LEEK WOOTTON HISTORY GROUP
Researching and archiving the history of Leek Wootton & Guy's Cliffe Civil Parish
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Leek Wootton & Guy’s Cliffe History: Woodcote
The Wise Family
In 1851 Henry Christopher Wise purchased the Ricardo Estate (part of the Mallory Estate), which included Woodcote House and most of the park and surrounding land, about one hundred and seventy-
Henry Christopher Wise was born in 1806 in Offchurch. He was the son of The Reverend Henry Wise, Vicar of Offchurch 1805-
Following his purchase of Woodcote Henry Christopher expanded and improved the estate. One of his first projects was to build a new road, Woodcote Lane, in 1852.
In 1858 Harriett, Henry’s wife of nearly thirty years, died aged fifty-
The new house was built in practically the same position as the old with stables, farm buildings and a kitchen garden in much the same place. The gardens and pleasure grounds were re-
On 15th January 1883 Henry Christopher Wise died aged seventy-
Under the terms of George Wise’s will the Warwickshire estates, the London estates and other properties were left to his cousin George of Eaton Square, London, son of Sir Thomas Wathen Waller who had married George’s aunt, Catherine Wise.
The Waller Family
When he inherited the estate George Waller was fifty-
After the Boer War Sir Francis Waller, of the Royal Fusiliers, returned to Leek Wootton to a tumultuous welcome for the young squire, but his career in the Army called him away and so later that year the house, grounds and land were let to Captain J Morrow for five years and The Rock became the family home.
In 1908 Sir Francis retired from the Army because he felt it was his duty to live among his own people and take up what he thought to be his position in the county. He returned to Woodcote as a principal landowner, Patron of the living of Lillington church and lord of the manor. He and his sister, Miss Waller were splendid. Duty to him meant a great deal and what was to be done was worth doing well. Beyond this, he was so unaffected and frank that he delighted in seeing the people happy and tried to make them more so. He was a man of few words and high principle.
Sir Francis Waller Bart was killed in action on Sunday 25th October 1914. He was only 34. Wathen Waller, brother of Sir Francis, inherited Woodcote and the baronetcy.
With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 Sir Wathen lent Woodcote to the Red Cross for use as a convalescent home, which was run by a matron called Miss Powlett. He and Lady Waller moved into The Stone House in 1940, giving up their large staff and making do with only a lady’s maid, gardener, butler and chauffeur. Lady Waller worked very hard for the Red Cross during the War organising fund-
After the War, Sir Wathen was refurbishing Woodcote ready to return, but in April 1947 he died suddenly at The Stone House. He was buried in the churchyard of All Saints alongside his father and grandfather.
In 1948 Lady Waller sold the house, grounds, and allotment gardens of Woodcote to Warwickshire County Council and, following conversion, it became the Headquarters of the Warwickshire County Constabulary in 1949.
Extracted from ‘Leek Wootton and its Hamlets’
‘A History of Woodcote: The manors, the estates, the houses and their owners’
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