This tiny village sits in the far northeast corner of Herefordshire, close to Ledbury and Colwall, and the name Coddington derives from the Anglo Saxon “Coton” – the plural of “Cote” which means a collection of mud cottages. In the centre of Coddington is the Old Rectory which dates back to 1585 and is built of local stone. There have been many extensions during the 17th century and during the 19th century. From 1921 this was a private school which was founded by Mrs. Gladys Marsham primarily to look after children between three and seventeen whose parents were serving in the armed forces in India. This school was originally in Coddington Court, but was moved to the Rectory in 1921. Amongst the pupils were Sarah Churchill, niece of Winston; Michael Bentine, and former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe. Two of the girls there went on to work on ENIGMA, the codebreaking machine at Bletchley Park.
There are many old and interesting buildings in Coddington, including Church Cottage which dates back to the mid sixteen hundreds, and which until fairly recently was the village Post Office. Coddington Court was built around 1770 and was originally known as Coddington House. There were two pubs = The Plough Inn and the Golden Cross, but sadly both of these are now private houses.
Ancestors who lived in Coddington may well have worked in one of the nearby quarries, two of which were for small stones used as hardcore and were abandoned about 100 years ago, but others supplying building stone lasted longer. Other known occupations of villagers were Weaver, Wheelwright, Carpenter, Cooper, Brick Maker and Yeoman. This last title may originally have referred to a “yew man”, someone who was permitted to take yew branches from the churchyard to make bows and arrows.
Some little snippets of the history of Coddington include the birth of triplets, Sarah, Ann and Mary, to Sarah and Thomas Solloway on 13th February 1777; an order from the Court at Hereford telling the Overseer at Coddington to pay Mr. Timothy Chamberlain seven shillings a week, or give him work so that he could support his family. That order was signed by Elizabeth Barrett-Browning’s father, Edward M. Barrett of Hope End. His wife, Mary, died in October 1828, and a few years later Edward was forced to sell Hope End due to litigation over his grandfather’s will. Hope End was purchased by the Heywood family, and their second daughter Mary (who married George Sumner) was to go on to found the Mother’s Union.
In the early nineteenth century, Mr. Selwyn was the Surgeon who dealt with illnesses of the villagers – one of his submitted accounts in the sum of £7 16s included the sale of leeches! In 1822, the time of this account, the Surgeon would charge 7s 6d to visit a patient in Coddington, and double that if it was at night…….one wonders just how many villagers would have been able to afford his services.