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The History of our Buildings 

Links to pictures on other websites

http://www.parkhouse.org.uk/photoalbum/places_upottery.htm 

Taken from Whites History, Gazetteer, and Directory of the County of Devon 1890.




 Upottery Manor - a postcard  
From History - buildings
 The Parish pump  
From History - buildings
 Upottery School  
From History - buildings
 Rawridge circa 1907
From History - buildings
Sumerhayes Cottage, home of the village postman Mr Pavey
c 1950 - near Courtmoor Farm
Burnt down
Kind courtesy of Mrs Pavey






An earlier artist's impression
 
From History - buildings
From History - buildings
 TWISTGATES FARM



The farm house at Twistgates, or Twisgates as it was sometimes known, was built in the fifteenth century as a cross passage house with an open fire in the centre of the room. It is easy to imagine the smoke wafting up and out of the thatched roof and although the thatch has long gone, some original smoke-blackened timbers remain as does a plank and muntin screen, which now divides our kitchen from the hall. Twistgates lent its name to both a lane leading to Upottery village and a copse of trees and by the time the tithe map of 1842 was drawn up there was a good acreage attached to it, including some fields with delightful sounding names such as Long Six Acres, Rabbits Hole and Hither Steps, Middle Steps and Yonder Steps.

The  first  information  as to who lived here is found in the Land Tax Assessments  from  1785 onwards. By  this  time  the  property had been divided and there were two owners, Mr Thomas Hellier (who owned other properties in the area) and Mr James Burrow. The split clearly was not equal as they paid £2 15sh 11½d and £1 11sh 1d respectively. From later records, which  give  more detailed information, we can see that both owners had tenants farming here. In 1798/9 Mr Burrows sold his share to Rt Hon Henry Addington  and  the  following  year  the tenant – Mr Sam Vincent – was common to both owners and this arrangement continued until at least 1815. By 1818 Lord Sidmouth was the sole owner and a new tenant was in place.

The  first  information  as to who lived here is found in the Land Tax Assessments  from  1785 onwards. By  this  time  the  property had been divided and there were two owners, Mr Thomas Hellier (who owned other properties in the area) and Mr James Burrow. The split clearly was not equal as they paid £2 15sh 11½d and £1 11sh 1d respectively. From later records, which  give  more detailed information, we can see that both owners had tenants farming here. In 1798/9 Mr Burrows sold his share to Rt Hon Henry Addington  and  the  following  year  the tenant – Mr Sam Vincent – was common to both owners and this arrangement continued until at least 1815. By 1818 Lord Sidmouth was the sole owner and a new tenant was in place.

Like  many  of  the  surrounding  farms  Twistgates  had its share of apprentices and one rather intriguing entry relates to Elizabeth Matthews who, in 1796, was apprenticed to “William Dimond for one moiety (share) and for Mr Burrows Twisgates and tucking mill contributor”. Tucking was a term used in the woollen industry when woven cloth was hammered and felted with water driven stocks, and a tucking mill was listed in the Land Tax Assessments for the area.

From the leases issued in 1837 to John Reed, and in 1844 to William Clements, it is possible to get a good insight into the farming practices of the time as both documents were very detailed with precise instructions for good husbandry. John Reed had to plant 3 acres of potatoes and William Clements was not to sow flax or hemp. (Rather curious as Bridport had a thriving   rope  industry  at  the  time).  It  also  gives us clues as to how Viscount Sidmouth used to like to entertain his family and friends as the tenant “will  not  sport  or destroy or permit any other person to sport or destroy any fish, game, woodcock, snipe, wild fowl or rabbits on the said premises but will use his best endeavours to preserve the same for the use of the Viscount Sidmouth”.

Twistgates consisted of 82 acres where cattle, sheep, wheat, barley and orchards were farmed by the tenant who also had the  responsibility to keep in good order the buildings and land. John Reed must have had his work cut out as a note against his rent entry in 1841 shows that he was given  a disbursement for £50 16sh 2d (against an annual rent of £65) principally  for  drainage  and  ditching  as “ the  estate was in a miserable condition when Reed took in but is now greatly improving.”

Over  the  next  hundred years the succession of tenant farmers continued. As yet we haven’t found the date when it ceased to be part of the Sidmouth estate but centuries of traditional farming ended in the mid 1980’s  when  most  of the land was sold off and a new dimension to Twistgates was introduced – that of self catering holiday cottages which, in 2004, is how we came to be here.

Apple  trees  still  grow  here  and  it is our intention, as Viscount Sidmouth  would  have  approved of, to “provide, and plant with proper manure a good, thriving young apple tree in the room of every apple tree that shall be decayed or fallen down in the  next season thereafter”.  

If anyone has any information, anecdotes, mementoes, photos etc of Twistgates we’d love to hear from them so that we, the current custodians, can start to build an archive to pass on to whoever comes next.                                       Suzanne Gray.

Justice Room
by Penelope Lee
July 2007


 
I am often asked about The Justice Room, its history and how it got its name

It’s in the heart of the old village next to The Coach House. It was built in the 1860s as the village school with a cottage next to it for the schoolmaster and with the estate laundry on the other side of his cottage. In 1904 the school moved to its present location and during the 1914 -1918 War the building became a hospital. The last Viscount Sidmouth to live in Upottery came home from India in 1918. He was a magistrate and when he wanted to call one of the tenants to account they met in the old school room and so it became known as The Justice Room.

Since 1955 it has had many uses, Brownies and Junior Church, fund raising events and meetings. In 1976 it became my responsibility and was in very bad repair. I was working in London in the theatre and singing and with a musician friend began plans for a biennial arts festival with the Justice Room building at the centre. I knew that having such a dead line would make me have to have it ready. The magic of Upottery took hold of it all and, incredibly, everyone we ever asked agreed to come. It was a lovely time and the whole village joined in. We welcomed an amazing variety of musicians, actors and entertainers. Tom Baker plus a Dalek for an Inter Schools Monster Competition, Rolf Harris in the Manor Room. The windows filled up with the heads of people at who couldn’t get in. Stephan Grapelli played there too and loved the cider in the Sidmouth Arms. Jacqueline du Pre recorded Radio 4’s ‘With Great Pleasure’ from the Justice Room. We had exhibitions ranging from Elizabeth Frink to Beryl Cook. Timothy West as Sidney Smith, Prunella Scales as Queen Victoria, Murray Perahia, Robert Tear, Sarah Walker and Roger Vignoles, Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas with Trevor Pinnock’s orchestra, The Kings Singers and the Spinners - and there was much more! Each year the performers made up a team to play cricket against Upottery and though the village always beat them they wanted to come again. For the third Festival a group of musicians and dancers came from Peking and Yehudi Menuin brought young Chinese musicians from his school. The first Festival cleared £3.00 and the best thing of all for me was that Philip Moore came from the BBC to record some concerts and later we got married.
 


 

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