A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1913.
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Bredicot is a small parish lying almost in the centre of Worcestershire and about 4 miles east of Worcester. It covers an area of 399 acres, of which 212 are laid down in permanent grass, 33 are woods and plantations and 111 are arable land, (fn. 1) and the chief crops are wheat, oats, beans and peas. The soil is marl and clay and the subsoil clay. The village, consisting of the church, rectory and court farm and a few cottages, lies in the centre of the parish on a branch road from the Worcester and Alcester high road.
The main settlement, which lies about a quarter of a mile south-east of the church, forms a picturesque group of houses mostly of half-timber and brick dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. Bredicot Court, to the south of the village, is an early 17th-century half-timber and brick house of two stories and an attic with tiled roofs, added to on the south in the 18th century and plastered and modernized on the west front. The original timber work is exposed on the east and north. The stairway, in the 18th-century addition, has a moulded handrail and retains in part its original slender turned balusters. East of the house there is a 17th-century half-timber and brick barn with a tiled roof. On the opposite side of the road is an L-shaped half-timber house dating probably from the 16th century, but restored with brickwork in the 18th century. It has an original projecting chimney on the north terminating in two diagonal shafts and retains its heavy oak timbers and floors. The stairway has square newels with shaped finials; of its original shaped pierced balusters only one remains. Over a fireplace in an upper room is a piece of an oak moulded beam.
The nearest station is at Worcester, although the Midland railway passes near the village, crossing the parish from north to south. The parish was inclosed under Acts of 1836 and 1840, and the award is dated 1 December 1846. (fn. 2)
A Roman urn was dug up in 1839 near Bredicot Court. (fn. 3)
Among the place-names occur Goding's Mere (fn. 4) (x cent.), Spert Meadow (fn. 5) (xv and xvii cent.), Upper Stocking, Nether Stocking, Wyorsland Close, New Tyning, the Hill Ways and Kimbersley Coppice (fn. 6) (xvii cent.).
Prattinton, writing in the 19th century and quoting the Parliamentary Survey of 1650, says: 'There is a waste ground or common within the said manor called Ridley containing about 18 acres, in which the tenants of the said manor have common of pasture for their cattle at all times of the year appertinent to their copyholds, but the lessee of the farm hath pasture there only for one mare and colt.' (fn. 7)
There is no recorded grant of the manor of BREDICOT to the church of Worcester, but it had certainly been acquired before 985, when Bishop Oswald granted the vill to a priest named Goding on condition that he did any writing that was necessary. To this, it is said, he willingly assented, and wrote many books for the monastery. (fn. 8) He retained the vill until his death, (fn. 9) and his heirs are said to have held Bredicot after him of the church of Worcester until it was taken away by the Normans. (fn. 10) The record adds that the church of Worcester thus lost the lordship, but in 1086 it was held of the bishop's manor of Northwick. (fn. 11) Brictwold the priest, who held it in the time of King Edward, performing such service for it as the bishop willed, was possibly one of Goding's heirs.
The manor was still held of the manor of Northwick at the end of the 13th century, (fn. 12) but after that time the bishop's overlordship seems to have lapsed.
In 1086 Walter Poer (Ponther) held the manor under the Bishop of Worcester, (fn. 13) and it formed part of the two and a half fees which Hugh Poer held of the bishop in 1166. (fn. 14) Early in the 13th century John Poer held this manor. (fn. 15) The chief seat of this branch of the family was at Battenhall in Worcester, and Bredicot became a member of that manor, the Poers' interest in Bredicot passing with Battenhall to the Prior and convent of Worcester in 1330. (fn. 16) This intermediary lordship lapsed in 1377, when the prior and convent acquired the manor in fee.
The early history of the tenants under the Poers is obscure. John de Bredicot presented to the church in 1288 and 1289, (fn. 17) and was probably lord of the manor at that time, as the advowson was apparently an appurtenance of the manor. He was holding the manor in 1298. (fn. 18) He granted the rent and services of one of his tenants at Bredicot to John de Everley in 1304–5, (fn. 19) but in 1317 Reginald Baldewyn as 'former lord of Bredicot' gave the manor to John de Dufford and his wife Cecily. (fn. 20)
John de Dufford was escheator in Ireland, (fn. 21) and in 1324 became indebted for 40 marks to William de Kirkby. (fn. 22) He evidently mortgaged Bredicot Manor as security for the payment of this debt, for in 1327 William de Kirkby and Hugh de Dufford, whom John had nominated in 1327 as his attorney in England during his absence in Ireland, (fn. 23) were in possession of the manor. (fn. 24) In 1330 William de Kirkby transferred the debt owed to him by John de Dufford to Sir William de Walkington, (fn. 25) who accordingly entered into possession of the manor. (fn. 26)
As Sir William Walkington presented to the church in 1337, (fn. 27) he was probably still in possession of the manor at that date, but it seems to have been redeemed by the Duffords before 1346, when William de Dufford held it. (fn. 28) In 1346 William de Kirkby gave to William de Dufford and his wife Katherine messuages and lands in Bredicot formerly belonging to Richard Chasteleyn. (fn. 29) In 1352 William de Dufford released his life interest in the manor to his son Thomas, to his brother of the same name and to William de Kirkby. (fn. 30) It is possible that Thomas de Dufford the younger became a priest and gave up his rights in the manor to the Prior of Worcester in consideration of a yearly allowance, for in 1370 Thomas Dufford, chaplain, acknowledged 40s. in part payment of £4, a yearly pension which he received from the prior, (fn. 31) and the Dufford family afterwards ceased to hold property in Bredicot. In 1377 Richard II gave licence to the priory to acquire the manor and advowson of Bredicot of William de Astley, chaplain, John de Kirkby and John de Wellesbourgh. (fn. 32)
The Prior and convent of Worcester remained in possession of the manor until the Dissolution, (fn. 33) when it passed to the Crown. It was granted in 1542 to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester (fn. 34) and was confirmed to them in 1609. (fn. 35)
During the Commonwealth the dean and chapter were deprived of their possessions and Bredicot was sold to Richard Higgons in 1650. (fn. 36) It was restored on the accession of Charles II to the dean and chapter and was confirmed to them in 1692. (fn. 37) The dean and chapter remained in possession of the manor until 1859, when it was transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 38) who are the present owners.
In 1773 the 'leasehold manor or site of the manor held for eleven years and renewable every seven years' was put up for sale. (fn. 39) It appears to have been bought by Samuel Brampton, who became a bankrupt in 1816, and the Bredicot Court estate was then sold. (fn. 40) In the middle of the 19th century Bredicot Court was for many years the residence of Henry Chamberlain, and the estate was purchased of his trustees in 1864 by Robert Berkeley of Spetchley, father of the present owner.
The church of ST. JAMES THE LESS is a simple rectangular structure 41 ft. long by 15 ft. wide inside. It has been very much restored in modern times, but its walls probably contain 13th-century material. In its east wall is a pointed window of three lights with plain heads and intersecting tracery over. The other five windows, two in each side and one in the west wall, are of two lights each with a plain piercing over. To the south of the chancel is a piscina with a trefoiled ogee head and a mutilated basin. The south doorway has a pointed head of two orders. The porch is of wood, and on the floor are some old tiles with the monogram R.E. The font is octagonal with shallow trefoiled panels on the side of the bowl and a small square diaper above. The bowl may be as early as the 13th century, but the stem and base are modern. All the other furniture is of recent date.
The registers (fn. 41) before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1702 to 1812, burials 1702 to 1810 and marriages 1713 to 1753; (ii) marriages from 1754 to 1805.
The advowson of the church of Bredicot seems from early times to have belonged to the owners of the manor, (fn. 42) and was granted in 1542 with the manor to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester, who are patrons at the present day. (fn. 43)
In 1585 Edward Dalton of Holbury presented to the church by a grant of the dean and chapter, and another grant of the advowson was made by them to John Archibold, whose widow Eleanor presented in 1624. (fn. 44) The living is a rectory, and was united in 1841 to the vicarage of Tibberton. (fn. 45)
Until 1543 Bredicot had all parochial rights except that of sepulture, the parishioners being obliged to carry their dead to the churchyard of the church of Worcester. (fn. 46) In that year the right of burial was granted to the parish and a piece of land adjoining the church was consecrated. For this the parishioners paid to the dean and chapter a yearly pension of 6d. under pain of excommunication for nonpayment. (fn. 47)