Penmoel (Penmoyle) is one of the larger houses in our parish and was for most of the 19th century the home of the Philips sisters and later their niece , Margaret Philips Price and her sons.
Isabella and Anna Priscilla Philips came to live at Penmoel in the 1840s. They originated from Manchester where their family were part of the Unitarian society, their father Robert was a textile merchant and manufacturer while their brothers Mark and Robert were Liberal Members of Parliament, the sisters were two of the nine daughters born to Robert and Anna Philips. The Philips family lived at Philips Park in what is now Bury and in 1948 was bought by Whitefield Council and opened as a public park. The M62 Motorway now cuts through part of the parkland.
The eldest Philips sister married Robert Hyde Greg whose family owned Quarrybank Mill in Cheshire, now a National Trust property. Their youngest sister Caroline, aged 32, and their father aged 83 both died in 1844; their mother had died a few years earlier. Perhaps this prompted their move from Manchester.
The Philips family were well known for their philanthropy and soon after their arrival in Woodcroft the sisters set up a school later known as the Cliff School near to their home. The Chepstow Weekly Advertiser reports open days and picnics, examinations and concerts, with gifts given to the sisters such as a silver inkstand in 1861.
In June 1879 Anna died age 75 and ten years later her sister Isabella died aged 82, they are both buried in Tidenham churchyard (St Mary and St Peter).
The house then became the home of Margaret Philips Price the daughter of their brother Robert Needham Philips. In 1878 Margaret had married William Edwin Price of Tibberton in Gloucester, MP for Tewkesbury, and after their marriage they set off for honeymoon in America. Their travels are recorded in a diary which their son Morgan Philips Price published as Foreign Travellers in America 1810 – 1935. Whilst in America they travelled with General Sherman who they met by chance on the Pacific Railway.
By 1881 they were living in Gloucester with seven servants; William had lost his seat at Tewkesbury the previous year where he had served the constituency as a Liberal MP since 1868. In 1885 Margaret and William had a son Morgan Phillips Price, but in February 1886 William died leaving a heavily pregnant widow. Shortly afterwards their second son William Edwin was born, the entry in the 1891 census states that both boys were born in Hillfield House, Gloucester.
On inheriting the house Margaret had it demolished and rebuilt, she also added to the land area of the Penmoel estate.
The family were there in 1891 when the census was taken along with eight servants and a teacher, also staying are Margaret’s cousins Arthur Hyde and his wife. Margaret was by now running the Price family timber business based in Gloucester and states she is ‘living on own means’.
In 1893 she built the Price Memorial Hall of the Gloucester Art and Science Society in memory of her husband, it is now th home of the Gloucester City Museum.
William Price Senior had been educated at Eton but Morgan and William went to Harrow where their cousins the Trevelyans had been educated, both boys were there in 1901 when the census was taken. Margaret has not been found on the 1901 cenus and died just a few weeks before the 1911 census was taken.
Like her aunts Margaret had a great interest in education and when Lydney Grammar School was founded in 1908 she became one of the four founding Life Governors along with Charles Bathurst, R. Beaumont Thomas and Sir William H Marling. It was after these four that the school houses were named and remained so until the school closed in the early seventies.
Margaret Price was buried in Tibberton with her husband William. Her younger son William and her half sister, Anna-Maria, were living at Penmoel in 1911, Morgan had inherited Tibberton Court.
In 1920 William married Comfort Watney in London, and among the gifts received were a rose bowl and a combined letter box with reference books from the parishioners of Tidenham, a silver salver from the tenants of Pen Moel and Ninewells, an antique chest from the staff at Pen Moel, and a silver salver from the employees of the Tibberton estate.
The local trade directories in the early years of the last century list him as resident at Penmoel, however the estate was frequently advertised for sale until on May 7th 1934 when The Times ran an advertisement for the house with 14 acres at a price of £4,500. It was sold shortly afterwards to Sir Holburt Waring. The previous advertisements had included Powder House Farm and Yewberry House, the Old School and a variety of cottages and the stables part of the large estate that the Philips family had created over seventy years.
In May 2016 Penmoel was put up for sale for the first time in eighty years priced at £1,500,000.