Home of the Good Shepherd / St Michael's House Home, Hoar Cross, near Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire

The Home of the Good Shepherd was established in 1888 in part of the Old Hall at Hoar Cross, near Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire. One wing of the building was adapted by its owner, the Honourable Emily Meynell-Ingram, as a home for orphan boys. The vicar of the parish, the Rev. W.J. Knox Little, Canon of Worcester, superintended the management of the Home, and the training and care of the boys. The home was run by the Sisters of St Margaret's, East Grinstead, and could accommodate up to fourteen boys aged from 4 to 9 years who had lost both parents. As well as sheltering the boys until they were placed out in the world, the founder hoped that it would also continue to be their home in times of holiday, or rest, or return from sea. The boys attended the local National School. Several were in the choir of the church, and one or two learned to act as servers at the altar.

In 1950, the home was taken over by the Children's Society (formerly the Waifs and Strays Society) and renamed the St Michael's House Home. The residents from the Leven And Melville Home For Boys at St Leonards on Sea, which was then closing, were transferred to St Michael's.

Former Good Shepherd / St Michael's Home, Hoar Cross, 2014. © Peter Higginbotham

n 1963, it was reported that the home appeared to have a resident ghost, said to be the friendly spirit of the home's founder who had died in 1904.

The home eventually closed in around 1983. The site is now occupied by an elderly care home.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.


  • Bowder, Bill Children First: a photo-history of England's children in need (1980, Mowbray)
  • Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society [Rudolfe, Edward de Montjoie] The First Forty Years: a chronicle of the Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society 1881-1920 (1922, Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society / S.P.C.K.)
  • Rudolf, Mildred de Montjoie Everybody's Children: the story of the Church of England Children's Society 1921-1948 (1950, OUP)
  • Stroud, John Thirteen Penny Stamps: the story of the Church of England Children's Society (Waifs and Strays) from 1881 to the 1970s (1971, Hodder and Stoughton)
  • Morris, Lester The Violets Are Mine: Tales of an Unwanted Orphan (2011, Xlibris Corporation) — memoir of a boy growing up in several of the Society's homes (Princes Risborough, Ashdon, Hunstanton, Leicester) in the 1940s and 50s.