Upper Tan House at Stansbatch, Herefordshire

a garden open for the National Garden Scheme
Upper Tan House garden

History of the Tan house at Stansbatch

There was a flourishing tanning business here in the 17th century. It was sufficiently successful for the tanner to pay taxes on his earnings. Hereford Library has a copy of his signature and records of taxes paid.

Walter Frizer was the the tanner in the 17th century and the carefully decorated signature shows he was an educated man.

Local historian, Beryl Lewis, believes that the stone bridge in the garden carried the main highway south and that the site is of great antiquity. It was valuable in 1330 when its chief rent was kept by the Mortimer family for the lord of Lower Stanton.

By 1709 the last tanners had left and set up business in Hereford. By 1808 the attached barn (now incorporated into the house) was a malt house. By 1874 malting had ended and a Temperance Society meeting was held here with recitations and songs by the Band of Hope. Certificates were given to those who had abstained for a full twelve months. The former malt house was reviled as "sending forth that which creates pauperism, vice and crime and the loss of the immortal soul" as reported in The Hereford Times of the day.

In the 20th century the house has been a small farm.

signatureold map
The 1838 map shows the outline of a chimney, probably a kiln to dry off the barley. A large pond or pool is clearly fed by the brook and perhaps it is where Walter Frizer soaked his hides. The map also shows farm buildings on the other side of the stream now long gone and a barn replaced them nearer the house.