Smaller Properties in Itchington
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Freemans, within living memory known as 'Freemasons' and in the 18th century as Hockleys, was not part of the Itchington Lord of the Manor's estate; by 1839 it was owned by John Salmon and occupied by William Nelmes. There was no farm land attached to it. By 1850 George Moxham was installed and over the years built up an associated farm, with 45 acres in 1881. Charles Vowles was the tenant up to the first World War; the vicar, the Rev. Mr Arkell used to fetch Vowles for communion every Sunday in his horse and trap. Lewis Bryant, a tenant only briefly, was followed up to 1931 by Harry White who married Miss Camery from Hill Farm across the road. The house was much altered in the '70s.
Gate Farm at the south of the parish was another of the small freeholdings; George Champion and then his son Henry farmed here from 1850 to 1924, the freehold being sold when George died. In their later years, they kept a grocer's shop in the premises. It is recounted that George aged 85 was taken short one bitterly cold night, and when he did not return to the house, his wife Mary Ann also 85 went to look for him. Next morning, both were found in the privy, dead. The newspaper report of this incident can be found here.
Millards, an example unique in the area of a two-roomed gable-entry house was wantonly destroyed a few years ago. Some details, observed before its demolition, are in Linda Hall's book on South Gloucestershire Farmhouses, with more in her unpublished notes. A small 17th century stone house, it was occupied by the family Millard in the 18th century. 'Millards House' in the Tithe Award is an indication of its importance, for few dwellings were described as 'House'. George Moxham, the sitting tenant, may have bought the property from John Salmon in 1843 but soon moved to Freemans, his son later living in Millards; so by 1881 there were Moxhams at Little Scratch, Freemans and Millards. George died in 1889, at the age of 77, but Charles continued the association and he and his brother John at Little Scratch were joint tenants of Feoffee Farm. The rent was £60 pa for 35 acres.
The name `marlease' occurs in a document of 1592, a marshy pasture, but not until about 1800 was there a dwelling here at Moorleaze. On the Estate Map of Lord Willoughby de Broke's lands in Itchington, 1769, one field is shown as belonging to G Hardwicke Esq. The boundaries of this field exactly coincide with those of the fields owned by James Shield in the Tithe Award Map of 1839. G Hardwicke died about 1800, and it is a reasonable assumption that the 91/2 acres of land were bought by James Shield, and the house built. James Shield (c.1781— 1856) lived at Moorleaze until he died, a pauper. As he grew older, it seems that he let his land to John Sainsbury at Edwards Farm. Later, James Sansum, who owned Wistaria Cottage, worked the land, leaving the cottage empty; but by 1871, the house, perhaps rebuilt, was again occupied. John Smith, son of James Smith at Elmington Villa, Itchington, had married in 1869 and lost his father in 1871. The Census shows that in that year John was living at Moorleaze, and farming 98 acres, employing 2 men. By 1881, he was farming 142 acres, employing 3 men. He is recorded in Kelly's Directory of 1910, and died in 1911. His grandson, Roy Edgell (pictured below), still lived on the site for a number of years, though the house was derelict. The house was of interest because of its low profile and the courses of Pennant Sandstone slabs at the eaves. It is now a complete ruin.
The Villa (formerly Webb's Close),
another small stone house, freehold in the 18th century, was owned by
the Hobbs family. George Pinnell moved in as a young married man in 1840
and stayed until his death in 1883. Arthur Clements moved here on
retirement from the Manor Farm, and his descendants live in The Villa to
At the very south of the parish is a house, Meadow View in which, early in the century, lived Dr Phelps, a partner of the cricketer Dr W G Grace who practised in Thornbury. He used to demonstrate to visitors his fitness at the age of 90 by performing somersaults!
Itchington Common or Itchington Field is remembered with affection by some older parishioners. Indeed my (Allan Baddeley) younger son used to ride his bicycle there, and remembers it as somewhere quite different from the surrounding area. High, secluded, full of wild flowers and with beautiful views, it has now been violated by the M5 motorway. Up here were a small farm, a quarry and one of the parish's important limekilns.