter||b. Surrey|
|Lucia F. Darling||4||Grand daughter||b. London, Middlesex|
|Maud T. Braya||18||Governess||b. Cheshire|
|Henry W.O. Rorke||21||Visitor, Student Trinity College, Cambridge||b. London, Middlesex|
|Margaret Wadham||41||Cook||b. London, Middlesex|
|Fanny Worrall||22||Scullery Maid||b. Shropshire|
|Emily Leach||25||Kitchen Maid||b. Buckinghamshire|
|Jane E. Roberts||16||Housemaid||b. Yorkshire|
|Susanna Caxton||36||Housemaid||b. Cambridgeshire|
|Elizabeth A. Parry||22||Housemaid||b.Herefordshire|
|Ellen C. Riley||18||Nursery Maid||b. London, Middlesex|
|Eliza Pinard||37||Lady’s Maid||b. Switzerland|
|Thomas Jones||23||Footman||b. Herefordshire|
|Charles Jones||33||General Servant||b.Herefordshire|
1901 – Whitfield House Household
|Gilbert J. Bates||53||Living on own means||b. Bombay, India|
|Charlotte Bates||46||Wife||b. Liverpool, Lancashire|
|Guy Warren||13||Nephew||b. Boston USA, British Subject|
|Joan Warren||12||Niece||b. Boston USA, British Subject|
|Gladys M. Warren||11||Niece||b. Liverpool, Lancashire|
|Mary Hardinge||40||Visitor, Governess||b. Kensington, London|
|Martha Howard||36||Cook||b. Tamworth, Staffordshire|
|Georgina Downer||34||Housekeeper||b. Salisbury, Wiltshire|
|Annie Sewell||22||Sewing Maid||b. Berkshire|
|Jane Porter||30||Housemaid||b. Cannock, Staffordshire|
|Alice Barber||24||Housemaid||b. Bodenham, Herefordshire|
|Agnes Paget||25||Housemaid||b. Windrush, Oxfordshire|
|Daisy Horwood||25||Kitchenmaid||b. Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire|
|Mary Grindrod||16||Scullery Maid||b. Treville, Herefordshire|
|Francis Curtis||21||Footman||b. Gloucestershire|
|Alfred Preece||20||Oddman||b. Abbeydore, Herefordshire|
1911 – Whitfield House Household
|Ada Hunt||35||Head Housemaid||b. Frampton on Severn, Gloucestershire|
|Annie Russell||17||Housemaid||b. Herefordshire|