A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1913.
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The parish of Claines, on the left bank of the Severn and to the north of Worcester, has been considerably reduced at different times. In 1880, under the Divided Parishes Act, Smite Hill was annexed to Hindlip. (fn. 1) The tithing of Whistones was taken into the city of Worcester under the Municipal Corporation Act, 1832, and in 1885 Claines was divided into North Claines and South Claines, the latter being added to the city under the Worcester Extension Act. (fn. 2)
North Claines covers 3,403 acres, of which 814½ are arable land, 2,174¾ permanent grass, and 10¼ woods and plantations. (fn. 3) The chief crops are wheat, barley and beans. Its western boundary is the Severn and its northern the River Salwarpe, which, running south-west, enters the Severn near Hawford Lodge. To the south of the Salwarpe and following approximately the same direction is the Droitwich Canal, which was constructed in accordance with the Act of 1767. (fn. 4) Barbourne Brook enters the parish on the east and runs south-west through Perdiswell Park, joining the Severn near the City Waterworks. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal follows the same direction as the Barbourne Brook.
The Droitwich road enters the parish in the north-east at Fernhill Heath, and after passing Perdiswell Park it meets at Barbourne the Kidderminster road, which enters this parish at Hawford. The two roads, when united at Barbourne, cross the brook at Barbourne Bridge where Charles II first halted after the battle of Worcester (the present bridge is a modern structure), and then form the tithing of Whistones, on the left hand side of which is the old Cistercian nunnery of the White Ladies, now the endowed grammar school of Queen Elizabeth, and runs on to a street formerly called Salt Lane (now Castle Street).
There were many complaints in the 17th century of the bad state of the roads in Claines. (fn. 5) Prattinton mentions an advertisement for the erection of two toll-houses at Barbourne in 1814, and these houses remain at the junction of the Kidderminster and Droitwich roads. The Turnpike Acts were still in force here until the final abolition of the turnpikes in 1868. (fn. 6)
The Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton branch of the Great Western railway crosses the parish from north to south, passing through Rainbow Hill Tunnel before it reaches the city. There are stations at Worcester and Fernhill Heath.
The village of Claines is in the centre of the parish on a branch road connecting the Kidderminster and Droitwich high roads. It stands at about 100 ft. above the ordnance datum, and to the north and west the land falls to the valleys of the Salwarpe and the Severn. Perdiswell Hall, formerly the property of the Wakemans, stands in a large park south of the village on the borough boundary.
The house known as Porter's Mill stands on a tributary of the Severn, with the actual mill on the opposite side of the road. The building is of half-timber work plastered, and is entered by a wood porch, with 18th-century moulded balusters fitted in the sides. There is a small hall, with stair and large fireplace on the left, and above the latter are the royal arms encircled by the Garter and flanked by the crowned initials E. R. One of the rooms contains a 17th-century plaster ceiling of interlacing design, enriched with fleurs de lis, crowns, fruit, Prince of Wales' feathers, mermaids, &c. There is also some good moulded oak panelling ornamented with lions and crowns. The short stair has good twisted balusters.
To the west of the village is the hamlet of Bevere. It contains Bevere House, the seat of Mr. F. Curtler, formerly the residence of the historian Treadway Nash. A picture of it is given in the frontispiece of the first volume of his history. Bevere Island in the Severn afforded shelter to the inhabitants of Worcester in 1041, when their city was attacked by Hardicanute, (fn. 7) and again in 1637, when the city was visited by plague. (fn. 8) To the north of the village is Hawford House, the residence of Mrs. Castle.
Fernhill Heath is a hamlet to the north-east on the Droitwich road near the railway station, the greater part of which adjoins Hindlip and is the property of Lord Hindlip. It contains the kennels of the Worcestershire Hunt. In the hamlet of Astwood to the south-east of Claines is Moat House Farm, where remains of a moat still exist. The Blanquettes in Barbourne, standing in large grounds watered by the Barbourne Brook, is being cut up for building.
The common pound still standing in North Claines was put up for sale in 1820 among the effects of Mr. Handy, the auctioneer. (fn. 9)
Thomas Morris, vicar of Claines in 1689, was one of those who refused to take the oath of supremacy and was deprived of his living. He is said to be the person buried in Worcester Cathedral under a gravestone inscribed at his own request only with the word 'Miserrimus,' which formed the subject of a sonnet by Wordsworth. Thomas Biddulph, the Evangelical preacher, was born at Claines in 1763. (fn. 10)
Among the place-names found at Claines are Losmar (Losemore) (fn. 11) (xiii cent.); Tolwardyn (Taladine, Tollardine) (fn. 12) (xiv cent.); Pichecroft, (fn. 13) Hawford (Havard, Haforde), (fn. 14) Barroe Cope, (fn. 15) Kent Grounds, (fn. 16) Hallow Claines, (fn. 17) le Breche, Tooseland, Cowmedowyate, Portwellisley (fn. 18) (xvi cent.); Muncke Meadowe, The Neyte, Edicros (fn. 19) (xvii cent.), Jacob's Ladder.
It is not known when the church of Worcester acquired the great manor of NORTHWICK, which seems in early times to have included the present manor of WHISTONES (Wistan, Whytston, xiii cent.; Wyston, xiv cent.), the principal manor in the parish of Claines. (fn. 20) In 1086 it consisted of 25 hides, of which the bishop held 3½ in demesne with houses in Worcester and salt pans at Droitwich. (fn. 21) Henry III granted to the bishop free warren in his demesne lands here in 1254 and in 1255. (fn. 22)
Before the end of the 13th century the principal manor of the Bishops of Worcester in Claines had acquired the name 'Northwick and Wistan.' (fn. 23) The manor was surveyed under this name in 1484–5, (fn. 24) but before the middle of the 16th century the name Whiston or Whistones had superseded that of Northwick. (fn. 25) The manor-house at Northwick seems to have been disused as a residence of the Bishops of Worcester before the Dissolution. Leland writing soon after says, 'This Northewike was one John of Wodds in hominum memoria and bought of a Bysshope for lake of a Howse in Claynes. It is motid and had a Parke.' (fn. 26) In the time of Elizabeth the house was in ruins, and in a lease to Gilbert Lyttelton was described as 'all that house . . . within our mote within the scite and precincts of the manor of Northwick in the parish of Claines where of late our old capital mansion did stand.' (fn. 27)
The site was conveyed in 1612 by John Weme and his wife Margery, who evidently held it under lease from the bishop, to John Stampe, (fn. 28) and four years later John Weme and John Stampe sold it to Humphrey Baker. (fn. 29) In 1648 the site was still leased by the Bakers, (fn. 30) and was sold in that year as a late possession of the see of Worcester to Richard Vernon and Anthony Feare. (fn. 31) At the present day nothing is left of the manor-house at Northwick but a portion of the moat.
The manor of Whistones remained in the possession of the Bishops of Worcester until under the Commonwealth it was confiscated and sold in 1648, as 'the manor of Whitstons and Claynes,' to George Pike, (fn. 32) the site of the manor of Whistones having been sold a month before to Thomas Newsam, Edward Berkeley, Richard Vernon and Edward Harwood. (fn. 33) The manor was restored to the bishop on the accession of Charles II. (fn. 34) The manor, still known as Claines and Whistones in the 18th century, is now called the manor of Claines, and belonged to the Bishops of Worcester (fn. 35) until it was taken over in 1860 by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 36) who are the present owners of the manor, and courts are still held.
The site of the manor of Whistones seems to have been held before the Dissolution by the Dean of Westbury College under the Bishops of Worcester. (fn. 37) This lease afterwards came to the Blounts, Robert Blount dying seised of the site of the manor or farm of Whistones in 1573. (fn. 38) In 1616 the bishop leased the site of the manor for three lives to George Smith, who shortly after assigned the lease to William Warmestry. (fn. 39) Warmestry afterwards assigned the lease to Thomas Cheatle, (fn. 40) to whom it was renewed by the bishop in 1623. (fn. 41) The Cheatles were still in possession in 1648, (fn. 42) and the site was granted for a long lease in 1668 by the bishop to Sir Rowland Berkeley and members of the Vernon family, the Vernons having inherited the bulk of the Cheatle property. (fn. 43)
Though the nuns of Whistones obtained grants of land from time to time during the 13th and 14th centuries (fn. 44) they never seem to have had a manor in the parish of Claines, their possessions there in 1535 being represented by a rent of 42s. 6d. (fn. 45) After the Dissolution the lands of the nunnery were dispersed, (fn. 46) but the site was leased in 1537 to Walter Welshe, (fn. 47) and granted in 1543 to Richard Callowhill. (fn. 48) On his death in 1548 his brother John inherited the property, (fn. 49) and in the following year gave it to his son John, (fn. 50) who was succeeded in 1573 by his son, a third John. (fn. 51) He was succeeded by Nicholas Callowhill (probably his cousin and son of his uncle Nicholas), on whose death in 1593 his daughter Elizabeth, the wife of Giles Acton, inherited this land. (fn. 52) Before the death of John Callowhill in 1573 the site of the priory appears to have passed to the governors of the free school at Worcester, for they received the profits after the death of John, (fn. 53) and it was probably held under them by lease by John's descendants. The governors of Queen Elizabeth's school in Worcester are the present owners of the estate. (fn. 54)
It was leased in 1662 by the governors to Richard Blurton and his wife Mary. The lease was renewable, and in 1700 their daughter Anne, who married John Cooksey, renewed it, and it was afterwards again renewed by her son Richard Cooksey in 1714. (fn. 55) His daughter Anne married Edward Ingram in 1745, when the lease was transferred to her. (fn. 56) Their son Richard Ingram, who appears to have taken the name Cooksey, (fn. 57) held it until his death in 1811, and his widow renewed it in the following year. Her daughter Mary, who married John Thomas, lived at the White Ladies until the lease fell in between 1848 and 1858. It was then taken by Mr. Everill of Worcester, who was the occupier in 1865. (fn. 58) On the termination of that lease the governors rebuilt the school and almshouses on the site, the old house becoming the head master's residence. (fn. 59)
The hospitals of St. Wulfstan (fn. 60) and St. Oswald (fn. 61) in Worcester held land in this parish, which they acquired from various donors during the 13th and 14th centuries; the latter house, originally situated in this parish, was receiving rents amounting to £4 12s. 8d. from Claines in 1535, (fn. 62) and Nash says that their estate was once 'esteemed a manor.' (fn. 63)
Land at BARBOURNE (Beferburna, x cent.; Beverburne, Berborne, xiv cent.) was granted by Werefrith, Bishop of Worcester, in 904 to Ethelred ealdorman of Mercia and his wife Æthelflæd. (fn. 64) Barbourne afterwards became part of the manor of Northwick, of which it was held in the 13th century. (fn. 65)
From early times land at Barbourne was included in the manor of White Ladies Aston, the two manors being held for the service of a fifth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 66) Ralph de Wilington was holding Barbourne early in the 13th century, and it had formerly belonged to his father-in-law, Robert de Evercy, (fn. 67) having probably been granted at the same time as Aston to the ancestors of Robert by Theulf, Bishop of Worcester (1115–23). (fn. 68) It followed the same descent as White Ladies Aston, passing with it to the nuns of Whistones. (fn. 69) It then seems to have been incorporated in the demesnes of Whistones Priory, and is probably to be identified with land lying at le Barbours Brook, granted in 1543 with the site of Whistones Priory to Richard Callowhill. (fn. 70) Its further descent has not been traced.
Land in PORTEFIELDS was the property of Whistones Priory until the suppression of the nunnery. It was sold by Henry VIII in 1544 to Richard Andrews and John Howe, (fn. 71) who in the same year alienated it to the tenant, Thomas Hill. (fn. 72) John Callowe bought this land from Thomas Hill shortly before the death of the latter in 1557. (fn. 73) Some time before 1642 Portefields had come into the hands of Robert Waldegrave alias Fleet, but in that year he was considerably in debt, and he sold a property of 52 acres at Portefields. (fn. 74) In 1818 this estate was sold for building sites, the occupier at that time being Miss Strickland. (fn. 75)
PERDISWELL (Perdeswell, xii cent.; Persewell, xvi cent.) seems to have been a manor held of Northwick at least as early as the 15th century, as it is so called in a rental of Northwick in 1484–5. (fn. 76) John Comin was holding three-quarters of a yardland at Perdiswell of the manor of Northwick in the time of Henry II by grant of Bishop Alfred (1158–60). (fn. 77) The estate was afterwards, according to Prattinton, held by the Perdiswells, (fn. 78) then by the Attwoods, and shortly before 1484 by Thomas Acton, (fn. 79) but no original deeds have been found throwing light on its early history. In 1526–7 John Wood conveyed it to trustees in trust for his younger sons Anthony, Robert, Ralph and Richard. (fn. 80) John died in 1527, (fn. 81) and Anthony Attwood, who was dealing with the manor in 1596, was probably his son. (fn. 82) The manor remained in the possession of the Attwood family (see Wolverley) until 1684, when Henry Attwood sold it to Edward Hammond. (fn. 83) Thomas Hammond was in possession in 1736, (fn. 84) and was succeeded by Henry Hammond, clerk, on whose death, about 1769, the estate was sold pursuant to a decree in Chancery. (fn. 85) The purchaser may have been Charles Freeman Wakeman, who was in possession of the manor in 1812. (fn. 86) Before 1828 it had passed to Henry Wakeman of Perdiswell, who was created a baronet in that year. (fn. 87) He was succeeded in 1831 by a son, Sir Offley Penbury Wakeman, on whose death in 1858 the manor passed to his son Sir Offley Wakeman, (fn. 88) who shortly after sold it with the bulk of the Wakeman property in Claines. It was purchased by Henry Walker, and has recently been sold.
The manor of BEVERE (Beverege, xi cent.) probably originated in gifts made to the Prior and convent of Worcester in the 11th and 12th centuries. One was made by Bishop Wulfstan, who gave the monks the fishery of Beverburn with 12 acres of land belonging to it, the other in 1117 by Bishop Theulf, who gave a fishery in the Severn with the weir of Beverburn, and the island (fn. 89) (evidently Bevere Island). At the Dissolution this manor was valued with Lippard as 'Bevrey cum Barborn' at £10 14s. (fn. 90) With the rest of the estates of the priory it was granted as the manor of Bevere in 1542 to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester. (fn. 91) It was confirmed to them in 1608–9, (fn. 92) but was sold in 1650 by the trustees for the confiscated lands of the dean and chapter to William Dineley of Hanley Castle. The estate was then apparently only a farm. (fn. 93) It was, however, confirmed to the dean and chapter in 1692 as the manor of Bevere. (fn. 94) The manor of Bevere was held under leases from the dean and chapter by the Attwoods of Perdiswell in the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 95)
A rent reserved by the Crown from this manor, under the grant of 1542, was vested in trustees for sale in 1674. (fn. 96) This was in 1739 in the hands of Charles Earl of Tankerville and his wife Camilla, who then granted it to Charles Clarke, (fn. 97) and thirty years later Samuel Bayes and his wife Theodosia with Thomas Cotton and his wife Rebecca conveyed a rent from Bevere Manor to Anne West, a widow. (fn. 98)
Dr. Treadway Russell Nash bought an estate at Bevere shortly after his marriage in 1758 and died there in 1811. His property passed to his daughter Mary, whose husband, John Somers Cocks, had succeeded to the title of Lord Somers in 1806. (fn. 99) Prattinton, writing at the beginning of the 19th century, states that Bevere, the late residence of William Cary, was then for sale. (fn. 100) It was subsequently purchased by Thomas Gale Curtler and is now in the possession of his grandson.
The manor of BLANKETTS, which appears for the first time in 1548, probably originated in half a hide of land held of the manor of Northwick by the Blankett family. Osbert Blankett held an estate near Barbourne at the end of the 12th or early in the 13th century, (fn. 101) and Robert Blankett paid a subsidy about 1280 and was the owner in 1299. (fn. 102) Beatrice Blankett is returned as tenant in a later survey, (fn. 103) and John Blankett gave land in Northwick to the hospital of St. Oswald in 1310. (fn. 104) Agnes Blankett paid a subsidy of 1s. 6d. at Northwick in 1327, (fn. 105) and John Blankett still appears to have had an estate at Claines in 1339. (fn. 106) In 1484 Humphrey Frere or Friar was holding a messuage which had lately belonged to Agnes Blankett. (fn. 107) The manor remained with the Friar family, whose pedigree is given in the Visitation of Worcester of 1569, (fn. 108) until 1589, when Richard Friar and his wife Anne sold it to George Langford. (fn. 109) It belonged in 1831 to Henry Evans and his wife Mary Anne and Charlotte Elizabeth Stewart. (fn. 110) It passed through several hands and became the property of the Stallards. Its site is marked by the Blanquettes, an estate in Barbourne, now being developed for building.
Bishop Wulfstan gave a mill at Tapenhall (fn. 111) to the priory of Worcester in the 11th century. (fn. 112) The tenant of the mill was obliged to supply the master of the kitchen of the monastery with 30 'stiches' of eels or their equivalent in money, and the miller had to feed the horses which brought meal to be ground at the mill. (fn. 113) This mill evidently passed with the rest of the prior's estates to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester, for they had a water corn-mill at Tapenhall on Salwarpe Brook in 1613. (fn. 114) This mill was leased by the Nashes in the 17th century, George Nash and his nephew Thomas each having built an additional mill during his tenure of the lease. (fn. 115) The mill built by Thomas about 1609 was called Mildenham Mill. (fn. 116) Before 1659 Thomas Nash owned four water corn-mills at Mildenham, while a Mr. Porter had three mills at Tapenhall. (fn. 117) He made a settlement of these three mills and the capital messuage called Tapenhall Mills in 1672. (fn. 118) This capital messuage may have been the old half-timbered house called Porter's Mill. (fn. 119) Two corn-mills belonged to the manor of Whistones and Claines in 1649. (fn. 120) There were three water corn-mills at Hawford in 1659, of which Richard Jones was the owner. (fn. 121) In 1815 a mill at Hawford was the property of the Bishop of Worcester. It was put up for sale with 6 acres of land and was equipped with three pairs of French stones and one pair of French and Welsh, being capable of grinding 300 bags of corn per week. (fn. 122)
Four mills, which at one time belonged to the nuns of Whistones, were evidently granted with the site of the priory to the Callowhills. (fn. 123) Mildenham, Hawford and Porter's Mill exist at the present day on the River Salwarpe.
The church of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST consists of a chancel 23 ft. 8 in. by 17 ft. 2 in., north and south chapels 9 ft. 2 in. and 9 ft. 3 in. wide respectively, of the same length with the chancel, a modern north vestry on the north side of the north chapel, nave 43 ft. 10 in. by 15 ft. 10 in., north and south aisles 8 ft. 10 in. wide, a modern additional north aisle, west tower 10 ft. 7 in. square and a modern south porch. These measurements are all internal.
The present church appears to have been entirely rebuilt in the early 15th century upon the site of an older building, some fragments of which, dating from the late 12th century, and consisting of the moulded base and capital with a few of the drum stones of an arcade pier and some arch stones of a doorway, with an embattled moulding, were discovered beneath the north wall of the north aisle on its demolition for the modern extension. The north and south chapels were added early in the 16th century, and a rood gallery constructed or enlarged at the same period. In 1887–8 a new north aisle was added to the existing aisle, the north wall of the which was moved outwards and rebuilt practically stone for stone. The walling throughout the church is of large squared sandstone, laid in more or less regular courses.
The east window of the chancel is of three trefoiled ogee lights with vertical tracery within a two-centred head. At the south-east is a plain piscina recess with a square basin, originally projecting, but now cut back flush with the wall. The north and south walls are occupied by the chapel arcades, each of two bays with two-centred arches. Those of the north arcade are of two orders, the outer hollow-chamfered and the inner wave-moulded, and interesting example of the reversion to type charateristic of early 16th-century work. The column and responds continue the orders, which are interrupted by bell capitals of a clumsy section. The south arcade has arches of one order only, moulded with a plain chamfer, set back a little from the wall face and supported by an octagonal column, with responds of the same form. The two-centred chancel arch is of a single chamfered order, with semi-octagonal responds having moulded capitals and bases, of the same plain section as those of the nave arcades. Externally there were originally diagonal buttresses at both the eastern angles, but that at the south-east appears to have been taken down and set square with the east, wall on the addition of the south chapel. This is shown both by the disturbance of the facing here and by a short portion of the original return of the plinth mould, which surrounds the whole of the early 15th-century building.
The east window of the north chapel has a straight-sided four-centred head, and is of three trefoiled lights with vertical tracery over. The mullions are hollow-chamfered, and the tracery is set near the middle of the wall with a wide external casement. The square-headed window of three trefoiled ogee lights at the north-east is one of the original north windows of the chancel reset, and is of the same general type as those used throughout the church in the work of the earlier period. The remainder of the north wall is occupied by an arch opening into the modern vestry. At the north-west is a doorway with an elliptical head opening into the rood stairs, which are contemporary with the chapel. A two-centred arch of two chamfered orders, with responds of the same form as those of the chancel arcade, opens into the north aisle. The wall at the south-west angle is said to have been cut away and two squints cut from the aisle to the chapel, and from the chapel to the chancel, in the first half of the 19th century, when a small font was placed here. A portion of the plinth mould of the north wall of the chancel is visible at the south-east. Both here and in the case of the south chapel the whole of the length of chancel wall occupied by the arcade has been cut away and rebuilt. Externally the east wall has a plainly moulded cornice, now surmounted by a gable, which is evidently of later date, the present high-pitched roof being an addition. A piece of quatrefoil panelling at the north-east shows that there was originally a panelled parapet, similar in type to that which crowns the walls of the south chapel. The pinnacles which surmounted it have been reset at the angles of the tower parapet. At the eastern angle is a diagonal buttress of two offsets, and at the west end of the north wall a buttress of a similar number of offsets is visible inside the modern vestry, one of the east windows of which, removed originally from the north wall of the chancel to the chapel, has again been removed to its present position. The plinth of the chapel is of the same section as that of the chancel, the stones having probably been re-used. Over the north-east window is a large grotesque gargoyle.
The south chapel has one east window similar to that of the north chapel, but the tracery is more symmetrically set out, and generally shows traces of a slightly earlier date. The two square-headed windows in the south wall, of three and two lights respectively, are the reset south windows of the chancel, and are similar in detail to the reset north windows. Between them is a blocked doorway. An acute two-centred arch with semi-octagonal responds opens into the south aisle. Externally the walls are crowned by a heavily-moulded cornice and a pinnacled parapet panelled with quatrefoils. The pinnacles are crocketed, gabled and panelled; on each is carved a blank shield below a rose. The parapet is unpanelled on the east, and appears to have been disturbed, the coping being set at a less inclination than the cornice, which follows the slope of the low-pitched lean-to roof. There is a diagonal buttress at the south-east, one between the two windows of the south wall and one at the junction of the chapel with the aisle, all of two offsets. A plain chamfered plinth runs round the walls.
The nave arcades are each of four bays with acute two-centred arches of a single chamfered order, supported by octagonal columns and responds having moulded capitals and bases, similar in section to those of the chancel arch. In the apex of the east gable is a single cinquefoiled light. The north wall of the north aisle has been taken down and re-erected as the north wall of the additional aisle, added in 1887. Its three-light square-headed windows, three in number, are reset in this wall, with the original buttresses between them, and a diagonal buttress at the north-west angle, all of two offsets. The west window, which occupies its original position, is of similar design. All correspond in type to those of the chapels described above. An arcade of four-centred arches divides the two aisles. The south aisle has a west and three south windows of the same pattern as those of the north aisle, with buttresses between them and at the south-west angle. Between the two western windows is the south doorway, which has a plain chamfered two-centred head and segmental rear arch.
The tower is of three stages with an embattled parapet, at the angles of which are placed the four pinnacles of the north chapel. At the west are diagonal buttresses of four offsets. The tower arch is of a single acute two-centred order, and the west window of the ground stage is a square-headed three-light window of the type prevailing throughout the building. In the north and south walls are blocked doorways. The ringing chamber is lighted on the north, west and south by single ogee-headed lights, and the belfry by square-headed windows of three trefoiled ogee lights. The plinth mould of the chancel, nave and aisles is continued round the base of the tower.
The roofs of the chancel and chapels are modern; the ceiling of the north chapel conceals internally its later high-pitched roof. The nave has its original trussed rafter roof, and some of the timbers of the aisle roofs are also of original date. Externally the roofs of chancel, nave and aisles are tiled, those of the chapels being leaded.
In the north porch are preserved some fragments of encaustic tiles of the 15th century, including the four-tile Talbot design so common in the neighbourhood. In the vestry is some early 17th-century panelling.
In the east bay of the south chancel arcade, moved here from the churchyard, where it had been for many years, is the elaborate table tomb of John Porter, who died in 1577. It is now very imperfect, part only of the panelled sides remaining. Upon the top is his recumbent effigy. Of the inscription only the fragment— 'IOHN PORTER WHICH WAS A LAWYER 1577' —survives. The panels of the sides have semicircular heads with shells in their tympana and blank shields inclosed in smaller trefoiled panels below, the whole exhibiting a curious and characteristic mixture of Gothic and Renaissance. Above the three shields on the north side are the initials 'I.,' 'I.P.' and 'P.' Below is decipherable 'Anno Domini 1577.' That this tomb has always been a cenotaph is shown by a tablet now in the north chapel inscribed as follows: 'Subtus requiescit sed in erectissima | spe resurrectionis Iohannes Porter | Iurisconsultus qui Obiit Anno Do[mini] | 1577 | Omnia transibunt, nos ibimus, ibitis, ibunt | Ignari, gnari, conditione pari.' |
In the floor at the west end of the nave is a slab with a Passion cross having a shield in the centre and the arms crossed at the ends incised in outline upon it. The slab is probably of the 13th century. Upon the east wall of the north aisle is an elaborate mural tablet to Mary Porter, widow of John Porter, who died in 1668. Other mural tablets include those to Henry Wynne 'of Clifford's Inn,' who died in 1693; to Elizabeth wife of Phincas Jackson, who died in 1714, and several of her children who died young; and to George Porter, who died in 1709, and his wife Elizabeth, who died in 1720. In the nave floor are many slabs, none earlier than the late 17th century.
There is a ring of five bells inscribed as follows: treble, 'Francis Wythes, William Reynolds, Churchwardens 1686'; second, recast by Warner of London in 1886 from a bell said to have been of the late 14th century; third, 'Gloria in Excelsis Deo 1622'; fourth, 'Jesus be oure spede 1623'; tenor, 'God bless oure Nobell King 1623.'
The plate consists of an Elizabethan cup, the foot gone and the rim renewed, the hall-mark of which has disappeared; a cover paten, which doubtless belonged to it, inscribed on the foot 1571, with the mark of 1570; two silver cups, a flagon, and a paten of 1846, a chalice and paten of silver-gilt of 1902, a silver paten, a silver chalice and paten formerly used at the mission room at Fernhill Heath, three mounted cruets and a silver bread box, all modern.
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1538 to 1656; (ii) a fragmentary paper book with all entries 1641 to 1647; (iii) all entries 1661 to 1684; (iv) all entries 1684 to 1740; (v) baptisms and burials 1740 to 1784, marriages to 1752; (vi) baptisms and burials 1785 to 1812; (vii) marriages 1752 to 1787; (viii) marriages 1787 to 1812.
Descriptions of the churches of St. George, South Claines, St. Stephen, Barbourne, St. Mary Magdalene, the Tything, and St. Barnabas, Rainbow Hill, now in the city of Worcester, will be found with the account of the city.
Claines was originally a chapelry annexed to the church of St. Helen, Worcester. (fn. 124) When the controversy between the bishop and the prior as to the church of St. Helen was finally settled in 1234 the chapel of Claines was assigned to the bishop, and it was agreed that he should ordain a vicarage there. (fn. 125) Instead of doing this the bishop gave the vicarial and some of the great tithes to the nuns of Whistones, on condition that they provided a fit chaplain to serve the chapel of Claines. This arrangement seems to have been made, possibly only temporarily, before 1269, as in that year the Dean of Worcester was ordered to provide a priest on the advice of the nuns, who were to give him a competent portion of the tithes, (fn. 126) and in 1271 the bishop's former grant of tithes was confirmed until their debts should be paid. In 1275 the tithes were appropriated to them on condition that they undertook to provide a chaplain. (fn. 127) Thus, though Claines was called a vicarage, it was in reality a perpetual curacy, the curates being provided by the owner of the vicarial tithes until 1874, when Sir Offley Wakeman granted the advowson to the Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 128) From the time the living has been a vicarage in the gift of the bishop.
The vicarial tithes remained with the nuns of Whistones until the dissolution of their house. (fn. 129) In 1545 all the tithes belonging to Claines Vicarage, which still carried with them the obligation to support a chaplain, (fn. 130) were granted to George Tresham, (fn. 131) who sold them in the same year to Richard Callowhill, (fn. 132) then owner of the site of the priory. Most of these tithes, some having already been sold, were purchased of John Callowhill, nephew of Richard, (fn. 133) by John Porter in 1558. (fn. 134) In 1567 John Porter sold the property to John Habington, the Callowhills confirming the sale. (fn. 135) Thomas and Richard Habington, sons of John, gave it to Queen Elizabeth in 1590 for a term in payment of a debt. (fn. 136) In 1595 Thomas and Richard sold it to Robert Wilde. (fn. 137) On the death of the latter in 1608 the vicarage passed to his son Thomas, (fn. 138) who only survived him two years. (fn. 139) His son Robert afterwards held it, and in 1639 some disagreement seems to have arisen between him and the curate as to the parsonage-house, but the exact nature of the dispute is not known. (fn. 140) In 1653 the vicarage and tithes belonging were included in the marriage settlement of Robert's son Thomas and Mary Savage. (fn. 141) Six years later Thomas was still holding it. (fn. 142) His son Robert died, leaving no children, (fn. 143) and until 1789 nothing is known of the vicarage, which may, however, have remained, like the rectory (see below), in the possession of the Wilde family. Nash states that the Wildes sold it to Mr. Denne, a banker, (fn. 144) and it was probably this estate which, as 'the advowson of the vicarage of Claines,' was sold in 1789 by Cornelius Doune and his wife Elizabeth to Henry Wakeman, (fn. 145) who probably bought the rectorial tithes shortly afterwards (see below).
The greater part of the rectorial tithes of Claines were given by the bishop to the hospital of St. Wulfstan, Worcester. This gift had been made before 1291, when the portion of the hospital in the chapel was valued at £3 13s. 4d. (fn. 146) These tithes remained in the possession of the hospital until the Dissolution, when they were valued at £12 1s. 4d., from which 26s. 8d. was paid yearly to the churchwardens. (fn. 147) The rectory with the so-called advowson of the vicarage was granted in 1540 to Richard Morrison, and confirmed to him in 1541, (fn. 148) but the grant was surrendered in 1544, (fn. 149) in order that it might be made to him afresh without the reservation of any rents. (fn. 150) In the following year he gave the rectory to the king in exchange for other lands. (fn. 151) It was granted in 1546–7 to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford, (fn. 152) who leased it from time to time. Robert Wilde held the lease in 1590. (fn. 153) As stated above, he acquired the vicarage five years later, and the lease of the rectory remained in the Wilde family until 1750 or later. (fn. 154) Charles Freeman Wakeman was dealing with the rectory or parsonage of Claines in 1812. (fn. 155) Prattinton states that he gave £2,000 to the Dean of Christ Church for their portion of the tithes under the Land Tax Redemption Act. (fn. 156) His descendant, Sir Offley Wakeman, bart., is now the impropriator of the tithes of Claines. (fn. 157)
A third portion of the tithes of Claines, valued in 1535 at 50s., belonged at that date to the church of St. Swithun, Worcester, (fn. 158) having been given to the parson who acted as their confessor by the nuns of Whistones. (fn. 159) The vicar of St. Swithun's still claimed these tithes in 1577 and in 1590. (fn. 160)
A fourth portion of the tithes of Claines belonged to the hospital of St. Oswald, and was valued at £4 12s. 8d. in 1535. (fn. 161) The hospital was still in possession of these tithes in 1590. (fn. 162)
The parishioners of Claines had been obliged to carry their dead to Worcester for burial, until in 1400 they obtained licence from the pope to have a churchyard of their own. (fn. 163) For this right they paid to the priory of Worcester an annual sum of 6s. 8d. (fn. 164) Henry VIII granted this rent to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester in 1542. (fn. 165) The Worcester Cemetery is now in North Claines parish.
A chantry of our Lady was founded in Claines by John Williams, who endowed it with lands valued at £6 3s. 1d. at the time of the dissolution of the chantries. It was then found that £5 6s. 6½d. was employed in payment of a priest and for the repairs of the church 'and other good works at the will of the parishioners.' (fn. 166) The lands with which it was endowed included Luttringhall, and these were sold by Edward VI in 1549 (fn. 167) to Robert Wood. Habington states that Ellen Frogmore and her brother John gave land in Northwick in 1421–2 towards the endowment of this chantry. (fn. 168)
In 1677, as recorded on a benefaction table, William Swift gave a tenement and four closes for providing twelve penny loaves every Lord's Day, and twenty-four more such loaves on Christmas Day, Easter Day and Whitsunday, the overplus to be given to the minister. The vicar distributes a sum of £2 18s. yearly in bread in respect of this charity.
The same table further recorded that John Cox in 1634 gave £20 and Walter Thomas in 1656 gave £30 for the poor, and that Edward Thomas by will (1656) left £50 for apprenticing, and that Timothy Wood by will (1677) left £50 for the poor. These legacies, amounting to £150, were in 1678 laid out in the purchase of a rent-charge of £7 10s. issuing out of land adjoining the churchyard, of which £3 10s. is applied in doles and £4 in apprenticing.
The church table further recorded that George Wingfield and Ann his wife gave £100, now represented by £105 consols in the names of the trustees, the annual dividends, amounting to £2 12s. 4d., to be applied on St. Thomas's Day in the distribution of gowns to poor women, no woman to have a gown two years together.
The charity of William Norton, founded by will 1721, consists of an annuity of £7 issuing out of The Grange and land adjoining, which is applicable in the payment of 20s. a year to the minister for a sermon on 13 November every year, being the anniversary of the testator's funeral, and 20s. to the poor in bread on the same day and the residue in clothing five poor men.
Mary Walker, by her will proved at Worcester in May 1736, demised a cottage and garden at Dennis Green, the rents to be applied in providing four gowns for four poor widows and any surplus in bread to the poor. The trust property consists of two cottages, producing £10 yearly, which is duly applied.
The charity known as the 'Housedwellers' Charity' is now endowed with £561 7s. 4d. consols, arising from the sale in 1891 of two tenements and land comprised in a deed of trust 7 December 1856. The annual dividends, amounting to £14 0s. 8d., together with the income of Moses Hyett's charity, are applied in the distribution of groceries, &c.
In 1786 Thomas Cooke by his will left £20, the interest to be applied on St. Thomas's Day in purchasing a coat and gown for a poor man and woman having the names of Thomas and Mary. The principal sum is deposited in the Post Office Savings Bank, the interest being accumulated and applied in accordance with the trust from time to time.
The charity known as the Parish Land Charity is now endowed with £756 4s. 7d. consols, arising from the sale in 1891 of 3 a. 2 r. comprised in a deed of trust 17 December 1822. The annual dividends, amounting to £18 18s., are with the other apprenticing charities applied in premiums of £10 each.
In 1831 Sir Henry Wakeman, bart., by his will proved in the P.C.C. 11 May, bequeathed £200, the income to be applied for the benefit of the poor on 27 February in each year. The legacy was invested in £214 18s. 6d. consols, producing £5 7s. 4d. yearly.
In 1869 Thomas Oldham by his will left a legacy, now represented by £539 1s. 8d. consols, producing £13 9s. 4d. yearly, which is applicable as to two-thirds in providing on Whit Tuesday a tea with games for the children of the parochial school and one-third in augmenting the salary of the master.
In 1888 Mrs. Susanna Jolley, by her will proved at Gloucester 16 August, bequeathed to this parish a reversionary and contingent interest in a sum of £1,600 railway stock, which has not yet come into operation.
The Martin Mence Charity for the Poor is endowed with £204 1s. 7d. India 3 per cent. stock, the annual dividends, amounting to £6 2s. 4d. being under a deed of trust of 8 March 1905, applicable in the distribution of coal among the poor of the ecclesiastical district of Claines.
The several sums of stock are, unless otherwise stated, held by the official trustees. (fn. 169)