A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11, Telford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1985.
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MANOR AND OTHER ESTATES.
St. Leonard's priory was dissolved in 1536 and its demesnes were leased next year to William Abbot for 21 years. In 1539 James Leveson bought the reversion and fee of Abbot's leasehold lands from the Crown. (fn. 1) Leveson bought more of the priory lands at Oakengates in 1543, and in 1547, the year he died, he sold the priory and its demesnes to William Charlton (d. 1567), the priory's chief steward at the time of the Dissolution. (fn. 2) Thereafter the descent of the manor (fn. 3) of WOMBRIDGE followed that of Apley (in Wellington) (fn. 4) until 1901 when Sir Thomas Meyrick's Wombridge estate was divided and sold. (fn. 5)
William Charlton (d. 1567) lived at Wombridge, (fn. 6) probably in the former priory's gatehouse, called Wombridge Hall in the 1690s. (fn. 7) Mary, the wife of Francis Charlton (lord 1617-42), apparently used the priory church as a coach house, and her tenants (presumably after Francis's death) pounded cattle there. In the years 1693-8 the 'steeple', formerly a burial place, was used by the tenant as a cart house. By then other parts of the priory, including the chancel, had fallen down or been demolished and the materials been employed in building work at Apley Castle. (fn. 8) Parts of the priory buildings remained incorporated in Wombridge Farm until its demolition in 1965-6. (fn. 9)
In 1695 Sir John Leveson-Gower owned property in Ketley, Coalpit Bank, Oakengates, and Wombridge. (fn. 10) That part of Ketley township in Wombridge parish remained with the Sutherland estate until, with the Wellington part of the 4th duke's Ketley estate, it was divided and sold in 1894. (fn. 11)
In 1537 the tithes, termed rectorial, were included in William Abbot's 21-year lease of the priory, the Crown's reserved rent for them being £2 6s. 8d. (fn. 12) His lease of the tithes passed to Richard Abbot. (fn. 13) In 1578 the tithes were acquired from the Crown by the earl of Lincoln and Christopher Gowffe for a fee farm rent of £2 6s. 8d. (fn. 14) By 1621 the fee farm was owed by Francis Charlton, who died owning the rectory and tithes of Wombridge in 1642. The tithes were worth £3 10s. 0d. in 1655 (fn. 15) and £3 12s. 6d. in 1708. (fn. 16) In 1847 the parish's tithes were commuted to rent charges of £92 19s. 6d., of which £87 17s. 6d. belonged to St. John C. Charlton, the rest being divided between six other impropriators and the perpetual curate, who owned merely the rent charge on the churchyard. (fn. 17)