A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.
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WORCESTER, a city, a county of itself, having exclusive jurisdiction, and the head of a union, locally in the county of Worcester, of which it is the capital, Worcester and W. divisions of the county, 111 miles (N. W. by W.) from London; containing 25,401 inhabitants. This place, which is unquestionably of great antiquity, is enumerated by Nennius under the name of Caer Guorangon in his catalogue of cities belonging to the Britons, by whom, from the advantages of its situation near a fordable part of the river Severn, and on the confines of a thick forest, it was selected as a place of strength and security. On the expulsion of that people by the Romans, it was retained, with other British towns, by the conquerors; and if not one of their principal stations, as some (judging from the Roman roads in the vicinity appearing to concentrate here) have supposed, it was one of those fortresses which the praetor Ostorius erected on the banks of the Severn, to secure his conquests. Great numbers of coins and other relics have been discovered in and near Worcester, the sites of Roman encampments have been brought to light, and vestiges of Roman pottery-works have been met with; of all which, an interesting description is given by Mr. Jabez Allies in his recent publication on the British, Roman, and Saxon antiquities of the county.
When the Romans left Britain, Worcester came again into the possession of its ancient inhabitants; from whom, however, it was taken in 628, by Penda, King of Mercia, whose son Wulfhere, on his accession to the throne, appointed Osric his viceroy over the province of Huiccia, including the counties of Worcester and Gloucester, with part of Warwickshire. Osric, either repairing the Roman fortress, or erecting another in this city, which by the Saxons was called Wigornaceastre, made the place his residence, and fortified it as a frontier against the Britons, who had retreated into the territories on the other side of the Severn. Sexulf, Bishop of Mercia, founded here the first Christian church within his diocese, which he dedicated to St. Peter; and in the reign of Ethelred, that monarch having resolved to divide Mercia into five separate dioceses, Osric prevailed upon him to establish one of them at Wigornaceastre, the metropolis of his province. In 679, Bosel was consecrated first bishop by the style of Episcopus Huicciorum, and invested with full authority to preside over the ecclesiastical affairs of Huiccia or Wiccia. From the death of Osric nothing is recorded, either of the province or of the city, till the time of Offa, in one of whose charters Uhtred, a Wiccian prince, is styled Regulus et Dux propriæ gentis Huicciorum (ruler and duke of his own people the Huiccii), while his brother Aldred is described as Subregulus Wigorniæ civitatis (lieutenant of the city of Worcester), by licence of King Offa.
After the union of the kingdoms of the heptarchy, Alfred the Great appointed Duke Ethelred, a Mercian prince, to whom he gave his daughter Elfleda in marriage, to the government of Mercia; and in 894, Ethelred and Elfleda rebuilt the city, which had been destroyed by the Danes. Soon after this, Wærfred, Bishop of Worcester, desirous of defending the city and the cathedral from the future attacks of these rapacious invaders, obtained from Ethelred a grant of one moiety of the royal dues, with which he repaired the ancient seat of the Huiccian viceroys, and erected several fortresses around the cathedral, of which the only one now remaining is Edgar's tower. In 1041, a tax imposed by Hardicanute excited an insurrection of the citizens, who seized the collectors when endeavouring to shelter themselves in Edgar's tower, and put them to death. To punish this outrage, the king sent an army to Worcester, and the inhabitants, abandoning the city, retired to the river-island Bevere, in which they fortified themselves, determined to hold out to the last extremity. The forces of Hardicanute, having plundered and set fire to the town, attacked the inhabitants in their place of refuge; but were so vigorously repulsed that, after repeated fruitless attempts to dislodge them, the general was compelled to grant honourable terms of capitulation, and the inhabitants returned to their city, and repaired it.
Soon after the Conquest, a royal castle was erected here, of which Urso d'Abitot, who had accompanied William into England, was appointed constable, being also made sheriff of the county. He extended the buildings of the castle, and, to the great annoyance of the monks, infringed upon the site of the cathedral, the outer ward occupying what is now the College Green. In 1074, Roger, Earl of Hereford, Ralph de Guader, Earl of East Anglia, and other powerful barons, entered into a conspiracy against the Conqueror, and invited aid from Denmark: but their design having been discovered, they were obliged to enter the field before the expected succour arrived; and Bishop Wulstan, Urso d'Abitot, and Agelwy, abbot of Evesham, assisted by Walter de Lacey, assembled a body of troops to guard the passes of the Severn, intercepted their progress, and terminated the rebellion. The inhabitants, in 1088, maintaining the cause of William Rufus the reigning monarch, Bernard de Neumarché, Lord of Brecknock, Osborn FitzRichard, Roger de Lacey, Ralph de Mortimer, and other partisans of his elder brother Robert, assembled a large force, and assaulted the city. On this occasion, Bishop Wulstan armed his tenants, and retiring into the castle with the citizens and their wives and children, animated the garrison to a resolute defence. The assailants set fire to the suburbs; but more intent on plunder than prudent in securing their ground, they spread themselves over the open country, for the sake of pillage; and the garrison, taking advantage of the opportunity, sallied from the castle, and advancing upon them suddenly, while in the act of ravaging the bishop's lands at Wick, captured or killed 500 men, and put the rest to flight. In 1113, the greater part of the city was destroyed by a fire, which nearly consumed the cathedral and the castle: this calamity is supposed to have been inflicted by the Welsh, who had resolved on the entire devastation of the English marches.
In the reign of Stephen, William de Beauchamp, constable of the castle, joining Matilda, incurred the resentment of that monarch, who deposed him from his government, and appointed in his place Waleran, Count of Meulant, whom he created Earl of Worcester. Matilda, in 1139, having gained several advantages in various parts of the kingdom, and greatly increased the number of her partisans, marched from Gloucester with a considerable force, and arriving before Worcester, laid siege to it. Before her arrival, the inhabitants had deposited every thing valuable in the cathedral, and made the necessary preparations for defending their city. The assailants attacked it on the south side, but being repulsed, they renewed the attack on the north side, and, gaining an entrance, set fire to it in several places. Having succeeded in obtaining possession of the castle, William de Beauchamp was reinstated in his government by Matilda; and his appointment was subsequently confirmed by her son, Henry II. In 1149, Stephen, to punish the inhabitants for the assistance which they had given to his opponent, took the city and burnt it; but the castle having been strengthened with additional fortifications, resisted all his attempts, and Eustace, his son, subsequently investing it without success, again set fire to the city in revenge. Worcester, which was so frequently the victim of intestine war and of accidental calamity, was fortified by Hugh de Mortimer against Henry II.; but on the approach of that monarch to invest it, Mortimer, on his submission, received pardon, and the city escaped damage. In 1189, it was almost totally destroyed by an accidental conflagration; and in 1202 again suffered a similar calamity, when the cathedral and adjacent buildings were consumed: the walls however not being demolished, the edifice was speedily repaired.
In the contest between King John and the barons, the latter having obtained the aid of Louis, Dauphin of France, the inhabitants adhered to their cause, and, opening the gates of the place, received William Mareschall, son of the Earl of Pembroke, as governor of the castle for the Dauphin, in 1216. Ranulph, Earl of Chester, however, with a body of the royal forces, took the fortress by surprise, and afterwards obtained possession of the city. The inhabitants were made prisoners, and compelled by torture to discover their treasures; the soldiers of the garrison, who had taken sanctuary in the cathedral, were forcibly dragged out; the church and convent were plundered; and a fine of 300 marks was imposed upon the inhabitants, for the payment of which they were obliged to melt down the precious metals with which the shrine of St. Wulstan was enriched. In the course of the same year, the king was buried in the cathedral. In 1217, the outer ward of the castle was granted to the monks for the enlargement of their close, by the Earl of Pembroke, guardian to the young king; after which the earls of Worcester ceased to reside in it. The inner ward, comprising the citadel and keep, was alone kept up as a fortress. In 1218, Bishop Sylvester obtained from Henry III. the grant of a fair for four days in honour of St. Wulstan, to commence on the festival of St. Barnabas. During the reign of this monarch, a tournament was celebrated here, in the year 1225; all who took part in it were subsequently excommunicated by Bishop Blois. A great part of the city, in 1233, was destroyed by an accidental fire, which greatly damaged the cathedral buildings. In 1263, Robert Ferrers, Earl of Derby, Peter de Montfort, son of Simon de Montfort, Robert, Earl of Leicester, and others of the confederate barons, laid siege to the city, which they took after several assaults; they spared the church, but plundered the houses of the inhabitants, and put several Jews to death. After the battle of Lewes, in which Henry III. was made prisoner, that monarch was brought by the Earl of Leicester to Worcester, whence, together with his son, Prince Edward, he was removed to Hereford Castle; the latter, having made his escape, repaired hither, and assembled an army, with which he defeated the earl and the confederated barons in the celebrated battle of Evesham. In 1299, the street leading to the suburb of St. John's was destroyed by an accidental fire, that also burnt down the wooden bridge over the Severn, which was afterwards replaced with one of stone.
The city, in 1401, was plundered and partly burnt by the forces of Owain Glyndwr, in one of his attacks upon the English frontiers in the reign of Henry IV., against whom he maintained a desultory warfare for a considerable time. The king at length advancing against him, drove him back into Wales, and retiring after his victory to Worcester, took up his residence in the city, whence, after disbanding his army, he withdrew privately to London. In the reign of Edward IV., Queen Margaret, on the defeat of her party at the battle of Tewkesbury, and the subsequent murder of her son, was taken from a convent near that town, into which she had entered the day after the battle, by Lord Stanley, and brought before the king, who was then at Worcester. In 1484, the Duke of Buckingham having raised an army of Welshmen to oppose Richard III., a sudden inundation of the Severn impeded their progress and disconcerted the enterprise. After the battle of Bosworth-Field, in which that monarch was slain, Worcester was seized for Henry VII.: several partisans of Richard were made prisoners here, and beheaded at the high cross; and a fine of 500 marks was paid to the king for the redemption of the town. In 1486, Sir Humphrey Stafford and his brother, Lord Lovell, having escaped from their sanctuary at Colchester, levied a force of from 3000 to 4000 men, and laid siege to this city; but on the approach of an army sent against them by the king, under the command of the Duke of Bedford, they raised the siege and dispersed. During the prelacy of Whitgift, Sir John Russel and Sir Henry Berkeley came to the sessions here, with a large band of armed followers, to decide by force a quarrel which had arisen between them. By the vigilance and activity, however, of the bishop, who placed strong guards at the city gates, they were arrested and brought to his palace, when he prevailed upon them to deliver up their arms to his servants, and appeased their animosity. During the destructive pestilence that raged here in 1637, the inhabitants abandoned the city, and shut themselves up in the island of Bevere.
In the parliamentary war, Worcester was the first city that openly declared in favour of the king, and the inhabitants gave admittance to Sir John Byron, at the head of 300 cavaliers, whom they assisted to fortify the city against the parliament. These, being afterwards joined by Lord Coventry with some troops of horse, and expecting further aid from the king, began to act on the defensive; but before the promised succours arrived, Colonel Fiennes, at the head of 1000 dragoons, and accompanied by the train-bands from Oxford, and a detachment of the troops under Lord Say, arrived before the city, and summoned it to surrender. The inhabitants indignantly refusing, he immediately commenced the attack; and a shot having been fired into the city, through a hole made in the gate, the cavaliers sallied out on the parliamentarians, and having killed several of Colonel Fiennes' troops, returned without being pursued. Prince Rupert, with his brother Prince Maurice, arriving soon after with a considerable body of troops, joined Sir John Byron, and the royalists drew out their forces into Pitchcroft meadow, adjoining the town, to give the enemy battle. A spirited encounter took place, and was kept up for some time, but Rupert perceiving a considerable reinforcement, under the Earl of Essex, advancing to the assistance of the parliamentarians, withdrew his forces into the city, where the engagement was continued till night, to the great disadvantage of the Prince, who, with a party of his troops, retreated to Hereford in disorder. The Earl of Essex arrived on the same evening, but, for fear of surprise, did not enter the city till the following morning, when the parliamentarian troops were quartered in the cathedral, which they stripped of its ornaments, destroying the altar, and committing every kind of depredation: having explored the vaults, they found a large store of provisions and supplies which had been sent from Oxford for the king's use, and a considerable quantity of plate. The mayor and aldermen, being taken into custody for surrendering the city to the cavaliers, were conveyed under a strong guard to London; and 22,000 pounds' weight of plate was sent off under the same escort. A gallows was erected in the market-place, for the execution of such of the citizens as should be found guilty of having betrayed Colonel Fiennes' soldiers to Prince Rupert; and a commission was appointed by authority of the parliament, under which Sir Robert Harlow and Sergeant Wilde were sent down, to secure the city and try the delinquents: these officers, as a preliminary step, imposed a fine of £5000 on the inhabitants. After having repaired the fortifications, and obtained from the citizens a loan of £3000 for the parliament, the Earl of Essex divided his army, consisting of 24,000 men, into three brigades. Two of them he detached in different directions, to intercept the king's forces on their march towards London; and leaving a garrison in the city, he advanced at the head of the third brigade to Shrewsbury, in pursuit of that part of the royal army which was headed by the king in person.
The citizens, after the departure of the earl and his army, still maintained their loyalty, and the corporation passed several resolutions in favour of the royal cause: they elected for mayor and sheriff two ardent royalists, provided additional ordnance and ammunition, strengthened the fortifications, and raised levies of money, which they transmitted for the king's use. These measures again drew upon them the vengeance of the parliament. In March, 1646, Sir William Brereton and Colonels Morgan and Birch appeared before the city, with a force of 2500 foot and horse, and demanded its surrender; this being peremptorily refused, they drew off their forces at night towards Droitwich, and advanced to assist in the siege of Lichfield. The citizens sent messengers for directions to the king, who had escaped from Oxford, and was at that time at Newark; in the mean time General Fairfax, who was then at Headington, near Oxford, wrote a letter to the governor of Worcester, requiring him to deliver up the city to the parliament, and on his refusal despatched Col. Whalley, with 5000 men, to reduce it. The garrison, which consisted of 1500 men, made a resolute defence; but after having sent repeatedly to the king for instructions, and receiving no reply, their ammunition and provisions beginning to fail, and while in hourly expectation of the arrival of Fairfax with an army of 10,000 foot and 5000 horse, they capitulated on honourable terms, on July 23rd.
After a respite of five years, Worcester again became the seat of war. The citizens, firm in their loyalty, notwithstanding the opposition of the garrison, opened their gates to Charles II., who arrived at the head of a Scottish army of 12,000 men, attended by the Dukes of Hamilton and Buckingham, and other officers of distinction, on the 22nd of August 1651; and, after some slight opposition from the garrison, entered in triumph, preceded by the mayor and corporation, by whom, on the following day, he was solemnly proclaimed. On the 28th, Cromwell, at the head of 17,000 men, arrived at Red Hill, within one mile of the city, where he fixed his head-quarters; and being soon after joined by the forces under Generals Fleetwood, Lambert, and Harrison, his army amounted to 30,000 men. Lambert, having surprised a detachment of the king's forces ordered to guard fhe pass of the Severn, approached to besiege the city. A general engagement now took place, and the parliamentarians were beginning to give way, when a reinforcement arriving from the other side of the Severn, the royal forces were overwhelmed, and compelled to retire into the city in disorder. A part of the Scottish troops laying down their arms, and the enemy advancing on all sides, every hope of victory was dispelled; Cromwell carried the royal fort by storm, putting all the garrison to the sword, and gained possession of the city. The king, attended only by Lord Wilmot, narrowly escaped by the back entrance of the house in which he was quartered, at the moment Col. Cobbet was entering at the front, to make him prisoner; and mounting a horse which had been got ready for him, rode to Boscobel, where he was hospitably entertained, and concealed till he found means of escaping into France. The battle was still sustained for some time with desperate valour; the citizens made their last stand at the town hall, but without success, and the city was eventually given up to plunder. Cromwell describes his success upon this occasion as a " crowning mercy;" and in token of his joy for the victory, he ordered a sixty-gun ship, which was soon after launched at Woolwich, to be named the " Worcester."
The City is pleasantly situated at the base and on the acclivity of elevated ground rising gently from the east bank of the river Severn, over which is a handsome stone bridge of five elliptical arches, connecting it with the suburb of St. John's. This bridge was built in 1780, at an expense of £29,843, towards defraying which H. Crabb Boulton and John Walsh, Esqrs., members for the city, contributed £3000. Of the several spacious and regular streets, the Foregate is a stately and lengthened avenue of well-built houses, terminating with a fine view of St. Nicholas' church. The approaches exhibit rich and beautiful scenery. Bromsgrove-Lickey to the north-east, the Malvern hills to the south-west, and the Shropshire hills and the Welsh mountains in the distance, are strikingly contrasted with the windings of the Severn, and the luxuriant vales, orchards, hopgrounds, and fertile meadows, for which the surrounding country is distinguished. The streets are well paved, lighted with gas, and supplied with river water by means of a steam-engine, erected on the eastern bank of the Severn at a place called Little Pitchcroft, in 1810. An act of parliament was obtained in 1823, for more effectually paving, lighting, and watching the city, under the authority of which several improvements have been effected; and in 1846, another act was passed for a better supply of gas.
A public subscription library was established in Angelstreet in 1790, containing upwards of 5000 volumes; and a building was erected for the institution a few years since by subscription, occupying a more eligible situation on the eastern side of the Foregate, near Sansom Fields. The Atheneum was founded in January, 1829, on the plan of the mechanics' institutions; the building was erected in 1834, by W. Laslett, Esq., and contains a lecture-room measuring 40 feet by 28, a library, and other accommodations. Two medical societies have been formed, the first in 1796, and the other, to which an extensive and well-assorted library is attached, in 1815; there is also a society for the encouragement and improvement of native artists, whose first exhibition of paintings took place in the town-hall, in September 1818. The Museum of the Worcestershire Natural-History Society was opened in 1836. The theatre, a neat and appropriate building, erected in 1780, by a tontine subscription in shares of £50 each, and handsomely fitted up, is opened occasionally; and assemblies and concerts are held in the large room at the town-hall. The musical festivals of the choirs of Worcester, Hereford, and Gloucester, take place here in the cathedral, every third year, and are attended by fashionable audiences: the surplus amount of receipts is appropriated to the benefit of the widows and orphans of the poorer clergy of the associated dioceses. Races are held in August and November, those at the former time continuing for three days: the course is on Pitchcroft meadow, where a grand stand is erected, near the margin of the Severn.
The manufacture of broad-cloth prevailed here to a very great extent in the reign of Henry VIII., at which time there were 380 looms, employing 8000 persons; on its decline the carpet manufacture was introduced, which, after flourishing for a short time, was transferred to Kidderminster. The present manufactures are of porcelain and gloves, for the former of which the city has obtained a degree of reputation unequalled at home, and not surpassed abroad, the Worcester china being alike valued for its fineness and transparency, the elegance of its patterns, and the beauty of its embellishments. This branch of manufacture was established in 1751, by Dr. Wall and some other proprietors; its progress has been rapid and successful, and there are at present three factories, which have splendid showrooms, visited by persons travelling through Worcester, with infinite gratification. The glove manufacture is upon a very extensive scale, affording employment to not less than 8000 persons in the city, exclusively of many thousands in the neighbouring villages: the gloves made are in high estimation, not only in the several parts of England, but in the foreign markets, to which they are exported in great quantities. A distillery upon a large scale, a rectifying establishment, and a Britishwine manufactory, are successfully conducted; ironfoundries have been erected on the banks of the Worcester and Birmingham canal and the Severn, and a considerable trade is carried on in hops, of which there are plantations in the vicinity. The canal affords great facility of communication between Birmingham and the Severn, and for the conveyance of goods from Manchester and the north of England, through Worcester. The Severn, also, which is navigable for barges of considerable tonnage, and on the banks of which arc commodious quays and warehouses, contributes much to promote the trade. The Spetchley station of the Bristol and Birmingham railway is only four miles east of the city, and in 1845 an act was passed for a railway from Oxford to Wolverhampton, with a branch of a mile and a half to Worcester.
The market-days are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Fairs are held on the Saturday before PalmSunday, the Saturday in Easter-week, August 15th, and September 19th, which is a great fair for hops; a cattlefair is held on the first Monday in December, and there are markets free of toll on the second Monday in February, and the first Mondays in May, June, July, and November. The market-place, nearly opposite the town-hall, in High-street, is spacious, erected in 1804, at an expense of £5050; the main entrance is through a handsome arched portal of stone, with pillars of the Tuscan order, supporting a panelled entablature. The corn-market is at the east end of Silver-street: the hopmarket is held opposite Berkeley Chapel, at the south end of the Foregate.
Worcester was first constituted a city by Wulfhere, sixth king of Mercia, and additional immunities were granted by Offa and Edgar. The inhabitants were incorporated by Henry I., whose charter was confirmed by numerous subsequent sovereigns, who extended the privileges of the city, and one of whom made it a county of itself. The present corporation consists of a mayor, 12 aldermen, and 36 councillors, under the act 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76; the borough is divided into five wards; a sheriff is appointed by the council, and the number of magistrates is 15. The freedom is inherited by the eldest sons of freemen, or acquired by servitude. The city first exercised the elective franchise in the 23rd of Edward I., since which time it has regularly returned two members to parliament; in 1832, the right of election was extended to the £10 householders of an enlarged district, which comprises 1253 acres: the sheriff is returning officer. The recorder holds quarterly courts of session for all offences within the city and county of the city, not capital; a court of record takes place every Monday, for the recovery of debts to any amount, and a sheriff's court occurs monthly. The powers of the county debt-court of Worcester, established in 1847, extend over the registration-districts of Worcester and Martley.
The town-hall is a handsome brick building, with quoins, cornices, and ornaments of stone, consisting of a centre and two slightly-projecting wings, surmounted by a close-panelled parapet, decorated with urns and statues: in the centre is a statue of Justice, on each side of which are statues of Peace and Plenty. The entrance is ornamented with two engaged columns of the composite order, on one side of which is a niche containing a statue of Charles I., and on the other a statue of Charles II.; the pediment over the entrance bears the city arms. In a niche occupying the central window of the principal story is a fine statue of Queen Anne: above is a circular pediment, in the tympanum of which are the arms of England, supported by angels. The lower room is divided into two parts, by the crown bar on the north, and the nisi prius court on the south, and is adorned with portraits and ancient armour. On the upper story is the grand council-chamber, or ballroom, of the same dimensions as the lower room, with circular terminations, and divided into three compartments by two screens of columns crossing the room near the ends. It is lighted by numerous lustres, and is appropriately decorated for civic entertainments and for assemblies, which occasionally take place in it; opposite the principal entrance is a full-length portrait of George III., presented by that monarch when he visited the city in 1788. The city gaol and bridewell was built in 1824, at an expense of £12,578; the county gaol and house of correction in 1809, at an expense of £19,000. The assizes and general quarter-sessions are held in the shire-hall, in the Foregate, a fine stone edifice of the Ionic order, built in 1837, at a cost of £25,000: the entrance is by a noble portico, standing nearly 100 feet back from the street. The interior comprises a hall, approached through a large vestibule, and measuring 90 feet by 40; a crown court and nisi prius court, each 50 feet by 37; a grand-jury room, 30 feet by 20; a record-room, library, and other apartments. In the rear is a very spacious brick building, the Judges' Lodgings, presenting an elegant front to Sansom-walk.
Worcester was first erected into a see in the reign of Ethelred, and, in 679, Bosel was consecrated first bishop. The establishment, which was amply endowed by successive Saxon monarchs, consisted of Secular canons till the eighth century, when a convent, dedicated to St. Mary, was founded near the cathedral of St. Peter, of which Ethelburga was abbess. On her death, the convent was converted into a monastery for monks of the Benedictine order. The disputes which subsequently arose between the Secular clergy and the monks terminated in 969, by the surrender of the church of St. Peter to the latter; and the church of St. Mary became the cathedral of the diocese. After the Conquest, the establishment continued to increase and flourish till the Dissolution, at which time its revenue was valued at £1386. 12. 10. It was refounded by Henry VIII., for a bishop, dean, archdeacon, ten prebendaries or canons, a number of minor canons, ten lay clerks, ten choristers, two schoolmasters, forty king's scholars, and other members. Prior to the passing of the act 6th and 7th of William IV., cap. 77, the jurisdiction of the see extended over the whole of the county of Worcester, with the exception of fifteen parishes and eight chapelries, and over nearly one-third of Warwickshire. By that act it is declared that the diocese shall consist of the counties of Worcester and Warwick, comprising 394 benefices. The bishop has the patronage of the two archdeaconries, the chancellorship, and 27 benefices, with an income of £5000; the dean and chapter have the patronage of the minor canonries and 36 benefices, with an income of £8479, of which the dean has two-twelfths, and each of the six canons one-twelfth. Four of the canonries have been suspended, and the produce applied to the funds of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. There are eight honorary canons.
The ancient cathedral of St. Peter, after its surrender to the monastery of St. Mary, was rebuilt by St. Oswald, in 983, but being destroyed by Hardicanute in 1041, Bishop Wulstan in 1084 founded the present cathedral, which was enlarged and improved by several of his successors. It is a spacious and venerable pile, in the form of a double cross, with a noble square tower, rising from the centre to the height of 167 feet; the prevailing style is the early English, intermixed with portions of Norman, decorated, and later English architecture. The tower is a fine composition, enriched with series of canopied niches, in which are statues of kings and bishops, and embellished with sculpture of elegant design. The exterior of the cathedral possesses simplicity of elegance, arising from the loftiness of its elevation and the justness of its proportions; the interior is remarkable for the airiness and lightness of its appearance, and in many parts for the correctness of its details and the appropriate character of its embellishments.
The Nave contains specimens of the Norman style, and, in some places, portions in the decorated. It is separated from the aisles by finely-clustered columns and pointed arches, and lighted by a range of clerestory windows, the tracery of which is in the later style; the roof is groined, and ornamented with bosses of flowers, antique heads, and other devices. The Choir, to which is an ascent of several steps, is of early English character. The groining of the roof and the details are in general of very elegant design, and in high preservation: the altar-screen is of carved stone, and the pulpit, also of stone and of octagonal form, is sculptured with symbols of the Evangelists, and devices illustrative of scripture history; the bishop's throne and prebendal stalls are richly embellished with tabernacle-work. The east window, as well as the great west window of the nave, are modern compositions of later English architecture. The Lady chapel, also early English, consisting of a nave and aisles, is equally remarkable for the symmetry of its parts and the goodness of its preservation. In the south-eastern transept is the monumental chapel of Prince Arthur, son of Henry VII., in the later English style, of which it is an elegant specimen, containing his tomb highly enriched with sculpture emblematical of the union of the houses of York and Lancaster, and other embellishments; adjoining is the dean's chapel, and to the north the bishop's chapel, with others in various parts of the building. In the centre of the choir is the tomb of King John; the slab bearing the effigy of that monarch is of a date soon after his decease, but the tomb, which is in the later style, was probably erected at the same time as Prince Arthur's chapel. There are several other interesting monuments, among which those of Bishops Hough, Maddox, and Johnson, and of Mrs. Rae, are good specimens of sculpture.
To the south of the cathedral are the Cloisters, in the later English style, inclosing a spacious quadrangular area, on the south side of which is the ancient refectory of the monastery, now the King's school, in the decorated style, with some elegant windows, and a doorway highly enriched. On the eastern side is the Chapter-house, in which is the library, an ancient building in the form of a decagon, the roof of which, finely groined, is supported on a central column: the windows are of modern insertion; the walls are ornamented with a series of Norman intersecting arches. The Deanery is a modern embattled edifice of brick, decorated with stone, pleasantly situated on the margin of the Severn, and containing several spacious apartments.
The city comprises the parishes of St. Alban, with 247 inhabitants; All Saints, with 2203; St. Andrew, 1677; St. Clement, 2155; St. Helen, 1323; St. Martin, 50S3; St. Nicholas, 1919; St. Peter, 4575; and St. Swithin, 891. Those of St. Clement, St. Martin, and St. Peter, are partly in the Lower division of the hundred of Oswaldslow. The living of St. Alban s parish is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £5; net income, £74; patron, the Bishop. The church, a small ancient edifice, was repaired a few years ago, being in a dangerous state: what remains of the original structure is in the transition style from Norman to early English; over one or two of the arches is to be seen the nail-head moulding, and above the capitals of the pillars is some foliage, indistinct. All Saints' is a discharged rectory, valued at £13. 12. 4½., and in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £138. The living of St. Andrew's is a discharged rectory, valued at £10. 5. 10; net income, £165; patrons, the Dean and Chapter. The church has undergone extensive reparation. The tower, which in 1814 was cased with freestone, is 90 feet in height, and is surmounted by an octagonal spire, regularly and symmetrically diminishing from 20 feet at the base to only 7½ inches at the top, the whole terminated by a Corinthian capital and a gilt weathercock, and forming one of the most striking ornaments of the city. The spire was erected in 1751, by Nathaniel Wilkinson, a stone mason of the city. The parish of St. Clement comprises about 95 acres, chiefly meadow land. The living is a discharged rectory, valued at £5. 5.; patrons, the Dean and Chapter; net income, £150. The old church, a small structure of stone, stood on the eastern bank of the Severn, although the principal part of the parish is on the western side; being much decayed, and liable to be flooded, a new edifice on an enlarged scale was built, which was opened in 1823. It is situated on the upper road to Henwick, &c, and is in the Norman style. The expense of its erection was nearly £6000, and was defrayed by subscription, aided by the appropriation of several small benefactions, and a grant from the Society for Building Churches. On taking down the old church, a most interesting and unique Saxon gold coin was discovered. The living of St. Helen's is a discharged rectory, valued at £11; net income, £136; patron, the Bishop. The church was repewed in 1836: it consists of a nave and aisles, and is in the later English style, with some early English windows on the south-east side. St. Martin's parish comprises 1392a. 1r. 35p., of which 383 acres are arable, 725 meadow and pasture, 93 woodland, and 21 in homesteads and gardens. The living is a rectory, valued at £15. 3. 4.; net income, £378; patrons, the Dean and Chapter. St. Nicholas' comprises 47 acres, homesteads and garden-ground. The living is a discharged rectory, valued at £16. 10. 7½.; net income, £260; patron, the Bishop. The church is a uniform modern structure, with a handsome steeple, and from its situation in the more open part of the town forms a conspicuous and interesting object in the perspective of the Foregate and Broad-street. The living of St. Peter's is a vicarage, valued at £12. 4. 2.; net income, £233; patrons, the Dean and Chapter; appropriators, the Dean and Canons of Christ-Church, Oxford. The church was rebuilt in 1838. St. Swithin's is a discharged rectory, valued at £15. 15., and in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter; net income, £170. A district church was consecrated in 1845 at Blockhouse, which see. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, Independents, Wesleyans, and Roman Catholics.
The Royal grammar school connected with the cathedral was founded at the time of that establishment by Henry VIII., for forty boys: there are two exhibitions to Balliol College, Oxford, founded by Dr. Bell, Bishop of Worcester, which are restricted to this diocese. The Free grammar school was instituted by Queen Elizabeth, in 1561, for twelve boys. It stands the third in claim to six scholarships established by Sir Thomas Cookes, Bart., founder of Worcester College, Oxford, which lead to the six fellowships in that college by the same founder, as vacancies occur. The Rev. John Meek, in 1665, bequeathed to Magdalen Hall, Oxford, estates then producing £100 per annum for ten scholars from this school. Joseph Worfield, in 1642, assigned land for the maintenance and education of fourteen boys to be sent to either of the universities for seven years: the income is about £240 per annum, and is appropriated to the payment of £30 each a year to seven students in the university. The Free school, and Trinity almshouses, were founded in 1558, by Thomas Wilde, who endowed them with land now producing, with subsequent donations, an income of nearly £300: the buildings, situated partly in the parish of St. Nicholas, and partly in that of St. Swithin, consist of a schoolroom, with a dwelling-house for the master, and 29 apartments for the almspeople. Schools for sixteen boys and eight girls were established in 1713, by Bishop Lloyd, who endowed them with a small estate now worth about £80 per annum.
St. Oswald's hospital was established prior to 1268, and originally endowed for a master, chaplain, and four brethren; at the time of the Dissolution it was given to the Dean and Chapter, but had been deprived of a considerable portion of the lands which it possessed. In 1660, Dr. John Fell, Bishop of Oxford, having been appointed to the mastership, successfully exerted himself for the recovery of its alienated property; a new charter of foundation was obtained in the 15th of Charles II., and almshouses for ten men and a chapel were erected. Thomas Haynes, Esq., in 1681 built rooms for six additional brethren, and added £50 per annum to its endowment. Its present revenue is £1681, which is appropriated to the support of sixteen aged men and twelve women. Some almshouses founded by Richard Inglethorpe for six aged men and a woman to attend upon them, have an endowment of £53 per annum, exclusively of fines on the renewal of leases, which amount to a considerable sum; they have been rebuilt for nine inmates. John Nash, alderman of the city, in 1661 founded ten almshouses, to which he assigned lands, for eight aged men, and two aged and unmarried women to wait upon them; the endowment produces an income of £367, which is paid to seventeen almspeople. He likewise left an apprenticing fund of £4 per annum to each of the nine parishes. Michael Wyatt, in 1725, left property in trust to the corporation, for the erection and endowment of houses for six freemen; the premises are neatly built of brick, and the annual produce of the endowment is £49. Berkeley's hospital was founded in 1692, by Robert Berkeley, Esq., of Spetchley, who endowed it with £6000 from the rents of his lands, in annual sums of £400, for twelve aged men and one aged woman, and for the payment of £20 per annum to a chaplain for performing service in the chapel. Geary's almshouses, for four aged women, are endowed with about £30 per annum. Shewring's hospital was founded in 1702, by Thomas Shewring, alderman, who assigned to it land producing at present nearly £150 per annum, for six aged women. William Jarviss, in 1772, bequeathed property now worth £122. 13. per annum, for the support of three aged freemen and one widow, and for apprenticing four boys of the parish of St. Andrew annually. Eight almshouses bequeathed in 1567, by John Walsgrove, to the poor of that parish, were rebuilt in 1825. There are numerous other charitable bequests and donations, amounting in the aggregate to a very considerable sum per annum; in addition to which, Worcester is one of the cities partaking of Sir Thomas White's charity. The parish of St. Swithin is in possession of lands and houses, the annual value of which is computed at £763, appropriated to the repair of the church and the relief of needy parishioners. The City and County Infirmary, erected in 1770, adjoining Pitchcroft meadow, was completed at an expense of £6085, by subscription: it has two handsome fronts; the internal arrangements are well adapted, and a considerable quantity of garden and pleasure ground is attached. The House of Industry, an extensive brick building to the east of the town, was erected by act of parliament obtained in 1792, for the accommodation of the incorporated parishes of the city; the buildings were erected at an expense of £7318, and the purchase of the land belonging to it cost £2273. The poor-law union comprises the parishes within the city, with those of St. Martin, St. Clement, St. Peter, and St. John Bedwardine, and the tything of Whistones in the parish of Claines.
Among the ancient Monastic Establishments was an hospital founded in the south-east part of the city, in honour of St. Wulstan, bishop of the see, in 1088; the revenue at the Dissolution was £79. 12. 6., and the remains, denominated the Commandery, are considerable. Here were also, a convent of Grey friars, without St. Martin's gate, instituted about the year 1268, by the Beauchamps, earls of Warwick, the remains of which were for several years used as the city gaol; a convent of Dominican friars in the west part of the city, the site of which is now covered with buildings; and a convent of White nuns of the Benedictine order, which existed at the time of the Conquest, and at the Dissolution had a revenue of £53. 13. 7. The site of this last still bears the name of the White Ladies; a small portion of the buildings is visible, and a farm, about a mile from the city, called the Nunnery, is probably a part of its ancient demesne. The Guild of the Holy Trinity was instituted by Henry IV., and, on its dissolution, was converted into an hospital by Queen Elizabeth.
Of the prelates of the see have been, the venerable Latimer, and Drs. Prideaux, Stillingfleet, and Hurd: Florence and William of Worcester were brethren in the monastery. Nicholas Facio de Duillier, born in Switzerland, and author of several mathematical and philosophical works, resided here for thirty-three years, and was buried in St. Nicholas' church, in 1753. Dr. Thomas, son of Bishop Thomas, and author of a survey of the Cathedral of Worcester; and Drs. Mackenzie, Johnstone, and Wall, eminent medical practitioners, were also residents. Among the eminent natives have been, Edward Kelley, noted for his knowledge of chymistry and astrology, born in 1555; John, Lord Somers, the celebrated lawyer; and Mr. Thomas White, a distinguished sculptor and architect. Worcester gives the inferior title of Marquess to the Duke of Beaufort.
WORCESTERSHIRE, an inland county, bounded on the west by Herefordshire, on the south and southeast by Gloucestershire, on the east and north-east by Warwickshire, on the north by Staffordshire, and on the north-west by Salop. It extends from 52° 0' to 52° 30' (N. Lat.), and from 2° 14' to 3° 0' (W. Lon.); and comprises an area of upwards of 780 square miles, or about 500,000 acres. Within its limits are 46,919 inhabited houses, 2902 uninhabited, and 348 in course of erection; and the population amounts to 233,336, of whom 114,664 are males, and 118,672 females.
At the period of the Roman invasion of Britain, the district now included within the confines of Worcestershire is supposed to have been partly occupied by the ancient British tribe of the Cornavii, and partly by that of the Dobuni. Under the Roman dominion it was a portion of the division called Flavia Cæsariensis, but being then for the most part low and woody, it received but little attention. On the complete establishment of the Saxon heptarchy, it was comprised in the kingdom of Mercia; and in the predatory invasions of the Danes at a later period, it suffered in common with most other parts of the kingdom. The county is in the diocese of Worcester, and province of Canterbury, and forms an archdeaconry, including the deaneries of Blockley, Droitwich, Evesham, Kidderminster, Pershore, Powick, Kington, Warwick, Wich, and Worcester: the number of parishes is 171. For purposes of civil government it is divided into the five hundreds of Blackenhurst, Doddingtree, Halfshire, Oswaldslow, and Pershore, each of which is separated into Upper and Lower, excepting Oswaldslow, which has also a Middle division. It contains the city of Worcester; the borough and market towns of Bewdley, Droitwich, Dudley, Kidderminster, and Evesham; and the market-towns of Bromsgrove, Hales-Owen, Pershore, Shipston, Stourbridge, Stourport, Tenbury, and Upton. By the act 2nd of William IV., cap. 45, the county was divided into the Eastern and Western divisions, each empowered to send two members to parliament; two citizens are returned for the city of Worcester, two burgesses for Evesham, and one each for Bewdley, Droitwich, Dudley, and Kidderminster. The county is included in the Oxford circuit; and the assizes and quarter-sessions are held at Worcester, where stands the county gaol and house of correction.
The form of the county approaches a parallelogram, two-thirds of the area lying east of the Severn; but its boundaries are extremely irregular, and its detached portions numerous. The general appearance of the surface, when viewed from the heights bordering it in different parts, is that of a rich plain, the more gentle elevations being hardly discernible. The Vale of the Severn, extending through it from north to south, a distance of about thirty miles, varies in breadth from a quarter of a mile to a mile, and contains about 10,000 acres. The Vale of Evesham is an indefinite tract in the southeastern part of the county, including the Valley of the Avon, the adjoining uplands to the north of that river, and the whole of the vale land in the southern part of the county and the adjoining parts of Gloucestershire. To the north-east of Bromsgrove is a ridge of hills called the Lickey, which extends to Hagley, and has various branches eastward: some of its highest peaks rise to a height of nearly 900 feet. The Abberley hills, in the north-western part of the county, extend over the parish of Abberley, and are seen to a great distance, rising to about the same height as the last-mentioned: Witley Hill is a little south of these. Bredon Hill is another remarkable elevation, to the south of Pershore, and on the south-eastern side of the Avon, rising to the height of nearly 900 feet. But by far the loftiest tract is the Malvern hills, a chain extending from north to south, upon a base about six miles in length and from one to two in breadth: a line passing along the summit of this ridge separates Worcestershire from Herefordshire; the most elevated point attains the height of 1313 feet above the Severn. The views from most of these eminences are of extraordinary beauty and extent, particularly those from the Malvern hills; and their rocky summits give a picturesque diversity to the scenery.
The soils are remarkable for their general fertility, and add a peculiarly rich verdure to a district presenting great beauty of outline, and enjoying an eminently fine climate. The valleys that are traversed by the principal rivers consist of a deep sediment, deposited by floods during a long series of ages: this sediment is in some places a pure clay, adapted to the making of bricks, but is generally a rich mould. Valuable clay and loamy soils occupy nearly half the county in its middle, southern, and western districts, yielding, besides the ordinary crops of other counties, great quantities of hops and fruits. The soil and climate being well adapted to the production of every kind of grain, the agriculture of the county is less subject to any characteristic system than that of almost any other; the amount of arable land is estimated at 360,000 acres, and the crops generally cultivated are, wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas, vetches, turnips, and hops. The sands of Wolverley are remarkable for their produce of carrots and carrot-seed, for the most part sold to persons who carry them to the markets of Birmingham, Stourbridge, or the populous parts of Staffordshire. The county has long been famous for the culture of hops, in all cases upon a deep loam, or u peaty soil, plentifully manured. The extensive vales, particularly that of the Severn, consist of meadows and pastures of a remarkably rich quality, occupying an extent of about 50,000 acres: almost any proportion of this land may be mown at pleasure, and a great quantity of hay is sent to the mining districts of Salop and Staffordshire. There are, besides, nearly 50,000 acres of permanent upland pasture, including parks and pleasure-grounds.
The extent of land applied to the raising of vegetables, is estimated at about 5000 acres; and there are very considerable horticultural tracts near the principal towns, more particularly on the north-eastern side of Worcester, and on the northern side of the town of Evesham. In the vicinity of the latter place are about 300 acres of gardenground, which, besides producing all the other ordinary vegetables, supplies the cities of Bath and Bristol, and the town of Birmingham, with considerable quantities of early peas and asparagus; great quantities of cucumbers and onions are exported from the same district, chiefly to the last-mentioned town, and much onion-seed is also produced there. The county has for many centuries been famous for its orchards, which flourish in a degree unknown in most other parts of the kingdom; they are situated chiefly around the towns, villages, and farmhouses, of the middle, southern, and western parts of the county, where the various kinds of fruit-trees are also frequently dispersed in the hedge-rows. The quantity of cider and perry made is remarkably great, for, after supplying the consumption of the county, a large surplus, together with quantities of raw fruit, is sent to other parts of the kingdom.
Worcestershire is adorned with a plentiful store of timber. In many parts are oak coppices of different degrees of growth, and in some are small tracts of the finest oak and ash timber, particularly in the neighbourhood of the different seats; the most important produce of the underwoods is, poles for the hop-yards, and charcoal for the iron-works. Some parts possess beech-timber of excellent quality; and many of the precipitous heights bordering on the Severn, and the hills in some other places, are ornamented with large plantations of fir. The hedge-rows, throughout a large portion of the more fertile districts, are stocked with some of the most valuable elm-timber in the kingdom, especially in the parishes of Hartlebury, Elmley-Lovett, Ombersley, &c.; great quantities of it are regularly cut down and sent to Birmingham, or exported by the Severn. On the borders of the rivers are many poplar and willow plantations, more particularly along the course of the Teme. The waste lands do not, at most, exceed 20,000 acres; they consist of high hilly tracts, or of small commons and wastes, dispersed in various quarters. Of the hilly wastes, the principal are the upper parts of the Malvern hills, which are very rocky; of Bredon Hill, near Pershore; and of the Abberley and Witley hills, together with some of the uninclosed parts of Bromsgrove-Lickey. Wyre Forest, to the left of Bewdley, besides its woodlands, comprises also a considerable portion of open land.
The mineral productions are of minor importance. Coal is obtained in the north-western part of the county, particularly at Mamble, which place communicates, by means of an iron tramway, with the Leominster canal; and again at Pensax, where the small refuse is partly converted into coke, highly esteemed for drying hops, and is partly used for burning the limestone obtained at Witley Hill. Common rock-salt and a species of gypsum are found at Droitwich. Limestone of the lias formation forms the substratum of nearly the whole south-eastern portion of the county, and is worked at South Littleton and elsewhere; the kind called by geologists "carboniferous limestone," is found in the hills of the north-western part, and is burned in several places, especially at Witley and Huddington. The town of Dudley is situated at the southern extremity of a range of limestone hills, of the Wenlock formation, part of the Silurian system of Murchison, which extends into Staffordshire; and this, upon which stand Dudley Castle and part of the town, is completely undermined by stupendous quarries. Freestone for building is obtained in several places. The Malvern hills are formed chiefly of a kind of decomposed granite, with which, on their northern side, gneiss is connected, and on their eastern, sienite. The lower ridge of Bromsgrove-Lickey is composed chiefly of quartz, a silicious stone, which is found to be a stone of the Caradoc formation altered by heat; the beacon hill, contiguous, is composed of a rock of igneous origin. The parallel and more elevated ridge of the Upper Lickey is a much newer rock of the new redsandstone formation. In the Broadway hills a reddish stone is quarried. In the Vale of Evesham (in the parishes of Badsey, the three Littletons, and Prior's-Cleeve), are quarries of a calcareous flagstone, about three inches thick, and of a very durable quality, some of it bearing a fine polish; considerable quantities are raised for gravestones, kitchen-floors, barn-floors, &c, and much of it is exported by means of the Avon navigation. Brick-clay, gravel, sand, and marl, exist in numerous places. The most remarkable fossil production is that found in the limestone at Dudley, thence called the "Dudley Trilobite," of which several species have been discovered.
The Manufactures are various, extensive, and important. Those of gloves and porcelain are carried on at Worcester. Stourbridge has a manufacture of glass, as has also Dudley; and at both places the iron manufacture is carried on to a very considerable extent. Nails, needles, and fish-hooks, are made at Bromsgrove, and at Redditch on the border of Warwickshire. Kidderminster is famous for its carpets; and the manufacture of bombazines is still carried on, but not so extensively as formerly. On the river Stour and its tributary streams, are several very considerable works in which pig-iron from the foundries of Shropshire, Staffordshire, and other mining districts, is rendered malleable, and worked into bars, rods, sheet-iron, &c. The manufacture of salt, at Droitwich, is known to have been practised so eai-ly as the year 816, when the county formed part of the Saxon kingdom of Mercia.
The principal Rivers are the Severn, the Upper Avon, the Teme, and the Stour. The Severn is navigable for vessels of 80 tons' burthen as high as Worcester bridge, and for those of 60 tons in the higher part of its course through the county; but the navigation, though of great benefit and importance, is frequently impeded in the summer by sands and shoals. By the statute 30th of Charles II., cap. 9, the conservancy of the river, within the limits of the county, is granted to the magistrates of Worcestershire. The Upper Avon, so early as the year 1637, was made navigable, with the aid of locks, in the whole of its course through Worcestershire, a distance of about twenty miles. The Teme has too great a declivity, and its waters are too shallow, to admit of its being navigated higher than a small distance above Powick; the scenery on its banks is particularly beautiful. The Stour is navigable for a short distance to some of the iron-works on its banks.
The Trent and Severn, or, as it is more commonly called, the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal, enters the county near Wolverley, and thence proceeds down the valley of the Stour, and by the town of Kidderminster, to the navigable channel of the Severn, at Stourport, where it has a spacious basin. The length of that part of its course included in Worcestershire is about nine miles, in which it has nine locks, and a fall of 90 feet. This canal, one of the works of the celebrated Brindley, is that branch of the Grand Trunk which unites the navigation of the Severn with the water communication between the rivers Trent and Mersey; the act for its formation was obtained in 1766, and it was completed about the year 1770. The Droitwich canal, from that town to the Severn, down the valley of the Salwarpe, was constructed soon after the above, and by the same engineer; it is five miles and a half long, with five locks and a fall of about 60 feet, and the cost of its formation was £25,000. The noble canal from Birmingham to the Severn immediately below Worcester, called the Birmingham and Worcester canal, for vessels of sixty tons' burthen, commences with a short tunnel in the vicinity of the first-mentioned town, and proceeds nearly southward, across two valleys, by extensive embankments, to a little beyond King's-Norton, where it passes through a tunnel upwards of a mile in length. Then, after completing its summit level, sixteen miles and three-quarters from the wharfs at Birmingham, it descends south-westward from the towns of Bromsgrove and Droitwich, by a lockage of 450 feet fall, to the Severn. The act of parliament for its formation was obtained in 1791. Its total length is twenty-nine miles. The Dudley Extension canal branches from it near Selly Oak, and proceeds westward, through a long tunnel, to Hales-Owen, a short distance beyond which it is carried through another tunnel. On emerging, it pursues a winding northern course to Dudley, and there passes through a tunnel under the limestone hills, nearly two miles in length, into the county of Stafford, where it forms a junction with the canal to Wolverhampton. Its total length is thirteen miles. The Stratford-upon-Avon canal branches from the Birmingham and Worcester canal near King's-Norton, and proceeds eastward, through a small tunnel, into Warwickshire. The Kington, Leominster and Stourport canal was projected towards the close of the last century, the act for the execution of the design being obtained in 1791; but the expense was found much to exceed the sum at first computed, and only tne part between Leominster and Stourport has been completed. The Birmingham and Bristol railway enters the county from Birmingham, and passing a little to the east of Bromsgrove, Droitwich, and Worcester, and on the west of Pershore, quits it to the north-east of Tewkesbury.
The Roman roads that crossed the county were, the Ikeneld-street, which ran northward, from Alcester, in Warwickshire, through its north-western extremity, into Staffordshire; another that passed from Worcester into Salop; a third, from Worcester, southward by Upton, to Tewkesbury, where it joined the Ikeneld-street; and the Ridge-way, which bounds the county for several miles, on the east. Numerous vestiges of them are still visible; as also of a Fosse-way, which pursues its course through the detached parish of Blockley; and of an ancient road that intersected Hagley common, now called the King's Headland. Stukeley supposes Upton, on the banks of the Severn, to be the Ypocessa of the Romans; and Worcester, from the termination of its name and other circumstances, appears to have been either a Roman station, or a fort. The remains of antiquity include few very remarkable objects. Near the Four-shire Stone, where the counties of Worcester, Gloucester, Warwick, and Oxford meet, is a small earthwork, supposed by Gough to be of British construction; and there are traces of other old encampments in the vicinities of Bredon, Kempsey, and Malvern; also on Witchbury Hill, Woodbury Hill, and Conderton Hill in the parish of Overbury. Various coins of the Lower Empire have been found in the vicinity of Hagley, particularly near the large camp on Witchbury Hill; and on Clent heath, about half a mile from Witchbury, are five barrows, assigned by popular tradition to the Romans, which, on being opened, were found to contain burnt wood, ashes, and bones.
The number of religious houses, including colleges and hospitals, was about twenty-eight. Remains yet exist of the abbeys of Bordesley, Evesham, Hales-Owen, and Pershore; of the commandery of St. Wulstan at Worcester; of the priories of Dodford and Great Malvern; and of the nunnery of Cokehill, in the parish of Inkberrow. There are also relics of the ancient castles of Dudley; Ham, near Clifton-upon-Teme; Hartlebury; and Holt. Worcestershire contains a considerable number of elegant mansions, among which are, Croome Park, Hartlebury Castle, Hewell Park, Madresfield, Northwick Park, Ombersley Court, Witley Court, Hagley Park, Hanbury Hall, and Stanford Court. The mineral springs are very numerous. Among the most noted are, the chalybeate waters of Bredon, Bromsgrove (which are also petrifying), Hallow Park near Worcester, Kidderminster, and Worcester; and those of other qualities at Abberton, near Naunton-Beauchamp, and at Church-hill. But the Malvern wells, which possess various properties, are by far the most celebrated, and, in conjunction with the fine climate and scenery of the surrounding country, have rendered the town of Great Malvern a place of fashionable resort.
WORDSLEY, a hamlet, in the parish of King'sSwinford, union of Stourbridge, N. division of the hundred of Seisdon, S. division of the county of Stafford, 2 miles (N.) from Stourbridge; containing 3642 inhabitants. This is a large village, situated on the road from Stourbridge to Wolverhampton; the soil around it is of a sandy quality, and the surface is undulated. Glass-works have been established here for some centuries; there is also an iron-foundry, and coal-mines are wrought within a quarter of a mile. The river Stour passes close to the village, and the Dudley and Stourbridge canal runs through it. Petty-sessions are held every Monday. The church at Swinford being too small for the wants of this populous district, a handsome edifice was erected here in 1831, which is now considered as the parish church. There is a place of worship for Methodists; also a national school built in 1836, and an infants' school in 1843.
Wordwell (All Saints)
WORDWELL (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Thingoe, hundred of Blackbourn, W. division of Suffolk, 6 miles (N. by W.) from Bury St. Edmund's; containing 66 inhabitants, and comprising 2209a. 16p. The living is a discharged rectory, united to that of West Stow, and valued in the king's books at £7. 7. 3½.: the tithes have been commuted for £174. 5. 9. The church is a small edifice in the Norman style.
Worfield (St. Peter, or St. Matthew)
WORFIELD (St. Peter, or St. Matthew), a parish, in the union of Bridgnorth, hundred of Brimstree, S. division of Salop, 3¾ miles (N. E. by E.) from Bridgnorth, and 11 (W. by S.) from Wolverhampton; containing 1643 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the river Worfe, comprises 10,500 acres, chiefly arable and pasture land, highly cultivated, abounding in a rich loamy soil, and having a variety of beautiful home scenery; woods, valleys, red-sandstone rocks, and picturesque hills. The turnpike-road between Bridgnorth and Wolverhampton passes through it. The population is entirely employed in agriculture. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £16. 15., and in the gift of W. S. Davenport, Esq., the impropriator: the great tithes have been commuted for £1745, and the vicarial for £239; the glebe is situated near the Clee hills, and consists of about 14 acres of poor land, principally sheep-walk. There is a small vicarage-house, with a garden, near the church, but being insufficient for the residence of a clergyman, it is occupied by a cottager. The church, consisting of a nave, two aisles, a chancel, and a noble tower and spire, nearly 200 feet high, was built previous to the reign of Edward III., and has been gradually restored at a considerable cost; it is of red-sandstone, and in the decorated style: the north-east and south-east windows, the latter of five lights, are filled with painted glass. Various charities belong to the parish. Out of the surplus funds of one, termed the Brierley charity, some spacious schools, with residences for the master and mistress, have been erected under the Lord Chancellor's sanction; they are of red-sandstone, and in the domestic Tudor style. The schools are each capable of containing 150 children, and are endowed with a certain sum for the teachers, and for clothing, apprenticing, and rewarding, the children.
Workington (St. Michael)
WORKINGTON (St. Michael), a market-town, sea-port, and parish, in the union of Cockermouth, Allerdale ward above Derwent, W. division of Cumberland; containing, with the chapelry of Great Clifton, and the townships of Little Clifton, Stainburn, and Winscales, 6994 inhabitants, of whom 6045 are in the town, 34 miles (S. W. by W.) from Carlisle, and 310 (N. W. by N.) from London. The only historical circumstance of interest connected with this place is the landing here, in 1568, of Mary, Queen of Scots, when she sought an asylum in England, after her escape from the field of Langside. She was hospitably entertained at Workington Hall (the apartment she occupied being still called the Queen's chamber), until Elizabeth gave directions for her removal to Carlisle Castle. The town is situated on the southern bank of the Derwent, near its influx into the sea, and, in addition to the older part, which is narrow and irregular, contains some modern streets, in which are many handsome and wellbuilt houses. It is supplied with water from the Derwent, and in 1840 an act was passed for paving, watching, and otherwise improving the town. There are a small theatre in Christian-street, and an assembly and news room in the Square. The Hall, the ancient seat of the Curwens, occupies an eminence on the south side of the river, commanding beautiful views of the surrounding country, the sea, and part of Scotland. Upon the Cloffocks, an extra-parochial meadow or island north-east of the town, on the banks of the Derwent, races are held annually in August. A handsome stone bridge of three arches crosses the river, at the entrance into the town from Maryport; it was erected in 1763, at the expense of the county.
The trade principally arises from the exportation of coal to Ireland, in which more than 100 vessels are employed. The harbour, being secured by a breakwater, is one of the safest on the coast: the entrance is lighted with gas. Great improvement was effected in enlarging the quays, by the late Mr. Curwen; and in 1840, an act was passed for the preservation and regulation of the harbour. About 500 persons are engaged in the collieries; and there are three ship-builders' yards, in which vessels of from 300 to 400 tons' burthen are constructed; also two patent-slips. The manufacture of cordage and other articles connected with the shipping is carried on, though not so extensively as formerly; and a factory for imitation Leghorn hats gives employment to upwards of 400 men, women, and children, during the summer months, in the preparation of the straw, which is grown in the neighbourhood. The salmon-fishery, for which Camden mentions the place to be famous, although not so productive as in his time, is still pursued in the Derwent and along the coast. The Whitehaven and Maryport railway passes by the town, and has a station here, 7 miles distant from Whitehaven, and 5 from Maryport. In 1845, an act was obtained for a railway from the harbour to Cockermouth: this line, 8¾ miles in length, was completed April 28th, 1847. The markets are on Wednesday and Saturday, of which the former, a large corn-market lately removed to Washington-street, is the principal: there is another market-place, for butter, poultry, &c, which is connected with convenient shambles for butchers' meat. The fairs, on the 18th of May and October, have nearly fallen into disuse. Manor courts occur occasionally; and the county magistrates hold petty-sessions every Wednesday, at the public office in Udale-street.
The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £33. 5.; net income, £966; patron, Henry Curwen, Esq.: the tithes were commuted for land in 1809. The church, situated at the west end of the town, and rebuilt in 1770, is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a square tower. St. John's district church was erected under the auspices of Her Majesty's Commissioners, the first stone being laid on April 15th, 2822; it is a fine building of the Tuscan order, with a portico and cupola, and the cost of its erection was upwards of £10,000. The living is in the gift of the Rector, who also presents to the chapel at Clifton. There are places of worship for Independents, Primitive Methodists, Wesleyans, Presbyterians, and Roman Catholics. A school was founded in 1808, by the late Mr. Curwen, when the free grammar school was broken up; a school of industry was established in 1816, for thirty girls, and several benevolent institutions are maintained by voluntary contributions. On an eminence near the sea, a short distance hence, are the remains of an ancient dilapidated building called the Old Chapel, which, as it commanded an extensive view of Solway Firth and the Scottish coast, was probably used as a watch-tower, to guard against the incursions of the Scots.
Worksop (St. Mary and St. Cuthbert)
WORKSOP (St. Mary and St. Cuthbert), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the Hatfield division of the wapentake of Bassetlaw, N. division of the county of Nottingham, 26 miles (N.) from Nottingham, and 146 (N. N. W.) from London; containing, with the chapelry of Shireoaks, and the townships of Gateford, Haggonfield, Osberton, Radford, and Scofton, 6197 inhabitants. This place, which in Domesday book is written Witchesope, and in other records of that period Wyrksoppe and Wirkensop, appears to have belonged, prior to the Conquest, to Elsi, a Saxon nobleman. It was afterwards granted by the Conqueror to Roger de Busli, and subsequently became the property of William de Lovetot, who, in the reign of Henry I., founded here a priory for Canons regular of the order of St. Augustine, the prior of which was, in the time of Henry III., summoned to parliament. After a considerable period, it passed, by the marriage of the heiress of the Lovetots, to the family of Furnival; then to that of Nevill; and from that family to the"' Talbots, afterwards earls of Shrewsbury, to whom, on the dissolution of monastic establishments, the revenue of the priory, valued at £239, was granted by Henry VIII. From this family the manor descended by marriage to the earls of Arundel, subsequently dukes of Norfolk, who held it as tenants in chief of the crown, by the service of a knight's fee, and of procuring a glove for the king's right hand at his coronation, and supporting that hand while holding the sceptre. It has lately been sold to the Duke of Newcastle. In Dec. 1460, an engagement took place at Worksop between the forces of the Duke of York and those of the Duke of Somerset, when the latter were defeated. Gilbert, first Earl of Shrewsbury, who so much distinguished himself in the French wars under Henry V., built the magnificent mansion-house, afterwards the place of confinement of Mary, Queen of Scots, in the sixteenth year of her captivity, she being at that time in the custody of George, sixth earl. Her son, James I., on the 20th of April, 1603, rested here, on his way to London to assume the English crown. In 1761, the house was accidentally destroyed by fire, but it was soon afterwards splendidly rebuilt. Of late years it has been pulled down.
The town is situated in a pleasant valley, near the northern extremity of the Forest of Sherwood, in the midst of a well-wooded and picturesque country. The vicinity is ornamented by the magnificent seats of several noblemen, amongst which are, Welbeck Abbey the seat 'of the Duke of Portland; Clumber, the mansion of the Duke of Newcastle; and Thoresby, the seat of Earl Manvers. The parish comprises 17,445a. lr. 7p., a large portion of which is within the parks of Worksop manor and Clumber, and in wood and plantations; the commons and Forest waste lands were inclosed under an act passed in 1803. Worksop is neat in its general appearance, and consists, in the higher and principal part, of one long street, with a second running into it at right angles; the houses are well built, the town is paved, lighted with gas, and adequately supplied with water. Camden describes it as famous for the production of liquorice, but this has long since ceased to be cultivated. Malt, which is made in considerable quantities, barley being much grown in the surrounding country, is the principal article of trade; and the Chesterfield canal, passing on the northern side of the town, affords every facility for its conveyance to Manchester and other markets: on this canal are wharfs communicating with the town, and to the east it crosses the river Ryton by an aqueduct. An act was passed in 1846 for a railway from Sheffield, by Worksop, to Gainsborough. The market is on Wednesday; there are fairs on March 31st and Oct. 14th, for horses and cattle, and a statutefair about three weeks after. The powers of the county debt-court of Worksop, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Worksop, and part of that of Southwell. Constables are chosen at the annual court leet of the manor.
The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £12. 4. 2.; net income, £388; patron and impropriator, the Duke of Portland: the tithes were commuted for land and corn-rents in 1803. The church, standing on the east side of the town, comprises the western portion of the priory church, and its cathedral-like towers form an interesting object in the view of Worksop. It is one of the principal remaining specimens of Norman architecture, but in the exterior much of the English style has been incorporated. The western entrance is under a beautiful receding Norman arch with zigzag ornaments, and the towers which surmount it have circular and pointed arched windows, in different gradations. The nave is separated from the aisles by pillars alternately cylindrical and octangular, supporting circular arches with quatrefoils, above which are two tiers of windows: the pulpit and reading-desk have been lately replaced by new ones. At the south-eastern extremity of the church are the remains of the chapel of St. Mary, forming an interesting ruin; the ornamental parts are most richly executed, and the windows are considered some of the most perfect models of the lancet shape in the kingdom. On the northern side, and contiguous to the church, are some fragments of the priory walls, and in the meadows below are extensive traces of the foundation. The priory well is still in high estimation, for the purity and softness of the water. The principal gateway to the priory forms the entrance towards the church; it is in the later English style, and measures 20 yards in front, with a pediment, in the tympanum of which is a niche with a figure in a sitting posture. Above is a window of twelve lights; also two canopied niches of great beauty, which contain figures described by Dodsworth (when they were in a much better state of preservation) as those of armed knights, each bearing a shield, that on the west charged with a lion rampant for Talbot, and that on the east bearing a bend between six mantletts for Furnival. The room over the gateway is used as a national school for boys; the stone staircase leading to it is entered by an elegant porch, rising about two-thirds of the height of the whole front. At Shireoaks is a neat chapel, built and endowed in 1809, by the Rev. John Hewitt, then lord of the manor. At Scofton, close to the hamlet of Osberton, is a handsome chapel, capable of accommodating upwards of 200 persons, erected and endowed by Geo. Savile Foljambe, Esq., to whom the right of presentation belongs: it was consecrated Dec. 30th, 1834. A stately church, also, has been erected at Clumber, near the seat, by the Duke of Newcastle, who has liberally endowed it. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans; and, near the site of the manor-house, a chapel for Roman Catholics, who are numerous in the neighbourhood. The poor-law union of Worksop comprises 26 parishes or places, 11 of which are in the county of Nottingham, 11 in the West riding of York, and 4 in Derbyshire; the whole containing a population of 17,975.
On a hill west of the town, the site of the castle of the Lovetots may still be traced; and in the manor park are some tumuli, which, from fragments discovered in them, appear to be ancient British. The hamlet of Shireoaks is so named from an oak whose branches are said to have overshadowed a portion of the three counties of Nottingham, Derby, and York. At Osberton, human bones, stone coffins, an antique font, some stained glass, &c., have been found at various times, the supposed remains of a church. The ruins of the old manor-house of Gateford, with its gables, moats, &c, are still visible; near them, in 1826, several coins of Nero and Domitian were found.
WORLABY, an extra-parochial liberty, in the poorlaw union of Louth, hundred of Hill, parts of Lindsey, county of Lincoln, 7 miles (S.) from Louth; containing 28 inhabitants.
Worlaby (St. Clement)
WORLABY (St. Clement), a parish, in the union of Glandford-Brigg, N. division of the wapentake of Yarborough, parts of Lindsay, county of Lincoln, 5½ miles (N. by E.) from Glandford-Brigg; containing 426 inhabitants. This place, which is included in the duchy of Lancaster, was the seat of the Belasis family, one of whom, John, second son of the first Viscount Fauconberg, was lord of the treasury under James II., and was in 1644 created a baron, of Worlaby, or Worletby; a title that became extinct on the death of his grandson without issue. The parish is situated on the road from Glandford-Brigg to Barton, and comprises 2170 acres, in nearly equal portions of arable and grass land, part consisting of rich marshes extending westward to the navigable river Ancholme, and part lying on the Wold Hill, east of the village. The soil is mostly chalky, and the scenery is beautiful, though towards the west the surface is flat. The living, of which the net income is £278, is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 8. 4., and in the gift of John Webb, Esq., who is impropriator. The church is an ancient structure, with a square tower. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans; also an almshouse for four widows, founded in 1663 by Lord Belasis, who endowed it with property now producing, with a bequest of £100 by William Cook in 1810, a yearly sum of £25. 14.
WORLDHAM, EAST, a parish, in the union and hundred of Alton, Alton and N. divisions of the county of Southampton, 2½ miles (E. by S.) from Alton; containing 254 inhabitants. It comprises by measurement 1684 acres, of which 910 are arable, 454 meadow and pasture, 90 wood, and 35 in hop-plantations. About two-thirds of the land are on malm rock, and the remainder forms a strong cold clay; the surface is undulated, and the scenery pleasingly varied. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £5. 18. 1½., and in the gift of the President and Fellows of Magdalen College, Oxford, the impropriators: the great tithes have been commuted for £217. 7., and the vicarial for £157. 13.; the glebe comprises 7 acres. The church is an ancient structure in the later English style. On a tumulus called King John's Hill, fragments of Roman pottery have been met with, and the foundations of a building discovered.
Worldham, West (St. Nicholas)
WORLDHAM, WEST (St. Nicholas), a parish, in the union and hundred of Alton, Alton and N. divisions of the county of Southampton, 2½ miles (S. E. by E.) from Alton; containing 94 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, of which the net income, formerly £38, has been augmented with £200 from Winchester College, and £200 Queen Anne's Bounty; patrons and impropriators, the Warden and Fellows of the College.
Worle (St. Martin)
WORLE (St. Martin), a parish, in the union of Axbridge, hundred of Winterstoke, E. division of Somerset, 8 miles (N. W.) from Axbridge; containing 885 inhabitants. The surface is boldly undulated, and the substratum generally limestone; on a hill north of the village are some mines of lead and calamine, but they are not wrought at present. Great numbers of poultry are fed here, and sold to the inhabitants of Weston-super-Mare, a neighbouring watering-place. The Bristol and Exeter railway skirts the parish on the south. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £12. 15., and in the patronage of the Crown; impropriators, the Trustees of a charity. The great tithes have been commuted for £90, and the vicarial for £310; the glebe comprises 5 acres. The church is a neat structure, with a tower surmounted by a small spire; it contains a stone pulpit richly sculptured, and part of some shrine-work, and sedilia. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. In the vicinity are vestiges of a Roman camp.
WORLESTON, a township, in the parish of Acton, union and hundred of Nantwich, S. division of the county of Chester, if mile (N.) from Nantwich; containing 391 inhabitants. It comprises 1173 acres, the soil of which is partly clay, and partly sand. The great tithes have been commuted for £84, and the small for £36.
Worlingham (All Saints)
WORLINGHAM (All Saints), a parish, in the union and hundred of Wangford, E. division of Suffolk, 1¼ mile (S. E. by S.) from Beccles; containing 208 inhabitants. The parish comprises 1726 acres, of which 114 are in Worlingham Parva; and is bounded on the north-east by the navigable river Waveney, which separates it from the county of Norfolk. The living is a rectory, with that of Worlingham Parva annexed, valued in the king's books at £12, and in the patronage of the Crown: the tithes have been commuted for £303, and the glebe comprises 47 acres. The church is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, and contains a monument by Chantrey, to General Sparrow and his son. The church of Worlingham Parva, which was dedicated to St. Peter, has been demolished. A part of the town-estate, producing altogether £30. 10. 6. per annum, is appropriated to teaching children. Worlingham gives the title of Baron to the Earl of Gosford, who has a seat here.
Worlington (All Saints)
WORLINGTON (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Mildenhall, hundred of Lackford, W. division of Suffolk, 1¼ mile (W. S. W.) from Mildenhall; containing 351 inhabitants. The parish is bounded on the north by the navigable river Lark, over which is a ferry; and comprises by measurement 1955 acres: the Hall and manor are the property of Sir F. G. Cooper, Bart. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £19. 6. 8.; net income, £197; patrons, the family of Windsor.
Worlington, East (St. Mary)
WORLINGTON, EAST (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of South Molton, hundred of Witheridge, South Molton and N. divisions of Devon, 6 miles (E.) from Chulmleigh; containing 287 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 15. 10.; net income, £208; patron, the Hon. N. Fellowes. In the neighbourhood are the remains of an ancient cross; and Roman coins have been found.
Worlington, West (St. Mary)
WORLINGTON, WEST (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of South Molton, hundred of Witheridge, South Molton and N. divisions of Devon, 5½ miles (E.) from Chulmleigh; containing 218 inhabitants. It comprises 2330 acres, of which 1165 are common or waste. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £8. 15. 10.; net income, £155; patron, Lewis Buck, Esq. In the parish are the ruins of a castellated mansion, the ancient seat of the Affetons.
Worlingworth (St. Mary)
WORLINGWORTH (St. Mary), a parish, in the union and hundred of Hoxne, E. division of Suffolk, 16 miles (N.) from Woodbridge; containing 786 inhabitants. This parish, which occupies one of the most elevated sites in the county, comprises 2246a. 2r. 6p. The living is a rectory, with the perpetual curacy of Southolt annexed, valued in the king's books at £19. 12. 3½., and in the gift of Lord Henniker: the tithes have been commuted for £680, and the glebe comprises 52 acres. The church is principally in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, and contains some handsome monuments; one of these is to the memory of Elizabeth, Duchess Dowager of Chandos, and another to Sir John and Lady Major: there are considerable remains of stained glass; the font is highly enriched, and has a lofty and elegant cover. John Baldry in 1689 bequeathed a house and land, and William Godbold in 1698 left other land, for teaching children. The town lands produce £200 per annum, for repairing the church, and supplying the poor with coal and bread
Wormbridge (St. Thomas the Apostle)
WORMBRIDGE (St. Thomas the Apostle), a parish, in the union of Dore, hundred of Webtree, county of Hereford, 9 miles (S. W.) from Hereford; containing 93 inhabitants, and comprising 707 acres. The living is a donative curacy; net income, £51; patron, E. Bolton Clive, Esq., the impropriator, whose tithes have been commuted for £100.
Wormegay (Holy Cross)
WORMEGAY (Holy Cross), a parish, in the union of Downham, hundred of Clackclose, W. division of Norfolk, 7½ miles (N. N. E.) from Downham; containing 330 inhabitants. This place is of great antiquity, and is said to have acquired considerable importance before the Conquest. In the time of Henry II., the lordship was held by the Bardolphs; who had a castle here, of which the moat may still be traced; and subsequently by the Warrens, who, in the reign of Richard I. or of John, founded here a priory of Black canons in honour of the Holy Cross and St. John the Evangelist, which, in 1468, became a cell to the monastery of Pentney. On making some excavations at the Priory farm, various relics of the ancient priory were found, consisting of fragments of the building, a passage with a tessellated pavement, and some stone coffins. The parish comprises 2788a. 3r. 16p., of which 800 acres are arable, 1670 meadow and pasture, and 30 woodland: the navigable river Nar bounds it on the north, and at Setchey-bridge is a large brewery and malting establishment. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £40; patron, the Bishop of Norwich; impropriator, W. W. Lee Warner, Esq. The tithes have been commuted for £349, and the glebe comprises 3 acres. The church is in the early and later English styles, with a square embattled tower.
WORMHILL, a chapelry, in the parish of Tideswell, union of Chapel-en-le-Frith, hundred of High Peak, N. division of the county of Derby, 2£ miles (W. S. W.) from Tideswell; containing 337 inhabitants. It comprises 4332a. 2r. 35p., of which about 238 acres are rocky pasture, and the remainder chiefly arable; the soil is a dry brown mould, resting on limestone. The neighbourhood abounds with beautiful scenery; the river Wye flows through the township, and the vale of Chee Tor here is strikingly romantic. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £270; patrons, certain Trustees. The chapel, dedicated to St. Margaret, is an ancient structure of rough limestone.
Wormingford (St. Andrew)
WORMINGFORD (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Lexden and Winstree, Colchester division of the hundred of Lexden, N. division of Essex, 3¾ miles (W. S. W.) from Nayland; containing 524 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the navigable river Stour, from a ford across which, and from a former proprietor of the manor, it derives its name. It comprises 2185a. 1r., of which 1933 acres are arable, 240 pasture, and 10 woodland. The surface rises gradually from the bank of the river to a considerable elevation; the soil is sandy, with a large intermixture of clay. The living is a vicarage, endowed with a portion of the rectorial tithes, and valued in the king's books at £7. 13. 4.; patron, and impropriator of the remainder of the rectorial tithes, John J. Tufnell, Esq. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for £496. 17., and the incumbent's for £369; the glebe comprises 4 acres. The church is a small ancient edifice, with a low square tower. A national school is endowed with £10 per annum.
Worminghall (St. Peter)
WORMINGHALL (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Thame, hundred of Ashendon, county of Buckingham, 4¾ miles (W. N. W.) from Thame, containing 314 inhabitants. It formerly had a market, granted to John de Rivers in 1304, with a fair on the festival of St. Peter and St. Paul. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 18. 10.; net income, £58; patron and impropriator, Viscount Clifden. An almshouse for four women and six men, was founded in 1670, by John King, and endowed by him with property now producing a rental of £80. There is also a fund of £20 per annum, arising from bequests, distributed in bread among the poor.
Wormington (Holy Trinity)
WORMINGTON (Holy Trinity), a parish, in the union of Winchcomb, Lower division of the hundred of Kiftsgate, E. division of the county of Gloucester, 5 miles (N. by E.) from Winchcomb; containing 73 inhabitants, and comprising by measurement 539 acres. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 15. 5.; net income, £143 5 patron, S. G. Gist, Esq. The tithes were commuted for land in 1812; the glebe altogether comprises 115 acres.
WORMINGTON-GRANGE, a hamlet, in the parish of Didbrook, union of Winchcomb, Lower division of the hundred of Kiftsgate, E. division of the county of Gloucester; containing 52 inhabitants.
WORMINSTER, a tything, in the parish of St. Cuthbert, without the limits of the city of Wells, union of Wells, hundred of Wells-Forum, E. division of Somerset; containing 78 inhabitants.
Wormleighton (St. Peter)
WORMLEIGHTON (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Southam, Burton-Dassett division of the hundred of Kington, S. division of the county of Warwick, 5¾ miles (S. S. E.) from Southam; containing 188 inhabitants. The parish comprises 3157a. 3r. 26p., the whole of which, with the exception of a few acres, is rich pasture and meadow land. The Oxford canal passes near the village. Here stood the manorial residence of the Spencer family, of which some remains still exist. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 13. 4.; net income, £80; patron and impropriator, Earl Spencer. The church is an ancient structure, partly in the Norman style; it contains a remarkably handsome screen. There is a school, endowed with £24 a year by Mrs. Catherine Arnold. The place gives the title of Baron to the Duke of Marlborough.
Wormley (St. Lawrence)
WORMLEY (St. Lawrence), a parish, in the union of Ware, hundred and county of Hertford, 2¼ miles (N. by E.) from Cheshunt; containing 500 inhabitants. The Eastern Counties railway, and the New River, pass through the parish; and the river Lea bounds it on the east. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £10. 12. 3½., and in the gift of Earl Brownlow: the tithes have been commuted for £200. The church has a Norman doorway, and, at the west end, a square wooden tower; it contains several tablets, altar-tombs, and other sepulchral memorials.
Wormshill (St. Giles)
WORMSHILL (St. Giles), a parish, in the union of Hollingbourne, hundred of Eyhorne, lathe of Aylesford, W. division of Kent, 5 miles (S. S. W.) from Sittingbourne; containing 218 inhabitants. It comprises 1450 acres, of which 700 are arable, 320 woodland, and the remainder meadow and pasture. The surface has an elevation of 530 feet above the sea, and is intersected with deep valleys; the wells that supply the parish are sunk to the depth of 370 feet. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £10, and in the gift of Christ's Hospital, London: the tithes have been commuted for £266, and the glebe comprises 30 acres. The church, a plain building with a low square tower, contains a few fragments of stained glass: the parsonage-house has been lately much improved.
Wormsley (St. Mary)
WORMSLEY (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Weobley, hundred of Grtmsworth, county of Hereford, 3½ miles (S. E. by S.) from Weobley; containing 109 inhabitants, and consisting of 1180 acres. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of Sir W. R. Boughton, Bart., and others. Thomas Andrew Knight, Esq., the celebrated horticulturist, was a native of this place.