A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1913.
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The parish of Cropthorne lies in the south-east of the county and is bounded on the north by the Avon and a stream called Merry Brook, the latter also forming the greater portion of the eastern boundary of the parish and flowing into the Avon on its left bank. (fn. 1)
The area of the parish of Cropthorne, excluding Charlton and Netherton, is 1,538 acres, (fn. 2) of which 777 acres are arable land, 515 acres are permanent grass, and 23 acres are wood. (fn. 3) The soil is light and sandy in some parts, in others it is stiff clay; the subsoil is sand, gravel, clay and blue limestone. The north of the parish lies in the valley of the Avon, but to the south the land rises, reaching a height of 200 ft. at Haselor Hill in the south of Charlton. The chief crops are wheat, beans and barley, but much of the land in the parish is used for market gardening.
Cropthorne village, which lies in the valley of the Avon, is extremely picturesque and contains many interesting examples of half-timber work. The church stands at the eastern end of the village and in the churchyard are the remains of a stone cross. Adjoining it on the north-east are the grounds of Cropthorne Court, an 18th-century house, with later additions, which possesses no features of architectural interest. The manor-house, which is on the west side of the churchyard, is a good brick house of the 18th century. Upon the same side of the road a little further to the west is a small two-storied cottage of half-timber with a thatched roof, which is probably 14th-century work, the framing being of quite an early type. On the opposite side of the road, near the modern schools and parish room, is a good half-timber house, now divided into cottages, which is probably of similar date. Here, too, the roof is thatched. Near this spot, which is about the middle of the village, upon a blind lane leading northwards, is an interesting small two-storied house of the early 17th century. It is of half-timber, L-shaped on plan, and stands upon a basement course of stone. A triple chimney stack of the same material rises from the centre of the ridge roof of the main block. A weather-mould of typical section follows the slope of the roof on either side of the ridge, having at the apex a simple circular finial. The stacks are crowned by a small cornice of the same section as the weather-mould. Above this is one course of stone crowned by later brickwork. The gabled end of the projecting wing has been refaced with brick, probably towards the latter part of the 17th century, when the small stone-mullioned windows of this portion were inserted. A small barn near the house has framing of the same type, and is probably contemporary with it. The main street slopes sharply to the westward, and at the foot of the hill, where it turns to the south to join the Worcester road, is a fine half-timber farm-house. The earlier part of the building appears to have been of an L-shaped plan, and is certainly of a date anterior to the 16th century. Early in the 17th century a second wing was added at the opposite end to the original wing, by which the type of plan has been transformed. The ground story walls of this addition are of stone with mullioned windows. Externally the whole has been covered with rough-cast, including the half-timbered upper story, which has had wood-mullioned windows inserted to match those of the ground story. In a large upper room, now cut up by modern partitions, is a stone fireplace with a straight-sided four-centred head and jambs of stone. Elsewhere the older open fireplaces have been built up and small modern grates take their place. The original stairs remain in this wing.
Charlton, which comprises the eastern portion of the ancient parish of Cropthorne, was formed into a separate ecclesiastical parish in 1882, (fn. 4) and has an area of 1,599 acres, of which 17 acres are covered by water, 917 acres are arable land, 678¾ acres permanent grass and 5 acres woodland. (fn. 5)
The village or hamlet of Charlton lies about a mile to the east of Cropthorne proper, and is situated on both banks of Merry Brook. The osier-bordered stream which runs down the centre of the street imparts a quaint and unusual air. Some of the cottages are half-timbered. Charlton House is a brick mansion of the latter half of the 17th century, containing no features of extraordinary interest. There is a square stone pigeon house, much restored. At the entrance of the drive are fine stone gate-piers.
Netherton, which includes the southern part of the parish of Cropthorne, was annexed to the parish of Elmley Castle for ecclesiastical purposes in 1864. (fn. 6)
Near Chapel Farm in Netherton, now forming part of the out-buildings and in a lamentable state of ruin, are the remains of a mid-12th-century chapel. The building consisted of a chancel measuring internally about 16 ft. by 13 ft. and a nave about 44 ft. by 15 ft. The walls are of rubble masonry about 2½ ft. thick. At some period early in the 17th century the chapel was converted into a dwelling-house and a floor was inserted which has since disappeared, though the pockets for the joists are clearly to be seen on the inside of the nave walls. At the same time a chimney stack containing one fireplace for each floor was built into the west wall of the nave and a wing was built out on the north side of the nave. The north wall has been cut away for this purpose immediately to the east of the north doorway, and made good again with fragments of 12th-century moulded stones. The stone paving of this wing is still in situ.
Two square-headed windows in the south wall of the chancel, now blocked, appear also to belong to the 17th-century alterations. The east window, which is a single light with a cusped head and ribbed rear arch, is probably a late 13th-century insertion. Between the two square-headed windows in the south wall above referred to is a very early 13th-century lancet, with external rebates for shutters. The accompanying illustration, taken from a photograph of four years ago, shows a similar window in the north wall, but this portion has since fallen. A broken fragment of masonry shows the position of the west wall of the chancel, and there are the remains of a buttress at this point on the south wall. The corresponding portion of the wall on the north side is gone. (fn. 7) The north doorway of the nave, now blocked, is a beautiful specimen of late Norman work. The arch, which springs from keeled jamb shafts with delicately carved capitals, is of two orders externally, the outer enriched with the cheveron and lozenge, each lozenge inclosing a sculptured leaf or flower. More than half the stones of the western limb of the arch have fallen out, and the jamb shaft on this side has disappeared. The inner order is also enriched. The doorway itself had a square head, and the tympanum, carved with a wyvern, is now lying in a stable hard by. The rear arch is enriched with a double cheveron. In the eastern half of the south wall the jambs of two original windows may be traced. The blocked south doorway seems to have been of the same character as that on the north, but only the external jambs of its inner order remain, and these seem to have been reset. To the west of this, apparently reset in the blocking of a 17th-century window, is a plain narrow round-headed light, the head formed of a single stone, which may be a survival from a smaller and earlier chapel.
The west wall is now partly occupied by the stone fireplaces added in the 17th century, the chimney stack projecting externally. At the south-west is an angle buttress, probably of the 15th century. What remains of the roofing of the chancel appears to be of the same date. The wall-plates are moulded. Of the two remaining trusses, the eastern, or wall, truss is of the simple tie-beam and collar construction. The western truss has the collar stiffened by curved braces forming a two-centred arch. The roofing of the western portion of the nave, which is otherwise roofless, is modern. In the wall of a neighbouring stable is a reset small round-headed light of the 12th century.
The road from Pershore to Evesham runs through the parish from west to east, and from it at a short distance from the village of Cropthorne a road branches off southwards to Smoky Farm. Salt Way (fn. 8) runs from north to south through Netherton, a branch from it running west through the village into the Elmley Castle Road, which passes through the southern portion of the parish from west to east.
The following place-names occur in the 14th century:— Rokkeplace and Lynneplace (fn. 9); and in the 16th century Twenty Lands and Witche Meadow Furlong in Estfield, (fn. 10) Inch Meadow, Colhill Way, Sharforde Meadow. (fn. 11)
In 780 Offa, King of Mercia, is said to have granted 7 manentes at CROPTHORNE to the church of Worcester, (fn. 14) but this charter may be a forgery. (fn. 15) Cropthorne was still a royal estate in 841, when King Beorhtwulf dated from there a genuine charter giving land in Wychwood to Bishop Heahbeorht of Worcester. (fn. 16) The 50 hides at Cropthorne (fn. 17) which then comprised the hundred of Cuthbergehlawe were included in the spurious charter of 964, ascribed to King Edgar, granting the hundred of Oswaldslow to the church of Worcester. (fn. 18) In 1086 the church held Cropthorne with Netherton. (fn. 19)
The manor was confirmed to the prior and convent by Bishop Simon in 1148. (fn. 20) King Stephen is said to have freed 5 hides in Cropthorne from taxes. (fn. 21) The manors of Cropthorne and Netherton seem to have been leased early in the 13th century to William de Wetmora, for on his death in 1212 they returned to the prior. (fn. 22) A grant of free warren here was made to the prior in 1256, (fn. 23) and in 1291 he held 7 carucates of land at Cropthorne and Netherton. (fn. 24) The prior increased his holding in Cropthorne by various purchases during the 14th century, (fn. 25) and in 1355 the grant of free warren was confirmed. (fn. 26)
On the dissolution of the priory in 1539–40 (fn. 27) the manor passed to the Crown and was granted to the dean and chapter in 1542. (fn. 28) This grant was confirmed in 1609. (fn. 29) The dean and chapter continued to hold the manor of Cropthorne until it was sold under the Commonwealth in 1649 to Thomas Kempe. (fn. 30)
The site and demesne lands of the manor were sold in the following year to William Dineley, (fn. 31) and his nephew Edward Dineley of Charlton was in possession in 1658, (fn. 32) and was dealing with half the site of the manor in 1676–7. (fn. 33) At the latter date he was probably a tenant under the dean and chapter, for their estates had been given back to them at the Restoration, and the manor of Cropthorne was confirmed to them in 1692. (fn. 34) The manor remained with the dean and chapter (fn. 35) or their lessees until 1859, when their estates were transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. (fn. 36) In 1861 the Commissioners sold to Francis Holland, lessee of the Cropthorne Court estate, the reversion of Cropthorne Court manor-house and the lord's interest in certain copyhold lands. In 1864 and 1866 Mr. Holland purchased the Commissioners' interest as lords of the manor in other lands, and his grandson Francis Corbett Holland is now lord of Cropthorne. (fn. 37) Up till 1859 a court leet was held yearly for the manor of Cropthorne.
In 1086 there was a mill at Cropthorne which paid 10s. and 20 'stiches' of eels yearly. (fn. 38) In 1240 the Prior of Worcester owned a mill there, which paid 35s. and 30 'stiches' of eels yearly, (fn. 39) and he had two other mills. (fn. 40) In 1261 the prior bought of William de Beauchamp a quarter of a virgate of land and half of two mills at Cropthorne, (fn. 41) and this gift was confirmed by John son of Nicholas de Pebbesworth, who had sold the mills to William de Beauchamp. (fn. 42) The mill of Cropthorne is again mentioned in the time of Queen Elizabeth, (fn. 43) and there is still a water corn-mill to the north of the village.
CHARLTON (Ceorletune, viii, xii, cent.; Chereleton, xiii cent.; Cherlinton, xiv, xv cent.) was included in King Offa's probably spurious charter of 780 granting Cropthorne to the church of Worcester. (fn. 44) Heming the monk in his chartulary says that the villa called Ceorlatun belonged to the church of Worcester, half, of it being held by the monks, and the other half, though possedded by strangers, owing service to the monastery. He goes on to say that the latter part which the Frenchmen possessed—namely, 7 hides—had been leased to a certain rich man for three lives, and after his death was held by his son, who was succeeded by a certain Godric, surnamed Finc. After his death Bishop Wulfstan received it back again, and because certain of the Normans who invaded the estates of the English strove to oppose him he went to the king and gave him a golden goblet of great worth, and after he had got a writ from the king under his seal he returned and possessed this part of Charlton. Later, however, he tells us, Robert le Despenser, brother of Urse the sheriff, seized it with the assistance of the queen, and so the church lost it, but Robert still professed to be ready and willing to do service to the church for it. (fn. 45) In 1086 Robert le Despenser held these 7 hides at Charlton (fn. 46) under the manor of Cropthorne. Later this manor became annexed to the manor of Fladbury, and was held of that manor during the 12th and 13th centuries. (fn. 47) In 1541 the manor was said to be held of the manor of Cropthorne, (fn. 48) but in 1624 the jurors did not know of whom it was held. (fn. 49)
On the death of Robert le Despenser his lands were divided, and the early 12th-century survey of the hundred of Oswaldslow shows Robert Marmion as owner of these 7 hides at Charlton. (fn. 50) The overlordship remained in the Marmion family (fn. 51) until the death of Sir Philip Marmion about 1292. (fn. 52) The Marmions' interest in the manor then seems to have lapsed.
Under the Marmions the manor was held from very early times by the Botelers of Oversley. Robert Boteler held the manor of Robert Marmion about 1182. (fn. 53) It was probably his son Ralph who in 1140 endowed the abbey of Alcester with half the tithes of his lordship of Charlton. (fn. 54) The mesne lordship of Charlton remained in this family (fn. 55) until about 1380, when William Boteler died, leaving a daughter Elizabeth, who married Robert de Ferrers. (fn. 56) They were succeeded by their daughter Mary, who married Ralph Nevill. (fn. 57) The estate passed from Ralph about 1457–8 to his son John Nevill, (fn. 58) who died in 1482, (fn. 59) leaving as his heir Sir William Gascoigne, son of his daughter Joan (fn. 60) and William Gascoigne. (fn. 61) In 1484–5 Sir William brought an action against Robert Throckmorton and John Hardwyk on a 'plea why they took away William Dineley a minor,' son and heir of William Dineley, who had been seised of the manor of Charlton and had held it as of the manor of Oversley by the service of a knight's fee. (fn. 62) This is the last mention of the Gascoignes' interest in the manor.
The manor of Charlton does not seem to have been held by the Botelers in demesne. As early as the 12th century Robert son of Hubert held the manor of Robert Boteler. (fn. 63) Nothing more is known of the tenants of the manor until 1240, when William de Handsacre held it. (fn. 64) In 1267–8 he was accused of carrying off the goods of Thomas de Arderne from this manor. (fn. 65) William did not appear to answer the plea, and the sheriff was commanded to take all his lands and tenements into the king's hands. (fn. 66) William had evidently fallen under the king's displeasure before this time, for in 1266 he was granted a safe conduct coming to the king's court to stand his trial. (fn. 67) William paid a subsidy of 30s. at Cropthorne in 1280, (fn. 68) and was holding the manor in 1292 and in 1299. (fn. 69) Sir Simon Handsacre, possibly his son, is said to have been lord of Charlton in 1331–2, (fn. 70) and William de Handsacre was in possession in 1346. (fn. 71) Sir Simon, who succeeded William, died before 1383–4, leaving three daughters, Eleanor wife of Richard Dineley, Elizabeth wife of Roger Colmon, and afterwards of Peter de Melburn, and Isabel wife of Lawrence Frodley. (fn. 72) Richard Dineley and Elizabeth were dealing with a third of the manor in 1386–7, (fn. 73) and three years later the co-heirs conveyed the manor to trustees, (fn. 74) evidently for the purpose of settling it on the Dineleys, to whom the whole afterwards passed.
A pedigree of the family of Dineley is given in the worcestershire visitation of 1569. (fn. 75) According to this pedigree Thomas Dineley, who held Charlton in 1431, (fn. 76) was the son of Richard and Eleanor. Thomas married a member of the family of Throckmorton, (fn. 77) and seems to have settled Charlton upon himself and his wife. (fn. 78) He was succeeded by a son and grandson, both named William. (fn. 79) The latter was a minor in 1484–5, (fn. 80) and in 1498 was in controversy with the Prior of Worcester as to common of pasture in Penmere. (fn. 81) In 1514 he settled the manor on his son John on his marriage with Elizabeth Tate, daughter of Roger St. Nicholas of Thanet. (fn. 82) John died in 1541, when his son Sir Henry succeeded to the manor. (fn. 83) He was Sheriff of Worcestershire in 1553 and 1568. (fn. 84) On 5 July 1575 Henry Dineley settled the manor on his son Francis on his marriage with Elizabeth Bigge, daughter of Thomas Bigge of Lenchwick. (fn. 85) Francis Dineley, who was Sheriff of Worcester in 1597, (fn. 86) died 28 October 1624 seised of the manor of Charlton, his heir being his grandson Edward, son of his elder son Henry. (fn. 87) Edward died in 1646, (fn. 88) and his son and successor Samuel died about 1654, leaving two daughters, Mary, who afterwards married Henry Collins, and Elizabeth wife of Whitlock Bulstrode. (fn. 89) In 1674 Mary Dineley conveyed her moiety of the manor to her uncle Edward Dineley, (fn. 90) who acquired the other moiety in 1676 from Whitlock Bulstrode and Elizabeth. (fn. 91)
Edward Dineley was knighted in 1681, (fn. 92) and served as Deputy Lieutenant for Worcestershire in 1682. (fn. 93) His daughter and heir Helen or Eleanor married Edward Goodere of Burhope in Herefordshire, who was created a baronet in 1707 and died in 1739, at the age of nearly ninety. (fn. 94) He was followed by his eldest surviving son John, who having succeeded to the Charlton estates took the name of Dineley about 1708. (fn. 95) He married Mary daughter and heir of — Lawford of Stapleton in Gloucestershire, (fn. 96) by whom he had a son, who joined with him in disentailing the estate and died soon afterwards. (fn. 97) Samuel Goodere, who was a captain in the Royal Navy and at that time commanded a ship called the Ruby, expected to inherit the manor from his brother Sir.John Dineley, but the latter threatened to disinherit him and leave his property to his nephew John Foote of Truro in Cornwall, the son of his sister Eleanor.
It so alarmed and disgusted the said Samuel that he came to the bloody resolution of murdering him, which he executed on the 17th Jan. 1741. A friend at Bristol who knew their mortal antipathy had invited them both to dinner, in hopes of reconciling them, and they parted in the evening in seeming friendship, but the captain placed some of his crew in the street near College Green with orders to seize his brother, and assisted in hurrying him by violence to his ship, under pretence that he was disordered in his senses, where when they arrived he caused him to be strangled in the cabin by White and Mahony, two ruffians of his crew, himself standing sentinel at the door while the horrid deed was perpertated. (fn. 98)
But the cooper of the ship and his wife happened to be in the next cabin, and by the help of an open crevice saw the whole transaction. (fn. 99)
Samuel Goodere and his accomplices, Mahony and White, were arrested, and, having been tried in Bristol on 26 March and found guilty, were executed on 15 April 1741. (fn. 100) John Foote succeeded his uncle and took the name of Dineley. He was dealing with the manor in 1741 and 1745, (fn. 101) but Dame Mary Dineley-Goodere, Sir John's widow, held the Charlton estate in dower (fn. 102) and married William Rayner, a printer in White Friars, London. He alleged that he became owner of the manor of Charlton by the purchase from John Foote-Dineley of his reversionary interest, and sold it to Joseph Biddle of Evesham, (fn. 103) from whose executors it was purchased in 1774 by Thomas Beesley, Richard Sockett, William Lilly, and Timothy Bevington of Worcester. (fn. 104) They or their descendants were the owners in 1775–6, (fn. 105) and in 1787 Thomas Beesley, Timothy Bevington, Richard Sockett, Thomas Griffith, clerk, and Thomas Brewster conveyed the manor to John Sparling, Robert Rolleston and Thomas Barton. (fn. 106)
About this time one wing of the manor-house was burnt down. In 1825 Robert Dent was the owner. (fn. 107) The manor had been purchased before 1868 by Henry Workman, (fn. 108) who sold it in 1873 to William Carey Faulkner. His second son James Faulkner is now lord of the manor.
The other half of the vill of Charlton which was said by Heming to have been kept by the church of Worcester was probably included at the time of the Domesday Survey in the manor of Cropthorne. It may, however, have been the land at Charlton which, having been lost by the college of Westbury, was restored in 1093 by Bishop Wulfstan when he refounded the college and made it subject to the church of Worcester. (fn. 109) Charlton was, however, confirmed to the prior and convent by Bishop Simon in 1148, (fn. 110) and formed part of the manor of Cropthorne in 1240. (fn. 111) On the dissolution of the priory in 1539–40 (fn. 112) the manor of Charlton was granted to the dean and chapter. (fn. 113) The grant was confirmed in 1608–9, (fn. 114) and in 1641 the dean and chapter granted a lease of the manor to Edward Dineley for the lives of his children, John, Edward, and Joyce. (fn. 115) In 1649 this manor was sold by the Parliamentary commissioners to William Dineley, (fn. 116) the uncle of Edward Dineley of Charlton, but was recovered by the dean and chapter, to whom it was confirmed in 1692. (fn. 117) The manor remained with them until the manorial rights lapsed, the last mention of it being in 1779. (fn. 118) It was then held under a lease from the dean and chapter by Mr. Dineley, and was not easily distinguishable from the other manor of Charlton, since the lands of the two manors were intermixed. (fn. 119)
An estate at Charlton was held by the nuns of Pinley in Warwickshire. There is no record of any grant to them of this land, but in 1291 they held rents of assize at Charlton, (fn. 120) and in 1535 their estate there and at Beoley was valued at 30s. 4d. yearly. (fn. 121) These lands, which fell to the Crown at the Dissolution, were granted to Henry Best in 1589–90. (fn. 122)
NETHERTON (Neotheretune, viii cent.; Neotheretune, xi cent.) is included with Cropthorne in King Offa's supposed forged grant of 780 to the church of Worcester, (fn. 123) and at the date of the Domesday Survey the church held Netherton. (fn. 124) In the Register of the priory of 1240 it is stated that Netherton 'gelded' with Cropthorne, and that there were 2 carucates in demesne. (fn. 125) In the Taxation of 1291 Netherton is included in Cropthorne. (fn. 126) In 1255–6 the prior obtained a grant of free warren at Netherton, and it was confirmed in 1355. (fn. 127) After the dissolution of the priory in 1539–40 (fn. 128) the manor of Netherton was granted in 1542 to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester, (fn. 129) and this grant was confirmed to them in 1609. (fn. 130)
In 1549–50 the manor was granted by the dean and chapter to George Willoughby at a fee-farm rent of £20 8s. 2d. (fn. 131) This rent was sold by the Parliamentary trustees in 1655 to Richard Salwey, (fn. 132) but was restored to the dean and chapter at the Restoration, and was still held by them in 1779. (fn. 133) After the death of George Willoughby the manor passed to his widow Anne Willoughby. (fn. 134) She married as a third husband Sir Francis Bulstrode, who was concerned in several suits in Chancery as to this estate. (fn. 135) Sir Francis Bulstrode and Anne his wife and Paul Raynsford, who had married Frances second daughter of George Willoughby, (fn. 136) sold the manor to Henry Willoughby in 1569–70. (fn. 137) He sold it to William Savage of Elmley Castle in 1591–2. (fn. 138) The manor then followed the same descent as that of Elmley Castle (fn. 139) until the manorial rights lapsed, the last mention of it being in 1822, when Robert Clavering Savage was the owner. (fn. 140)
The church of ST. MICHAEL consists of a chancel about 34 ft. by 14½ft., nave 47 ft. by the same width, north and south aisles 9½ ft. and 9 ft. wide respectively, south porch, and a western tower 11 ft. square. These measurements are all internal.
The earliest portion of the present building was begun about the year 1100, and appears to have been a rebuilding of an earlier structure, beginning with the north arcade and aisle, followed soon afterwards by those on the south side. About 1170 the chancel arch was inserted, and a few years later the tower added, the chancel being rebuilt and widened about 1200. The church stood thus, with chancel, nave with narrow aisles, and west tower, till the middle of the 14th century, when the chancel was again rebuilt and the nave aisles widened.
Late in the 15th century the church seems to have been much altered, and it is not improbable, from the character of the bases, that the north arcade was then rebuilt with the old stones before the clearstory was added. The tower also was raised to its present height, with the intention of adding a spire, but the last work was never carried out. The south porch seems to be the work of a later date, probably with older materials, and in the 18th century the north range of clearstory windows was renewed in the 'churchwarden' style of the time. In 1894 the chancel was rebuilt with the old materials, and the church also underwent restorations in 1900 and 1903, and a further one has lately been completed.
The three-light east window has modern tracery, but the jambs belong to the 14th century. On either side are plain brackets in the east wall, and in the north-east corner is a square plastered recess with a shelf.
In the north wall is a small lancet window dating from about the year 1200, and on the south side are three square-headed windows, each of two lights; the heads of the two eastern are modern, while the third is of later date than the chancel. Under the easternmost window is a 13th-century piscina in the form of a round moulded capital.
The chancel arch has 12th-century jambs, of two orders, the inner with an engaged shaft on the west angle. The outer order has been cut away on the west face. The engaged shafts have scalloped capitals, but the arch, of two chamfered orders, is of much later date and is very unevenly built, and above it the wall is set back on the west face.
The north arcade of the nave consists of four bays with circular piers and semicircular arches of two square orders. The western respond, and the second pier from it, have meagre 12th-century moulded capitals, but the others are apparently later copies. The south arcade is also of four bays and has half-round arches of two orders, and circular piers with moulded capitals and bases differing somewhat from those opposite. The tower arch has jambs and a pointed arch of two chamfered orders with a square and chamfered abacus carved with tooth ornament.
In the clearstory on the north side are three large plain windows with square panes and arched heads, of 18th-century design. On the south side the three windows, of late 15th-century date, are each of two lights with blank spandrels within a square internal head and an external elliptical head. The square-headed east window of the north aisle is of three lights, and the two windows in the north wall are of two lights under square heads, differing slightly in design. The 14th-century north doorway has a two-centred chamfered arch, considerably restored.
The east window of the south aisle differs but slightly from that of the north, and the three side windows are each of two ogee-headed lights. The 14th-century south doorway has a two-centred arch of one chamfered order. The remains of an old piscina basin still exist in the south-east corner of the south aisle, with an arch over, of much later date. In the east wall is a square recess with rebated jambs. A large groove in the north wall of the aisle, next to the east wall, seems to suggest that the wall has been reconstructed east of its original position.
The south porch seems to have been much altered in the late 15th century. The outer doorway has jambs and an elliptical arch of two continuous chamfered orders. In the side walls are narrow rectangular lights, the western one being blocked. The diagonal buttresses are modern, and the wall over the archway finishes abruptly with a plain horizontal parapet in front of the gabled roof.
The tower is of three stages, the lower two dating from the 12th century and the upper being a late 15th-century addition. The lowest stage has shallow buttresses in the middle of the three outer walls. They reach only to the first offset and are pierced by small round-headed windows, with wide splays inside. The second stage has a small round-headed 12th-century light in its west wall. The belfry is lit by transomed windows of two lights with vertical tracery, the lights beneath the transoms having trefoiled heads and quatrefoil spandrels. The labels are returned round the tower as a horizontal string at the transom level. The parapet is embattled with continuous coping and grotesque gargoyles. At the angles are small square pinnacles. The walling of the church generally is rubble with dressed quoins, &c., parts of it being rough-cast.
There are several large tombs in the church. The most prominent, to Edward Dineley, 1646, is placed asked in the first bay of the north arcade, and is of Renaissance design, with kneeling figures under a flat canopy, supported on marble columns of the Corinthian order. On the front face of the base are the kneeling figures of four sons and three daughters in high relief. Above the canopy is a cleft pediment with a shield bearing the Dineley arms impaling those of his wife. The pedestals at the angles also support shields. The tomb is evidently not in its original position, and was probably removed from the chancel.
At the east end of the north aisle is another alter tomb to Francis Dineley, died 1624, with recumbent effigies of a man and woman, the former in armour. On the base are the kneeling figures of nine sons and seven daughters, and cradles for three children, who died in infancy.
In the north wall, to the west of the first windows, is a 14th-century tomb recess with a flattened ogee arch, enriched with ball flowers. The arch springs from square blocks of stone supported on carved corbels, and at the apex is a human head. In the recess is an ancient slab carved with a long round-headed cross, a hand and a chalice, but it is apparently not in the original position. There are many other slabs of 18th-century date and other modern wall monuments.
The registers are as follows: (i) mixed entries 1557 to 1717 and burials 1752 to 1754; (ii) baptisms and burials 1718 to 1812, marriages 1718 to 1756; (iii) marriages 1754 to 1801; (iv) marriages 1801 to 1812.
The modern church of ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, Charlton, is a small rectangular building of stone, designed in the style of the 13th century. It was converted from an old barn by Mr. Workman and was opened by licence in 1872. (fn. 141) The ecclesiastical parish of Charlton was formed from Cropthorne in 1882, and the church was consecrated in the following year. (fn. 142) The patronage was vested in Henry Workman for life, and then in the Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 143)
In 1350 the prior and convent received a licence from the Crown to appropriate the church of Cropthorne, according to a Bull of Pope Clement. (fn. 146) The vicarage was ordained in 1365. (fn. 147) In 1427–8 the church was valued at £7 6s. 8d., (fn. 148) and it was worth £21 4s. 8d. in 1535. (fn. 149) After the dissolution of the priory in 1539–40, (fn. 150) the advowson of the church of Cropthorne was granted to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester in 1542. (fn. 151) This grant was confirmed in 1609, (fn. 152) and the dean and chapter have presented ever since, (fn. 153) with the exception of once in 1642, when they granted the presentation to Francis Kite and Stephen Richardson for that turn only. (fn. 154)
Chapels at Charlton and Netherton, which belonged to the church of Cropthorne, are mentioned in the 13th century. (fn. 155) This seems to be the only reference to them in the records. Netherton chapel was in ruins in the middle of the 17th century, (fn. 156) and some remains of it can still be seen in a farm-house at Netherton (see above).
The Window Lye's Charity.
—It appears from the church table in the parish of All Saints in Evesham that the Window Lye gave a tenement in Cowl Street, the rent to be distributed in bread to the poor of the parish of St. Lawrence and the town of Cropthorne for ever. A sum of about £9 10s. is annually received from Evesham St. Lawrence, which is applied in the distribution of bread and money.