Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Guild of Craftsmen – gentlemen and players

Some members of the Guild of Handicrafts were gentlemen, and some players. This is the conclusion which seems to emerge from the Gloucestershire records of the 1909 Lloyd George survey of land values. Volunteers transcribing the records have recently finished Broad Campden and Chipping Campden, and the information below is drawn from this source – Gloucestershire Archives D2428/2/43.

C R Ashbee himself had the resources of a wealthy family behind him when he embarked on the craft experiment. His and his wife’s property in Campden was valued at £3150, and the Guild’s property at another £2660. The house and Craftsmen’s Club was rented from E P Jones Esq. Another gentleman craftsman was Paul Woodroffe, who was living in Westington in 1909. He has been described as a beaky, austere Roman Catholic, and was a glass artist. He owned his valuable house with ½ acre of garden, worth £700, a large amount for a single house at this period, and when also there were few owner occupiers.

Frederick Griggs, illustrator, was less well founded. He was commissioned by Macmillan to illustrate Highways and Byways in Hertfordshire. He fell in love with Campden when he visited in 1903 to prepare drawings for Highways and Byways in Oxford and the Cotswolds (published in 1905). The following year he lodged at the guild hostel, before renting Dover’s House in High Street, where he was in 1909 and indeed until 1930, when he impoverished himself building Dover’s Court. Dover’s House was owned by Henry J Hands. Hands also owned the house in Back Lane occupied in 1909 by Alec Miller, carver and sculptor.

The romantic-sounding Wentworth Huyshe lived at Box Hedge Cottage in Westington, one of the Earl of Gainsborough’s many properties in Campden. So too did Bill Thornton, in a cottage in High Street. Huyshe was a journalist, collector of arms and armour, heraldic artist, and medievalist generally; Thornton was an ornamental iron worker; his business partner, Charley Downer, is not named in 1909, but he purchased a modest house in Park Road, Campden, in 1912, as information added to form 37 after the date of the survey records.

Of course there were other Guildsmen, and supporters of the Campden Guild of Handicraft Trust will be able to add much more.

The pleasure of finding familiar names

People get pleasure from finding a familiar name – or indeed a different kind of item, such as a type of building or any other feature being collected. Recently the volunteer team has been working on the Chipping Campden 1909 survey material (form 37s in Gloucestershire Archives, see D2428/2/43) and had this spark of pleasure when we spotted the well-known name of Ashbee.

Several interesting facts emerged from the data about the group of handicaft workers who arrived in Campden in 1902. C R Ashbee is named as the owner of three properties and his wife of one: notable was Woolstapler’s Hall, where he and his wife Janet moved originally, and ‘house including ancient building (formerly chapel) cottage & land’ at Broad Campden now known as the Norman Chapel. However, he does not appear anywhere as an occupier. Woolstapler’s Hall was occupied by someone surnamed Walford, and it was owned by Janet Ashbee; she gave her address as the Norman Chapel. The Norman Chapel at Broad Campden was occupied by A K Coomaraswamy; the clerk in the Inland Revenue Office who recorded this information first entered the owner’s name as Dr Coomaraswamy, crossed it out and put Rt Hon the Earl of Gainsborough, and finally settled on C R Ashbee.

Ashbee also owned 3 cottages in Broad Campden, occupied by Mrs Horwood and others, and 3 houses and land occupied by Miss Harewood and others. These were probably occupied by workmen in the Guild of Handicrafts, and the ladies called Horwood or Harewood were supervisors, as it were. The Guild of Handicrafts was stated to own a house, 2 cottages, buildings & land at Broad Campden; Mr C R Ashbee was a trustee and acted for his co-trustees, giving his address as 37 Cheyne Walk, London SW. The Craftsmen’s Club and a house, in High Street, were also owned by the Guild and the occupier of the house was Mr Blanco White. This was probably Braithwaite House, the ‘hotel’ used by the Ashbees when they were living at Woolstapler’s Hall.

Other Guildsmen are named in the survey, and they will be the subject of another post.

Happy New Year!

A Happy New Year to one and all.

Whilst browsing through the Gloucestershire Archives catalogue on the topic of New Year, I came across the letters written by Maynard W. Colchester-Wemyss of Westbury on Severn to the King of Siam, in the early part of the 20th century.  I found one which began:

“30th Dec. 1919


The day after tomorrow is New Year’s Day and I am reminded by the girls that the 1st January is your birthday, so I take the opportunity of wishing you many happy returns of it, and I sincerely hope the coming year will be a happy and pleasant year to yourself and a peaceful and prosperous one for Siam. “

He went on to discuss the state of Europe after the ending of the First World War.  Unfortunately, the response of the King of Siam is not included in the collection but the letters contain many interesting comments on local life as well as world affairs.  G.A. Ref:  D37/1.


Maps are a wonderful historical resource, as anyone who researches a place or a property appreciates. Having just finished writing about Prestbury Park, better known as Cheltenham race course, for the Gloucestershire Gardens & Landscape Trust, this was in my mind. The park is nearly 900 years old. Of course, there are no maps to show us its boundaries at that date, though we do know where the bishop’s Prestbury manor house was situated; parts of the moats which inclosed the house and its suporting buildings, gatehouse and so on, still exist and the site was excavated by Helen E. O’Neil in 1951 (see Transactions of the Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society vol 75).

A survey of the estate in 1623 (Glos. Arch. D184/M24) states that the park was 291 acres. In 1762 the Rt Hon William Craven added the manor house site to his Prestbury Park estate which had been separated from it in the early seventeenth century. Following this, he commissioned a survey of his Gloucestershire estates in Pamington [Ashchurch], Gotherington, Great Washbourne, Elkstone, Pirton and Elmbridge [Churchdown], Prestbury, Twyning, Withybridge [Boddington] and Tredington. The surveys were bound into a beautiful volume, each block of land accompanied by a map (Glos Arch. D184/P1). The Prestbury Park map is dated 1768. The accompanying survey suggests that the park was 299 acres, and the map shows a very distinctive oval boundary which also extended up to the old Prestbury manor house. Much of the boundary still exists, as Beryl Elliott has shown in her article in Cheltenham Local History Society Journal vol 16.