Kinlet Newsletter - September 1967


Winwoods Farm House is one of the oldest and certainly one of the most interesting of our wonderful old Kinlet houses.  That part of it was in existence in the middle of the 15th century we know from old documents, but it seems possible that even earlier there was a hunting lodge here to serve those gentry who were privileged to hunt in the Royal Forest of Wyre.  These hunting lodges were often buildings of some substance and quality - they had to be prepared to house and feed large hunting parties and their retainers, and they needed outbuildings to deal with the game and other wild animals caught in the forest.

These lodges were also used for dispensing justice and for holding meetings.  The older part of Winwoods - The Entrance Hall, Sitting room and Dairy - probably formed this hunting lodge.  Here the ceilings are supported by very fine chamfered oak beams, most wonderfully preserved, and there is a side open fireplace under a vast stone chimney breast.  This is now partially bricked up for modern convenience, but the old spit is still here from the days when huge logs smoldered on the great hearth to roast the haunch of venison turning on it.

In 1955, when the property was bought by Mr. And Mrs. H. Ferguson-Smith, this open hearth was still here, but the ancient chimney had to be taken down, revealing a maze of flues and parts of old baking ovens.  Mr. And Mrs. Ferguson-Smith undertook much restoration work both inside the house and out so that the sturdy walls, roof and chimneys are in very good condition. Inside the house the oak beaming is particularly well preserved.  There are excellent buildings outside both old and modern.  On one outhouse a tiled roof is of exceptional length and of great age and a small slit window could date from the 13th century.  Around the house walls and original old cobblestones can still be seen.

Winwoods house and land are originally within the Manor of Earnwood which came into the Kinlet Inheritance about 1591 when it was purchased from Sir Thomas Coningsby by Roland Lacon of Willey, who succeeded to Kinlet in 1581
and died in 1608.  The house is partly of timber framed red brick and partly stone built.  Some of this stone may well have come from the old Kinlet Manor House which had stood for centuries and was demolished some time before 1727 when William Lacon Childe brought his wife of seven years, Catherine Pytts of Kyre, from the Birch where they had been living, to the splendid new Kinlet Hall which he had built on a new site.

There is now no trace of the old Manor House, but it seems possible that estate farm houses, needing to expand to house growing families or wishing to stone-face present brickwork might well have used the old stone.  At Winwoods, where the stone facing had fallen away the timber framing and old brick is revealed.  It seems that by the year 1600 Winwoods was being used as a farm dwelling, and in a 'Terrier' of 1617 the name of Winwoods makes its first appearance. From the parish register we learn that a William Winwood was Church warden in 1717.  The name persisted in a smaller farm - Winwood Barn Farm of some 32 acres adjoining, which ceased to be a separate farm in 1800 when it was joined to Winwoods but whose foundations can still be found in the Barn fields.  It is interesting to note also that when Sturt Common was enclosed
in the early 1700's Winwoods still retained a field on the Common.

Besides Winwoods good agricultural production another commodity was produced here - coal, which of course, had been mined in several other places on the Kinlet Estates.  A shaft was sunk here and was worked for many years by a Mr. Tolley until the 1920's when one day, quite suddenly, it fell in and the two men working there had a very lucky escape.  When Mr. And Mrs. H. Ferguson-Smith became owners the old shaft was filled in to prevent any further accidents and Winwoods reverted to its old agricultural life.

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The present owners of Winwoods have here a great inheritance.  As we walked through the large rooms of the house and climbed the stairs, we could see the mark of centuries all about.  The ancient hunting horns will not sound hear again; only in imagination shall we hear the clatter of many hooves on the cobble-stones and the low notes of the baying hounds - but here the present owners will find peace and prosperity, aware of their proud inheritance, yet with the will and determination make it worthy of the new Elizabethan Age, which can rise only from the foundations which our fore-fathers laid in the time of the old...

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