The Bentley Estate
The History of the Farms & Farmers of the Bentley Estate over the years
Bentley Estate came into being when William Hemming bought the land from Mr John Cookes in approximately 1830. On William’s death in 1848 the land and property went to his son Richard. Richard passed away in 1891, leaving the estate to his daughter, Maude, who married a Scottish man named George Clark Cheape.
Maude (known as the Squire of Bentley) was well known for her love of hunting and kept a pack of Beagles in Kennels Cottage, Manor Road, Upper Bentley. Her son drowned in 1917 and when Maude passed away in 1919 the estate was given to her grandson Leslie.
Leslie was known as Colonel Gray Cheape and when he passed away in 1991 the estate passed into the hands of his son Hamish.
Bentley Manor dates back to 1649 when it stood in the Feckenham forest. During World War 2 it was taken over by the war office – where prisoners of war were billeted. The manor was demolished in the 1950s due to dry rot.
The school at Bentley, which was built in 1882 and owned by the estate closed during 1960 and the children had to be bussed into larger schools in Redditch. In 1962, after adding a large hall and kitchen, the building was given to the village and Colonel Gray Cheape declared the village hall officially open.
During the 1950s there were approximately 25 farms on Bentley Estate. In addition there was:
- An estate office at Nursery Cottage – now renamed Upper Bentley House
- The blacksmiths – where a Mr Barret shoed all of the local horses.
- The Timber Yard – where all of the Estate work was carried out – now converted into two homes.
- Keepers Cottage by the Thrift where the Gamekeeper, Mr Miles, lived. (Sadly the cottage is no longer standing).
Below is a list of Farms and their farms which have been sold off during the last 50 years.
- Jeffries Farm Lower Bentley Jones & Fernihough
- Hatchetts Farm – Lower Bentley – Lowe
- Leasales Farm – Lower Bentley – Foster & Burford
- Keys Farm, Lower Bentley – Walker, Good & Beale
- Brittania House, Lower Bentley – Rogers
- Grosslanes Farm, Lower Bentley – W Mogg
- Elcocks Brook Farm, Lower Bentley - Tipper & Middlemass
- Norgrove Court – Lumley, Hordens & Williams & Hill
- Boxnot Farm – A Partridge
- Forrest Farm – Pearman
- Stoke Farm – Wormington & Wood
- Pound Farm, Upper Bentley – Tongue
- Lanehouse Farm, Upper Bentley, R Tongue
- Greenlanes Farm, Upper Bentley – B Palmer
- Brickley, Upper Bentley – Jim Twitty
- Fosters Green, Upper Bentley – Sid Wheeton
- New House Farm, Upper Bentley – Boffey
- The following farms still belong to the Bentley Estate
- Sheltwood Farm Upper Bentley – Frasier currently May
- Bentley House Farm, Upper Bentley – Drury currently Morgan
- Upper Bentley Farm, Upper Bentley – Price currently Gibbs
- Lower Bentley Farm, Lower Bentley – L Brown, Goulbourne currently Gibbs
- Perrymill Farm – Shepard, Haines currently Mitchell
- Tyrells Farm - L B Tandy currently Thompson
- High Elms Farm – Wormington Health Beale
- Barn Farm – Gill Gibbs
- The following are now all private houses
- The School House – now called Yarnolds
- Rose Cottage (once a sweet shop) – now called Lych Gates
- Kennels Cottage – where the Lady Squire kept her beagles.
Zsource: The Gibbs family for the above information which was provided by the late Diana Gibbs.