A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.
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CLIFTON UPON TEME
This picturesque parish lies on high ground overlooking the Teme in a district unpenetrated by railways, the nearest station being at Knightwick, 6 miles south, on the Bromyard and Leominster branch of the Great Western railway.
The Parish has an area of 2,976 acres, of which 13 are covered by water, 649 are arable land, 1,853 permanent grass and 325 woods and plantations. (fn. 1) Part of its western boundary is Sapey Brook, which divides it from the parish of Lower Sapey; its eastern boundary is the River Teme. The parish has a steep uniform slope from west to east, well-wooded hills and dells being a characteristic feature. The highest ground is in the west, where a height of 651 ft. is reached. In the east the land falls to the valley of the Teme, and is in parts subject to floods.
The village lies on the road from Tenbury to Worcester, which enters the parish in the north-west, and runs south-east across it. This road is carried over the Teme at Ham Bridge (fn. 2) on the eastern boundary of Clifton upon Teme. Near Ham Bridge a branch from it runs north to meet the road leading from Tenbury to Stourport near Stanford Bridge. (fn. 3)
At a sharp bend of the Worcester road lies the village, containing St. Kenelm's Church and the vicarage, with the school to the west, (fn. 4) and to the south, on the opposite side of the road, the Red Lion Inn. The remains of the pound are in a road called Pound Lane running south from the school to Knightwick. This is not the original pound, which was at the south-west corner of the vicarage. (fn. 5)
Ham Castle Farm, in the north-east of the parish, near the Teme, is on the site of the ancient Ham Castle, which, from its commanding position, must at one time have been a stronghold of importance. Historically, little is known of this castle, which is mentioned for the first time in 1207. It evidently belonged to the owners of the manor of Ham, but seems to have been forfeited for some reason by one of them and given with many of their other estates by King John to Thomas de Galweya. (fn. 6) Thomas was ordered in 1207 to deliver the castle (castellum) to William de Cauntelow to keep during the King's pleasure. (fn. 7) No other direct reference to it has been found. It evidently followed the descent of the manor, but in 1275 and a hundred years later the dwelling at Ham is returned as a capital messuage. (fn. 8) A stronghold of some kind seems, however, to have survived. The house was partly burnt in 1605, (fn. 9) and greatly injured during the Civil War. Tradition says it was besieged and much damaged by the Parliamentary army, whose cannon balls were long preserved here. A cannon ball which was dug up on the bank opposite Ham Castle is now in the possession of the vicar. The diary of Mistress Joyce Jeffreys, (fn. 10) who took refuge there from the Parliamentary forces, contains various entries of fees paid for burying and digging up trunks and other property, according to the movements of the enemy. This upon one occasion seems to have led to the discovery by William Jeffreys, then owner of Ham Castle, of a chest containing 'gold and silver and other kind of mettalls,' buried in some longforgotten earlier alarm. (fn. 11) The vault in which this chest was found was in the middle of 'an ancient fort made in the fashion of a half moon.' (fn. 12) From this diary it appears that General Gilbert Gerrard, Governor of Worcester, came to Ham Castle on 12 July 1645 and left the next day. (fn. 13) Habington describes Ham Castle as 'now ruinated.' (fn. 14) The 17th-century house which replaced the castle was burnt to the ground in 1887. The dates 1677 and 1680 with the Jeffreys arms on the hopper heads of the rain-water pipes in the large half-timbered mansion of Ham Castle, (fn. 15) then destroyed, showed that rebuilding was done in those years by Henry Jeffreys. Though much defaced and altered before its final disappearance, the old house retained traces of ancient stateliness in its massive staircase, the oak bookshelves of the old library in the roof, and its beautiful garden terraces. (fn. 16) On 1 March 1680 Henry Jeffreys paid 15s. hearth tax for fifteen hearths in his house at Ham Castle. (fn. 17) The ruins at Ham Castle were reserved in a lease of 1759, (fn. 18) and the castle is mentioned in conveyances of the manor in 1805 and 1810. (fn. 19)
The present house stands on the site of this mansion. Most of the retaining wall which surrounded it remains, and, from the fine flight of steps on the east leading down from the lawn to the grounds below, it would appear that the principal front faced the east. A large brick vault nearly 100 ft. long running east and west, to the north of the present house, a remnant of the previous building, and some early 17th-century brick and half-timber barns and stables, are still in use. The pump-house, a small brick-vaulted room, and a square brick pigeonhouse, which has since been converted into a place for hop-pickers to sleep in, are also of early 17thcentury date. In the former is preserved an old man-trap which was found on the site. Ham Castle, which belongs to Sir Francis Winnington, is at present occupied by Mr. C. E. Boddington.
Salford Court Farm, occupied by Mr. James John Jones, is situated in a hollow about a mile south-west of the village. It is an 18th-century two-storied red brick building, with a large central hall in which are preserved some pieces of 17thcentury panelling. Some small additions were made on the south side of the building in the last century.
About a mile south-east of the church stands the manor-house of Woodmanton, now a farm-house, occupied by Mr. Richard Depper, the property of Mrs. E. V. de Meric. Though the main building was erected about 1827, the kitchen block, which stands at the west end of the house, is of mid-14th-century date, and was probably part of the house for which John de Wisham obtained a licence to crenellate or fortify in 1332. (fn. 20) The walls of the kitchen have been rebuilt and the first floor inserted, but it was originally one chamber open to the roof. A 16thcentury chimney stack has also been built at the east end of the room. The upper chamber measures about 23 ft. by 15 ft. 9 in., but it is now subdivided by modern partitions and used as a lumber store. It is chiefly remarkable for its particularly fine trussed rafter roof, which is quite unrestored and in a good state of preservation. It is of a moderately steep pitch, the rafters being tied in by collar beams supported by curved braces, which take the form of pointed arches, while the deep wall-plates are heavily moulded. Across the middle of the room is a tie-beam, the underside of which has been grooved in places, probably for a later partition. The side walls of the room are of half-timber construction, and in the south wall are two pairs of ogee-headed lights, now blocked.
Adjoining some outbuildings to the east of the house are the foundations of a semicircular tower. It is evidently mediaeval, but in the absence of any detail it is impossible to assign to it a more definite date. The moat, which at one time surrounded the buildings, can here still be traced, but it has for the most part been filled in.
Noak Farm, to the east of Woodmanton, was once the seat of the Ingram family. (fn. 21) In the 14th century they seem to have lived at the Hull or Odeshulle, (fn. 22) which now forms part of the Noak estate and comprised Upper Home Farm, which was also the home of the Ingrams in the 16th and 17th centuries. On the marriage of John Ingram with Anne daughter of Francis Winnington at the end of the 17th century the family moved to Ticknell, Bewdley. (fn. 23)
The parish is watered by several springs. Its soil is chiefly thin brash, its subsoil Old Red Sandstone. The chief crops grown are barley, wheat, hops, and fruit. A hop-yard lying in the Roules and a hopyard near to a place called the Old Hills were mentioned in a list of church lands belonging to Clifton Church in 1658. (fn. 24) Stone of good quality for building and for flagstones is quarried.
The parish was inclosed about 1770, (fn. 25) but no Act or award for it has been found.
Ancient place-names found in the parish are: Modebatch, the Held Helie, in early undated deeds, (fn. 26) Calvescomb, Oxenwell (fn. 27) (xiii cent.); Kyngesfeld, (fn. 28) Bynglond, Dorfold Grove (fn. 29) (xv cent.); St. Mary's Close, Litwall, Copallfields (now corrupted into Copperfields), Great Ellets, Great Monstall, the Hope (fn. 30) (surviving as Hope Farm), Stuckbatch, and Tastdes (fn. 31) (xvii cent.).
Its situation on the high road between Tenbury and Worcester gave Clifton upon Teme in early times an importance which it has since lost. In 1270 Henry III granted to Roger, son of Roger Mortimer, that his town of Clifton should be a free borough and the men thereof free burgesses as the burgesses of other boroughs of the realm. He granted also a weekly market on Thursday and a yearly fair for four days at the feast of St. Margaret. (fn. 32) It seems that a development was anticipated for Clifton at this time, which was never realized, and it never returned a member to Parliament. This may be explained by the fact that at the date of the granting of its charter its immediate neighbourhood was the scene of many military operations against the Welsh, and that after the Welsh wars were ended its value as a military centre ceased. The same cause would affect its value as a centre of commerce and traffic.
The borough has apparently always been of the manorial type, no corporation having ever developed. The court rolls, (fn. 33) only two of which have been preserved at the Public Record Office, (fn. 34) show that the court had been divided into two sessions, the view of frankpledge and court of the lord, but by the time of Henry VII the two sessions were united. In 1496–7 there were between fifty and sixty burgage (fn. 35) tenements, a rent of 1s. being paid for each. (fn. 36) Burgage tenements at Clifton are mentioned until the 19th century, (fn. 37) but Clifton had ceased to be a borough long before that time.
That Clifton had once been a borough was merely a tradition at the end of the 17th century. Henry Jeffreys writing at that time said that he had heard of an old man who held ten burgages at Clifton, 'who talked much of the borough and the Guildhall,' but at that time the latter was no longer used for its original purpose. Jeffreys describes it as 'the manner-place of the borough,' and says that it was the house then known as the Red Lion Inn, and that before his father built the middle part of it there was a great hall open to the top, with a fireplace in the middle and a lantern on the top, and that part of the old house then standing was called the Court Chamber. (fn. 40)
The market seems to have died out at an early date, no profits from this sources or from the fairs appearing in any existing accounts for the manor. The market has never been revived, but the fairs seem to have been for a short time in the middle of the 19th century. (fn. 41)
The principal streets in the borough were Maile Street, which led from the Cross towards the Hope, New Street, or Bromyard New Street from the Cross towards Tenbury, and Church Street from the Cross towards Worcester. Maile Street and New Street are mentioned in 16th-century deeds, (fn. 42) but Mr. Jeffreys speaks of them at the end of that century as mentioned 'in old writings,' as though they no longer existed. These are still the principal roads in Clifton, but they are not known by their ancient names.
Traders' tokens were issued by John Jenkins of Clifton upon Teme in 1666, of the value of one halfpenny. (fn. 43) His house in the borough of Clifton, between the lands of the lord on the north-east and west and adjoining the highway, is mentioned in 1658. (fn. 44)
King Athelstan granted land at CLIFTON to Worcester Monastery in 930. (fn. 45) According to Heming, Clifton and Ham with Eastham and Tenbury and all lands adjacent belonged to 'our church of Worcester' in the time of King Ethelred, but the depredations of the Danes 'in all this province' ended in the violent seizure of these lands by the marauders. Earl Hakon invaded and took possession of Clifton, and thus deprived the church of Worcester of its property there. To atone for this his wife Gunhild ordered a gold image of St. Mary to be made and presented to that church. (fn. 46)
At the date of the Domesday Survey Clifton was one of the many manors of Osbern Fitz Richard (Scrob or Scrope), and had formerly been held by King Edward. It was held under Osbern by Robert Doyly, a tenant in chief in several counties. (fn. 47)
The overlordship of Clifton followed the descent of Wychbold in Dodderhill (fn. 48) until the death of Hugh Mortimer in 1304. (fn. 49) It was then assigned to his daughter and co-heir Margaret wife of Geoffrey Cornwall, (fn. 50) and passed with a moiety of Ham Castle in the Cornwall family, (fn. 51) being mentioned for the last time in 1425. This overlordship probably lapsed when the tenancy of the manor came to the Crown on the accession of Edward IV.
Robert Doyly, the tenant under Osbern Fitz Richard in 1086, held no other land in Worcestershire. His Buckinghamshire estates became part of the honour of Wallingford, (fn. 52) but Clifton passed to a family taking their name from the estate. Robert de Clifton held the manor early in the 13th century, (fn. 53) and his homage and service was granted with the manor of Ham in 1243 by William Stutevill to Hugh Mortimer, his stepson. (fn. 54) Robert or a namesake sold land and the advowson of Clifton in 1254–5 to Hugh Mortimer. (fn. 55) This Hugh was probably Hugh Mortimer of Chelmarsh, second son of Ralph Mortimer of Wigmore, and Clifton may have been among the estates which he gave to his elder brother Roger Mortimer of Wigmore, (fn. 56) for in 1270 the land belonged to Roger Mortimer of Chirk, son of Roger Mortimer of Wigmore, (fn. 57) and he claimed in 1284 that it had been given to him by his father. (fn. 58)
The manor evidently descended with Oddingley. (fn. 59) to Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, (fn. 60) but Roger Mortimer of Chirk had granted it probably before 1311, for life, to John de Wisham of Woodmanton in this parish, (fn. 61) at whose request a grant of free warren here was made to William Walshe of Shelsley Walsh in 1311. (fn. 62) John de Wisham himself obtained a grant of free warren there in 1328, (fn. 63) and the manor was confirmed to him and his wife Hawise by the king in 1331, (fn. 64) this confirmation being necessary on account of the attainder of the Earl of March in 1330. John died about 1332–3, (fn. 65) and his widow Hawise remained in possession of the manor until her death in 1359. (fn. 66)
The reversion of the manor had probably been restored like that of Oddingley to Roger Earl of March when his grandfather's attainder was reversed in 1354, (fn. 67) for in 1359, evidently on the death of Hawise de Wisham, Roger obtained from John Mortimer, grandson of Roger Mortimer of Chirk, a quitclaim of all rights which he might have in the manor as Roger's heir. (fn. 68) Clifton then followed the descent of Oddingley (fn. 69) until 1553, when it was granted by Edward VI to Henry Tracy and his wife Elizabeth. (fn. 70) Henry sold it in the following year to William Jeffreys of Ham Castle. (fn. 71) William, who was Sheriff of Worcestershire in 1564, (fn. 72) died in the following year. (fn. 73) He was succeeded by his son Henry, who died on 7 September 1583. (fn. 74) William, son and successor of Henry, obtained a renewal of the grant of the manor of Clifton on 17 May 1605. (fn. 75) He was sheriff of the county in 1616. (fn. 76) His son William, who followed him in 1628, (fn. 77) died in 1658, (fn. 78) when his son Henry succeeded. Henry was a person of considerable learning and left a manuscript book of notes for a history of Clifton upon Teme. The book was destroyed in the fire at Standford Court in 1882. (fn. 79) On Henry's death in 1709 the manor of Clifton passed to his niece (fn. 80) Jane Bloome, who married Edward the third son of Sir Francis Winnington of Stanford Court, (fn. 81) a distinguished barrister and judge, who assumed the name of Jeffreys. Their three sons died in infancy, (fn. 82) and Clifton and Ham Castle passed on Edward Jeffreys's death in 1725 to his eldest brother, Salwey Winnington, of Stanford Court. (fn. 83) Since then the Winningtons of Stanford Court (q.v.) have been lords of the manor. (fn. 84)
The manor of HAM CASTLE (Hamme, xi-xiii cent.; Hamcastell, Homme, Holme by Clifton, xiv cent.) shared the early history of the manor of Clifton, (fn. 85) but was held in demesne by the lords of Burford, who were overlords of Clifton. They held Ham as part of their barony of Burford. (fn. 86) It followed the descent of Wychbold (fn. 87) until, on the partition of Hugh de Mortimer's estates in 1309 between his co-heirs, Margaret wife of Geoffrey Cornwall and Joan wife of Thomas Bykenore, Ham Castle was divided between them. (fn. 88)
The moiety of the manor which was assigned to Joan wife of Thomas Bykenore still descended with Wychbold (fn. 89) until the death of Sir William Lucy in 1460. (fn. 90) Certain lands in the manor, then known as Chapell Home or Netherholme, (fn. 91) were assigned to Margaret widow of Sir William Lucy. (fn. 92) The manor passed to Sir William's co-heirs, the children of his sisters, viz., Walter Hopton and William Vaux. Walter died seised of his share in February 1461, leaving as his heir his sister Elizabeth wife of Roger Corbett of Moreton Corbete, co. Salop. (fn. 93) She married secondly John Tiptoft Earl of Worcester, and thirdly Sir William Stanley, and died in 1498, when her grandson Sir Robert Corbett succeeded. (fn. 94) There is no further mention of the Corbett holding at Ham Castle, and it may have passed by exchange to the Vaux family, who had inherited the other quarter in 1460.
William Vaux was attainted in 1461 for his loyalty to Henry VI, (fn. 95) and was slain at Tewkesbury in 1471. His quarter of the manor was granted in 1465 by Edward IV to his servant Walter Rufford in tailmale, (fn. 96) but Nicholas Vaux, son of William, obtained a restoration of his father's estates from Henry VII, by whom he was knighted after the battle of Stoke in 1486. (fn. 97) He leased part of the manor in 1505 to Henry Jeffreys, (fn. 98) and died in 1523 a few weeks after his investiture as a baron. (fn. 99) In 1536 his son Sir Thomas Vaux, Lord Harrowden, sold Netherholme to Thomas Pope. (fn. 100) In the following year Pope sold it to the king, (fn. 101) who granted it in 1544 to Paul Withipole and others. (fn. 102) They may have been trustees for Edmund Withipole, who died seised of Netherholme in 1582, when it passed to his grandson Paul. (fn. 103) This Paul was followed in 1585 by a brother Edmund, (fn. 104) who was knighted in 1600 and obtained a confirmation of his estate in the manor from the Crown in 1602. (fn. 105) He sold Netherholme in 1604–5 to William Jeffreys. (fn. 106) William was already holding the other moiety of the manor of Ham Castle, and the two parts from henceforth followed the same descent, though the distinguishing names of Ham Castle and Netherholme were retained until the end of the 17th century, the two estates apparently becoming merged in the manor of Clifton upon Teme after that date.
The moiety of the manor which passed to Margaret wife of Geoffrey Cornwall in 1309 remained with the Cornwalls of Burford for more than two centuries. Geoffrey died in 1335, (fn. 107) but Margaret survived him (fn. 108) and married secondly William Devereux, whom she also outlived. (fn. 109) She died about 1346, (fn. 110) her son Richard having predeceased her about 1343. (fn. 111) Geoffrey son and heir of Richard was a minor, and his marriage was granted in November 1343 to William de Cusaunce. (fn. 112) In 1346–7 the king granted this half of the manor to John Talbot of Richard's Castle (fn. 113) during Geoffrey's minority. The king granted certain manors in 1355 to Geoffrey until he should attain his majority. (fn. 114) He seems to have come of age in 1357–8 (fn. 115) but died on 1 September 1365, and was succeeded by his son Brian, then aged ten. (fn. 116) Sir Brian Cornwall, kt., died seised of a moiety of the manor of Ham on 17 January 1400, and his brother Richard followed him, (fn. 117) settling the manor in 1402 upon himself and his wife Cecily. (fn. 118) Sir Richard died on 13 January 1443, and was succeeded by his grandson Thomas, then aged fourteen, son of his late son Edmund. (fn. 119) This Thomas Cornwall, a Lancastrian, was attainted for high treason in the first Parliament of Edward IV, on 4 November 1461, (fn. 120) and a grant was made on 26 April 1465 to the king's servant Walter Rufford and his heirs male of his moiety of the manor or lordship of 'Homcastell or Overhamme.' (fn. 121) Edmund son of Thomas Cornwall obtained a reversal of his father's attainder in 1472–3 (fn. 122) and died in 1489. (fn. 123) The manor of Ham Castle was sold by his son Sir Thomas Cornwall in 1528 to Sir Humphrey Coningsby. (fn. 124) Sir Humphrey was succeeded in 1535 by his grandson Humphrey, (fn. 125) who sold the manor in 1548 to William Jeffreys. (fn. 126) From this time this moiety of the manor of Ham Castle followed the descent of Clifton upon Teme (q.v.). The manor now comprises the two farms, Ham Castle Farm and the Ham.
The manor of WOODMANTON (Wodemonton, xiii cent.; Woddemanton, xiv cent.) was held of the lords of Ham Castle. (fn. 127) Among early undated deeds in a collection of documents (fn. 128) relating to the property of the Ingrams is included a grant by Ellis 'Venator' de Woodmanton to Walter, clerk, son of Richard Fitz Eustace of Homme, of land called Held lying in Modebache, (fn. 129) near the grove of Modebache, and in length extending from the place called Wam Grove to the land of Lucian de Woodmanton. This evidently refers to Woodmanton in Clifton upon Teme, as does also another grant by Lucian de Woodmanton and Alice his wife to Richard son of Richard Eustace of Ham, (fn. 130) of land lying between Lucian's land and Walter Grey's, (fn. 131) and extending from the Held Helie to the king's highway. Gilbert de Woodmanton contributed 3s. to the subsidy of about 1280. (fn. 132) There is, however, no mention of the manor until 1332, (fn. 133) when John de Wisham (fn. 134) obtained leave to crenellate his manor-house of Woodmanton. A grant of 1328 of free warren to John in his demesnes at Clifton and Ham may relate to this estate. (fn. 135) He died in 1332 seised of the manor, which then comprised a messuage and 2 carucates of land. (fn. 136)
Woodmanton then followed the same descent as Churchill and Holt to the Guise and Croft families. (fn. 137) John Croft sold his moiety in 1540 to Richard Callowhill, (fn. 138) who seems to have obtained the other moiety before his death in 1548. (fn. 139) His brother John succeeded him, and sold the manor in 1570 to John Coucher. (fn. 140)
John Coucher was high bailiff of Worcester in 1563 and 1565. (fn. 141) His son John was bailiff of Worcester in 1593 and 1595, (fn. 142)and member for Worcester in several Parliaments of James I and Charles I. (fn. 143) He, with Mary his wife, was holding the manor in 1616. (fn. 144) John Coucher the elder was in possession in 1653. (fn. 145) Yet another John Coucher held Woodmanton in 1715. (fn. 146) Martin Coucher was the owner in 1824, (fn. 147)and it remained in the Coucher family until 1867, when on the death of Martin Shelton Coucher it passed to his only child, Mrs. E. V. de Meric, the present owner. (fn. 148)
The abbey of Evesham held a rent of 1s. in SALFORD (Salkwell, xiii cent.; Salwall, Salfold, xvi cent.; Saufold, xvii cent.) in Clifton upon Teme in 1291. (fn. 149) The Walshes of Shelsley Walsh seem to have been tenants under the abbey at a very early date, for in 1290 Sir Henry Walshe and his wife Sibyl obtained licence to have an oratory in their manor of 'Salwelle' during their lives, saving the rights of the mother church of Clifton. (fn. 150) Land in this parish remained in the possession of the monks of Evesham until the Dissolution, and in 1544 a fishery and land called Monkesland there in John Walshe's tenure were granted to Sir William Barantyne and others. (fn. 151) The Walshes seem afterwards to have obtained this estate, which is later described as a manor. John Walshe of Shelsley Walsh died on 13 November 1510 seised of the hamlet of 'Salwall,' which he held of the manor of Clifton upon Teme. (fn. 152) His son and successor, John Walshe, died on 24 June 1541 holding a capital messuage called 'Salfold' in the lordship of Clifton, (fn. 153) and the manor of Salford evidently descended in the family of Walshe of Shelsley Walsh (fn. 154) (q.v.) until at the death of Sir Richard Walshe his property passed to his two daughters and co-heirs, Anne, who married Sir Thomas Bromley of Holt, and Joyce, who married Sir Roland Cotton, for they, between 1616 and 1618, sold their respective shares of Salford to Humphrey Salwey. (fn. 155) The manor afterwards passed to the Gowers, Robert Gower dealing with it in 1678 (fn. 156) and in 1681. (fn. 157) The further descent of the estate has not been traced, but Salford Court was evidently at one time the seat of the Haywoods, to whom there are memorials in the church. (fn. 158)
There was no mill in the manor of Clifton in 1086, but in 1360 there was a water-mill there which followed the descent of the manor. (fn. 159) It is to be identified with Hudgbridge or Huddisbrige Mill, which belonged to Clifton Manor in 1496, (fn. 160) and was held by members of the Jeffreys family in the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 161) In 1680 it occurs as Hugsbrook or Hugburg Mill, (fn. 162) and in the tithe apportionment as Hugh Batch Mill. It is now called Holland Mill, but is no longer used as a mill.
The mill which formed part of the manor of Ham in 1086 (fn. 163) evidently followed the descent of the manor, as a rent from it was given in 1222–3 by William Stutevill and his wife Margery to Mabel widow of Hugh de Say. (fn. 164) It is again mentioned in conveyances of the manor in the 17th century, (fn. 165) and still survives as Ham Mill on the River Teme. It is called the Boate Mill in 1662 and 1680, (fn. 166) taking this name from an adjoining ferry. Hope Mill, on the Sapey Brook, is no longer used.
The church of ST. KENELM consists of a chancel 28 ft. by 18 ft., north vestry, nave 48 ft. by 17 ft., south aisle 44 ft. 8 in. by 16 ft. 2 in., south porch, and west tower 14 ft. 1 in. by 13 ft. 8 in. These measurements are all internal. The church is built of coursed sandstone, plastered internally, and is roofed with tiles. The east walls are covered with ivy.
The nave, chancel and west tower are of the early 13th century; the south aisle was added about the year 1300, windows being inserted in the nave about the same time. The church was restored in 1843 and again in 1847–53, while a modern north vestry and south timber porch have since been added.
The chancel has an east window of three trefoiled lights under a two-centred head with tracery. The external stonework is modern, but the rear arch and the internal chamfered jambs are original. The latter have moulded stops and the pointed rear arch is enriched by an edge roll and label. The label stops have been left rough, and there are uncarved stones at the springing points of the edge roll. In the north wall there is a modern arch for the organ, which occupies part of the vestry. The vestry opens to the chancel by a modern doorway, and further west is an early 13th-century lancet window. Reset below a modern aumbry at the north-east is a semicircular moulded corbel, probably a 13th-century piscina bowl, but the top is now covered. In the south wall are two trefoiled singlelight windows, the easternmost of which is entirely modern, as is the external, and most of the internal, stonework of the other, but part of its rear arch and internal label is of the 13th century. There is a renewed doorway with a pointed head between the two windows. Below the sill of the first window is a piscina with a modern trefoiled head and a projecting cinquefoil bowl, probably of the 14th century. A break in the wall line at the west end indicates internally the junction of the work of the two periods.
The nave is continuous with the chancel, there being no chancel arch. In the north wall are two windows, each of two cinquefoiled lights, with tracery in the head, and a moulded drop rear arch with a label; the rear arches and jambs are repaired work of the early 14th century, but the external stonework is modern. Between the windows can be traced the lines of an opening, probably a doorway blocked in the 14th century. On the south side is an arcade, of about 1300, with three pointed arches of two chamfered orders, and octagonal pillars with moulded capitals and simple splayed bases. To the east of the arcade is a 14th-century trefoiled piscina niche with an ogee head; the bowl has been cut away. The 13thcentury tower arch is of two chamfered orders, which are continued down the jambs without an impost moulding; above it is a two-centred opening to the tower. The south aisle has an east window of three trefoiled lights under a pointed head; the tracery is modern, but the jambs and rear arch are original. In the south wall are two modern windows, each of two trefoiled lights. Between them is the south doorway of about 1300; it has a pointed head of two chamfered orders continuously moulded with the jambs. In the west wall is an original window, with modern tracery of two lancet lights under a pointed head.
The tower is of three slightly receding stages, divided by two moulded string-courses; above is a broached timber spire covered with oak shingles. There is an original straight buttress at the north-east, and two angle buttresses, probably of the 14th century, at the western angles; all of these stop below the first string-course and have been repaired. The ground stage has an original lancet in the west wall and one in the south, while at the north-west is a blocked doorway now used as a cupboard internally; the intermediate stage has a lancet on the north and blocked lancets on the west and south, the latter having a clock face in front of it. The belfry has twin lights in each wall, some with lancet and others with flat heads. The tower is glanded together at the intermediate stage, and there are cracks in the north and west walls.
The chancel, nave, and aisle all have open-timber trussed rafter roofs. The sandstone font has a deep hexagonal bowl, with slightly curved sides, diminishing in size towards the stem, and a projecting upper edge with a hollow moulding; the bowl is probably of the 13th century, and the short octagonal stem, with square base and angular stops, of the 14th century. The pulpit is modern. Several pieces of early 17th-century panelling, one of which is carved, now stand in the tower.
In the east bay of the nave arcade, on a plain pedestal, is a recumbent effigy in painted stone of a cross-legged knight in armour of the late 13th century. The knight is clad entirely in mail with knee-caps and a long surcoat; the head rests upon two pillows and the feet upon a lion; he wears a sword, and has a short shield supported at the upper corner on a small animal, the head of which is broken off. The paint has been worn away, but otherwise the figure is in good condition.
In the chancel, over the vestry door, is a modern brass plate to Joyce Jeffreys of Ham Castle, who died in 1648 and was buried in the chancel. On the north wall of the nave is a mural monument, executed by Grinling Gibbons, to Henry Jeffreys (d. 1709) of Ham Castle and Elizabeth his wife (d. 1688). (fn. 167) The legend is flanked by hanging drapery, and has a cornice supporting a shield and cherubs' heads, and floral ornament at the foot. To the west of it is a similar monument to Edward Winnington, who adopted the name of Jeffreys (d. 1725), and Jane his wife (d. 1718). On the south nave wall, near the west end, is a tablet, with arms, to Burton Lathum (d. 1709); near this is also a late 17th-century oval tablet with a shield of arms, somewhat defaced, and with the name erased. This is said to be the monument of John Cliffe, who died in 1673, and of Jane his wife, who died in 1671. On the north wall of the south aisle, near the west end, is a monument of the same character to — Caldwell (d. 1685), with a shield of his arms, a cross formy fitchy in a border of stars impaling a lion. On the nave floor, near the chancel, are two slabs, one to William Jeffreys of Ham Castle (d. 1658), with his arms, and the other to Jane his wife, daughter of William Berkeley of Cotheridge (d. 1664). In the nave and aisle are floor slabs to Ann Burasun (d. 1627), and to Elizabeth Taylor (d. 1670), besides several of the 18th century. A sundial in the vestry is dated 1783.
There is a ring of six bells, five by John Martin of Worcester. The inscription on the second is a chronogram, the large letters being intended to represent the date 1668; it is written as follows: 'Henricvs Ieffreyes Kenelmo Devovit'; the third is inscribed, 'Prima sonet cultumque Dei resonabo secunda 1668'; the fourth, 'Tertia succedam vobiscum funera plangens 1668'; the fifth, 'Quartaque cum reliquis celebrabo gaudia regni 1668'; and the tenor, 'Per Kenelmi merita sit nobis celica vita W.G. CW. 1668.' There is also a sanctus bell bearing the date 1664. The treble bell, by Mears & Stainbank, was added in July 1914.
The plate consists of a silver cup of 1570; a silver flagon of 1634 inscribed 'The guift of Mrs. Francis Jeffries one of the daughters of William Jeffreies of Home Castle esq to the parish of Clifton Uppon Teamde 1635'; and a silver almsdish of 1681 inscribed, 'Hoc Mensae Domini de Clifton proprium dicarunt Henricus Jeffreyes Armig. & Elizabetha uxor ejus 1687.' In the centre of the dish are engraved the arms of Jeffreys impaling three bars with three stars in the chief. Above the shield is a helm crested with a castle. The flagon is engraved with the same shield.
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1598 to 1687; (ii) baptisms and burials 1598 to 1812, marriages 1598 to 1754, the early entries having been transcribed from the first volume; (iii) marriages 1754 to 1812.
A priest is mentioned in Clifton at the date of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 168) Robert de Clifton granted to Hugh de Mortimer the advowson of the church of Clifton in 1254–5 (fn. 169); Hugh afterwards granted it to Peter Bishop of Hereford (1240–68), who gave it to the Dean and Chapter of St. Catherine of Eggebele, (fn. 170) Hugh Mortimer confirming the transaction in 1270–1. (fn. 171) The church was appropriated to Limebrook Priory in Herefordshire (fn. 172) in 1286, when it was decreed that the vicar was to have for his portion the altarage, 6s. 8d. from the chapel of Little Sapey and 3s. from the church of Shelsley, ancient pensions due to the church of Clifton, also 3s. from the church of Edvin Loach, and a house, land and rent in Clifton. (fn. 173) In 1291 the church of Clifton in the diocese of Hereford and deanery of Burford, appropriated to the 'poor nuns of Lingbrook,' was valued at £6 13s. 4d.; the portion of the vicar in Little Sapey Church was 6s. 8d. and the vicarage was valued at £4 (fn. 174) Clifton was valued at 10 marks in 1340, whereof the ninths, as was usually the case at that date in Worcestershire, fell below their nominal value, 'because the land for the most part remains uncultivated there on account of the many oppressions of the poor.' (fn. 175) According to the evidence of a later lawsuit, Julia Prioress of Limebrook about 1527 granted a lease to David Gwynne and Margaret his wife for their lives of the site and glebe lands of the rectory and parsonage. (fn. 176) The advowson and rectory of Clifton remained in the hands of successive Prioresses of Limebrook until the Dissolution. (fn. 177)
A messuage and lands in Clifton called the Parsonage Lands, with all tithes which belonged to Limebrook Priory, were granted in 1543 to Richard Callowhill. (fn. 178) Richard was succeeded in 1548 (fn. 179) by his brother John Callowhill, who seems to have given it to his son John. (fn. 180) John Callowhill must afterwards (fn. 181) have acquired the advowson, for in 1568 he sold both the rectory and advowson of Clifton to Henry Jeffreys, (fn. 182) his son John confirming the sale to William Jeffreys in 1612–13. (fn. 183) Since that time the rectory and advowson have followed the descent of the manor. (fn. 184)
The chapel of Little Stanford or Noverton was formerly annexed to the church of Clifton upon Teme, (fn. 185) but in 1532 the Bishop of Hereford united it to Stanford. (fn. 186) A chapel at Ham Castle is mentioned in a deed of 1359. (fn. 187)
By his will proved in 1534 Henry Jeffreys bequeathed £5 to maintain a priest for one year to pray for his soul before the image of Our Lady of Pity in Clifton Church. (fn. 188)
There is a note in Mistress Joyce Jeffreys's diary that in July 1646 she began to pay a weekly diet for three preachers in Clifton for fourteen weeks 'out of my well-meaning to maintaine the weeckly lecter at Clifton upon team.' (fn. 189)
Church Lands.-The parish is in possession of about 20 acres and two cottages, the rents and profits of which, according to an indenture dated 29 March 1728, are applicable solely to the use of the parish church. The land and cottages are let at £28 10s. per annum, and the income is applied towards general church expenses and the repair of the building.
Dame Winnington, who died in 1883, by her will bequeathed £500 for the benefit of the parish. The legacy, less duty, was invested in £441 14s. 4d. consols, which is held by the official trustees. The charity is regulated by a scheme of 9 April 1886.
By an order of the Charity Commissioners 10 May 1907 the sum of £294 9s. 6d. consols was assigned as the educational foundation, producing £7 7s. yearly, and £147 14s. 4d. consols as the eleemosynary charity, producing £3 13s. 8d. yearly. The income of the eleemosynary charity is distributed in meat, coal and grocery.