The history of Rodd Court is sketchy. We have started initial research and will be announcing our plans for further research and consultation shortly.
It appears that the house was begun in the late sixteenth century by Richard Rodd. The date of 1629 over the porch may indicate when the exterior was finished and work began on the interior. Richard Rodd died in 1633, at which date the work may have ceased. The Rodd family had mercantile and landed interests in both Herefordshire and Devon. The house remained in their possession until 1725, when Bampfylde Rodd III died. It changed hands a few times in the ensuing centuries and was the subject of a court case resolved in 1848…
In 1911, the estate was bought by Colonel Gilbert Drage, a retired Royal Marine with an artist wife but no children. The house seems to have been in a poor state. In 1913 Drage rebuilt the service block in the south-west corner and carried out extensive repairs to the rest of the house. After the war, in which he led the 1st Battalion of the Hereford Regiment at Gallipoli, Drage retired for the second time and attempted to make a living from farming and hand weaving. This was hardly lucrative and in 1935 he sold The Rodd to Francis Rodd (later 2nd Baron Rennell), whose wife Mary was also an artist.
Rodd was a banker, a scholar and President of the Royal Geographical Society, with four daughters and a valuable library. His main intervention to the house was to convert the cart shed at the rear to a comfortable room, with a link to the main building. When Lady Rennell died in 1981, the family put The Rodd on the market and two years later it was bought by Sidney and Mary Nolan.
We hope, in due course, to know more about this extraordinary house, its owners, occupants and its role in the history of Hereford cattle breeding.
Lucy Trench, Trustee
Photos by Alex Ramsay