The Wodehouse is the house at the heart of an ancient estate in Wombourne, Staffordshire. It was acquired by the Hellier family in the early 18th century and as the favoured residence of Samuel Hellier and his son was largely developed by them. The 18th century garden was laid out by Sir Samuel Hellier in the 1770's. The property was left to his friend the Rev Thomas Shaw in 1786 by the will of Sir Samuel. In 1800 the Staffordshire historian Rev Stebbing Shaw said of Thomas Shaw's further alterations. "He has much repaired it for his residence. It is situated at a proper distance from the public road in a very retired and picturesque valley, under a steep wood, in which the late owner (Sir Samuel) had cut many beautiful walks leading to several objects of curiosity and amusement particularly a well-designed hermitage and an excellent music room".
After Thomas Shaw-Hellier's death in 1812 the Wodehouse passed down the male line to his son James, then his son Thomas and eventually in turn his son Thomas Bradney Shaw-Hellier. For the full list of his descendants click here
Colonel Thomas Bradney Shaw Hellier can be seen on the right hosting the fete in Wombourne in about 1900 shortly after his marriage. Henry Evans was also a grandson of James Shaw-Hellier and it is from the Evans collection that this photo comes.
Thomas Bradney Shaw-Hellier left his estates to his great nephew Arthur. Arthur was killed at Gallipoli and his two spinster sisters Dorothy and Evelyn lived there until 1980.
The picture below comes from Eric Benton, a Penn resident in the 1930's. He was the husband of Grace Agard Evans and very keen on his wife's local ancestry.