William Sheldon, The Manor House, Broadway, and the English Civil War

Broadway and William Sheldon, Lord of the Manor, played a small but interesting part in the English Civil War which raged from 1642 to 1651. Both King Charles I and Oliver Cromwell (who led the Roundheads, the Parliament of England’s armies), stayed in the village during the war, albeit not at the same time. At one such visit during the Civil War, Charles met with Broadway’s local landowner William Sheldon who at the time owned the land where the present Manor House and our holiday cottages are situated.

Sheldon Shield, Broadway
Sheldon Shield at The Manor House, Broadway

The following article about Charles’ visits to Broadway and his meeting with William Sheldon was written by Chris Mowbray:

King Charles paid his first visit to Broadway in June 1644 when he rode through to Worcester to secure the Royalist garrison. Having completed this task, he went back through Broadway en route to his base at Oxford and spent the night at the home of Mr Savage, a Royalist supporter.

The following May, he again passed through Broadway and stopped for the night. It is interesting to note that rather than stay in a private house this time, he put up at the Lygon Arms, then a more modest inn called the Whyte Harte. It was here that he met William Sheldon, the Lord of the Manor.

The founder of Wiliam Sheldon’s wealth was his great-uncle, Ralph Sheldon, a tenant farmer of the monks of Pershore who owned the parish of Broadway for more than 500 years. A History of the County of Worcestershire published in 1924 quotes earlier sources which reveal that there was a bitter quarrel in 1533 between the Abbot and his tenants over land tenure and taxes. Several inhabitants of Broadway accused the Abbot of disregarding their common grazing rights and Ralph Sheldon seems to have been the ringleader. Just three years later came Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monastries and England’s break with the Roman Catholic Church and , in the ensuing melée, Ralph Sheldon became first the lessee and later the owner of extensive church lands which included ‘fisheries, fowling, warrens and woods’.

The meeting between King Charles [although nominally head of the Church of England, it is well known that he had Catholic sympathies] and William Sheldon was probably difficult. The former must have been fearful that he was dealing with an anti-Catholic and a closet Parliamentarian who might turn Broadway against him, while the latter feared being denounced as a traitor.

But would the capture of Broadway by the Roundheads really have made one jot of difference to the Royalist cause? The answer is yes because, small though it was, it was the gateway to the shire and therefore to Worcester which at the time was an important inland port with a tidal river giving navigable access to the sea. Broadway straddled the old pack-horse route from Worcester to London at a point where it soared from the floor of the Severn Plain over 1,000ft onto the Cotswolds. Such a taxing climb or decent needed fresh horses so there was a thriving trade in overnight accommodation. Whoever controlled Broadway would also control which armies could reach Worcester from Oxford and London.

Charles’ caution with William Sheldon counted for nothing. The introduction of Cromwell’s New Model Army in the same year led ultimately to the defeat of the Royalists and in January 1649 the King [Charles I] was beheaded in Whitehall. The Royalist faltered on for two years longer until the defeat of Charles II at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651 and his flight into exile.

Cromwell spend the night before the battle at the Whyte Harte [Lygon Arms] in Broadway where Charles I had interviewed William Sheldon six years before, and was quartered on the first floor of the east wing. However, his taste of ultimate power was relatively brief because he died in 1658 and the Monarchy was restored in 1660.

William Sheldon continued to hold the Manor until his death in 1680 when his lands passed to his daughters and the family name died out. The Manor House was reconstructed in the early 1980s and is now the centre of Broadway Manor Cottages, a holiday cottage business attracting visitors from all over the world.

Worcestershire Life, September 2008

Broadway Manor Cottages, Cotswold holiday cottages in Broadway in the Cotswolds AONB, Worcestershire
The Manor House, Broadway

Life in Broadway is an Amble from One Day to Another: Broadway Today and in 1962

This wonderful British Pathé film of Broadway, Worcestershire, was in the summer of 1962. Life may be busier in Broadway today but not much has changed in the picturesque North Cotswold village. Broadway’s High Street is still lined with grass verges and majestic horse-chestnut trees still stand tall alongside the wide ‘broad way’ running through the centre of the village. The village with its range of hotels, shops, galleries, restaurants and tea rooms, has retained its wonderful historic character. Old buildings line the High Street, a mixture of period houses and picturesque Cotswold stone cottages. Many of the buildings date back hundreds of years and have retained their original character.

As in the summer of 1962, Broadway looks its best when the sun lights up the honey-coloured limestone buildings but the village is an all year-round destination. During the first weekend in September, as autumn approaches, the village hosts its annual Horticultural & Craft Show and award-winning Food Festival with stalls selling local produce on the village green. From mid-November to January the horse-chestnut trees and the large domed topiary yews outside the Broadway Hotel, twinkle with hundreds of white lights giving the village a magical atmosphere over the Christmas period and during the Late Night Christmas Shopping Evenings at the end of November and beginning of December. Broadway is a great place to visit whatever the time of year.

Broadway is an ideal place to visit and spend a day or more ambling along the High Street with its wide range of independent shops, art galleries, restaurants, tea and coffee shops.

If you are looking to stay in Broadway we have a range of fully-equipped holiday cottages in the grounds of the 16th century Manor House located on West End just a few minutes’ walk from the centre of the village. For further information about our Cotswold holiday cottages (short breaks available) visit: www.broadwaymanor.co.uk.

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Manor Cottages
www.broadwaymanor.co.uk

Award Winning Broadway Food Festival – Sunday 15th September 2019

The Broadway Food Festival returns to the village on Sunday 15th September 2019. The Festival won this year’s Cotswold Life Food & Drink Award for the Best Local Food & Drink Initiative in the Cotswolds 2019, a well deserved accolade.

This September,from 10am to 4pm, the Festival’s marquee on the village green will be packed with over 35 stalls. The Festival is a great opportunity to meet the local Cotswold and Worcestershire people who grow and create the top quality food and drink within 30 miles of the village that can be found, all year round, in the village’s shops and restaurants and cafés.

The 2019 Broadway Food Festival stallholders include: bakers, bee keepers selling local Cotswold honey, brewers, cheese makers, confectioners, curers, distillers, farmers, food oil producers, fruit and vegetable growers, pie makers, vintners, and many many more. The food stands on the green outside the marquee include: ice creams, salt beef bagels, Indian street food, a pig roast, coffees and teas, crêpes, pan-Asian vegetarian street food, Longhorn burgers, Caribbean curries, mini Dutch pancakes, cocktails, real ales and more! There will also be cooking demonstrations by local chefs including Ales Maurer, the Head Chef at the Lygon Arms Hotel.

Discover the best of local food and drink in the Cotswolds here in Broadway, Worcestershire, this September. Admission is free at this not to be missed event. A great day out for all the family!

If you are planning to visit the 2019 Broadway Food Festival and are looking to stay in the village over the weekend, we have short break availability in our award winning holiday cottages at The Manor House, Broadway. Our cottages sleep from 2 – 4 guests and are just a few minutes’ walk from the village green. Contact us for our latest rates and availability.

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Manor Cottages

Worcestershire Life Interview: My Favourite Work of Art

My Favourite Work of Art: Galloway Landscape by Barbara Williams

In 2010 I was interviewed by Worcestershire Life for an article in the run up to the inaugural Broadway Arts Festival titled ‘My Favourite Work of Art. My favourite piece of art is a painting I own by Barbara Williams of the Galloway landscape.  The following article:

Debbie and her family moved to Broadway from Hertfordshire in 2006 and run Broadway Manor Cottages holiday cottages and apartment from their 16th century home on the outskirts of the village.

“We used to go up to Kirkcudbright in Galloway, South West Scotland a lot on holiday as my husband is a Scot and he’s been going there since he was about 10 years old. Kirkcudbright also has its own colony of artists and I bought this painting to remind me of Dumfries and Galloway and holidays with the children as they were growing up. I just love the open rolling hills and acres of sky and in a way the stone walls and the rolling hills are similar to here. My two boys also love the Belted Galloway cattle, as shown in the painting. There are a herd of them up on the hillside here in Broadway, so when we moved here and walked up the hill and saw them it was wonderful.”

This summer sees the 5th Broadway Arts Festival which will take place in the village from 8th to 17th June 2018.

For more information about our Cotswold holiday cottages and apartment at The Manor House, Broadway, click here.

 

Beautiful Broadway, a very old English Village

Beautiful Broadway: A Very Old English Village

Henry James, an American writer who settled in England, was a frequent visitor to the Cotswolds. James described Broadway in 1889 as a ‘very old English village, lying amongst its meadows and hedges, in the very heart of the country, in the hollow of the green hills of Worcestershire’ and that ‘much of the land about it are in short the perfection of the old English rural tradition.’

The geese on the village green that James went on to describe may be missing today but the village’s ‘broad way’ lined with horse chestnut trees and honey-coloured Cotswold limestone buildings, many dating back to the 16th century with some parts of The Lygon Arms appearing to date back to the 14th century, still does not fail to charm visitors to this most picturesque and beautiful English village.

Broadway still delights. The village is a centre for the arts steeped in history with a unique heritage of a world-famous colony of artists, writers and musicians collectively known as the Broadway Colony who worked and visited the village during the late 19th century. The Colony included Henry James and Frank Millet, John Singer Sargent, Alfred Parsons, Mary Anderson de Navarro to name just a few.