Footpath: Pear Tree Cottages to Bretforton
Photos taken 2006.
WILLERSEY ROAD (PEAR TREE COTTAGES) TO BRETFORTON (R5)
Grid Reference: 080422 to 089424
In 1812, the track immediately in front of the present-day Pear Tree cottages was known as Peartree Lane; it was described as a public bridle road, then once it crossed the brook it became a private carriage road and drift way (for cattle): "One public Bridle Road and private Carriage Road and Drift Way of the breadth of twenty feet marked No 5 commencing at the Willersey Road and extending in an Eastwardly direction until it communicates with the Parish of Bretforton at Allens Gate, the Carriage Road for the use of the proprietors of Lands adjoining." Allens’ Barn, just over the boundary into Bretforton was the scene of a gruesmome spectacle in the 18th century.
In the 19th century, the lane was in a poor state. It was the main access road to the Christ Church College estate but was impassable in winter. In March 1867, Frederick Webb (the agent) wrote to C W Lawrence (the solicitor) asking Christ Church to contribute £10-£15 towards repairing the road. In 1874, the valuer, Francis Field, was still complaining about accessibility: "The land in Badsey is enclosed in a ring fence but is at some distance from Badsey, and the only means of access is by a road which is almost impassable in winter. This reduces the value of the property, particularly for letting in allotments. The only buildings are a barn, stable and cattle shed. The land is of good quality. The farm has been occupied for some time as allotment ground as a high rent is obtained in this way, but there is a good deal of trouble and risk. It would be more profitable in the long run for the Dean and Chapter to let the whole to a responsible person at a lower rent with permission to underlet under proper conditions, and the valuation is made on this assumption. There is no tithe, Land Tax is redeemed and parochial rates are moderate."
Matters came to a head in 1875 when the parish was asked by the Highway Board to repair the road. The parish protested very loudly that it was a private carriage road and thus was not the parish responsibility. Christ Church then made an offer through their agent, Frederick Webb, that if the road was metalled 10 feet wide, they would contribute £150 towards the cost. Several Vestry Meetings were called to discuss the matter and a lengthy report appeared in "The Evesham Journal" of 30th October 1875. The problem seemed to stem from the fact that, in 1775, the Bretforton Enclosure Award had awarded the Bretforton part of the track, which led from Stoneford Barn, Bretforton, to Allens Gate, as "a public road and common highway", whereas the Badsey Enclosure Award had awarded the Badsey part as "a public Bridle Road and private Carriage Road and Drift Way". The Bretfordians had tested the right of the public as to the use of the Badsey road as a public thoroughfare in 1835; the Court decided it was a private road and consequently Allens Gate was locked for many years. Joseph Jones, as tenant of the land, had gravelled the lane in 1838, and had debited the parish, but was then forced to refund it. A letter dated November 1875 stated that the Dean and Chapter did not want "to force upon the parish the unpleasantness and expense of a law-suit and we are authorised therefore to say that if the parish will have a new roadway 8 feet wide formed and metalled along the land leading from the turn from the Badsey and Willersey Road to the Christ Church estate, a distance of about 225 yards, and forming part of the bridle road in question, Christ Church will accept the proposal of the parish with respect to the roadway across its own estate and will metal at its own expense a portion of the 20 feet road for the use of its own tenants." It is not known if this proposal was accepted at that point, but certainly today the lane is metalled as far as the bridge and then it becomes a dirt track.
Here is a description of a walk along the path today. [LINK TO BE MADE AVAILABLE IN DUE COURSE.] The following paragraphs give an historical description of ownership of the land over which the path passes.
North Side – Pear Tree Cottages, Greenhouses (Badsey Map G121)
In 1812, at the time of the Badsey Enclosure Act, this plot of land was an old enclosure which belonged to Joseph Jones. It was called Hancox Close and amounted to 5a 0r 27p. In 1815 it was exchanged with Christ Church: "And the said Commissioners hereby assign, allot and award in Exchange to the said Dean and Chapter and their Lessees the said John Millard, John Benton and Ann Slatter, All that Close or Inclosed Ground called Hancox Close containing five acres and twenty-seven perches in lieu of and in Exchange for the said sixth Allotment herein awarded to the said Dean and Chapter and their Lessees the said John Millard, John Benton and Ann Slatter." Pear Tree Cottages were built in the south-west corner about 1902.
South Side – Barn (Badsey Map G122)
In 1812, at the time of the Badsey Enclosure Act, this plot of land was an old enclosure which belonged to Thomas Byrd. It was called Peartree Close and amounted to 7a 2r 38p. In 1815 it was exchanged with the Reverend Charles Phillott: "And the said Commissioners hereby assign allot and award in Exchange … All those two pieces of Inclosed Land herein after described, that is to say, Unto and for the said Charles Phillott and his successors Curates as aforesaid, All those two pieces or parcels of Inclosed Land called Pear Tree Close and Paddock containing eight acres eight perches in lieu of and in Exchange for the said sixth Allotment to the said Charles Phillott." The barn is erroneously marked on the Ordnance Survey map as a Tithe Barn. It was erected in the early 19th century shortly after Enclosure and the land is still owned by Christ Church to this day.
South Side – Badsey Map G124B
In 1812, at the time of the Badsey Enclosure Act, this plot of land was an old enclosure which belonged to William Wilson. It was part of Condercup Meadow and amounted to 2a 0r 20p. In 1815 it was exchanged with the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church: "And the said Commissioners assign allot and award in Exchange to the said Dean and Chapter and their Lessees the said John Millard, John Benton and Ann Slatter and their Heirs All that Inclosed Meadow called Abrahams Well Meadow containing four acres three roods and thirty-eight perches and also all that part or parcel of old Inclosed Meadow called Condercup Meadow containing two acres and twenty perches in lieu of and in Exchange for the said third and fourth Allotments herein awarded in Exchange to the said William Wilson and his Heirs." It is still owned by Christ Church to this day.
North and South Sides (Badsey Map W050)
This field was awarded by the Badsey Enclosure Commissioners in 1815 to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, in lieu of tithes: "Also all that other Allotment situate in the Meerden, Foxhill and Bully Brook Fields containing one hundred and ten acres three roods and four perches including the private Road across the same, bounded on the East by an Allotment herein after awarded to the said John Jones, the Parish of Bretforton, an Allotment herein after awarded to John Slatter and an old Inclosure herein after given in Exchange to the said John Slatter, on the South by the said last mentioned Allotment and old Inclosures, by an old Inclosure called Hancocks Close herein after given in Exchange to the said Dean and Chapter and their Lessees the said John Millard, John Benton and Ann Slatter, on the West by an Allotment herein after awarded to the said Charles Phillott and certain old Inclosures received by him in Exchange, by the said Hancocks Close, an Allotment herein after awarded to the said Thomas Williams and an old Inclosure called Abrahams Well Meadow herein after given in Exchange to the said Dean and Chapter and their said Lessees, and on the North by Bully Brook and the third Allotment herein after awarded to the said John Jones." It is still owned by Christ Church to this day.
Where they are available, links are provided to historical information about places and buildings. This index of roads and paths in Badsey and Aldington was compiled as part of the Badsey Society Enclosure Map Project. The house numbers and names are correct as at May 2006. Every care has been taken to provide accurate information, but if you are aware of any error, please contact us. If you wish to provide a history or memories of an individual house on this road, please email History@badsey.net.