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Caplor Farm, Fownhope

Herefordshire

 

Caplor Farm farm lies immediately north of Capler Hill, the site of an Iron Age hill-fort with still very visible ramparts and rock-cut ditches.  Field boundaries on the farm are often on very pronounced lynchets (steep breaks of slope between one field and another - see below) which may mean that they too date from the Iron Age.

Fungi on cut timber at Caplor

The hill-fort is now spelled Capler and the farm Caplor. On the 1880s Ordnance Survey maps both are spelled Capler. On the tithe map both are 'Capellar'.

Caplor Farm from the air
   

Spraying at Caplor - May 2006
   
   
   

 

Young wheat at Caplor - early June 2006
   

Another aerial view: the wood on the left is on the northern slope of Capler Hill.
   

Capellar Farm on the 1843 Fownhope parish tithe map. At this time both the name of the farm and of the hill were spelled Capellar. The farm was owned and occupied by John Powell.
   

The cider mill at Caplor Farm

The census of 1891 records the inhabitants of Caplor Farm. They are the Farmer, John Powell aged 64 and his 25-year-old son Samuel described as a Farmer's son in the occupation column. John Powell is described as married but his wife was not at home that night.

Also resident at Caplor was the family's 17-year-old domestic servant Ada Clark and one of the farm workers, 15-year-old George Powis, an 'agricultural labourer'.

Extracts concerning Caplor Farm from letters written by a Herefordshire family to their brother John Charles who farmed in Texas.

The Charles family, who wrote these letters owned nearby Overdine Farm in Woolhope parish.  They always call the farm 'Capley'.

‘I see John Powell and they are well at Capley’

William Charles to his brother John – 6th Feb 1891

  

‘They are all quite well at Capley’

‘We had a very dry summer last year and very hot and mild winter and a very good crop of fruit and corn’

William to John – 24th May 1894

  

‘I am sorry to tell you that John Powell of Capley is dead. He died on 11 March and was berried at the chaple on 18 March. His age was 68. He left Capley last October 1895. He had a sale and sold it all off. He had been ill for a long time’

‘You told me last summer was very dry and hot in America we had the same in England - very dry and hot the crops was very light - a very good crops of fruit and potatoes was very good but the hay and corn was very light. We have had a very mild winter and very warm, no frost of any account.’

William to John – 30th March 1896

  

‘My mother lives with me. She is just the same as ever tho 66 years of age. I have 5 children living & the eldest died. My baby is 3½ years old. We live about ½ mile from Capley. My husband has the Rise farm. Do you remember it joins Capley.

There is an old Welshman living at Capley but he is not a good tenant. I suppose you know Capley was heavily mortgaged. What is paid after the interest is paid Father left to mother for her days & after to be equally divided between us five children. Poor Perina died 9 years ago but she left a baby boy & he will take her share.’

Nellie Watkins to John Charles (her step-brother) 16th April 1903

 

‘My husband is a farmer. He farms the Rise farm it joins Capley. His mother and two younger brothers live there. We live by the road side the first house beyond the Chapel. We have a nice new Chapel built about 15 years ago.’

‘You asked me dear Johnny about the price of land. It is very cheap here and very little sale for it. It has been very wet here all summer a bad year for farmers, very little fruit and poor crops. The potatoes too are badly diseased, the worst year for many years.

I hope you have had a good time to gather your corn and cotton. Yours must be a large farm. I try to picture what it is like but of course have no idea.

I have a lot of fowls and 6 white turkeys. Does your wife keep any?’

Nellie to Charles – 9th November 1903

 

‘George is living at Copphold [Copyhold farm] by Capley …..’

‘Mrs Powell keep very well she is living at Mount Pleasant [with her daughter Nellie]. You wanted to know how Capley was left. It have got to be sold at Mrs Powell’s death and parted between John Powell children. A farmer named John Watkins (he married Mrs Powell daughter Ellen has taken Capley this year.’

William to John – 2nd February 1905

 

‘John Watkins who married Ellen Powel is living at Capley now. You ask me for Ellen Watkins address in your letter. It is Mrs Watkins, Mount Pleasant, Fownhope, Herefordshire.’

William to John – 20th February 1907

 

‘Mrs Powell, late of Capley keeps in very good health for her age and is over at Mount Pleasant now keeping house for her daughter Nell.’

‘The crops here in this country look very well and some have been harvested already, but the hops are very poor and I fear will not make a good crop.’

William to John – 14th August 1909

 

Overdine letters courtesy of Caroline Hands

 

A lynchet on a field boundary at Caplor Farm. Lynchets are formed on ploughland in two ways. one is by ploughed soil creeping downslope towards the edge of a field; the other is by the plough gradually digging away the upslope part of the field

 

Another lynchet at Caplor Farm. Lynchets of this size take a long time to build up. These are parallel with the ramparts of Capler Iron Age hill-fort. It is possible that the field boundaries here are two thousand years old or more.

 

Not all field boundaries are old at Caplor. This fence was constructed in Autumn 2005

   

Pollarded trees on the edge of Caplor Farm

   

A new plantation of mixed deciduous trees

   
 
   
 
 
 

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Wye Valley History pages

maintained by Archenfield Archaeology Ltd

           

This project was part-financed by the European Union (EAGGF) and DEFRA through the Herefordshire Rivers LEADER+ Programme.