Badminton House & Three Gables
This grade II house has been split into a number of apartments. It was for many years known as Rumsey’s (after Dr. Rumsey who lived there until he died in 1824 “after exercising his profession in this place with great ability and indefatigable earnestness and benevolence for fifty years”) and was the home of the Weller family who owned the brewery next to the house. After the brewery was sold in 1929 (see auction details below), Mr J M Long bought both the house and the brewery. Part of the house was a hotel in the 1930s and 1940s (see photos below).
In the 18th and 19th centuries one of the Weller’s lived there, but in 1859 William Weller bought the Georgian house next door (now numbered 3). In the 18th century it had been the home of a well-respected doctor, James Rumsey and became known as ‘Rumsey’s’. (He later moved to Elmodesham House). Members of the Weller family lived at ‘Rumsey’s’ until the closure of the business in 1929.
Although the English Heritage description of the listed building states that an “earlier building” was re-faced in the 18th century, it is only very recently that it has been discovered that the very ornate roof timbers in the part of the house closest to Badminton Court date back to the Tudor period (see photos below). It is not known for whom the building was first built, but located where it is, it may well be another building associated with the church, like Church House. The brick front of the building has some very attractive diapering (patterning)– see photos left and below.
This house was also part of the 1929 sale by the Wellers, but it is not known when it was built, nor for what it was used by the brewery.
The house just north of Badminton House (pictured right) is thought to be where the coopers made and repaired barrels and has an enormous cellar under the whole house. The postal address is Rectory Hill, but it is included here because it is more logical as it was part of the Brewery (as shown on the map below).
The article below was written by Harry Morton who lives in the house.
The postal address of Rectory Hill can be confusing to visitors and delivery men in that the property(as it now is) faces the Pyghtle Allotments with the main entrance in Rectory Way. The address is often quoted as “Church Street” since the property seems to have more in common geographically with that than Rectory Hill. But given that Rectory Way is a fairly late addition to the street-scene in Amersham, Rectory Hill would be deemed correct – in any event it is likely that the main access to the property would have been from that (west) side.
The first traceable reference to the Wellers in the deeds of the property occurs on 22nd December 1775, when William Weller is recorded as having purchased a storehouse – situated to the north of the church and behind the brewery – from John Lawrence. The brewery itself was at this time leased from the Hunt family who had presumably purchased it from the Drakes at some point in the 1760’s.
The first few years of the 1770’s are recorded as years of bad harvests and the Wellers, like most brewers, needed to delay expansion of their business. By 1775, however, the position had recovered for not only did William Weller buy the storehouse (now Three Gables) from John Lawrence (as above) but also his first two tied properties, The Saracens Head on 23 November and the Old Griffin in Mop End on 23rd December.
The property was used to store barrels among presumably other things and in the cellars underneath the building there is evidence of the positioning of where racking abutted the exterior walls and continued across the supporting floor beams – possibly with more than one level.
As far as the original date of the building is concerned, a precise date cannot be found as the earliest deeds on record simply refer to land and buildings. It is generally acknowledged however that the property was originally constructed as outbuildings to St. Mary’s Church in the 17th Century – probably later in the Century that earlier – and probably used as a tithe barn. The cellar beams, which are substantial, show numerous examples of carpenters’ marks.
The Abstract of Title of Benskins Brewery when they acquired Wellers includes, among the properties conveyed- “All that freehold storehouse and cellar in Church Street , Amersham (vide comments above re address) aforesaid bounded on the north-west by the said street, on the north-east by the Orchard called the “Pightle, on the south-east and south-west by the premises known as “Rumseys” (now Badminton House)”.
In 1930, the house was bought by Mr A P Hoare who owned Manor Farm, but died in 1933. After lying in a semi-derelict state for some time, especially during the war years, the property was converted into a dwelling house in 1948. It, together with the brick and flint garden wall, is a listed Grade II building.
In March 1949 the property was sold to Mrs. V.C. Codling of “Whielden”, Whielden Street. The price paid was £6,000, quite a sum at the time. Mrs. Codling sold the property in May 1951 for the same amount.
Click on any of the photographs below to enlarge it and to see the description. Then click on forward or back arrows at the foot of each photograph. To close the pictures, just click on one.