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Hopgrass Farm was originally part of the Domesday manor of Charlton - comprising Hopgrass and Charnham Street. The name derives from Robert & Thomas Hoppegras who bought land here in 1332. The name slowly changed through Hoppergrase (1548-9) and Hopegrasse (1591) - the adjacent marsh was named Hop Grass Marsh on the Tithe Award of 1848.
Description of Property:
The description from the Department of the Environment's List of Buildings of Special Architectual or Historic Interest, District of Newbury, Parishes of Combe & Hungerford, June 1984 (Hopgrass Farm House visit 10.9.1951), reads:
"House. c17th with c18th and c19th alterations, dated on south front "1879. P:A.L. 1649".
South side roughcast with stone surrounds to windows in gables and stone coping to gable parapets.
North side variegated brick with parapet, stone modillion cornice and rubbed brick arches to windows and door. Wing to west brick and timber frame. Tiled roofs with end chimneys to main block, central chimney to west wing. Main block has two short gabled crosswings to south, this being the earlier side with later refronting and extension to north.
SOUTH ELEVATION: two storeys and attic with 1.5 storey wing to west, main block symmetrical with flanking gables, two light stone mullioned window in each gable, mullion and transomed casements below, three light to west, two light in centre and similar to east. c20 canted bay at ground floor east and c20th porch in centre, west wing has long catslide roof with irregular casements below.
NORTH ELEVATION: Three tripartite glazing bar sashes, with brick architraves and pilasters as mullions decorated with Adam style caps, on first floor. Central door under semi-circular arch with slightly modelled swag in tympanum, fluted columns and architrave with paterae. Flanking door are two tripartite glazing bar sashes with central semi-circular heads and fluted tympana."
1042-1066 (VCH) Manor of Cerleton held by Alestan de Boscumbe in the time of Edward The Confessor
1086 (VCH) William de Ow, owned 5 hides at Charlton which were held by Hugh Maltravers. William de Ow or Ew = Norman Duke of Eu (near Le Treport, east of Dieppe, Normandy) 12th & 13th century Chateau d'Eu still stands. Wm de Ow relative of William the Conqueror.
1086 (VCH Wilts, Vol 11, Domesday Survey) The lands of William of Ew, Hugh holds Cerletone. In the time of King Edward it paid geld for 5 hides. There is land for 7 plough. Of these there are 4.5 hides in desmense & there is one plough. There are two villeins & 7 borders with half plough. There are two mills paying ?/4d & 15 acres of meadow. The pasture is 4 furlongs long & one furlong broad. The woodland is 6 furlongs long 3 furlongs broad. It was & is worth 100s.
1096 (VCH) Wm de Ow forfeited all his possessions to the Earls Marshal, being held by Eleanor Countess of Pembroke & her 2nd husband Simon de Monfort in 1238.
Early c13 (VCH) Held by Robert de Stutescombe & later same century, c13 returned to R. de S. & William de Ham
c13 (PNB) Known as Schorleyton or Cherleton Manor meaning "farm of the peasant"
1242-3 (VCH Wilts Vol 11): The Earl Marshall held Cherleton
1274-91 (VCH Wilts Vol V): Assize Circuits - these were mainly held in Salisbury but occasionally in obscure villages eg Devizes, Mere, Cricklade & between 1274 - 1291 four at Charlton near Hungerford, also in 1297.
1307 (VCH) Roger de Stutescombe sold a messuage & carucate of land to Richard de Chisleden (carucate = Norman word meaning plough; area team of ox plough in one year; nearly same as Saxon "hide")
1332 (VCH) Richard de Chisleden & his wife Margery sold half of this manor to Robert Hopgrass & his wife Margery
1343 (PNB) Robert & Thomas Hoppegras of Cherleton
1349 (VCH) Robert Hopgrass died holding 5/6's of the manor & his son & heir, Richard Hopgrass died a few days later when William Hopgrass , son of the latter, a child of 6, succeeded.
1377 (VCH Wilts Vol IV): Charlton in Hungerford – Kinwardstone Hundred, in 1377 there were 75 Poll Tax payers
1387 (VCH) William Hopgrass was holding the manor and with his wife Edith was dealing with land in Hungerford in December 1423.
<1428 (VCH) Manor held by Walter Lord Hungerford. Charlton then descended with Hungerford Engleford to Margaret, widow of Robert Lord Hungerford
[*9 Walter third son of Sir Thomas Hungerford of Farleigh, born 22nd June 1378, outstanding soldier, courtier, statesman, diplomat, became Sir Walter Hungerford, later Baron Hungerford, died 1449. Robert, second son of above (first son, Walter, died, no issue) born 1431, became Second Baron Hungerford Thomas, eldest son of Robert, executed for treason 1469 at Salisbury]
1465 (VCH) Widow Margaret with consent of Sir Thomas her grandson & Anne his wife, granted this manor to John Tughill or Tukill, weaver, the first Constable of Hungerford
1438 (VCH) John Tukill, summoned for a debt
1458 (VCH) 18th May 1458 J.T. witnessed a deed as Constable of Hungerford
>1458 (VCH) Soon after above date John Tuckill (or his heirs) sold the manor
1494 (VCH) John Isbury held land at Charnham Street & was perhaps the owner of Charlton at this date.
1502 (VCH) John Isbury and his wife Elizabeth conveyed this manor, now called the manor of Hopgrass, to trustees. Settled to John Isbury's brother-in-law (of his first wife, Ann, daughter of Thomas Essex of Wansdown Green) who was Sir William Essex of Lambourn.
1538 (VCH) Sir William Essex was holding the manor in 1538. Later to be held by his son Sir Thomas Essex, followed by his 4th son, Humphrey Essex of Lambourn who was holding the manor in 1559
1548-9 (PNB) "Farme called Hoppergrase"
1552 (*8) First reference to Freeman's Marsh in a Duchy of Lancaster survey, 6 acres.
1557 (*13) From "The Story of an Ancient Fishery": describes a dispute between George Essex & Constable Lovelock about grazing rights on Freeman's Marsh.
1568-69 (VCH) Although Humphrey Essex had two sons this manor passed onto his brother George Essex who was holding the manor in 1568-69
1573 (*8) Local Jury report: George Essex (Lord of Manor) & Brian Gunter (tenant of Hopgrass) have taken a tree "by force" valued at 2 shillings out of the Marsh which was ordered to be cut and used to repair the highway by Henry Edes. Edes was perhaps highway's overseer and the wood for bridge repair. Agreement really about who owned the pasture. There were common grazing rights.
- Hopgrass Farm from Freeman's Marsh
- Henry Slade Richens, c1875
- Anne Richens, nee Beard, c1875
- Hopgrass Farm c1912
- Hopgrass Farm c1912
- Hopgrass Farm c1912
- Holland family at Hopgrass Farm c1935. Doreen, Evelyn, her son Ivor, mother Jessie, Mona (aged 17y)
- Aerial view of Hopgrass Farm c1978
- Hopgrass Farm from Freeman's Marsh
- Hopgrass Farm interior, May 1990
- Hopgrass Farm interior, May 1990
- Johnny Morris in Animal Farm (kindly sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Sep 2018)
1581 (VCH) Held under a lease by Brian Gunter.
c16 (*8a) Flooding of Charnham Marsh: In the c16th Charnham Marsh was subject to flooding and some of the marsh had become islands by the river breaking out of its banks on the Wiltshire side. Thomas Alden, a former steward of William Darrell, one time lord of Hopgrass, recalled one time when following great rains the Kennet broke its bounds & a hedge was made "to amend the place" & "torusses" were rammed together for its preservation.
1586 (VCH) George Essex's sister married Sir Edward Darrell of Littlecote, & the manor seems to have passed to the latter's son William Darrell who conveyed it in 1586 to Edward Rogers & James Clarke, in trust for John Popham (likewise, the adjoining manor of North Standen passed into the Littlecote Estate)
1589 (*2) Darrell's dispute re manors including Hopgrass; Edward Rogers & James Clarke, gent. v William Darrell concerning the manors of Littlecote, Knighton & Hopgrass with appurtances in Ramsbury, Littlecote, Knighton, Hopgrass, Rudge, Froxfield & Cakewood.
(*8a) Sir John Popham, Attorney General 1581 to 1591, from 1592 Lord Chief Justice , a notorious collector of manors. John Popham took possession of manor of Hopgrass after death of George Essex. John Popham acquired Littlecote House & its manor on the death of his client William Darrell. John Popham's plans were carried out by his trustworthy cousin from neighbouring land in Somerset, James Clarke, a Middle Temple lawyer, barrister 1593, to have certain manors (including Hopgrass & Hidden), lands, tenements, hereditaments & rectories in trust for his son Francis.
1590 (*8a) Law suit: Dispute re ownership of a parcel of land near Eddington mill on the river Kennet called "the Ilondes" or Islands, whether belonging to the Manor of Hidden in Berks, or to that of Hopgrass in Wilts., the county boundary at that time being the river Kennet. The defendants were John Pynnock, Vincent Smythe, William Langfield, John Monday, Richard Greene, Richard White & Matthew Laurence, all freeholders or copyholders of the manor of Hopgrass, the lord of which was John Popham Esq., Attorney General. Their claim was that the islands were part of the manor of Hopgrass & lay in Wilts., & that the true course of the river was the mill stream, thus putting "the Ilondes" on the Wiltshire side of the river. (Probably these islands were given to the Priory of St. Frideswide by William de Wanci). Thomas Alden (a former steward of William Darrell) & Richard Mason gave testimony that a rent of 12d had traditionally been paid by the miller to the lord of Hopgrass or Charlton which agreed with the terms of the licence granted by Robert de Stutescombe nearly four centuries earlier.
1591 (PNB) "Mannor of Hopegrasse"
1594 (*8) quoted from Norman Hidden's article on Alias in Geneologost's Magazine Dec 1992. Here e.g. Adammes alias Scorie. John Adams married Elizabeth Finch, daughter of Mr Raphe Finch, the farmer of Hopgrass.
1598 (*8) Elizabeth Scorie, widow, daughter of Mr Raphe Finch, farmer of Hopgrass, married again to Mr John Hamblen.
1609 (*10) Reference to 1609 survey of Manor (where is this survey?)
1618 (*2) An indenture re The Bear refers to "Charlton otherwise Charnham Street"
1642 or 1649: Date of 1642 or possibly 1649 on south gable of Hopgrass farm house (second "loose" stone similarly dated, from low garden wall) Initials P : A L also on dated stones, for Popham : Alexander L (L =?, probably not Leybourne, as this family name does not come into the Popham Family Tree until later).
1654 (*2) Alexander Popham grant of £20 annuity to Jane Olwin, of Littlecote, spinster, issuing out of "Hopgrasse Farm", to hold for 80 years, if said Jane Olwin shall so long live.
1659 (*2) Alexander Popham owner of "Hopgrasse Farm". From document of an inquistion at Marlborough on 11th November 1659 re an annuity due out of Hopgrasse Farm in the ownership of Alexander Popham, payable to Vincent Smyth, deceased, land in Easton.
1669 (*2) Alexander Popham died
1692 Good example of the large-scal nature of agriculture can be seen from the Probate Inventory of Anthony Osbourne of Hopgrass Farm, 1692.
1693 (*2) Littlecote Estate: lease for 99 years for manors including Hopgrass & Charnham Street. Lessor =Alexander Popham of Littlecote, Esq.
1699 (*14) Mr. Bare (?Bard) for Michaelmas farm rent of £80 for Hopgrass to Littlecote
1704 (PR) The occupier of Hopgrass & woods £3-0-0
1706 (*2) Alexander Popham of Chute, Wilts., Esq & his son Francis
1707-12 (*14) Robert Holloway farm rent of £80 by Lady Day for Hopgrass payable to Littlecote.
1708 (*2) Alexander Popham re Hopgrass & North Standen Farms. Alexander Popham now described as "of Littlecote".
1710 (*10) Reference to Manor of Charnham Street cum Hopgrass enclosed by Popham c1710.
1712 (*14) Robert Holloway first quarter land tax £8 5s 81/2d
1713 (*14) Robert Holloway Lady Day Tithing 9s 9d
1715 (*2) Robert Holloway, Hopgrass Farm, yeoman, lease to R.H. from Alexander Popham & his son, Francis Popham. Articles of Agreement: Farm called Hopgrass - great part of which said arable lands did lately lye in three Common Fields belonging to Hopgrass aforesaid & Charnham Street & hath lately been enclosed by agreement between the neighbourhood there. Lease for three years. All timber to be paid for as cut; all grain to be ground at Hungerford Mill; all repairs & various conditions of cultivation.
1718 (*2) Alexander & Francis Popham, George Popham of Chilton Foliat, clerk & Hopgrass Farm
1720 (*2) Francis Popham's settlement on his younger children, Letitia, Ann & Edward, affecting Hopgrass & North Standen Farms
1728-31 (*2) William Baker – tenant
1728-31 (*14) William Baker farm rent £120 by Lady Day for Hopgrass payable to Littlecote
1734 (*14) Arrears of rent by Lady Day £253 16s 103/4d
1734 (*10) John Smith - tenant Hopgrass, 1734 to 1766
1743 (*14) John Smith quit rent for Hopgrass & Strangrove pond 3s 10d payable to Edward Popham
1766 (*10) Mr. Goodman - tenant Hopgrass, 1766 to 1773.
1772 (*2) Settlements by Edward Popham on the marriage of his son Francis Popham of Houndstreet, Esq. & Dorothy Wallis of Duke St., Westminster, widow affecting the Berks., Wilts. & Somerset estates.
1772 (*2) Mortgage & Assignment; Edward Popham & his son Francis & Dorothy Wallis affecting estates in Wilts.
1773 (*10) Taylor - tenant Hopgrass, 1773 to 1781, then Webb
1773 (*17) "Hop Cross" (sic) name on Wilts. Field Map for Hopgrass; also of interest, "Strandgrove" for Strongrove & "Hundays Farm" for original Undys Farm.
1772-79 (*2) Thomas Taylor, bill of repairs at Hopgrass Farm & Brick Kiln.
1780 (*19) Tithing for Charnham St: Mrs. Popham (ow), John Taylor (occ) £31.9s.3d
1780-81 (*2) Taylor, late of Hopgrass
1780-81 (*10) Noah Webb tenant of Hopgrass (see Webb v. Salisbury 1803)
1781 (*19) Mrs. Dorothy Popham for Hopgrass, John Webb (occ) £31.9s.3d tithe
1781 (*2) Webb, tenant of Hopgrass - from Littlecote Estate Farm Accounts of 11th October 1781 " The following farms furnish Mrs. Popham ( Mrs. Dorothy Popham, widow of Francis) ten quarters of oats every year viz. North Standen, Smith, tenant; Hopgrass, Webb tenant; Knighton, Spearing, tenant;Littlecott Farm, Cox, tenant; Rudge Farm, Carpenter, tenant - only 6 quarters". Then refers to "Taylor late of Hopgrass" along with Smith, Carpenter & Spearing as all owing Mrs. Popham their quarters of oats for 1780 & 1781.
1790 (*3) William Webb for Hopgrass
1792 (UB) Farmers in list (no address) are J. Bird, Walker, Watson, Whiting, Wilson, Witty.
1794 (*2) William Webb, Hopgrass; rent varied; in 1794 £330, 1802 £320, 1804 £420 & Brickiln at H'ford £30. Agreement of lease: £420 for 21 years from 1800.
1796 (BK) Farmers listed: Joseph Bird, William Smith, Noah Webb.
1803 (*10) Law suit: William Webb v. Benjamin Salisbury, Constable re grazing on Freemen's Marsh. Webb was grazing a piece of Freemen's Marsh known as Hopgrass Marsh. Salisbury said this was trespass & sent Henry Clements, the bellman, to impound them. Salisbury said the farmers had not attempted to stock the marsh for previous 60 years & trouble only began when Noah Webb took the farm in 1781. There had been an artificial stream to water Strangrove Mead (part of Hopgrass from time immemorial & an annual quit rent of 3/4d payable to the port - reeve). The stream ran close to the farm yard & about 13 years earlier Webb had put up post & rails & moved his boundary to enable cattle to water at will. Ordered to remove it at the 1800 Manor Court. On the other hand there was a roadway onto the Marsh - the farmer had habitually driven cattle across the Marsh to the west end to another part of the farm. Counsel privately feared that the Town & Manor officials had been so lax in preserving their boundaries that precedent had been created. The case lasted 3 years. Town & Manor won "Gave rise to great rejoicing which gave great offence to General Popham". Elm trees cut down in Church Croft to help defray costs. (Only two gates - one leading to the Turnpike at the west end & one into the lane leading into H'ford. Also one from Hopgrass through which was a Bridle Road)
1806 (*1) Earliest plan of Seton Wills Estate which shows Hopgrass
1815 (*19) Charnham St. Tithing: for Hopgrass Farm, William Leybourn Popham Esq. (ow), Mr. Pearman (occ) £25 18s land tax.
1819 EA Map does not extend as far west to include Hopgrass
1823-29 (*20) Baptisms of 3 children of Joseph & Sarah Atherton of Hopgrass Farm, Farmer: 16.4.1823 Henry Nathan 31.3.1824 Thomas George 22.5.1829 Elizabeth (Joseph's baptism: 9.10.1799, s/o Nathan & Charlotte Atherton, no other info.)
1831 (*2) Henry Neate's rent to Littlecote for Hopgrass = £369 1s 19d. Term was 8 or 16 years; expired 1837
1841 (CS) No entry for Hopgrass
1844 (PD) no farmer list, no entry for Hopgrass
18?? (VCH) Owned by Mr. Hugh Francis Arthur Leybourne-Popham (at time of writing this section of VCH)
1847 (KD) Henry Neate, farmer, Hopgrass
1850 (SD) Mr. Henry Neate, farmer, Hopgrass farm.
1851 (CS) Henry Neate, age 46, farmer 400 acres, 28 labourers.
1854 (BD) No entry for Hopgrass under farmers
1861 (CS) Hopgrass Farm, Henry Neate, age 56, retired farmer.
1864 (BD) No entry for Hopgrass, nor for Neate John Booth, farmer at Folly Farm, New Town
1869 (PO) John Foster Booth, farmer, Hopgrass farm. (No Henry Richens but John Richens, farmer, North Standen farm).
1871 (CS) 2 entries:
1. Hopgrass Farm, John Foster Booth, age 56, & sister, farmer, quitting employing 2 men & 1 boy.
2. George Richens , age 22, farmer, employing 7 men & 5 boys, 450 acres.
1877 (KD) Henry Richens, farmer, Hopgrass, also John Richens at North Standen farm.
(*5) H.R. = Henry Slade Richens, one of 13 children of John & Sarah Richens (married 1847) of North Standen, who married Anne Beard & had 12 children
1879 Date stone "1879" in east gable on south side of house; ? = restoration date
1882 (*18) O.S. Map clearly shows Hopgrass Farm & its immediate garden & outbuildings. Also shows Hopgrass Brick Works to north, now known as Kiln Cottage & to the west "The Barracks", 1 mile from Hungerford, just east of Highclose Farm.
1891 (KD) Osmond Richens, farmer, Hopgrass
(*5) O.R. = ? William Osmond Richens, a brother of Henry, never married
1894 (*4) Hopgrass Farm & Hopgrass Brick Works (=Kiln Cottage) marked on this map
1895 Boundary changes: Charnham St. & Bath Rd. previously in Wiltshire came into the county of Berkshire.
1895 Gravestone in St. Lawrence's Churchyard: "John F. Booth, born July 21st 1814, died 20th October 1895, late of Hopgrass"
1895 (KD) Osmond Richens, farmer, Hopgrass.
1903 (KD) No entry for Hopgrass; Osmond Richens, farmer, Rectory Farm, Church Street; no entry for Richard Richens.
1911 (KD) Richard Richens, farmer, Hopgrass farm. (Osmond Richens, farmer, Rectory farm).
(*5) Richard Richens, brother of Henry, married Bridget Hutchins, 4children: Sally, Molly, Ivor & Gerald.
1917 Richard Ivor Richens (son of Richard Richens) killed in action WWI on 14.3.1917, aged 19 years (in London Irish Rifles. Memorial plaque in St. Lawrence Church). See also: War Memorials / Richard Ivor Richens.
1920 (KD) Richard Richens, farmer, Hopgrass farm
Death of Mrs Bridget Richens, 1951:
"Hungerford has lost a member of one of its oldest and best known families by the death on Tuesday of Mrs Bridget Richens, of 32 High Street, in her 89th year.
Mrs Richens was the eighth daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Thomas Hutchins and was christened Bridget at the request of townspeople because she was born on the day when the railway bridge over the High Street was completed during the extension of the line from Hungerford to the west.
She was born at 13 High Street, where her father and later her mother were the proprietors of the butcher's business now carried out by Mr E Pratt. Thomas Hutchins was Constable of Hungerford from 1868 to 1871 and among possessions left by Mrs Richens is a cricket ball presented to her father in 1852. The ball was that used in a three-day match between a team of Hungerford townspeople and an all-England eleven, which, incidentally, ended in a draw, despite the fact that the England side were all out for 12 in their first innings.
She married at St Saviour's, Eddington, Mr Richard Richens, son of Mr John Richens, of North Standen Farm, which had been farmed by the family since 1814.
Her husband farmed Rudge Manor Farm, Froxfield, immediately after their marriage, then took over Hopgrass Farm, where he remained for many years, and for four years before his retirement he was at Highclose Farm. He died in 1939, a year after they had celebrated their golden wedding.
Keenly interested in music, in her younger days Mrs Richens was relief organist at Hungerford Parish Church. She was also a member of the Mothers Union.
Mrs Richens, who had been in failing health for abou three years, was a good wife and mother. She leaves two daughters, Miss Sally Richens, who devotedly cared for her in recent years, and Mts T W Gore, of Radley Farm. She lost a son in 1917 at Arras.
The funeral takes place tomorrow (Friday) at St Saviour's Church, Eddington.
1920's (*11) Daughter Molly & Sally Richens, born at Hopgrass; Molly married Tom Gore whose son, Ivor md. Hilda nee Barden; Sally ran the Preparatory School at 32 High Street, Hungerford in 1950's
(*16) Richard Richens moved to Highclose from Hopgrass.
1922 (*15) Alan Holland's grandfather, Albert Edwin Holland, moved to Hopgrass Farm in 1922 from Combe Farm, Brightwalton. At one time he ran both 400 acres of Hopgrass & 180 acre dairy farm at Undy's.
1922 (*6) Alan Holland's father, Albert Harry Holland aged 10 years when moved to Hopgrass.
1922 (*16) Albert Edwin Holland & wife Jessie nee Prosser & family moved from Combe Farm Brightwalton to Hopgrass in 1922. Six children: Evelyn (eldest), Albert Harry (aged 10), Doreen, Wilson (known as Wilse), Mona (aged 5) & youngest Raymond. Her father farmed cattle, pigs & arable. Her mother kept turkeys.All the family helped with farm.Children walked all the way to the Fairview Road School, where Miss Colley & Miss Wallington were schoolmistresses. The family walked across Freeman's Marsh to go to Church. Remembers mother's straw hat blowing off into the canal!
1929-79 (*1) Wills family ownership (for 50 years)
1939 (KD) Albert Edwin Holland, farmer, Hopgrass farm
1939 (*16) Brother Albert Harry Holland moved with wife Joan to Undy's Farm, Charnham St, known then as Kimber's Corner (Mr Kimber was previous farmer at Undy's). (Albert Holland died 2002). Mona married Hubert Dobson in 1939 but he became a Japanese POW for six years of WW2. Mona stayed on at Hopgrass, nursing her mother who died aged 56. She recalls a well under the stone sink in the west part of the building & a lead hand water pump. They had a generator to run it but no electricity supply to the farm until after the war. She left home 3 years after her father's death in c1950. Wilse & Raymond then ran Hopgrass Farm together but lived in separate parts of the house. Mona & Hubert bought Bodmans, 112 High Street, H'ford in 1955 & ran the drapers business with sister Doreen until 1979.
1947 (*7) Thatched barns both sides of farm house, west one demolished 1947 & corrugated asbestos barn erected in its place.
1922-79 (*12) Hollands at Hopgrass for 57 years; Wilse & wife Sheila tenant farmers Hopgrass, moved to 134 The Marsh, just west of Hopgrass in 1979. Sir Seton Wills sold Hopgrass to Johnny Morris in 1979.
?1939-42 (CL) Entry 109 - Littlecote Estate: 3s 4d for Hopgrass Farm & Strargrove Pond, late E.W.L.Popham Esq.
1962 (*13) The south arm of the river Dun is the natural stream. The north arm is an old artificial stream cut to supply Hopgrass. Until 1962 the hatches were maintained by Littlecote. Littlecote had abandoned the Trout Hatchery at the Old Spring higher up & the hatches decayed. The Town & Manor took them over in 1962. During 1974/5 Reading University surveyed 100m stretch.
1979 (*7) Hopgrass Farm sold by Sir Seton Wills to Mr. Nicholas Monro who moved into Hopgrass with his wife Cherry & 4 children: Maud, Claud, Joseph, & Frederick.
19?? Hopgrass Barn - Mr. & Mrs. Ernest J. (Johnny) & Sybil E. Morris (mother of Nick Munro, died 1990)
1989/90 Extension & renovation to the house. Plans & elevations available. The Monro's moved into the renovated west wing in Sep 1990. Description of the Farm House (Visit by Building Group 17.5.90) See attached text of John Brook's talk to HHA on 22.5.91. For some years a Morecombe and Wise Statue stood at Hopgrass Farm.
Aug 1998 Mr & Mrs Michael and Susan Long bought property. Moved from Sussex. Retired stockbroker. Renovated entire property, inside and out.
1999 Johnny Morris died (buried beside his wife in the orchard on east of house).
Two unusual burials:
Dr Jimmy Whittaker kindly sent (September 2018) the following short article on Johnny and Sybil Morris's burials:
Many people are surprised to discover that they have a legal right to bury somebody on their own land and that there is no need to obtain planning permission to do so. On environmental grounds, it is sensible to keep the grave well away from any water course, and for the sake of diplomacy, you would be well advised to tell your immediate neighbours. There is also a requirement to keep a record of the exact location of a grave and to inform the local registrar after the event has taken place.
This is precisely what Broadcaster Johnny Morris - the man behind children's TV favourite Animal Magic, did in 1990 when he buried his wife Sybil in an orchard at the bottom of the garden of Hopgrass Farm house. It is rumoured that he visited her grave each evening to give her a report of the day’s events.
When the much-loved presenter himself died on 6th May, 1999, aged 82, he was buried alongside Sybil, his wife of 45 years. His mahogany coffin bore his zookeeper's cap, which was his Animal Magic trademark.
A non-religious burial ceremony was conducted by his close friend and co-host of Animal Magic - Terry Nutkins. Terry Nutkins was the main beneficiary of his will, together with his housekeeper Rita Offer who lived just down the road in one of the cottages at Strongrove Hill.
2002 On 10th July, HHA Committee were invited by the Longs on a guided tour of the property, and to see the completed restoration which had taken place during 1998-2000.
2009 Michael & Susan Long sold, and moved to Shalbourne.
List of reference sources:
BD = Billings Directory
BK = Berkshire Directory
CS = Census
EA = Enclosure Award Map 1819
KD = Kelly Directory
PD = Pigot Directory
PNB= Place Names of Berkshire, Volume L
PO = Post Office Directory
PR = Poor Rate
SD = Slater Directory
UB = United British Directory
VCH= Victorian County History
*1 = Sir Seton Wills, Eastridge
*2 = Popham Papers, Somerset Record Office
*3 = Plan of proposed route of the Kennet & Avon Canal thro' Popham Estate c1790 (but not actual route)
*4 = O.S. Map 1894 H'ford, Froxfield, Chilton Foliat - Littlecote Estate, shaded pink (hand written on green shaded area = Crooked Soley, "sold to V.J.Watney Esq. Xmas 1896)
*5 = Richens Family Tree from Mrs. Peggy Fry, nee Richens, 54 High St. Hungerford
*6 = Mr.Alan & Mrs.Christine Holland, Highclose Farm, Bath Rd(tel.682973)
*7 = Mr. Nicholas Monro
*8 = Mr. Norman Hidden (*8a = his book "The Manor of Hidden")
*9 = Mr. E.L. (Jim) Davis' book "Is your name Hungerford?")
*10= Document: Webb v. Salisbury 1803 (from where?)
*11= Mrs. Hilda Gore, Radley Farm, Hungerford (685348)
*12= Mr. Wilse & Mrs. Sheila Holland, 134 Marsh, Bath Rd,(tel.683098)
*13= Mr. E.L. Davis author of "The Story of an Ancient Fishery"
*14= Various Littlecote Audits c17 & c18th, Somerset RO
*15= Newbury Agricultural Show Supplement, p24, re the Holland family
*16= Mrs. Mona Dobson, 32 Sanden Close, Hungerford (tel.682306)
*17= Wilts. Field Map 1773 from Trowbridge R.O.
*18= O.S. Map 1882 Hungerford & district from Trowbridge R.O.
*19= Tithings for Charnham St. 1780 & 1815 from Trowbridge R.O.
*20= Hungerford Baptism Records, HHA Archive
Notes on Slides available:
1.South view from canal (3.90)
2.South view from Freeman's Marsh, shows house & barns (3.90)
3.South side & new west wing (5.90)
4.South side oldest c17 part, gables (5.90)
5.South gable with dated stone (1879: P AL 1649)
6.Dated loose stone from s. garden wall 164?
7.West side , scaffolding, brickwork revealed
8.North, Front of house, scaffolding }all 5.90
9.Attic looking east
10.Attic looking west + fireplace
12.Tiled roof with stone ridge, looking west, old listed wall below
13.Flat roof with parapet, looking west, 4 chimneys on diagonal
14.Ditto looking east, 2 lots of chimneys
15.Fireplace, front first floor bedroom
16.Stair well, decorative coving
17.Staircase, front door
18.Drawing room,front east room
19.Kitchen, fireplace (FW)
20.Cellar, original window frame (FW)
21.Aerial View Hopgrass 1978 (Wilse Holland's photo)
22.Hopgrass South & North elevations pre-WW1 (Hilda Gore's postcards) "Mother & Janie" written on back of p/c, none dated
23.A116 Hopgrass farm from Marsh, 5.1982
24.Frankum's Map of Freeman's Marsh
25.Gravestone of JF Booth
26.1773 Wilts Field Map showing "Hop Cross"
27.Titles on slides for talk on 22.5.91
28.1882 OS Map Hungerford district with Hopgrass Farm boundaries marked on by Wilse Holland
29.Henry Slade Richens & his wife Anne nee Beard, date ?1870s (from Peggy Fry)
30.Holland Family outside north front of Hopgrass, 1935, L->R : Doreen, Evelyn & her son Ivor, Mrs. Jessie Holland & Mona aged 17 (from Mrs. Mona Dobson, 32 Sanden Close, Hungerford)