Unlocking Stourport's Past

Moor Hall

Moor Hall Moor Hall Dining Room
Built on an open site at Moorhill on the Long Lane which ran Lickhill Manor to Hartlebury Common, by Jonathan Worthington - who was in partnership with Aaron York and also connected to him by marriage. Both men became wealthy through the canal trade as boat builders and wharfingers. (Aaron York built York House and the street was named after him). George Nicholson in his ‘Cambrian Traveller’ s Guide of 1808, designated Mr Worthington’s residence as a mansion. It became known as Moorhill and later Moor Hall. When Jonathan Worthington died in 1821, aged 66, his son Jonathan succeeded to the property and lived there with his family until 1844, when the estate was offered for sale by auction at the Lion Hotel, Kidderminster. In the sale details, the house is described as 'a mansion of importance, seated on an eminence in park-like grounds'. At this time the mansion contained a spacious Hall - with Corinthian Columns; elliptic Drawing Room, 27' x 20’; Dining Room 26.' x 18'; Breakfast Room 20' x 17’; Study 17' x 15’ and Domestic Offices "well arranged and entirely shut out of view from the before named' . Geometrical stone staircase, very spacious Landing, around which were six bedchambers and a Dressing Room. "At a convenient distance £ran the last mentioned is a School Room, spacious Night Nursery, House¬maid's Closet, and a Ccmmodite; likewise three Servants' Sleeping Apartments and two Stair¬cases". The estate also had upwards of 105 acres of meadow, orchard and arable land.

The next occupant of the mansion - as the census of 1851 records - was a James Arthur Taylor - described as Deputy Lieutenant for Worcestershire and a farmer. We are given an insight into the social conditions of the period for the details reveal Mr and Mrs Taylor and two young daughters, 4 visitors and a lady’s maid and 14 resident servants (1 lady’s maid, house- keeper, nurse, nursemaid, laundry-maid, 2 kitchen maids, house-maid, butler, footman, groom, postillion, male helper, waiter). Cook was apparently absent from home! In 1855 the property was in the possession of the Rev Charles Turner Farley MA, a bachelor, who lived there until it was bought by John Brinton, carpet manufacturer, JP, and subsequently MP. The 1871 census records John Brinton, his second wife Mary, 3 children and an establishment of 10 indoor servants (house-keeper, lady's maid, 2 house-maids, 1 cook, 1 parlour-maid, 1 under-nurse, 1 nurse, 1 kitchen-maid and 1 page).

John Brinton carried out considerable alterations to the house and grounds. He planted an avenue of trees £ran Lickhill Road to Bewdley Road (Avenue Road) with ledges at both ends ¬both surviving - the one at the Bewdley Road end carrying the Brinton motto 'Lux et Salus' (Light and Well-being). He erected three pairs of ornamental iron gates: two pairs of these gates were placed one on either side of Lickhill Road and when one set was opened the opposite ones also opened. How they opened in contrary directions greatly puzzled Mr I L Wedley. John Brinton purchased fields in Lickhill Road, took up hedges and converted them into a park, naming it after his residence - Moor Hall Park.

After the death of John Brinton in 1914, aged 87, Mr and Mrs Wilson (former gardener) moved from their cottage into the Hall - as caretakers. They lived there until 1916. Mrs E Rogers, nee Wilson, recalled to Mr Geof Neal that the Hall was used as a convalescent home for officers and the park as a training ground for young recruits for the war, who slept in tents in the park. At the furniture sale held at that time, huge marquees were erected on the lawns and refreshments were provided on a lavish scale by Sid Glover of the 'White Lion' on Lion Hill. Due to the war, much of the furniture 'went for a song'.

On the 28 June 1917 the estate was offered for sale at the Grand Hotel, Birmingham. It is interesting to compare the details at this time with those already given for the Hall in 1844. A much larger house emerges as we see from the following dimensions: "Portico, Hall 18' x 10'; Inner Hall 31' 6" X 21' 4" x 13' 4", from which principal staircase in stone with wrought iron balustrades ascends; Morning Room 19' 11" x 16' 10" with window in¬to conservatory 30' x 19': oval Drawing Room 26' x 19' with window into conservatory: Library 24' 8" x 17' x 8"; Garden entrance or Cloak-room 20' x 9' 9": Billiard Room 27' 10" x 18' 10": back Hall and staircase, W C, telephone box, Lavatory and Cloakroom; Dining Room 29' 9" x 21' and ante room 16' 4" x 14' 6", with dog grate and old oak mantel and overrmantel - dated 1635 - which was removed from Aston Hall: Butler's room 15' 6" x 12' 9"; Butler's pantry 15' 5" x 13' 5": House-keeper' s room 14' 9" x 14' 8": back stairs: Kitchen 17' 11" x 17' 6": back Kitchen 17' 4" x 12' 7"; Scullery 18' x 9'; Larder; Game Larder: enclosed yard: Boot and Boiler houses: servants' Hall 20' 8" x 12' 8": Store room; Lumber room: inner Court with rolling way into basement, which includes large wine and ale cellars. " And this is only downstairs! The bedrooms and dressing rooms were similarly well proportioned. There was a spacious Landing or Picture Gallery 26' 9" x 15' 5" with dome light; oval-shaped Boudoir 20‘3" x 20', communicating Bedroom 19' 9" x 17', also Dressing room adjoining 17' 3" x 12' 9" plus four further bedrooms and dressing rooms and servants rooms.

Moor Hall did not apparently sell in 1917 and remained empty for some time. It was then purchased by Mr T H Charles who continued to live at Park Attwood near Bewdley. A sale notice for Tuesday 9 June 1924 at the Swan Hotel, shows when buildings and land were offered for sale under the direction of Mr T H Charles. There were 112 lots in all, Moor Hall residence with 11/4 acres was lot 12 and did not sell. Several houses built in Moor Hall Lane during the 1920's had the benefit of marble fire¬places and stained glass from Moor Hall.

Mr Charles gave some land, part of the estate, to Stourport Tennis Club. He was himself a County tennis player for Warwickshire. A portion of the park, 28 acres, was purchased for £2,000 for the town and is now the 'Memorial Park'.

Mr Charles installed Mr & Mrs James Elson, the grandparents of Mr Pagett of Kidderminster, as caretakers of Moor Hall. Mr Pagett has vivid memories of weekends and summer holidays spent there during his childhood in the 1930' s. He said that "Moor Hall was a boys paradise", and recalls that the last animals kept in the stables were a pair of llamas destined for Whipsnade Zoo. After the death of Mr Charles in 1938 the administrators sold the house for demolition. The oak mantel and overmantel, dated, 1635, with coat of arms of the Holte family, previously part of a tester bed head, has been preserved in the possession of Mr Charles's son, Mr Arthur Charles. Traces of the estate remain in the Moorhall Lane area. Part of a greenhouse, the old orchard - protected. by a covenant from redevelopment - and the gardener's cottage, now Holly Cottage. It is, however, very different from the days when Jonathan Worthington could look across his plantations and meadows down to the River Severn and see Abberley, Woodbury and Malvern Hills, and Ribbesford woods from his desirable mansion on its ‘eminence' .
Moor Hall staircase Moor Hall lodge
This page researched by Mrs Jean Reeves Photos supplied from the Stourport Civic Society Anna Carter Photographic Archive
This page last updated 12 December 2006

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