A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1913.
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Salwarpe is a small well-wooded parish covering an area of 1,914 acres, (fn. 1) of which 20 acres are water, nearly one-third is arable land, about two thirds permanent grass and 45 acres woodland. (fn. 2) The soil is chiefly marl on a subsoil of marl and gravel, and produces crops of wheat and barley, agriculture being the chief industry. Salwarpe is well watered by the River Salwarpe and its tributary the Hadley Brook, the river itself forming part of the western boundary. The road from Droitwich to Oddingley forms part of the eastern and that from Ombersley to Droitwich part of the northern boundary. The main road from Worcester to Droitwich passes through the parish, and a branch from it runs north-west to the village. The land is undulating, rising gradually from the banks of the Salwarpe on the west, where the average height is about 100 ft. above the ordnance datum, to the east, where it attains to a height of 256 ft.
The small village of Salwarpe, distant about 1½ miles to the south-west of Droitwich, is picturesquely situated on the slope of a valley through which runs the River Salwarpe. To the north of the church, and separated from the churchyard by the now disused branch of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, is Salwarpe Court, a fine half-timber house of the late 15th century, the ancient seat of the Talbots. The interior has been completely modernized and stripped of its original fittings. It is of two stories with a tiled roof. The original hall was doubtless in the centre, with the kitchen and offices on the east and the private apartments on the west. The exterior of this portion is in fine preservation. There is a deep bay window at the south-west, surmounted by a gable having a barge-board elaborately carved with a foliated wave ornament. All the openings, which are now blocked, have moulded mullions and transoms. The interior of this portion is now occupied by store rooms. Over the entrance doorway is a projecting bay supported by brackets, forming an entrance porch. The doorway itself has moulded posts and a four-centred head, and still retains its original door, a fine specimen of the joinery of the period. Attached to a farm near Salwarpe Court is a large timber barn, used as a dwelling-house and of considerable age. The village itself, though prettily situated, contains no features of architectural interest. The canal runs through a cutting in the side of the valley, which enhances rather than detracts from the naturally picturesque situation of the village, bordered as it is by trees which have by now attained quite respectable proportions. The road along which the few cottages are grouped crosses the canal by a brick bridge, fast falling to decay, and descends to the level of the river by a winding slope, at the foot of which is a water-mill still in active use. Until the middle of the 19th century there were a whipping-post and stocks in the village near the bridge. There is still a pound at the cross roads. Richard Beauchamp thirteenth Earl of Warwick was born at Salwarpe on 28 January 1381. Under the will of Henry V he became guardian of the young king, Henry VI, until he reached the age of sixteen. Episodes in the life of Earl Richard are illustrated in the Rous Roll in the Cottonian Collection at the British Museum. (fn. 3)
Salwarpe was inclosed under an Act of 1812–13, (fn. 4) and the award is dated 30 January 1817. (fn. 5) Boycott Farm was transferred from this parish to Hampton Lovett in 1880, (fn. 6) and part of the parish was transferred to St. Nicholas, Droitwich, and from St. Andrews, Droitwich, at the same date. (fn. 7)
Among the place-names are Coppecote, (fn. 8) Ladywood, formerly Levediwode, (fn. 9) Tilledon, Baggebruggestrete, (fn. 10) Swines, (fn. 11) Middleton, (fn. 12) Hyllend, (fn. 13) Le Courte Close, (fn. 14) Pulheye. (fn. 15) Of these Copcut, Ladywood, Middleton, Hill End and Pulley still survive.
According to a Saxon charter, dated 817, (fn. 16) SALWARPE was granted by Coenwulf, King of the Mercians, to Deneberht, Bishop of Worcester, and his church. (fn. 17) The boundaries given in this charter show that at that time Salwarpe extended as far north as Doverdale, and that then, as now, it adjoined Ombersley, and that the River Salwarpe, from which the village derived its name, formed one of the boundaries. Eight acres at Colford and a fourth part of the wood and pasture land at Witton (Wictune) belonged to the estate. (fn. 18) The manor appears to have been taken from the church, probably by an ancestor of Earl Leofric and his brother Godwin, for Leofric held part of Salwarpe and Godwin held the principal manor there. Godwin on his death-bed was persuaded by Saint Wulfstan, then Dean of Worcester, to restore it to the priory. (fn. 19) Ethelwine, Godwin's son, evidently the Aelwinus cilt mentioned in the Domesday Survey as a former lord of Salwarpe, repudiated his father's will and retained the manor, but according to Heming, the Worcester chronicler, did not hold it for long, 'losing his lands with his life' soon after Godwin's death. (fn. 20)
Salwarpe was not, however, restored to the priory, but granted to Roger de Montgomery Earl of Shrewsbury, who was overlord in 1086. (fn. 21) On his death in 1094 his English titles and estates, according to the Norman custom, passed to his second son Hugh, who was killed four years later while fighting in Anglesey. (fn. 22) His eldest brother Robert of Bellesme succeeded him, but in 1102 forfeited all his estates in England for rebellion against Henry I. (fn. 23) The overlordship from this time remained with the Crown, and is last mentioned in 1571. (fn. 24) In 1406 and 1440 the manor was said to be held of the Prior of Coventry. (fn. 25)
At the time of the Domesday Survey Urse D'Abitot, who probably lived at Droitwich, (fn. 26) was the under-tenant at Salwarpe, (fn. 27) and had a park there. From him the manor passed to the Beauchamps and followed the same descent as Elmley Castle (fn. 28) (q.v.), passing into the hands of Henry VII in 1487.
Salwarpe was settled on Katherine of Aragon when she married Prince Arthur, and she continued to hold it until her death. (fn. 29)
The manor was granted in 1545 to Hugh Davie and George Wall, (fn. 30) who sold it in 1546 to John Talbot, (fn. 31) a grandson of the second Earl of Shrewsbury. (fn. 32) John settled it in 1547 on his second wife Elizabeth, daughter of Walter Wrottesley, and their heirs. (fn. 33) She survived him, and on her death in 1559 Salwarpe passed to Gilbert Talbot, her son and heir. (fn. 34) He, however, died without issue in 1567 and was succeeded by his younger brother John, (fn. 35) who in 1574 married Olive third daughter of Sir Henry Sharington of Lacock, co. Wiltshire, and settled the manor on her. (fn. 36) After her husband's death in 1582 Olive married Sir Robert Stapleton, kt., and they appear to have conveyed her interest in Salwarpe to her eldest son Sharington. (fn. 37) His son and heir Sharington, a zealous Royalist, was taken prisoner in 1644 and confined in Warwick Castle. He afterwards compounded for the sum of £2,011. (fn. 38)
In 1653 Sharington settled the manor on his eldest son John with reversion to the latter's only son Sharington, (fn. 39) who died without issue in 1685. (fn. 40) John Talbot settled the manor in 1677 upon his second wife Barbara, daughter of Sir Henry Slingsby, kt., (fn. 41) and mortgaged it in 1705 for £6,000. By his will, dated 31 August 1712, he directed that the manor should be sold for the payment of his debts. (fn. 42) It was purchased by his grandson John, son of Sir John Ivory, kt., and Anne his wife, who had taken the name of Talbot on succeeding to the manor of Lacock, co. Wiltshire. (fn. 43) In 1738 he settled Salwarpe on his son John Talbot, (fn. 44) who appears to have sold it to Philip Gresley, for he in 1822 settled it on Robert Archibald Douglas, son of General Archibald Douglas of Witham, co. Essex. (fn. 45) Philip Gresley died in 1825, leaving all his property to this Robert on condition that he would take the name of Gresley, and on the latter's death without issue in 1885 (fn. 46) Salwarpe passed to his nephew William Willoughby Douglas, rector of Salwarpe, whose son Archibald Douglas now holds it. (fn. 47)
A hide of land at Salwarpe was given by Earl Leofric to the monastery of Coventry which he founded about 1043. (fn. 48) This hide was held in 1086 by Urse under the church of Coventry, but he had put it into his park. (fn. 49) The prior from that time probably lost possession, though some tradition of his overlordship survived until the 15th century, when the manor of Salwarpe is twice said to have been held of the Prior of Coventry. (fn. 50) In the reign of Stephen this hide in Salwarpe was held by William de Beauchamp 'of the fief of the bishop of Chester,' (fn. 51) and it probably became merged in the capital manor of Salwarpe, as it is not again mentioned separately.
A park in Salwarpe is mentioned in the Domesday Survey as belonging to Urse D'Abitot, (fn. 52) and followed the descent of the manor until the 16th century. (fn. 53) The last mention of it appears to be in 1559, when Elizabeth widow of John Talbot died seised of it. (fn. 54) Probably it was disparked when the family residence was removed from Salwarpe to Lacock, co. Wiltshire, (fn. 55) brought to the Talbots by the marriage of John son of the above John with Olive daughter and co-heir of Henry Sharington.
Urse D'Abitot had a mill in Salwarpe in 1086, (fn. 56) and it passed with the manor to the Beauchamps and Talbots. (fn. 57) Another mill in Salwarpe was granted by Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, to the Prior and monks of Worcester, (fn. 58) and confirmed to them by William the Conqueror, with special injunctions to Urse D'Abitot to permit them to hold it quietly and honourably. (fn. 59) This mill was not included among the possessions of the priory at the Dissolution. In 1322 two mills in Salwarpe were settled on Nicholas de Piry and Agnes his wife with reversion to Walter their son and his issue. (fn. 60) William Piry died seised of a mill at Salwarpe in 1402. (fn. 61)
Sir John Lyttelton of Frankley died in 1590 holding a windmill at Salwarpe. (fn. 62) His son Gilbert seems to have built two water-mills there, which he called Sowleys or New Mills. (fn. 63) They were forfeited by his son John on his attainder, but restored to Muriel widow of John in 1603. (fn. 64)
A free fishery, mentioned first in 1315, was sold with the manor to Hugh Davie and George Wall in 1545 (fn. 65) and held by Philip Gresley and Ann his wife, lord and lady of the manor, in 1822. (fn. 66) Thomas Solley died in 1557 seised of a free fishery in Salwarpe which passed to his kinsman Edward Hanbury (fn. 67) and in 1559 Gregory Price conveyed a free fishery there to Gilbert Lyttelton. (fn. 68)
When the manor of Salwarpe was granted to the Bishop of Worcester in 817 the gift included 'below the greatest pit, four salt vat stalls and eight pits for brine, five on the east half, and three on the west half, and at the middle pit eight vat stalls and the brine thereto, that men may be well accommodated, and unseparated the brine.' (fn. 69) Five salt-pans at Droitwich belonged to the manor of Salwarpe at the time of the Domesday Survey, (fn. 70) and six were annexed to the hide which Urse held of the Prior of Coventry. (fn. 71) These vats afterwards became known as the Sheriffs' seals (Shref vessels or Shrefhales), and the further history of them is given under Droitwich (q.v.). They remained attached to the manor of Salwarpe probably as late as 1712, eleven salt-vats being mentioned in Sir John Talbot's will. (fn. 72)
OAKLEY, situated in the east of the parish and now only a farm-house, was the site of a reputed manor which probably at first belonged to a family of the same name. Richard son of William de Oakley recovered two parts of a carucate of land at Salwarpe in 1274–5, (fn. 73) and William de Quercu, who paid a subsidy of 4s. at Salwarpe in 1280, (fn. 74) may have been an owner of this estate. Avis de Oakley occurs in 1299–1300, (fn. 75) and John de Oakley paid a subsidy of 3s. at Salwarpe in 1327, (fn. 76) and was lord of Oakley in 1346. (fn. 77) From that time until the beginning of the 16th century there seems to be no record of their successors. In 1524–5 William Trimmell was holding lands worth £10 in Salwarpe, (fn. 78) and this probably refers to Oakley, which the Trimmells are known to have held. John Trympley, lord of Oakley in 1535, (fn. 79) is probably to be identified with John Trimmell, who was a resident at Salwarpe in 1539. (fn. 80) Richard Trimmell, son of the latter, was holding Oakley in 1555, when it appears as a manor for the first time. (fn. 81) Thomas son of Richard (fn. 82) left it to his only daughter Mary, who married John Talbot, a younger son of John Talbot of Salwarpe, (fn. 83) from whom it passed to John, their son, and to his son also called John. The latter was succeeded by an only daughter Olive, (fn. 84) but she died unmarried in 1681, (fn. 85) her heirs being her aunts Elizabeth and Katherine and her cousin Elizabeth daughter of Mary, another aunt, by her second husband Sir John Tyas, kt. (fn. 86) Elizabeth and Katherine died unmarried, and the whole of the property passed to their niece Elizabeth, who married Simon Barker. (fn. 87) She seems to have been succeeded by a son Talbot Barker, who died in 1719, leaving his property in Worcestershire to his right heirs on his mother's side. (fn. 88) These must have been the descendants of Olive, Mary, Anne and Elizabeth, the daughters of John Talbot and Mary Trimmell, (fn. 89) and, since Pelham Maitland and Dorothea his wife were holding it in her right in 1760, (fn. 90) she was probably their only descendant. In 1770 the manor of Oakley with the manor-house and lands, let at a rent of £205 5s., then the property of Mary widow of George Burrish, were advertised as being for sale. (fn. 91) They have since passed through several hands and now are for the larger part the property of Mr. T. C. Quarrell.
In 1086 William Goizenboded held a hide of land at Celvestune, and William held it of him. As in the manor of Guiting in Gloucestershire, William had succeeded Richard the Youth (juvenis), the tenant before the Conquest. (fn. 92) In the time of Stephen this hide was held by William de Beauchamp 'of the fee of Robert Fitz Archembald.' (fn. 93) This Celvestune (Chalvestona) has been identified as CHAUSON in Salwarpe, but it does not occur later as a manor, and probably became absorbed in the manor of Salwarpe. (fn. 94) A place called Challesdon mentioned in a 15th-century survey of Salwarpe (fn. 95) is perhaps to be identified with it.
A house at Chauson of the late 16th or early 17th century is supposed to have been the residence of the Richardsons. Burke mentions a family of Richardson of 'Chawston' whose arms were recorded in the time of Charles I, giving a father, son and grandson named Stephen. (fn. 96) The Richardsons, who appear to have been citizens of Worcester, (fn. 97) were numbered among the gentry of the shire in 1660, (fn. 98) and perhaps built Chauson as a country residence. There is a monument in St. Helen's Church, Worcester, to Stephen Richardson of Chauson, Procurator-General of the Consistory Court of Worcester and chapter clerk, who died in 1665.
The church of ST. MICHAEL consists of a chancel 28 ft. 6 in. by 16 ft. 9 in., north vestry, nave averaging 54 ft. by 15 ft. 11 in., north aisle 10 ft. 11 in. wide, south aisle 9 ft. 11 in. wide, west tower 11 ft. 11 in. square, and south porch. These measurements are all internal.
Traces of flying buttresses on the walls of both aisles, and carried across to the western piers, seem to point to the existence of a tower earlier than the present aisles, whose eastern arch, at some date after 1350, was in danger of spreading. The north and south walls of this tower being within the church would have formed bays similar to those of the arcade, but not in line with them.
In the middle of the 15th century a new tower was built immediately to the west of the older one, but not connected with it and not in line with the nave and previous tower. The older tower was then removed and the new one connected with the west ends of the aisle walls, and finally the north and south arches of the old tower were replaced by a continuation of the nave arcade built outside them. In order to keep these new bays of approximately equal width the responds were necessarily of unequal projection, and part of the last pier on the south side was cut away.
The present chancel was built in 1848. The east window is of three lights, with a two-light window in the south wall and one of one light on the north. Under a recess on the north side is a fine late 14th-century effigy of a priest in mass vestments holding 2 chalice.
The chancel arch is modern. The nave has an arcade of four bays on each side. The first three are similar, having obtuse pointed arches, of two square orders on the inner and one on the outer sides; the piers are circular with plain bell capitals. West of these there is a break, with a large square peir on the north and a smaller pier similar to it on the south.
The north aisle dates from the 14th century. The east and west windows, with the first two in the north wall, are of two lights with leaf tracery. The north door has a segmental head, and west of it is a wide single-light window. In the lower part of the north wall are four recesses with four-centred arches. Above the second is a cruciform cutting in the masonry, which probably contained an early stone rood.
The eastern bay of the aisle is fitted with a wood screen, mostly modern, but with pieces of 15th-century work re-used. The massive tower arch, of one pointed order, has panelled jambs, and the 15th-century west window is of four lights.
The south aisle dates from about 1370, and has an east window of two lights with a quatrefoiled head, three similar windows on the south and one in the west wall; the first window on the south is modern on the inside. At the east end, shut off by wroughtiron rails, is a black and white marble altar tomb with an inscription to Olive Talbot, 1681, and her mother Elizabeth, widow of John Talbot of Oakley, in the parish of Salwarpe, 1689. In the south-east corner is a trefoiled piscina. The first bay of the aisle has a good 15th-century parclose screen, extensively repaired and patched. To the east of the south door, which is much restored, are three low recesses in the wall, similar to those in the north aisle. The west tower has an embattled parapet and angle buttresses. The tower arch is of a single two-centred order with panelled jambs. The west window of the ground stage is of four cinquefoiled lights with a traceried head. The vice is at the south-west. The bellchamber has windows of two trefoiled lights, and the ringing chamber single square-headed lights.
At the west end of the aisle are some old tiles having crancs, hawks, a shield with three boars' heads, another of a fesse with three molets, and other devices. The south porch, roofs and font are modern.
On the south wall of the chancel is an alabaster monument to Thomas Talbot, 1613, with kneeling figures at a desk and children below. In the tower is a board, dated 1661, recording the benefactions of Thomas Trimmell, 1641.
The plate consists of a cup and cover paten of the 1571 type, unmarked and apparently reworked; a flagon engraved with the Talbot arms impaling a cheveron between three wolves' heads razed, presented by Elizabeth Talbot; a restoration paten, a silver dish of 1820 and a silver-gilt chalice and paten presented in memory of the Rev. W. W. Douglas.
The advowson of Salwarpe belonged to the lords of the manor until about 1774, (fn. 99) when John Talbot sold it to Sir Herbert Perrott Pakington, (fn. 100) whose son Sir John Pakington sold it to Thomas Farley. The latter presented to the living in 1807, and in the same year sold the advowson to Admiral Rainier, who left it to his brother Dr. Rainier, from whom it was purchased by the Rev. Volvant Vashion, the rector as well as patron in 1826. (fn. 101) Mr. Vashion or his successor seems to have sold it to the Rev. Henry Douglas, (fn. 102) whose son the Rev. William Willoughby Douglas (fn. 103) inherited the manor of Salwarpe from his uncle in 1885, and left it with the advowson to his son Archibald Douglas, the present owner. (fn. 104)
In 1347 William de Salwarpe, clerk, and Thomas his brother obtained licence to grant certain land in Salwarpe to two chaplains to celebrate divine service daily in the parish church of St. Michael. (fn. 105) This grant was not made, and in 1356 William and Thomas on surrender of their Letters Patent obtained licence to grant the premises to the nuns of Westwood, who were to provide the two chaplains. (fn. 106) Subsequently the lands were seized by the king, on the plea that they had been alienated without licence, and granted in 1397 to John Bras and Geoffrey Mugge. (fn. 107) In 1368, however, certain salt-pits with which William brother and heir of Thomas Salwarpe had enfeoffed Thomas Earl of Warwick were given by the latter to the support of a chantry in Salwarpe dedicated to the Virgin Mary, to be served by one chaplain, who was to be nominated by the parishioners of Salwarpe but presented by the earl and his heirs. (fn. 108) Presentations were made to this chantry by the king after the attainder of the Earl of Warwick. (fn. 109) After the Dissolution the property belonging to this chantry was granted by Edward VI to Henry Tanner and Thomas Bocher. (fn. 110) 'The late chantry' is mentioned again in 1575, when Edward Corbett and Eleanor his wife and George Wylde her son conveyed it to Thomas Wylde. (fn. 111)
By his will, dated 1268, William de Beauchamp left a manse and garden adjoining the court of the rector to maintain a lamp in the church of Salwarpe, in honour of God Almighty, His Blessed Mother, and St. Katherine and St. Margaret the Virgins. (fn. 112)
It was stated on the church table, dated in 1757, that Margery Parker, by her will, gave 30s. a year to the poor to be raised out of land in the parish of Oddingley, and distributed at Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide.
—Upon the inclosure in 1813 of the commonable and waste lands in this parish about 8 a. were exchanged for some ancient property called Church Lands, the rents of which are carried to the churchwardens' accounts.