A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1913.
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The parish of St. Martin lies in the east part of the city of Worcester and stretches into the country as far as the borders of Spetchley and Bredicot. It contains about 1,093 acres, of which about twothirds are under permanent grass, rather less than one-third arable and the rest woodland. (fn. 1) The parish, or the greater part of it, was at one time within the limits of the forest of Feckenham. Some of the plantations lie about Woodgreen and Elbury Hill, but the greater part of the woodland is on the lower ground in the south of the parish. The southern boundary skirts the edge of Perry Wood close to the battle-field of 1651 and passes along the Alcester road almost as far as the hamlet of Swinesherd, which stands a little to the south of Nunnery Wood, and is said to have formed one of the boundaries of the Cudley estate as early as 974. (fn. 2) A footpath branching off from this road about a quarter of a mile beyond Swinesherd leads to Cudley Court, which is connected by another path with the road from Crowle. This road passes through the hamlets of Newtown and Ronkswood, and runs almost due west across the parish, entering the city close by Shrub Hill station on the Great Western line. The ground rises gradually from the east and south-west, the highest point in the parish being reached at Leopard Hill about a quarter of a mile south of the Tolladine road, which there forms the northern boundary.
Leopard Grange, about 2 miles east of the city by this road, is a rectangular brick house of two stories and an attic built in 1705, with a later 18thcentury addition on the north and a modern singlestory wing on the east. On a keystone of an upper floor window are the date 1705 and the initials W… M., the second letter being obliterated. The house contains a fine oak staircase with moulded handrail and twisted balusters. Ponds on the east and west of the house and a depression filled with soft earth on the north are probably the remains of an encircling moat.
The following place-names occur in local records: Goldbourn, (fn. 3) Æglardes Marsh (fn. 4) (? xi cent.); Red Hill, (fn. 5) Losemere, (fn. 6) Scomeleswey, Stocking, (fn. 7) Endel' (fn. 8) (xiii cent.); Incentis Lane, Pirie Brook, (fn. 9) Le Oeure (fn. 10) (xiv cent.); Twenty Lands, Plackmedowe, the Pike, Woodgreen, Stockt Coppice, Wallreadinge (fn. 11) and Windmill Hills (fn. 12) (xvii cent.).
The church of Worcester was in possession of CUDLEY (Cudinclea, x cent.; Cudelei, xi cent.; Codeley, Cudeleg, Codele, xiii cent.; Cudley Bethnall, xvi cent.) before the Conquest, and it is said that as early as 974 the bishop had certain lands there, which St. Oswald leased to Brihtlaf for three lives. (fn. 13) At the time of the Domesday Survey Urse D'Abitot held 1 hide there of the bishop's manor of Northwick (fn. 14); it had previously been held by Ælfgifu the nun. (fn. 15) The bishop's overlordship is mentioned about 1212, (fn. 16) but seems to have been allowed to lapse during the 13th century; there is no reference to it after this date. The lordship of the Earl of Warwick, the descendant of Urse, is mentioned in 1315. (fn. 17) In 1212 Cudley was held of William de Beauchamp by John de Cudley, (fn. 18) who with his wife Maud unsuccessfully claimed common of pasture in Leopard against the Prior of Worcester. (fn. 19) John was perhaps succeeded by Jordan de Cudley, whose name appears in various deeds about 1259, (fn. 20) but before 1282 Thomas de Cudley seems to have been the chief landholder there. (fn. 21) Before 1297 John de Cudley, called also John de Everley, was in possession of the manor. (fn. 22) He married Philippa de Spetchley, (fn. 23) by whose name his descendants were sometimes known.
Thomas de Cudley, who seems to have been the second son of John de Everley, (fn. 24) held the manor in 1315. (fn. 25) He died before 1330, at which date another John de Cudley was lord of the manor, which he and his wife Alice settled on Marjory the wife of Philip de Peopleton, probably their daughter, and her heirs. (fn. 26) This Philip was no doubt the Philip de Spetchley who held the manor in 1346, (fn. 27) at which date Spetchley itself was still held by William de Everley, the son of John and Alice. (fn. 28) William de Everley died in 1349, (fn. 29) and his property afterwards came to William de Spetchley, who was perhaps the son of Philip and Marjory. This William in 1363 settled all his lands in Cudley and Spetchley on himself and his wife Parnel and their children with remainder to William, rector of Peopleton, and his heirs. (fn. 30)
The descent of the manor during the 15th century is very difficult to trace. Habington says that it descended to the Hubauds, (fn. 31) but does not give the date at which they became possessed of it. It was, however, held in his own day by Sir John Hubaud, (fn. 32) who sold it between 1553 and 1585 to Ralph Wyatt, at one time high bailiff of the city of Worcester. (fn. 33) He was succeeded at Cudley by his son William Wyatt, (fn. 34) whose daughter and heir Frances married Richard Wyatt. (fn. 35) They sold the manor to Sir Robert Berkeley in 1635, (fn. 36) and it has ever since followed the descent of Spetchley (fn. 37) (q.v.). The present owner is Mr. R. V. Berkeley, who holds it as part of the Spetchley estate. (fn. 38)
The earliest reference to LEOPARD (Lipperd, x cent.; Lippard, xiii cent.; Luppard, Lyppard, xiv cent.; Lypards, Lypperdes Farm, Lippiards, xvi cent.; Leppards, Leopards, xvii cent.) occurs in a charter dated 969, where it is mentioned among the boundaries of Battenhall. (fn. 39) It is also given among the boundaries of Perry in a charter of Wulfstan Bishop of Worcester between 1003 and 1016, (fn. 40) but is not entered as a separate manor in Domesday Book. (fn. 41) Probably it was at that time included in Whittington and Warndon, for in 1236 part of it was said to have been given to the priory of Worcester by John Poer (fn. 42) and part by Sir H. Poer (fn. 43); while another half-virgate near Whittington, for which the priory paid 1d. yearly to the heirs of Adam de Throckmorton, (fn. 44) had been the gift of Richard Marmion. (fn. 45)
In 1204 Randulf Prior of Worcester obtained from Robert de Bracy a quitclaim of his rights of common of pasture in Leopard, and in return quitclaimed to Robert his own common rights in Warndon. (fn. 46) The prior's manor was disafforested in 1224, according to the annals of the monastery, (fn. 47) and in 1256 he and his monks obtained a grant of free warren in their demesne lands 'without the bounds of the king's forest.' (fn. 48) These bounds, however, seem to have been still somewhat doubtful, for it is recorded in the perambulation of 1297 that Leopard ought to be disafforested according to the charter of Henry III. (fn. 49) The prior and convent remained in possession of Leopard until the Dissolution, (fn. 50) and the manor was afterwards granted to the dean and chapter, (fn. 51) who remained in possession until the 17th century. (fn. 52)
The manor of PERRY (Pirian, Pirie, xi cent.; Purie, Perye, xiv cent.) belonged before the Conquest to the Bishops of Worcester, though according to the monastic chartulary it had been granted to the monks by 'Sexwulf the first bishop of Worcester' before 680. (fn. 53) It was leased for three lives to Wulfgifu by Wulfstan Bishop of Worcester between 1003 and 1016, (fn. 54) and was afterwards held by Godric (fn. 55); at the time of the Domesday Survey Herlebald was the tenant. (fn. 56) The manor passed before 1212 to William de Beauchamp, of whom it was perhaps held by Stephen de Beauchamp. (fn. 57) The overlordship of the bishop is mentioned for the last time at this date (fn. 58); the Beauchamps were afterwards regarded as the overlords until 1350, when the Earl of Warwick resumed a moiety of the manor. (fn. 59) Perry was held in the 14th and perhaps the 13th century by a family who took their surname from the place; William de Perry is mentioned in 1241 (fn. 60) and Ralf de Perry in 1292. (fn. 61) Before 1307 Nicholas de Perry had succeeded to the manor, which he settled in that year on himself and his wife Agnes, with successive remainders to his sons John and Richard. (fn. 62) Before 1334 John de Grafton was in possession of Perry. (fn. 63) He afterwards granted half the manor to the hospital of St. Wulfstan (fn. 64); the remaining moiety was perhaps already in the hands of his son Roger, who settled it in 1350 on himself and Thomas Robins for life, with reversion to the Earl of Warwick. (fn. 65) In 1352 the earl received from Edward III a grant of free warren in his demesne lands there. (fn. 66)
The Beauchamp moiety of the manor followed the descent of Elmley Castle (q.v.) until 1487, (fn. 67) when Anne Countess of Warwick released her right in it to Henry VII. (fn. 68) It was afterwards held on lease from Henry VIII by Richard Came, (fn. 69) but was granted by the king in 1545 to William Forthe and Richard Morrison. (fn. 70) Probably Forthe shortly afterwards released his right to his coparcener, for two weeks later Morrison, who had obtained a grant of the other moiety of Perry on the dissolution of St. Wulfstan's Hospital, (fn. 71) exchanged the whole manor with the Crown for other lands. (fn. 72) In the following year Henry VIII granted it to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church, Oxford, (fn. 73) who were still the owners at the end of the 18th century. (fn. 74) All manorial rights in connexion with this estate have now apparently lapsed.
The church of ST. MARTIN is in the Cornmarket, and was rebuilt in red brick with stone dressings in 1771 from the designs of Anthony Keck. (fn. 77) It consists of nave with vaulted aisles in five bays and carried by Ionic columns with entablatures. There is a tower at the west end, finished through the grant of £300 by the Rev. Benjamin Lane. The fittings are old, but the seats, font and east window are recent. The entire cost of building the church was £2,215, including the old materials. (fn. 78) The old church had three aisles, with three gables to the south, an open timbered south porch with a parvise, and a western tower capped with open balustrades and corner urns. (fn. 79) Sir Robert Berkeley, the judge, gave twenty trees towards the rebuilding of the north aisle in 1616, and spent over £100 in rehanging the ring of bells and adding the tenor and treble bells in 1640. (fn. 80)
The bells are six in number: the first by Thomas Rudhall, 1780; the second by Thomas Mears of London, 1833; the third is of the 14th century, probably cast at Lichfield, and is inscribed 'Sancte Martine Hora Pro Nobis'; the fourth and fifth are by Hugh Watts of Leicester, inscribed respectively 'Durantia Dona in Honorem, 1638,' and 'The Gifte of Robert Durant for the honour of God, 1638'; the tenor is by the same founder, inscribed 'Deo Gloriam et Gratias Sono Berkeley, 1640.' There is also a 'ting-tang' inscribed 'The gift of Richard Durant, 1621.'
The plate consists of a modern cup, paten and large flagon, which are reported to have been made out of the old plate. (fn. 81)
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1538 to 1634, burials 1545 to 1626, marriages 1538 to 1628; (ii) all entries 1637 to 1680; (iii) all entries 1681 to 1744; (iv) baptisms 1745 to 1788, burials 1745 to 1775; (v) baptisms 1788 to 1812, burials 1789 to 1812; (vi) marriages 1776 to 1807; (vii) marriages 1807 to 1812. Two volumes of marriages, 1754 to 1762 and 1762 to 1776, are missing. (fn. 82)
The new church of ST. MARTIN in the London Road now supersedes the old one in the Cornmarket as the parish church. It was consecrated on 18 April 1911 and was erected from designs by Mr. G. H. Fellowes Prynne. The old church has been united to the parish of St. Swithun.
It is possible that St. Martin was the church mentioned among the boundaries of Perry in the charter of Bishop Wulfstan. (fn. 83) The advowson belonged to the priory of Worcester until the Dissolution, (fn. 84) and was granted in 1542 to the dean and chapter, (fn. 85) who are still the patrons. (fn. 86) A chantry was founded in this church before 1349 (fn. 87); the advowson belonged to the rector. (fn. 88) It is mentioned in 1355, (fn. 89) but seems to have been disused before the Dissolution; there is no reference to it in the chantry certificates, though the profits from the leases of certain tenements were employed for the celebration of an obit. (fn. 90)
3. Edward Thomas Moore. Founded by deedpoll 1613. The property consists of a shop and yard, a warehouse adjoining, and two cottages in Silver Street, a workshop in Watercourse Alley, and a warehouse, the whole producing £47 4s. 6d. yearly.
4. Charities of Robert Bell and others, comprised in deed 19 October 1685, in which it was recited that certain charitable donations, amounting in the aggregate to £189 13s. 4d., were given for the poor, including £100 by Joshua Gun, £10 by Robert Berkeley, £5 by Robert Bell, and £25 by Mary Salway for the instruction of poor children. The principal was laid out in the purchase of land. The trust estate now consists of 13 a. 2 r. 13 p., called 'The Greens,' at Upton-on-Severn, an allotment of 2 a. 1 r. at Upton Ham, and 1 a. 2 r. 33 p. adjoining, of the gross yearly rental of £44.
7. Mrs. Johnson. Will before 1772. The endowment consists of Lake House Farm, Welland, containing 11 a. 2 r. 26 p., an allotment in Tildridge containing 3 a. or. 4 p., and 1 acre of land known as Upper Tildridge, Upton-on-Severn, the whole producing £43 yearly.
10. William Bagnall. Will 1654, being a rentcharge of £4 for the parishes of St. Martin and St. Nicholas, issuing out of the Old Pheasant Inn, Worcester, applicable in apprenticing in these parishes alternately. There is also a sum of £99 1s. 4d. consols, representing accumulations belonging to the parish of St. Martin.
The several sums of stock are held by the official trustees, producing in dividends £46 6s. a year. The scheme directs that after providing for a 'Repair Fund' one-eighth of the net yearly income of the charities of Robert Bell and others shall be applied to education and called the Educational Foundation of Mary Salway; and that one-half of the net income of the charities of Richard Durant and John Greenway and Alice Houghton, and the unknown donor's charity, together with the yearly sum of £2 13s. out of the income of the charity of Sir Robert Berkeley, shall be applied towards the maintenance, &c., of the parish church, the remaining income being applicable for the general benefit of the poor.
In 1910 £4 10s. was paid to poor widows (Hartshorne's charity), £13 4s. 2d. in relief tickets, £4 15s. 6d. in travelling expenses of patients to hospitals, &c., in clothes, &c., and in relief in money, £3 4s. in maintenance of patients at convalescent home, and the balance in subscriptions to certain institutions.