The Cave family has branches across the country and can trace its ancestry back to 970 but we will start with the William Cave buried at St. Peter’s in 1615. His father, also William, lived at Leigh Sinton and was fined for refusing a Knighthood at the Coronation of Charles I (as was James Nash of Martley). William, his son, was baptised on 26th December 1586 at Leigh Sinton and came here when he married Anne Browning of Martley on 13th June 1607. His cousin, Sir Richard Cave, was Governor of Hereford Castle. As a Royalist, he was killed at the Battle of Naseby in 1645.
In Martley, William farmed at Horsum (Horsham) but, as many of the Cave family papers were destroyed, the exact property is not known. However, his will describes him as “a yeoman of Martley” and his probate as “late of Horsum”. He left £100 (about £6,200) to each of his three daughters and the rest of his estate to his wife Anne.
His will states “my body to be buryed in Christian burial when soever it shall please god to take me out of this transitory world”. It pleased God to do so on 16th January 1615 when William was only 29. Perhaps this is why Anne’s nave memorial sadly tells for how long she was a widow:
“Anne who continued the widow of William Cave 49 yeares and neare 9 moneths was buried November the 7 Anno Domini 1665”
Anne shares her memorial with her son and his wife, who was the daughter of Richard Arden of Martley:
“Here Lyeth the Body of Thomas Cave Gent who Dyed June the 11th 1693 Aged 82 years
Here Lyeth the Body of Misus Elisabeth Cave Widow Wife of Thomas
Cave Gent who Dyed April the 19 th 1693 Aged 82 years ”
Thomas and Elisabeth had 10 children .The eldest son, Richard, became Chamberlain of the Borough of Evesham and Under – Sheriff of Worcestershire. The second son,Walter, obtained his M.A. at St.John’s College, Cambridge, but became Chaplain of ChristChurch, Oxford. He died in 1704 and is buried in Shrawley Church .The third son went to London and the fourth son,William ( Knightwick ), born 1654, married Elizabeth, daughter of John Ingram of Rodge Hill, Martley. William died in 1727 and Elizabeth in 1699 .
They had 7 children the second of whom, Thomas, born 30 th December 1680, married in1703 Mary Nayer of Ombersley. Thomas died in 1721, aged 41, and Mary in 1737. His probate describes Thomas as being of “Rochhill in the parish of Martley”, an earlier spelling of Rodge Hill along with Rodghill an Rudgehill.
The Martley Caves were gentlemen farmers who actively contributed to village life by becoming Churchwardens, Supervisors of Highways, Overseers of the Poor and Constables.
Mary’s probate, valuing her goods and chattels at £823.10.8 (about £51, 000 now), gives us a good idea of the farm at Rochhill. The rooms in the house are described as: ” the hall, the parlour, the kitchen, the pantry, the cellar, the dayhouse ( dairy ), lower parlour, cheesechamber, cornchamber, cyderhouse and Brewhouse, bestchamber and the littlechamber ” Crops and livestock are given as: ” 22 acres of corn, 60 sheep & lambs, 12 cows 1 bull 2 heifers & 2 calves, 10 horses & mares, 3 sows and 3 other pigsa & 36 acres of pease, barley & oats . There were 3 wagons, 2 tumbrills, 3 pairs of harrows, 2 ploughs & 2 drays, perrymill and cheese vats”.