The Houses of the Buckholt

Many of the Buckholt cottages were originally built in the style of the traditional Welsh Longhouse, which historically would have housed both animal and human occupants under the same roof at either end of the house, sometimes even sharing the same front door!  The larger Buckholt houses are distinctive for their arched stonework above the doors and ground-floor windows, typical of the Herefordshire-Monmouth borderlands. This architectural feature can still clearly be seen on several of the village buildings today, including the Old Mill farmhouse and the old Plough Inn.

By the end of the 18th century the thatched houses of the village were being re-roofed with Welsh slate tiles, and after 1880 some houses in the village replaced the slate with clay tiles, as mass-manufacturing made these widely available across England and Wales. The engraving below shows a view of Monmouth in 1784, clearly showing the townhouses with slate-tiled rooves.

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In the Buckholt, many of the houses along the Hereford Road followed the trends of the town. This was particularly true of the houses in the area of the village that is now in close proximity to the church, where some of the more prosperous members of the community resided. In the 1840s, most of the residents of the Buckholt who lived in properties of high enough value to be eligible to vote lived along the Hereford Road, including; William Sheriff, retired landlord of the Royal Oak, who kept a smallholding at The Folly, but also owned one half of Hillside, which was at that time two adjoining cottages;  Charles Marriott, formerly of Newton House, who lived at the Buckholt school and who owned nearly all of the woodland on the east side of the Hereford Road, including Orles, Grist Castle and Pie-Finch Woods; James Jones, the village butcher, who lived in the first of the three terraced cottages that are now the Laurels; Richard Booth, a woodcollier, who lived at Chesil Bank; Silas Humphries, tenant farmer at Buckholt Farm; George Tippins, the miller at Old Mill, and John Jones, retired woodman, who lived in ruined cottage number 2 in the east of Buckholt Wood (Please see page on The Lost Cottages).

All of the pre-20th century houses in the village have been extended and altered from their original form. This was a practice that became very popular in the late 1800s when it became fashionable to have a parlour for “best”. Some of the village houses have changed unrecognisably, and some have disappeared altogether. Buckholt Cottage, The Steps and Chesil Bank, for example, were once a row of four cottages, not three as they are now. It seems the fourth house, seen on the furthest left of the 1843 map below, was swallowed up by Chesil Bank next door, which has doubled in size since this map was drawn.

From left to right, the houses on this section of map are “Pile of Rocks in the Flowerbed at Chesil Bank”, Chesil Bank, The Steps, Buckholt Cottage, The Laurels, Keystones, Avalon and the Old School. The two houses at the start of the Buckholt Wood track no longer exist, and the little cottage at the bottom of the map is the cottage that is now situated next to the Church.

The tiny church of St. John’s was not built until 1889. Before this time, villagers would regularly make the two mile trek to Newton Church at Welsh Newton, or hold prayer meetings in the school.

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One home in the village that has changed in use, although little in structure, is the former Plough Inn. For a century the Plough was the social centre of the Buckholt and was the scene of several misadventures, mentioned elsewhere on the website. As a pub, The Plough had two front rooms; a tap-room to the left of the front door, where the men of the village would take their ale, and a parlour to the right of the door, which offered more seemly accommodation for the womenfolk. Since becoming a private semi-detached dwelling a second front door has been added to the left of the original Inn door.

The Plough ceased trading in the early half of the 1900s and has long been a private home, but its architecture remains much as it looked in the 19th century, and gives a tantalising glimpse as to the appearance of the houses now lying derelict in the wood opposite. Most of the houses in this area of the village were leased from the Duke of Beaufort, who owned Buckholt Wood until the 1990s. As estate properties, the houses were built and maintained in a uniform style. All the pre-20th century cottages in the Buckholt are built from the distinctive local Old Red Sandstone, which has been quarried in the Buckholt for many centuries. Many of the oldest and most notable buildings in Monmouth have been constructed from Buckholt stone, including the two Haberdashers Schools, and the old Work House (now part of the Girls’ School) and County Gaol. Buckholt stone was also used in the reconstruction of the Hereford City Wall at the time of the Tesco development in the 1990s.