Cardinals Folly

The place to post anything DW-related
Charles
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Post by Charles » Fri 10 Oct, 2008 12:00:29

There seems to be a proble with viewing the last messages about Cardinals Folly- this is just put in to correct the problem.

Please pretend it's not here !
Charles

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Post by Nick » Fri 10 Oct, 2008 17:46:10

Warick and Worcester just think M5 M42 M40 works for me

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Post by Stevie P » Fri 10 Oct, 2008 20:10:06

Approx 6 weeks ago after having put together my info on Cardinals Folly I decided to concentrate on a particular line in the text from Strange Conflict.

"The East wing of the rambling old house (Cardinals folly) was very ancient and said to have been at one time part of a great abbey, but centuries later these thick walled remains had been built onto".

I decided to do some digging. (Charles was aware of this.) If the house was built on an old Abbey all we had to do was find the site of the old Abbey.....Easy!!!!!
I attach the relevant documentation;

Correspondence between myself and the Worcester History Society

Dear Worcester branch.

I'm struggling to find an answer to the question'

Was there ever an Abbey in or around Kidderminster. I have reason to
believe there was but can find no record.
Could you possibly point me in the right direction?

Many thanks

Steve


Dear Steve
The Victoria County History lists the following religious house in
Worcestershire:
a.. Introduction
a.. Priory of St Mary of Worcester
a.. Abbey of Evesham
a.. Abbey of Pershore
a.. Priory of Great Malvern
a.. Priory of Little Malvern
a.. Priory of Westwood
a.. Abbey of Bordesley
a.. Priory of Whistones
a.. Priory of Cookhill
a.. Priory of St James of Dudley
a.. Abbey of Halesowen
a.. Black Friars, Worcester
a.. Grey Friars, Worcester
a.. Trinitarian Friars, Worcester
a.. Penitent Sisters, Worcester
a.. Friars of the Penance of Jesus Christ, or Friars of the Sack, Worcester
a.. Austin Friars, Droitwich
a.. Hospital of St Wulstan, Worcester
a.. Hospital of St Oswald, Worcester
a.. Hospital of St Mary, Droitwich
a.. Priory of Astley

The nearest of those listed is probably the Priory at Astley. Hope that is
of some help.





Astley was too far away from Kidderminster so I tried another source – Worcester Cathedral.

Dear Steve,
Since my last e-mail, I have come across fresh information. There was an Anglo-Saxon monastery at Kidderminster which no longer exists, except in the name Kidder-minster. In Doomsday Book 1086 it is spelt Chideminstre and the Old English personal names Cyda, Cydda, Cyddi are known. So you perhaps have Cydda and the old English mynster. This second half of the name refers to a monastery or church. The monastery was founded thanks to a grant by King Ethelbald of Mercia who granted land for the purpose to Cyniberht by the River Stour in 736. The site is traditionally thought to be at Broadwaters. The original name of Kidderminster before the founding of the monastery was probably aet Sture. This information came from The Place-Names of Worcestershire by A. Mawer and F. M. Stenton in collaboration with F. T. S. Houghton published by Cambridge University Press 1927 (for the English Place-Name Society Volume IV). See also John Richard Burton's A History of Kidderminster published by Elliot Stark at London in 1890. Burton goes into even more detail in Chapter 1.
With many best wishes,
Yours Sincerely,



I then began to think that DW’s Abbey was in fact a Monastery .


I then contacted the Kidderminster Historical Society – very helpful people. They sent me the attached with photographs which I hope to be able to add soon as Charles will be organising a photo link in the near future.



HISTORIC KIDDERMINSTER PROJECT Report No. 151

THE OLD PEACOCK INN
BLACKWELL STREET, HORSEFAIR
KIDDERMINSTER
Grid Ref: SO 83307713

(This property is included in the Local List for Kidderminster)


February 2007


The purpose of this research is to form part of the record of buildings for Historic Kidderminster which is "A Local Heritage Initiative Project".

In order to research The Old Peacock Inn I used various sources: "Born on the Manor" by Betty Park, "Kidderminster since 1800" by K Tomkinson and G Hall and local Trade Directories dating from 1820 onwards. I also consulted census returns and the IGI index on Family Search website.

The Old Peacock Inn is situated at the junction of Blackwell Street, Dudley Street and the Horsefair.

Location Map for the Old Peacock Inn. Grid Ref: SO 83307713

Betty Park in "Born on the Manor" says that by 1690 the Horse Fair had moved here from the town centre. Originally there was a pond in the middle of the Horsefair which the horses would use to refresh themselves but the brook was culverted and the pond disappeared. She says there would also have been some sort of Inn for the dealers and purchasers to get refreshments however it has not been possible to establish the exact year that The Old Peacock Inn opened. A notice in Berrow’s Journal advertises a sale in the 1790’s at The Peacock Inn. There is also similar building shown on the Doherty map of 1753 on the site where The Old Peacock Inn stands today. James Sheriff’s map of 1780 also shows a similar building on that site and by 1859 the Broadfield map shows the Inn in its present style. K Tomkinson and G Hall in "Kidderminster since 1800" lists The Old Peacock Inn as open in 1820. This is confirmed by the entry in "Worcestershire General and Commercial Directory" compiled by S Lewis in 1820 which lists Walter Searl, Victualler, The Peacock, Horse Fair (note the older spelling of Horsefair as two words) and is listed in subsequent local trade directories as an Inn.

The present Old Peacock Inn is late 18th Century in style. It has a castellated parapet and elliptical windows with frosted glass. It is in quite a poor state of repair judging from the outside



From: Steve
Sent: 03 September 2008 09:03
To: Charles
Subject: FW: Pride of Peacocks

Charles,

For info.

I've spoken to ..... who is part of the Kidderminster historical group and she is convinced that it must be this pub that DW refers to. It is also approx 1 mile from Broadwaters which is where the monastery is 'thought to be'.

Regards

Steve


From: Charles
Sent: 03 September 2008 22:16
To: Steve
Subject: RE: Pride of Peacocks


Dear Steve

Absolutely Fascinating.

My only queries / observations at this stage would be (a) in the picture - but we must allow for the passage of time - it does not look as I imagine it from reading the book; but perhaps the neighbourhood has changed, and (b) would DW have been here ?

Perhaps a visit to see it in situ would resolve things.

Any plans ????? And more importantly, what are your own thoughts at this stage ???

Very best wishes and thanks for keeping me up-to-date

Charles


Subject: RE: Pride of Peacocks
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 09:26:00 +0100


Hi Charles,

A visit to the site did occur to me and I think may be useful. However if this pub is (or was) the Pride of Peacocks its going to be difficullt to know in which direction to walk. And when we get to Broadwaters, what do we do then?
The Kidderminster group weren’t aware of the 'Suggested Broadwaters' location. They are still looking under the the main church in Kidderminster - St Mary's. (Which is not on the edge of the village as DW suggests but right in the middle of the town which makes me think that Broadwaters is the place (I mile from the pub as per TDRO).

I keep asking myself, 'Why did DW have a fixation with Kidderminster?. He obviously knew someone that lived at the so called 'Cardinals Folly' as he describes the place in such detail.
In fact the man from the kidderminster historical society asked me what was his connection with Worcestershire and the only thing I could think of was that he was a cadet on HMS Worcester. Other than this I couldn't think of anything. A friend or contact from the ship perhaps?

I know that the DW family don't generally get involved but surely someone there might have an idea who lived it was that lived in Kidderminster? Is it possible to ask the question? I'll be quite happy to contact them if you have a contact id.

I've forwarded the attached file (see above) to The Kiddermister group so that they can all read it.

The gentleman at Worcester Cathedral has even offered the use of the library there (by appointment) which sounds a great offer but I can't help thinking that if the location of the monastery is still not known after 1200 years what are the chances of locating it now?.



Re. the pub,
The suggestion from Worcester Cathedral was to check out the old trade directories (Kelly's) which advertise local business's going back over 100's of years. If I manage to locate one of these (circa 1933 - 1935) there may be a reference to the pub.
Betty told me that she had done this up to the 1800's and there was nothing to this effect. But from 1800 to 1935 hasn't been checked.

Perhaps the new book on DW may give us more clues. When is this due out?

We need to locate this house (or the site of this house) and I feel that someone in the DW family must know something??? Old photo's???

Kind regards

Steve

From: Charles
Sent: 05 September 2008 20:26
To: Steve
Subject: RE: Pride of Peacocks
Dear Steve

Given that I didn't manage to find a single pub with the name 'Peacock' when I did an internet trawl a while back (perhaps I'm inept !), I'm more than impressed by your research - and finding a 'Peacock' in Kidderminster is absolutely fascinating. I am a bit worried about the 'seediness' of the location as shown in your photo and the general surrounds (I had imagined it much more countrified) but I suppose seventy years have passed and areas change a lot. Perhaps as also mentioned, things on the ground look very different from in photos. I suspect in due course one of us really will have to take a look ... ... ... (!!!)

Re the Wheatleys, I tend to store up my questions, because while I have extremely cordial try not to disturb him too much.

I could also if you like ask Phil , with whom I am in pretty regular contact, but if I do, it might give the game away that you may be close to a breakthrough.

Your instructions, please !

Just to close, I must say how excellent it is to be kept abreast of how things are going in your quest, and that it adds additional interest (if that is possible !) to the books.

I shall look forward very much to the next installment ...

Best wishes as always

Charles


Subject: RE: Pride of Peacocks
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2008 08:54:45 +0100
From: Steve
To: Charles

Hi Charles,

Many thanks for your note.

I know what you mean regarding the seediness factor. I thought the same but I also think it would have been totally different in the 30's. Maybe one of the next moves should be to try and get an old photo of the place. You would think this wouldn't be too difficult??
By another coincidence my youngest son is starting Uni next week, at Worcester University so I will be travelling fairly close to Kidderminster on a few occasions. Kidderminster is approx 45 mins away from Rugby so I will definitely go there soon. I'll let you know as soon as I do. You're welcome to join me but IO understand that Kidderminster is not so easy for you living in central London.

Do you remember the 'One pager' that I put together last week on Cardinals Folly and the Pride of Peacocks? Its attached above. I have added another chunk of info to this on my home computer (Its not shown on here). I thought that I should put this on the web site soon as it is the exact wording that DW uses in his books. I know that a few people have been discussing a house layout of Cardinals Folly but can't remember where all the comments are in the respective books so this would probably help the cause. I can extra bits and pieces to it when I find other bits. Eventually we will have the definitive wording applying to the house. This would naturally apply to The (Pride of) Peacock(s) to which we could add info and photo's details of the Monastery and the Kidderminster Historical society etc.
We know that the house is no more than a mile away from the pub so depending on, if its still standing or even if its been demolished it must have had a few years left in it as DW describes it as being a superb place. So this place is likely to be in the memory span of several people. We just need to locate them

Re the Wheatley family, I fully understand your position. Please store it up as you think fit.
I suppose the only concern is that if he is the only one that knows anything about the Kidderminster house………………. and we don’t ask - the holy grail of cardinals folly may be lost.
Is he the only contact within the family. i.e are there brothers or sisters, cousins, aunts uncles etc of a similar age that may also know of the Worcester connection.
Also who holds DW's letters. There must be some communication to Kidderminster. they didn't have email then. As DW said in his book he kept everything including letters from Kidderminster perhaps.

Regarding Phil , please go ahead. I don't mind who locates the grail as long as it is located. Perhaps he already knows the answer????? Do you know when his book is due out?

Very best wishes

steve

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Post by Nick » Sat 11 Oct, 2008 08:21:00

My question back in July seems to have been one we have all been pondering. An excellent piece of research Steve, and I think that you are certainly on the right track. May the Ghost of Wilkes raise his glass to your efforts, and I dare say there will be a few glasses coming your way at the next convention.

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Post by duncanpaul17 » Sat 11 Oct, 2008 15:00:13

Steve,

An excellent piece of work, very interesting to read.

Got me thinking where did Dennis get the name of Cardinals Folly from. Could this have anything to do with the house having some form of religious building attached to it?

As far as tracking down more details of the Peacock Inn, would any of the breweries have any details of their old pubs?

keep up the good work, look forward to seeing you again at the next Convention, by some of the recent posts there should be a lot to talk about and discuss.

Regards to all

Duncan

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Post by ken68 » Sat 11 Oct, 2008 19:46:51

brilliant piece of research there initiative steve.

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Post by Charles » Wed 15 Oct, 2008 09:48:39

Steve sent me some photos which accompanied the Historic Kidderminster Report on the Old Peacock Inn.

To view them, click the following links :-

http://www.denniswheatley.info/library_ ... cock_1.jpg
http://www.denniswheatley.info/library_ ... cock_2.jpg

Fascinating stuff, Steve ... can't wait for the next developments ... not to mention the next reviews !

All best
Charles

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Post by Stevie P » Wed 12 Nov, 2008 21:44:45

I entered the famed "Old Peacock" on remembrance day (9th November 2008) which was quite apt for a totally different reason (Remembering TDRO & what the Old Peacock would have looked like in the 1930's.)
When you walk in you realise that it is a man's drinking pub, so when I went in with my partner and my 19 year old son it was with some trepidation. It was very full so I imagine the beer is cheap. I didn't stop too long to find out. The people in it were however very friendly. On looking around you can tell that there is some real character in the run down old place. It feels old.....It is old.

After talking to the extremely nice and helpful Landlady, who astonishingly 'informed me' that Dennis Wheatley wrote 'The Devil Rides Out'!!! She went on to explain that the pub goes back to the early 1800's (Maybe more). On the wall of the pub is a list of licensee's since 1810.
William (Wilkes???)Plevey was there in the 1930's. He was the longest reigning licensee of the all.
The other interesting fact that she told me was that there is a tenant/owner (didn't quite catch which) living upstairs in this place. He is in his late 50's and has been there for some time. He knows all about the history of Kidderminster and the pub. There is also an old photo of the pub in his room. However he is on holidays at present and isn't due to return until later in Nov. I have his phone number. I also left mine with the landlady. Hopefully I will be going back very soon to meet up with the Kidderminster historian.
Sue also informed me that the place used to be a hotel. (I already knew that....because Rex and Tanith stayed there!!!!)


I walked into the back yard (garden!!!!!!). At the end are a few shrubs/weeds and on the side there are a few newer houses. Behind the shrubs the new houses continue. There is no evidence of a stream at the end of the garden although the river is not very far away.

I was told that Broadwaters was approx half a mile away from the pub which is one of the suggested locations of the Monastery ('Cardinals Folly').
The other suggestion for the site of the Monastery is St Marys Church (also approx half a mile away from the pub in the opposite direction). I drove to the church and just managed to get there as the vicar was closing it up. He confirmed that the local archaeological thoughts were that the monastery was adjacent to the church and pointed to the supposed area but its location is still to be verified.

So, I'm not getting much nearer to the location of Cardinals Folly. Our only real hope is that someone someday recognises the description of the house given in TDRO - The Octagonal library being the major talking point.
Maybe my next visit to the tenant of the Old Peacock may shed some more light on it.
Last edited by Stevie P on Tue 18 Nov, 2008 18:11:37, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Nick » Sun 16 Nov, 2008 21:43:02

Well done Steve! Now a picture of William(Wilkes) Plevey would be something! I think an hour should be dedicated to your research at the next convention

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Post by Stevie P » Tue 18 Nov, 2008 18:22:30

Yes Nick, I agree it would be nice to take this further although if my meeting with the man at the 'Peacock' in the near future fails to produce any more information I'm not too sure where we go from here.
Its strange that DW appears to have changed the name of the pub to 'The Pride of Peacocks' as well as the name of the licensee and Chilbury and (presumably) the name Cardinals Folly, when he is usually a stickler for accuracy. Perhaps it is due to the fact that this is one of his earliest works and he thought it safer to protect people's privacy. Who knows?? If we can take this forward I would be delighted.

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Post by Charles » Wed 19 Nov, 2008 22:06:42

If you want to see the photos Steve took of the Old Peacock on Remembrance Day, click the following link :

http://www.denniswheatley.info/the_peacock.htm

I agree with Nick - an exciting piece of research Steve ! Looking forward to the next instalment !

All best to all
Charles

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Post by Stevie P » Fri 19 Dec, 2008 19:06:51

I thought you might like to see the latest information regarding my search for Cardinals Folly.



Hi Charles,

Thanks for the DW Family chart. Unfortunately I think I will need the chain to include brothers/Sisters of the Grandparents of DW.

Let me explain!!

I bought a second Kidderminster map from ebay as the first one I purchased was of too small a scale to give me much help. The second map was a copy of a 1921 map which had a lot more detail. However it wasn't the detail in the map that stunned me, it was a listing of residents and their addresses. I looked down the W's and sure enough there was a Wheatley. In fact quite an impressive Wheatley. The Reverend Charles Ambrose Wheatley who lived in the area of Leswell, Kidderminster.
I've attached a file called 'Re. Newsender' ((I can't add this file as it was a JPEG it just gave an in depth obituary notice. If anyone knows how I can add this to the site I will do so. Alternatively I can send an email direct to any body who wants it.)) giving information from the Birmingham Cathedral Archivist. (Please excuse my stupid question about whether or not the Roman Catholic priest had any children)!!!.
In fact the Reverand Charles Ambrose Wheatley became the Very Reverend Canon Charles Ambrose Wheatley. He was born in 1853 and died in 1940. He was the parish priest at St Ambrose, Kidderminster, DY10 2BY from 1885 until 1908.

http://www.churchesinkidderminster.co.u ... mbrose.htm

http://www.coleshillparish.co.uk/assets ... istory.pdf

According to the 1901 census, his address is St. Ambrose Convent which was next to St. Ambrose Church. He was head of the 'Family' and the other members of the houshold included;

John J Rowan - RC Priest and Boarder Born - Ireland

Alice Salisbury - Servant, Housekeeper Born - Ireland

Elizabeth Salisbury - Servant - Domestic Born Liverpool



The convent became Holy Trinity school in was saved from closure in the 1980's and is still in operation.



http://www.bbc.co.uk/herefordandworcest ... hool.shtml




Also next to the church is an old Leswell house which had/has large grounds. According to the Kidderminster hiistorical society;



Across the town there are still quite a few larger houses of quality which survive. These include the early 19th century Leswell House lying largely unnoticed in suburban Leswell Grove. Another big house to escape attention is Elderslie, built in 1874 by the carpet manufacturer William Adam, but now part of Holy Trinity School.



http://www.kidcivicsoc.org.uk/buildings_note.html



I'm wondering if DW may have paid a visit here to see the Canon at some time and walked abround the gardens of either Elderslie or Leswell house to have gained some thoughts for Cardinals Folly (Note the Roman catholic connection).



Also DW said that he thought the cellar doors of Cardinals Folly had come from a convent???



But we do not have a direct link to the Canon yet. Is there anymore info available to tie him in? Are there any birth dates/years that we can add to the chart so that we can link him to the others?



I will add this note to the web site soon if you're happy for me to do so. The more people that know the better.


Kind Regards as always

Steve




Dear Steve

How fascinating !

What little I know of DW's paternal grandfather comes from the first volume of his Memoirs, 'The Times has Come'.

There (page 15), he says the following :-

'The furthest I can trace my family with any certainty is to my grandfathers, both of whom, when their recorded history begins about the year 1850, would have been boys of about twelve. Neither of them then owned much more than the clothes he stood up in and, far from helping to finance fleets [a reference to a notional ancestor who was an Elizabethan ships financier, and 'adopted' as an ancestor by DW's father - DW thought the family connection fanciful - CB], it is doubtful if the parents of either could have scraped together two handfuls of sovereigns even had their lives depended on it.

My paternal grandfather, Dennis Wheatley, was born at St Neots, where his people either had a small farm or were farm workers. In any case, he found life there so hard that at an early age he ran away from home and, sleeping in hay-stacks and hedgerows by night, walked from Cambridgeshire to London. ...'

There, like DW's maternal grandfather, he made his fortune, but that's another story .... .... ...

That I'm afraid, is all I have to give you.

I hope it is of at least some help.

All the very best as always !

Charles


All we need now is a genealogy expert to tie the canon Wheatley to the DW family tree. I haven't added the family chart - is this the right thing to do or can it be added? Steve

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Post by Stevie P » Thu 12 Nov, 2009 11:39:42

I have been in communication with a very helpful gentleman from the http://www.british-genealogy.com site.

I thought I would keep you up to date with the latest info.

Dear Phill,

Many thanks for your response and apologies for not getting back sooner. I was away from home this weekend with little access to a computer. In fact I was at a meeting which was relevant to this subject.
When I was a teenager in the sixties I became an avid reader of the author Dennis Wheatley (These days he is not so well known as some of his writings have become a little dated and 'tame'. However, his most well known novel was called 'The Devil Rides Out' which was written in 1934. This was also made into a film starring Christopher Lee.

In the book there are references made to a large house called Cardinals Folly (which may be a fictitious name) but the house is described in such detail with its octagonal library and its superb grounds that I and other Wheatley enthusiasts are convinced that the place really existed (In Kidderminster according to the book). At one point in the book, two of the characters meet up at a pub/hotel (which is half a mile to a mile from Cardinals Folly) called 'The Pride of Peacocks'. The owner of this pub was a man named 'Wilkes'. It is this man that we think may be based on William Plevey because he was the licencee during the early 30's
The pub in Blackwell street is called the 'Peacock Inn' not the 'Pride of Peacocks' but my investigations have suggested that there was no 'Pride of Peacocks' in Kiddermister so we believe it must be The Peacock Inn.

I really need to know more details of William Plevey that might connect him to Wheatley as it maybe that he visited the place.
I am planning to send some a letter to the local Kidderminster papers to see if any of this helps us to find Cardinals Folly or The Pride of Peacocks.
If you haven't read the book you can pick a second hand copy on Ebay for next to nothing and the read is worth the effort.
I have sent you the descriptions of both places as listed in the book below. You may find it interesting even if it doesn't lead to us to the two locations.

Best wishes

Steve


Hello Stevie,

Not sure how I can help you with finding anyone from the Plevey line who is still living that remembers the Peacock Inn. The English Census only goes as far as 1911 and in that it shows William Plevey as the Owner of the Peacock. The following is taken from the Census.

Occupation - Licensed Victualler. Owner of Peacock Public House, Blackwell Street, Kidderminster.

1911 English Census. Living at No. 45 Sandy Back, Bewdley, Worcestershire.
William Plevey, Head, age 32.
Clara Plevey, Wife, Married 10 years, age 27.
Dorothy Plevey, Daughter, age 9, School.
Susan Plevey, Daughter, age 7, School.
Rose Plevey, Daughter, age 5, School.
William Edward Plevey, Son, age 3.
Clara Plevey, Daughter, age 6 months.

The Marriage certificate for Rose Helen Plevey shows the following as her address at the time of marriage, this being 27 December 1932:

Peacock Hotel, Horsefair, Kidderminster.

She married an Ernest Edward Jeffs, unfortunately he died on 7 May 1989. However they had a sone David J Jeffs who might be still living.

William Edward Plevey who married on 3 November 1934 also recorded his home at time of marriage as Peacock Hotel, Horsefair, Kidderminster. But again he is now dead with no offspring from his union with Elizabeth Hardiman.

Clara Plevey married an Albert Edward Hatton on 2 April 1934 and she too also showed the Peacock Hotel, Horsefair, Kidderminster as her home at time of marriage. They had 3 children who I would imagin are still living:

Patricia Hatton, born 1935
Peter J Hatton, born 1948
Christine A Hatton, born 1953

Mary Jane Plevey married an Frank Sheldon on 11 June 1935 and she too also showed the Peacock Hotel, Horsefair, Kidderminster as her home at time of marriage. They had 3 children who I would imagin are still living:

Sylvia Mary Sheldon, born 1937. She was actually born at the Peacock Hotel. She married twice and her last married name would now be Ball.
Valerie Sheldon, born 1939. She married Brian Robinson.
Philip James Sheldon, born 1941 at the Barley Mow Inn, Kidderminster, Worcestershire.

After Sylvia my records show that the remaining Pleveys were not born at or living at the Peacock Inn / Pub / Hotel when they married.

I hope the above is of help to you in your research and wish you the best of luck.

Take care, stay safe and well - Phill


Hi Phill,

I think you've supplied all the info I could have hoped for. Thankyou.
William Edward Plevey must have been the licencee that was there during the 1930's. If he was 3 years old in 1911 he would have been 26 years old in 1934 which sounds possible.

I suppose my best bet is to try and locate David J Jeffs to see if he knows anything of the history relating to this time. I somehow doubt it but its worth a try. I'll let you know if I get anywhere.

Regards & Thanks again

Steve

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