A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1913.
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Dodderhill, which now includes the formerly extraparochial district of Malborough in the Vines, in 1831 comprised the now separate ecclesiastical parishes of Elmbridge and Wychbold. With the last-named place and Rashwood, which are still included in the civil parish, it has an area of 3,512 acres, of which 1,086¼ acres are arable land, 1,955¼ permanent grass and 21 woodland. (fn. 1) The River Salwarpe enters the parish near the Stoke Prior Mills. It forms part of the northern boundary, and then flows across the parish in a south-westerly direction towards Droitwich. Just above Impney it is joined by the Salty Brook, a continuation of the Capel Ditch, which forms the boundary between Crutch and Dodderhill. Body Brook, another tributary, rises in the parish, and, flowing along the south-eastern boundary, joins the Salwarpe in the parish of Droitwich.
The Worcester and Birmingham Canal and branches of the Midland and Great Western railways pass through the parish, and the Stoke Prior Works station on the Midland is just within the boundaries of Dodderhill. The main road from Droitwich to Bromsgrove cuts across the parish in a north-easterly direction. At Rashwood a branch from it connects it with the road from Bromsgrove to Alcester, and another branch from it leads to Elmbridge. The ground is undulating, and is generally higher in the east than in the west, the highest point being about 200 ft. above the ordnance datum between Wychbold and Astwood and the lowest 144 ft. on the road from Droitwich to Crutch.
There is no village of Dodderhill; the church of St. Augustine stands on a hill immediately north of Droitwich and just without the boundaries of the borough. Wychbold, which gave its name to the most important manor in the parish, is on the Bromsgrove road. Wychbold Hall, the residence of His Honour Judge Amphlett, K.C., J.P., is a modern house which lies to the south of the village. The house at Impney, on the same road about half a mile from Droitwich, is also modern, and stands in a deer park of nearly 200 acres. It is a fine red brick house built about 1875 by the late John Corbett, a great salt manufacturer, after the model of a French château from plans by Richard Phené Spiers. (fn. 2)
The hamlets of Rashwood, between Droitwich and Wychbold, Astwood and Shaw Lane in the northwest are now in the ecclesiastical parish of Wychbold. At Astwood is Astwood Farm, an H-shaped halftimbered house of the early 17th century, re-fronted with brick about 1700. The house is of two stories with an attic, and the plan is of the normal central hall type of the period. In the southern ground-floor room of the west wing is some good Jacobean panelling. The chimney stacks are of stone, surmounted by tall brick shafts formed on the plan of two intersecting squares. Astwood and Shaw Lane increased very much in size during the last century owing to their proximity to the Stoke Prior Salt Works, which are just over the borders of Stoke Prior parish and were opened in 1828. (fn. 3) The works formerly belonged to John Corbett, who built numerous cottages in Dodderhill for the workmen in his employ, but about 1890 he sold all his salt works to the Salt Union, who now carry them on. The salt works give employment to a number of people, but agriculture is still one of the most important industries, the chief crops being wheat, beans, barley and turnips. The soil varies from strong clay marl to sandy loam, while the subsoil is marl, clay and gravel.
Huntingdrop, formerly Huntingthorpe, 2 miles east of Droitwich and at one time a detached part of Dodderhill, was annexed to Hanbury in 1880 (fn. 4) and four years later Paper Mills was transferred from Hampton Lovett to Dodderhill. (fn. 5) In 1880 Crowfield was transferred from Dodderhill to Bromsgrove, (fn. 6) and part of Dodderhill was transferred to Grafton Manor at the same date. (fn. 7) The southern part of the parish, which was in the borough of Droitwich and known as the In-liberties, was added to the adjoining parishes of St. Nicholas, St. Peter, and St. Andrew Droitwich in 1884. (fn. 8)
Elmbridge, formerly a chapelry annexed to Dodderhill, became a separate parish in 1877. (fn. 9) It has an area of about 1,778¼ acres, including 608 acres of arable land, 1,116 acres of permanent grass and 8¼ acres of woods and plantations. (fn. 10) The parish is watered by tributaries of the Salwarpe. The main road from Droitwich to Kidderminster passes through Cutnall Green, a hamlet in the south-west of Elmbridge. Broad Common in Elmbridge was inclosed under an Act of 1865, (fn. 11) and the award is dated 27 January 1874. (fn. 12) There is a common of about 24 acres at Purshull Green and another small common called Brians Green. (fn. 13) The inclosure award and tithe map are in the custody of the vicar of Elmbridge.
Among the place-names are Colleyhull and Churchbruggemede (fn. 14) (xiv cent.), Le More (fn. 15) (xvi cent.), Harpe Furlonge alias Hadfurlonge, Olloxhey or Ulloxhey, and Bibbs tenement (fn. 16) (xvii cent.).
Dodderhill is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, (fn. 17) the chief manor at the time of the Conquest being WYCHBOLD (Wicbold, vii cent.; Wicelbold, xi cent.; Wichebald, xii cent.; Wychebaud, xiii cent.). Land at Wychbold near the River Salwarpe was granted by King Ethelred in 692 to the priory of Worcester, at the request of his former servant Oslaf, then a monk at Worcester. (fn. 18) It is said to have belonged to the priory until the 11th century, when Edwin, brother of Earl Leofric, wrested it from them. (fn. 19) The truth of this story is somewhat discredited by the fact that in 815 and 831 Wychbold appears as a royal residence, from which Kings Coenwulf and Wiglaf of Mercia executed charters. (fn. 20) Edwin, according to the Worcester historian, did not live long to enjoy his ill-gotten lands, being put to death by Griffin, king of the Britons. (fn. 21) Instead of being restored to the priory, Wychbold seems to have been claimed by Earl Godwin and after the Conquest was granted to Osbern Fitz Richard. (fn. 22) On the death of the latter the manor, which was held of the king in chief, (fn. 23) passed to his son Hugh Fitz Osbern, who married Eustacia de Say. Their two sons Osbert and Hugh assumed their mother's surname. Osbert, dying without issue, was succeeded by his brother Hugh, who had two sons, Richard and Hugh. (fn. 24) The former died issueless, and the latter died at the end of the 12th century, (fn. 25) leaving three daughters. (fn. 26) This manor passed to Margery, who married firstly Hugh de Ferrers, secondly Robert Mortimer, and thirdly William Stutevill. (fn. 27) In 1199 Mabel daughter of Robert Marmion and widow of Hugh de Say had £11 3s. 11d. in the manor of Wychbold except the capital messuage which belonged to Hugh de Ferrers, (fn. 28) and in 1222–3 a moiety of the manor was conveyed to her for her lifetime by her daughter Margery and her husband William Stutevill. (fn. 29)
The latter held Margery's estates after her death by courtesy; in a fine of 1243–4, (fn. 30) in which he made certain grants to Hugh Mortimer, her son and heir by her second marriage, Wychbold was confirmed to him by Hugh, and he died seised of it in 1259, when it was valued at £15 5s. (fn. 31) The manor then passed to Hugh Mortimer, who received a grant of free warren there in 1266. (fn. 32) On his death in 1275 Wychbold passed to his son Robert, (fn. 33) who died in 1287, (fn. 34) when the estates were held by the king during the minority of the heir Hugh. (fn. 35) The latter died in 1304, it is said from poison administered by Maud his wife, who was only pardoned at the instance of Margaret, the queen consort. (fn. 36) In the inquisition taken after Hugh's death the manor is said to have been a member of Burford, held of the king by barony. His heirs were his daughters Joan and Margaret, (fn. 37) during whose minority the custody of their possessions was granted in 1304 to Queen Margaret. (fn. 38) In the same year, at the king's request, she transferred a moiety of the lands, during the minority of the elder daughter, with her marriage, to Thomas Bykenore, (fn. 39) and sold the custody of the remaining moiety, with the marriage of the younger daughter, to Walter, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield. (fn. 40) Soon after, the escheator was ordered to deliver the manor of Wychbold to Maud widow of Hugh Mortimer, (fn. 41) and she remained in possession of it, including a capital messuage and toll paid by persons crossing the Salwarpe, until her death in 1308. (fn. 42) The manor was then assigned to the elder daughter of Hugh Mortimer, Joan, then wife of Thomas Bykenore. (fn. 43)
After Thomas Bykenore's death, Joan, his widow, married Sir Richard Talbot, (fn. 44) and in 1320 Wychbold was settled on them and their issue. (fn. 45) In 1325–6 the manor of Wychbold was conveyed by Sir Richard Talbot and Joan to Isabel Mortimer for her life. (fn. 46) Isabel was still living in 1329, when Joan Talbot, after the death of her husband, settled the reversion on her eldest son John and Juliana his wife. (fn. 47) Joan was followed in 1341 by her son John Talbot, (fn. 48) after whose death in 1355 (fn. 49) his widow Juliana held it in dower until her death in 1362, when their son John succeeded. (fn. 50) He died 18 February 1375, the custody of his son Richard (fn. 51) being granted by Edward III to his daughter Isabella. (fn. 52)
Wychbold was retained by Katharine, Sir John Talbot's widow, in dower. (fn. 53) Her son Richard Talbot died 13 September 1382, (fn. 54) when Alice, widow of Peter Preston, was granted the custody of John brother and heir of Richard. (fn. 55) On her complaint that certain persons schemed to dispossess her of his marriage and took him from place to place, Robert Beverley, serjeant-at-arms, was ordered to arrest the young heir and bring him before the king and council. (fn. 56)
John Talbot died a minor, 3 July 1388, and his three sisters became his co-heirs: Elizabeth wife of Warin Archdekne, Philippa wife of Matthew Gurney, and Eleanor. (fn. 57) Eleanor died unmarried in 1390, (fn. 58) and the lands were divided between Elizabeth and Philippa, the former receiving Wychbold, which passed to the Lucys through the marriage of her eldest daughter Eleanor with Sir Walter Lucy. (fn. 59) Sir Walter and Eleanor left three children, Sir William Lucy, who died childless in 1461, Eleanor the wife of Thomas Hopton, and Maud the wife of William Vaux of Harrowden. (fn. 60) On Sir William Lucy's death his estates passed to Elizabeth wife of Sir Roger Corbett of Moreton Corbet, co. Salop, and daughter of Eleanor Hopton and to Sir William Vaux, son of Maud. (fn. 61) According to Habington, Wychbold was then 'by sale transferred to others.' (fn. 62) The sale took place soon after Sir William Lucy's death, since in 1463–4 the manor was in the possession of Joan widow of Sir Robert Vere, who conveyed it to Nicholas Carew, Alexander and William Carew, two of his younger sons, and others, (fn. 63) evidently for the use of William Carew. It remained in his family for almost a century. In 1523 John Carew, his son, settled it on Margery Kelly, whom he afterwards married. (fn. 64) She was still holding it in 1547, (fn. 65) but before 1562 had been succeeded by her grandson Thomas Carew, who with Elizabeth his wife conveyed it in that year to Edward Villiers and Thomas Savage. (fn. 66)
The manor was afterwards purchased by the Pakingtons. (fn. 67) Sir John Pakington held it in 1610–11 (fn. 68) and obtained licence in 1618–19 to impark 1,000 acres of arable land in Hampton Lovett, Westwood, Dodderhill and Droitwich. (fn. 69) He died seised of the manor in 1625, leaving it to his grandson John. (fn. 70) In this family it probably remains, but it has long been extinct.
Wychbold Hall is now the property and seat of His Honour Judge R. H. Amphlett, K.C., who inherited it in 1883 from his uncle the Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Paul Amphlett. (fn. 71) Wychbold Court is a fine old timber black and white house near; it also belongs to the Amphletts.
The manor of ELMBRIDGE (Ambruge, xiii cent.; Elmerugge, Elmbrugge, xiv cent.; Elyngbrigge, xvi cent.) belonged before the Conquest to a certain Ældiet and in 1086 to Osbern Fitz Richard, (fn. 72) who held the adjoining manor of Wychbold. Elmbridge was held of the lords of Wychbold (fn. 73) (q.v.) by a family who took their name from the manor. Inard de Elmbridge was holding a quarter of a third of a fee of William de Stutevill about 1212. (fn. 74) He seems to have been succeeded by Stephen son of Inard, who went by the name of Stephen de Ellebrug, (fn. 75) or Stephen Fitz Inard. (fn. 76) Adam Elmbridge paid a subsidy of 1 mark at Elmbridge in 1280, (fn. 77) and died seised of the manor in 1308, leaving a son Roger. (fn. 78) The inquisition taken after his death shows that he had in the manor a capital messuage and free tenants, but no perquisites of court, because the tenants did suit at Wychbold. (fn. 79) Roger Elmbridge died in 1327–8, leaving a son also called Roger, (fn. 80) who received a grant of free warren in his manor of Elmbridge in 1337 (fn. 81) and held it until 1375, when he was succeeded by his brother John Elmbridge. (fn. 82) The latter died before 1379, (fn. 83) but had previously granted the manor to Sir Thomas Astley and Katherine his wife for the life of John Cassy, at a yearly rent of £10, with reversion to Roger (fn. 84) son and heir of John de Elmbridge, who was proved to be of age in 1398. (fn. 85) No mention of the manor occurs between this date and the 16th century, but it evidently continued in the Elmbridge family, (fn. 86) who acquired the manor of Croham and other property in Surrey, and seem to have lived there. (fn. 87) A Roger 'Elingbridge' of Croydon, who may possibly be the same as the lastnamed Roger, was appointed to tender the oath of allegiance in 1443. (fn. 88) He seems to have had three sons, Roger, who died childless about 1437, John and William. (fn. 89) John succeeded to the Surrey estates, (fn. 90) and probably also to Elmbridge and left them successively to his son and grandson, both called Thomas. (fn. 91) The latter died seised of Elmbridge in 1507, and since a son, John, born after his death, died in infancy in the same year, the manor passed to his daughter Anne, at that time only three years old. (fn. 92) Before 1525 she married Sir John Dannet of Dannet Hall, co. Leicester, (fn. 93) and seems to have settled Elmbridge on one of her younger sons, Gerard Dannet, (fn. 94) who died in 1610, (fn. 95) leaving it to his younger son Gerard for life with reversion to his son and heir John. (fn. 96) The latter died in 1628, while his brother was still living, leaving a son and heir Thomas, (fn. 97) who was living in 1649, (fn. 98) but apparently died childless, leaving his property to a younger brother Gerard Dannet. (fn. 99) John Dannet, son of Gerard, seems to have left Elmbridge to his daughter Frances, who with her husband Edward Bookey sold it in 1769 to John Penrice, (fn. 100) in whose family it long remained, being until recently in the hands of the representatives of the late Edward Penrice. It now belongs to the Corbett trustees.
During the 13th century a tenth of a fee at Elmbridge, held of the honour of Richards Castle, was held by members of the Hanewode family. Early in the century it was held by Reginald de Hanewode (fn. 101) and in 1211–12 by Richard de Hanewode. (fn. 102) Joan de Hanewode held it in 1274–5, (fn. 103) John de Hanewode in 1280, (fn. 104) and Robert de Hanewode in 1286–7. (fn. 105) Before 1308 it had passed to William de Hanewode, (fn. 106) and in 1327 and 1328 Robert son of William de Hanewode was dealing with land and rent at Elmbridge. (fn. 107)
The manor of IMPNEY (Ymeney, xiii cent.; Emeneye, xiv cent.; Imney, Yemmey, xvi cent.) was held by the Corbett family of the lords of Wychbold. (fn. 108) Robert Corbett, who was holding it c. 1210–12, (fn. 109) was succeeded shortly after by William Corbett, who in 1211–12 was holding it under Thomas Corbett. (fn. 110) Thomas was succeeded by Peter Corbett, (fn. 111) under whom William Corbett held the manor until about 1280. (fn. 112) His widow Alda died seised of it in 1290, her heir being William son of Roger Corbett. (fn. 113) In 1329 William received a grant of free warren in Impney. (fn. 114) He seems to have been succeeded by Roger, the custody of whose land and son and heir Walter was granted to Richard Ruyhale in 1383. (fn. 115) From Walter, who was still living in 1416 (fn. 116) and 1431, (fn. 117) the manor passed to Thomas Corbett, possibly his son, and to William Corbett, son of Thomas. The latter died childless, leaving his property to his two sisters: Elizabeth, or Isabel, who married Ralph Hacklute, and Eleanor, who married Roger Harewell. (fn. 118) Walter Hacklute, son of Ralph and Isabel, (fn. 119) apparently left two daughters: Margaret, who married Richard Colley, and Eleanor, who married Thomas Rotsey, to whom Richard Colley and Margaret gave up their share of the manor in 1542. (fn. 120) In the same year Thomas Harewell, grandson of Eleanor, Edmund his son and heir, (fn. 121) and the above Thomas Rotsey and Eleanor his wife conveyed three fourths of the manor to George Wall, (fn. 122) to whom Thomas and Edmund sold their half in 1544 (fn. 123) and Thomas Rotsey and Eleanor theirs in 1546. (fn. 124) George Wall was succeeded by a son George, who died without issue before 1564, when the manor passed to his four sisters. (fn. 125) One of them, Eleanor wife of Edward Corbett, (fn. 126) afterwards married Thomas Wylde, who seems to have acquired the whole manor. (fn. 127) It passed from him to his son George Wylde, serjeant-at-law, (fn. 128) and to his son John Wylde, (fn. 129) who was appointed chief baron of the Exchequer in 1646. (fn. 130) The latter died in 1669 (fn. 131) and was succeeded by an only daughter, Anne wife of Charles West Lord De La Warr, (fn. 132) who conveyed it in the same year to Elizabeth Knightley. (fn. 133) From her it passed to the Foleys, possibly through the marriage of Anne daughter and heir of Essex Knightley of Fawsley with Thomas Foley, eldest son of Paul Foley of Stoke Edith. (fn. 134) One of the Foleys exchanged it for certain lands in Martley and Shrawley, with Richard Nash, father of Treadway Nash, the celebrated historian of Worcestershire. (fn. 135) In 1785 Dr. Nash settled the manor on his only daughter Margaret (fn. 136) on her marriage with John Lord Somers, and she in 1811 settled it on her son Edward Charles Somers. (fn. 137) The latter was killed at the siege of Burgos in the following year, (fn. 138) and subsequently Lord Somers sold the manor to John Corbett, of the same name as, but not descended from, the feudal owners. (fn. 139) From the latter it passed by his will to Thomas Corbett, his brother, (fn. 140) whose trustees now hold it.
A several fishery which was claimed by William Corbett in 1274–5 (fn. 141) belonged to the manor in the 14th, (fn. 142) 18th (fn. 143) and 19th (fn. 144) centuries. A fee-farm rent of £10 yearly, paid by the lord of Impney to the Crown, was sold in 1673 to John Kent, Roger Reeve and Richard Hawkins. (fn. 145)
PURSHULL (Purteshull, xiii cent.), now a farmhouse, is another estate in Elmbridge, which was held under the manor of Wychbold. (fn. 146) It is first mentioned about 1210, when John de Montviron held half a knight's fee there. (fn. 147) The estate passed at about that time to Sibyl de Peremort, (fn. 148) who was perhaps the wife of John de Peremort (Porinore), who was said to be holding a fifth of a knight's fee of the honour of Richards Castle in 1211–12. (fn. 149) John was still in possession in 1220–1, (fn. 150) and had been succeeded by Henry Peremort before 1274–5. (fn. 151) It was possibly this Henry who granted to his son Walter certain land in Purshull. (fn. 152) Alice widow of Walter de Peremort paid a subsidy of 12d. at Wychbold in 1280. (fn. 153) Henry Peremort held the estate in 1308. (fn. 154) Richard de Portes was dealing with land at Purshull and Timberhonger in 1332–3, (fn. 155) and Purshull was perhaps sold in 1337 with Timberhonger by William de Portes to Hugh de Cooksey, for Hugh de Cooksey obtained a grant of free warren at Purshull in 1335, (fn. 156) and in 1349 Hugh and William de Cooksey were dealing with land at Purshull. (fn. 157) Nash, however, quotes a deed of 1324–5 by which Walter de Cooksey released to Walter son of John de Pere nort the capital messuage of Purshull, which lately formed the dower of Joan wife of John de Peremort. (fn. 158) From the Peremorts Purshull passed to the Purshulls through the marriage of Margaret daughter and heir of John de Peremort with a member of that family. (fn. 159) Habington quotes an undated deed by which this Margaret granted to her son John de Purshull all her lands within the manor of Wychbold, (fn. 160) and in 1398 (fn. 161) Sir Walter de Cooksey granted to John de Purshull a tenement called the Hull of Purshull and other lands at Purshull. (fn. 162) John de Purshull held land at Purshull in 1431, (fn. 163) and it continued with the family of Purshull until the 18th century. (fn. 164) In 1781 it was the seat of Mrs. Purcell of Worcester. (fn. 165) John Baynham of Purshull Hall certified in 1791 that he had set apart for Roman Catholic worship a room in his house, which still exists in its ancient state. (fn. 166)
Purshull Hall stands about 2½ miles north-east of the church and a mile south of the main road from Bromsgrove to Kidderminster. It is a rectangular two-story house of red brick with tiled roofs and faces north-east. It was built in the early part of the 17th century, and somewhat enlarged and restored early in the 18th century. It has a projecting central porch with a window over, surmounted by a gable having a cross in the centre, a ball at each foot and a face finial. The dressings of the round-arched doorway and the window lintels are covered with plaster, and there is a brick string-course over the windows at both stages. Two chimneys project at the back, one of which, near the centre, is of ashlar sandstone to the first floor and is continued above in brickwork as an engaged group of three diagonal shafts the tops of which are modern; the other at the south is rectangular and entirely of brickwork; while a third at the north end is rectangular to the first floor and continued above as two separate shafts of the intersecting diagonal plan. On the west side of the house are many long, narrow windows of the Queen Anne period. The hall has a large stone fireplace with a deep moulded flat arch and jambs with moulded stops, and a deep cornice; the whole is now painted black. The oak stairway, which is of late 17th-century date, has a long circular newel. The stairway at the top has some re-used mitred oak panelling of about 1630, and leads to a compartment in the roof over the kitchen wing which contains an early 17th-century oak altar and rails; the latter are in almost perfect condition and measure 10 ft. 8 in. along the front and 8 ft. 4 in. at the returned sides. They have plain top rails with projecting upper moulding, flat shaped and pierced balusters and a kneeling pace which returns all round. The altar has two turned and moulded legs and an incised frieze; it has evidently been added to at some period and altered from its original form, some of the frieze being used up in the legs. The top has a piece cut out in the centre about 12 in. by 8¼ in., and still retains some fragments of old cloth covering. The iron knocker and some of the oak doors are probably of 17th-century date.
In the middle of the 14th century Thomas Cassy granted to Thomas Beauchamp Earl of Warwick land which he held for life at Purshull. (fn. 167) The earl appears to have settled it as the 'manor' of Purshull on William Lord Bergavenny and Joan his wife. (fn. 168) It is mentioned among the possessions of Joan Lady Bergavenny on her death in 1435, (fn. 169) and from an inquisition of 1476 appears to have passed to her granddaughter Elizabeth wife of Edward Nevill, afterwards Lord Bergavenny, for the latter was holding it by the courtesy at his death in 1476. (fn. 170) It is, however, enumerated among the possessions in 1439 of Richard Beauchamp Earl of Warwick, (fn. 171) who was the heir male of William Beauchamp Lord Bergavenny, and it was granted in 1447 as a late possession of Henry Duke of Warwick to Cecily Duchess of Warwick. (fn. 172)
The so-called manors of SAGEBURY and OBDEN have always followed the same descent, but the name of Obden does not occur until the 16th century. Sagebury, as its former name of Savagebury proves, must have at one time belonged to the family of Savage, and evidently to that branch of it which was settled at Newton, co. Warwick. Of this family Geoffrey Savage died about 1230, when the custody of his land and heir was granted to his father-in-law, Hugh le Despenser. (fn. 173) His son, also called Geoffrey, died without issue in 1248, and was succeeded by his uncle, William Savage, rector of Newton. (fn. 174) On the death of the latter in 1259 (fn. 175) his property was divided between Thomas de Ednisoure, son of his sister Lucy, and Hugh Meynill, who had married Philippa, another sister, (fn. 176) Sagebury evidently being assigned to the latter, and passing from him to his son William and grandson Hugh. (fn. 177) Hugh Meynill, probably son of the last-named Hugh, received a grant of free warren there in 1350, (fn. 178) and this is the first mention of Sagebury which has been found. (fn. 179) He left two sons, William, who died without issue before 1363, and Richard, (fn. 180) who was succeeded before 1403 by four granddaughters, Joan, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Thomasine. (fn. 181) At first Sagebury seems to have been divided among them, (fn. 182) but it finally passed to Margaret, who married John Dethick, (fn. 183) son of Ralph Dethick of Dethick Hall, co. Derby. Richard Dethick, grandson of John and Margaret, settled it on his son Richard on his marriage with Elizabeth daughter of John Newport in 1526, (fn. 184) and the last-named Richard died seised of the manors of Sagebury and Obden in 1544, leaving a son William. (fn. 185) The latter dealt with the manor in 1583, when he held with it free fishing in Henbrook. (fn. 186) His son George had succeeded him before 1597, (fn. 187) and mortgaged his estates at Sagebury and Obden, (fn. 188) and finally sold them in 1605 (fn. 189) to Edward Smyth and Dorothy his wife. They in 1613 conveyed half the property to George Smythes, citizen and alderman of London, (fn. 190) who purchased the other half from Henry Miles and Elizabeth his wife in the following year. (fn. 191) George Smythes died in 1615, leaving a son Arthur, (fn. 192) who got into debt partly by 'the cunning practise of others,' and partly by his own 'over liberall expenses,' (fn. 193) and was put into prison 'by the meanes of his fatherin-law.' (fn. 194) Before he was of age he had married Elizabeth Chaffin, widow, daughter of a certain Giles Tooker, and according to her relations treated her very badly, refusing to pay for her maintenance and 'threatening her in verye evill termes and words unbeseeminge a husband.' (fn. 195) Soon after his marriage he had been persuaded by his father-in-law to settle his estates in Sagebury and Obden on his wife Elizabeth and their son Arthur, (fn. 196) and in 1622 he tried to re-settle them to make provision for a younger son George. (fn. 197) Arthur Smythes was knighted in 1624 and was Sheriff of Worcestershire in 1630. (fn. 198) In 1637 he, with Arthur his son and heir, sold Sagebury and Obden to Thomas Nott, (fn. 199) who was still holding them in 1683. (fn. 200) In 1746 both estates were in the possession of Pynson Wilmot, clerk. (fn. 201) On his death in 1784 they passed to his only son Robert Wilmot, who died intestate, when they passed to his sister Anne Wilmot, (fn. 202) who in 1802 married Thomas Henry Bund. By her will she left them to her second daughter Ursula, who married the Rev. T. H. Hill, and they about 1875 sold them to John Corbett. The estates passed by his will to his brother Thomas Corbett, and are now the property of the Corbett trustees, Viscount Cobham and Mr. J. Willis-Bund. (fn. 203)
The manor of ASTWOOD from early times consisted of two parts, one known as Astwood Robert and the other as Astwood Savage or Astwood Meynill. Both were held of the lords of Wychbold. (fn. 204) Little is known of Astwood Robert. Early in the 13th century it was held by Robert de Astwood, (fn. 205) and about the same time Richard de Astwood (Estwood) paid a mark for half a fee in Astwood. (fn. 206) The other estate must in early times have been closely connected with the manor of Sagebury (q.v.). Under the lords of Wychbold it was held during the 13th century by the Ardernes, Thomas Arderne being named as mesne lord in 1211–12, 1258–9, 1274–5, 1286–7 and 1308. (fn. 207) Under the Ardernes the estate was held by the Savages. Early in the 13th century Geoffrey Despenser held a fourth of a knight's fee at Astwood which shortly afterwards passed to Parnel Savage. (fn. 208) William Savage died in 1258–9 seised of 2 carucates of land in Astwood, and this estate like Sagebury was evidently assigned to his sister Philippa wife of Sir Hugh Meynill. (fn. 209)
It then followed the descent of Sagebury (fn. 210) until 1365–6, when Richard Meynill recovered it against John de Stoke and John de Blacklegh, who claimed it under a grant by Richard's brother William. (fn. 211) A quarter of a fee in Astwood held in 1431 by Thomas Gevettes (fn. 212) may perhaps be identified with this estate. Habington states that Astwood was held in the middle of the 17th century by the Wheelers, (fn. 213) but according to the visitation of Worcestershire in 1682 the Wyldes were seated there at that time, John Wylde of Astwood, Dodderhill, being succeeded by a son Thomas, who died about 1652. It passed from him to his son John, who was residing there in 1682. (fn. 214)
The manor of PIPERS HILL is mentioned in 1819, when it belonged to Thomas Shrawley Vernon. (fn. 215) It passed from him with the Hanbury estate to Sir Henry Foley Vernon.
CASHIES or CASSIES FARM probably took its name from the family of Cassy, of whom Thomas Cassy occurs as lord of Hadzor in the 14th century. (fn. 216) He seems to have had no children and gave up the reversion of most of his property, which may have included Cashies Farm, to Thomas Beauchamp Earl of Warwick. (fn. 217) The Earls of Warwick probably held the estate until the attainder of 1499. (fn. 218) It was leased by the Crown for twenty-one years to Richard Camme in 1515 and to John Borneford in 1526. (fn. 219) In 1543 Henry VIII granted it to Richard Andrews and Nicholas Temple, (fn. 220) who in the following year sold it to Walter Talbot and Elizabeth his wife. (fn. 221) It is last mentioned in 1624, when John Talbot, son of Walter, died seised, leaving a son Francis. (fn. 222)
Mills seem to have been attached to each of the manors of Wychbold, Elmbridge and Impney. There were five mills at Wychbold in 1086, (fn. 223) and a rent of 50s. from the mill was settled on Mabel de Say in 1222–3. (fn. 224) The mill is mentioned again in the 13th century. (fn. 225) The mill of Elmbridge is first mentioned in 1376, (fn. 226) and still belonged to the manor in 1707. (fn. 227) In the 19th century four mills belonged to the manors of Impney and Barnes or Barnes Hall. (fn. 228)
A mill in the parish which had been granted to Haughmond Abbey, co. Salop, by Osbert Fitz Hugh, and confirmed to it by Hugh de Say his brother, remained in the possession of the abbey until its dissolution, (fn. 229) and was granted to John Wright and Thomas Holmes in 1553–4. (fn. 230) There are now two corn-mills on the River Salwarpe near Wychbold Court, and Walkmill Farm, further south, probably indicates the site of a former mill. In Elmbridge there is a corn-mill near Elmbridge Green.
The church of ST. AUGUSTINE consists of a chancel 38 ft. 9 in. by 19 ft. 6 in., a nave, or more properly a central crossing, about 18 ft. square, north transept 23 ft. by 25 ft. 6 in., and a massive tower, the lower part of which serves as a south transept, 24 ft. by 16 ft., all internal measurements.
The church is of late 12th-century foundation, having probably been begun about 1180, though not dedicated till 1220. (fn. 231) At that time it must have been a large and important edifice of a complete cruciform plan with a central tower, but at the present time no part of the former nave is above ground.
This first building has undergone considerable alteration, and at the present time the arches of the crossing (below the former central tower) and some of the internal stonework of the north transept are the only portions of it which survive. In 1313 the church was appropriated to the Prior and convent of Worcester, (fn. 232) and in consequence the chancel was enlarged and new altars were consecrated there in 1322. (fn. 233)
The central tower is said to have been demolished during the Civil War, and there is no doubt that the nave and other parts suffered at the same time. The present tower was erected about 1708, in the place of the south transept, which presumably was in ruins at that time.
The north transept appears to have been entirely rebuilt early in the 19th century, when it was refaced externally with plain red brick. The outer face of the north wall of the chancel has also been bricked.
Owing to the contiguity of the salt mines of Droitwich parts of the building have sunk to an alarming extent. The tower in spite of its massive walls (8 ft. thick) has had to be strengthened by bolts and ties. The east end of the chancel is some 20 in. lower than the west, but the floor has been levelled again, and a curious illusion is caused by the falling of the string-courses eastward, which makes the floor appear to rise towards the east end.
The five-light east window is of 14th-century date with leaf tracery which has been renewed outside but may be old internally. The pointed arch has a moulded label on stops carved as bishops' heads. The inner jambs have moulded angles with bases and capitals, supporting a moulded rear-arch. Internally on either side of this window were formerly canopied niches, but these have been entirely removed and the spaces filled with modern stonework. The three side windows in the chancel, one in the north and two in the south wall, have internal mouldings of similar detail to those of the east window but partly repaired. All are of 14th-century date, and of two lights with pointed heads and tracery of varying design. In the middle of the north wall is a small blocked doorway, with a depressed head. In the south wall are a piscina and two sedilia, forming three bays. The westernmost seat has been replaced by the vestry door, probably before the present doorway was inserted. Owing to the sinking of the wall the seats and sill are now lost in the floor. The heads are trefoiled and ogee shaped. Carried round the inside of the walls, below the windows, is a moulded string-course, which leaps the sedilia and the vestry doorway; the string is repeated externally on the south and east sides. Above the modern vestry doorway the blocked remains of a former window arch are visible outside. It was lower and smaller than the other two south windows. In the western end of the same wall is a small low-side window, now blocked, and obscured outside by the tower buttress. The internal jambs have roll mouldings with bases and capitals.
The chancel is ashlar faced internally, and externally on the south and east walls, which are strengthened by buttresses, the two eastern being modern. Evidence that the 12th-century chancel was vaulted is afforded by the additional order or wall rib on the east face of the chancel arch. The four arches forming the crossing are of late 12th-century or early 13th-century date, but parts of them have been renewed. The responds have detached keeled side-shafts with moulded bases, some of which are sunk below the floor level, and a half-round shaft against the inner face.
Most of the capitals are scalloped, with carvings of varying design above; but one on the west jamb of the northern arch is carved with stiff upright foliage, typical of very early 13th-century work. Almost all the capitals of the inner half-round shafts are restorations, the shafts themselves, in the north and west arches, being later renewals. The arches were, no doubt, formerly semicircular, but owing to either subsidence or rebuilding they are now four-centred. The inner order of each arch evidently dates from late in the 17th century, when the central tower was removed. A thin wall, in which is a four-light traceried window, now closes the archway to the former nave. The gabled roof above the crossing and the flat panelled ceiling below are modern.
The north transept is lighted by three modern windows, and in the south-west corner is a blocked doorway, with four-centred head and rebated jambs, which gave access to the vice of the former central tower. Above it is a small trefoiled light. The transept is ashlar faced inside, the east wall being wholly modern, and the outside is faced with brick, with stone clasping buttresses at the angles. The tower is of three stages, of which the lowest forms the south transept. It has a separate archway towards the crossing standing free of the 12th-century work. It is lit to the east and west by plain narrow lancets and to the south by a traceried two-light window above the south doorway, which comes within the plinth and has moulded jambs and a pointed head. The upper part of the lowest stage, which is strengthened by the addition of two buttresses to each of its outer faces, is lit by single-light windows in the three free sides. The second stage has small squareheaded lights to the south and east, and the windows to the bell-chamber are of two lights with pointed heads. The parapet is embattled and formerly had pinnacles at the corners, but these have perished, with most of the coping stones. The stonework of the tower is of ashlar, and each face is dotted with iron plates, to which the tie rods are bolted.
The most interesting monument is an undated one of about 1620 on the north wall of the chancel to a Dannet; it is carved with four kneeling figures in relief, all defaced, with a Latin doggerel inscription. Over it is a shield of nine quarters: 1, Dannet; 2, two bars; 3, three flying birds; 4, three eagles between two bends; 5, two bends; 6, bendy of ten; 7, a fesse checky between six crosslets; 8, checky; 9, six rings. Also on this wall is a mural monument to Philip Brace, died 1671, with his arms above, and another to Gilbert Penrice, died 1726, and his wife Mary Watkins, died 1722.
In the north transept is a Latin inscription to Edward and Arthur, sons of the Rev. Edward Philipps, died 1656 and 1664, and in the south transept (tower) are a small Latin inscription to a Dannet (undated) and a small brass to Samuel Sandes, 1636. There are also gravestones to the Rev. Henry Jones of Droitwich, died 1665, and various members of the Wylde family.
Of the six bells the treble and third are by Richard Sanders of Bromsgrove, dated 1708; the second by Mears, 1814; the fourth a 1708 bell recast in 1830 by J. Rudhall; the fifth by Abel Rudhall, 1754; and the tenor a Rudhall bell of 1756 recast in 1893.
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1651 to 1722; (ii) all entries 1723 to 1743; (iii) marriages 1744 to 1754, baptisms and burials 1744 to 1804; (iv) marriages 1754 to 1776; (v) marriages 1776 to 1812; (vi) baptisms and burials 1805 to 1812.
The church of ST. MARY, Elmbridge, consists of a continuous chancel and nave 42 ft. 7 in. by 16 ft. 6 in., a north aisle of nearly the same length 16 ft. wide, and a stone bellcote surmounting the western gable. These measurements are all internal. The church was entirely rebuilt in 1872 in the 13th-century style with the exception of the north arcade of the nave, the columns and responds of which, dating from about 1200, have been preserved in their original positions. The fine south doorway of the latter half of the 12th century has also been re-set in the new south wall of the nave. It is of three roundarched orders, the outer moulded with the lozenge and the second with the cheveron; the innermost order is quite plain, and the stones of the head are for the most part modern. The two outer orders have jamb shafts with bell-capitals and moulded bases with leaf-spurs at the angles. Outside all is a label curiously moulded with a succession of fluted cones.
On the north wall of the aisle is an elaborate mural tablet to the memory of Edmund Purshull of Purshull Hall, 'who was buried,' as the inscription states, 'May e/y 21st 1650, Aged 96 years, being e/y first that was interred in this Church (at least for many ages).' Upon the same tablet are commemorated Gerard Purshull, his eldest son, who died in 1685, and Mary, the wife of James Purshull, eldest son of Gerard Purshull, who died in 1675. The inscription states that she was the daughter of John Wood, rector of Clent, by his first wife Bridget, widow of William Parrott of Bell Hall, and daughter of Francis Conyers, whose son Sir John Conyers, kt. and bart., was 'sometyme Lieutenant of the Tower of London and Captain of the king's life-guard of horse and Governor of Berwick-upon-Tweed.' Above the tablet is a shield of Purshull, Barry wavy argent and gules a bend sable with three boars' heads or thereon. To the east of this is a small brass plate commemorating John Dannet of Elmbridge Hall, who died in 1752, his wife, who died in 1760, two daughters of the name of Elizabeth, Edward Bookey, 'wine merchant of London,' buried 'in a cave near this place,' who died in 1774, and his wife Frances, daughter of the above-mentioned John Dannet, who died in 1782. In the churchyard east of the church is a large table-tomb, much decayed, and without inscription, probably of the mid-17th century.
The registers are as follows: (i) all entries 1570 to 1645 (with a gap from 1626 to 1631), fragmentary 1645 to 1663 and all entries 1663 to 1719; (ii) all entries 1720 to 1754, baptisms and burials to 1771; (iii) marriages 1755 to 1812; (iv) baptisms and burials 1773 to 1812.
The church of ST. MARY DE WYCHE, Wychbold, is a building of stone in late 14th-century style, consisting of a chancel, nave, aisles, transepts, vestry and organ chamber, south porch and west tower. The advowson is the property of the Corbett trustees.
The advowson of the church of Dodderhill was given by Osbern Fitz Richard, lord of Wychbold, to the priory of Worcester, (fn. 234) and the gift was confirmed by Bishop Samson (1096–1112) (fn. 235) and by his successors Theulf (1115–23) (fn. 236) and Simon (1125–50). (fn. 237) About 1158 Osbert son of Hugh, with the advice of Alfred Bishop of Worcester, and with the consent of Henry I, granted the church of Dodderhill to the nuns of Westwood, and at the time the monks of Worcester made no protest. (fn. 238) Later, however, the church was restored to them by a judgement of Bishop Roger in 1178, the nuns being compensated with land and tithes in Clethall, Westwood and Crutch. (fn. 239) The monks obtained a confirmation of their right by Bishop Roger and Pope Lucius. (fn. 240) Osbert son of Hugh confirmed the church to the priory, reserving to himself the next two presentations, (fn. 241) and a further confirmation was obtained from Hugh Fitz Osbert. (fn. 242)
Baldwin Bishop of Worcester (1180–5) appropriated 100s. yearly from the church of Dodderhill to the Prior and convent of Worcester, and this was confirmed by Osbert de Say and his brother Hugh. (fn. 243)
The advowson was claimed in 1220–1 by William de Stutevill and his wife Margery, but they lost the suit, (fn. 244) and, though the claim was renewed by Robert de Mortimer in 1274–5, the monks seem to have had no difficulty in establishing their right. (fn. 245)
The church of Dodderhill was appropriated in 1301 to the Prior and convent of Worcester. (fn. 246) The appropriation was made without royal licence, and in 1302 the Archbishop of Canterbury, probably at the king's request, deprived the priory of the church. (fn. 247) It was decided in 1303–4 that the priory by this unauthorized appropriation had forfeited the church to the Crown. (fn. 248) The monks were pardoned for this trespass in 1305, and the church was restored, (fn. 249) and again appropriated to them in 1313. (fn. 250) In the following year a vicarage was ordained. (fn. 251)
Even then the monks seem to have had some difficulty in establishing their right to the church, for in 1333 the king presented John de Cokham by Letters Patent, (fn. 252) which were, however, revoked some days later on evidence that the advowson did not belong to the king. (fn. 253) This was followed by a confirmation from the king of the licence granted by Edward I to appropriate the church, (fn. 254) and by another appropriation made on the mandate of the pope that the eight manors and five churches which belonged to the priory were not enough 'to support fifty monks and to give hospitality to the many strangers who visited the city.' (fn. 255) After this date the prior and monks seem to have held the advowson peaceably until the Dissolution. (fn. 256) It was granted in 1542, with the other property which had belonged to the priory, to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester, (fn. 257) who some years later surrendered it to the king 'in consideration of his acquittance of their obligation to maintain students at Oxford.' (fn. 258) In 1550 it was purchased with the rectory by Robert Catlin and Peter Wainwright, (fn. 259) who a few months later sold it to William and Gilbert Dethick, (fn. 260) the owners of an estate at Sagebury and Obden in the parish. They appear to have sold it to Henry Field, from whom it was purchased in 1574 by Philip Brace. (fn. 261) It remained in his family until the end of the 17th or beginning of the 18th century, (fn. 262) when it was again sold to Gilbert Penrice, who presented to the living in 1717. (fn. 263) Henry Penrice was the patron in 1771 and Harriet Holbeche in 1774. (fn. 264) According to Nash it 'came by a female to Thomas Holbecke,' the father of Harriet. (fn. 265) The advowson belonged to Thomas Holbeche in 1789 (fn. 266) and 1831, (fn. 267) but had been sold before 1849, when the Rev. John Jackson was the patron and vicar of the church. (fn. 268) It was afterwards purchased by John Corbett of Impney. (fn. 269) He devised it to his brother Thomas, whose trustees are the patrons at the present day.
When William de Dover was rector of the church of Dodderhill, c. 1275, he founded and endowed a hospital there for a master and a certain number of brethren 'to minister divine service for ever,' the master being appointed by the Prior and Convent of Worcester. (fn. 270) The hospital was the subject of several disputes immediately after the Dissolution. (fn. 271) The late prior and convent were accused of suppressing the hospital without the king's licence, of turning out the poor people who lived there 'to their utter destruction,' of pulling down the buildings and selling the materials for their own use, of withholding the hospital lands from Richard Cornwall, the master, and of causing Richard Dethick and others to mow a meadow called 'Preastmeadow.' (fn. 272) About the same time Humphrey Stafford seems to have laid claim to the advowson of the hospital, and to a messuage called the chantry house with land belonging. It was shown that the advowson of the chantry or hospital, which was dedicated in honour of the Virgin Mary, belonged to the prior and convent, who presented a certain John Sewell, and at the same time Humphrey Stafford presented John Marshall. A jury was appointed to settle the disputes which arose, but they were still undecided six months later, when the king having the bishopric in his hands presented Richard Cornwall to the hospital. (fn. 273) The house seems to have been finally dissolved with the chantries, and in 1548 its site and possessions were granted to Peter Wainwright and Robert Catlin. (fn. 274) According to Nash the property afterwards passed to the Braces, and in his time belonged to Mr. Gilbert Penrice, (fn. 275) from which it would appear that the site of the hospital followed the same descent as the advowson (q.v.). Nash also says that the 'edifice is still subsisting as a pigeon-house near the bridge.' (fn. 276)
In 1322 William de Thorntoft, rector of the church of Dodderhill, obtained licence to consecrate an altar in the church of Dodderhill. (fn. 277)
The chapel of Elmbridge annexed to the church of Dodderhill existed in 1274–5. (fn. 278) It remained a chapelry of Dodderhill (fn. 279) until 1877, when it was severed from the mother church and constituted a separate benefice. (fn. 280) It is now a vicarage in the gift of the trustees of the late Thomas Corbett. A curate to serve the chapel at Elmbridge was provided by the vicar of Dodderhill. (fn. 281)
In 1637, in settlement of a long-standing controversy, the inhabitants of Elmbridge were ordered to pay a third part towards the repairs of the church of Dodderhill and the ornaments thereof. (fn. 282)
The new ecclesiastical parish of Wychbold was formed from Dodderhill in 1888, and the church was consecrated in that year. (fn. 283) In Wychbold is a Congregational chapel dating from 1836.
In 1624 Thomas Wylde by deed conveyed to trustees certain lands and hereditaments in this parish and Astwood, the rents to be applied towards reparation of the parish church, or maintenance and relief of poor people, or some other charitable or godly use, according to the discretion of the trustees. The trust property has been sold and the proceeds invested in £575 2s. consols with the official trustees, producing £14 7s. 4d., which in 1910 was applied in moieties for the church reparation and for the poor.
In 1655 Jane Murrall by her will left £5 for the poor, which with £9 collected by the parish was applied towards the purchase money of some cottages, which were conveyed by deed dated 1 November 1659 to trustees for the parish, the rents to be applied for such charitable uses as the minister and churchwardens and others should agree upon, reserving 5s. a year for distribution among the poor.
In 1698 Catherine Talbot, as appeared from the Church Table, by will gave 20s. to be distributed on 1 May yearly to the poor of the In-liberties. The annuity is paid out of the Oakley Estate and duly applied.
In 1784 Thomas Holbeche in confirmation of a gift of £5 a year by will of his sister, Sarah Penrice, by deed charged his estate called Gateley Farm with an annuity of £5 for the poor of Dodderhill and Elmbridge.
The Church Table also mentioned that William Norris of this chapelry erected and endowed a school at Cutnall Green, to which Elmbridge was entitled to send fifteen children. For further details see below under parish of Rushock.