A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1913.
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The parish of Pedmore is situated in the north-west of the county adjoining Stourbridge. It comprises an area of 1,510 acres. The general slope of the land is from east to west, the greatest height being attained at Wychbury Hill, in the south-east of the parish. It forms the north-western end of the Clent Hills, and is 600 ft. above the ordnance datum. There is here a large earthwork on this hill where two bronze rings have been found. The western boundary varies in height from about 300 ft. in the north to 400 ft. in the south.
The subsoil is Keuper sandstone; the surface soil is light and suitable for the production of turnips, swedes, mangolds and barley. The stone with which Old Swinford Church was built was obtained from quarries at Pedmore. In 1905 the parish comprised 752 acres of arable land and 607 acres of permanent grass. (fn. 1) In 1300 part of the parish of Pedmore was included in the forest of Kinver, (fn. 2) but at the present day there are only 7½ acres of woodland.
Pedmore Hall stands on a small hill about a quarter of a mile east of the main road between Bromsgrove and Stourbridge and to the east of the church. It faces the west and is approached through an avenue of limes. Though the centre part of the present building was erected in 1670, (fn. 3) the house is now of little interest, having undergone considerable alteration in the 18th century. It is three stories high and stands on a basement. The front has been stuccoed and the windows modernized. Of the 17th-century fittings the staircase only remains. It is at the back of the house. The handrail and strings are moulded and the balustrade between is composed of one open panel to each flight following the rake of the stair.
The manor of PEDMORE was held by Turgar in the time of Edward the Confessor. It appears in the Domesday Survey as one of the possessions of William Fitz Ansculf, of whom it was held by Acard. (fn. 6)
The overlordship descended with the manor of Northfield (fn. 7) (q.v.), being mentioned for the last time in 1547. (fn. 8) Early in the 13th century Geoffrey de Piringham (fn. 9) paid 20d. for three parts of a fee which he held of the barony of Dudley. (fn. 10) Geoffrey was probably descended from Giffard de Tiringham, who held three fees under Gervase Paynel in 1166. (fn. 11) This Giffard died about 1189, and occurs as Giffard 'de Pebmore' in a deed of 1179–89. (fn. 12)
Geoffrey de Piringham was probably succeeded by Philip de Pedmore, whose name occurs as a witness to an inspeximus charter of the borough of Halesowen in the latter part of the reign of Henry III, (fn. 13) and again in a grant of somewhat later date in which he is termed 'Philip lord of Pedmore.' (fn. 14) He paid a subsidy of 10s. for his land in Pedmore in 1280, (fn. 15) but he seems to have died before 1292, when 'the lady of Pebmore,' probably his widow, held the manor. (fn. 16)
In 1296–7 John son of John son of Philip jointly with Sarah his wife conveyed the reversion of the manor after Sarah's death to William de Simplingford. (fn. 17) William presented to the church in 1304, (fn. 18) and was said to be in possession of the manor in 1322, (fn. 19) but Sarah was still holding it in 1323. (fn. 20)
In 1339–40 John de Simplingford sold the manor to Walter Clodshall and his son Richard. (fn. 21) Richard Clodshall presented to the church of Pedmore in 1349, 1361 and 1401, (fn. 22) and appears to have been still alive in 1424– 5. (fn. 23) By the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth with Robert Arderne of Park Hall (fn. 24) co. Warw. the manor of Pedmore passed to the Ardernes. After the death of Elizabeth, Robert Arderne held it by courtesy, but, having sided with the Yorkists, he was attainted and executed in 1451–2. (fn. 25) The custody of his lands was granted for four years to Fulk Stafford and Thomas Young in 1454. (fn. 26) The manor seems to have been restored to Walter Arderne, son and heir of Robert and Elizabeth, and passed from him to his son John. (fn. 27) This John married Alice daughter of Richard Bracebridge, and their union was the cause of some dispute between their parents, Robert Arderne accusing Richard Bracebridge of stealing away his son. (fn. 28)
On John Arderne's death, 23 May 1525, his son Thomas succeeded to his estates, (fn. 29) and in 1539 settled Pedmore on his son William, who, however, predeceased him in 1544, (fn. 30) leaving a son Edward, who thus became heir-apparent to his grandfather, whom he succeeded in 1563. (fn. 31) In 1573 Edward Arderne settled Pedmore on his son Robert on the latter's marriage with Eleanor daughter of Reginald Corbett. (fn. 32) Edward was afterwards concerned in the plot of his son-in-law John Somerville to kill the queen, and was executed at Tyburn in October 1583. (fn. 33) Since the manor of Pedmore had been previously settled on Edward Arderne's son Robert and Elizabeth his wife in fee-tail, they were allowed to hold it with reversion to the Crown in case of their dying without issue. (fn. 34) On 27 January 1585–6 this reversion was granted in perpetuity to Edward D'Arcy, (fn. 35) to whom a fresh grant was made on 3 May 1609. (fn. 36) Robert Arderne, who died in 1635, (fn. 37) was succeeded by his grandson Robert, who received a grant of the reversion of the manor from Charles I in 1640, (fn. 38) and thus became seised of the manor in fee. He appears to have sided with the king in the Civil War, and died, probably in arms, in 1643, (fn. 39) leaving as co-heirs his four sisters, Anne wife of Sir Charles Adderley, whose share descended to their son Arderne Adderley, Elizabeth wife of Sir William Pooley, whose heir was their daughter Susannah, afterwards the wife of Anthony Maxey, Dorothy, who married Harvey Bagot, and Goditha or Judith, who married Herbert Price. (fn. 40) In the September following Robert Arderne's death his estate was sequestered by the county committee, and found to have been previously mortgaged for £2,000 to Sir William Boughton, who appears to have sold the mortgage to several persons. The various parties having compounded for their respective shares, three-fourths of the estate was discharged from sequestration on 30 November 1653, (fn. 41) and the remaining fourth pertaining to Herbert Price and Goditha, which appears to have been purchased from the Committee for Compounding by Humphrey Boughton, was also discharged in February following. (fn. 42)
In the early part of 1668 Thomas Foley purchased from the co-heirs the various shares of the manor, (fn. 43) and left it by his will dated January 1671 to trustees for the maintenance of boys at the Bluecoat School or Hospital, which he had founded at Old Swinford. (fn. 44) To the trustees of the school it still belongs.
The only remains of an early church are the arch and tympanum of the south door, which date from the 12th century, together with some fragments preserved in the tower. The building which preceded the existing one appears, from illustrations in the Gentleman's Magazine, &c., to have been of no architectural interest, and after being half rebuilt, owing to subsidence, was entirely pulled down in 1869. Much of the old material was re-used. The chancel arch of the older church, consisting of three square orders, now forms the organ bay, and has modern capitals and responds. During its demolition three layers of plaster, with texts and scrolls, were uncovered on the walls; a square two-light low-side window was also removed.
In the present south aisle wall is a trefoiled piscina, probably of the 14th century, moved from the earlier Lady chapel. The font, perhaps of the 15th century, is octagonal, with tracery in the panels on each face, and a thick octagonal stem with no base.
Some old glass from the previous east window is preserved in the vestry, and shows the arms of Arderne. A fragment of the Clare arms, or three cheverons gules, was also found. In the tower is an old clock, now disused, which may be the one for which new weights were purchased in 1694.
The south doorway, probably of late 12th-century date, has a round head of one order with a zigzag on the face and soffit. The tympanum represents our Lord in glory, the right hand raised in benediction, and the figure inclosed within a vesica formed of two serpents, with the feet of the figure resting on their heads. On either side are the symbols of the Evangelists.
The bells are three in number: the first cast in 1736 by W. B. of Bromsgrove and recast 1897, the second cast 1735 and recast 1897, and the third cast 1735, and inscribed 'I to the Church the living call and to the grave do summon all.'
There was a priest at Pedmore in 1086, but no mention is made of any church or chapel at that time. (fn. 45) In 1292 there was a chapel at Pedmore, the advowson of which belonged to the lady of the manor. (fn. 46) In 1339–40 it is called a church. (fn. 47) The advowson followed the same descent as the manor until 1668, (fn. 48) when it passed into the hands of Thomas Foley. His grandson Thomas was created Lord Foley of Kidderminster in 1711–12, (fn. 49) and the advowson descended with the title (fn. 50) until it was given by Lord Foley about 1857 to the feoffees of the hospital of Old Swinford, (fn. 51) in whose patronage it still remains.
Ríchard de Kingswood, rector of Pedmore, had licence to let his church to farm on 5 May 1335, the rectory being then in ruins and not to be repaired without great expense. Seven marks were to be devoted to its repair 'except 30s. which were to be paid to the said rector.' (fn. 52)