The Lost Cottages of the Buckholt

There are 16 ruined cottages in the Buckholt Wood and the remains of several stone barns. The locations of the cottages are marked in red on the 19th century map below.

The position of the lost cottages of Buckholt Wood (red dots indicate the location of cottages)

Most of the ruined cottages in the Buckholt Wood are located in a cluster on the east side of the wood in the valley of the Mally Brook, alongside the old Hereford Road.

Sadly, all that now remains of this once lively community is the former Plough Inn on the right-hand side of the road heading north, and the series of ruins, many little more than piles of mossy stones, scattered amongst the trees on the steep bank to the left of the main road.

I have numbered the cottages 1-16 as follows:

Ruined Cottages of the East Wood
Ruined Cottages on the Main Track
Ruined Cottages above the Monnow Valley

Cottages 1-8 are situated in a cluster on the east side, 9-14 follow the ascending line of the main forest track, and cottages 15 and 16 are situated on the western edge.

 

Below is a list of the ruined cottages with some brief details of those who once lived there:

Cottage 1 –  Sketch

Occupied by John Jones Jr. and descendants. Woodman

Cottage 2 – No Picture. Occupied by John Jones Snr. 1843

Cottage 3 – Occupied by Edward Harris, 1843. Agricultural Labourer. Later the Wilce family.

Cottage 4 – Occupied by Henry Jones, 1843, then William Charles, Agricultural Labourers. After 1851, The Jayne family and descendants. Woodmen

Cottage 5– The largest of the east wood properties. Occupied by William Young and descendants. Hoopmaker

Sketch of cottage 5 above.

Cottage 6 – Occupied by Charles Williams, Sawyer, and Thomas Griffiths, Agricultural Labourer, who shared this tiny 2-roomed cottage with one room each – 1843

Cottage 7 – Occupied by James Porter, 1843 – Woodman. In 1893 home to John James, former landlord of the Plough, and house from which he shot at the customers in the pub. Story to follow…

Sketch of Cottage 7 above.

Cottage 8 – Occupied by William Porter and descendants, 1843. Woodman.

Cottage 9 – Sketch of Murder Cottage. Occupied by Elizabeth Harry, 1817. Nurse. Murdered by her husband James. Later occupied by Thomas Ambury, 1843. Mason’s Apprentice.

This sketch is based on the plans and footprint of the house according to historic maps and the style of the neighbouring properties of the same age. The Harry’s were comfortably well-off and the newspaper reports describe the house as having a staircase and at least two bedrooms. I have sketched the house with Welsh slate tiles that were commonly in use in Monmouth at this time and, of course, all the local houses were constructed from the old red sandstone quarried in the village. The room at the back of the house, present in the 1830s, is absent on later 19th century maps. Possibly, if this was the room in which the murder occurred, it may have been demolished in later generations. Certainly, Murder Cottage was one of the first houses in the Buckholt to be abandoned.

Cottage 10 – No Picture. James Charles, 1843. Agricultural Labourer.

Cottage 11 – Occupied in the 19th century by Joseph Meredith and descendants. Sawyers. Joseph Meredith discovered the body of murdered Elizabeth Harry.

Cottage 12 – Situated in the garden of Cottage 11. Occupied by James Charles 1841, Benjamin Bate, 1843, and later, William James, 1851. Agricultural Labourers.

Cottage 13 – Occupied in 1843 by Ann Wilding and descendants. Ann’s sons were carpenters.

Cottage 14 – Occupied by Mary Dickens, Smallholder, and son William, sawyer, 1843. This was a substantial house situated in the middle of two pretty paddocks, now lost under the coppice plantation behind the ruin. A large barn also stood in the field behind the house. Sadly, modern-day forestry workings have completely raised to the ground what must once have been an idyllic rural dwelling with stunning views across the Mally Valley. The map below, from 1887, shows the house and paddocks tucked into the edge of the wood on the left side of the map. By this date, cottage 12, toward the bottom-centre of the map, has disappeared.

Cottage 15 – Occupied in 1843 by John Williams and descendants. Woodman

Stone barn at trackside or possibly another cottage, occupied by James Mansfield. More research needed! –

Cottage 16 – Occupied by Henry Williams in 1843 , and later son-in-law Edward Hodges and descendants. Woodmen. Again, this was a substantial property with a large barn adjacent to the house. Nothing now remains of the barn except the mill-stone.

Mill stone at site of barn of cottage 16 –

All the Lost Cottages can be located along the route of my Walk Through History on the website.