Crooked Walls: A multiphased thatched long house, considered to be one of the oldest in the village. The earliest phase is believed to date from around 1400, probably as a yeoman's house.
CONTENTS
  • Edith May Davies
  • Hubert William Cramer
  • Renovation & Internal description
  • The ffields
  • The McClare Family
  • The Davies Family
  • Julian & Joy Rawes
  • The Deeds
  • INTRODUCTION
    There has been many phases throughout the life of Crooked Walls but the earliest is thought to be from around 1400 with the last phase taking place between 1925 and 1930. These phases or changes have been divided up, the earlier by rough approximentation and the later by exact dates. For clarification, the bays or divisions of the present building are arranged from east to west.

    The house incorporates four bays and two gables set on a platform raised on two sides. The eastern gable is a cruck followed by two internal crucks, which divide bays one, two and three. The fourth bay starts with a box frame and ends with the western gable, now of brick. The west gable would have originally been of timber and at some stage, probably in the early nineteenth century, it was replaced by the present brick construction. Internal measurements suggests that insertion of the brick gable shortened the fourth bay by about two feet. Most of the timber in the house is of elm, which cannot at present be dated to a particular year. Unfortunately elm does not weather so well as oak when exposed to weather, which explains why so little original timber remains on the south side.

    There are many pegged joints or evidence of such throughout that indicate an early building style. There is evidence of much replacement of timber, especially on the south side, where weathering would have taken its toll. Many other additions were made such as chimneys, windows, insertion of doors etc.

    Circa 1400
    The first stage, dated to around 1400, was a two or three bay gabled hall. The hall was of cruck construction open to the roof possibly with a louver to vent the smoke from an open fire on the floor. There is evidence of this in blackening of timbers in the roof space. The lack of blackened roof timbers in the second bay indicates that they have been replaced, probably when the chimney was inserted in this area. There was a doorway opening on the north side. The door frame can still be observed in the timbering. A similar doorway is to be observed at Dream Cottage.


    Original doorway

    There would have been another door opposite to this door on the south side. There is a fine and rare example of a flying windbrace on the north eastern corner. This is considered to be an early feature.


    Flying windbrace

    A question does remain as to whether there was originally another bay or even two on the western side. Whatever was there would have been removed, either in part or entirely, to make way for the present structure.

    Circa 1500
    The second major stage was the construction or replacement of bays to the west and is thought to have taken place sometime after 1500. There is similar blackening in the roof space which suggests an open hall construction, similar to phase one. The division between the third and fourth bays is of box construction, generally considered to be later than cruck. The west end gable has gone so its construction is not possible to determine.

    Evidence of divisions, predating the insertion of the central chimney, survive in various areas. They survive almost intact in the roof space but there is evidence that they once existed between bays one, two, three and in the roof space of four.

    Two dragon braces survive in one of the bedrooms. These are rare to find now because they cut the corner of a room and don't usually survive.


    Dragon windbrace

    Circa 1600
    Round this time major alterations took place to the building. A large central chimney block containing two back-to-back inglenooks was inserted against the west wall of bay two. At this time the north entrance was blocked and the bread oven built.


    One of the inglenooks with blocked doorway and original oven door.

    It was probably at this time that the floors were inserted. There is no sign of access to the upper floor. Two dormer windows were added on the south side in bays two and three. The original south doorway was now the main entrance into the house making an 'either way' entrance with the chimney block directly ahead. The Limes on the corner of Shakespeare Lane has a similar arrangement. Feint signs of this old entrance still survive. There is no evidence of a staircase or how one accessed the first floor at this stage.

    As yet no occupants from these early years are known. The first family to be identified is the Clarke family, of whom hereafter.


    THE CLARKE FAMILY
    The Clarke family, Yeomen and churchwardens lived in Crooked Walls in the late seventeenth century, either in the whole or part.

    HEARTH TAX FOR 1671 AND 1681, DUTCH WAR TAX 1667, DEATH OF MARY CLARKE 1667:
    In the 1980's while Ken Davies was renovating the back bedroom in number one, he discovered a number of pieces of paper dating from the seventeenth century. They were lodged in a crevice near the crook in the end wall. Two were receipts for the Hearth Tax of 1671 & 1681. The Hearth Tax records of most counties still survive but they do not normally name ordinary individual houses. It is very rare to find a survival of a receipt from an individual house and thereby fixing a family to a property, in this case 'Clarke'. They also give the tax collector's name and their survival is of great historical value.

    The finding of the papers at the far end of the house suggests that at this time the property were divided into either one or two properties but not four as the papers were lodged in the end of the house in what was to become number one while the hearth is situated in the centre of the house between what was to become numbers two and three. There is also an argument for thinking that it was originally just one property with an entrance on the south side directly opposite the chimney stack, a traditional design in the neighbourhood.

    Hearth Tax and one raising of money for the 2nd war with the Dutch 1665-67. There is also a slip of paper giving the date of death and age of Ann Clarke, presumed wife or relative of either Joseph or John Clarke mentioned as paying the Hearth Tax. The Bishops Transcripts appear to record that she was a widow, in which case she is not the wife of the John Clarke who signed the Hearth Tax in 1681.

    Documents relating to the raising of taxes often survive and are usually to be found in the National Archives at Kew. They do not however indicate the particular property. The survival of receipts giving the name of the individual and the tax collector, along with an indication of the property is rare indeed. The Hearth Tax was aimed at occupants of houses which possessed hearths; the more hearths one had there the more one paid.

    In the central part of the house is a large chimney stack which is shared by two inglenooks. The inglenook for dwelling 2 has an inset salt box, plus a cupboard set up high. The inglenook for dwelling 3 has an inset salt box with a door, plus an attached bread oven. It is possible that at this time there were only two dwellings; one including dwellings 1 & 2; one including dwellings 3 & 4, since both end chimneys were added later. Both parts may have paid the Hearth Tax.

    Item 1: Death of Anne Clarke

    z	
    Anne Clark deceased
    Aprill ye 9th: 1667
    Aged 55
    
    Item 2: national raising of money for the war with the Dutch.

    July ye 20th: 67.
    Rec’d of ye Collectr of Harvington ye sm of
    Sixe pounds in yte[?] of ye sd charges uppon
    ye Parish By virtue of an act of Parliamt
    Intituled an Act for rayseing moneyes
    By  or poll if otherwise towards ye maynte
    nance of ye prsent warr -- --- reeds[?] ye
    sm of
    Recd Harry Greene
    
    Item 3: Hearth Tax

    March the 24 1600 & Seventy one
    Received of John Clarke
    The sum of 10
    Shillings in full for one years
    duty for one fire Hearths in
    his house in Harvington due                 L   J
    and ended at Sen Michell last past          2   0
    I say received by 
    John Mole Collector.
    
    Item 4: Hearth Tax.

    ------ are
    The 7* 1600 & Eighty one
    REceived of Jos[eph] Clarke
    The sum of on[e]
    Shillings in full for one half years
    duty for one Fire hearths in
    His House in Harvington due
    And ended at March last past
    Tho Litwood[?] Collector.
    
     *     November
    

    An extract from the Record Office in Worcester and was found by Stephen Price, during his researches into the Hearth Tax records for Worcestershire. It records "the Clarke family tenement in Harvington for 1668 - John Clarke and his 20 year old daughter Anne are holding for their lives one messuage and half a virgate of land with appurtenances in Harvington now in the tenure of John Clarke paying rent to the Dean & Chapter of Worcester Cathedral of 4 shillings and 4 pence".

    At this time the property was part of the Manor of Harvington owned by the Diocese of Worcestershire.

    During Stephen Price's researches there came to light "a Parliamentary Survey of Harvington for 1649, which records 'John Clarke' as tenant. He is described as a yeoman in some of the court books and served, as one might expect, as churchwarden and overseer of the highways at various points in the 17th century".

    Until further research is carried out, it appears from the above that John Clarke married in or before 1648; was a Yeoman from at least 1649; made a payment towards the Dutch War on 20th July 1667; his daughter, also called Anne, he was born circa in 1648 and he is recorded, along with his daughter Anne, as holding tenure in 1668; he paid for the Hearth Tax in 1671 & 1681. His wife was Anne, He was buried in Harvington churchyard on 29th of October 1684. John Clarke, of Crooked Walls, Yeoman from at least 1649 & a Churcharden. He made a payment to the Dutch War in 1667 & paid Hearth Tax in 1671 & 1681. he was buried in Harvington churchyard 29th October 1684. By his wife Anne, who was buried in Harvington churchyard 13th April 1666 or 7, aged 55. He was buried Harvington 29 Oct 1684. They had issue:-

    1. Anne, held tenure with her father of Crooked Walls in 1668.
    2. Margaret, baptized Harvington 12th May 1654.

    Henry Clarke, Churchwarden 1706-7, presumably the son of John Clarke, married Elizabeth and had the following:-

    1. Henry, bapt Harvington 19 Mar 1694, buried 3rd October 1695.
    2. Anne, bapt Harvington 15 Sep 1696.
    3. Edward, bapt Harvington 28 Oct 1699.
    4. Mary, bapt Harvington 20 Sep 1701.
    5. Elizabeth, bapt Havington 22 April 1702.
    6. Moses, bapt Harvington 5 Sep 1707.
    7. Martha, bapt Harvington 20 Oct 1709.
    8. John, bapt Harvington 4 Jun 1713.
    Thomas Clarke was churchwarden in 1670. Is Thomas meant to read John?

    It is only assumed that Henry Clarke also lived at Crooked walls. A Sarah Clarke was buried 9th May 1732. Also Mary wife of Edward Clarke was buried 23 Mar 1685.


    THE FOUR TENEMENTS:

    The above pencil drawing was taken from an unknown publication by the late Steve Cook who gave a copy of it to Joy Davies. This little drawing, the earliest image of the property and its surroundings so far found, reveals a number of interesting points. It must date to before 1855 as it is in this year that the church tower in the background acquired its steeple. Before dealing with Crooked Walls, let us observe the surroundings. The building in the foreground, demolished by the Council in the 1930's, has a tiled roof as it did in future photographs. The two houses now known as James and Apple Tree cottages now have rendering on the front, again, as they did in old photographs. In the picture however one can clearly see that James Cottage was timber framed although now its west end is brick. One can also also see its present dormer window and a very tall chimney.

    Two major facts can be gleamed for Crooked Walls. It is assumed that it originally had a timber-framed gable. In the sketch this has been replaced by the present brick construction with its centrally positioned window. There is only one central chimney block with no sign of chimneys on the gable ends.

    At some stage prior to 1855, the property went through a major change with the addition of chimney stacks at either end. It is suggested that it was at this stage that it was divided into four tenements, which included individual doorways, separate gardens plus two brick-built toilet blocks strategically placed to cater for the four dwellings. During recent construction work, the foundations of a boundary wall were discovered between the gardens of numbers one and two, which joined up with the division between one of the toilet blocks. The hop kiln and its adjacent building is on the 1837 tithe or estate map, so this change may well have taken place prior to 1837.


    THE FOUR TENEMENTS AND THEIR TENANTS

    The transfer of ownership in or around 1885 to the Bomford family does not appear to have affected the tenants to any great degre. This is quite a complicated section as it attempts to identify the families who inhabited the four tenements. Many years ago, the village historian Steve Cook, gave Joy Davies a sheet of paper with various names against the individual tenements. Steve Cook's arrangment of Number 1. being nearest to the church has been addopted throughout:-

    The above is of great help in giving us a sequence of events and who lived where although there is a conflict as to where one of the Newman families lived. One can supplement it with Census data plus personal information such as: Rosa Best was born at Crooked Walls in 1914, the Best's were possibly the last to live in Crooked Walls until 1926/27. By 1925, the four tenements had become a carpenters workshop (No's.1 & 2) under Charles Joyner; and a stable and hay store (No's. 3 & 4) under Edgar Cresswell.

    There is a lovely photograph taken of the south side of Crooked Walls in 1880. The lady standing with her hand on what was the front door of number two, is Lucy Sorrell 1816-1901. One can plainly see the entrance to number one, the home of the Newmans for many years. More difficult to discern are the entrances to numbers 3 and four. The building in the distance is the rear of the old cottage attached to the Blacksmith's cottage.


    Lucy Sorrell at Crooked Walls in 1880.

    NEWMAN/SORRELL/MEADE/SAVAGE 1880-90’s

    Tenements:-

    1. This was the home of Mary Newman for many years. She was remembered by her grandson Les Newman (of whom later).
    2. This was the home of Lucy Sorrell and her family from at least 1881 until 1893, and probably until her death in 1901 and possibly until the and of WW1 as her granddaughter Rosa Best was born at Crooked Walls in 1914.
    3. Thomas Newman, Mary Newman’s son, lived here with his large family. William Meade also lived here at some stage.
    4. George Savage was born in number 4 in 1878 although he and his family moved to Longlands shortly after his birth. In the 1911 Census, George Thomas Savage, gardener & Dom. aged 33, born Harvington, & Mary his mother aged 70 born Willersley. A reference from Steve Cook suggests that Mrs Christy Cresswell was living here aged 3 in the early years of the 20th century. Certainly this became the stable run by Edgar Cresswell in 1925.

    THE NEWMAN FAMILY (1) IN DETAIL:
    See the other Newman families living at the Brickyards.
    Henry Newman. A Henry Newman was bap Loxley 19 Dec 1762, son of Anthony & Mary Newman. Our Henry was Marr. Harvington 11 Oct 1790 Elizabeth (Betty) Hale, born 1771. In 1841 she was living with her son Anthony. They had issue:

    1. John Newman, Bap Harvington 24 Jul 1791.
    2. Anthony Newman, Bap Harvington 31 Mar. 1793. Anthony married Elizabeth Perry at St James's, Harvington 12 Oct 1817.
    3. Mary Newman, Bap Harvington 1 Feb 1795.
    4. William Newman, Bap Harvington 8 May 1797. Buried Harvington 8th February 1808, an idiot.
    5. Anne Newman, Bap Harvington 25 May 1800.
    6. Thomas Newman, Bap Harvington 5 Jun 1803. A Gardener in 1851. Married Mary A, born London 1804. Mary was a Nurse in 1841, A Gloveress in 1851. [Living at Number 1, Crooked Walls in 1891. The information that Mary Newman lived in number 1 came from Steve Cook.] Mary Newman, died in 1896 aged 93.
      1. Thomas, born 1838, of whom later.
      2. Mary Ann, born Harvington 1841
      3. Elizabeth, born Harvington 1843
      Thomas Newman, son of Thomas and Mary, was bap. Harvington 14 Jan 1838. Platelayer on Railway in 1901. Married Jane, born Bengeworth 1836. living at Number 3, Crooked Walls in 1891. They had issue:
      1. John Newman, born Harvington 1859. Ag Lab in 1901.
      2. Henry Newman, born Harvington 1860, Ag lab in 1901.Cattleman on farm in 1901 living ‘Village Street’, Harvington. A Market Gardener in 1911 living either in one of the Cook's Cottages or in or near the old Hop Pole. Mar. Sarah Ann, born Salford Priors 1856. Henry died 12th October 1915 aged 55. They had issue:
        1. Sarah Ann, born Harvington 1884. Pupil Teacher. She died August 2nd 1955, aged 71.
        2. Frances Mary, born Harvington 1892. Teacher’s assistant. She died 10th April 1919 aged 27.
      3. Elizabeth, aged 7 in 1871
      4. Thomas, aged 6 in 1871
      5. Charles Newman of whom later
      6. George Newman, born Harvington 1870. Plough boy in 1881. Farm Lab. In 1901 living number 4, Crooked Walls.
      Charles Newman, bap. Harvington 28 Apr. 1867. Farm Lab. Died 1936, aged 69. Mar. Ann, born Bidford 1872, died 1912. They had issue:
      1. Elizabeth (Lizzie), born Harvington 1892
      2. John Henry, born Harvington 1894. Farm Lab.
      3. Florence May, born Harvington 1895, died 1983. Married (1) Percy Everitt, 1902-1985. Married (2) Percival M Carter, and had issue:-
        1. child
        2. child
      4. Edith Annie, born Harvington 1899
      5. Thomas (Tom), born Harvington 1904
      6. Albert, born Harvington 1906
      7. Leslie (Les), born in number 3 of Crooked Walls, Harvington 1909. Joy remembers talking to Les in the street. He left a daughter Ann, who married Gerald (Jerry) D Millard in 1961 and they now live in one of the Glebe cottages in Village Street. Les died suddenly at the Coach and Horse.

    Annie Newman used a ladder to go upstairs to bed. This is thought to be in number 3.

    THE SORRELL FAMILY IN DETAIL:
    For Lucy Sorrell and details of her family please see Families.

    THE MEADE FAMILY IN DETAIL.
    William Meade - No information as yet

    THE SAVAGE FAMILY IN DETAIL:
    See Margery Bailey's piece on George Savage, under appendix 4. George Thomas Savage was born in number 4, baptised Harvington 14th April 1878, son of Charles and Mary Savage. George was a singer and Church Warden for many years.

    In the 1881 Census, George T[homas], aged 3, along with his sister Emily, aged 5, described as boarders, living with their mother Mary Savage, born Willersley 1841, described as a servant with occupation of House-keeper/domestic, are living in ‘Longlands’ down Anchor Lane. They are living with another boarder called Thomas Collett, Mary’s father, aged 69, boarder and Ag Lab. All are under the roof of John Meade (Head), aged 42 and born Stanning Field, Suffolk and an Ag Lab. Longlands has now been greatly extended. It is significant that the head of household was a ‘Meade’, the name of the family that is supposed to have lived in number 3 in the early twentieth century.


    Mary Savage.

    Census 1891: George H Hale was the head, born Harvington, aged 47; Mary S, aged 50; Ellen, daughter aged 13 and step-son George T Savage, aged 13. It would appear from this that Ellen was George Hale’s daughter by another mother. In 1911, George Savage, was living with his mother Mary ‘Hale’. Charles Savage, George’s father, married Mary Collett in 1869. Charles Savage died 1878 aged 38. Mary Savage had married George Henry Hale in 1884. George Henry Hale died in 1909 aged 66. Mary, George’s mother died in 1928 aged 88.


    BEST/TAYLOR/CRESSWELL/JOYNER 1900-1925

    THE BEST FAMILY IN DETAIL.
    Thomas Best, born Laverton c1796. He married in Broadway 31st Oct 1836 to Sarah Dobbins who was born c1811. They were living in Broadway 1836, in Salford in 1841 and Harvington by 1844. They had issue:-

    1. William Best, bap Broadway 7th Dec 1836. He was married in Harvington in 1861 to Elizabeth Sorrell. She died in 1914. He died in 1906. They had issue:-

      1. William, born Harvington c1861.
      2. Rosa, born Harvington 1866.
      3. Frederick, born Harvington 1868.
      4. Charles, born Harvington 1870.
      5. George, born Harvington 1872.
      6. Herbert John, born Harvington 1874. He married Rhoda A Cox in 1912. They were possibly living in Crooked Walls by 1914, probably in number two. After the War they moved to Leys Road. They had issue:-
        1. Rosa E M, born in Crooked Walls, Harvington in 1914. She married and had issue - Shirley.
        2. Herbert G F K, born Harvington 1915.
        3. Nancy D, born Harvington 1920.
        4. Kenneth G, born Harvington 1922.
      7. Ralf, born Harvington 1876.
      8. Lucy Ann, born Harvington 1867. There is a tradition in the Best family that she owned Crooked Walls. Lucy would not have actually owned Crooked Walls but she could well have inherited the tenancy of number two from her grandmother Lucy Sorrell in 1901. She could then have allowed her brother Herbert Best to be living in the tenement when his daughter Rosa was born in 1914. Family tradition also states that she owned several properties in Harvington.

        Lucy Ann was married in 1901 to William Charles Weager. In 1911 they were living in Harvington, he was a Railway labourer aged 42. She died in 1940 and he died in 1949.

      9. Walter Ernest, born Harvington 1878.
    2. Mary Ann, born Salford c1841.
    3. Albert, born Harvington 1844.

    TAYLOR 1900-11
    Taylor family: at some stage in this period, probably briefly, lived in one of the four dwellings. Mr Taylor was a shepherd and moved around looking for work. In the 1911 Census, Mr Taylor was a shepherd aged 54 with Mary Jane his wife & five children. They also lived at Thatchways, Candle Cottage, Ye Old Cottage (sometime called Shepherd Cottage). Mr Taylor's granddaughter, Muriel Eunice Allvey, née Taylor, was born in 1918 at Ye Old Cottage. Muriel later lived for a time in Broadwell up in the Cotswolds. Muriel Taylor (died 2010), married Walter Allvey (Wally) and lived in Harvington all her life. Muriel and Walter lived for a while in Shakespeare Cottages where their son Leon was born. Afterwards they lived in the middle tenement of Dream Cottages, which was owned by the Brazier family. In the early 1960’s they lived in part of the then dilapitated Hall at Abbots Salford. They later purchased Well Cottage, a Victorian prefabricated corner property. corner property in Hodges Lane.

    COMMERCIAL USE - 1918-25:
    Used for commerce and had obviously become dilapidated although it is likely that numbers 1 & 2, were inhabitated longer. In 1925 numbers one and two were used as a carpentry store run by a Charles Joyner, while numbers 3 and 4 housed a horse and hay store run by Edgar Cresswell. The horse was seen upon occasion by Connie Rawlings to pop his head out of the now kitchen window onto the street.

    • number 1/2: Charles Joyner’s workshop and store.
    • number 3/4: Edgar Cresswell’s stable and hay store.


    THE BOMFORD FAMILY: It is not as yet clear when the Bomfords acquired the property but it was probably when they purchased the Harvington Estate, centred around harvington Lodge, after the marriage of Benjamin Bomford to Gertrude Kendrick in 1885. Crooked Walls was only a small part of their holdings in Harvington and only came into its own when on the 15th of January 1925, according to the Deeds, the Bomford's sold the property along with part of its present land to Mrs Edith May Davies. At the time of the sale Crooked Walls was part of a block of land stretching down to Shakespeare Lane. In or shortly after 1925 the Council bought the remaining land on which it built a number of council houses.

    For a full history of this large family please see the Bomford Family Website, and on this site under Families.


    EDITH MAY DAVIES 1925-1926

    The House Deeds are not very old, the earliest document is dated 15th January 1925. It is a conveyance between Benjamin Bomford and others to Mrs Edith May Davies, of Freehold workshops and premises situate at Harvington, Worcestershire. The Conveyance does however refer to previous documents. From this document it is clear that Edith Davies, of Guildford bought Crooked Walls for £200. Why she should buy an almost derelict house in Harvington, described in the Conveyance as "formerly four tenements but now used as workshops", is not known. Had she visited Harvington, did she have friends here?

    Mrs Davies lived at number 6 Dapdune Crescent, Guildford with her husband Doctor Hollway Davies. Edith died in 1932 aged 58. Her husband was Frederick Thomas Hollway Davies, who had served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in WW1. In little over a year she sold the property to Hubert William Cramer for £525.

    By April 1926 when Mrs Davies sold the property, it was described as "dwellinghouse formerly four tenements or cottages used as work shops". The change in the description, along with the sizeable increase in the value of the property, suggests that the carpenter and the hay and horse keeper had gone and presumably some improvements to the property had been done.


    HUBERT WILLIAM CRAMER 1926-1949 including from January 1930 Cyril Stanley Thomas as partner.

    Hubert William Cramer was born in Edmonton, Middx in 1893. He was decorated with honours in WW1 and in 1917 was married to Agnes M Thornton. At the time of his purchase of Crooked Walls in 1926 he was styled as of Henry Grant & Co. Ltd of Riley Street, Tower Bridge, London, a Director of a private company. Like Mrs Davies, it is not clear why he purchased the property. He and his wife Agnes had a large family all of whom were born in the London area so it is assumed they did not live in the house on a permenant basis. Hubert Cramer died in the Paddington area of London in 1965 aged 72. It is not clear why several items in the Deeds relate to the death of Hubert's father Peter Adolph Cramer.

    Peter Adolph Cramer, born Germany 1859, married in Islington 1888 to Alice Mary Morgan. In 1911 he was a manufacturer of tim boyes and timplate printer. He died on 26th April 1928. They had issue:-

    • Helene Maria, and Edmonton 1889.
    • Agatha Annie E, born Edmonton 1891, alive in 1911.
    • Hubert William, born Edmonton 1893. By his wife Agnes had issue:-
      • Peter, born Lewisham 1919.
      • John G, born Hendon 1921.
      • Priscilla A, born Bromley 1922.
      • Susan M, born Bromley 1923.
      • Alson H, born Bromley 1925.
      • Margaret A, born Bromley 1928.
      • Michael H, born Bromley 1936.

    Cyril Stanley Thomas was born in Bridport, Dorset 1888. He married in Loders, Dorset 1911 to Lilian Marie Pullen. He was living as a boarder in Marylebone, Middx in 1911.


    RENOVATION OF 1925-30, including detailed description of the inside.
    Until studying the Deeds, it was thought that Ffield's owned the property and had made it habitable. It has always been known that Cyril Ffield had created the present layout of the garden circa 1930. In 1925 the house was uninhabitable and used as workshops. It is now clear that the Ffield family didn't own the property but lived in it as tenants from 1827/8 to 1949. In 1928 Cyril Ffiled puchased off Evesham Rural District Council, a small triangular piece of land adjacent to the rear of the garden of Crooked Walls. He then sold this land to Hubert Cramer in 1930 thereby uniting under one ownership, the present garden. But what is not known is who saved the property, who brought it back from what must have been a very dilapidated state to a house that could be lived in with comfort. The undertaking was a major one including the implementation of mains water, sewerage, electrity and central heating (in 1975 there was an antiquated central heating system). Mrs Davies may have started the process in 1925 but it was probably the Cramer's, and maybe the Ffield's as tenants who would have continued the process.

    Between Edith Davies, Hubert Cramer and Cyril Ffield, major there were major and, for the time, expensive changes to the property, which almost certainly saved it from demolition. Photographs from the 1880-1910's shew the property in a reasonable state of repair but by the 1920's it was being used as workshops including the stabling of a horse in the now kitchen! The village at that time was most attractive with its many picture-box black and white cottages. Artist such as A R Quinton and P H Ditchfield were visiting villages such as Harvington and publishing their wonderfull old houses. The property was alongside the main road and it can be imagined that Mrs Davies, Mr Cramer and Cyril and his mother Emma Beatrice ffield passing by and falling in love with it. It is believed that Mrs the ffields' were first to give the combined property its distinctive name of Crooked Walls. For a time previously it was known as "The cottage to the west of the Post Office". This last note is to be found on the Internet under Notes on Listed Buildings.

    Description
    The land slopes down the road towards the west and the property reflects this to a degree by partially resting on a raised platform. At present, there is a step up from what was number three to number two, both on the ground and first floors. Upstairs there is also another step from number two to number one. This is now not reflected on the ground floor and it is assumed that the ground in number one was lowered.

    For convenience in describing the many changes made to the property, the house has been divided into the original four dwellings. The numbering is one to four starting from the east.

    Number one:-

    • Ground floor: Division between number one and number two removed completely. Floor lowered to match that of number two. Window to the street is retained but replaced. Doorway blocked and adjacent window to the garden replaced with a new one. Stairs or ladder to the upper floor were removed. In the 1980's there were thought to be signs indicating that an openiong to upper quarters were once in the north west corner of the dwelling. The fireplace and chimney stack were retained until removed by the McClare s. This is highlighted by the 1949 sales particulars, which state "At the end of the [drawing] room is another fireplace which is at present blocked in".

    • First floor: This upper room appears to retain its original dimensions. A door connecting it to number two was inserted at this time as was the dormer window on the south side. It is known that the internal chimney stack was set against the east wall, until removed by the McClares. A surviving photograph depicts the property from the east and shews both the chimney and the two windows. The stack would have at least obscured the windows in the room which would have been very dark until the dormer window were inserted. The northern window is of original or old appearance with one horizontal cross bar. The other or southern is of indeterminate age.

    Number two:

    • Ground floor: The room appears to retain its original dimensions except that the east division has gone, opening it up to the ground floor room in number one. The little window was probably replaced at this time. The front door to the south was blocked. The adjacent window is different to the one in the photograph of 1880. The substantial brick stack within the inglenook once containing a standard fireplace may have been put in. The brick stack was on a brick plinth about 1ft high which covered the old flagstones. Access to the upper floor was removed and there is no indication as to where it was but may have been to the side of the inglenook and occupied the same position as the present staircase. It is not clear as to whether this area was part of number three or number two. Space suggests that it may have been part of number two but there is a very worn step on the number three side. The present stairs were inserted although the Ffield's added the handrail, which came from Beatrice ffields eldest son's aeroplane.
    • First floor: This area has changed beyond recognition and it is not possible to determine the original layout. This room was divided into a bathroom, upper hall and small bedroom. On the north side they retained the delightful original ground-level window on the north side with its two horizontal bars. It was they who inserted the dormer window along with the one in the bedroom of number three. There were no dormers on the north side. The doomer window on the south side and in the bathroom, which looks out on the garden is original and probably, along with the dormer in number three, is the oldest window in the house. There is a little window on the present stairs that may or may not have been inserted.

    Number three:

    • Ground floor: This room probably retains its original dimensions. On the south side a 'front door' was inserted and accompanying porch, which opened up the house to the north and street side. There are two windows on this side which are thought to be original. The external bread oven is approached from this room and retains most of its original appearance along with its original heavy door made out of a simple piece of oak and attached handle. The inglenook now has a brick stack and grate that was apparently inserted by the McClares. A through way was opened up into number two. It is not known where the staircase in number three was positioned. The original staircase could have been in this area where the present staircase or ladder was positioned. On the south side there was been much replacement of walls, doors and windows so the exact position of the door and original window is not known.

    • First floor: This room retains most of its original appearance. A throughway was inserted into number two. They blocked up the floor level original window onto the street when they built the porch while at the same time inserted the dormer window on the north side. The window on to the garden is original and very old. Ken and Joy Davies created a doorway through into number four for accessibility and discovered an old throughway with a fine pair of upright arched braces, which now make a nice frame for the doorway. This feature may be very old and even predate the inserted floor in number three, being used at the time as a mezzanine for storage etc. It would have been blocked up when the property was divided into tenements.

    Number four: is shorter than the other three due to the loss of the west gable.

    • Ground floor: This became the ffields kitchen and a boiler and central heating system installed. The boxed-in stairs are original as is probably the door leading to the garden as one of the only surviving original front doors. One of Beatrice ffield's paintings suggested that there were shutters to the old window. This window was replaced in the 1980's, as was one of the windows on the west end. The window between the sink and stove was inserted in the 1980's. The cupboard or larder in the north west corner and containing one of the old windows was put in and removed by the Davies. The little window in the corner is very old and was re-leaded in 2010.
    • First floor: At the time of the Davies, the upper story of number four was still unconnected to number three and was divided into two small rooms. They also inserted the dormer window on the south side. The upper storey still retains 10 to 15" wide floor boards.

    Outside: During recent excavations for the new (2012) building, the footings of a dividing wall between numbers one and two was observed. The wall ended with the foundations of one of the two toilet blocks that served the four dwellings. The toilet blocks are to be observed on one of the plans in the Property Deeds. The four privies were presumably demolished by the ffields, probably when Cyril Ffield purchased the plot of land bordering the southern extremity of the combined garden in 1928, thereby giving the garden its present odd shape. He sold this piece of land to Hubert Cramer and Cyril Thomas in 1930, thereby legally combining the piece of land to Crooked Walls.

    Beneath the concrete floor of the old garage, there was a substantial floor made up of reused bricks. The floor is presumably from the barn-like building seen in one of Beatrice ffield's paintings. The ffields deepened and maybe widened the pathway running the length of the house.

    It was Cyril, the son of Beatrice ffield who created the present layout of the garden.

    Some of the surrounding paving came from an auction at Harvington Lodge circa 1980. There is also evidence of broken up tombstones from the churchyard.


    FFIELD 1928-49
    John Bernard Edmund ffield was an importer of foreign goods based at the Round House, Addlestone, Chertsey, Surrey in 1901. He had married 1893 Emma D’Inry Beatrice Hays, daughter of William Hays of Nevern Square, London. In 1914 they were living at the Old Bank House, Coleshill, Worcs, where he was styled Manufacturer. He died Meriden 1916 aged 53. Beatrice moved to Crooked Walls, Harvington, as a Widow in the late 1920's. The property was found by her son Paul. She was an artist and exhibited at the R.A. in London. She painted several scenes of Crooked Walls. She was listed in 1939 phone directory as living Crooked Walls. In the same year she visited Boston on the ship Laconia, arriving 8 May 1939. She died in 1947. They had issue:-

    1. Bernard Osborne, born Weybridge in Surrey, 1894. Flight sub-lieut in the RFC. RN Long Service and Good conduct medal. Killed in a plane crash while training 24th December 1914. There is a detailed writ up of his death including a photograph of him. A wing strut from his plane survives as a banister at Crooked Walls.

    2. Barbara Fulumena, born Weybridge in Surrey, 1896. Lived at Crooked Walls, with her mother. On 4 May 1936, she visited the USA arriving in Boston and met up with her brother Paul. After her mother’s death in 1947, she moved away from Crooked Walls and died in 1954. Crooked Walls was auctioned in 1949 and bought by the McClares.
    3. Cyril Joseph, born Weybridge in Surrey, 1898. It was he who designed the present layout of the garden after convalescing from a serious illness. He married at Holywell, Flintshire 1929, Mary Gertrude Adamson. He died in the New Forest 1966. His wife Mary Gertrude and son Oswald visited the house in 1989. They had issue:-
      1. Keyna M G, born Wirral 1930, living London 1955-7. Living 15 Overton Park Road, Cheltenham.
      2. Bernard O, born Bromley 1932.
      3. Edmund J, born Wirral 1941. Became a Monk attached to Ampleforth Abbey and living in Zimbabwe.
      4. Oswald J, born Wirral 1945. Married Gloucester 1970 Mary F King and living in Birmingham.
    4. Antoinette Mary A (Netta), born Weybridge in Surrey, 1899. She mar. Meriden 1924, Geoffrey Badger. She died Bristol 1990. They had issue:-
      1. Jeremy
      2. Michael G, born Grt Ouseburn 1927. Marr. Kensington 1953 to Audrey M Laine.
      3. Jill
      4. Adrian Antony, born Evesham 28 June 1938. For a while at the end of WW2 he lived at Crooked Walls along with a governess. He lived in the end bedroom which overlooks James Cottage, where Angela Rawlings was living. Angela remembers Adrian with affection, they used to hang out together and would often talk across the lane from their respective bedrooms. He had a governess with him and she would take Adrian & Angela on wild flower walks. One day he was no longer there and she never saw him again.


        Angela Rawlings and Adrian Badger

        Adrian was married in Birmingham in 1962 to Peggy C G Groves-Drinkwater and had Dominic, born 1963. Adrian died in Birmingham in 1979.

    5. Paul D’Inry, born Waybridge, Surrey, 1st Jun 1901. He emigrated to the USA arriving on 20 Sep 1926 and was naturalised in Massachusetts 6 Feb 1939. He lived at 125 Nashua Str., Boston. After a visit to Britain he arrived on 12 Sep 1955 arriving New York from Prestwick, Scotland. On 30th Oct 1956 he took a flight from Brussels to New York. He visited Crooked Walls in 1978 and died in Boston 20 May 1980. He married at St Patrick's Cathedral, New York, 10th September 1927 Marjery Isabella Nolan, born 28th Dec 1897/8 in Duarte, California (her family came from Dublin) and had issue:-
      1. Paul Edward d'Ivry Jnr, born Amily Harton, NY 1928. Visited England in 1949 & 52. He married Marian Comstock Spaulding in 1955 and died 1989
        1. Paul III, born 1957
        2. Robert, born 1959
        3. Amy, born 1964.
      2. John Cromwell, born 1931, married Amy Carr (Dudek) and had issue:-
        1. Jeremy Cyril, born 1965>
        2. Gabriel Bernard, born 1968

    In the 1939 census 'Crooked Walls' is occupied by Emma B ffield, her daughter Barbara and a John and Doris Cockerill. Joy Rawes remembers a story that Gilbert Harding, the radio and television personality, once stayed at Crooked Walls.


    MCCLARE 1949-75
    Crooked Walls was purchased by William Stuart and Eileen McClare at public action on 11th April 1949. Eileen took part in village life and was Chairman of the Parish Council. She did a significant amount of work on the committees for the Harvington Bypass which was eventually approved after her death. She was also a promenant member of the local Conservative Party and was a friend of Gerald Nabarro, the local MP, who visited the house on many occasions. It is remembered that the McClare's used to have great New Year's eve parties at the house. William and Eileen had issue:-

    1. Shirley E McClare.
    2. Colin W F McClare.
    3. Angus A McClare.
    The McClare’s removed the chimney stack, at the east end of the house. The chimney was on the inside of the house and stood proud of and in between the two old windows in the bedroom. The chimney breast in the lounge is depicted in one of Beatrice ffields paintings. They also built the outside toilet, nicknamed by the family 'The Empire State'. The Property was sold to Ken and Joy Davies in 1975 after being empty for a year or so.

    There used to a large and interesting large bearded stone figure standing by the pond. It was not removed by the McClare family and was not present when the Davies family moved in so disappeared sometime during 1974/5.


    DAVIES 1975-2012
    Crooked Walls was bought by Ken and Joy Davies in October 1975. They moved in with their two children Jonathan, then 5 years old and Sarah aged three. Their younger son, Tim was born in 1978 in Evesham.

    At the time of moving, the road outside the house was still the main road from Evesham to Stratford and was very busy with heavy traffic, the house used to go dark and shake as lorries passed by. However, work was soon to start on the new bypass which would transform this end of the village. Crooked Walls was blackened by dirt and fumes from traffic and had been empty for over a year following the death of Mrs McClare. They were shown round the house by Colonel Tooby who had been a great friend of Mrs McClare.

    Joy and Ken soon began work renovating the old property, working slowly and with great care so as not to damage the integrity of the house, although they did remove centuries of lime wash and black paint from the timbers in the interior. Most of the work was done by Ken over a period of over twenty years. All internal timbers were stripped by hand, new floors of elm were installed in all except the bedroom over the kitchen, ceilings were added to the downstairs rooms, previously there had only been two layers of woodworm infested floorboards painted yellow ochre on the underside. There were various boards which could be lifted and the children used to post Lego down on the heads of the adults below! A small door was made leading from the main bedroom to the bedroom over the kitchen. They noticed a small archway already there which had been infilled with lath and plaster. The interior was treated throughout with woodworm killer and Fibre glass loft insulation added to the roof spaces.

    A new central heating system was installed, the previous one had huge wide bore pipes. A new bathroom was put in and the old cast iron bath was removed through a trapdoor in the bathroom floor and taken down to the allotments!! A new kitchen was fitted, replacing the old English Rose one and the larder which stood at the base of the kitchen staircase was removed, also an extra window was added to the west wall of the kitchen.

    A Jetmaster fire was put in the dining room to reduce the considerable draft from the large inglenook and a Villager log burning stove with chimney liner was added to the lounge. Downstairs floors were stripped and sealed, also the lounge floor was lifted to remove a plant which kept growing through!

    The rear of the house was thatched by Stan Harris in late 1989. working on his own....very slowly! The house was decorated and all the panels were repaired. The coal bunker was moved from right outside the kitchen door and eventually rebuilt to form a small greenhouse. The oil tank was moved and a new shed erected to act as a workshop. The pond, which was in front of the patio was filled in thereby extending the lawn. The well was filled in and used as a sandpit for the children. The garden which had become overgrown was slowly restored to its former glory.

    Joy and Ken were also heavily involved in village life, Ken started the youth group and also was instrumental in acquiring the land and taking out the old orchard to build and maintain the first playing field on land behind the school. Joy started a babysitting circle and a playgroup and was a churchwarden for a number of years. Joy and Ken organised the Fete and barn dance to celebrate the Queen`s diamond jubilee in 1976.

    Crooked Walls was host to quite a few amazing parties during this time...a barn dance, a forties party, a seventies party, a medieval banquet and a glam rock party, all in fancy dress of course. During the time they were at the house they were visited by various former occupants...Paul ffield, Gertrude ffield (wife of Cyril ffield) Colin McClare, Shirley McClare.

    Joy and Ken lived at Crooked walls until 2001, when Ken left and Joy continued to live there on her own, finishing her teaching career in 2006.

    The Well
    By 1975 the well had been long disused and flush to the surfice, its upper parts and lifting gear had long gone. The well had been used to supply water to the four tenements and fell out of use in the early 1920's when the mains supply was made available, it was then partially filled in. During the McClare's time Colin had a close call when he descended the Well unattached, after which Later, Angus, with ropes attached to an overhanging plum tree, descended the well in an attempt to dig it out but the surface he landed upon was unstable which scared him. In the 1970's, in an attempt to retrieve a frog that had jumped down it, Ken Davies descended about ten to fifteen feet down to a mass of old hop wire and was worried that it might give way and cause him to fall further. The well was nicely lined with brick for some way then descended through solid stone. To make it safe for the children he filled it with rubbish and an old greenhouse that used to stand in the south-west corner of the garden and made a sandpit in the upper reaches. This later became a small pond and has now (2012) reverted to a sandpit.


    RAWES 2012-PRESENT

    Joy Davies married Julian Rawes in June 2013 although he had lived in Crooked Walls since 2012. During this time some major alterations and improvements were made to the house.

    The street side of the house was re-thatched in 2012, replacing a fifty year old thatch! The old wooden garage and plastic-covered lean-to was replaced by a purpose-built library/workshop/studio/garage. The building is on the same floor plan as the old structure except it incorporates the angle of the property boundary. The exterior is of oak boarding above Blue Lias stone and the roof is covered with re-used terracotta tiles. The interior is timber clad.

    The old greenhouse was removed and replaced by an extended brick floor topped with a new wooden greenhouse. A new shed has also been erected at the bottom of the garden, where in the past, was an old greenhouse.

    The rendering on the garden side of the house and beneath the timber was removed owing to problems with damp. The rendering dated from the time of the Ffields, when they lowered the ground level to protect the wooden structure, and also to make way for a path which now extends the full length of the house.

    The rendering had covered a multitude of sins. Extending from west to east:-
    a: A ditch infill of stone from the west end to the kitchen door. This is now covered by a new wall of Blue Lias stone.
    b: A rough stone wall from the door to the dining-room door. This was simply pointed and left alone.
    c: Rubble, sometimes loose, extended from the dining-room door to about midway into the lounge. This had to be covered by a new facing wall.
    d: From midway into the lounge to the east end, there was modern stepped brick. Presumably here the ffields had to replace the original and under-pin the structure. The steps were cut away and a new facing wall built.

    Our builders 'Pegasus', also re-pointed the other side and ends of the house.

    While this was in progress, the old wood burner in the lounge failed. The wood burner was set in front of a brick stack with fire place, presumably put in by the ffields. All was set upon a plinth which extending into the room as a stand for the wood burner. All was set in the old inglenook.

    When the inside of the chimney was exposed, one could see a large soot encrusted void open to the sky. This inglenook and of one in the dining room back on to one another, however, the two chimneys were found to be completely separate.

    The wood burner, stack and plinth were all removed to reveal a fine old inglenook with stone cupboard, two little ledges and an old, possibly original, Blue Lias floor. The centre of the floor was burnt through so it was replaced by one of the flag stones outside. The remaining stones were cleaned and polished. The back wall had to be cement washed and a new Clearview stove the fitted.


    PROPERTY DEEDS
    The Property
    Deeds date from 1925 with reference to previous documents relating to a larger area and part of the Bomford Estate. They have been transcribed in full, press on the link to view them.