A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.
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EASTHAM WITH HANLEY CHILD AND ORLETON
This parish lies 1½ miles south of Newnham Bridge station, to the south of the River Teme, the river forming its northern boundary. It is extremely irregular in out line, Hanley Child projecting to the south and Orleton to the east of Eastham proper. The principal road is the high road from Tenbury to Worcester, a branch from which runs northward to the church of Eastham and is carried over the Teme at Eastham Bridge on the northern boundary. The school, built in 1877, is at Highwood, about a mile south of the church. Highwood Common was inclosed in 1815 (fn. 1) by private agreement.
The parish Church stands about a quarter of a mile to the south of the Teme. The Court, immediately to the east of the church, is a half-timber and brick house of the early 17th century. It is of two stories, with an attic, and has projecting chimney stacks on the east and west. The plan is L-shaped, the hall being placed in the centre, with the kitchen and cellar on the west, and the principal apartments, with the parlour and staircase, on the east. The oak staircase, which has a plain handrail and turned balusters, is original, and the parlour retains its original oak panelling and frieze. To the south-west of the church is a half-timber cottage, probably of the late 16th century, called the Old Rectory, which has now an iron roof and modern brick chimneys. Eastham Bridge, which crosses the Teme in three spans about a quarter of a mile to the north of the church, was built in 1793. The arches are semicircular, and the central arch being higher than the others gives the bridge a considerable rise in the centre. The piers and sterlings are of stone, and the arches and parapet, which have been repaired, of brickwork. It was for many years a private bridge, a toll being charged for crossing it, but in 1908 it was bought by the County Council and freed from toll. (fn. 2) The rectory, about a quarter of a mile to the south of the church, is a rectangular brick house, built mainly in 1735, (fn. 3) with a 17thcentury half-timber and brick wing on the east. It has an entrance hall on the north, which communicates with the other rooms, and contains a good original staircase with a moulded handrail and slender balusters of three different patterns, grooved, twisted, and turned. Hill Wood Farm is an interesting late 16th-century house of stone and brick, very pleasantly situated on high ground about three-quarters of a mile to the south of the rectory. It is built on an L-shaped plan, having a central hall, with the kitchen on one side and the parlour on the other, and is two stories in height, with an attic and tiled roofs. The kitchen seems originally to have been on the east side; the ceiling beams here are rough, and there is a large stone chimney stack projecting externally and surmounted by three brick chimney shafts enriched by angular projections. The ceiling beams in the present kitchen on the west side of the house are moulded. The hall is now divided by partitions into two rooms and a passage, the original fireplace, which has a large projecting stone chimney stack, being now in the passage. A bedroom over the hall has 17th-century oak panelling in small squares, and at the top of the house is a long attic open to the roof. The south front was refaced at a later period, and the house has recently been repaired in a conservative manner. Hill Wood Farm probably marks the site of the ancient Hull held in the 13th and 14th centuries by the Burnells and in 1347 by their descendant Sir John Lovel.le The estate afterwards passed to the Nicholetts, James Nicholetts living at Hill House about the middle of the 16th century. (fn. 4) It remained in this family until about 1800, and has recently been purchased by Mr. E. H. Whitehead. (fn. 5) The Old Farm, about half a mile south of the rectory, is a rectangular half-timber and brick house with stone projecting chimney stacks at either end. It is of two stories and an attic, with tiled roofs, and dates from about 1600. The upper parts of the chimney stacks are of brick, that on the east being crowned by a plain rectangular block, while the other has a group of three shafts enriched by angular projections. The Old Farm was the property of the Bury family in the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 6)
Lower House Farm, formerly called Callow Hill, (fn. 7) about a mile and a quarter east of the church on the Orleton road, is a rectangular brick house of two stories with an attic, dating from about 1750, and contains an original staircase similar to that at the rectory, but that the balusters are all alike. Puddleford Farm, three-quarters of a mile further east on the same road, is a picturesque half-timber house of about 1600, with a projecting open porch on the south having a room above it. It is of two stories with a tiled roof and an original central brick chimney stack enriched by angular projections on its faces.
Orleton village is on the right bank of the Teme, the church of St. John Baptist is in the east, and opposite it is a 17th-century two-story half-timber cottage. Orleton Court, on the right bank of the Teme, a quarter of a mile east of the church, is a brick H-shaped house of about 1750. It is of two stories and an attic, with cellars under both wings, and has the principal entrance in the centre of the south-east front. The middle part of this front projects slightly, and is crowned by a dentil cornice and pediment, the cornice being continued along the front at the eaves level. In the entrance hall on the south-west is an original oak staircase of the square well-hole type.
Hanley Child is bounded on the north by a tributary of Kyre Brook, on which stands Hanley Child cornmill, now disused, (fn. 8) A second mill on this brook, called Creeks Mill, has not been used for over a hundred years, The Fulhams (fn. 9) and Cheveridge (Chaveridge, xvii cent,) Farm (fn. 10) are frequently mentioned in deeds preserved at Kyre Park. The former belonged in the 17th century to the Pytts family, and the homestead of Cheveridge has been in the possession of the Spilsbury family since the middle of the 17th century. (fn. 11) The Court House, to the southeast of the church, now a farm-house, is an early 17th-century building of half-timber, brick, and stone.
Broad Heath, which lies in Hanley William and Hanley Child, was inclosed under an Act of 1865, (fn. 12) the award being dated 1871.
The whole of the north of Eastham is in the Teme Valley, from which the land rises abruptly to 700 ft. in the south-east and 600 ft. in the southwest, and at Broadheath it reaches 800 ft. above the ordnance datum. Near Eastham Bridge, in a meadow called Castle Tump Meadow, is a round moated mound. There are also moated inclosures near the old home stead at Childsgrove, and in Moat Meadow, near Park Farm. (fn. 13)
Eastham has an area of 2,139 acres of land and 16 acres covered by water; Hanley Child, 1,191 acres; Orleton, 537 acres of land and 9 acres of water. The soil is marl and the subsoil Old Red Sandstone. The chief crops grown are wheat, hops and fruit.
The monks of Worcester, according to Heming, had been despoiled of EASTHAM and 'Bufawuda' (fn. 14) by Earl Hakon and his followers in the time of the Danish invasion. (fn. 15) In 1086 Ralph de Toeni held 3 hides at Eastham and Bastwood, which Eadric had previously held as two manors. (fn. 16) The overlordship passed with that of Elmley Lovett (fn. 17) to the Earls of Warwick, and became part of their honour of Elmley Castle, of which Eastham was held until 1698. (fn. 18)
In 1086 Eastham was held by Herbert under Ralph de Toeni. (fn. 19) Henry de Eastham appeared in 1199 in a suit concerning land at Eastham against Beatrice his sister and Robert her husband, and there is a reference to William de Eastham in the same year. (fn. 20) In 1226–7 Beatrice widow of William de la Hide leased a virgate of land in Eastham to Walter de la Hide for a rent of half a mark, (fn. 21) and in 1252 William de la Hide obtained a grant of free warren in his demesne lands at Eastham. (fn. 22) Hugh de Eastham granted a carucate and a half of land in Eastham to Robert Curzun and Ducia his wife in 1248–9, (fn. 23) but the manor had probably passed before that time to the family of Romeny or Romeli, for Baldwin Romeny was holding a fee at Eastham (fn. 24) about 1235, and he and Lucy his wife conveyed a messuage and land there, which seems to have been held in right of Lucy, to Henry Child and Richard Romeny in 1257–8. (fn. 25) In 1277–8 Ralph Romeny sold the manor of Eastham to Ralph de Sodington, retaining for himself a life interest in it. (fn. 26) Ralph de Sodington was succeeded before 1292 by William de Sodington, (fn. 27) who died without issue about 1303. (fn. 28) His estates were divided between his co-heirs, his nephew Richard le Porter and his sisters, Eustacia wife of William de Doverdale and Joan wife of Walter Blount. (fn. 29) The Blounts' share in Eastham seems to have consisted only of a rent. (fn. 30) Both Eustacia de Doverdale and Richard le Porter claimed the advowson of the church, (fn. 31) and Richard also claimed two-thirds of the manor, while Eustacia claimed two-thirds of Certain messuages and lands there which may have represented the manor. Richard settled his estate in 1319 on himself with remainder to his son Richard and Joan his wife. (fn. 32) The younger Richard left two daughters Joan and Margery, and in 1423 the estate, which had been settled by Richard Porter in 1319, was claimed by Ralph le Porter and Thomas Rawlins, sons of Joan and Margery. (fn. 33) They seem to have failed to make good their claim against William Lichfield, who represented the Doverdales.
In 1337 Eustacia de Doverdale settled the advowson of Eastham and certain land there, part of which was held by Joan widow of John de Carrewe, upon her children John, Thomas and Maud. (fn. 34) Thomas de Doverdale presented to the church in 1349 (fn. 35) and Joan de Carrewe in 1357. (fn. 36) In 1361, however, the presentation was made by John de la More and John Fyman, chaplain, lords of Eastham. (fn. 37) In 1366 Sir Walter Hewet, William de la More, parson of Eastham, and others obtained licence to enlarge their park at Eastham by the addition of 300 acres. (fn. 38) Later the advowson and manor were settled by William de la More, parson of Eastham, on Sir William de Wastneys and his wife Alice daughter of Walter Hewet. (fn. 39) Sir William Wastneys presented in 1381 and 1395 (fn. 40) and died leaving a daughter Joan, wife of Sir John Cornwall of Kinlet. (fn. 41) Sir John, who presented to the church of Eastham in 1404, (fn. 42) was succeeded in 1414–15 by a daughter Elizabeth, wife of Sir William Lichfield. (fn. 43)
Elizabeth died before her husband, who held the manor until his death in 1446. (fn. 44) Their daughter Elizabeth married Roger Corbett, who died in 1430, leaving a daughter Margaret, then three years of age. (fn. 45) Her marriage belonged to the Earl of Warwick as overlord, and he granted it in 1431 to John Wood. (fn. 46) She had married Humphrey Stafford of Frome before 1446, when she succeeded to Eastham on the death of her grandfather. (fn. 47)
After this time some confusion seems to have arisen as to the ownership of the manor. Walter Devereux (fn. 48) Lord Ferrers presented to the church in 1476 and 1478, (fn. 49) and it was stated in an inquisition of 1486 that he held the manor until dispossessed by Humphrey Stafford, who remained in possession until both he and Lord Ferrers were attainted in November 1485. (fn. 50) In 1486, however, Sir Edmund (fn. 51) Cornwall presented to the church as lord of Eastham, (fn. 52) and in the same year he was sued by Ralph Hackluit, who complained that Sir Edward had broken into his houses at Eastham. (fn. 53) In 1487 Margaret wife of Sir George Vere, granddaughter of Humphrey Stafford, petitioned for the restitution of this manor, (fn. 54) which was granted in 1490 to her husband, Sir George Vere, and Ralph Hackluit for their lives. (fn. 55) Then began a long series of disputes between the Veres and Cornwalls as to the possession of the estate, and the manor-house became the scene of a siege and mimic warfare which led to Star Chamber proceedings being instituted in 1529 by Dame Margaret Vere (fn. 56) against Sir Thomas Cornwall and his son Richard. The latter deposed that he had been in peaceable possession of Eastham for five or six years under a settlement made upon his marriage in 1522. (fn. 57) Dame Margaret stated that the forfeiture after Humphrey Stafford's attainder had been unlawful, as Humphrey had not held in his own right; she quoted the grant to Sir George Vere and Ralph Hackluit, and said that, after the death of Sir George, Ralph had held the manor for many years, and died a year and a half ago, (fn. 58) when she took possession. Her servants remained in possession until 11 May 1527, when John Walker 'presented fermor to Richard Cornwall,' Robert Sparre, clerk, and others 'in riotous manner arrayed' disseised them by force in the name of Sir Thomas Cornwall. Then followed repeated evictions and re-entries, Cornwall recovering possession in one case by collecting 'a multitude of ten or eleven' in a desolate house, parcel of the manor-place, and the following night, about two o'clock, setting up a ladder and entering by a window. Numerous visits were paid by the sheriff to execute writs upon the Cornwalls, but finally Robert Sparre nailed and chained up the doors of the house after a fierce engagement, and thus imprisoned the servants of the plaintiff (put in with bows and staves to keep possession) for eight days, only allowing them meat and drink at a window. 'The manor being in the Marches of Wales,' the sheriff feared that the Cornwalls 'might rear many Welshmen and other misdoers at their commandment,' and suits at law resulted. The Cornwalls must have carried the day against Dame Margaret, as Sir Thomas Cornwall died seised of the manor on 19 August 1537, and was succeeded by his son Richard. (fn. 59) The Hackluits still continued to assert some right in the manor, or in some portion of it, as late as 1579, when Thomas Hackluit and Fortune his wife were holding a manor called Eastham. (fn. 60) The manor followed the descent of Rochford. (fn. 61) to the Winningtons, (fn. 62) Sir Francis Salwey Winnington being the present owner.
In 1086 Gilbert Fitz Turold held two estates at Hanley. One, consisting of 1½ hides, which Roger held under Gilbert, Eadwig had held; the other, which included 3 hides paying geld, Cheneward and Ulchete had held as two manors, and this was held under Gilbert by Hugh. (fn. 63)
It is impossible to distinguish which of these estates corresponds to the later HANLEY CHILD (Chynderne Hanleye, Childernehanele, Childrehanle, Children and Hanley, xiii cent.; Child Hanley, xiv cent.; Hanley Child, Nether Hanley, xvi cent.), as both subsequently became part of the honour of Gloucester, (fn. 64) and were held of that honour by the Delamares (fn. 65) and afterwards by the Pleseys. (fn. 66) The early history of the under-tenants (fn. 67) of the manor is obscure. Among the charters in the Beauchamp Chartulary (fn. 68) are some by which William Beauchamp acquired land at Hanley Child from Peter de Donnesdon, Maud de Hanley Child and Walter de la Hide. These charters are probably to be assigned to the middle of the 13th century. In 1274 Jordan de Say successfully sued John Beauchamp of Elmbridge for a carucate of land at Hanley Child, which John claimed under an expired lease granted to William Delamare of 'Rindlebrigg' (? Rendcomb, co. Gloucester) by Hugh de Denesdon and his wife Amice, Jordan's mother. (fn. 69) John Beauchamp and Jordan de Say both paid subsidy at Hanley Child about 1280, (fn. 70) but the manor probably belonged at this time to Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells, and was included with Hanley William in the 'Hanley', in his demesne lands of which the bishop obtained free warren in 1281. (fn. 71) Hanley Child descended with Kidderminster Burnell, (fn. 72) in Halfshire Hundred, until the death of Edward Burnell in 1315. (fn. 73) Edward was then holding only a rent of 40s. from the manor, which had been leased for life and ten years beyond to Richard Shep. (fn. 74) Richard conveyed his interest in the manor in 1349 to John Beauchamp of Holt, who then settled it on himself and Isabel his wife with remainder to his sons William and Thomas. (fn. 75) The Beauchamps seem also to have acquired the Burnells' interest in the manor, which then followed the descent of Holt, (fn. 76) being divided between the families of Guise and Croft. (fn. 77)
The moiety held by the Crofts passed between 1535 (fn. 78) and 1564 to Thomas Hackluit of Eaton in Leominster (co. Hereford) and Fortune his wife, who entailed it on their heirs, with remainders to Richard, Charles, Miles and George Hackluit, Charles Leighton and Richard Acton. (fn. 79) In 1578 Thomas Hackluit sold the manor to Edward Pytts of Kyre, Filazer of the Court of Common Pleas, (fn. 80) and it has since followed the descent of Kyre Wyard (fn. 81) (q.v.).
The moiety of the manor held by Sir John Guise in 1501 (fn. 82) had passed before 1522 to Sir Thomas Cornwall, who then settled it on his son Richard. (fn. 83) Richard succeeded in 1537, (fn. 84) and his son Edmund (fn. 85) sold the manor in 1583 to George Fox. (fn. 86) In 1604 Charles and Edward Fox sold it to Sir Edward Pytts, (fn. 87) and it has since followed the same descent as the other moiety.
A hide and a half of land at ORLETON (Alretune, xi cent.; Alreton, xiii cent.; Orletone super Temede, xiv cent.) was held in 1086 of Gilbert Fitz Turold by Hugh. It had been held before the Conquest as two manors by Eadwig and Edwin. (fn. 88) This estate appears like Hanley Child to have become part of the honour of Gloucester, and and is returned in 1210 as one of the fees which Thomas Delamare held of that honour. (fn. 89) Another estate, which in 1086 probably formed part of Tenbury Manor, became part of the honour of Richard's Castle, being held under the lords of Tenbury (fn. 90) by the Washbournes, who had as their undertenants the Carsys. The overlordship of the lords of Richard's Castle and of Tenbury Manor seems to have lapsed after the 14th century, and Orleton became a fee held of Stanford Manor, the Washbournes' estate. This overlordship was recognized until 1459, (fn. 91) but in 1571 the manor was said to be held of the barony of Beauchamp. (fn. 92) Nash states, however, that in 1630–1 it was held of the manor of Stanford by knight service and rent of a sparrow-hawk. (fn. 93)
In 1202 William de Washbourne owed I mark for having right of half a knight's fee in Orleton against Simon de Carsy (Chausi). (fn. 94) In 1234–5 Richard de Carsy bought a messuage and half a virgate in Orleton from Geoffrey son of Roger, (fn. 95) and paid a mark for half a fee here about the same time. (fn. 96) He paid 4s. 8d. to the subsidy about 1280. (fn. 97) In 1302–3 Richard granted the manor to Agnes widow of Laurence de Ludlow, retaining for himself a life interest in it. (fn. 98) In 1344 Sir John Boulwas, kt., granted Orleton to Hugh Cooksey and Denise his wife. (fn. 99) It then followed the descent of Great Witley (q.v.) to the Russells, (fn. 100) Robert Russell, who died in 1502, (fn. 101) having held it until disseised by John Greville of Milcote. (fn. 102) John Greville evidently claimed the estate as heir male of Thomas Cooksey, (fn. 103) and had tried nusuccessfully in 1499 to dispossess Elizabeth Stanley, widow of Thomas Cooksey, of her dower in the manor. (fn. 104) The manor thus passed from the Russell family and was recovered in 1506 against Robert and Margaret Matthew by Humphrey Coningsby. (fn. 105) Sir Humphrey Coningsby died seised of it in 1535, (fn. 106) and it then followed the descent of North Piddle, being sold with that manor in 1657–8 to Sampson Wise in satisfaction of Fitz William Coningsby's debts. (fn. 107)
In 1668 Roland Place and Catherine his wife conveyed it to John Smith and Abraham Seward, (fn. 108) but two years later it had returned to the Coningsbys, Humphrey son of Fitz William joining with John Smith and Abraham Seward and Ferdinand Gorges in conveying it to George and Richard Johnson. (fn. 109) This conveyance was probably made in the process of selling the manor to Sir Francis Winnington of Stanford, who is said by Nash to have purchased it of Ferdinand Gorges in 1671. (fn. 110)
The Winningtons of Stanford have since held this manor. (fn. 111)
BASTWOOD (Bestewde, xi cent.) was held in 1086 with Eastham by Ralph de Toeni. (fn. 112) It was afterwards held of the manor of Eastham. (fn. 113). Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells, held a messuage and 40 acres of land at Bastwood, (fn. 114) which passed to his nephew Philip. (fn. 115) The Porters also held land at Bastwood, (fn. 116) and in 1351 Roger Watts granted land there to William Lygon. (fn. 117) This land passed from William to his son Richard, who sold it in 1404 to William Washbourne. (fn. 118) In the same year Walter Cooksey died seised of the manor of Bastwood, (fn. 119) which descended with Orleton until 1499. (fn. 120) In 1505 land at Bastwood was conveyed with the manor of Orleton, (fn. 121) but Bastwood is now included in the manor of Eastham, and appears to have been that part of the parish which lies to the east of Pipers Brook. The name has now disappeared, but it occurs as late as 1738. A house called Bastwood (afterwards the Spout) belonged to the Nicholetts family during the 18th century and was sold in 1797 to the Whiteheads, who still own it. This house, believed to mark the site of the ancient manor-house of Bastwood, was pulled down in 1909, when a new house, now called Eastham Grange, was erected. An old mill near, on Pipers Brook, was probably once the mill of Bastwood Manor. (fn. 122)
Two fisheries rendering 40 stiches of eels were recorded at Orleton in the Domesday Survey. (fn. 123) In a lease of 1638 of an estate called the Fulhams by Sir James Pytts to Scudamore Pytts, his second son, the making of fish-works or stanks on the side of the brook called Kyre Brook was excepted. (fn. 124)
The church of SS. PETER AND PAUL consists of a chancel 36 ft. 6 in. by 14 ft. 10 in., north vestry, nave 34 ft. 4 in. by 20 ft. 6 in., and west tower 8 ft. 10 in. by 8 ft. 11 in. These measurements are all internal.
The nave and western portion of the chancel were built during the first half of the 12th century. The chancel was extended to nearly twice its original length early in the 14th century, when the south-east window and north doorway of the nave, and probably the low-side window in the chancel, were inserted. The rood-lost stairway and the north doorway of the chancel are probably the work of the 15th century. In 1825 the present tower was built in the place of a mediaeval structure which had become dilapidated, (fn. 125) and the west wall of the nave was rebuilt at the same time. The fabric was restored in 1864 and in 1889, and a modern vestry has been added.
The chancel and the original walls of the nave are built of tufa, ashlar-faced internally and externally, the dressings to the windows and doorways being of sandstone, but the tower and west wall of the nave are of brick. The roofs are tiled.
The only window in the east wall of the chancel is a modern sexfoil light placed in the gable above the tie-beam of the roof; the internal vertical jambs and drop arch are probably original. At the east end of the north wall is a 14th-century window of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil under a pointed head. To the west of this is a 12th-century single-light window, the stonework of which has been repaired; the internal rear arch is probably of 14th-century date. Below the sill of this window is an old plain aumbry. Beyond is a repaired pointed doorway with a hollow edge moulding, probably of the early 15th century. Immediately to the west of it is a plain square-headed doorway to the rood-lost stairway, which is lighted by a narrow loop on the north and terminates in a flat-headed doorway, now glazed, high in the east wall of the nave to the north of the chancel arch. The easternmost window in the south wall is similar to that opposite. It has a contemporary piscina at the angle of its east jamb with a trefoiled head and a modern bowl. The next window is a 12th-century round-headed light, and below its sill is an old square aumbry. Between this window and the last may be seen the junction of the 12th and 13th-century walling. Near the west end of the wall is a long, narrow low-side window with a square head, which is probably of early 14th-century date. The semicircular chancel arch is modern; the bases of the earlier narrow chancel arch may be seen below the step from the nave to the chancel.
High in the east wall of the nave, on the south side of the arch, are two stone panels with 12thcentury carvings in low relief, one representing the Agnus Dei and the other a double-bodied monster with eight legs. The easternmost window in the north wall is a modern single light in the 12th-century manner, and near the west end of the wall is a 14thcentury north doorway with a continuous bowtel and fillet edge moulding, above which is a 12th-century round-headed light. On the south side the easternmost window is of the 14th century and has two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil under a two centred head. Cut in the east end of its sill is a 14thcentury quatrefoil piscina bowl. Beyond this there is a modern cinquefoiled lancet, and outside, on the east side of its head, is a 12th-century stone carving in low relief apparently representing Sagittarius. Near the west end of the wall is a fine south doorway of the first half of the 12th century. It projects beyond the outer face of the wall and has a semicircular arch of two orders with incised star enrichment, interlacing lines, and lozenge ornament, and single jamb shafts with cushion capitals and moulded bases. Above the doorway is an intersecting arcade of four bays with circular detached shafts having cushion capitals and moulded bases, and a string-course with star enrichment below. The doorway has no tympanum, and, with the arcade above, is rather weather-worn. On the south wall, at about the level of the springing of the window heads, there is a 12th-century panel with a figure of a crouching animal in relief, probably a lion.
The west tower is of two stages with a plain parapet and diagonal buttresses terminating in tufa pinnacles; it is designed in a Gothic manner and has a pointed arch to the nave, a pointed west doorway, and three long lancet belfry windows. These latter, on the north, west, and south latter, on the north, west, and south sides respectively, give the tower a most pleasing effect, though the structure does not rise much above the level of the nave roof.
The font is of sandstone and has a plain circular 12th-century bowl of cuplike form with a wide fillet near the upper edge and a cable moulding at the bottom; the circular shaft with square blocks at the foot is modern.
The octagonal pulpit is made up of mid-17th-century oak panels carved in geometrical patterns, and is placed on a modern stand. There are some 16thcentury carved panels incorporated in the fronts of the quire stalls and at the back of the priest's desk, and the altar has a reredos made up of richly carved mid-17th-century panelling divided by carved figures in high relief, which covers the east wall to a height of 7 ft. 1 in. The lectern has a turned and carved oak stand resting on four lions' feet of the late 16th or early 17th century, and in the chancel is a chair formed of pieces of turned and carved oak of the 17th century. In the vestry is an 18th-century oak chest.
On the south wall is a monument to Edward Soly of Orleton, who died on 17 August 1690, with a shield of arms above, Vert (a mistake for sable) a cheveron party or and gules between three soles argent.
The tower contains a ring of four bells: the treble, by Abel Rudhall, has the inscription, 'Peace and good neighbourhood A.R. 1754'; the second, 'Thomas Purks Edward Tailer 1663,' with the founder's mark of John Martin of Worcester; the third, 'Soli Deo Gloria Pax Hominibus 1665,' also with the mark of John Martin; and the tenor, by Abraham Rudhall, 'Thomas Taylor Iohn Walker Churchward (fn. 126) A.R. 1699.'
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1571 to 1681, the entries to 1615 being in Latin; (ii) all entries 1681 to 1733; (iii) all entries 1733 to 1812; (iv) a separate book of marriages 1755 to 1812. The first three books include the chapelries of Orleton and Hanley Child, but only Orleton is included with Eastham in the fourth book.
The church of ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS at Hanley Child, (fn. 127) built in 1807 upon the site of an older building, is a small rectangular structure with the lower part of a tower at its west end. It is built of sandstone rubble in a simple quasi-Gothic manner; the lateral windows retain their original quarry leaded glazing. The upper part of the tower fell in 1864, and the present bell gable, containing one uninscribed bell, was erected in its stead. The communion plate consists of a cup and paten with no hall-marks, probably of the 18th century, and a pewter paten, inscribed 'Hanley Child.'
The church of ST. JOHN BAPTIST at Orleton (fn. 128) is a rectangular red brick building erected in 1816. It is roofed with slates and has wide pointed windows on the east and south, and a western tower of three stages surmounted by an embattled parapet. The communion plate consists of a cup and paten with no marks.
There was a priest, and therefore probably a church, at Eastham in 1086, (fn. 129) but the first reference to the advowson occurs in 1277–8, when it was conveyed with the manor by Ralph Romeny to Ralph de Sodington. (fn. 130) The presentations were made by the lords of the manor (fn. 131) until 1709, when Francis Cornwall sold the advowson to Gerard Thurston, M. D. (fn. 132) The patron in 1740 was Robert Poole (fn. 133) and in 1758 Joseph Bach. (fn. 134) In 1769–70 William Torbant Maurice and Mary his wife granted the advowson to Isaac Sparkes and James Hall. (fn. 135) In 1776 Edward Bearcroft of Droitwich presented, (fn. 136) as he did in 1780 and 1783. (fn. 137) He sold the advowson in 1786 to the Rev. Francis Bames, (fn. 138) of whom it was purchased in 1789 by the Rev. Christopher Whitehead. (fn. 139) His trustees sold it in 1830 to the Rev. Charles Turner (fn. 140) (afterwards Turner Farley), who again sold it in 1853 to the Rev. Henry Browne. (fn. 141) It was purchased of him in 1869 by Mr. J. W. T. Lea, (fn. 142) and now belongs to the Rev. Ernest Edward Lea, the rector.
The church was valued at £6 13s. 4d. in 1291. (fn. 143) In 1535 it was valued, with the chapels of Hanley Child and Orleton annexed, at £28 15s. 8d. (fn. 144) At the Parliamentary survey of 1655 its glebe and tithe were worth £67 17 s. 2d., and Hanley William, Hanley Child and Orleton were chapels annexed. The parish was very populous, and one curate received £20 for serving both Hanleys and a second £8 for serving Orleton. (fn. 145)
Chapels at Orleton and Hanley Child were annexed to the church of Eastham. (fn. 146) They are mentioned for the first time in 1535, (fn. 147) and that of Hanley Child had disappeared before 1781, (fn. 148) the present church being built on its site. The old chapel at Orleton, described by Nash as 'poor' and wanting monuments, stood near the Court House, but it has also perished. The living of Hanley William was annexed to Eastham in 1560, (fn. 149) and remained so until 1909, when it and Hanley Child, which is now annexed to it, were separated from Eastham. Orleton is still a chapelry of Eastham.
At the dissolution of the chantries an acre of land given for the maintenance of a lamp in Eastham Church was valued at 8d. (fn. 150)
From a terrier registered in the diocese of Worcester it appears that the parish was possessed of certain properties therein described, in respect of which the sum of 20s. a year was applied as a dole to poor labourers not in receipt of parish relief. The dole has apparently ceased to be paid. (fn. 151)
In the same terrier a sum of 18s. a year is mentioned as payable out of the Hill Estate in the hamlet of Hanley Child to the poor of the hamlet. The annuity is duly received and applied under the name of Tool Money, and distributed in small sums of money.
It further appeared from an inscription on a stone in the north wall of Eastham Church that John Barnbrook (who died in 1802) left by will to the poor £3 a year out of his estate called Knacker's Hole. The payment of the rent-charge has been discontinued as contravening the Statute of Mortmain.