In 1923, Margaret Molteno and her husband, Lenox Murray, moved from Tulbagh in the Western Cape where they had had an unhappy time trying to farm just after their marriage, and settled in England. Margaret’s parents, Percy Molteno and Bessie Currie, bought Painswick Lodge and its farm for them. Perched on the edge of beautiful Cotswold country just above the valley of the Severn, Painswick Lodge became one of the main centres for family hospitality, particularly after Percy’s death in 1937 and the disposal of his homes – Palace Court in London and Parklands in Surrey.
The house and farm at Painswick became known internationally as a result of Margaret starting to breed Arab horses there. She became one of the leading breeders in England and eventually a Governor of the Arab Horse Society. Her daughter, Iona Bowring, in England and her niece, Penelope Molteno (who married Count Claes Lewenhaupt of Sweden) also took up Arab horse breeding. At Painswick itself, Margaret’s daughter in law, Caroline Murray (nee Craig) carried on the tradition and became a very prominent breeder from the late 1950s on. Many Arab horse enthusiasts, including from the Middle East, visited the farm over the years.
Painswick became quite famous for another reason. It was on this farm that Caroline’s husband, Pat Murray invented the famous ‘Big Baler’ that transformed the cutting and storage of certain field crops. This became a milestone in the mechanisation of not just British farms, but farming in many other parts of the world.
Painswick Lodge was still in the hands of the family as of 2012.