A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.
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MARTLEY with HILLHAMPTON
Mertelai (xi cent.); Merleia, Merlega, Martelega, Mardelega (xii cent.); Martele, Marklegh (xiii cent.).
This extensive parish lies in a district unpenetrated by railways, 3½ miles north of Knightwick station on the Worcester and Bromyard branch of the Great Western railway. The River Teme forms its western boundary, and some of the most magnificent views in the county are to be obtained from the numerous fine hills overlooking the river.
The parish contains a number of hamlets, Rodge Hill, Hill Side, Prickley, Kingswood, Berrow Green, Horsham, New Town, Collins' Green and Willow Green. The land is high, rising rapidly from the Teme Valley to heights of 500 ft. and 600 ft. at Rodge Hill, Pudford Hill, (fn. 1) Penny Hill and Berrow Hill, in the west of the parish, and falling again to the east to the Laughern Brook, which waters this part of the parish. The soil is various; the subsoil in the east is Keuper Marl, on the west there are Keuper Sandstone, Old Red Sandstone, and small outcrops of the Ludlow and Wenlock Beds. The chief crops are wheat, barley, hops, beans, peas and roots, and fruit is extensively grown. Apples and pears for cider and perry were much cultivated in the 17th century, and still are. (fn. 2) There are quarries and lime-kilns on Penny Hill.
Martley contains 4,421 acres, of which 19 are covered by water, 1,276 are arable, 2,616 permanent grass and 273 woods and plantations. (fn. 3) The parish is crossed by a high road from Tenbury to Worcester, branches from it running north to Great Witley and south-west to Knightsford Bridge. The village lies on the Worcester road. At its southern end are St. Peter's Church and the rectory, with the pound and Martley Union workhouse to the west. (fn. 4)
The rectory dates from the latter part of the 16th century, but it has been somewhat altered and modernized internally in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is two-storied red brick building of an H plan with a central hall. Externally the walls have been colour-washed. At the north end of the hall is an Elizabethan staircase with moulded string and handrail and turned balusters, while at the southern end 18th-century stairs have been inserted. The overmantel in the hall is supposed to have been made up from part of a Mortimer tomb in the church. It is of alabaster, and bears the arms of Hedley, Slaney, Russell, Croft, Cooksey and one unknown coat. It was probably erected in its present position by John Vernon (rector in 1663), who added his arms over the others.
The Court Farm, now occupied by Mr. Holliday, stands near the rectory on the Worcester road. It is a three-storied red brick building, mostly of 18th-century date, and has a tiled roof and a brick modillion cornice. Some older work remains internally, including a fine panelled room on the first floor, dated 1661. The brick garden wall adjoining Church Lane is of 16th-century date.
The Noak, (fn. 5) the residence of Mr. Richard Slade Nash, has long been the home of the Nash family, of which the Rev. Treadway Russell Nash, D.D., the historian of Worcestershire, was a distinguished member. It stands on a hill about half a mile north-west of the church on the north side of the road to Clifton upon Teme. The back part of the house dates from the early years of the 17th century, but the front and larger portion of the building was rebuilt in 1853. The house is three stories high and is built of red brick. The older part stands on a red sandstone base, and has mullioned and transomed windows of the same material. The east or back elevation is symmetrically designed, and has continuous brick string-courses to each story breaking over the heads of the windows. The other elevations appear to have been treated in a similar manner, but, unfortunately, only short lengths of the return walls of the old building remain. Inside, the old part of the house retains some 18th-century panelled rooms, but it has been generally modernized throughout. On the south side of the building parts of the moat remain.
About half a mile east of the church stands Laughern House, the residence of Miss Currie. It stands back on the south side of the road into Martley, and commands a fine view over the village and country to the west. The main house was built in the latter part of the 18th century round an existing small manorhouse which now accommodates the offices. The addition is symmetrically designed and is two stories high. It is built of red brick on a red sandstone base, and has a stone cornice and a string of the same material at the first-floor level. In the centre of the west or principal front is a projecting stone bay with a tetrastlye engaged Doric portico to the ground stage and small attached Doric columns between the windows above. The windows to the ground floor on this front have stone dressings.
On the same side of the road about midway between Laughern House and the village, approached by an avenue of elms, is Barbors, another 18thcentury house, now the residence of the Misses Martley. It is three stories high, and is built of red brick with a tiled roof, and has a wooden modillion cornice.
The township of Hillhampton, formerly in Martley, (fn. 6) is now in the parish of Great Witley. It lies some distance north-east of Martley, on the road from Hundred House to Droitwich. Its area is 800 acres, of which 124 are arable land, 117 permanent grass and 61 woodland. (fn. 7) The principal house, Hillhampton House, the residence of Mrs. McGeagh, is an E-shaped house of two stories and an attic, dating from about 1600, with a north-east wing added or refaced during the 18th century, and a south-east wing of the early 19th century. At this last period several internal alterations were made to the house and modern sash windows were inserted in the west front. The original part is built of sandstone ashlar, the subsequent additions being made in brickwork, and the roofs are tiled. The west front has a central projection crowned by a pyramidal tiled roof, and the two side wings have pointed gables. The walls, which rise from a moulded plinth, are surmounted by a plain parapet, and two moulded strings are carried across the whole face and returned along the north and south fronts. All the original mullioned lights of the west front have been replaced by sash windows and the stonework of the front has been considerably repaired. On the south side of the house are three original stone-mullioned windows and a projecting chimney stack crowned by three original square brick shafts, the two outer ones of which are set diagonally. The windows, two of which are blocked, are divided into six lights by two mullions and a transom. The southeast corner is supported by three deep buttresses, two on the south and one on the east side. On the north front is an original projecting chimney stack surmounted by modern brick shafts, and there is also an original mullioned window similar to those on the south. A small closet constructed on the first floor within the chimney was lighted by a small square window on the north, now blocked. The main doorway on the west, which admits to a small porch in the central projection, has stone moulded jambs and a semicircular arch with square moulded imposts at the springing. The room over the drawing room has a good original plaster ceiling designed in geometrical patterns, and in an attic of this wing is an original four-centred fireplace with enriched spandrels. In the centre of the approach before the west front of the house is a circular stone sundial on a roughly square conical shaft. On the brass dial let into the top is the inscription 'Docet umbra 16 Aug 09.' On the south side of this approach there is a magnificent yew tree.
One of the most interesting features of the parish is Berrow Hill, in the west, a noble elevation, on the summit of which are the remains of an ancient entrenchment, commanding wide views of a most beautiful district. At the foot of the hill is Berrow Green, with an old inn, the 'Admiral Rodney.'
Among eminent persons born at Martley were Francis Jukes the engraver, born 1745, Charles Stuart Calverley the poet, born 1831, and John Doughtie, a divine, born in 1598. (fn. 8) Sir Thomas Hastings the admiral and Sir Charles Hastings, founder of the British Medical Association, were sons of James Hastings, rector of Martley. (fn. 9)
In the Domesday Survey MARTLEY was surveyed with the king's lands in Herefordshire. Queen Edith had held the manor in the time of King Edward, (fn. 10) and it had afterwards been given to William Fitz Osbern Earl of Hereford. (fn. 11) His lands were forfeited to the Crown by his son and successor Roger in 1074 and the king was in possession in 1086. Earl William had given to Ralph de Bernai two radmen and removed them from his manor with the land which they held. Roger de Lacy was returned also in the Survey as having one radman in Martley, (fn. 12) and Drew Fitz Ponz, as successor to Earnwine, was holding a virgate for which he paid geld, and on which he had one radman. (fn. 13)
The manor remained in the king's hands (fn. 14) until 1196, when it was granted at farm to the men of the vill. (fn. 15) They were still paying arrears of rent in 1198, but in 1197 land worth £33 there had been granted to Philip de Aire. (fn. 16) This land seems to have passed before the end of 1200 to Alan de Frise (Frisc or Fruges), (fn. 17) who was succeeded two years later by Wales de Frise. (fn. 18) William brother of Wales succeeded him in 1204, (fn. 19) and in 1205 the king confirmed Martley to him. (fn. 20) William de Frise held two knights' fees in Martley in 1210–12 (fn. 21) and continued to hold as late as 1227. (fn. 22) He died in 1233, (fn. 23) and his land apparently lapsed to the Crown, for Henry III granted the manor of Martley to Geoffrey le Despencer for one-fourth of a knight's fee, (fn. 24) and in 1244 ordered the tenants to pay tallage to Geoffrey. (fn. 25)
Geoffrey died in 1251, when his widow Emma paid a fine of 400 marks for permission to have the custody of his son John, who was then a minor. (fn. 26) John, afterwards Sir John, apparently joined the barons against Henry III, (fn. 27) for in 1273 he was compelled to pay a fine of £220 as ransom for the manor under the Dictum of Kenilworth. (fn. 28) Sir John le Despencer died in 1275, when his heir was his nephew Hugh son of Hugh le Despencer, a minor. (fn. 29) On 20 January 1280 the manor was granted to Francis Accursii, the king's secretary, during Hugh's minority, (fn. 30) but he came of age in 1282, (fn. 31) when the manor was delivered to him. Hugh le Despencer going beyond seas with the king on his service, demised the manor for seven years to Richard de Loughborough (Lughteburgh) and Robert de Harweden in 1297. (fn. 32) He received a grant of free warren in all his demesne lands of Martley in 1300. (fn. 33) Hugh was banished from England in 1321, but returned the next year, and, having assisted Edward II at Boroughbridge, was in 1322 created Earl of Winchester. (fn. 34) In 1326 he was taken by Queen Isabella's forces and hanged at Bristol. His son Hugh was executed a month later, (fn. 35) and in 1327 a grant of the reversion (fn. 36) in fee simple of the manor was made at the request of Edmund Earl of Kent to John Wyard, king's yeoman, (fn. 37) who received a grant of free warren there in 1328. (fn. 38) Hugh son of the younger Hugh le Despencer was restored, (fn. 39) and seems to have repossessed himself of Martley before 1341, when he complained of poachers in his free warren there. (fn. 40) In 1344 Hugh settled the manor on his wife Elizabeth and his heirs. (fn. 41) He died in 1349, and the manor was assigned to Elizabeth. (fn. 42) In 1359, on her death, the manor was delivered to Edward son of Edward, le Despencer, nephew and heir of Hugh. (fn. 43) Edward, who was knighted in 1361, was summoned in 1364 to show his right to the manor, which Alina widow of Edward Burnell had held for life by grant of the Earl of Winchester, and which after her death should, on account of his forfeiture, come to the king, who had granted the reversion to John Wyard, since dead. John Wyard's heir was Elizabeth wife of John de Herle, daughter of his son Robert, to whom the manor ought to have passed on the death of Alina. Edward pleaded the possession of his uncle Hugh, who he said had recovered the manor against Alina in 1338, (fn. 44) but must have lost his case, as in 1393 Sir John de Herle and Elizabeth his wife were in possession. (fn. 45) The manor then followed the descent of Kyre Wyard (q.v.) until 1520, when Kyre Wyard was sold. Martley was retained by Sir Thomas West, Lord de la Warr. His son Sir Thomas sold it in 1527 to William Mucklow, (fn. 46) who bequeathed the manor to his son and heir Richard and died 6 April 1529 (fn. 47) Richard Mucklow died in 1556 at Howdens in Kempsey, when his son Simon, who had married Alice daughter of William Gatacre, succeeded him. (fn. 48) Simon died on 8 August 1572 at Eardington, co. Salop, leaving a son John. (fn. 49) John Mucklow married Apollina, a daughter of John Folliott, and died in 1579. He was succeeded by his son Simon, (fn. 50) and in 1654 William Mucklow, son and successor of Simon, sold the manor to Richard Slaney, (fn. 51) who sold it in 1670 to Thomas Foley (fn. 52) of Witley. The manor has since followed the descent of Great Witley (fn. 53) (q.v.).
Before the Conquest Wulfmar held a virgate of waste land at HILLHAMPTON (fn. 54) (Hilhamatone, xi cent.; Hillington, Hillhampton, xviii cent.). This virgate is perhaps to be identified with the virgate in Martley which William Earl of Hereford gave Droard, who was still in possession in 1086. (fn. 55) There never seems to have been a manor here, but in 1718 a so-called manor of Hillhampton was sold by Alan Cliffe to Thomas Lord Foley. (fn. 56) It has since followed the descent of Martley Manor. (fn. 57)
In 1086 there were a mill and two weirs at Martley, the latter rendering 2,500 eels and five 'stiches' of eels. (fn. 58) The mill still belonged to the manor in 1275, (fn. 59) but is not again mentioned.
The church of ST. PETER consists of a chancel measuring internally 32 ft. 4 in. by 25 ft. 9 in., nave 61 ft. 1 in. by 24 ft. 10 in., west tower about 14 ft. square, north vestry, and a south porch.
The church dates from the early years of the 12th century, and the walls of the nave are of that period. In the first years of the 13th century the chancel was rebuilt and widened to the same width as the nave, but the east wall was again rebuilt in the beginning of the 14th century, while a large portion of the south wall dates from about 1315, (fn. 60) when the chapel was formed on the south side of the chancel which was afterwards known as Mortimer's chapel. The tower was added in the middle of the 15th century. In 1875 the vestry was added, and in 1884 the porch was erected. The building was thoroughly restored in 1909 under the supervision of Sir Charles Nicholson. The walls were then stripped of an ugly external coating of cement, the body of the church cleared of a west gallery and the antiquated heating apparatus and pewing, while below the many coats of whitewash were revealed some very fine mediaeval wall paintings. These were carefully brought to light again and restored where possible, and the roofs, which had previously been ceiled, were opened out and thoroughly repaired. A portion of the head of a blocked window which was discovered adjoining the southeast buttress of the tower suggests the possibility that the western bay of the nave is part of a 14thcentury extension removed when the later tower was built. All the walls are now faced externally with red or white sandstone and are internally plastered.
The east window of the chancel is of early 14thcentury date and of three trefoiled lights with intersecting tracery under a pointed head; both mullions are, however, modern. The two eastern windows in the north wall are lancets of the date of the first rebuilding of the chancel; to the west of them is a round-headed doorway of the same date opening into the vestry. To the west of this, looking into the vestry, is a two-light pointed window with modern tracery, covered on the chancel side by the organ. Below the easternmost window is a double aumbry, which has only recently been uncovered. At the east end of the south wall is a pointed window of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil over. It is of about the same date as the east window, though the mullion is modern. Below it is a 14th-century piscina having a shouldered head and circular projecting basin, and jambs enriched with small ball flowers. The moulded label, the apex of which is cut off by an oak ledge, is stopped on the west by the carved head of a priest, but on the east the stop has been broken away. The two windows to the west of this formerly looked into the Mortimer chapel. They are each of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil under a pointed head, and have set between them a priest's doorway with a threecentred head. Running below their sills and breaking up over the head of the doorway is an internal moulded string. There is a label of the same section on the outside over the doorway, but the moulded string has been cut away. The north and south walls each had an external chamfered plinth, but on the south side the plinth is now interrupted by the portion rebuilt in the 14th century. There is no structural division between the nave and chancel. At the eastern angles are right-angled buttresses, each of three stages.
In the north wall of the nave are three two-light windows of 14th-century design, but only the inner splays may be of this date, the tracery, outer jambs and mullions being modern. Between the two westernmost is a blocked early 12th-century doorway. The head, which is semicircular and is moulded with a roll between two square orders, springs from detached jamb-shafts with circular capitals. On the east jamb is an original consecration cross. The top stone of the outer order of the jambs, out of which the capitals of the jamb shafts are carved, is enriched with a saltire and roundel enrichment, as is also the inner order of the arch, while on the outer order is carved a kind of network ornament. There is a moulded abacus at the springing of the head, and the whole doorway projects some 6 in. in front of the general wall face. The rear arch is also semicircular. The stonework of the doorway generally is original, but the shafts have been renewed. At the east end of the south wall is a four-centred rood doorway. The rood stairs must have been partly contained in an external projection, as the present thickness of the wall at this point would not allow space for the turn which the stairs must have made to reach the existing squareheaded upper doorway which opened on to the former rood-loft. When the stairs were filled up at some postReformation period, the external projection appears to have been cut away, the present curious buttress, which is probably composed of mediaeval fragments, being erected upon its lower courses. In 1909 the remaining portion of the stairs was opened out again, and a small iron ladder was inserted to give access to the top of the modern chancel screen. The nave is lighted from the south by three 14th-century twolight windows, each of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil under a pointed head. The tracery and mullions have been in each case considerably repaired, but the jambs are original. Between the easternmost window and the rood doorway the jambs of a blocked window are visible. In a corresponding position to the doorway in the north wall is an original early 12thcentury doorway. It is of similar design to that opposite, but is in a less good state of preservation; the shafts are original, but the bases have been restored. Built against the eastern external jamb is a mutilated stoup. The walls of the nave appear to have been originally built with alternate bands of red and white sandstone in the four upper courses, but this arrangement has been much disturbed by the subsequent restorations and the insertion of later windows. At intervals along the north and south walls are flat Norman buttresses.
The tower is divided externally by moulded strings into three stages. It stands on a moulded plinth and is crowned by an embattled parapet, while at the angles are diagonal buttresses finishing in pinnacies.
These were added at the recent restoration, (fn. 61) to replace some 18th-century stone vases, two of which are now in the churchyard and two in the rectory garden. Built against the south wall and entered from within is a semi-octagonal stair-turret which gives access to the intermediate stage, which now contains the clock, and the bell-chamber. The tower arch is pointed and of two chamfered orders with jambs of the same section; the springing is marked by moulded abaci. The west window is original and is of three cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery under a pointed head. The intermediate stage is lighted from the north, south and west by single trefoiled lights with pointed heads, while in the east wall is an opening looking into the roof of the nave. In each wall of the bell-chamber is a pointed window of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in the head.
The chancel and nave roofs are both original, and are apparently of the 14th century, though considerably repaired and restored. They are of the trussed rafter type. The former is ceiled in, but the nave roof is open and is divided into six bays by tiebeams. A post-mediaeval truss, made up of vertical and horizontal timbers only, marks the division between the two roofs. The pulpit and font are both modern. Two Jacobean benches remain, and preserved in the tower is the old Elizabethan chest.
Against the south wall of the chancel is a fine alabaster effigy of a late 15th-century knight. It is believed to commemorate Hugh Mortimer, who died in 1460. He is wearing a complete suit of plate armour with escalloped taces, from which are suspended tuilles. His head rests on a helm having for crest a bush of feathers and his feet are supported on the back of a small lion. The hands, which are folded across the breast, are broken off, as is the nose; the sword, which was suspended by a narrow belt, is also missing, but his dagger still hangs at his side. Set in a corresponding position against the north wall of the chancel is a stone coffin showing traces of a carved cross or pastoral staff on its lid. In the floor of the nave is a slab to William Cave, who died in 1615; Anne widow of William Cave, who was buried in November 1665; Thomas Cave, who died in 1692, and his wife Elizabeth, who died in the following year.
Let into the floor of the chancel are a number of mediaeval tiles of the Malvern type, one being of the common Talbot pattern.
The wall paintings, which have already been referred to, are of the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries. On the north wall of the chancel is a masonry pattern with the joints marked in red ochre, and a small black cinquefoiled flower on the end of a bending stem in the centre of each panel. Round the angles of the window jambs runs a pattern of large trefoiled leaves alternating with smaller ones on stems, while the dado is decorated with crudely formed trefoiled leaves of another type. The paintings on the east wall are of 14th-century date. The lower part, on either side of the window, is painted with a draped curtain, in the loops of which are the following small animals: a fox, a dragon, a winged monster, a rabbit, a wolf and a hart. Above the curtain runs a lozenge border into which green has been introduced, while round the whole of the east window is a black and white cheveron enrichment. On the north side of the window are the remains of some canopy work. Round the head and west jamb of the south-east window of the chancel is the curious decoration of the quartered arms of Mortimer, Despencer, Clare and Cornwall, and on the east jamb are the remains of a figure. Over the doorway in the south wall of the chancel is part of an Annunciation with a small kneeling figure beneath On the north wall of the nave are the remains of a large painting apparently representing St. Martin of Tours, over the eastern end of which is a smaller painting of the Adoration of the Magi. They are of late 13th-century date, but both have been considerably mutilated.
There is a ring of six bells by Richard Keene, 1673, cast on the spot, and a sanctus bell of 1721.
The plate consists of a silver cup of 1571; a cup of the same design, inscribed 'Ex dono H. J. Hastings 1829'; two circular silver dishes measuring about 4 11 / 16 in. in diameter, to which are fixed handles in the form of fleurs de lis which appear to be of mediaeval workmanship, though neither dish nor handle is marked in any way; a 1715 credence plate with foot, inscribed 'Ex dono Rdi Pritchet A M CIl 1774'; a silver flagon of 1859, inscribed 'A thank offering by Henry James Hastings, M.A., Rector and Patron of this church 1860'; and a late 18th or early 19th-century latten chalice. There are also preserved in the church a small sacring bell, probably of 14th-century date, and the bowl of an incense boat of the preceding century. They are both made of latten. The former is of a longish shape, the height over all being 3½ in., while the diameter at the lip is 27/8 in. The incense boat is of a pointed oval shape on plan with small monsters' heads at either end for handles, from which runs under the vessel a rounded fillet forming a kind of keel, which was interrupted in the centre by a foot; this, however, has been broken off. The bowl measures about 5¾ in. by 3½ in.
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1625 to 1763, burials 1625 to 1762, marriages 1625 to 1757; there are no entries in this volume between 1642 and 1654; (ii) baptisms and burials 1763 to 1784; (iii) baptisms and burials 1785 to 1812; (iv) marriages 1754 to 1810; (v) marriages 1810 to 1812.
The tithes of Martley apparently belonged originally to the church of St. Helen, Worcester, (fn. 62) but in the Domesday Survey it is stated that the church (fn. 63) of Martley with the land appurtenant, and with its tithe and two villeins, with 2 virgates of land, were given by William Fitz Osbern Earl of Hereford to St. Mary of Cormeilles (fn. 64) in Normandy. Henry II confirmed this grant and commuted the tithes and those of Suckley for 75s. a year (fn. 65) In 1290–1 Hugh le Despencer confirmed the advowson to the abbot. (fn. 66) The presentations were occasionally made by the Prior of Newent, (fn. 67) the cell of Cormeilles in England, but frequently during the 14th and 15th centuries the advowson was in the king's hands on account of the French wars. (fn. 68) On the suppression of the alien priories in the reign of Henry V the advowson was granted to the college of St. Mary and All Saints, Fotheringhay, (fn. 69) to which a pension of 13s. 4d. was paid from the rectory in 1535. (fn. 70) The incumbent, John Russell, master of the college in 1535, surrendered the advowson on 1 July 1539. (fn. 71) It was granted to Sir John Bourne, kt., and Dorothy his wife in 1554, (fn. 72) and passed on Sir John's death in 1576 to his son Anthony, (fn. 73) who conveyed it to Richard and Anthony Whitney in 1579. (fn. 74) In 1620 John Washbourne sold it to John Clent. (fn. 75) The advowson remained with the Clents until 1663, when Lyttclton Clent and others sold it to John Vernon, clerk, (fn. 76) who was presented to the rectory in May of that year. (fn. 77) Two years later he conveyed the advowson to John Bearcroft. (fn. 78)
The advowson apparently remained with the Vernons, (fn. 79) though they did not always make the presentations, (fn. 80) until about 1765, when Amphillis Vernon, widow, presented. (fn. 81) Nash states that the advowson was purchased of Mr. Vernon by Mr. Dunne, (fn. 82) and Martin Dunne presented in 1770. (fn. 83) In 1795 Thomas Bradley Paget was patron, (fn. 84) and he sold the advowson in 1799 to the Rev. James Hastings. (fn. 85) The advowson has since remained in his family, the present patron being the Rev. James Francis Hastings, M.A. (fn. 86)
In 1685 the inhabitants of Martley were engaged in a suit against John Vernon, the rector, concerning a modus of 4d. paid in lieu of tithes for every hogshead of perry or cider, the rector apparently having attempted to obtain this tithe in kind. (fn. 87)
A chantry had been founded at Martley before 1350. (fn. 88) It was probably founded in 1315, when the chapel of St. Mary was built. (fn. 89) The founder is not known, but it appears from 16th-century deeds that the objects of the chantry were besides the chantry services the maintenance of a school, the repair of the church and 'other charitable alms.' (fn. 90) It was not returned among the chantries at the Dissolution and in the 16th and 17th centuries its endowments known as St. Mary Lands were the subject of much litigation as concealed lands. (fn. 91)
From depositions taken in 1573–4 (fn. 92) it appeared that part of the rents had been previously applied to the maintenance of a chantry priest called St. Mary priest, who said the St. Mary mass within the church of Martley and received part of the profits of the lands from certain specially appointed wardens called St. Mary wardens, with certain other moneys, 'gathered in the parish of every man his devotion.' The last priest maintained with a stipend was Sir William Sheward, (fn. 93) who died 7 March 1544. He used to say mass in a 'clossed' on the right side of the church commonly called Sir William's 'closed.' The last St. Mary wardens were chosen about forty years before, and received the rents for about twenty years.
By a decree of 1577 a messuage and lands in Martley and elsewhere, part of this property, were assigned for the maintenance of a free school in Martley, (fn. 94) and the chantry-house, which was a timbered building in the churchyard, from that time became the schoolhouse. (fn. 95)
Educational Charities.—The chantry lands became in 1579 applicable to the support of a grammar school. There was at the Hill End a farm-house upon part of the property out of which the income was derived, where the master at times resided. (fn. 96) The administration of the school is regulated by a scheme of the Board of Education, 14 October 1911, and a new Chantry School has been erected out of the trust funds.
The present endowments consist of about 7½ acres at Wichenford let at £7 a year, a cottage at Doddenham let at £3 a year, a rent-charge of £1 1s. paid by the Earl of Dudley out of land at Hillhampton, and a rent-charge of 10s. out of land at Doddenham paid by Mr. Greswolde-Williams. The official trustees also hold the remainder of a sum of £3,234 10s. consols arising from the sale of Hill End Farm, Martley (the ancient Chantry farm), formerly belonging to the trust, producding £80 17s. yearly. It was sold to the late Dr. Nash of the Noak in 1856, and is now part of the Noak estate. The sum in consols is now reduced owing to its having been expended on the new building.
By the scheme the trustees are authorized to apply yearly a sum not exceeding £15 for maintenance and improvement of Martley Church of England school, £5 for prizes at the same school, £10 in aid of the library, and the residue in Secondary school and technical exhibitions.
Thomas Shepheard, as stated on the church table, gave in his lifetime £170 for ever to be applied in the maintenance of a school teacher. The gift was applied in the purchase of about 10½ acres comprised in a deed dated 2 February 1745, the net rents of which are applied for educational purposes.
The Eleemosynary Charities.—It appeared from a table set up in the church in 1709 that Edward Tillam and other donors thereon mentioned gave to the poor of this parish sums amounting together to £40 10s.; Also from another table set up in 1712 that the Rev. John Vernon, a former rector, and other donors thereon mentioned gave sums amounting together to £140 for the poor.
These sums were subsequently augmented by a gift of £9 10s. by Miss Browning, and by a legacy by will of Mr. Slade Nash, who died in 1811, and by a gift of £100 by Mr. George Nash.
The several gifts are now represented by £369 4s. 7d. India 3½ per cent. stock, the annual dividends of which, amounting to £12 18s. 4d., are distributed on St. Thomas's Day to about 100 recipients.
In 1874 Mary Hurst by deed gave a sum of £50 to be invested and the income thereof to be distributed in coal among the poor; trust fund, £53 16s. 6d. consols, producing £1 6s. 8d. yearly.
In 1886 Catherine Dowding, by will proved at London 22 March, bequeathed £50, the income to be distributed among deserving aged poor; trust fund, £47 3s. 1d. consols, producing £1 3s. 4d. yearly.
In 1908 the children of John Parsons Hastings by deed declared the trusts of a sum of £300 New South Wales 3½ per cent. stock to be that the annual dividends, amounting to £10 10s., should be distributed in December or January in coal or other fuel or articles of household use among the poor.
The several sums of stock are held by the official trustees.