A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.
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SUCKLEY With ALFRICK And LULSLEY
Suckley, with its former chapelries of Lulsley and Alfrick, is an extensive agricultural parish with a station (fn. 1) on the Bromyard branch of the Great Western railway. It lies at the northern extremity of the Malvern Hills, here known as the Suckley Hills, 500 ft. above the ordnance datum. To the south of Old Storridge Hill, at the Beck, a height of 600 ft. is reached. In the north the land falls to the valley of the Teme, which forms the northern boundary. The parish is also watered by Leigh Brook and its tributaries. Its total area is 5,183 acres, of which 1,648 are in Alfrick and 843 in Lulsley. (fn. 2)
The soil is chiefly loam and clay, the subsoil in Lulsley and Alfrick is Keuper Marl, and in the west of Suckley Old Red Sandstone; on the Suckley and Storridge Hills there are outcrops of the Ludlow, Wenlock and Llandovery Beds. The chief crops are wheat, beans, peas and fruit, and there are about 250 acres of hop plantation. (fn. 3)
No main road passes through Suckley, the principal roads being one from Knightsford Bridge to Cradley, which intersects the parish from north to south, and another from Bromyard to Leigh. Suckley village lies on the former road. It contains the church of St. John Baptist, the rectory and school, and Lower Court, now a farm-house, but formerly a manor belonging to the Coke family.
The White House, the residence of Mr. James Frederick Twinberrow, faces west, and is a welldesigned early 18th-century three-storied brick building with a slate roof. The walls have been externally painted a light stone colour and are crowned at the eaves by a wood modillion cornice. Over the front doorway is a coved hood, supported by wooden brackets, carved with a cherub's head and floral swags. The main staircase, a good example of its period, is of oak, with twisted balusters, moulded hand-rail, and a panelled dado. The North Ledbury Hunt kennels are at the White House.
On the west side of the churchyard stands the Chantry, a pretty little half-timber and brick building, apparently of 17th-century date, two stories in height and roofed with tiles. It has passed through many vissicitudes, having been at one time the Crown Inn and afterwards a police station; it is now the residence of the Misses Addis.
Upper Court, the residence of Mr. Thomas Huband, is situated on a slightly elevated site about half a mile south-west of the church. It is an 18th-century building two stories high, with attics in the roof, and is built of red brick and roofed with tiles. Though considerably modernized, it still retains its original oak staircase with its turned balusters and moulded handrail. A moat once surrounded the building, but it has now been filled in on the south-east and south-west.
Suckley Knowl, Suckley Green, Crews Hill and Longley Green are hamlets. At the latter there is a chapel belonging to the Countess of Huntingdon's connexion. A Congregational mission hall was erected in 1815. (fn. 4)
Lulsley is in the north of the parish. Lulsley Court, about a quarter of a mile east of Lulsley Church, is a rectangular two-storied house of halftimber and plaster with tiled roofs. The southern part of the house, which rests upon a stone base, is of the 16th century, and has a projecting upper story supported by carved beams and shaped brackets. The north wing, added in the 17th century, has a brick lower story. The house has been considerably repaired.
Coalplace, at the corner of the road about 100 yds. south of Lulsley Court, is a 17th-century T-shaped house of two stories and an attic, built principally of timber with brick filling. The lower story of the south wing is of sandstone, and the whole house stands on a sandstone base. It preserves its original moulded beams, and also retains an original group of four brick diagonal chimney shafts, enriched with angle projections.
At the north-western angle of Lulsley is Rosebury Rock, a remarkable cliff, densely wooded, at the foot of which flows the Teme. Near it is Black's Well, where there are extensive quarries of red sandstone. Other precipitous rocks overhang the stream, which here flows through a deep rocky valley, the whole forming a region of very fine scenery. Ravenhills Green is a district to the south of Lulsley.
Alfrick is to the east of Suckley. The village, on the Bromyard road, contains Alfrick Court and several half-timber cottages, some of which are near the church. Alfrick Pound is a hamlet to the south. The southern part of Alfrick consists chiefly of woodland, Old Storridge Common and its surrounding woods. The common, upon which are several disused quarries, was inclosed under an Act of 1853 (fn. 5), and the award is dated 10 February 1870. (fn. 6)
There are several mills on the Leigh Brook and its tributaries. Sindon's Mill is a corn-mill to the south of the village. It formed part of the Lower Court estate in 1775 when it was leased for 1,000 years by John Ballard to John Adams. (fn. 7) A mill belonged in 1564 to the manor of Suckley, formerly held by the Priors of Little Malvern. (fn. 8) Tundridge Mill, another corn-mill on Leigh Brook, is mentioned by this name in 1813, when it belonged to John Skinner. (fn. 9) It may have been the successor of the mill which existed at Suckley in 1086, (fn. 10) and followed the descent of the manor until the 16th century. (fn. 11) A water-mill belonged to the manor of Over Court in 1633. (fn. 12) There is a third corn-mill to the east of Alfrick Pound, and the name Papermill Coppice near Leigh Brook seems to suggest the former existence of a fourth mill.
Jabez Allies the antiquary, second son of William Allies of Lulsley, was born in 1787 at Lulsley, where his family had been living for many generations. (fn. 13)
Before the Conquest SUCKLEY formed part of Earl Eadwine's great manor of Bromsgrove. (fn. 17) Five hides at Suckley were, however, taken by William Fitz Osbern Earl of Hereford out of Bromsgrove and were made to pay their farm at Hereford. (fn. 18) Suckley therefore, though it remained in Doddingtree Hundred, (fn. 19) was surveyed in 1086 under Herefordshire. All the estates of William Earl of Hereford were forfeited in 1074 by his son Roger, (fn. 20) and in 1086 Suckley was in the hands of the king. Half a virgate of this manor had been given by Earl Roger to a certain Richard, and appurtenant to the manor was one burgess at Worcester. (fn. 21) Suckley remained a royal manor until 1215, (fn. 22) when it was granted by King John to Llewelyn ap Jorweth, Prince of North Wales, who had married Joan the king's daughter. (fn. 23) Llewelyn gave the manor to John le Scot Earl of Huntingdon, afterwards Earl of Chester, with his daughter Helen in marriage. (fn. 24) The sheriff received orders in 1232 to restore to the earl the manor, which had been taken into the king's hands on account of the war with Llewelyn. (fn. 25) The earl died in 1237 (fn. 26) and the manor was delivered to the countess, (fn. 27) who afterwards married Robert de Quincy. Her daughters by him, Joan wife of Humphrey de Bohun, and Hawise wife of Baldwin Wake, were holding the manor jointly in 1274. (fn. 28)
The manor was held in 1316 of Thomas Wake, grandson of Hawise (fn. 29); it had therefore apparently been assigned to the Wakes, and was subinfeudated before 1281 to Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells, who obtained a grant of free warren there at that date. (fn. 30) He granted it in the following year, in exchange for other lands, to Peter de Lench and his wife Margery for their lives. (fn. 31) It had reverted before 1315 to Edward Burnell, (fn. 32) the bishop's great-nephew, who died seised of it in that year. (fn. 33) His widow Alina held the manor until her death in 1363, (fn. 34) when it reverted to Nicholas Burnell, son of Maud sister of Edward Burnell. (fn. 35) It then descended with Kidderminster Burnell (q.v.) to Sir Hugh Burnell, (fn. 36) who settled it upon his granddaughter Margery and her husband Edmund Hungerford. (fn. 37) Sir Hugh died in 1420, when the manor (fn. 38) passed to Margery. (fn. 39) She outlived her husband and was succeeded in 1486 by a son Thomas, (fn. 40) who must have been followed shortly after by his son Sir John, lord of the manor in 1496. (fn. 41) By his will dated 1524 Sir John left Suckley to his son Sir Anthony Hungerford. (fn. 42) John Hungerford, who succeeded his father Sir Anthony in 1558, (fn. 43) settled Suckley on his son Anthony on his marriage with Bridget Shelley. (fn. 44) John and Anthony sold the manor in 1571 to Edmund Colles of Leigh, (fn. 45) and it has since followed the descent of the manor of Leigh (fn. 46) (q.v.), Lady Henry Somerset being the present owner.
A capital messuage called OVER COURT, and the site of the manor of Suckley called LOWER COURT, (fn. 47) were settled by Edmund Colles in 1597 on his younger son Edmund, (fn. 48) who was succeeded in 1613 by a son John. (fn. 49) Over Court and Lower Court then seem to have passed into different hands. Thomas Moore, alderman of Worcester, died seised of the former in 1633, leaving coheirs. (fn. 50) He had, however, settled Over Court in 1627 in default of his issue upon Edward and Nicholas Moore sons of Thomas Moore. (fn. 51) Edward died about 1656 and his son Thomas in 1674, (fn. 52) when Over Court, then known as Suckley Court, passed to William Moore, Thomas's brother. (fn. 53) William was succeeded about 1688 by his son Thomas, owner of the Court in 1696. (fn. 54) It was probably this Thomas who died in 1722 (fn. 55) Timothy Colles died in 1747 leaving the Court in succession to his daughter Anne, the sons of his niece Sarah, and his nephew the Rev. John Welch. It eventually passed to Welch whose daughter Elizabeth married Thomas Huband. Their daughter Susannah married Thomas Collis but died childless, and the estate passed on the death of Collis in 1845 to Thomas Huband's heir at law, James Huband. On his death in 1887 his son Thomas, the present owner, succeeded. (fn. 56)
The Lower Court must have been sold by John Colles to Gilbert Smith, who settled it in 1618 on his son William on his marriage with Margery daughter of Bartholomew Tipping. William died before his father, on whose death in 1628 Lower Court passed to William's son George, (fn. 57) to whom livery was made on his coming of age in 1641. (fn. 58) Five years later Simon Bach, an apothecary of London, held the manor. (fn. 59) In 1655 he leased the manor called the White House for 1,000 years to Francis Gorway. This came in 1679 into the hands of Richard Coke, vicar of Eastnor, Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral, eldest son of George Coke, Bishop of Hereford. (fn. 60) Richard was succeeded by a son Heigham, (fn. 61) who was sued for the estate in 1686 and 1687 by Samuel Bach, brother and heir of Simon who had died in 1670. (fn. 62) Heigham wrote in 1705 to his cousin Thomas Coke at the Exchequer Office asking him to use his interest to prevent his being made Sheriff of Worcestershire. (fn. 63) He died in 1719, (fn. 64) when his son D'Ewes succeeded. (fn. 65) D'Ewes was in possession of the manor called Le Lower Court and Le White House in 1721, (fn. 66) and sold the former in 1742 to John Ballard and the latter in the same year to John Freeman. (fn. 67) The White House belonged to the Freemans until 1795 or later. (fn. 68) It was purchased about 1856 by Mr. Twinberrow, grandfather of Mr. James Frederick Twinberrow, who is the present owner. (fn. 69) The Lower Court estate passed on the death of John Ballard in 1753 to his son John, who sold it in 1813 to Joseph Walker. Of him it was purchased in 1831 by John Dowding, after whose death in 1857 it was sold by his trustees to William Ockey. Ockey remained in possession until 1887, (fn. 70) when the estate was broken up, and part called the Lower Court Fram was purchased by Thomas Rowley Hill, M.P. for Worcester. He left it to his son Edward Henry Hill of Broadwas Court, and it passed in 1911 to the nephew of the latter, Mr. Richard Willis Hill Kane, the present owner. (fn. 71)
The manor of LULSLEY (Lolleseie, Lulleseia, xii cent.; Lollesseye, xiv cent.; Lulsey, Lolsey, Lollesey, Lullesley, xvi cent.; Lollesey, Lulcey, xviii cent.) belonged at the Dissolution to the priory of Great Malvern, (fn. 72) but it is not known how it was acquired by that house. The manor was granted by the Crown in 1544 to John Fox and Thomas Hall of Henwick, (fn. 73) and seems ultimately to have passed to Hall, for he died seised of it in 1557, when his son John succeeded. (fn. 74) John was followed before 1606 by his son Edward, who conveyed Lulsley in that year for ninety-nine years to his father-in-law Paul Tracy for settlement on his wife Anne. (fn. 75) Edward was succeeded in 1616 by his son and namesake, (fn. 76) and his widow Anne subsequently married William Ingram of Earls Court, and was obliged to convey most of her husband's estate to her father Sir Paul Tracy for the payment of Edward's debts. (fn. 77) Her son obtained livery of the manor in 1634, (fn. 78) but died two years later, when his son John succeeded, Anne Ingram still being in possession of her jointure in the manor. (fn. 79) In 1656 John Hall and William Pretiman (fn. 80) and his wife Elizabeth sold the manor to Richard Slaney. (fn. 81) Richard became bankrupt in 1684, and his estates were distributed in 1685. Obadiah Sedgwick, a creditor, petitioned in the House of Lords in 1690 against George Hitchcock and others, also creditors of Slaney, to recover the manor, which he claimed as previously mortgaged to himself and his petition seems to have been successful. (fn. 82) In 1715 Sarah widow of Obadiah Sedgwick, with her sons and daughters, John Sedgwick of Leeds, Sarah wife of Chambers Slaughter, Elizabeth wife of John Sedgwick, of Burton, Susan Cornwall and William Sedgwick, sold the manor of Lulsley to John Slaney. (fn. 83) John Slaney left three daughters and co-heirs, one of whom, Sarah, married William Goldsborough. Her daughter Sarah became the wife of Francis son of Francis Creuzè, a French refugee, (fn. 84) and Sarah and Francis held a third of the manor of Lulsley in 1774, (fn. 85) the other co-heirs of John Slaney being then represented by William Huson and his wife Mary and Barbara Girle, a widow, who held the other two-thirds. (fn. 86)
Lulsley Court was purchased in 1819 by John Williams of the trustees of Richard Chambers. (fn. 87) John Williams was succeeded in 1853 by his son Francis Edward, (fn. 88) and the manor has from that time followed the descent of Greet Manor in Yardley, (fn. 89) Mr. Francis Wigley Greswolde Greswolde-Williams being the present owner.
An estate at SUCKLEY belonged to the priory of Little Malvern (fn. 90) early in the 14th century. In 1322 the prior obtained protection in his manor of Suckley, (fn. 91) and in the following year he was required to render account to the brethren of the wood which he was selling at Suckley. (fn. 92) In 1535 the priory's estate in Suckley and Alfrick was valued at £2 16s. (fn. 93) It was granted in 1544 to John Fox and Thomas Hall, (fn. 94) and like Lulsley it seems to have passed to Hall, who died seised of it in 1557. (fn. 95) John Hall, Thomas's successor, sold it in 1564 to his brother Edmund, (fn. 96) who died seised of it in 1605, when his son Thomas succeeded. (fn. 97) Thomas had livery of this manor in 1608, (fn. 98), and it may be identical with an estate known as 'the Hall House' held by John Hall in 1647. This had passed before 1656 to his son Matthew, (fn. 99) but its further descent has not been traced.
The site of this manor was sold in 1544 by John Fox and Thomas Hall to John Gorway, (fn. 100) who was succeeded in 1576 by his son Thomas. (fn. 101) Thomas died in 1579, holding the site of the manor of Suckley and a messuage there called Birminghams, (fn. 102) leaving two infant daughters Elizabeth and Joyce. (fn. 103) Joyce died unmarried in 1593, her sister Elizabeth then being the wife of Thomas Worfield. (fn. 104) Livery was made to Elizabeth in 1598. (fn. 105) She married as a second husband John Churchill, and died in 1606. Her husband held Suckley by the courtesy until his death in the following year, and the manor was delivered in 1625 to his son Edward Churchill on his attaining his majority. (fn. 106) The further descent of this estate has not been traced.
Early in the 16th century the Mucklows of Martley acquired a considerable estate at Suckley. In 1515–16 William Mucklow bought of John Pichard, Richard Habington and William Wicombe and his wife Christine, 'cozen' and heir of Henry Walpole, the manors of Suckley and Orcoppys. (fn. 107) Richard Mucklow, who succeeded William in 1529, claimed also a manor of Alfrick (fn. 108) (Alferwick). The Mucklows' estate, known as the manor of Suckley, was held of the capital manor of Suckley, and followed the descent of Martley (q.v.) until 1583, (fn. 109) after which date no further mention of it has been found.
In 1199 Henry Hautein paid 2 marks for having seisin of a virgate of land in Lulsley in the king's demesne of Suckley if he could prove that the land was his right and inheritance, and that his ancestors assarted it and held it hereditarily, rendering 20s. yearly to the king, and that it was without the king's forest. (fn. 110) This may have been the estate at Lulsley and Suckley afterwards known as Hanleys Court (fn. 111) which was held of the Beauchamps of Elmley. (fn. 112)
The Hanleys were for a considerable period tenants of this manor under the Beauchamps. Thomas Hanley held it in 1315, (fn. 113) and in 1341 Hugh son of John de Aldenham granted to Roger son of Thomas Hanley and Joan, Roger's wife, all his lands in the manor of Suckley, except the reversion of Lulsley, after the death of Margaret wife of John de Berkeley. (fn. 114) Simon Hanley of Hanley was holding one-fourth of a knight's fee in Suckley and Lulsley in 1431, (fn. 115) and this estate passed through the marriage of Simon's daughter Margery to Robert Stanshawe or Stanlawe in 1506–7. (fn. 116)
About 1515–16 'Hanleyez lond' was awarded to William Mucklow in a suit between him and Richard Habington and John Pichard. (fn. 117) It passed in 1529 from William Mucklow to his son Richard, (fn. 118) and from that time seems to have become merged in the Mucklows' other estate at Suckley. It consisted in the 16th century of only two messuages. (fn. 119) It is described in 1627 as Hayleys Grounde in Sinton's End in 'le holy Water de Suckley', (fn. 120) and its site is probably marked by Hayley Dingle now in the parish of Leigh, to the east of Suckley.
Habington mentions an estate at Lulsley called COLLES PLACE, now Cold Place or Coal Place, which he says belonged in very early times to the Colles family. (fn. 121) It was possibly this estate which was held in the early 16th century by the Pichards. John Pichard, merchant haberdasher of London, bequeathed money for buying ornaments for the church of Suckley, (fn. 122) and another John Pichard of Suckley in 1521 bequeathed 'Collgrove' in Suckley to his son William. (fn. 123) A third John Pichard died in 1545 seised of Collgrove, which then passed to his son John, (fn. 124) who was succeeded in 1551 by three daughters, Dorothy, Margery and Elizabeth. (fn. 125) This estate was possibly part of that which Edmund Colles of Leigh claimed in 1564, as the site of the manor of Suckley and pastures there called Waterslade and the Lake, (fn. 126) for Nash says that the meadow 'on Tame side' called Waterslade was held with Colles Place in his day. (fn. 127) Colles Place afterwards came to Nicholas Lechmere of Hanley. (fn. 128) It appears to have belonged in 1727 to Richard Hart, and in 1769 and 1782 was the property of Holland Cooksey. (fn. 129) The manor of Lulsley and Cold Place Farm were advertised for sale in 1817 in a cause between Hatton and Lechmere, (fn. 130), and Waterslade belonged at about that time to Mr. Baker, (fn. 131) probably William son of Sir William Baker, alderman of London, whom Nash mentions in 1782 as holding an estate at Lulsley. (fn. 132) William Jones of Cold Place was succeeded in 1819 by his nephew, William Jones of Sherridge, (fn. 133) but the further descent of the estate has not been traced.
The present building was erected on the site of the old church, which was taken down in 1878–9. It is built of Cradley stone with Bath stone dressings, and the walls are plastered internally. The design is in the 'Decorated' style. Built into the north wall of the chancel is an early 14th-century pointed tomb recess, having the jambs enriched with small ball flowers; the head is inclosed by a moulded label which on the east stops on a carved leaf, but the stop on the west has been cut away to make room for a modern quire bench. In the south wall has been re-set a piscina of the same date. It has a trefoiled head inclosed by a label enriched with a small ball flower. The basin is octagonal and partly projects in the form of an inverted semi-hexagonal cone.
The mid-12th-century font remains. It is circular and stands on a chamfered base, and the bowl is enriched with a lozenge ornament set between three rolls, one at the rim and two at the junction of the bowl with the stem. In the sides of the modern pulpit have been set some 17th-century arcaded panels carved with arabesque work. Two elaborately carved Flemish chairs are also preserved.
Set in the recess in the north wall of the chancel is a brass inscribed: 'Here lieth the bodie of Thomas Littleton master of arts Rector of this place and sumetime vicar of halesowen in the diocese of Worcester who departed this life January the xxvi 1665.' Above the inscription is a shield of his arms, a cheveron between three scallops, surmounted by a mantled helm.
There is a ring of six bells by Abraham and Abel Rudhall of Gloucester. The treble is inscribed 'Jos Racster & Dan1. Coney Ch.-wardens A.R. 1755'; the second 'Abraham Rudhall Bellfounder 1710'; the third 'God Save the Queen & Church A.R. 1710'; the fourth has the same inscription as the second; the fifth is inscribed 'Peace & Good Neighbourhood A.R. 1710'; and the tenor 'I to the Church the living call and to the grave do summons all 1725.'
In the churchyard, on the south side of the church, are the three steps and the base of a mediaeval cross, apparently of 14th-century date. The base is square with the upper part splayed off to receive the twelvesided stump of the cross, the whole of which has long gone. In the west side of the base is a pointed niche.
The church of ST. GILES at Lulsley is a small building of red sandstone ashlar with tiled roofs, and consists of a chancel, nave, north vestry, south porch, and west bellcote. The present church, built in 1892–3, replaces an ancient building then pulled down, of which the foundations of all but the western part of the nave still remain; these lie immediately to the east of the church and are surrounded by a low iron railing.
Some fittings and monuments in the new church were taken from the old building. The oak altar table with turned legs is of the 17th century. The 17th-century oak altar rails are now placed under the chancel arch; they have turned balusters, a moulded rail, and turned posts with finials. In the chancel is also preserved a 17th-century carved panel, which was probably the upper part of a reading desk. There is some 16th-century oak tracery let into the panels of the pulpit. The font is of the 12th century; it is circular, narrowing towards the centre, and has a moulded base. The top has been cut away.
Built into the wall at the west end of the nave is a stone with a carved figure of a man in high relief; the figure has its arms akimbo and is much defaced, but is probably of the 12th century. At the west end are several 18th-century monuments.
The plate consists of a silver chalice and cover paten of 1571, a paten of 1681, and a flagon with no date mark, inscribed 'In usum sacramental' capellae de Lulsly parochia de Suckly Johannes Slany Gent hanc ampullam humilime consecravit Ann° Dom 1693.'
The church of ST. MARY at Alfrick consists of a chancel 16 ft. 4 in. by 14 ft. 3 in., north vestry, nave 50 ft. by 17 ft. 5 in., north transept, south porch, and a bellcote at the west end of the nave. These measurements are all internal. It is built of coursed red sandstone rubble, large stones being used in the nave, and is roofed with tiles. The timber bellcote is covered with wood shingles and has a pyramidal tiled roof.
The nave dates from the early part of the 12th century, and probably then included both chancel and nave. The present chancel was added early in the 13th century, and the eastern part of the north wall of the nave seems to have been rebuilt at the same time. About 1400 the timber south porch was erected, and some windows were inserted in the church. The transept and north vestry were added in 1885, when the church was thoroughly restored.
The chancel has an east window of about 1400; it is of three trefoiled lights with vertical tracery, and one mullion has been restored. In the north wall is a modern elliptical arch to the vestry, to the east of which is a modern aumbry. On the south are two 13th-century windows, repaired; the eastern window is of two trefoiled lights, while the other is a single cinquefoiled light with a much lower sill. Between them there is a plain piscina niche with a segmental head and an original circular bowl with four grooves to the drain.
An elliptical arch at the east end of the north wall of the nave opens to the modern transept. To the west of the arch is a single trefoiled light of the 13th century with a modern head and sill. Beyond this a break in the wall line on the exterior indicates the junction of the work of the 12th and 13th centuries on this side. There is a 13th-century buttress at this break, and on each side is a deep buttress of 6 ft. projection, probably of the 14th century, the east one being partly buried in the transept wall.
The westernmost window in the north wall of the nave is a narrow round-headed single light of the early 12th century. At the east end of the south wall is a single cinquefoiled light of the 13th century, similar to that in the chancel; to the west of it is a modern two-light window with a square head, and beyond this is the 13th-century south doorway, which has a twocentred drop arch moulded with a bead and chamfer continued down the jambs, and inclosed by a plain chamfered label, some of which is broken away. On the east side of the doorway inside is a plain projection with a shallow recess at the back, probably the remains of a holy-water stoup. The window to the west of the doorway is of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery under a square head, and dates from about 1400; the sill externally is deeply grooved. The westernmost window is an early 12th-century narrow light similar to the corresponding window in the north wall. In the centre of the west wall is a long, narrow early 12th-century light, and there is a contemporary clasping buttress at the north-west angle of the nave, while another at the south-west appears to have been strengthened later.
The timber south porch stands upon a stone base; the framework is original, but the tracery at the sides is modern. There is a modern match-boarded roof over the chancel, but the nave has a plain open-timber trussed rafter roof, of about 1400, with low collars and curved struts.
The panelled oak pulpit is of the early 17th century, but has a modern oak cornice and stone base. The font is modern. The lower part of the chancel screen consists of early 16th-century traceried oak panels repaired. There are several plain oak benches, probably of the 16th century; most of these are now placed at the west end of the nave and are no longer used. The old oak south door, though repaired, may be contemporary with the doorway. A tablet on the south wall of the chancel records a benefaction of bread to the poor by William Makeam in 1687–8. There are floor slabs commemorating Catherine wife of Richard Makam, who died in 1705, Thomas Ho––nd, 1669, and Mary his wife, 1708. On the south face of the bellcote is a square wood sundial probably of the early 19th century, the characters on which are almost illegible. The bellcote contains a ring of four bells by J. Rudhall, 1820.
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms and burials 1656 to 1812, marriages 1656 to 1749; (ii) marriages 1754 to 1809. These books are for Alfrick and Lulsley. In the first book, which has been re-bound, some of the entries are missing and some others are illegible.
Before 1086 the church of Suckley had been given by William Earl of Hereford to the abbey he had founded at Cormeilles. (fn. 134) At the forfeiture of the earl's son and successor Roger in 1074 the Crown confirmed this endowment, (fn. 135) commuting the tithes for a sum found yearly entered on the Pipe Rolls, as allowed to the Sheriff of Worcester. (fn. 136) In 1291 the church was valued at £17 6s. 8d., besides the portions of the abbey of Cormeilles, £3 6s. 8d., and of the Prior of Great Malvern, 8s. (fn. 137) The presentations were made by the Priors of Newent, procurators of the abbey of Cormeilles in England, except when the possessions of the priory were in the king's hands on account of war with France. (fn. 138) After the suppression of the alien priories in 1414 the advowson was bestowed upon the college of Fotheringhay. (fn. 139) In 1535 the rectory was valued at £18 2s., with pensions from Alfrick 40s., and from Lulsley 20s. Suckley paid a pension of 53s. 4d. to the college of Fotheringhay and 3s. 4d. to the priory of Great Malvern. (fn. 140) Since the Dissolution the presentation to Suckley has remained in the Crown. (fn. 141)
A portion of the tithes belonging to Fotheringhay was granted to the inhabitants of Stourbridge and Old Swinford in 1552 for the foundation of their grammar school. (fn. 142) These tithes still belonged to the school in 1887. (fn. 143)
Lulsley and Alfrick were chapelries of the church of Suckley until 1912, when they were formed into a separate ecclesiastical parish. It was decreed in 1294 that the rector of Suckley should have one deacon in the church of Suckley and two chaplains at Lulsley and Alfrick. (fn. 144) The chaplains were appointed by the rectors of Suckley, (fn. 145) and in the course of a dispute about tithes in 1696 it appeared that they were often guilty of neglecting to supply the cures of Alfrick and Suckley. (fn. 146) In 1719 a report was made on the state of the chapel yard of Lulsley. In the yard was a place made for dancing 'with an Harbour and a bank thrown up between the wicket and the north corner ... a very improper place for such revelrys, usually held on Saturday night and too often continued till Sunday morning.' (fn. 147)
The churchyard at Alfrick was consecrated in 1685. (fn. 148)
In 1338 Alina widow of Edward Burnell obtained licence to found a chantry of two chaplains to pray for Edward, Alina, Hugh le Despencer, a brother, and Hugh le Despencer, a kinsman of Alina, and for William de Ercall, in the chapel of St. Giles of Lulsley. (fn. 149) She died without completing the transaction, and Thomas Carter of Worcester, who had acquired the endowments, obtained licence in 1353 to found the chantry for three chaplains, Thomas and many of his relations being added to the number of those benefiting by the masses said. (fn. 150) This chantry seems to have disappeared before the Dissolution.
In 1490 (fn. 151) licence was given to Peter Hall to found a chantry of one chaplain, to be called 'the chantry of the Blessed Mary and St. Katherine of John Hall (fn. 152) and Peter Hall.' (fn. 153) The actual foundation did not take place until 1496 after the death of Peter Hall. (fn. 154) When the chantries were dissolved in the reign of Edward VI the chantry priest was receiving a stipend of £6 6s. 4d., besides a pension of £6 from the revenues of Great Malvern Priory. A sum of £5 was distributed to the poor. (fn. 155) The lands belonging to the chantry were granted in 1550 to Thomas Reve and John Herdson, (fn. 156) and afterwards passed to the Colles family, Edmund Colles dying seised of the endowments of the chantry in 1606. (fn. 157)
At the suppression of the chantries the yearly value of 1 acre of land, with 14d. rent, at Suckley, given for the maintenance of lights and lamps, was 18d. (fn. 158) This land was granted in 1552 to Thomas Reve and George Cotton. (fn. 159)
(4) Thomas Freeman, will and codicil in 1794, originally £1,000 invested in a farm called Bant's Farm, containing 15 a. 3 r. 27 p., and 5 acres called Little Chapels. Little Chapels was sold in 1891, and the proceeds invested in £479 3s. 4d. consols, producing £11 19s. 4d. yearly. The land is let at £22 a year.
(5) The Parish Land charity formerly consisted of 2 a. 2 r. 14 p. of pasture land, known as Cherry Bank or James's Meadow, in Alfrick. The land was sold in 1902, and the proceeds invested in £148 17s. 7d. India 3 per cent. stock, producing £4 9s. 4d. yearly.
The official trustees also hold a sum of £307 17s. 11d. consols, Mrs. Dunn's charity, founded by deed of trust, 25 October 1883, whereby the annual dividends, amounting to £7 13s. 8d., are applicable in assisting necessitous persons by paying their railway fares, and board and lodging when visiting a hospital, or going to a situation, also in paying their rates, or in rendering them small pecuniary assistance.
Educational Charities.—The free school, founded in 1628 by will of John Palmer, is regulated by a scheme of the Board of Education, 21 January 1910, under the title of Palmer's Educational Foundation. The official trustees hold a sum of £170 8s. 3d. India 3 per cent. stock, producing £5 2s. yearly, arising from investment of £140 arrears of yearly payment of £5 due from the trustees of the Worcester Municipal Exhibitions Foundation.
The official trustees also hold a sum of £120 6s. India 3 per cent. stock, producing £3 12s. yearly, which is applicable for educational purposes, representing the sale in 1903 of 2 acres in the parish of Whitbourne, county of Hereford, which had been the property of this school from time immemorial.
(1) Mary Doegood, will proved at Worcester, 3 August 1693, endowment one-third of the rents of 5 a. 1 r. o p. of land called Close Croft. In 1911 the share of the poor of Alfrick amounted to £2, the remainder of the rents being applicable in the parish of Leigh.
(3) It was stated on the same table that Clement Wrighter (alias Wrighton) gave £10 and Richard and William Kendrick gave £5 apiece. The endowment now consists of 1 a. 0 r. 31 p. of land called 'Benty Vere' or 'Browning's Acre,' producing £1 yearly.
(4) Elizabeth Wellen, as stated on the same table, gave £10, Richard Addams gave 6s. a year, and William Allin gave 30s. a year for the poor. The yearly sum of £2 6s. is charged in respect of these charities on two cottages and land called Pages.
(7) Richard Lloyd's charity, will dated in 1729. The endowment consists of a tenement called the School House with garden, a piece of land, being part of Barley Field, and an allotment on Old Storridge Common, the whole containing 2 a. 2 r. 18 p. or thereabouts. The income from Richard Lloyd's Educational Foundation, amounting to £10 yearly, is applicable in rewards or prizes to children attending a public elementary school.
Lulsley.— It was stated on the church table that Thomas Smith gave £10 for the poor, the interest of which was charged on a farm called The Hill; also that Richard Hart, by his will, 1727, left to the poor 20s. to be paid out of an estate called Tutbach in Lower Sapey; also that Mrs. Wesson by her will left £10 for the poor, the interest to be applied at Easter for ever.
These legacies were invested respectively in £515 9s. 3d. consols and £101 10s. 6d. India 3½ per cent. stock, with the official trustees, the annual dividends of which, amounting together to £16 8s. 8d., are duly applied.