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Appleby History > In Focus > 14 - The Moores of Appleby Parva 3

Chapter 14

The Moores of Appleby Parva

Part 3 - Decline of the Moores at Appleby, 1871-1920

by Richard Dunmore

By 1840, much of the parish had been transformed. Appleby Hall had been created by enlarging the old house at Appleby Parva.  Its status was emphasised by surrounding it with extensive ornamental pleasure grounds.   New approach roads were built and New Road, a 19th century ‘by-pass’, was constructed to keep local traffic away from the Hall and its grand surroundings. The Church had undergone a major restoration and many of the villagers had benefited by the provision of new housing.

 The social status which the Moores enjoyed is illustrated by the 1841 census which shows the Hall occupied by George Moore and Isabel his (second) wife with their first child Clara aged 3 months.  Fourteen servants were present at the Hall itself, 9 female and 5 male.  There would be other employees living in cottages belonging to the estate.  In particular the lodge or gate-house on New Road was staffed by a family with two children (1).

Appleby Hall north east
Click image for larger view

The Lodge, originally a single storey building, may still to be seen in New Road, although it has been enlarged by the addition of ground floor extensions and a first floor.

Hall interior



 Lords of the Manor shown in CAPITALS with DATE of inheritance
Residences in pink 

Moore Lineage
George John Moore (1842-1916), the eldest son was born the year following the census (see simplified family tree above).  He inherited the estate on the death of his father in 1871.  By that time the optimism of his father’s early years had vanished due to changes in politics and society; and the agricultural depression which began in the 1870s and persisted beyond the First World War.  These factors were to lead to the sale of the Hall and estate in 1919 by his son Charles L G Moore (1876-1961) and ultimately the demolition of the Hall in the 1920s.

 The Demise of a Country House

 As a country house, Appleby Hall was not alone in going into terminal decline at this time.  Giles Worsley has recently described the reasons for the destruction of hundreds of country houses in the twentieth century as the culminated effect of social change and agricultural depression (2).  Such houses had been the seats of the leaders of county society, such as the Moores, but with the reforms and rise of democratic power in the 19th century their owners lost both their social status and political role.

 The reform of electoral franchise (1832, 1867, 1884), the creation of  county councils (1888) and rural district councils (1894), and finally the submission of the House of Lords to the will of the House of Commons (1911) inexorably undermined the role of the county land-owners both in politics and society.  The contemporary agricultural slump, which lowered rents and reduced land prices, left them asking why they should maintain an expensive country house and estate as a drain on their wealth when they had no remaining political or social function and could retire comfortably to their town residences.  Many decided to quit and with no ‘listing’ protection available to conserve the buildings many houses were demolished.

 The High Sheriff and his Javelin Men

 The involvement of the Moores in the affairs of the County is exemplified by the fact that many of them did duty as High Sheriff and magistrate for the local counties.  George Moore (1811-71) was a magistrate for the counties of Leicester, Derby and Warwick and was High Sheriff for Derbyshire in 1837 (3).

 James Tunnadine, an Appleby farmer, recorded in his diary that, on March 14th and July 25th 1837, George Moore was accompanied to Derby Assizes by ‘Javelin men’.  As armed guards mounted on horseback, these had rather more than a ceremonial role to perform.  They were paid 13 shillings per day.  Of the 17 who accompanied Mr Moore in March, one was from Austrey, another from Snarestone, two from Measham and two from Norton.  The rest were from Appleby including James Tunnadine himself who commented somewhat enigmatically that ‘E Boden was a Javelin man but went to Derby in G Moore’s carriage’ (4).

 Financial Crisis

 George John Moore’s problems seem to have been due mainly to the agricultural slump which precipitated financial embarrassment.  During the 1880s he retired to Witchingham Hall in Norfolk, leased Appleby Hall with its shooting rights and the put the estate up for sale.  The Appleby Hall Estate, of over 4500 acres, encompassed farms in Austrey, Norton juxta Twycross, Orton on the Hill, Sheepy Magna, Carlton, Snarestone and Measham as well as a large proportion of the land in Appleby Parish.  At first, in 1888, an attempt was made to sell the whole estate by private treaty, but clearly no satisfactory offer was received.  As a consequence some of the outer-lying farms were auctioned and sold in 1888 and 1889.  By 1891 G J Moore was back at the Hall, but the estate can have been barely viable (5) (6).

 The Search for Coal

 Men in G J Moore’s position must have looked over their shoulders enviously at those who had found other sources of income from their land.  Attempts were made in the 1870s to search for minerals in Appleby parish to emulate the wealth being produced locally, for example at Measham.  The Appleby Magna Colliery Company, formed by Mr T H Holdsworth of Middlesex and with John Mammatt as general manager, sank several exploratory boreholes between Snarestone and Appleby Magna one of which located several thin seams of coal up to 3ft 9 in thick, but they must have proved unworkable as the project was abandoned in 1887 (7).

 Other boreholes were also sunk in the late 19th century on the Moores’ land: near the White House; on Bird’s Hill Gorse at Side Hollows; and near Roe House on the ridge above Appleby Parva.  However even smaller traces of coal were found than near Snarestone (8).

 The White House was demolished in the 1870s and Roe House had been taken down by the 1880s (9).  Had workable coal been found, it is likely that coal pits would have been sunk on one or other site.  Both already had road access and construction of mineral lines to link with the railway line through Measham would not have been difficult.  It is a great irony that the survival of many country houses depended on exploiting the very landscape on which they were situated.  In these circumstances, the cost of retaining Appleby Hall and estate may have been the despoliation of large areas of the surrounding countryside and turning Appleby Magna into a ‘pit village’ (10).


 Charles L G Moore inherited the Appleby estate on the death of his father in 1916.  Despite their desperate financial situation, his parents had continued with their lavish lifestyle with numerous staff.  In 1891 soon after the return from Norfolk, the Moores employed 3 male and 8 female staff in the house (11); and Aubrey Moore recalled even more employees just before the First World War (12).  Although Mrs Louisa Moore had her own ‘fortune’ which provided some income, the fact remains that the Moores were making ends meet by spending the capital arising from the sale of farms.  In effect they were eating their seed-corn.

 With the death of George John Moore, this precarious survival was immediately upset.  Under the terms of her husband’s will, Mrs Moore retained her own fortune and much of the Hall’s content.  Moreover, the will was subject to a settlement made by G J Moore’s father by which Charles’ brothers and sister were each to receive out of the estate large capital sums.  Unlike his father, Charles had no wealthy wife, having married his sister’s governess.  Nor had he seen the need for a career, lucrative or otherwise.  In addition to these family considerations, the estate now stood at less than 2800 acres and the farms were producing low rental income as a result of the continuing agricultural depression (13).

 There must have been a brief period of optimism in the summer of 1918.  The governors of Market Bosworth Grammar school put their endowment lands up for auction.  These included Dingle Farm and Red Hill Farm at Appleby, land that had originated as part of Appleby Magna manor (14).  The Hinckley Times recorded that Appleby auction was held at the Black Horse Inn and that the ‘star lot’, Red Hill Farm, ‘attracted 30 district bids starting at £1,400 and it was finally knocked down to the Squire of Appleby, Mr C L G Moore, for £3,150’ (15).  Perhaps Charles Moore was attempting to build up the size of the estate again, hoping that the agricultural prices and rents would rise when the war at last came to an end.  If so, his optimism  was not long lived.

 In 1919, realising that the estate really was no longer viable, Charles Moore approached the tenant  farmers with what amounted to an ultimatum.  Aubrey Moore, his cousin, recalled the dramatic events thus:

 Now I was living at the School House at this time and I used to go across very often on a summer evening and have a talk to him [Charles]....  he used to talk to me about the house and that sort of thing and he had a meeting of the farmers and he told them - he said if you will give me 10 shillings an acre more rent I’ll stop here and you’ll remain.  If you don’t do it, I’ll sell the house tonight...  he told me afterwards, they said you’ll never do that Squire, it’s been in your [family’s] hands for 300 years ... He said I tell you I will.  The farmers agreed ....

I happened to go into the Hall to see him.  I walked from the School down the New Road, down the drive and all the farmers that I knew were standing under an old chestnut tree ...  Being very much younger than them [I] said good morning whatever.  I went and sat with Charles for a bit and he told me they’d been in and they’ve agreed to give me another 10 shillings an acre.  I said I’m delighted - awful shame if you had to leave ...  [But] as I got to the front door, the portico, there I met a couple of farmers coming in .... 

[Later] he said those farmers went back on their word you know.  And he told them if you don’t [accept] I shall sell the house tonight: I’ve got an offer and it will be accepted.  And they still said: oh you’ll never do that.  But he did.  By nine o’clock that night he’d sold it ... to speculators in property....

It was a great pity because you know the farmers who would not pay that money all had to buy their own farms and did so with one or two exceptions (16).

 Aubrey Moore was demobilised in April 1919 (17), so this event must have taken place between April and November 1919 when the estate was put to auction.  However, correspondence shows that, as early as March 1918, Charles Moore had discussed the sale of the whole estate with Arthur Vaughan Lee, his cousin and executor of his father’s will, and Teddy Mammatt, of Smith, Mammatt & Hale, solicitors of Ashby de la Zouch.  Mammatt in turn was consulting Capt. J M Steuart of Merevale, Atherstone as land agent (18).  Both of these were to be instrumental in the actual sale (see below).

 The increase in rental of ten shillings per acre demanded by Charles Moore should be compared with the rents the tenants were actually paying.  The 1919 rentals of the 12 farms, quoted in the sale catalogue, ranged between £1 and £1.58 per acre and averaged  £1.30 per acre.  A ten shilling rise (£0.50) therefore represented an average increase of 38%, and varied between 32% and 50% for the individual farms. The tenant farmers’ rejection of the squire’s terms therefore cannot have been unexpected and it appears to have given the signal for the sale to proceed.  With the knowledge that preparations were in hand some 18 months before the sale, it is difficult not to conclude that Charles Moore, by inviting a rejection of terms from the tenants in such a dramatic way, was in fact seeking to exonerate himself publicly from any blame for the loss of the Hall and estate to the village community.

 The auction was undertaken by Castiglione and Scott the London auctioneers and took place at the Royal Hotel, Ashby de la Zouch, on Thursday 20th November 1919.  Smith, Mammatt & Hale were named in the catalogue as the acting solicitors and Captain Steuart as the land agent.  The estate was divided into 49 lots comprising a total of 2786 acres.  In addition to the Hall itself, there were 12 farms, 22 small holdings, 2 inns and about 50 cottages.  The idea that the estate might yet yield minerals was produced as a selling point: ‘... this magnificent, Residential, Agricultural, sporting, and Mineral-bearing Estate ....’ (19)

 Departure and Demolition

 With the Estate off his hands Charles Moore was able to honour his financial commitments   and he and his wife retired to Devon where they built a house, Coleridge Place, near the village of Strete and overlooking Slapton Sands west of Dartmouth.  Aubrey Moore stayed there with his wife and described it as a delightful place.  It was sufficiently large to have separate quarters for two maids (16).  Charles Moore died in 1961.

 As Aubrey Moore related, the farms mostly passed into the ownership of local farmers, but the precise details of the last years of the Hall itself are not clear.  Who was the purchaser?  Maybe this is where Aubrey’s ‘property speculator’ came in.  The Hall appears to have been demolished in the decade following the sale; by 1930 it was just a memory (20).  The materials of which it was built were taken away for sale and found other uses.  Appleby Hall, built by George Moore in the 1830s by enlarging the old Appleby House at Appleby Parva, had lasted only 90 years and the Moores who had arrived in Appleby 320 years earlier in the person of Charles Moore, left the village with the departure of his namesake. 

 Rector Moore

 This account of the later Moores at Appleby would not be complete without making reference to Rector Moore.  Revd Charles Thomas Moore (1846-1924) was the younger brother of George John Moore who became squire of Appleby Hall in 1871 (see the simplified lineage chart above).  Members of the Moore family active in village affairs over recent decades have been from his family.

Rector Moore family

 When the long-serving Rector Revd John M Echalaz died in 1877, Squire G J Moore, as patron of the living, appointed his brother to the rectory.  C T Moore was a strong, colourful and, at times, controversial character who played a leading role in the village during his 45 years as rector.  He assumed a prominent position from the 1880s when his brother the squire ‘retired’ to Norfolk.  With his fondness for hunting and the country life he was the veritable squarson.  Apart from the church, he was very active as a trustee and governor in supporting the struggling school (21).


Rectory servants

My next article in this series will be ‘Village Life in Late Victorian Times as recorded in Appleby Parish Magazine’.  In contrast to the controversies that later dogged his life, the parish magazines of the 1880s and ’90s show how Rector Moore dutifully fostered the welfare of his parishioners and encouraged them in all sorts of village community activities.

Notes and References

1. 1841 Census Appleby (Leics) Appleby Hall: George Moore 25, his wife Isabel Moore 25, Clara 3 months;  female servants: Frances Gretton 25, Elizabeth Appleyard 25, Lucy Beeston 25, Ann Denston [?] 20, Ann Bratby [?] 20, Sarah Dorkins 25, Hannah Woolly 20, Mary Nenbery 15 & Mary Poole 25;  male servants: John Shutt 37, John Illsley 21, George Booker 18, William Fisher 15 & John Clarkson 21.  At the Hall Lodge [in New Road] were Jonathan Godfrey 30, his wife Ann 33 and children Thomas Godfrey 9 & Ann Sleith 12.  No details are given of the various servants’ occupations.

Isabel Moore was George’s second wife, his first wife Susan having died in 1836 (see last article).  The ages given are not necessarily very accurate; for adults they were estimated to the nearest 5 years.  In fact George & Isabel  Moore were both close to 30 years old.

 2.  Giles Worsley, England’s Lost Houses, Aurum Press, 2002 and his article in the Daily Telegraph, 15 June 2002.

 3. Pedigree of Moore,College of Arms, 1770

 4. Diary of James Tunnadine(1790-1865);

1837 March 14  G Moore Esq. went Derby Assizes as Sheriff.  Javelin men same order as they rode  to Derby, [in pairs]  Jno Corbett sen. Norton & B Saddington; Faux Pinwell & J Tunnadine; Thos Foster & Jno Varnam; E Hague &  B Dewes Jun. Norton; G Timms & Thos Jewsbury Meas.[ham]; N Hook Snarestone & H Lees; Jno Harding Meas. & T Taverner; Jno Stretton & H Brown; E Grimley Austrey & S Cotton.  E Boden a Javelin man but went to Derby in G Moore’s car[ria]g[e].  Judges Abinger & Littledale.  Returned from Derby 17th.

 ‘1837 July 25  Assizes G Moore to Derby  Javelin men as before except J Stretton he did not go, 13s per day allowed this time to Jav[elin] men, last time in March the bill for horses and men was paid amounting to the same sum. Judges Bolland & Park. 28 returned from Derby’’

I am indebted to the late Mr Gordon Parker for access to this information.

 5. Aubrey Moore, A Son of the Rectory, Alan Sutton 1982, p 13 (G J Moore’s retreat to Norfolk);  pp 27-29 (reference to Appleby Hall sale catalogues)

 6.  Appleby Hall Estate Sale Catalogues: 1888 (by private treaty); 1888 (by auction); 1889 (by auction) all by Osbourne & Mercer, Albermarle Street, London.  Clearly no acceptable offers were received for sale by private treaty in 1888, so auctions were held in 1888 and 1889 of some of the outer farms.  Those put to auction in 1888 were Measham Lodge and Measham Fields Farms and other smaller farms at Norton, Austrey, Orton, Sheepy and Carlton.  Appleby Fields and West Hill Farms at Appleby were up for auction in 1889 with Norton House Farm, but only Appleby Fields appears to have been sold. 

 7.  Colin Owen, The Leicestershire & South Derbyshire Coalfield  1200-1900, Leicestershire Museums 1984, p 266, Appleby Magna Colliery Company :  ‘An abortive attempt was also made to establish a colliery to the south of Measham, between Snarestone and Appleby Magna, commencing in 1874.  T H Holdsworth of Middlesex founded the Appleby Magna Colliery Company, appointed John Mammatt as its general manager, and leased the minerals under 25 acres from Rev. J Mould of Oakham.  Between 1874 and 1879 several bores were sunk through Trias at Snarestone and Appleby, one of which passed through several coal seams up to 3ft 9in thick, but it is unlikely that the company extracted any coal for sale, and the whole project was abandoned in 1887.’  See also, map (p 210). John Mammatt, a very competent surveyor and mining engineer, was employed as manager in several local collieries (p 208).  The Moulds were relatives of the Moores. 

 8.  C Fox-Strangeways, Geology of Leics & S Derbys Coalfield, HMSO/ Wymans & Son 1907  pp 333-335. Boreholes: Appleby Boring No 1 White House boring 3in ‘coal and bat’ at 626 ft 9 in; 4in coal at 693 ft 10 in.  Appleby Boring No 2 Bird’s Gorse, Sidehollows 1 ft 10 in ‘black clod with coal’ at 641 ft 4½ in; Appleby boring No 6 Appleby Hall [near Roe House] nil.

 9.  In Focus 13 (White House demolition).  The first 6 inch OS map, surveyed 1884-85, does not show Roe House; by then its name was retained only for the lane along the hill-top.

 10. An example of country house survival from the profits of industry is Renishaw Hall, the home of the Sitwells, near Staveley in north Derbyshire.  Renishaw retains its house, garden and park, but mining and associated industry are close by.

 11. 1891 Census Appleby (Leics) George J Moore 48, JP living on own means, his wife Louisa 45; children: Charles L J 15,Gerald H 13, Lancelot G 5 (all scholars), Elsie 2, sister-in-law: Emma Kekewich 47; domestic servants: Eleanor Twelter 44 housekeeper, Mary A Snell 34 cook, Harriet L Beaumond 24 housemaid, Harriet Pott 23 kitchen maid, Louisa Mather 22 housemaid, Eliza Marriott 14 scullery maid, Ernestine Gruer 17 nursery maid & Emily Hitch 29 nurse; men-servants: George M Cupit 42 butler, William Hubbard 23 footman & John Street 19 groom.  The lodge keeper was widow Sarah Hatton 77.

 12. Aubrey Moore A Son of the Rectory p 25 (numbers of Appleby Hall staff)

 13. Peter Moore, End of an Era - the Decline of the Moores of Appleby Magna Leicestershire, private publication, 2000, pp16-18

 14. Map of the Lordship of Appleby Magna Manor, 1785 LRO: DE633/49; see also In Focus 11

 15.  J R Coley, ‘Hinckley in 1918 from the pages of the Hinckley Times’, The Hinckley Historian, 36, Autumn 1995, p 28

 16.  Aubrey Moore, Tape Transcript of Conversation with Arthur Crane, Richard Dunmore and Peter Moore at Bloxham, 1 October 1987

 17.  Aubrey Moore, From Leicestershire to the Somme - A Young Territorial at War 1914 to 1918, St Mary’s Church Bloxham, 1992, p 53 (demobilisation)

 18. Letter from Arthur Vaughan-Lee to Charles Moore, 4 March 1918.  I am indebted to Mr Peter Moore for sight of this letter.

 19. Appleby Hall Estate Sale Catalogue 1919 (auction), by Castiglione and Scott, Hanover Square, London.  Appleby Hall, Appleby Hall Farm, Jordans and Red Hill Farms, Upper and Lower Rectory, Barns Heath, Side Hollows, Church Street and West Hill Farms at Appleby were sold, as were Norton House Farm, Odd Barn Farm and Snarestone Lodge.  Large houses included ‘The Beeches’ [The Charter House] and ‘The Villa’ [Appleby House at Appleby Parva], and ‘A Comfortable Residence, Snarestone’.  The public houses were the Moore’s Arms Inn [The Appleby Inn] and the Crown Inn.

 20.  The two photographs of the exterior of Appleby Hall which I have used to illustrate these articles came from (the late) Mr Harold Oakley’s collection in 1987.  One is inscribed ‘demolished c.1930’, the other ‘pulled down about 1924’.  There is clearly scope for finding more detailed information about Appleby Hall’s last years.

 21. R Dunmore, This Noble Foundation, 1992, p 64 et seq. (Rector Moore’s support for School)

©Richard Dunmore, August 2002

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