A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 10, Munslow Hundred (Part), the Liberty and Borough of Wenlock. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1998.
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At the time of its transfer to Hopton Cangeford civil parish in 1884 Little Poston (343 a., 139 ha.) had long been a detached township of Munslow parish, the main part of which lay c. 6 km. north-west. (fn. 1) Earlier, until 1442, it had probably formed a detached township of Thonglands parish and earlier still, it is presumed, was part of Diddlebury parish.
In the late Saxon period Little Poston and Great Poston adjoining it to the north-east had presumably formed a single estate in Diddlebury parish; thus perhaps it was to Diddlebury church that a Domesday tenant of the manor had to render a bundle of box on Palm Sunday. (fn. 2) A 1¼-a. close near Little Poston Farm remained in Diddlebury parish until the 19th century. (fn. 3) The dean and chapter of Hereford cathedral, to whom Diddlebury rectory was appropriated in 1237, owned a third of Little Poston's tithes. (fn. 4) The other two thirds were evidently granted away before 1237, probably to the rector of Thonglands, for the lord of Little Poston seems also to have been lord of Thonglands manor and patron of that church. It was thus almost certainly the absorption of Thonglands by Munslow parish in 1442 (fn. 5) that made Little Poston a detached part of Munslow parish. Little Poston, with Great Poston, was transferred to Hopton Cangeford ecclesiastical parish in 1858. (fn. 6)
The name Poston may have reference to a thorn tree used as a boundary marker of the combined estate. (fn. 7) Little Poston's own boundary was marked in the south by the streams running down Poston and Witchcot dingles. A small tributary of Pye brook marked part of the township's northern boundary, but elsewhere the boundary followed field edges. (fn. 8)
Little (now Lesser) Poston lies towards the western edge of the Clee Hills plateau. The land slopes up from c. 170 m. at the confluence of Witchcot and Poston dingles, to 254 m. on Sutton hill, south of Baldwin's coppice; to the north-west it dips towards the Pye brook valley. Lesser Poston Farm stands at c. 220 m. (fn. 9) The soil is a silty loam, overlying the red marls of the Old Red Sandstone. (fn. 10)
Crossing the highest land in the township is the road north-east from Ludlow bound for villages around the western side of the Clees including Cold Weston, Clee St. Margaret, and Stoke St. Milborough. Footpaths lead northwest and north from Little Poston to Sutton, Diddlebury, and Peaton, and south to Hopton Cangeford. (fn. 11)
There is nothing to suggest that before the 19th century Little Poston ever comprised more than one or two farms, and the township was not taxed separately in the Middle Ages. In the later 17th century there were two farmhouses there (fn. 12) but by the early 19th century only one, (fn. 13) Little Poston Farm; (fn. 14) that was last inhabited c. 1950. (fn. 15) By 1843 there were cottages at Red Furlong in the north-eastern part of the township and at Sutton Hill in the north-west. (fn. 16) Eight houses, Cedarwood Cottages, were built c. 1953 in the north, next to the Ludlow road. (fn. 17)
Ketil (Chetel) held LITTLE POSTON in 1066. By 1086 Earl Roger had given it to his chapel of St. Michael in Shrewsbury castle. (fn. 18) In 1102 the Crown resumed the castle, which was usually in the sheriff's custody thereafter. By 1255 John FitzAlan (II), heir of the men who had enjoyed a virtually hereditary shrievalty in the 12th century, was overlord of Little Poston. (fn. 19) Little Poston was said to be held of Hugh, Lord Burnell, in 1418-19 (fn. 20) and of the duchy of York 1501-1606. (fn. 21)
Richard of Thonglands was terre tenant in 1255 (fn. 22) as were his successors as lords of Thonglands, Sir Roger de Bradeleye in 1284 and Roger de la Mare in 1316. (fn. 23) Before 1344 the principal holding in Little Poston, occasionally described as a manor, passed to the Beysin family. (fn. 24) It descended with their share of Broseley until the division of the Harewell estate in 1534 when Little Poston fell to Agnes, wife of John Smith. (fn. 25) From her (d. 1562) the estate, usually described as two farms, seems to have descended with Wootton Wawen (Warws.) (fn. 26) until 1673 when Francis Smith, Viscount Carrington, sold Little Poston to Richard Coling. Coling sold it in 1693 to Thomas and Elizabeth Lee (fn. 27) whose descendants sold it in 1802 to Valentine Vickers of Cranmere (in Worfield). (fn. 28) Vickers died in 1814; (fn. 29) his son, the Ven. William Vickers, owned all Little Poston in 1843 (fn. 30) but evidently sold it shortly before his death in 1851 (fn. 31) to Richard Mason, owner c. 1850 of the 739-a. Poston estate, including all of Little Poston. (fn. 32) Mason or a namesake was evidently owner in 1913, (fn. 33) but in that year Lower, formerly Little, Poston farm (c. 263 a.) was bought, probably from trustees, by James Mason, John K. Mason, and Zachariah Mason, coal merchants of Dudley. James was mentioned as owner until the late 1920s when the estate evidently passed to P. G. Holder of Corfton Hall. (fn. 34)
In 1942 Holder sold Lesser, formerly Little, Poston farm (205 a.), as part of his Corfton estate, to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. (fn. 35) The Church Commissioners sold it to Lord Boyne in 1964, (fn. 36) and he sold it later. (fn. 37) The owner in 1991 was T. R. Gough.
Lesser Poston Farm, a long stone building of two storeys and an attic, semi-derelict in 1991, includes elements of a substantial late medieval timber framed building. (fn. 38) Those include a stud partition at the north end of the principal firstfloor room and, in the roof, intermediate trusses, probably not in situ; one of them is elaborately stopped. About 1600, or perhaps a little later, the house was altered to give it a principal ground-floor room (26 × 19 ft.) served by a chimney stack placed centrally in the rear wall; much of the room's elaborately carved compartmented ceiling remains in situ. The room above was the same size. What comprised the rest of the house, probably that occupied with 3 yardlands by Thomas Baldwin (fl. 1661, d. 1708), gentleman, and his son Edward (d. 1730), (fn. 39) is unknown. The house was substantially altered in the 18th and 19th centuries when it was progressively clad in stone. The south, or parlour, end was rebuilt, the hall was foreshortened at the north to form a new kitchen, and the timber ceiling was cut down to fit the new, smaller, hall place.
A third of the TITHES of Little Poston belonged to the dean and chapter of Hereford cathedral, presumably from 1237, when Diddlebury rectory was appropriated to them. (fn. 40) In 1844 the tithes were commuted to £6. (fn. 41) The cathedral's appropriated tithe of Barn close, that part of the township in Diddlebury parish, had been discharged of appropriated and vicarial tithe at commutation in 1843. (fn. 42)
In 1086 there was 1 virgate of land sufficient for ½ ploughteam. (fn. 43) Furlongs in the north-eastern part of the township (fn. 44) and ridge and furrow around Lesser Poston Farm (fn. 45) may indicate medieval open-field land. In the later 17th century the township's farm land was reckoned at 3 yardlands. (fn. 46) Flax or hemp may have been grown there. (fn. 47)
A large wood, probably called Brockhurst, seems to have occupied the township's southern end; (fn. 48) it was cleared before the 19th century. (fn. 49) In the northern part of the township Baldwin's and Cockshut coppices, both so called in the early 19th century, survived. (fn. 50) A small common on Sutton hill, mentioned in 1802, was inclosed after 1843. (fn. 51)
There was a quarry north of Baldwin's coppice and another near Lower, formerly Little, Poston Farm. A shaft north of the farm buildings may represent old copper workings. (fn. 52)
In 1462 Little Poston did suit to a Broseley court of recognition at which William Harewell's tenants appeared. (fn. 53)
As part of Munslow parish Little Poston was in Ludlow poor-law union from 1836, Ludlow highway district from 1863, and Ludlow rural sanitary district from 1872, and after its transfer to Hopton Cangeford civil parish in 1884 remained with that C.P. in the same poor-law union, highway district, rural (sanitary) district, and district as Munslow. (fn. 54)