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Cottages on the corner of High Street and Mill Lane

The row of three cottages at the end of High Street, Badsey (Nos 46-50 High Street), together with Field Cottage in Mill Lane, were at one time known as numbers 1, 2, 3 & 4 Mill Cottages, even though they were never part of the mill land; their address in old census returns often appears as Mill Lane.  In the 1960s, when numbering in the High Street was introduced, No 1 became 50 High Street, No 2 became 48 High Street, No 3 became 46 High Street and No 4 became known as Field Cottage, Mill Lane.

High Street
46-48 High Street - May 1968.
High Street
46-48 High Street - May 2008.
Field Cottage
Field Cottage, Mill Lane - May 1968.   ©  J L Brown.
Field Cottage
Field Cottage, Mill Lane - July 2006.

Early history – ownership by the Knight family

Two hundred years ago, just one house stood on the spot (this appears to be what is now Nos 46 & 48 High Street).  At the time that the Badsey Enclosure Commissioners made their awards in 1815, the land where the cottages are situated was an old enclosure belonging to Thomas Knight.  It was described as a house and garden.  

Thomas Knight (1765-1841) came from a family of Knights that had lived in the village since the end of the 17th century.  He was a builder and it is quite likely that he may have built the house at the end of the 18th century for his growing family.  He had married Badsey-born Ann Simpson at St James’ Church, Badsey, in 1790, and had eight children.  Thomas features in the 1841 census, aged 76, living alone (his wife had died in 1838), described as a builder.  It is difficult to tell, however, where he lived as no addresses are given in the 1841 census, and the enumerator did not necessarily record the households in any particular order.  It is probable that his third son, Valentine, a carpenter, lived there with his large family of ten children.  Thomas died in November 1841.

It is difficult to tell from the 1841 census whether Field Cottage had been built by then and whether No 50 High Street had been added, but both seemed to be in existence by 1851.  Valentine Knight may have been responsible for the changes.  Valentine (1799-1849), the fourth of Thomas’ eight children, had married Badsey-born Sarah Houghton at St James’ Church in 1823.  They had ten children born between 1823 and 1840.  Valentine died in 1849, aged 50, when his youngest child was only eight years old.

By the time of the 1851 census, Valentine’s widow, Sarah, was described as a pauper living with four of her children, all grown-up, plus the wife and child of her son, Richard.  Ten years later, Sarah was still there with three of her children.  She remained living at the cottage until her death in October 1866.

Ownership by Joseph Woodward and John Pickup Lord

With the premature death of her husband in 1849, Sarah Knight had obviously fallen on hard times.  The Knight family sold the cottages to Joseph Woodward, a land agent who spent much of the 1850s and 1860s buying estates in the area.  It was after the Knights ceased to own the house that the individual cottages were let to separate tenants.

Lot 8 1866 map

On 2nd July 1866, in an auction held at the Northwick Hotel, Evesham, these cottages were sold by Joseph Woodward to John Pickup Lord.  There were definitely four cottages in total by this stage.  They were sold in Lot 8 as:  “All those four capital cottages, with the gardens and newly-erected outbuildings, in the occupation of James Higgins and others”.  They covered an area of 1 rood (¼ acre) and were marked as No 5 on the map included with the Sales Particulars (right).

Lot 8 1866
Lot 8 in the 1866 Sales Particulars.

John Pickup Lord, a landowner originally from Lancashire, had moved to Hallow, Worcestershire, a few years earlier.  Lord died at Hallow in 1877 and trustees were appointed to administer his estates, which they did for many decades.  The four cottages continued to be let out to tenants.  

Ownership by the Pendlebury and Newbury families

In the 1890s, Richard Pendlebury bought the cottages from the trustees of the estate of John Pickup Lord.  Richard Pendlebury had moved to Badsey from Manchester in 1891, following the death of his partner, Elizabeth, who hailed from Gloucestershire and whose sister, Hannah Newbury, was living with her family in Badsey.  Later he bought land at the end of Old Post Office Lane and had two pairs of semi-detached houses built (present-day Orchard View, Nos 20 & 22, and West Lea, Nos 24 & 26).

Richard Pendlebury died in January 1908, leaving four surviving children from his first marriage and a daughter, Maud Ellen, described in his will as his “natural” daughter.  Maud, together with her half-brother, George, were executors.  Richard Pendlebury’s will directed that his estate should be sold and divided between his five children, but whilst the four eldest children received a sixth each, Maud received two-sixths.

It seems that Richard’s youngest son, James Edwin Pendlebury (1874-1954), may have bought the houses from his father as an investment in 1905, as Richard’s will states that he had already advanced some money to him.  An Abstract of Title in deeds of No 46 High Street reveals that on 13th August 1908, James Edwin Pendlebury of 16 Knight Street, Didsbury, Lancashire, Warehouseman, sold to Maud Pendlebury for £385, “All those four cottages and gardens with the appurtenances containing 28 perches or thereabouts situate in Mill Lane and having a frontage to the Evesham Road in the village of Badsey in the County of Worcester, then in the respective occupations of J Knight, William Hancock, J Hardiman and Churchill.”  The previous day, James had bought West Lea from his sibling executors for £475 (this also included half an acre of land and a greenhouse).  There is no evidence that James ever came to live in Badsey.  As far as we know, he remained living in Didsbury, Manchester, until emigrating to Australia in 1913.

On 7th January 1911, Maud Pendlebury married her first cousin, Wilson Newbury, at the parish church of St Arden Bradford, Manchester, but then came to live in Badsey at Orchard View, where her father had been living at the time of his death. 

The Valuation Office survey which took place in November 1912 gave the owner of the four cottages at the corner of High Street and Mill Lane as Miss Maud E Pendlebury, as the records had not been updated with her married name.  It describes Field Cottage as a “brick and tile house in fair repair, living room, kitchen, pantry, coal-house, 2 bedrooms” and was valued, together with the other three cottages, at a gross value of £380.  Nos 46 & 48 were each described as “Brick and tile cottage in fair repair: living-room, kitchen, back kitchen, pantry, 2 bedrooms” and No 50 was described as “Brick and tile house in fair repair: living-room, kitchen, pantry, coalhouse, 2 bedrooms, wash-house for 4 cottages.”

1950s sale of the cottages to individual owners

Mrs Maud Newbury continued to own the cottages until the 1950s, letting them out to tenants.  By the 1950s she was now aged over 70 and had no children, so began to sell the cottages.  No 3 (46 High Street) was the first to be sold in 1952, then No 4 (Field Cottage, Mill Lane) and then numbers 1 & 2 (50 & 48 High Street) in 1954.  

  • Number 1 Mill Cottages (50 High Street) was sold on 14th September to Miss Angela Brenda Olsen.  On 28th August 1959, Miss Olsen, then living at Water Eatons Manor, near Oxford, sold the cottage to Norah Elizabeth Harris of Blenheim Cottage for £590.  The cottage has changed ownership several times since then.
  • Number 2 Mill Cottages (48 High Street) was sold on 14th September 1954 to Miss Angela Brenda Olsen.  Miss Olsen retained number 2 when she sold number 1 in 1959, but it is not known when she eventually sold it.  By 1983 it was in new ownership.  The present owner has lived there since 1987.
  • Number 3 Mill Cottages (46 High Street) was sold on 1st August 1952 for £1,000 to Miss Hephzibah Sarah Curtis and Miss Lottie Amelia Davies of 17 Lichfield Road, Birmingham.  Ownership of the cottage has changed several times since that time.
  • Number 4 Mill Cottages (Field Cottage, Mill Lane) was sold on 28th May 1953.  In a conveyance of that date, Mrs Maud Ellen Newbury, then living at 11 Sands Lane, Badsey, sold No 4 Mill Cottages for £1,400 to Mr Peter Scott Tucker of Wickham House, Wickhamford, Solicitor, and Mrs Magdalena Anna Elisabeth Scott Tucker.  The former coal-house was now a garage and the back garden had a building which was the former wash-house for all four cottages.  Field Cottage remained the home of the Tucker family for more than 50 years.  Peter (1915-1987) died in 1987, but Anna (1923-2020) remained living there for another 20 years or so, before moving into a retirement home in Evesham.  The Tuckers also rented from Christ Church the meadow at the end of their drive-way.

Tenants of Field Cottage, Mill Lane

It is difficult to tell from the 1841 census whether Field Cottage had been built by then and whether No 50 High Street had been added, but both seemed to be in existence by 1851 when the tenants at Field Cottage appear to John and Eleanor Drinkwater, and their lodgers.  

In 1861, it was home to Henry and Mary Teal and their children.  At the time of the 1871 census, Lot and Ann New lived there with their son, Lot.  Lot was one of Badsey’s first market gardeners.

In 1881 and 1891, Charles Knight and his mother, Mary Stanley lived there.  At the time of the 1901 and 1911 census, John Knight and family lived there.  John was the son of Mary Stanley and brother of Charles Knight.

Arthur and Olive Salter lived there at the time of the 1921 census with their two sons, 19-year-old Edgar Arthur, and three-year-old Louis Charles.  Both Arthur and Edgar were employed as market gardener’s labourer, Arthur working for James Wilmore and Edgar working for Mrs. Geden.  A niece, 14-year-old Henrietta Crane, also lived there.  Olive's parents lived next-door at 46 High Street.  The Salters were still living there at the time of the 1939 register, the occupants being recorded as  Arthur, a market gardener’s labourer, Olive and 21-year-old son, Louis, a lorry driver and brewer’s worker.  Phil Case, a market gardener, also lodged with them.  Arthur died in 1943.  By the time she died in 1954, Olive was living round the corner in what is now No 50 High Street.    

Tenants of 46 High Street

It seems likely that the original house had been sold by the Knight family and was now divided into two by 1861 with widow, Sarah Knight, now in straitened circumstances, still living there with three of her children.

Sarah Knight died in 1866 and it then became the home of William and Sarah Bennett and their children until the beginning of the 20th century.  At the time of the 1881 census, their son, William, now married with young children, was renting No 48 next-door.  William Senior died in 1884 but Sarah remained living there until her death in 1906.

According to the 1908 conveyance, the tenant was then William Hancock.  By 1911 it was home to William and Elizabeth Tidmarsh and by 1921, Charles and Louisa Chives lived there with a boarder, an agricultural student named Maurice Savory.  Charles and Louisa were the parents of Olive Salter who lived next-door at Field Cottage.  They possibly lived there until the time of their deaths in 1922 and 1935 respectively.

George Grove, a market gardener’s labourer, and his wife, Gertrude, lived there with their two children at the time of the 1939 register.

Tenants of 48 High Street

It seems likely that the original house had been divided into two by 1861 with James Higgins, a farm labourer, and his wife, Hannah living there.  By 1871, Joseph Cooper, a thatcher, and his wife, Elizabeth, lived there.  In 1881, the tenants were William Bennett Junior (his parents lived next-door at No 46), an agricultural labourer, his wife Mary, and three young children, and in 1891 it was Joseph Marshall, a market gardener, his wife Lucy, and 15-year-old daughter, Rose.

48 High street
Elizabeth Hardiman with her daughter, Rose Cockerton, c 1920.
48 high street
Elizabeth Hardiman and daughter, Rose Cockerton, outside No 48, c 1920.

By 1901, James Hardiman (1855-1915) and his wife, Elizabeth (née Robins, previously Rogers) and their three youngest children were the tenants.  James Hardiman died at Badsey in 1915, but his widow, Elizabeth, remained living there until her death in 1940.  She was living there alone at the time of the 1939 register.  Elizabeth Hardiman is pictured here with her daughter, Rose. 

A vivid description of the cottage has been written by the late Mrs Doreen Moore (née Ballard), who was the granddaughter of James and Elizabeth Hardiman.  In a memoir entitled Bygone Days which she wrote for her grandchildren, she has painted a beautiful vignette of life at the cottage:

I did have two relatives who would defend me to the last.  One was my dear old Granny Hardy and the other my Auntie Elsie.  Granny lived in a tiny cottage in the village where she had brought up a family of seven on her own.  No kitchen in the house.  The communal one was in a back yard shared by four families and also doubled up as a wash-house with coal-fired boilers and the loos were down the garden built side by side and only had wooden seats with buckets underneath.  I can smell them to this day.

Gran used to allow me down to her little home to escape my own when I was too frightened to stay there.  She had an old black range in which she could cook seedy cakes and in front of which she produced lovely slices of toast, by holding the bread on the end of a very long toasting-fork in front of the hot coal.  I remember her best, dressed in button-up boots and a long black apron, hair neatly caught up in a bun at the back of her head and hands resting peacefully in her lap apart from the thumbs which were “twiddled” at a very rapid pace, backward and forward, forward and back.  Should my mother come after me with fire practically oozing from her nostrils, with the intentions of giving me yet another slap or two, this dear old Gran would stand in her doorway, arms folded and with a dangerous glint in her eye.  She would order her off the premises till she decided I’d be safe.  She was as poor money-wise as anyone I’ve ever known but rich in the love she gave us all.  All her family who lived in the village would assemble at her tiny cottage before evensong at Church on Sundays:  seven or eight adults and seven children.  The noise must have been awful for near neighbours.  Two of my uncles were bell-ringers.  Two or three boys were in the choir so they went off before the rest of the gang.

On Christmas Day, after tea, we all met at my Granny Hardie’s cottage, and proceeded to visit all the relatives in turn, where we sang carols and ate mince pies with the adults singing more lustily as the night went on and the sherry bottles became empty!

One of my memories of practically every Sunday is of my mother having saved, dried and polished flat bones from beef rib joints, would proceed then to “play” them (two in each hand) in a very rhythmic manner and we would join in, belting out the tune, with spoons on plates or salt cellars.  Another way Mother made music was with the aid of a mouth organ.  She was a natural.  She told me her uncle (Gran Hardy’s brother) was a professional violinist.  My grandfather (Mum’s father) could pick out a church bell out of order during a peal by sitting in the doorway of his cottage and muttering into his beard if a clang came in the wrong place instead of a dong!.  I never knew this grandfather as he died quite young.  He was in the team of bellringers, as were two uncles.  They were also sidesmen for years.

[Music is obviously in the genes, because “Granny Hardiman’s” great-great-grandson, Philip Moore, is a professional concert pianist, who tours the world.]

Seventy years on, Mrs Moore paid a return visit to the cottage, and was amazed at how little things had changed.  The front room and the kitchen were just as she remembered, with even a chair in exactly the same spot as her grandmother had.  The flagstones in the kitchen, which she had to scrub every week, were still there.  The rickety stairs were the same, and upstairs was the window ledge in the bedroom where, as a child, Doreen would sit and look up the High Street.  The only significant change upstairs was that the second bedroom has been converted to a bathroom.   

Tenants of 50 High Street

It seems likely that an extension to the original house had been added by 1851 with William Guise, a farm labourer, and his wife Sarah and daughter Ann living there in 1851.

By 1861 it was home to Thomas Mowbray, an agricultural labourer, his wife, Ann, and three children.  In 1871, Elisha Hopkins, an agricultural labourer, his wife Sarah and daughter Mary were the tenants.  Elisha died in 1878, but Sarah continued to live at the cottage until the 1890s  Ann Maysey, a widow, also boarded there at the time of the 1881 and 1891 census.  Ann died at Evesham Union in 1895.

In 1901, John and Jane Roberts lived there, though only Jane was recorded on the census as John was away serving in the South African War.

When the cottages were sold in 1908, George Henry Churchill was the tenant.  George, a market gardener, still lived there in 1911 with his wife Bertha and their three-year-old son, George Edward Churchill.  In 1921, the new occupants were George and Eliza Emms and their five-year-old son, Arthur.  George was a chauffeur and lorry driver for Arthur Sears, fruit merchant.

On the 1924 Electoral Register, Charles William Roberts lived there.  Recently married to Maud Elizabeth Gregory in 1922, he was still living there at the time of the 1939 register, described as a domestic gardener and chauffeur.


With thanks to the owners of 46-50 High Street and Field Cottage, Mill Lane, who, in 2003, kindly lent copies of their deeds.  Other information has been gained from census returns, electoral registers, Badsey Enclosure Map and Award Schedules, Smith’s Household Almanack, parish registers, will of Richard Pendlebury, Sales Particulars 1866, Bygone Days by Doreen Moore.

We are grateful to Deborah Neale for providing photos of her great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Hardiman, and great-grandmother, Rose Cockerton (neé Hardiman).

Maureen Spinks, September 2020 (updated June 2022 with 1921 census information)