The ‘lost’ images of Draycott

Local history is endlessly fascinating, isn’t it?  Just when you think you know it all, something else turns up…
Just this month we have found new information on two local ‘lost’ paintings and one local ‘lost’ photograph.


A local collector got in touch to say that he had just successfully bid at auction for a photo of Paynsley Hall, which used to sit in the fields not far from the southern end of Blythe Business Park in Cresswell.  It was (rather ruthlessly!) demolished a few years ago, even though the main chimney (which you can see in the photo) was thought to be of medieval origin.

The hall had a wonderful history stretching even back beyond the English Civil War when it was the scene of a skirmish between the Roundheads and Cavaliers, after which it had to be rebuilt.

Unfortunately, even the seller knew nothing of the circumstances of the photo.  Between us, we have guessed that it is 1950s, or 1940s, era, but that’s it.  Would the people in it perhaps be members of the Bostock family, a family with a long history in this district?

Paynsley Hall farm circa 1950

Paynsley Hall farm – around 1950?

If you know anything which would help us, and the local collector, find out more about the circumstances of this photo… please let us know (use the comments box at the bottom of this page).


We’ve covered stories of lost paintings of Draycott on this website before – Mick Bettaney is still searching for one created by his grandfather.
But now we have a painting that has been found!

Mike Knowles wrote to tell us that he has a painting of the old Bird-in-Hand pub, which was at the southern end of Cresswell before being pulled down a few years ago.
He reckons it was painted at the end of the 1950s by Michael D Barnfather, a painter commissioned to create it by Mike’s uncle.  Why he commissioned it is not clear….
Mike tells us that he thinks the people relaxing outside the pub are his uncle and aunt – Kenneth George Saxton (known as George) and his wife Mabel Saxton (formerly a Kerry).   Mike thinks they may even  have owned the Bird In Hand at one stage in the 1950s, but he is not sure, as both have sadly passed away.   Can anyone help with more information?

Painting of Bird In Hand

Painting of the old Bird In Hand, around 1958.  (To enlarge this photo, click once on it; and, then, to return to this page, use the back-button)

Mike has had the work valued (he was told it was worth around £2000) but he is willing to sell it to anyone who collects local historic artefacts.
Again… If you know anything which would help us find out more about this work… please let us know, we will also be sure to pass your message on to Mike.


The most famous lost ‘local’ painting is of course the one mentioned in Father Bailey’s history of St Mary’s Church. Father Bailey writes:  “A Mr Walter Draycott, who came to Draycott from Canada in 1911, says he saw an ancient painting of the original Tudor Paynsley Hall, which was then in the possession of a local resident. He described the hall in the painting as having ‘two tall towers resembling keeps and a high wide doorway between the two towers with a gothic archway or entrance’.  The whereabouts of this painting is now unknown.”
Wouldn’t it be great if that turned up again?!

And finally, there is the painting that was given as a gift to the Reverend Doctor Healey when he retired as rector of St Margaret’s in the early 70s.

Rector & Mrs Healey retiring - with Painting presented by John & Mary Kellaway

Rector & Mrs Healey retiring – with painting – presented by John & Mary Kellaway  (Collection of Sara Gibson, ne Kellaway)

We know Doctor Healey retired to Harrogate and has since died… do his family still have the painting, we wonder…

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Just use the comments box – near the bottom of this page.            (The form will ask if you wish to put in your email address.  You don’t have to – and it is always kept private anyway and never published -, but, if you don’t add your email, that means you might miss any responses to your comment).


3 responses to “The ‘lost’ images of Draycott

  1. 600 year old home

    The actual building of the original Paynsley Hall moated manor house took place around the year 1496 (at the very end of the dynastic struggle between the Houses of Lancaster and York) by Roger Draycott.
    The question is: where did they live for several hundred years before that?
    Blithe Wood Moat has been suggested on the evidence of a single piece of chain ‘mail’ and because it fits into a pattern of building during the 12th & 13th century.
    An assertion made – that the move from there to Paynsley (200ft x 90ft) was prompted by the need for a more modern sophisticated building during the 15th century – sadly does not stack up, as Blithe Wood is larger (380ft x 440ft) and provided equal and better scope for re-modernising and developing when England was still rather uncertain about the accession of Henry VII. (The Cornish rebellion of 1497 by the Staffordshire led Audley family was but one instance where old animosity was still rearing its head – unfortunately James Audley lost his as a consequence!).
    Secondly Blithe Wood could have been sited in Checkley Parish, a place of great dispute (over who controlled that manor) throughout the medieval period; and other local families could have a greater claim. It is worth bearing in mind that the Caverswall family (hic castle) were not just neighbours, but also below the Draycotts in the county ranking order. Consequently it is hard to visualise the family retiring to at-best a yeoman’s manor house (eg Ford Green Hall).
    There are other good reasons for not picking Blithe Wood as the Draycotts’ original home, because….
    …. there is a more likely option, and it’s right under everyone’s nose!

    Find out more on the Draycott History Walks on July 7th and July 31st!
    Lev Wood


  2. Paynesley Hall house

    I would just like to comment on the photo of Paynesley Hall house.
    My father Bill Bostock, along with his two brothers Frank and Les, bought Paynesley Hall Farm in 1952/53. (Forgive me: I just forget the year). Before that it was owned by the Browns who are the people in this photo as it was never occupied after that date.
    Then, as his with any house unoccupied, it went in to decline. I think it was about in the 70`s that a preservation order was placed on it.
    This was a third grade ‘listing’, so did not result in any money towards its upkeep.
    In the early 90`s my father myself and my brother left Paynesley and started farming at Spring Hill. My Uncle Frank then farmed there with his daughters; and he had to get permission from English Heritage to demolish the house has it had got in a dangerous state. I know it is sad – but the cost to keep that house in a safe state was beyond the owners’ pocket.
    I do hope this has helped.
    Colin Bostock


  3. Painting of church

    Actually, the painting was returned to Draycott church by Dr Healey’s family, and hung in the Rector’s vestry over the fireplace.
    It was painted by the late Frank Wedgewood, who also painted a replica one which my Mother bought for my Father. The replica hangs in our guest bedroom here in Australia as we brought it with us when we migrated here.
    I was married in Draycott church, my children were baptised there and my late husband, brother and parents are buried there.
    Sara Gibson (ne Kellway)


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