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Roderick & Ledbury

Roderick and Ledbury


The drover Roderick Roderick wrote an account book for two of his droving years 1838-9, probably so he could show it to his brother to justify expenses.  #1 is a small excerpt from page 24, dated (I think) September 18391.

After Hereford, R’s next stop is at “Folly” Arms, a misspelling of Foley.  The Foley family lives at Stoke Edith today, so not only have they been misspelt but the pub changed its name to Tarrington Arms (#2) after being sold by the Foleys in 1921.

I am always interested in why Roderick paid so much money to tollgate-keepers when most drovers avoided tolls like the plague; for the delay they caused – each beast was counted one by one as it went through as the tollgate keeper kept count with his pebbles – as much as the cost.  My conclusion is: they were acting on commission: someone wealthy was paying their expenses at the London end, so why worry?

Note: he had bought 30 beasts from the Foley family (perhaps) because the tollgate fare was 1/3d or 15 old pence higher – the drover was charged a halfpenny for each beast to pass through the toll.  (Sheep & pigs were a farthing.)

He paid yet more gate-money in Ledbury, possibly putting up at what later became the Railway Inn, but was originally The Drovers’ Arms – no picture here because the “Railway Inn” is now a shop in Homend owned by Butler & Sweatman and the sign is too faint to be decipherable.  But it’s spelt in black bricks up near the chimney…

If Roderick stayed on form I can’t see him taking the path via Dead Woman’s Thorn (see article below) but would have used what is now the A438, which was turnpiked in 1826, thirteen years earlier.  After paying David Williams and Davies - Davies was probably a one-off payment for a day's work - he seems to have gone through the gate at Hollybush, kept by the same woman who served beer at The Vaults (#3, 763369).  He had stopped on a previous drove at The Duke of York in Rye Street (#4) on his way to Longdon and Tewkesbury, but the Duke isn’t mentioned here.  Nor is Longdon, which is above a marsh so liable to flooding that the Farmer’s Arms was asked, as far back as 1480 (according to the BCH Archive), to provide guides to find a safe way across it for drovers.  There is now a causeway several feet above the flood plain (#5).

The Bridge Gate, known as The Mythe, led him into Tewkesbury.

Special thanks to Nick Gammage for some of the material on this page.

1 I only have “Set 183..” at the top of the previous page.

Roderick & Ledbury image 2
Tarrington Arms
Roderick & Ledbury image 3
The Vaults at Hollybush
Roderick & Ledbury image 4
The Duke of York
Roderick & Ledbury image 5
Causeway near Longdon