The other day, while talking with a co-worker he mentioned a monument in the bushes at Northway. When I originally moved to Tewkesbury I lived in Northway, and the one major artefact of interest there is the former house that has been turned into a pub called “The Northway”. A small shopping centre has a branch of co-op and a pharmacy as well as a pet products supplier. (there used to be an atm, but they stole that recently).
The house is not an ugly one, and is not all that large, but is does stand out amongst the plan built houses all around it.
Unfortunately I have not been able to find a decent history of the house and how it fitted into the local community, or even when it became a pub, but the fate of many of these old buildings is to either become a pub or care home or yuppie pads. From what I can see, Northway House belonged to William Woodward and may have been built by him and it become a hotel by 1955. (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol8/pp172-188)
It is a Grade II listed building and has been described as follows:
“Former private house now public house. Dated and initialled. ‘W.W. 1851’ (William Woodward) on limestone shield on right gable end.
Blue lias with ashlar quoins. Fishscale ceramic tile roof. Blue lias stacks with ashlar quoins. Wall blue lias with brick piers. Rectangular plan to house with extensions to right of entryway front. 2½ storeys. Symmetrical, 3-windowed facade to primary body with gabled projecting central bay with central round- headed entryway with keystone. Part-glazed double door within porch. Canted oriel window above. Two-light round-headed sash windows to flanking bays within limestone surrounds. Hoodmoulded with console supports over ground floor Windows. Return, left, two bay windows to ground floor with pierced parapet. Two-bay extension to right of entryway front lit by 3-light stone-mullioned casements with glazing bars. Axial and gable end stacks. Wall adjoining right gable end of extension falls away gradually from c4.5 meters to c2m in height to right in a series of concave sweeps. Moulded cappings and ball finials to wall piers. ” (http://www.sevenspots.co.uk/building/the-northway-and-attached-wall-northway/)
The artifact I was after must have been associated with the house and it’s gardens, and is situated on a small patch of land with numerous large trees on it. If you did not know it was there you would never have thought to have a look.
There was no visible inscription on it, and it was not a temporary structure because it does appear on an 1880 map as a “monument”. A query on facebook suggested that it was part of the formal gardens associated with Northway House. But, it was mentioned that it may mark the burial spot of those consumed by scarlet fever; in which case it would explain the “monument”tag on the map.
It is a mystery, and I doubt if we will ever know. The one possible solution is that way back when it was erected somebody said “Let’s erect a random plinth with no context, it will drive them batty 100 years from now.”
And they were right.
The question was raised once again at facebook and a new possible answer was put forward. It was erected to commemorate the POW camp’s Commandant’s dog that died. There was a POW camp at Tewkesbury, and Northway House was used as an officer’s mess.
Update: A Brief History of Modern Northway Parish
The following information came to light in an article featured in the “Northway Voice” from information credited to Alan Snarey.
The Parish of Northway consisted of only a few farms in 1700s, the only houses would have been farm cottages. There was: Northway Mill and Farm, Northway Court Farm, a farm in the area of Northway Grange, and a farm on the corner of Northway Lane and Hardwick Bank Road, These farms were mostly owned by the Hayward family of Quedgeley although Northway Court Farm was owned by Mr Robert Morris. The estate of Thomas Hayward descended through his son Charles. Most of the Estate was sold around 1818 – The farm in the area of Northway Grange being sold to William Woodward of Bredons Hardwick in 1838.
He built Northway House which he lived in for some years, being listed in 1861 as a Farmer and Land Agent occupying 882* acres employing 49 men, 9 boys and 14 women (some of this land was part of Worcestershire). In 1867 he decided to let the house and the tenancy was taken by Mr John Houghton Brancker – a merchant from Liverpool for £280 per annum.
In 1876, Rev. Charles Holden Steward took the lease at £280 per annum and the farm land was let to Walter Freeman at £320 per annum.
The house and farm were eventually sold to Rev Steward for the sum of £5300, Rev Steward died in 1894 but his widow still lived there until her death in 1910.
Her son Captain Arthur Steward moved to Northway Grange Farm with his two sisters and sold Northway House to Mrs Fair, he died in 1938 and the sisters moved to Aston Fields Farm. After Cpt Stewards death, Robert Sinderberry took over and lived there until he died in 1951, age 77. It was then called Northway Fruit Farm or Sinderberry Farm.
The War department requisitioned Northway House in 1942 and Mrs Fair moved to Twyning Park. The U.S. Army took over the house and grounds and after they left the grounds were used to house German P.O.W’s waiting to be repatriated. In 1947 The Northway House Camp was released by the War Department and transferred to Cheltenham Rural District Council for housing in 1948. It was decided not to purchase the House, lodge and gardens which was sold to Holt Brewery of Birmingham. The “Council” estate housed people who had been temporarily housed in the huts left empty by the Army / P.O.W Camp. (Northway Voice, issue 16 March 2018)
While photographing in the churchyard of St Nicholas in Ashchurch I found yet another clue to Northway, albeit a link in name only.
DRW © 2016-2021. Created 22/11/2016, updated 07/01/2018 and 03/08/2019, updated 30/11/2020.