It was part of a holding that included the adjoining Hole and Fiddle parcels of land, but Grennows sold off the Hole and Fiddle. Bush Cottage passed into the ownership of Thomas Bayly and then in the next generation, its ownership was fragmented into two 3/8ths and 1/4th. It remained in the ownership of Bayly’s descendants until acquired by William Childe for the Kinlet estate in 1792.
Bush Cottage’s occupiers were a different story. They were clearly all tenant farmers and yeomen, farming a mixture of arable and pasture and bearing good parish names like Malphas, Perry and Pugh. The proximity of the woods for charcoal and availability of coal and iron deposits close to the surface, thanks to the local geology, mean that other employment was available and archaeological investigation has found the remains of early bloomeries, small scale slag heaps and blast furnaces nearby. In reality, the early leases mostly prohibit the tenants of Bush Cottage from exploiting either the woodland or the mineral deposits of the Bush Piece. Their ability to exploit both natural woodland and mineral resources were carefully limited in the leases, which permitted Bush Cottage residents ancient rights dating back as far as the Anglo Saxons, for example; ‘houseboote, gateboote, plowboote, wayneboote and cartboote, to be used on the premises, upon delivery, and necessary fireboote, stakeboote and hedgboote without delivery, making no waste or spoyle.’ These –bootes gave tenants the right to take timber for the specified and limited purposes of repair, and only for use on the premises – to repair house, gates, ploughs, wains, carts, fire, fences and hedges.
In the 19th century, the service end of the Cottage was extended and the bread oven and washing copper were added, with their own flue under a small outshot.
Life at Bush Cottage evolved only slowly through the centuries, and probably changed relatively little until the Cottage was sold by the Kinlet estate to Mr Roland Wall in 1960. The Walls lived in the Cottage only briefly, moving out because the roof leaked. After that, it was left empty and increasingly derelict. In 1999, campaigning charity SAVE Britain’s Heritage put Bush Cottage on the front cover of their annual Buildings at Risk Register. Meanwhile, someone who enjoyed staying in Landmarks had bought the adjoining woodland (a Site of Special Scientific Interest) and was intrigued by the ruinous cottage. He bought it and proceeded to carry out an exemplary restoration with Treasures of Ludlow. Later, he generously gave it to Landmark, knowing other Landmarkers would enjoy it as much as he had.
For a short history of Bush Cottage please click here.
To read the full history album for Bush Cottage please click here.