A HISTORY group has been researching the history of Barnards Green.

The Barnards Green History group has published a fascinating look through the history of the village dating back to the 18th century. The earliest map that shows the area of Barnards Green in any detail comes from 1744.

The new owners of the Manor of Malvern, the Foley family, needed to know more about the land they owned and its likely value.

They employed a cartographer, John Doherty, to draw what was a fairly accurate map of the district east of the hills, to include some beautiful sketches of the principle houses.

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On the map where the memorial bus shelter is in Barnards Green today, is the name Merry Vale, and just above this is a large gabled house with outbuildings.

Adjacent is a sprawling orchard with its northern boundary at the present day Barnards Green Road. This house appears in slightly later documents as Rose Cottage.

An 1831 map shows a second, smaller property in its grounds, possibly a converted outbuilding, named Rose Villa.

The first person known to have possession of Rose Cottage was Captain James Marsden (1777-1841) of the 7th Dragoon Guards. His wife Harriett (1781-1865), was the daughter of Wakeman Long, an attorney of Upton Upon Severn.

Captain Marsden willed Rose Cottage to his daughter Theodosia who died in Cheltenham in 1905. A later occupant of Rose Cottage, also involved in a family murder, was John Sloggett Jenkins (1822 - 1900).

A Devonian, he and his wife Sarah were formerly in Madras, India where John held a position as Professor of Mathematics. They were called back to England to testify in the case of Sarah’s brother, William Dove, who was on trial for murdering his wife Harriet, who was John’s sister.

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The case was notable as William was suspected of having what we would now describe as mental health issues. He was a believer in magic, wizardry and devil worship which made for a sensational trial.

He was found guilty and executed but the trial opened a debate regarding criminality and mental health.

John Sloggett Jenkins became the well-respected Proprietor and Editor of The Malvern Advertiser in 1867.

The census for 1911 shows the Mann family had settled in Rose Cottage, although by that time it had been renamed The Chestnuts.

Harry Lawrence Price Mann, his wife, three children, and a servant were shown living in this nine-roomed house.

Mr Mann was Deputy Clerk for Malvern Urban District Council (constituted from 1900 to 1974). Mr Mann died in 1949 although not at The Chestnuts.

By the 1960s, The Chestnuts was earmarked for development. The Malvern Gazette in early April 1968 printed a photograph of the nearly completed Chestnut Court.