Bishops' House

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Ken's Curiosities!

The second stair

 

 

Why are there two staircases in such a small house, especially as the main one is so big and grand? Why would you need another? The answer goes back to the mid or late eighteenth century when we think that the owner of the house was Benjamin Roebuck, who had bought Meersbrook Farm and several other properties in Norton Lees. At that time there was a door in the east wall. Now blocked up, its outline is faintly visible if you look carefully. The house was then divided into two with a wooden partition wall, suitable for two tenant families. Of course each family needed their own staircase so a new one was built. Historical research has shown that two brothers, George and Thomas Wilde farmed the area from Bishops’ House down to the Meers brook from around 1779 to when George and Thomas died in 1815 and 1816. Both brothers married women called Sarah. George and Sarah had eleven children between 1779 and 1799 and Thomas and Sarah had seven between 1785 and 1796, so by the 1790s there could have been around twenty people, mainly children, living there!  After the Wildes there is a gap in the records I’ve been able to recover, but by the 1830s, and certainly by 1841 Joseph and Saley White were living in Bishops’ House with their children, one of whom, James White, took over the farm when Joseph died in 1869. The house stayed divided for two families of Park Keepers and Gardeners until 1973.

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