Information from James Family of Rodmore Farm

1294 House established at Rodmore - Ralph Hathaway requested permission to build a chapel.

1316-1317 Ralph died. House succeeded to William. Nothing further disclosed until

1572 when William Warren died, owning extensive estates at St. Briavels, incuding William's.

1572 Tomb in St. Briavels church remains in south aisle, but was in chancel until 1861. It is to him, and his wife Mary Warren's lands divided among three daughters. Rodmore farm went to Margaret, who married Thomas of Soilwell, of Lydney.

1572-1700 Rodmore Farm owned by James family of Soilwell, lived at Soilwell Manor, land presumably had a tenant at Rodmore, but they continued to be buried in family vault in St. Briavels church.

1629 The estate included Rodmore mill and an iron forge was built nearby, as was the conebrook about 1630.

1713 Rodmore farm, but probably not the mill and the forge, belonged to Mr. Ford.

1732 Owned by William Ford.

1791 Owned by Thomas James, leased to Thomas L'Vans , probably the same T.L'Vans who then owned Willsbury Farm.

1840 Rodmore Farm, with 205 acres, owned by Thomas James, leased to Beauford Pheips, then included a field called Orveal Hathaway and Hathaway Barn, presumably named for medieval owners.

1864 Willsbury purchased. c1885 Death of Thomas James, owner of Rodmore and Wilisbury Farms.

1892 William James, son of Thomas, sold estate to Walter Bontley Marting of Clanna House, who bought a numberof farms in St. Briavels and adjoining parishes.

1919-1920 Break-up of Clanna estate - farm sold.

The "Re-Discovered" Ancient Hathaway Barn on
Rodmore Farm

Our Sunday adventure was the most satisfying because it was a quest with no guarantee of success. We had found a mark on a 1988 British government ordnance survey map for an ancient "Hathaway Barn" near the Forest of Dean and a nearby designation of "Rodmore Farm". When we mentioned our intention to hire a taxicab and search for this barn, so many of our Kinship Collective wanted to participate that we hired three taxicabs for the 30 mile trip to explore this intriguing scrap of evidence.

After a brief search, we arrived at the main residence of what the roadside sign described as "Rodmore Farm". My wife went to the door with ordinance survey map in hand to ask about the "Hathaway Barn". The proprietor of the farm, who gave his name as Bernard James, appeared to no know that his old barn was designated as historic or as "Hathaway Barn" by the government, but he looked at the map and acknowledged that the barn we were looking for was on his land and he gave us permission to drive over and see it.

Our cab drivers had warmed to the hunt by this time, and we were soon positioned in the farm lane near an impressively ancient stone structure with arrow-slit windows in its ends. In a drizzle, gobs of mud sticking to our shoes, we made our awestruck inspection of the oldest separately standing Hathaway structure which had ever before been identified.

An obviously enthusiastic Bernard James came from the direction of his farmhouse and joined us at the barn with a hand-inscribed document in hand. James explained that his father had just remembered the name Hathaway from a paper which had been presented to him some years ago by visitors who were searching for the ancetral home of another early family at Rodmore Farm.

After a rapid perusal, several members of our group got permission to copy down all of the information on the manuscript. What the document said about Hathaways tallies with research of our family genealogists on pages seven and eight of the 1980 HFA book. This is what it said: "William Hathaway was the son of Ralph Hathaway. Ralph died in the year 1317. William succeeded to his estates in Rodmore, Lydney, Minsterworth and LaHorstone. In official documents, he is usually styled William Hathaway of Rodmore or Minsterworth in order to distinguish him from his cousin William Hathaway of Ruardean".

James commented that the old residence in which Ralph or William would have lived 700 years earlier was the same house in which he now lived with his family- although many changes through the centuries had given it a more contemporary appearance and probably a larger size....

Bernard James went on about old stones..."last year in this field I turned up a very large stone with my plow. It looked unusual so I asked about it. People from the British Museum said it was part of a Roman column. They dug around and said the ruins may be the oldest Roman building found so far in England. They covered it up again, but after my crops are all harvested this autumn, they are coming back to dig up this field and look for more...."

-Story from John and Mary Hathaway