Explore Headley - Arford House

The house dates from the early nineteenth century, with Gothic casements and a Victorian brick porch.  It was built by William Ewsters (1760–1842), who presented the life-size paintings of Moses and Aaron to the Church.  Mr Henry Knight, the builder mentioned elsewhere in these pages, told Mr Laverty that the wooden decoration on top of the summer-house was the figurehead of the American frigate Chesapeake, captured by the British in the war of 1812–15, and that Mr Ewsters bought it when the ship was towed back to England and broken up.  ( Chesapeake Mill at Wickham, was renamed and rebuilt by John Prior with timber he bought in 1820 from the same source)
Mrs Ewsters was a splendid needlewoman, and made a carpet for the house.  It was she who planted the chestnut trees round the pond that used to be across the road, north of the entrance gates.
In 1886 the house was advertised by E.B. Kennedy to let furnished for £130 p.a., unfurnished for 80 guineas.  It was described as stone built, with three sitting rooms, seven bedrooms, a garden, tennis lawn, meadow, pine wood, 15 acres, coach house, stabling, and a five-roomed gardener’s cottage.

In 1896 the tenant was Madame Van de Velde, wife of a Belgian diplomat, and daughter of the Italian Ambassador to Berlin.  She was “tall, with perfect features, full of vivacity and charm”, and was the author of numerous books dealing with Court and Society.  It was during this time that Brett Harte was a frequent visitor. 
By 1902 the house had been sold to the Misses Frankland and their aunt, Miss Emily Grenside.  They were the daughters of the scientist, Sir Edward Frankland.  Miss Dorothy studied the piano in Germany and later was a pupil of Oscar Béringer, who lived at Brontë Cottage on Barley Mow Hill with his wife, the talented writer and dramatist, and his two daughters Vera and Esmé, who became well-known actresses.  In 1906 Miss Dorothy married Major Richard Hooper and for well over forty years they both took an active interest in the life of the village.  Her sister married Mr Woodbine Hinchcliffe of Pentlow, who designed the War Memorial.