Ploughing matches, education, fire and more

1810 – The Wormbridge Academy

In January 1810, parents and Guardians were reminded that Wormbridge Academy would be open for the reception of Young Gentlemen after the recess, on Monday 29th January, under the superintendance of Rev. Bowen (late of Abbey Dore).

Twenty pupils were being boarded on “reasonable terms” to be instructed in Greek, Latin and English;  Writing;  Geography;  Arithmetic;  Mensuration;  Fractions, Decimals and other useful literature  which might help them in their future lives.

Strict attention was to be paid to health as well as the morals of their minds.

1848 – Wormbridge Annual Ploughing Match

On 9th November 1848, the Wormbridge annual Ploughing Match took place in a field belonging to Mr. Parry of the Grange, in cold but favourable conditions.

More than twenty teams of horses took part, and the standard was so high that it was hard for the judges to come to a decision.  Eventually, James Holley of Kentchurch was given the silver cup valued at four sovereigns.

1856 – Postmistress at Wormbridge Steals Money

Mrs. Esther Preece who had been postmistress at Wormbridge, was convicted of stealing money from letters passing through her hands, and was sentenced to four years’ penal servitude.

She was the wife of James Preece, a Wheelwright of Wormbridge and prior to the thefts had been highly respected, but it was discovered that several letters which had gone through the Wormbridge Post Office had not arrived at their destination, in consequence of which Inspector General Ramsey of the Post Office and his assistant James Moule, arrived to investigate.

They laid a trap by putting a shilling inside a letter along with three postage stamps to the value of one shilling each, then addressed it to Mrs Cadwallader in Herts.  Eventually Esther Preece’s guilt was proved.

1857 – Wormbridge Cottage Garden Society

In August, the eleventh annual show of vegetables, fruit and flowers was held at Much Dewchurch, in a field near the vicarage.

All the previous shows had been held in the Wormbridge school, but the Committee felt that a change of scene would be good for the society.

The tent was hired from the Hereford Horticultural Society at a reduced rate, and the day was a huge success.

1899 – Wormbridge Court on Fire

Wormbridge Court, a farm on the Whitfield estate occupied by G. Brace, a well known agriculturist and breeder of stock, suffered a fire in August 1899.

Some stacks of corn burst into flames, and when the fire was discovered, a man galloped to Pontrilas to telegraph for the Hereford fire brigade.

Whilst waiting for the fire engine, many local farmers and neighbours used strenuous efforts to put out the flames, which were spreading to a French barn and threatening the stables and barn next to the house.

Head Constable Richardson arrived with the engine and brigade and soon managed to check the fire and therefore save the stables and house, although damage was put at around £800.

The Fire Brigade were applauded for being on site and pumping water within an hour of being summonsed.