A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1913.
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The parish of Stone has an area of 2,516 acres, of which 17 acres are covered by water, 1,405 acres are arable land, 415 permanent grass, and 90 wood. (fn. 1) It is situated immediately south-east of Kidderminster, from which it is divided by the River Stour and by one of its tributaries. There is a rifle range for volunteers on the left bank of the river. Besides the village there are three hamlets: Hoo rook in the west and partly in the foreign of Kidderminster, Dunclent half a mile north of the village, and Shenstone 1½ miles south. The village is in the north-east of the parish, and is 2 miles from each of the stations of Kidderminster and Hartlebury, and on the Kidderminster and Bromsgrove road. From this road Cursley Lane branches off near Mustow Green, and forming part of the eastern boundary of Stone runs south and joins the main road from Kidderminster to Droitwich. The last road, which passes through the west of Stone to Hartlebury, forms the southern boundary of this parish for some distance. Branches from it running in a north-easterly direction cross the parish, one called Stanklin Lane leading to the village of Stone, and the other passing through Shenstone to Chaddesley Corbett. The land rises gradually from the Stour to a height of 287 ft. above the ordnance datum in the east. Stour Hill, a little to the east of the river, is partly in this parish and partly in Hartlebury.
The parish was inclosed under an Act of 1762–3, and the award is dated 20 December 1763. (fn. 2) The soil is loamy, lying partly on the Keuper Sandstones and partly on the Bunter Pebble beds. The population is now chiefly engaged in agriculture, the most important crops being wheat, beans, barley and potatoes. Paper and yarn-mills were formerly worked at Hoobrook, but are now disused. There are two schools in the parish, one in the village of Stone, and the other, an infants' school, at Hoobrook. A third school was built at Shenstone in 1882, but never opened for want of funds, and is now used as a barn.
Before the Conquest STONE was held as two manors by Tumi and Euchil, but in 1086 Herlebald was holding it as one manor of Urse D'Abitot, (fn. 3) from whom the overlordship passed with his other property to the Beauchamps and probably descended with their barony of Elmley Castle (fn. 4) (q.v.), although its connexion with the Beauchamp family is not mentioned after the 13th century. The manor was said in 1578, 1618 and 1636 to be held of the Crown as of the hundred of Halfshire in socage by fealty. (fn. 5)
Herlebald was succeeded by the family of Stone, who took their name from the manor, although there is no mention of their holding land in the parish until the beginning of the 13th century, when Walter Stone was holding half a knight's fee of William de Beauchamp. (fn. 6) This Walter was possibly a son of William de Stanes, who in 1200–1 confirmed a grant made by his father Walter (fl. 1178) and grandfather William of land at Osmerley to the monks of Bordesley. (fn. 7) In 1259 a Walter Stone and Aline his wife are mentioned as landowners in Worcestershire, (fn. 8) and were probably holding the manor of Stone. They were evidently succeeded by Thomas Stone, whose name occurs on a Lay Subsidy Roll, c. 1280. (fn. 9) According to Nash, William Stone held the manor in 1284–5 and Thomas Stone in 1299. (fn. 10) By 1327 the manor had passed to Thomas's son Richard Stone, (fn. 11) who in that year with his wife Cecilia settled tenements in Stone on their son Richard and his wife Joan. (fn. 12) Richard the son probably died in the lifetime of his father, for in 1341 the latter with Cecily his wife settled a messuage and 2 carucates of land in Stone upon Margaret wife of Roger Folliott for life with remainder to Thomas Folliott, Margaret's son, and his wife Elizabeth, who is stated by Habington to have been a daughter of Richard or William Stone. (fn. 13) William Fitz Warin, who is mentioned in 1346 as a former owner of the manor, (fn. 14) may have obtained it by marriage with a widow of one of the Stones. Thomas Folliott was holding the manor in 1346, (fn. 15) and it continued in the Folliott family until the 17th century. Hugh Folliott, grandson or great-grandson of Thomas, (fn. 16) was lord of the manor in 1428, (fn. 17) and had been succeeded before 1431 by his eldest son Richard. (fn. 18) The latter settled it in 1468 on his son Nicholas, (fn. 19) from whom it passed to his grandson John Folliott, who died in 1578. (fn. 20) After the death of Thomas Folliott son of John in 1617 his son Sir John Folliott, kt., who had married Elizabeth daughter of John Aylmer, Bishop of London, succeeded to the manor, (fn. 21) and in 1624 sold it to Sir William Courteen, kt., (fn. 22) a prominent merchant. He was succeeded in 1636 by his son William Courteen, (fn. 23) who, owing to the repeated losses incurred by his father, became bankrupt in 1643. (fn. 24) Stone was probably claimed with his other property by the Committee for Sequestration and was sold to Sir James Rushout, bart., son of John Rushout, a Flemish merchant, who had settled in London. (fn. 25) The exact date of the purchase by Sir James is not known, but he was dealing with land at Stone in 1662–3, (fn. 26) and was in possession of the manor in 1694. (fn. 27) He died in 1697–8, and was succeeded by his second but eldest surviving son James. (fn. 28) On the latter's marriage in 1699–1700 with Arabella daughter of Thomas Vernon the manor was settled upon her. (fn. 29) Both Sir James and Arabella died in 1705, and their only son James died in boyhood in 1711. (fn. 30) The manor passed to his sister Elizabeth, who married in 1731 Paulett St. John. (fn. 31) A settlement of the manor was made upon her at that date. (fn. 32)
Elizabeth died without issue in December 1733, (fn. 33) and in 1734 St. John sold the manor for £6,500 to Joseph Cox, an attorney of Kidderminster, (fn. 34) whose daughter and heir Mary married Stephen Beckingham, and was holding the manor with him in 1738. (fn. 35) In 1751 it belonged to Stephen Beckingham and his son Stephen. (fn. 36) It had passed before 1762–3 to John Baker, (fn. 37) who was lord of the manor in 1808. (fn. 38) Property at Stone was apparently held by the Misses Baker in 1868, (fn. 39) and they and Mrs. Bernard owned the manor in 1872. It had passed before 1876 to James Holcroft of Red Hill House, Stourbridge. He was succeeded in March 1894 by his brother Charles Holcroft of the Shrubbery, Kingswinford, who was created a baronet in 1905, (fn. 40) and is now lord of the manor of Stone.
The manor of DUNCLENT (Duncklen, xvi cent.) belonged before the Conquest to the priory of St. Guthlac, Hereford, and Odo held it of the priory. In 1086 it was held under the priory by Nigel the physician, under whom it was held by Urse. (fn. 41) Since in 1212 the fee belonged to Walter de Beauchamp, (fn. 42) it is evident that the Urse who held the manor under Nigel was Urse D'Abitot. The overlordship is not again mentioned until 1476, when the manor was said to be held of the Prior of Lewes for the service of one knight. (fn. 43)
Dunclent evidently gave its name to the family of Dunclent, who were lords of the manor in the 13th and 14th centuries. About 1280 Robert de Dunclent paid a subsidy of a mark at Dunclent, (fn. 44) and in 1284 Mary Dunclent, probably his widow, owned property there. (fn. 45) Clement de Dunclent is the next owner of the manor whose name is known. He seems in 1294 and 1316 to have held it under the Burnells, who in turn held it of Stephen de Bosco. (fn. 46) Clement de Dunclent paid a subsidy of 3s. at Dunclent in 1327, (fn. 47) and his widow Amice was still in possession of a quarter of a knight's fee there in 1346. (fn. 48) John de Dunclent son of Clement was probably lord of the manor in 1351, when he exchanged certain lands in Broom with his brother Edmund and Maud his wife for others in Dunclent, (fn. 49) and he was called lord of Dunclent in 1368. (fn. 50) The family appears to have died out in the 14th century, and the manor probably reverted to the Beauchamps as overlords, being settled, like Rushock, on William Beauchamp Lord Bergavenny. (fn. 51) It then followed the descent of Kidderminster Biset (fn. 52) (q.v.), Lord Bergavenny being the owner in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It was probably sold after his death in 1586–7, and its descent becomes difficult to trace.
In the Visitation of Worcester, 1569, Elizabeth daughter and heir of John Moore of Dunclent is mentioned as having married John Folliott of Stone, (fn. 53) and Nash also states that Dunclent was at one time held by John Moore. (fn. 54) It afterwards passed to Edmund Brode, who left most of his property, including a park called Dunclent Park, by his will, dated 22 February 1599, to a younger son, Edward Brode. (fn. 55) He sold the manor in 1655 to Thomas Foley, (fn. 56) in whose family it remained (fn. 57) until about 1836, when it was purchased by the late Earl of Dudley. (fn. 58) It now belongs to his son William Humble Earl of Dudley.
SHENSTONE and HOO were regarded as manors during the 17th century. (fn. 59) Land at Shenstone was held in 1431 by Richard Folliott, lord of Stone, by knight service, (fn. 60) and both manors passed with Stone from the Folliott family to Sir William Courteen. (fn. 61) They are not mentioned after 1636. (fn. 62)
A mill at Stone worth three ounces of silver belonged to the manor in 1086. (fn. 63) Another mill in the parish called 'the water mill of Stone' appears to have belonged to the manor of Dunclent, for it was given by Edmund de Dunclent to his brother John in 1351. (fn. 64)
The church of ST. MARY consists of a chancel, nave with a western gallery and a western tower and spire. The whole building is modern, and was built in 1831, when the old church was destroyed. A pencil drawing of the latter, still preserved, shows this to have been of some interest. The sketch does not give much detail, but the proportion of the tower and the general appearance of the belfry lights suggest a 12th-century date for this part of the church, while the east windows of the chancel appear to have been three grouped lancets. Prattinton, who visited the church, also mentions 'a Saxon door on the north wall,' a further suggestion of 12th-century work. (fn. 65)
The present church is ostensibly designed in 15th-century style, but is poor in both design and detail.
The traceried east window of the chancel is of three
lights, and in the south wall is a two-light window.
There is no chancel arch, and the nave is lit by six
two-light windows, three on either hand. At the
west end of the nave is an organ gallery. The
tower is of three stages, with lancet belfry lights and
an embattled parapet, above which is a stone spire.
The lowest stage serves as a porch. The belfry contains six bells, cast by Thomas Mears of London in
1832. The font is of 13th-century design, with a
square bowl. Affixed to the north wall of the
chancel are two small brass plates, the only relics of
the old church, both removed from a monument.
One is to Will Spicer, died 1656, and bears the
'Drawn from a martyrs bloud, from a generous line
Decended was this meek, this grave divine.'
Below are the arms, a battled fesse between three lions rampant. The second brass is to Ursula wife of the above, died 1663, and bears the Spicer arms impaling a cheveron between three roses with the difference of a crescent upon the cheveron. Over the west door is a small late 18th-century carving of the royal arms with the unusual arrangement of England quartering Scotland, Ireland, and France.
The church plate consists of a small three-legged salver of 1800 and a modern set of a chalice, paten, standing salver and flagon, presented in 1862 by the Rev. John Peel, vicar of Stone and Dean of Worcester.
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1601 to 1709; (ii) baptisms and burials 1709 to 1785, marriages 1709 to 1752; (iii) baptisms and burials 1786 to 1812; and (iv) a printed marriage book 1754 to 1812.
The chapel of Stone was dedicated in honour of the Virgin Mary by Godfrey Giffard, Bishop of Worcester, in 1269. (fn. 66) It was annexed to the church of Chaddesley Corbett, (fn. 67) and the presentations were made by the rectors of Chaddesley until 1392. (fn. 68) Like Rushock it probably became separated from Chaddesley when that rectory was appropriated to the college of St. Mary, Warwick, and in 1535 it was a vicarage valued at £17. (fn. 69) The presentations were made by the dean until the dissolution of the college, (fn. 70) and the advowson of Stone was then apparently granted like that of Chaddesley Corbett to the bailiff and burgesses of Warwick, (fn. 71) as they or their feoffees presented until 1622. (fn. 72) The king presented in 1662, and the advowson has since been in the Crown. (fn. 73)
The Parochial Charity, comprising the charities of Nicholas and Elizabeth Folliott, founded by deed 4 June 1501; John Wall, 1 February 1504; Richard Thatcher (date unknown); John Oldnall, will, 1690; Richard Hill, will, proved 1730; and Thomas Pratt, will, proved 1802, is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, 4 August 1882, whereby the charity is divided into the educational branch, the church branch and the eleemosynary branch.
The trust property consists of 47 a. 3 r. and buildings of the rental value of £120; a rent-charge of £2 issuing out of Dawkes Meadow in respect of Oldnall's charity; £7,055 9s. 6d. India 3 per cent. stock, belonging to the other charities above mentioned, and including proceeds of sales of land and royalties, and £190 11s. 6d. consols, which sums of stock are held by the official trustees; also £16 8s. 6d. consols and £48 17s. 8d. like stock in the name of the Paymaster-General (Chancery Division), the dividends amounting in the aggregate to £218 4s.
The Educational Foundation, under an order of the Charity Commissioners, 20 February 1906, was determined to consist of the school premises, the dividends on £190 11s. 6d. consols, amounting to £4 15s., and an annual sum of 15s. for every £1 awarded to the school by the Board of Education and two-fifths of the remainder of the net income; the church branch to consist of one-fifth of the remainder of the net income, two-fifths of such remainder being assigned to the eleemosynary branch.
In 1817 William Wheeler by his will left a legacy of £200 (less duty) for the use of the poor in such manner as his daughter should direct. A portion of the principal sum appears to have been expended, and the remainder is now represented by £76 8s. 11d. consols, the annual dividends of which, amounting to £1 18s., are applied for the benefit of necessitous poor under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, 23 January 1883.