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APPELBEE, Edward (1784-1851) – A 19th-century Badsey landowner

For just over 30 years, Edward Appelbee (or Applebee as the name sometimes appears) lived in Badsey and, over the years, acquired land in the village; his widow, Elizabeth, remained in Badsey until her death nearly 30 years later.  The Appelbees were a well-established Warwickshire family of yeoman farmers, farm bailiffs, wheelwrights, etc, but were never landed gentry.  

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Early Life

Edward Appelbee (1784-1851) was born in Snitterfield, Warwickshire in 1784, the eldest of nine children of Thomas Appelbee, a wheelwright, and his wife, Sarah (née Millbond), who had married at Great Alne in 1782.  His father, Thomas Appelbee (1758-1822) had also been born in Snitterfield, the second of ten children of Thomas and Elizabeth Appelbee. 

Edward’s mother died towards the end of the 18th century or early years of the 19th century.  His father, Thomas, married again on 2nd August 1808 at St Martin, Birmingham, to Mary Elvins.  Thomas Appelbee died at Snitterfield on 20th February 1822. 

As far as we know, Edward Appelbee spent all of his childhood and early working career in Snitterfield.

Inheritance of land in Badsey

Edward Appelbee’s mother, Sarah, had been born Sarah Millbond (or Millbourne as it also appears) at Norton & Lenchwick in 1763.  She was the daughter of John and Elizabeth Millbond who had married in 1762.  Edward’s grandmother, Elizabeth Millbond, had been born Elizabeth Savage in 1740 and was the younger sister of Edward Savage of Cropthorne.  

It was through his great-uncle, Edward Savage, that Edward Appelbee inherited land in Badsey in 1819.  Both Edward Appelbee’s mother, Sarah (Edward Savage’s niece), and his grandmother, Elizabeth (Edward Savage’s sister), had died by 1814, which was the year in which Edward Savage, made his will.  Edward Savage had married Mary Cole in 1783 but had no children and his wife was dead by 1814.  Edward also had two younger brothers, Thomas and William, but only Thomas was still living by 1814.  

In his will, Edward Savage left the bulk of his estate to his eldest surviving great-nephews, Edward and Morris Appelbee, and to his sole surviving brother, Thomas.  Edward Appelbee received “All my freehold messuage, buildings, farm, lands and hereditaments situate in the township of Badsey in the said county of Worcester now in the occupation of my brother Thomas Savage”.  He also inherited a third share in household furniture, plate, china, linen and books, a half share in husbandry and dairy utensils, and a quarter share of a third share in the dividends and interest from Government stock.  Morris Appelbee received houses and land in Cropthorne and Thomas Savage received the house that Edward owned in Aldington (The Old House, Village Street).

Edward Savage died at Cropthorne in 1819, so it was then that Edward Appelbee, aged 35, came into his inheritance and presumably moved to Badsey.  The land which he inherited  amounted to about 32 acres and may be viewed on the Badsey Enclosure Map:

  • House and Homestead, 1a 0r 14p (Orchard Cottage and Barn Cottage, Mill Lane)
  • Upper Nether Field, 2a 3r 9p (land north of Bretforton Road)
  • Lower Nether Field, 3a 1r 22p (land north of Bretforton Road)
  • Nether Field, 4a 1r 14p (land north of Bretforton Road)
  • In Bully Brook Field, 17a 2r 37p (land at Three Ways, Willersey Road)
  • In Bully Brook Field, 2a 2r 0p (land south of Three Ways, Willersey Road)

Acquisition of more land in Badsey

In 1828, following the death of Thomas Scardefield, Edward Appelbee took the opportunity to buy the Harrington House estate which Scardefield had bought from the Harrington family in about 1822.  This amounted to just under 45 acres and included Claybrook Farm on Bretforton Road:

  • House and Homestead, 1a 1r 21p (Harrington House, 8 High Street)
  • In Hadshill Field, 8a 3r 31p and 4a 0r 36p (two fields north of Bretforton Road)
  • Three Leys Close, 1a 0r 32p (north of Bretforton Road)
  • Claybrook, 2a 2r 7p, 1a 1r 6p, 2a 2r 16p, 7a 1r 20p, 3a 0r 15p, 5a 0r 3p, 7a 0r 32p (seven fields north of Bretforton Road)
  • Spinney, 0a 0r 14p (north of Bretforton Road)

In 1842, Edward Appelbee bought some of the land owned by William Wilson, adding just over another 12 acres to his portfolio.  William Wilson (1758-1818) was not resident in Badsey, but owned the house on the site of the present-day Hollywood Villa, High Street, which is next to Harrington House.  On his death, his only son, William George Wilson (1788-1842), likewise non-resident in Badsey, inherited the house and land, which amounted to just under 75 acres.  When William Junior died in 1842, the whole estate was sold to James Ashwin of Bretforton, who then, in the same year, sold some of it to Edward Appelbee:

  • House and Homestead, 1a 2r 37p (Hollywood Villa, 10 High Street - note that the original house was knocked down in 1997 and replaced with a modern dwelling)
  • Upper Orchard, 1a 0r 32p (land on corner of High Street and Old Post Office Lane)
  • Cottage and Garden, 0a 1r 0p (Vale Cottage, Old Post Office Lane)
  • Nether Field, 6a 0r 32p & 3a 0r 15p (two fields north of Bretforton Road)
  • Edward Appelbee was now the owner of nearly 90 acres of land in Badsey.

Family Life

In December 1828, Edward Appelbee married Elizabeth Loxley at Cropthorne; Elizabeth had been born at Cropthorne in 1797.  Whilst still a bachelor, Edward is assumed to have been living in the cottage on Mill Lane, Badsey, which he had inherited from his great-uncle.  But, round about the time of his marriage, Edward bought the Harrington House estate and moved into the more substantial Harrington House with his new bride.  They had a son and a daughter:  Thomas (1831-1879) and Anne (1834-1867), both born and baptised in Badsey. 

At the time of the 1841 census, Edward and his young family were to be found at Harrington House.  Also living there were Alice Loxley and her two young daughters, Alice and Eliza.  Alice Loxley Senior was Elizabeth Appelbee’s sister-in-law (married to Elizabeth’s elder brother, Francis), and the two young girls were her nieces.  Elsewhere in the village lived Francis Loxley, Bailiff, who had presumably been employed by Edward Appelbee to help run the estate.

The 1851 census described Edward as a farmer of 80 acres employing five men.  His wife, Elizabeth, was listed on the census, but then crossed out with a note saying:  “At Gloster” (she was staying at the home of her sister, Jane Davis, wife of Thomas Reynolds Davis, bookseller; there was presumably some family celebration going on, as other siblings were also staying).  Thomas and Anne were still at home, Thomas working as a Banker’s Clerk, and Anne described as a Farmer’s daughter.

Edward died in December 1851.  He was buried in the churchyard of St James, Badsey.  A stained glass window in his memory was placed in the north wall of the church.

What happened to Edward Appelbee’s estate after his death?

By his will of 1848, proved in 1852, Edward Appelbee left all his estate to his wife, and thereafter to be divided equally between his two children.  At the time of the 1861 census, Elizabeth was shown as still living at what is Harrington House; her widowed sister, Ann Dingley, was staying with her, and a servant.  

In 1864, the majority of the Appelbee estate was put up for sale by auction at the Northwick Arms Hotel.  Thomas Appelbee, the son, was a bank manager and was presumably not interested in farming.  He had married Hannah Jerram in 1860 and was then living in Tewkesbury with his growing family.  Anne Appelbee, the daughter, had married William Gibbs in 1857.  He was a farmer from Songar, Warwickshire, and they moved there after the marriage.

The Appelbees were trying to sell 84 acres of land in 1864, which comprised Claybrook Farm, the cottages and barn on Mill Lane, and the land at Sand Field (Bully Brook), which just left Harrington House, Hollywood Villa, and the orchard and cottage opposite.  The land at this stage was occupied by Richard Edinborough and Thomas Sheaf, at rents amounting to £215 per annum.  Thomas Sheaf was a farmer then living in Offenham.  He was the brother of Edward Appelbee’s sister-in-law, Mary, who had married Morris Appelbee.  

The estate remained unsold, however, and it was not until 1877 that the two cottages (Orchard Cottage and Barn Cottage), barn and land at Sand Field which Edward had inherited in 1819, were sold to Constance Lord, widow of Captain John Lord, a large landowner in Badsey (Captain Lord had died just a short time before completion of the sale).  

Elizabeth died at Harrington House, Badsey, in 1880.  By this time, both her children had pre-deceased her, Thomas Appelbee in 1879 and Anne Gibbs in 1867.  Thomas Appelbee’s last job had been as Manager of the Gloucestershire Bank, Evesham.  He and his wife, Hannah, who had died shortly after giving birth to their seventh child, were both buried in Badsey churchyard.  Anne Gibbs, who was only 32 when she died, was buried in Warwickshire, but a brass plaque in her memory was placed in Badsey Church underneath her father’s stained glass window.

It was not until 6th July 1891 that Harrington House and the rest of the estate was sold by the trustees of the will of Thomas Appelbee and his sister, Mrs William Gibbs, at a sale at the King’s Head Hotel, Evesham.  

The final mention of an Appelbee in Badsey records was when Annie Helen Appelbee (daughter of Thomas and Hannah and granddaughter of Edward and Elizabeth) was buried in the family plot in Badsey churchyard in November 1930.  Annie, a music teacher, never lived in Badsey as far as we know but, as a single woman, obviously chose to be buried next to her parents and grandparents.

Maureen Spinks, April 2021


As well as the usual sources of information such as parish records, census returns, Enclosure details, BA 5589, Ref 705:192, Parcel 63 at Worcestershire Archives and Archaeology at The Hive, Worcester, contains information about the Appelbee estate.