A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1913.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Broom is a small parish beautifully situated to the west of the Clent Hills. A small stream rises on the eastern boundary, and running through three pools forms a slight valley through the centre of the parish, which it leaves on its western boundary. The parish has an area of only 730½ acres, of which 576 acres are arable and the rest pasture. (fn. 1) The soil is a sandy loam and the subsoil chiefly New Red Sandstone, which in places is very near the surface. A little inferior gravel is worked in the direction of Clent. Although lying geographically in Worcestershire, Broom was included in Staffordshire from the 12th century until the middle of the 19th century, when it was transferred to Worcestershire under the Acts of 1832 and 1844. (fn. 2) Like most of the other parishes in the north of Halfshire it is hilly, the land rising from 276 ft. above the ordnance datum in the west to 400 ft. in the east. The village is in the centre of the parish among some rather good timber, and formerly contained no large house of any importance except the rectory (fn. 3) and Broom House. Noake, writing in 1868, describes the parish as having 'no manufactures or public works, no local squire, no mansion, no Dissenter's chapel, no churchrate disturbances, no Fenianism or agitation of any sort.' (fn. 4)
Broom House, the residence of Mr. John Alexander Holder, stands in beautifully-kept grounds on the opposite side of the road to the church. It is a threestory building of late 18th-century erection. The south or principal front is faced with stone and has a semicircular porch of Adam style. The east front is of red sandstone and the back is of red brick. The roofs are tiled.
A very old and almost disused pack-horse track called Honal Lane forms part of the eastern boundary of the parish, and was formerly an important road known as the Horse Wall or Walk. (fn. 5)
The following are noteworthy field-names: Nailer's Close, Kiln Pit, The Feathers, Tinker's Bush, Great Kite Furlong, Mins Yard Field or 'Little Gain,' Hazel Wicket Sling and Little Coney Gree. The cross-roads at one boundary of the parish are called Hackman's Gate, formerly the Hangman's Gate, situated on the edge of the Bleak Down, now Blake Down. (fn. 6) Close by is Yielding Tree (Ildyngtre, xv cent.).
BROOM has always been held of the king in chief, the overlordship being last mentioned in 1617. (fn. 7) At the time of the Domesday Survey it formed part of the manor of Clent, and was not separated from it until 1154, when Henry II granted it to Maurice de Ombersley at a fee-farm rent of £1 13s. 4d. to be paid to the Sheriff of Staffordshire. (fn. 8) This rent occurs on the Pipe Rolls of Staffordshire until 1200. (fn. 9) In 1193 Richard I granted the rent with that of other manors to his aunt Emma, wife of David, King of North Wales. (fn. 10) Maurice de Ombersley was followed by his son Richard, who, however, must have died without issue or forfeited this property before 1200, when it was in the king's hands. In that year King John granted land there worth 2½ marks to the nuns of Brewood in Staffordshire, (fn. 11) to whom it belonged until the Dissolution. (fn. 12) Broom was granted to Charles Duke of Suffolk in 1538. (fn. 13) He sold it a few days later to William Whorwood, the solicitor-general, (fn. 14) who left all his property, after the death of Maud his wife, to his two daughters Anne and Margaret. Neither of them seems to have left children, and on the death of Anne, then the widow of Ambrose Dudley, about 1554–5, Broom passed to her cousin Thomas Whorwood, (fn. 15) in whose family it remained until 1672, (fn. 16) when Wortley Whorwood, his great great-grandson, conveyed it to Philip Foley. (fn. 17) After that date the manor seems to have changed hands very frequently. In 1727 a moiety belonged to a Nicholas Pigge and Mary (fn. 18) his wife, whether by purchase or inheritance does not appear. The whole manor was held in 1762 by Samuel Hellier, (fn. 19) from whom it passed to Thomas Shaw Hellier and Mary his wife, who conveyed it in 1786 to Thomas Burne, jun. (fn. 20) In 1822 Thomas Hill the younger and Thomas Hill his son were holding it, (fn. 21) and about 1852 (fn. 22) it passed to the Earl of Dudley, to whom it now belongs.
A water-mill belonged to the lords of the manor in the 18th century, (fn. 25) but is no longer used.
The church of ST. PETER consists of a chancel (fn. 26) with a north vestry, a nave and a west tower.
The church was built at the end of the 18th century and was restored in 1861, when the vestry was added and the stair to the tower built. At this restoration the chancel appears to have been considerably modernized, the present chancel arch then being inserted and the east window 'Gothicized' internally; the oak panelling now round the vestry walls was then no doubt taken from the chancel and placed in its present position. The chancel is lighted by round-headed windows, one in the east and two in the south wall, and the nave by three—one on the north and two on the south. Between the windows in the south wall of the chancel is a priest's doorway. The first stage of the tower is used as the main entrance to the building and has immediately over it a small organ gallery, seen from the body of the church through the tower arch, which is tall with a semicircular head.
All the walls are of red brick with stone dressings and are plastered internally. With the exception of those on the south side of the chancel, which have flat external architraves on the outside, all the windows have moulded archivolts with flat keystones. At the eaves level is a stone cornice of a simple cavetto section. Over the chancel is a segmental barrel vault of oak divided into panels by moulded ribs. The nave is roofed in a similar manner, but the vault is more modern. All the roofs are tiled.
The bowl and upper part of the stem of the font date from the middle of the 12th century, but the lower part is modern. On plan it is circular and is rudely carved in low relief with a continuous arcade of fifteen interlacing arches, and a band of flowing leaf enrichment above. A modern stone rim has been fixed round the top of the bowl, and the cover is also new. Below the bowl is a narrow necking, and at the head of each of the six panels of the modern stem is a grotesque face, the upper part of the series being original.
Maurice de Ombersley, to whom the manor was granted in 1154, is said to have 'founded' the church of Broom. (fn. 27) His son Richard forfeited the advowson with the manor, and it appears to have been granted with it by King John to the nuns of Brewood, though it is not mentioned in the charter. (fn. 28) In 1203–4, after the death of Alexander de Bransford, whom Richard de Ombersley had presented to the church of Broom, a dispute arose between the Prioress of Brewood and Herbert parson of Clent as to the advowson of Broom. The latter claimed it on the grounds that Broom was a chapelry of Clent, but the prioress stated that Alexander was parson of Broom, and that on his death the bishop had sequestered the church as vacant. (fn. 29) It would seem that the prioress won the suit, for there is no indication that the church of Broom (fn. 30) was ever subsequently looked upon as a chapelry of Clent. The nuns probably held the advowson until the Dissolution, (fn. 31) but it was not granted with the manor to Charles Duke of Suffolk. The rectory was granted in 1543 to William Whorwood, (fn. 32) who perhaps obtained the advowson at about the same time, but the latter is not mentioned until 1617, when it belonged to Thomas Whorwood. (fn. 33) From that time it followed the same descent as the manor until 1627, (fn. 34) when Gerard Whorwood granted the next two presentations to Margaret Jevons. (fn. 35) William Hamerton presented in 1662 and John Dolman in 1681. (fn. 36) Members of the Dolman family occur as patrons until 1709. (fn. 37) Samuel Fletcher, who presented in 1745, and Richard Clive and John Tibbatts, who were patrons in 1770, (fn. 38) probably held the advowson by grant of the Dolmans, for the trustees of Mr. Dolman were said to be patrons about 1786, (fn. 39) and Joseph Scott of Great Barr, who with others (probably the trustees of Mr. Dolman) presented to the church in 1783, (fn. 40) is said by Shaw to have been related to Rev. Thomas Dolman, rector of Broom. (fn. 41) Mr. Dolman was said to be patron in 1808. (fn. 42) Lord Dudley presented in 1810, (fn. 43) probably for that turn only, since in 1849 Sir Edward Dolman Scott, son of Joseph Scott (afterwards Sir Joseph), was patron of Broom. (fn. 44) The advowson was purchased from his trustees in 1859 (fn. 45) by Mr. J. G. Bourne, who presented his son, the Rev. Joseph Green Bourne. The Rev. Joseph Handforth Bourne, son of the latter, (fn. 46) is the present patron.
An annuity of £1 10s., known as Harris's Charity, is received from the Earl of Dudley, and distributed in loaves to about fifty poor and in sixpences to about twelve householders on 21 December annually.
The Day and Sunday Schools' Fund consists of £19 19s. bequeathed for the schools by the said Mrs. Sutherland. This sum is also in the savings bank, the income being applied in supplying Bibles and Prayer-books to scholars.