How Caple Court stands to the North of the thirteenth century Parish Church of St Andrew and St Mary in the old Hundred of Greytree.
Standing on a small bluff overlooking the River Wye, it has wonderful southerly views across the valley towards the Welsh hills and the edge of the Forest of Dean. These are a memorable sight on a clear day and Testify to the excellent choice of the site by the original settlers.
The present road from King’s Caple follows much the same route as the old Roman Road from Abergavenny to Gloucester and after passing the entrance to the Court, joins the old Hereford to Gloucester high road.
The presence of Roman foundations and other material in the vicinity suggests some sort of activity on this site from early times and this is hardly surprising since it is blessed with such a favourable topographical situation.
The name How Caple would seem to be derived from ‘Capala’ while How, or Hue, denotes a high situation on the side of a hill in northern England and implies in Anglo-Saxon a residence.
In the Domesday Book of 1089, the Manor of How Caple was listed as holding five hides, but by 1216 William de Capel held the Knight’s Fee from the Bishop of Hereford and this family retained control of the Manor until 1672. At this juncture, it was sold together with the Sollershope Estates to Sir William Gregory of Hill House, Woolhope, thus severing the family connection after nearly five hundred years. In turn the Gregorys, or their relatives, continued to live at the Court until the late nineteenth century. By 1885, the Estate belonged to the Rev. Thomas Beville Paynter of Wadham College, Oxford, but passed rapidly through various hands until the property was acquired by the present owner’s great grandfather Lennox Bertram Lee in 1900.
Original problem and suggested solution
The existing heating system at How Caple House was old, tired and in need of serious updating. After discussions with Euroheat and Herefordshire’s premier biomass specialist the Efficient Energy Centre, the owners decided that the only way to go was the biomass route, with a HDG Compact Biomass Wood Boiler the ideal boiler for the job.
With the solution in place and the boiler chosen the installation was the next step. It was soon identified that a serious issue was the lack of a suitable boiler room to house the boiler and wood chip store. After careful consideration it was decided that the best approach would be to convert an agricultural barn some 80 meters away from the property and use district heating mains to bring the hot water to the main property. One concern was the extra cost of building the boiler house away from the main property; however the cost of installing the district heating main will quickly be absorbed by the simple and easy wood chip storage the large barn allows.