A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1913.
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The parish of Welland lies in the south-west of the county. It has an area of 1,888 acres, of which in 1905 498 were arable land, 1,068 permanent grass and 17½ wood. (fn. 1) The parish was formerly part of Malvern Chase, (fn. 2) which was disafforested in 1631–2, (fn. 3) and is studded with small woods. The soil is loam, and the subsoil Keuper Marl, producing crops of wheat, beans and barley. The numerous old claypits in the parish indicate that clay was worked for manure. The land rises from about 100 ft. above the ordnance datum on the eastern border of the parish to a height of 276 ft. on the western boundary near Marl Bank. The high road from Upton-on-Severn to Malvern Wells, which passes through the village, is here called Drake Street, and is continued through Marl Bank, a district to the north-west of the village.
Mere Brook, running east into the River Severn, near Upton-on-Severn, forms the northern boundary of the parish. A stream runs through the village of Welland, which is situated in the centre of the parish, at the foot of the eastern slopes of the Malvern Hills, upon the main road, about 2 miles west of Upton-on-Severn. Upon the south side of the road is the modern church of St. James. The original church stood upon a by-road, about half a mile to the eastward, a little to the south of the main road. Only the gravestones in the surrounding churchyard mark the site of the original building, no vestige of which is now left. On the north is the old vicarage, a half-timber building covered with rough-cast, and on the south Welland Court, a good brick house of the early 18th century. At the junction of this by-road with the main road is a fine half-timber farm-house with later brick additions. The houses here are mainly modern, though one or two are of half-timber, modernized and cased with brick.
The manor of WELLAND formed part of the inheritance of King Coenwulf, and is said to have been given in 889 with Upton-on-Severn to the see of Worcester by Ealdorman Athulf, kinsman of King Coenwulf. (fn. 8) Welland is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, and was probably then included in the manor of Bredon, for in a survey of the lands of the bishopric taken in 1299 it is stated that all the tenants of Welland owed suit at the court of Bredon, (fn. 9) and in valuations of Bredon Manor taken in 1299, 1408 and 1529 Welland is included. (fn. 10) The manor had probably been separated from Bredon before 1535, for in the valuation of the bishop's lands taken at that time it is entered apart from Bredon, and it had then and in 1560 a separate bailiff. (fn. 11)
Richard I in 1189 freed 34 acres at Welland from all forest exactions, (fn. 12) and King John confirmed this charter. (fn. 13) The manor of Welland was confirmed to the bishop by Pope Gregory (1272–6). (fn. 14) The successive Bishops of Worcester (fn. 15) remained in peaceful possession of the manor (fn. 16) until Bishop Heath was deprived by Edward VI in 1552 for refusing to subscribe to the Edwardian Prayer Book. (fn. 17) Edward VI, instead of restoring it to Bishop Hooper, Heath's successor, granted it to John Duke of Northumberland in exchange for other lands in 1553. (fn. 18) The duke sold the manor to Sir John Throckmorton for over 200 marks. (fn. 19) Bishop Heath was restored in July 1553 on Queen Mary's accession, and, in the words of Sir John Throckmorton, 'entered without law or order into all again,' and so Sir John lost his land and money also and had no recompense. (fn. 20)
Queen Elizabeth took the manor from Bishop Pates under the Act of Parliament of 1559, which empowered the queen to take into her hands certain of the temporal possessions of any bishopric which fell vacant, recompensing the value with parsonages impropriate. (fn. 21) This manor was not, however, retained by the Crown, (fn. 22) but passed again to the see of Worcester. It was sold in 1648 (fn. 23) as a possession of the bishopric by the Parliamentary commissioners for the sale of the bishops' lands to Nicholas Lechmere of Hanley Castle, Thomas Lechmere and Matthew Smith for £110 13s. 6d. (fn. 24) At the Restoration the manor of Welland returned to the bishopric, and still forms part of the possessions of the see. (fn. 25)
The Bishops of Worcester had a mill in their manor of Welland, which is mentioned in 1197. (fn. 26) In 1299 Bishop Godfrey Giffard leased it to William le Donnare of Bredon. (fn. 27) There is no mill at the present day.
Robert Walpole or Wavepol (Bagepol) held land at Welland towards the end of the 12th century. (fn. 28) John Walpole paid a subsidy of 12s. 6d. there in 1280, (fn. 29) and in 1299 he held a messuage and land in Welland 'of the ancient feoffment.' (fn. 30) In 1306 a writ was issued to the Bishop of Worcester to hold an inquisition as to the lawful marriage of Margery wife of John son of John Walpole of Welland, who claimed a third of a messuage and land at Welland against Maud wife of John Walpole, and a third of a messuage and land there against William son of John Walpole. This she claimed as dower, and, as the legality of her marriage was proved, it may be supposed that she obtained her third part in the estate. (fn. 31) This is probably the estate which subsequently became known as the manor of DAUNCIES, and was released in 1463 by John son and heir of Thomas Sugwas to Robert Hanley for life, and after his death to William Walpole and his heirs. (fn. 32) Some twenty to thirty years later the manor of Dauncies was claimed by Christiana Smith daughter of Alice daughter of Hugh son of William Walpole, who complained that Thomas Pauncefoot, a trustee in the conveyance of 1463, and others refused to allow her to have possession of the manor. Thomas, however, stated that the manor had been sold to him by William Walpole. (fn. 33) In 1515–16 the manor was sold by William Wicombe and his wife Christine, cousin and heir of Henry Walpole alias Wenland, to William Mucklow. (fn. 34)
The priory of Little Malvern also owned land in Welland. It is not known by whom it was given, but in 1322 the Crown granted the prior 'protection in his manor of Welland.' (fn. 35) In 1535 this land was valued at 18s. 8d. a year, (fn. 36) and, having come into the king's hands on the dissolution of the house in 1537, (fn. 37) was granted in 1545 to William Pinnock and Elizabeth his wife. (fn. 38) The estate included land called Fauxhall and Prioris Fulmer near le Hooke wood. Its further descent is not known.
The church of ST. JAMES consists of a chancel 31 ft. by 20 ft., a nave 61 ft. by 25 ft., north and south aisles 10 ft. wide, a tower with a wooden spire built over the westernmost bay of the south aisle, an organ chamber north of the chancel and a vestry below the chancel. The church was erected in 1875 from the designs of J. W. Hugall, half a mile from the old church, which was then destroyed. The material of the building is stone, and the detail is in 13th-century style.
The chancel has a large three-light window with two smaller windows to north and south. On the south side is an arched opening to a quadrant passage to the south aisle, which is now closed by the quire seats. The nave is of four bays and has round piers built in alternating bands of grey and white stone, with elaborately carved capitals. The north aisle is conterminous with the nave, but the western bay of the south aisle is occupied by the tower, the lower stage of which is utilized as a porch. In it is a simple wall monument to Walter Evans, who died in 1614, Joan his wife, and Sampson his son, removed from the old church on its destruction.
The church plate consists of a handsome silver-gilt chalice with a high spire-like cover, both of elaborate repoussé work, with the hall marks for 1613; a blown glass flagon with a silver-gilt lid, neck-band and foot, with the hall marks of 1582, both bearing the Taylor arms. There are also a silver cup of the usual type dated 1571 and a modern silver-gilt cup, flagon and paten—the last three the gift of Mrs. Forsyth—and a modern paten partly made from an old one melted down.
The registers (fn. 39) before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries from 1670, the baptisms and burials to 1770 and the marriages to 1754; (ii) baptisms and burials 1771 to 1813; (iii) a printed marriage book 1754 to 1812.
The chapel of Welland is thought by Habington to have been bestowed upon the priory of Little Malvern by Simon, Bishop of Worcester (1125–50). (fn. 40) In 1288 a dispute arose between Walter de Berton, rector of the church of Bredon, and the Prior and convent of Little Malvern as to the right to present to the chapel of Welland. (fn. 41) It was settled by an agreement, under which the rector of Bredon nominated a clerk who was presented by the Prior and convent of Little Malvern. (fn. 42) This practice continued at least as late as 1473, (fn. 43) and probably until the Dissolution. It would appear from this that Welland was originally a chapelry of Bredon. (fn. 44) It is called a chapel until 1304–5, (fn. 45) but in 1340 the church of Welland is mentioned. (fn. 46) Prattinton says that the chapel was appropriated to the priory in 1463–4, (fn. 47) but the living was already a vicarage in 1300. (fn. 48)
The priory of Little Malvern was suppressed in 1537, (fn. 49) and the advowson of the church of Welland was confiscated by the Crown, with which it has remained ever since, (fn. 50) with the exception of one presentation made in 1548 by William Pinnock of Hanley, to whom had been granted in 1545 the estate of the priory of Little Malvern at Welland, (fn. 51) though the advowson was not included in this grant. Habington states that in his time the advowson of Welland belonged to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, (fn. 52) but nothing has been found to confirm this statement.
In 1787 the house of William Purser at Welland was licensed for Protestant Dissenters. (fn. 53)
The poor's land, founded by deed poll 7 January 1624, whereby John Castle alias Salter granted to trustees 4 a. 2 r., called Ayleworth-houne, 1 a. 2 r. 27 p. in Tippers Croft, 2 r. 14 p. now known as Fourteen Shilly Piece, all in Welland, and 2 r. 32 p. known as Welland Meadow in Castle Morton.
Under the Welland Inclosure Act, 9 a. 1 r. 32 p. were awarded for the benefit of the poor in respect of these lands. The gross rental in 1910 amounted to £20 10s., and a sum of £77 9s. 1d. consols is held by the official trustees, producing £1 18s. 8d. yearly, arising from sale of timber and accumulations.
The charity is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners 5 October 1906. The net income was in 1910 applied in donations to coal and clothing clubs, also in gifts of coal and money and in paying the expenses of patients sent to hospitals or convalescent homes.