Underdown is described as a house of the late 18th century with a park and a kitchen garden.
In 1780 the house was rebuilt on the site of an older property by Anthony KECK. Around 1814 Philip John MILES was in residence. ( Exact date not known )
John MILES was an English landowner, slave owner, merchant, shipowner, banker and politician from Bristol. Through his banking interests he found himself on the register of owners of slaves on plantations in Jamaica though only as mortgagee in possession in cases when his bank had taken possession of plantations through the default of their owners on mortgage payments. He left an estate of over £1.2 million (equivalent to £119,591,667 in 2019), making him the first recorded millionaire of Bristol.
He was born on 1 March 1773, the second but only surviving son of William Miles (1728–1803), a Bristol West India merchant, and his wife Sarah Berrow. His elder brother William died aged 23 in 1790, and he inherited from his financier father in 1803.
Miles was a partner in Miles Bank of Bristol, and later Miles, Harford & Co, which eventually became part of NatWest. He had Leigh Court at Abbots Leigh rebuilt, 1814–8. Miles also owned properties and extensive estates elsewhere including Kings Weston House (by Sir John Vanbrugh), The Manor House (Old Rectory) at Walton-in-Gordano, Walton Castle, Cardigan Priory and Underdown in Ledbury, Herefordshire, where the family originated before moving to Somerset.
In 1868 - Spencer H BICKHAM is shown as in residence.
January 21 during the afternoon, a cycling paper chase took place, the meet being at Underdown
August 25 The Church Sunday School children had their Annual Summer Treat at Underdown.
August 1 Garden Fete at Underdown in aid of the C.E.T.S. Colwall Flower Show.
August 8 Sale of Work at Underdown in aid of Home and Foreign Missions and Parish Nurse Fund.
August 23 Church Sunday Schools Summer Treat at Underdown
July 28 Ledbury Church Sunday School Treat at Underdown.
Rainfall for January at Ledbury (as registered at Underdown by Mr. Spencer H. BICKHAM throughout the year) was 0.96 inches. Average for January 2.16 Weather seasonable with occasional snow.
Rainfall for January at Ledbury (as registered at Underdown, by Mr. Spencer H BICKHAM throughout the year) was 2.56 inches.
The year opened mild, with occasional short frosts, heavy fogs following later on, the month closing very mild and with but little rain. Rainfall for January at Ledbury (as registered at Underdown, by Mr. Spencer H. BICKHAM throughout the year) was .72 inches on 12 days.
Census - Shows Spencer H BICKHAM, a Retired Cotton Spinning Machinery Maker in residence.
Rainfall for January at Ledbury (as registered at Underdown by Mr. Spencer H. BICKHAM throughout the year) was 3.00 inches.
Postcard posted to Rev H PARRY, Tugley Rectory, Leicester from Emma JARMAN - Where we went to tea yesterday. We did enjoy ourselves too.
( 2013 September )
Rosemarie Smith - Beautiful building now converted to flats !!!!!!!
Jo Edge - I am looking for info on Underdown for my family tree my Great Aunt was the cook there for the Biddulph's
Rosemarie Smith - The Biddulphs owned half of ledbury at one time, should imagine Underdown was the jewel in the crown!!!!
Chris Ponter - Apparently Sir Michael was known as Mickey Dripping by the poor ( he used to run a soup kitchen from Underdown for the poor of the town )
( 2019 March )
Carolyn Dillingham - My mother's aunt was housekeeper there and my aunt was nanny to the Biddulph's grandchildren, Sarah and Tom. Many happy visits there in the early 50s
Philip Weaver - She wasn't the Louisa who lived up Church Lane was she?
Carolyn Dillingham - No, her name was Alice and she actually lived in at Underdown. She lived in New Street after retiring
Philip Weaver - Thank you. I think Louisa might have been the Nanny. They gave her Ivy Cottage in Church Lane when she retired.
Philip Weaver - Built by Anthony Keck (1727-97) of Gloucestershire
Julia Coole Peckham - Several years ago I was chatting to an elderly Gentleman on a cruise. When I mentioned I was from Ledbury he was so surprised and told me that he used to visit Ledbury as a boy from London in the 1920’s to stay with a relative at Underdown. He described Underdown perfectly and some of the adventures he had there. He had lived in USA for fifty years working in the film industry and in retirement was looking for suitable locations for film companies to use - on that occasion it was Madeira . Very interesting man
Julian Davies - Lovely house.
Hazel Cutting - Where abouts in Ledbury is this?
Julia Coole Peckham - Just before the roundabout on Gloucester Road - drive on left (not far from tennis club)
November 30 The rainfall measured at Underdown for the month of November was 8.50 inches, an amount only exceeded once in 50 years in Ledbury. The average for November is 2.44 inches; the fall therefore was three and a half times the average.
Pre WW2? Aerial Photographs
( 2016 August )
Neville Watkins - I can't place that at all.
Claire Ellis - If you know where the tennis courts are, it's the driveway right next to it, near the little white cottage.
Neville Watkins - Thanks Claire. I've got it now. Never ever been up there and you can't see it from the road. Or at least not very easily.
Claire Ellis - No, me neither. It was a private house for years and I'm pretty sure they had a bad fire a few yrs back. It's flats now I think.
Julia Coole Peckham - Yes it's flats I used to deliver 'Meals on Wheels' to a sweet Lady Who lived in one of them . It was a beautiful flat with wonderful views.
Christine Penter - I know two or three people who live in what were the cattle byres, etc. Beautiful up there.
Jon Fenton - Can I ask why you think pre WW2?v Jo Edge - It was a comment that came with the photos because of the gardens. Although we are not sure of a date.
Jack Gittings -This place is next to Ledbury Tennis Club, I can remember a Mr Bickham lived there during 1940's Think he was a Civil Engineering Surveyor, Lord Biddulph moved in there later.
Sali Mustafic - I'm pretty sure went there to a party once
Phil Manns - Sandra Peat lived in lodge
Michele Morris - Think my mum worked there in service as they called it then.
Carolyn Dillingham - Can anyone remember the name of the butler at Underdown in the 50s. was it Hawkes - or something similar.
Jo Edge - I am trying to find out who Whoops-A-Daisy was. It may have been the chauffeur. Ill try and touch base with Sandra Peat im sure she will be able to help us.
Lord Michael BIDDULPH is shown as in residence.
Carolyn DILLINGHAM and her sister on the cart and Tom, Lord and Lady BIDDULPH's grandson stood behind. Carolyn's aunt was nanny to Tom and his sister Sarah and her mum's aunt, Aunty Alice was cook there.
( 2017 May )
Sheila Neale - My Mum was "in service" at Underdown when she left school
Janet Jones - I thought it looked like you Carolyn. I remember your relations worked at Underdown. If my memory serves me right they lived in Bridge Street.
Carolyn Dillingham - Yes they originated in Bridge Street but after leaving Underdown Aunty Alice and her sister Marge lived in New Street. I remember visiting them there but not exactly where in New Street.
Jo Edge - Carolyn the house was called Iona, no 33 - 3 doors down from ring of bells
Janet Jones - Yes I remember them in New Street now.
Lord BIDDULPH is shown as in residence with telephone number 69.
Lord BIDDULPH in residence.
November - Funeral of Lady BIDDULPH
A private funeral service was held at the tiny village church at Donnington for Amy, Lady BIDDULPH, who died tragically in a fire at her home, Underdown, on the Gloucester Road, Ledbury, when she was trapped in her bedroom and suffocated by the fumes. Lady BIDDULPH, daughter of the Earl of Normanton, married into the family whose name has dominated Ledbury’s history since the 17th century, and was the widow of the third Lord BIDDULPH, who died in 1949.
Underdown was converted to create 5 apartments and five houses.
November - Sales Brochure, Country and Classic Properties, Ledbury.
1897 - 1979 Ledbury Tilleys Almanacks - Herefordshire History
Photographs are credited to the owners where possible
Edited Memories in italics are from members of the Old Ledbury Facebook Group
Cuttings are from Old Ledbury Reporter Newspapers
History of Ledbury in the 19th Century
Herefordshire Archive Records Centre HARC