A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1913.
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The two new ecclesiastical parishes of Knightonon-Teme and Pensax were formed from the ancient parish of Lindridge in 1843. (fn. 1) In 1879 Menith Wood was ecclesiastically annexed to Pensax. (fn. 2) Knighton, which includes 2,593 acres of land, 28 acres of which are covered by water, comprises the western portion of the original parish, and Pensax, containing 1,197 acres, occupies the eastern part of the ancient Lindridge. The present parish of Lindridge comprises 2,496 acres of land, of which 21 are inland water.
The River Teme forms the southern boundary of the parish, which is also watered by the River Rea and its tributaries the Trapnell and Marl Brooks, each forming part of the northern boundary, and by Corn Brook, Dumbleton Brook and other tributaries of the Teme. An old canal passes through Knighton, and the Tenbury and Bewdley branch of the Great Western railway has a station at Newnham Bridge in Knighton.
The land rises northwards from the valley of the Teme to heights varying from 300 ft. to 500 ft. above the ordnance datum on the Mamble border. At Knighton, which is almost surrounded by brooks and rivers, the land does not rise much above 300 ft. In 1905 the parish contained 1,225 acres of arable land, 3,382 of permanent grass and 308 of woodland. (fn. 3) The soil is marl, clay and sandstone, the subsoil Old Red Sandstone, and large crops of hops are produced, especially on the banks of the Teme, where there are some of the finest hop gardens in the county. Fruit and beans are also cultivated, and some wheat and barley at Knighton and Pensax. There is much meadow land both at Knighton and Lindridge.
There is no village at Lindridge, but at Eardiston, a hamlet about a mile and a half east of the church on the road to Droitwich, is a small settlement of red brick cottages. These, however, are of no antiquity. The church stands on a small but sharp hill on the north side of the road; the vicarage, the garden of which adjoins the churchyard on the east, is a late Georgian red brick building three stories high with a tiled roof. The oldest building in the parish appears to be Lower Lambswick, a two-story red brick farm-house, standing on the east side of a small by-road leading north about a quarter of a mile east of the church. It was built in the latter part of the 17th century, and, although in bad repair, it has been little altered since its first erection. The plan roughly resembles a T in shape, the head being represented by a wing running east and west at the north end of the main block, from the centre of which projects a brick porch, the upper part forming a bay to the room over. Both the porch and the western end of the north wing have shaped gables. The entrance to the porch has a round head with stone springing blocks and keystone, and the windows have flat brick arches with a central wood mullion and transom to each. At the south-east of the north wing is a good oak staircase—now painted—with moulded handrail and string and turned balusters.
Moor Farm House, Eardiston, is a good 18thcentury red brick building. It is of two stories and is roofed with tiles. Though modernized inside it still retains its original oak staircase, a fine piece of 18th-century woodwork. The house was originally surrounded by a moat, but most of this is filled in, only a part in the north-east corner remaining; this piece still holds water.
At Pensax the church stands at a height of over 500 ft. on the high land north of the Teme valley. To the north and east the land rises gently, but on the south the road descends for a mile, very steeply in places, to the level of the Teme valley at the village of Stockton. The western end of the churchyard is on the edge of a precipitous descent where the land drops to a deep-wooded valley trending to the west, with fine views across the broken country beyond. There have been coal-pits at Pensax for more than 300 years. They were worked in 1744, being then esteemed some of the best in Worcestershire. (fn. 4) Three pits were at work in 1868, but were disused twenty years later. (fn. 5) At present one pit is worked by Mr. Samson Yarnold.
Edward Milward, physician and Fellow of the Royal Society, who died in 1757, was buried in Knighton chapel. (fn. 8) Nash connects John Lowe, who was Bishop successively of St. Asaph (1433–44) and Rochester (1444–67), with the Lowe family of the Lowe in Lindridge. (fn. 9)
Place-names which occur in deeds relating to Lindridge are Pleistude, Seieginchwuck, Stierckewrchelond, Sleddelick, (fn. 10) Menhey, Le Seken, (fn. 11) Havecleg, Buterden, Linleg, Twichene, (fn. 12) Depecroft, Prothehale, Oxenhale, Cawneie, Espedele, Bikelege, Worthin, Bordele, Orhope (fn. 13) (xiii cent.); Fortelett (fn. 14) (xvi cent.); Upper and Lower Warmshall, Ebold, Mallandfield, Tynning, Longstaffe, Menney Wood, (fn. 15) Milne Leasowes (fn. 16) (xvii cent.).
The manor of LINDRIDGE was claimed by the monks of Worcester as the gift of Wiferd and Alta his wife. (fn. 17) By Wiferd's grant (781–98) 15 cassata of land at Newnham, Knighton and Eardiston, in Lindridge, passed to the church of Worcester, but no mention is made of Lindridge itself. (fn. 18) From the boundaries given in this grant it is, however, clear that it included the whole of Lindridge. This manor became lost to the monks, and was not recovered until William the Conqueror restored it to Bishop Wulfstan, who gave it to Thomas the prior. (fn. 19) This restoration probably took place before 1086, for at that time the monks held 15 hides at Knighton and Eardiston, and these probably included the whole manor of Lindridge. (fn. 20)
King Stephen acquitted 5 hides of land in Lindridge from all temporal exactions. (fn. 23)
King John visited Worcester in August 1207, (fn. 24) and at the request of the prior he granted to the convent, among other liberties, sac and soc, tol and team, infangenthef, quittance from view of tithing, and from suits at shire and hundred court. (fn. 25) This seems to have had the effect of constituting Lindridge a liberty (fn. 26) independent of the hundred court.
In 1291 the prior and convent held at Lindridge 6 carucates of land and two mills, but this included the whole liberty of Lindridge. (fn. 29) The manor was not valued separately at the Dissolution, but appears to have been then included in the manors of Moor and Newnham, (fn. 30) as it also was in 1542, when the possessions of the late Priory of Worcester in this parish were granted to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester. (fn. 31) The manor after that time remained in the possession of the dean and chapter (fn. 32) until it was transferred in 1859 to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the present owners. (fn. 33) The manor of Lindridge cum membris now includes the manors of Moor with Pensax and Newnham with Knighton.
Habington, in his account of the cloister windows which in his time still remained at Worcester, gives the following inscription from the seventh window: 'Huthridus Dux More Nuenham cum …' betokening the gift of the manor of MOOR to the church of Worcester by Duke Uhtred. (fn. 34) The date of this gift is not known, but Uhtred joined with his kinsmen Eanberht, King of the Hwiccas, and Aldred about 757 in giving Tredington to the Bishop of Worcester, (fn. 35) so possibly Uhtred's grant was made at about the same time. The manor was evidently leased by the prior and convent, for in 1215 they prolonged the lease for sixteen years. (fn. 36) In 1240 'Mora' is entered among the possessions of the convent as a member of the liberty of Lindridge. There was at Moor a court with a chapel and 3 carucates of land. (fn. 37) It would seem that Moor was the principal manor of the prior at Lindridge, for in 1280 his subsidy of 5 marks for this parish was paid for his tenement at 'la More.' (fn. 38) The manor remained in the possession of the prior and convent until the Dissolution, (fn. 39) and was granted in 1542 to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester, (fn. 40) on condition that they should maintain ten poor men bruised in war, maimed by old age or the like, which men together with the petty clerks and other ministers of the church and together with the choristers and grammar scholars should each receive for their garments (fn. 41) three yards of cloth, at 3s. 4d. a yard. The manor remained in the possession of the dean and chapter (fn. 42) until it was confiscated under the Commonwealth and sold in 1650 to Philip Starkey. (fn. 43) Philip and his wife Edith and Timothy Robinson sold the manor in 1659 to Sir Edward Sebright, bart., (fn. 44) who had obtained a lease for twenty-one years from the dean and chapter about 1644. (fn. 45) The manor was restored to the dean and chapter at the Restoration, and now belongs to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, but it was still held under a lease by the Sebright family in 1782. (fn. 46) Under these lessees the manor was long inhabited during the 18th century by the Wheelers. (fn. 47) It now includes the manor of Pensax and is itself included in the manor of Lindridge cum membris.
Fifteen 'cassata' of land at Knighton, NEWNHAM (Neowanham, x cent.; Neweham, xiii cent.) and Eardiston were granted to the church of St. Peter of Worcester by Wiferd, (fn. 48) ealdorman of the Hwiccas, and Alta his wife. (fn. 49) This grant was claimed by the monks of Worcester to have been made in the time of King Offa during the bishopric of Heathored (781–98), (fn. 50) but the date and position of Wiferd (O.E. Wigfrith) are both uncertain. No person of rank bearing this name is recorded in the Mercia of the 8th century, and 'Wiferd' cannot possibly have been ealdorman of the Hwiccas in this period. Most probably Wiferd lived in the 10th century. (fn. 51) The boundaries of the land mentioned in this grant were from Temede to Cornabroc (fn. 52); along the brook to Cornwood, from there to Cornlith; along that lith to the other Cornabroc, and along the middle of the stream to Nen (fn. 53); from Nen to Maerabroc, (fn. 54) and thence along Momele (fn. 55) boundary to Suthintun (fn. 56) boundary; from that boundary between Stilla dune (fn. 57) to Holanbrok, (fn. 58) and to the boundary at Holignan; from Holigena boundary to the brook and to Worfesleahges (fn. 59) boundary and so to Stoctune, (fn. 60) and from Stoctune east to Temede. (fn. 61) Newnham was also included in Duke Uhtred's grant of Moor to the church of Worcester. (fn. 62)
The manor is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but was probably then included in the 15 hides of land at Knighton and Eardiston held by the Prior and convent of Worcester. It was confirmed in 1148 to the prior and convent by Bishop Simon, (fn. 63) and assigned to the cellarer. (fn. 64) In 1215 the prior prolonged the lease of Newnham for sixteen years. (fn. 65) In 1241 the prior made peace with the parson and freemen of Newnham concerning the assart of Cornwood. (fn. 66) In 1240 there were at Newnham a court and chapel with 3 carucates of land in the demesne. (fn. 67)
At the Dissolution the manor was valued at £47 17s. 8d. clear. (fn. 68) It was granted in 1542 to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester, (fn. 69) and was confirmed to them in 1608–9 by James I. (fn. 70) The manor was confiscated under the Commonwealth, and sold in 1649 to George Cony of London. (fn. 71) It was restored to the dean and chapter on the accession of Charles II, and remained with them until 1859, when it was transferred to the Ecclesiatical Commissioners. (fn. 72) It now includes the manor of Knighton, and is itself included in the manor of Lindridge cum membris.
Newnham Court has long been the residence of the Wheeler family. Vincent Wood Wheeler of Kyrewood House was sometimes resident at Newnham Court. He was succeeded in 1853 by his son Edward Vincent Wheeler, (fn. 73) father of Edward Vincent Vashon Wheeler, D.L., J.P., now of Newnham Court. (fn. 74)
The manor of KNIGHTON-ON-TEME (Cnithtatun, x cent.; Cnistetone, xi cent.; Cnichteton, xii cent.; Knichteton, Knihteton, xiii cent.) was granted by Wiferd and Alta his wife to the monks of Worcester, (fn. 75) and was held by the prior and convent at the Domesday Survey and in the time of Henry I, when it was assigned to the support of the monks. (fn. 76) They seem to have subinfeudated or sold the estate to the Knightons. Alexander de Knighton was holding in Worcestershire in 1180–1, (fn. 77) and Ketelburn de Knighton held the manor in the reign of Henry II. Half a hide of land at Knighton passed from him to his son Thomas, and from Thomas to his son Hugh, who gave it to the Prior of Worcester in 1208. (fn. 78) This gift was confirmed by his mother Miracula. (fn. 79) Half a virgate at Knighton descended to Osbert de Knighton son of Ketelburn, and passed from him to his son Ralph. This half virgate was held of the Prior and convent of Worcester, and Ralph granted it to them about 1195– 1205, retaining for himself a life interest which expired on his death in 1220. (fn. 80) A rent of 60s. from the manor was adjudged in 1211 by the prior to the infirmarer of the priory. (fn. 81) Richard, another son of Ketelburn de Knighton, unsuccessfully claimed part of the manor in 1220–1. (fn. 82) In 1229 the prior made an agreement with Christine de Knighton, who was possibly the widow of Hugh de Knighton, that she should give up all claim in the manor in exchange for a yearly portion of three 'crannocks' of wheat during her lifetime. (fn. 83) By an undated charter William, Prior of Worcester, confirmed to Adam Parmentarius of Knighton all the land in Knighton which he had bought of Hugh de Knighton, paying yearly to the prior and convent 7s. at the four terms. (fn. 84) The manor appears subsequently to have become annexed to Newnham, (fn. 85) whose descent it follows. (fn. 86)
EARDISTON (Eardulfestun, x cent.; Ardolvestone, xi cent.; Eardulfestun, xii cent.) was granted with Knighton and Newnham by Wiferd to the monks of Worcester, (fn. 87) and was held by them at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 88) It is not subsequently mentioned as a manor, and it seems probable that it became incorporated in the manor of Moor.
Sir William Smith, bart., resided at Eardiston House from the 18th to the middle of the 19th century. His estate was purchased shortly before 1868 by Mr. George Wallace, (fn. 89) who resided at Eardiston House until his death. The house is now occupied by the Misses Wallace.
The manor of PENSAX (Pensex, xiii cent.; Pensokes, xvi cent.) was given to the Prior and convent of Worcester by Ralph son of Osbert de Knighton by a charter of 1195–1205. (fn. 90) Ralph retained a life estate in the manor, but he died in 1220, (fn. 91) and in 1230 the monks leased the manor for life to Edwin, a wheelwright, for the third sheaf. (fn. 92) In 1240 Pensax was a member of the liberty of Lindridge, and in demesne there were a grange and 1 carucate of land. (fn. 93) It followed the same descent as the manor of Moor, to which it is now annexed. (fn. 94)
An estate at Pensax was held in the 18th and 19th centuries by the Clutton family, who resided at Pensax Court. (fn. 95) The Clutton heiress married a Mr. Brock, whose son, Colonel Brock, sold it about the middle of the 19th century to John Higginbottom. In 1868 there were coal-pits at work on his estate which produced between 3,000 tons and 4,000 tons annually. (fn. 96) Mr. Higginbottom resided at Pensax Court. He apparently purchased part of the manorial rights of Pensax, as he is called lord of the manor in 1872 and 1876. He sold all his interest in the property to John Joseph Jones, who had purchased the Abberley estate. It has since passed with Elmley Castle and now belongs to Mr. James Arthur Jones of Abberley Hall. Pensax Court is occupied by Captain Baldwin John St. George.
Land at PENHULL (fn. 97) in Lindridge was apparently given with Knighton and Newnham by Wiferd to the church of Worcester. (fn. 98) Like Lindridge this land was lost by the convent before the Conquest, but was restored by King William to Bishop Wulfstan. (fn. 99) This estate was held in the reign of Henry III by Alured de Penhull, but in consequence of debt the property became mortgaged to the Jews, and Alured being freed from his obligations to them by the Prior of Worcester granted his estate about 1231 to the convent in exchange for an undertaking by the prior to provide him with a 'crannock' of grain, half wheat and half siligo, every six weeks during his life, and a rent of half a mark at Michaelmas during the lifetime of his mother, and 10s. at the same feast every year after her death. Alured was also to retain a house and croft belonging to the dower of his mother, to inhabit during his life. (fn. 100)
Habington assigns a very ancient lineage to the family of Lowe, who held THE LOWE in Lindridge until 1724. He states that their ancestor was one of the captains who fought under Duke William of Normandy in the conquest of England, 'as appeareth in a Rowle most carefully and exactly kept in Flanders.' (fn. 101) In the time of Henry III, Stephen son of Alan Lowe (de Lawa) 'being detained in heavy chains [by the Jews] and compelled to make payment by exquisite torments,' was released owing to the exertions of the Prior of Worcester on his behalf. In gratitude for this benefit Stephen gave the prior part of his land at 'Lawa.' (fn. 102) At about the same time Stephen granted to the prior and convent all the land which he held of them in Moor in Lawefield. (fn. 103) In a survey of the liberty of Lindridge taken in 1240 there were many sokemen 'of the land of Stephen' paying rent for land at 'Lawa.' (fn. 104)
In 1220–1 John Lowe (de la Lawe) conveyed land in the Lowe to Alditha widow of David Lowe. (fn. 105) At the beginning of the 16th century a suit took place between Thomas Pakington and John Walker as to the ownership of a messuage and land called the Lowe in Lindridge. (fn. 106)
Nash in his history (fn. 107) gives a pedigree of the family of Lowe from very remote times. The estate at Lowe, now consisting of a single farm, Lowe Farm, was held by this family until the death of Arthur Lowe in 1724. (fn. 108) It passed to his daughter Elizabeth, who had married Joshua Lowe. Her two sons died without issue, and on her death in 1727 the estate passed to her daughters, Elizabeth wife of the Rev. William Cleiveland, and Mary Pakington Lowe. Mary died unmarried in 1768 and Elizabeth died in the following year, when the estate devolved upon her son, the Rev. William Cleiveland, who was the owner in 1782. (fn. 109) This property now belongs to the Eardiston Farming Co., Ltd.
The estate now represented by UPPER and LOWER WOODSON FARMS belonged during the 16th and 17th centuries to the Penell family. Habington mentions a William de Wodeston, who died in 1302, and a John Pascall of Wodeston, who 'in his pious charity to the priory of Worcester granted them by consent of his wife Christine for the benefit of their souls' land at Lindridge, Wodeston, Wodenhull (fn. 110) and elsewhere—i.e. his lands in Lindridge, a noke in Wodenhull held of Godfrey de Wodenhull (fn. 111) with Pulecrosse and a noke between Munckmedowe and Godmer and other lands held of Godfrey de Wodenhull and half a yardland in Wodeston. (fn. 112) There are several monuments to the Penells of Woodson in Lindridge Church, (fn. 113) and Nash in his history gives a pedigree of the family. (fn. 114) Elizabeth daughter of Edward Penell, who died in 1666, married Acton Cremer, and joined with her son Henry in 1704 in selling this estate to Thomas Baker, in whose family it still remained in 1782. (fn. 115)
Mr. James Adams held the Woodson House estate in 1872, and twenty years later it had passed to James Adams Partridge. Mr. Charles George Partridge is a landowner at Lindridge at the present day, but Woodson House is the residence of Mr. Edward Francis Ingleby.
There were a mill and a fishery on the prior's estate at Knighton and Eardiston in 1086. (fn. 116) In the reign of King John, Ralph son of Osbert de Knighton granted to the Prior and convent of Worcester all his right in the mill of Newnham, (fn. 117) and in October 1212 this mill was granted to O. Bolt for ten years for 60s. (fn. 118) Besides this mill at Newnham there were also two mills at Moor in 1240, one outside the court and the other called the mill of Medeweye, and another at Pensax. (fn. 119) The three former mills were exempt from vicar's tithes by an agreement made between the Prior of Worcester and the vicar of Lindridge in the time of Giles Bishop of Hereford (1200–15). (fn. 120) In 1291 only two mills are mentioned at Lindridge in the survey of the prior's lands there at that date. (fn. 121) There is still a corn-mill at Newnham on the River Rea, and another, Meadows Mill, on the Teme in the south of Eardiston. This is doubtless on the site of the ancient Medeweye Mill. There is a disused corn-mill in Pensax on a tributary of the Teme. Cutmill House, on Dumbleton Brook, may perhaps mark the site of the second mill at Moor.
The church of ST. LAWRENCE consists of a chancel, north vestry and organ chamber, nave with south aisle of two bays and a south-west tower, in the south wall of which is the main doorway. The present building was erected in 1861 on the site of an earlier church, from which four brass tablets survive: the first to Elizabeth wife of John Giles (died 1651); the second to William Penell of Woodson (died 1623); the third to Margaret wife of Edward Penell (died 1625); and the fourth to Edward Penell (died 1666). They bear the following coats of arms: the first, on a fesse three sheaves with a molet for difference impaling Rowndon, a griffon; the second, Penell quartering a wolf passant for Lowe, impaling quarterly 1. and 4. Rowndon, 2. six martlets, 3. on a bend cotised three stags' heads caboshed. Margaret Penell's brass has two shields: Penell impaling Greville and Penell quartering Lowe with an escutcheon of pretence of Greville. The fourth brass bears: Penell and Lowe quarterly with Greville in pretence impaling a fesse ermine within a border engrailed ermine for Acton, with a greyhound's head for crest.
There are four bells in all: the first cast by Robert Oldfeild, 1626; the second by Abraham Rudhall, 1702; the third by John Martin, 1663; and fourth an ancient sanctus bell, the only relic of the mediaeval church. It is inscribed in very small Lombardic capitals: + AVE MARIA GRACIA PLENA DOMINVS TECVM, with stamps representing royal heads, perhaps Henry VI and Queen Margaret. The letters are the same as on the second bell at Wichenford, and the bell was cast at Worcester about 1480.
The plate consists of a silver cup and cover paten, both of 1698—the cup is inscribed 'Lindridge'; a silver flagon of 1771, inscribed 'The Gift of Mrs. Mary Winwood Widd. of Eardiston to the Parish Church of Lindridge,' while in the middle of the inscription is a shield charged with a cross fleury impaling ermine a lion rampant; and two silver credence patens, one a little larger than the other, but both of the same date and engraved with the same inscription and arms as the flagon.
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1574 to 1612; (ii) (fn. 122) baptisms 1638 to 1711, marriages 1648 to 1711; (iii) burials 1654 to 1728, baptisms 1712 to 1728, marriages 1712 to 1727; (iv) a paper volume in which are also entered many parish collections and rates, births and burials 1695 to 1706, marriages 1696 to 1706; (v) baptisms 1728 to 1786, burials 1728 to 1787, marriages 1728 to 1753; (vi) marriages 1754 to 1812; (vii) baptisms 1786 to 1812, burials 1787 to 1812. There are also two loose parchment leaves; the one, though almost illegible, appears to contain all entries from 1636 to 1641, and the other all entries from 1628 to 1633.
The church of ST. MICHAEL at Knighton-onTeme consists of a chancel 22 ft. by 18¼ ft., a nave 54 ft. by 21¾ ft. and a wooden west tower, the lower part of which has been inclosed by walls forming an extension of the nave 25¾ ft. long and approximately of the same width as the rest of the nave. These measurements are all internal.
The earliest church of which portions now remain dated from the early 12th century, (fn. 123) and consisted of a chancel and nave probably of the same size as those now existing, with perhaps an external wood tower at the west end.
The present nave as far west as the external pilaster buttresses, together with the chancel arch and an adjoining portion of the south chancel wall, represent the remains of the original building. The rest of the chancel dates from the end of the 12th century, when it was rebuilt, the north wall being made thicker than the south, which conforms to the earlier portion remaining. Probably at the same period the west end of the nave was rebuilt, the pilaster buttresses covering the junction.
This rebuilding would include the west wall, which occupied the position of the present wood partition. The walling of this date has a plinth, which is not used in the earlier work. The exact date of the present wood tower is uncertain, but the rough construction, with the four massive oak struts, indicates early work. The later inclosing walls, which probably date from the 15th century, indicate the existence at that period of a similar feature. The wooden doorway in the screen which now separates the nave from the tower is perhaps of the same date. The two lancet lights in the west tower wall are probably late copies of the original windows of the church.
The eastern wall of the chancel has two modern wide round-headed single-light windows. In the north wall are two single-light windows, the heads of which appear to have been changed from round to pointed. In the south wall is a modern trefoiled piscina, with a shelf and a two-light window with quatrefoil tracery, of about 1360. The modern sedile formed in the sill represents an ancient feature, as the west jamb is also cut away. The south door has a plain segmental inner arch, and to the west of it is a small square window, probably of the 14th century; it is rebated for a shutter, the hooks of which remain. The sill is splayed downwards, and there are two cinquefoils painted in dark red on the soffit of the window head. The chancel arch, which has a flattened semicircular head, is of two orders, each enriched with a line of sunk star work, and has jamb shafts with cushion capitals and chamfered abaci to the inner order on the nave side. The abaci, which have been cut back flush with the capitals on the west, are elsewhere enriched with star work. The shafts have conical bases with spurs. On either side of the arch, and possibly of slightly earlier date, are small wall arcades, each of two bays, with small round arches formed out of single stones supported by columns with cushion capitals without abaci and conical bases, the complete arcade being inclosed in a round arch with the tympanum thus formed left quite plain and unornamented.
The first window in the north nave wall is of two lights and is similar to that in the south chancel wall. It contains some fragments of original glass consisting of canopy and border work. The second and third windows are pointed lancets, both probably insertions of the 13th century, and between them is the north door, now blocked, showing an external segmental arch, which has been altered. At the south-east is a window of two lights similar to the corresponding window in the north wall. The south door is narrow and high, measuring 9 ft. to the spring of the external arch and 11½ ft. to the spring of the rear arch. It is of two round-arched orders, the outer set in a projection from the wall which rises above the doorway and includes a wall arcade. This order is enriched with sunk star work, and springs from cushion capitals and plain shafts. The inner has a double line of cable moulding. The eastern jamb and shaft are cut away for a stoup. Above the doorway are the remains of a billeted string-course, upon which is a row of five circular shafts carrying a small wall arcade. The arches are cut from single stones and worked with a tooth moulding. The capitals, without abaci, are of differing designs, and the shafts, which have cushion bases, are enriched with cheveron, spiral and sunk star designs.
West of the doorway is a two-light 15th-century window. The west end of the nave is cut off from the tower by a 15th-century wood partition, in which is an ogee-headed doorway, which leads into the central part of the ground floor of the tower, now used as a vestry. It is lighted from the west by two pointed lancets with sills cut down and contains some 18th-century pews taken from the nave and an old chest of plain oak planks.
Flanking the vestry are two narrow spaces, from the southern of which, entered by a doorway in the south wall, access is obtained to the upper stages of the tower. In these spaces are the struts or legs of the tower framework, which rise slantwise across each other.
The eastern bay has canted boarding in panels, with moulded battens painted alternately red and green and embattled wall-plates. Originally, to allow an uninterrupted view of the rood-loft, there was no tiebeam across the eastern bay, but a modern beam has now been inserted. On the battens is a spiral pattern, and the panels have been diapered. Nailed to the jacklegs below the ties are reversed shields bearing crowned tuns and roses. The west end is wattled in above the wood partition. Above the chancel arch are two beams which once carried part of the roodloft.
Externally the older walls are built of red sandstone, the later of red sandstone and tufa. The southeastern nave window has a label with large worn stops, and above it an angel holding a defaced shield, the lower part of which seems to bear a cheveron with a molet in base. The roof is tiled and the sides of the tower boarded.
There were formerly three bells: the first cast by John Martin, 1661, the second mediaeval, dedicated in honour of St. Michael, and the third dated 1625. At present only two exist, a bell originally of 1625 recast by James Barwell of Birmingham in 1885, and a small 'ting-tang' without inscription. (fn. 124)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1559 to 1642 (an unbound parchment volume, much decayed and in places illegible); (ii) all entries 1653 to 1700 on parchment and 1703 to 1716 on paper (this too is an unbound volume); (iii) all entries 1717 to 1748; (iv) baptisms and burials 1748 to 1789; (v) baptisms and burials 1790 to 1812; (vi) marriages 1757 to 1811.
The church of ST. JAMES at Pensax was built in 1832 and is of little architectural interest. The building consists of a chancel with north vestry and organ chamber, nave and west tower with a porch on the south. The east window is of five lights in 15thcentury style. The chancel roof is panelled in oak. The chancel arch has shafted jambs. On each side of the nave are three windows of 15th-century type, and there is a similar window in the west wall of the tower.
There are three bells: the treble, by John Martin of Worcester, is inscribed with the three churchwardens' names and the date 1669; the second is inscribed '1627 I.P. God is my hope'; the third, by John Martin, is inscribed 'All praise and glory be to God for ever' with a churchwarden's name, 1681.
The registers are as follows: (i) mixed entries 1563 to 1707, which is bound up with a fragment of a 13th-century manuscript; (ii) 1707 to 1746; (iii) 1747 to 1771, the marriage entries extending only to 1754; (iv) marriages 1754 to 1811; (v) and (vi) baptisms and burials 1772 to 1791 and 1791 to 1812.
The Prior and convent of Worcester claimed the church of Lindridge as the gift of Wiferd. (fn. 125) There was a priest on the prior's estate at Knighton and Eardiston in 1086, (fn. 126) but it does not appear whether he ministered at the church at Lindridge or at the chapel of Knighton. Possibly when the monks lost the manor of Lindridge the church was also taken from them, for in 1132 Robert de Bethune, Bishop of Hereford, 'to make a perfect union of charity between the Prior of Worcester and the church of Hereford,' gave to David, Prior of Worcester, and the monks the parsonage of Lindridge for ever. (fn. 127) This grant was confirmed by Pope Lucius (1144–5) and by Pope Innocent. (fn. 128) In 1205 Giles Bishop of Hereford confirmed to the monks a pension of 40s. from the church of Lindridge, (fn. 129) and in the following year an agreement was made between the parson of Lindridge and the prior, by which the prior was to receive yearly 10s. from the church and the parson was to have all the tithes of Moor and Newnham except tithes of hay. (fn. 130) The presentations were made by the prior and convent, (fn. 131) and in 1307 they obtained licence to appropriate the church in order to augment the convent by three monks and to find two wax lights continually burning before the shrine of St. Wulfstan. (fn. 132) The vicarage was ordained in 1310. The vicar was to have a court with a garden and dovecot which the rector of the church formerly had as a rectory; he was also to have 24s. from the chapel of Knighton and 8s. from the chapel of Pensax, besides the support of two chaplains, 20s. from the mother church of Lindridge, and tithes from certain fields and a fulling-mill. The houses in which the chaplains of Knighton and Pensax had been accustomed to live were to be at the disposition of the vicar, so that his chaplains might live there without paying rent. The vicar was to appoint suitable chaplains to serve the two chapels. (fn. 133)
In the time of Henry III Godfrey de Dodenhull gave an acre of land in Benhales field to maintain the light on the altar of St. Mary. (fn. 136) Land to the yearly value of 8d. was held for the support of lights in the church at the time of the dissolution of the chantries. (fn. 137)
The chapel of Knighton was attached to the church of Lindridge in the time of Edward I, (fn. 138) and was served by a chaplain appointed by the vicar of Lindridge. (fn. 139) In the time of Edward VI it was returned that there were 160 'houselyng people' at Knighton and there was a chantry of our Lady in the church there. (fn. 140)
In the return made to Parliament during the Commonwealth the inhabitants of Knighton stated that their chapel of Knighton was appendant to Lindridge; that the township of Knighton and the village thereunto belonging were distant from Lindridge Church about 2 miles and some parts 3 miles, 'and the ways thereof very fowle and deepe in time of winter'; that the church of Lindridge was not large enough to contain half the parishioners of Knighton and Lindridge; that as their chapel was larger than the church of Lindridge and had a fair gallery and had all parochial rights belonging to it, and stood near about the middle of the township, they conceived it fit to be made a parish church. (fn. 141) The parish was not, however, ecclesiastically separated from Lindridge until 1843. (fn. 142) Since that time the living has been a vicarage in the gift of the vicar of Lindridge.
A parcel of land given for the maintenance of certain lights in the church at Knighton was granted in 1550 to William Winlove and Richard Feld. (fn. 143)
The date when Pensax chapel was first built is not known. It was a chapel of Lindridge in the time of Edward I, (fn. 144) and was served by a chaplain appointed by the vicar of Lindridge. (fn. 145) Nash says, 'Pensax chapel stands very high with a small spire. It has the privilege of burials.' (fn. 146) This old chapel under the invocation of St. James was of the Norman period, and was pulled down in 1829. (fn. 147) Pensax was formed into an ecclesiastical parish in 1843. (fn. 148) The living is a vicarage in the gift of the vicar of Lindridge.
In 1718 Arthur Lowe, by his will, directed six penny loaves to be distributed among six poor people, also that £1 a year should be paid to the vicar for preaching a sermon on St. Thomas's Day and Good Friday.