When Mr. J Whitehouse  came to live at ‘The Priory’ at  Wootton Wawen he was managing director for Mr. C. H. Hughes of the Big Wheel  Works at Aston Birmingham. About the same time Mr. Hughes bought Wootton Hall, with several acres of land attached including a farm, a large lake, with well-wooded  plots of ground adjoining the Hall grounds.

He had a beautiful banistered stone wall built along the whole front of the Hall grounds as far as the waterfalls which extends from the  entrance to Wootton Church along the main Stratford Road.  

The double falls are quite  an interesting feature, not  only presenting a wonderful picture with the Hall in the  background, but acting as a control barrier to the stretch  of water known as the Serpentine which runs directly  behind the Hall grounds, meeting another control point  where flood gates are in use.  It was mainly used at this time to ensure a steady supply of  water which was needed to  drive the water wheel of the  mill which was then fully  working six days a week,  

An overflow outlet made  of stone, known as sheetings, was built directly beside the  flood gates which form  another long stretch of water,  this passes over the other set of falls adjoining the Serpentine, passing under the bridge  which crosses the Stratford Road, and eventually joining  up with other water which  runs into the River Alne.

Wootton Hall has quite a history attached to it. At one  time it was a place of worship  for the monks who lived at  the Priory, and, legend says the monks went to and fro  between the Hall to the Priory  by an underground passage.  

I know this tunnel exists  because I was in it once and  was glad to get out again, as it was like being in a dungeon.  

The Roman Catholic  School adjoins the mill, and  it is there I had my schooling under a governess, a Mrs. William Budd. She was one  of the best, very strict but  very thorough.  

At the end of the 19th  century the hall was owned by the Smythe family. I can only remember Lady Smythe who  used to visit the catholic  school especially near Christmas.  

This was a very special  occasion when all the children  were given presents. Boys received a pair of short  trousers, some cord, some  serge, and the girls got a length of dress material. These  were handed to us by her  Ladyship. We were all taught  to bow and say “Thank you  my Lady ..."  

Following the Smythe  family, came the Eveson  family. I knew the Misses  Eveson quite well as I often  saw them, not only when I  went to school, but also when  I was attending Mass on Sundays. The Catholic church  was then at the rear of the  Hall adjoining the main  building.  

We had to pass through  the courtyard of the hall to get to the church  and at times it was not unusual to see the family driving  about with their ponies pulling an open four wheel carriage. The Eveson familY was  connected with the colliery  business.  

Later the hall was bought  by Mr. C. Hughes, and subsequently by Mr. R. D. Guiness. Later it was taken over by Mr Smallwood and is now the  property of Mr. W. H. Allan. The farm and mill were sold separate from the estate  during the time Mr. Smallwood owned the property.  

When Mr. Hughes took  over Wootton Hall it was  agreed to close the Catholic church adjoining the hall and  build another church on the  Alcester Road at the extreme end of the village.    

During the 1914 to 1918 war Mr. Fieldhouse designed  and perfected an ambulance train which was bought by the  British Government. This  brought in a lot of money for him.  

While he lived at the  Priory he bought quite a number of houses in Wootton Wawen, not altogether pleasing to those householders  whom it concerned, because some of the tenants had to  buy their houses from him ...   

During the  1914 to 1918 war Mr. Fieldhouse’s daughter, with help,  ran a hospital at Wootton  Hall, and it was there she  met her husband to be a  Major Barnard, son of of Mr.  Walker Barnard, an auctioneer  of Stratford-on-Avon.  

Mr. Fieldhouse then lived  at Edystone Hall, and while  there he had a beautiful mansion built at the top of  Navigation Hill, on the edge  of Austy Wood, and taking in Lucy Farm, which joins up  with the private grounds of  the mansion, now known as  Austy Manor.  

At the extreme edge of  the Manor grounds, and Navigation Hill, facing the main Stratford Road stand four  cottages which were almshouses for the poor people of Wootton Wawen. These were  taken over by Mr. Fieldhouse  for his work people, and four more very nice homes for the  needy were erected right in  the village facing the church.  

Mr Fieldhouse made a lot  of changes in Wootton. He  found a fair amount of employment for the local people and he and his family were  held in high esteem by many of the inhabitants. He was  good and kind to those in  need, and the schoolchildren  were never forgotten at  Christmas, every local child  received 12 new pennies.  

When he died he was  buried beside his wife in a  vault in Wootton Churchyard.  In 1914 he became Lord of  the Manor and held that office  until 1928. It was then taken over by his son Ernest Francis,  and later by Olive Nancy Barnard, his daughter, who at his death inherited the title of  Lady Barnard, and is still  Lady of the Manor.