A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Eckington lies on the left bank of the Avon, which forms its boundary on the north and west. The parish is also watered by the Hammock Ditch, a small tributary of the Avon. The Birmingham and Bristol branch of the Midland railway runs through the west of the parish, with a station to the south of the village.
The ground falls from Bredon Hill in the southeast, where a height of about 950 ft. is reached, to the bank of the Avon, where the land is liable to floods. The Pershore road is carried over the river at Eckington Bridge, a five-arched stone structure of the 16th or early 17th century, with cut-water piers. The eastern piers are carried up to form refuges. Near it a medicinal spring was found in the latter half of the 17th century. (fn. 1) In excavating for the railway traces of British or Roman buildings were also found here. (fn. 2)
Eckington contains 2,168 acres, of which 1,520½ acres are permanent grass and the remainder mainly arable land. (fn. 3) Much of it is under cultivation by market gardeners, and a large portion is let out in allotments to parishioners. The parish lies on the Lower Lias, and the chief crops grown are wheat, barley, beans and fruit. There is a gravel-pit at the east of the village and quarries at Wollashull. In 1659 William George of Eckington was indicted at Worcester County Sessions for planting, setting, growing, making and curing tobacco there on 400 poles of land, and a fine of £400 was inflicted. Others were similarly fined. (fn. 4)
The village, which lies on the road from Pershore to Tewkesbury, is of fair size and includes several black and white houses and cottages. At the north end is a stone cross of which the base and lower part of the shaft are ancient, the upper part and head being restorations of 1897. Pass Street is mentioned in 1600 and Jarvis Street in 1682. (fn. 5)
Woollas Hall stands high up on the northern slope of Bredon Hill. (fn. 6) It is a stone-built house, L-shaped on plan and facing north, and was erected by John Hanford in 1611. A wing one story high was subsequently added at the west end. The principal front is of three stories broken by a deeply projecting porch with a large gable to the east of it and two small gables to the west. At either end of the front are screen walls starting at the eaves level and descending by a series of curves to the ground. The porch has a simple round-headed doorway and bears the inscription 'Memorare novissima 1611'; the projection is carried up for three stories, the second floor having a semi-octagonal bay window with stone mullions and transoms. To the west of the porch are two large four-light mullioned and double transomed windows lighting the hall, and above them two smaller windows also of four lights. Each of the small gables has a two-light window. The gabled bay east of the porch has a large projecting bay window of semi-octagonal form, rising three stories high and finished with an embattled parapet. The stories on this front are divided by moulded string-courses. The east front is of simpler treatment with mullioned and transomed windows, two small gables and a massive chimney surmounted by three shafts set diagonally. The front entrance gives access to the passage behind the screens of the great hall, a large apartment with a modern ceiling and a later fireplace on the south side having above it a panel with a large achievement of the Hanford arms. Projecting to the north at the west end is a square oriel window with mullions and transoms. At the east end is the handsome Jacobean oak screen, five bays wide and divided by fluted Ionic pilasters supporting an entablature with a fluted frieze. The two doorways have round arches springing from consoles and having carved spandrels. The gallery above the screens has a balustraded rail. Preserved in this room is a curious bedstead now transformed into a cabinet; it is fully described in the Gentleman's Magazine. (fn. 7) The dining room to the east of the screens has moulded oak beams to the ceiling and a handsome Jacobean fireplace in the east wall. The latter is flanked by engaged Doric columns, and above are four richly carved arched panels with three demi-figures. The upper part of the overmantel has Corinthian columns and a further range of two arched panels, and is finished with a deep projecting cornice. The house contains several interesting portraits, particularly those of Sir George and Lady Winter and of Henrietta Maria. The stables to the east of the main building are of 17th-century date, and the brew-house behind with a large fireplace is also ancient. (fn. 8) The house is the property of Major Robert Thomas Hanford.
To the south-east of Woollas Hall is the site of St. Katherine's Chapel, with St. Katherine's Well to the west of it. (fn. 9)
ECKINGTON formed part of the original endowments of Pershore Abbey, 16 manses here being said to have been restored by King Edgar's charter of 972. (fn. 12) It was again lost by this church, being granted to the abbey of Westminster by Edward the Confessor with part of the manor of Pershore. At the date of the Domesday Survey 16 hides in Eckington, of which 9 less 1 virgate were in demesne, were included among the lands of St. Peter of Westminster. (fn. 13) The date at which the abbots began to farm out the land which they had in 1086 held in demesne is not known, but it was before 1193–5, when William de Leigh held the manor, (fn. 14) which was afterwards known as ECKINGTON POER or ECKINGTON CLIFFORD. He and his successors paid for it an annual rent or fee farm amounting in 1288 to 13 marks, (fn. 15) in 1391 to 14 marks, (fn. 16) in 1424 to £8 14s., (fn. 17) and in 1455 to £8. (fn. 18)
The property held by William de Leigh in 1193–5 may have been identical with half a knight's fee in Hindlip and Eckington which was recovered by Margaret de Hindlip in 1196 against John D'Abitot and Maud his wife. (fn. 19) William de Leigh was succeeded by a daughter, Constance de Leigh. (fn. 20) It seems probable that before 1279 this half fee in Eckington was in the hands of the Poers, as in that year John Poer of Eckington appears as witness to a deed, (fn. 21) and he contributed 20s. to the subsidy about 1280. (fn. 22) In 1285 Isabel de Beisin, Robert her son, and Walter Hacket and Isabel his wife complained that William Poer had ejected them from this manor, which they held of him under a lease. (fn. 23) There are indications that the Hackets had held the manor or land here before this date. In 1226–7 Ralph Hacket granted to Alda, widow of Thomas Hacket, as dower, a rent of a mark yearly in Eckington received from Baldwin and Oliver Hacket. (fn. 24) Baldwin Hacket had a son William, alive 1234–50, (fn. 25) who may have been the father of the Thomas Hacket who contributed to the subsidy in Eckington about 1280, (fn. 26) in which year he also granted an annual rent of a penny and other services received by him from William de Ormsby and his heirs for a tenement in Wollashull called Foleslond, to William Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. (fn. 27) Thomas still held in Eckington in 1282, (fn. 28) and may have been the father of the Walter Hacket who was the tenant above mentioned in 1285. In 1288 Sir William Poer granted to Walter Berthover or Berton the manor of Eckington for an annual rent of £30 to himself and his heirs, and an annual rent of 13 marks to the Abbot of Westminster. (fn. 29) Alina, daughter of Sir William Poer, recovered this estate as the manor of Eckington Poer in 1297 against Walter Berton and John de Bredon, clerk. (fn. 30) Alina thereupon seems to have granted the manor to Edmund Mortimer and his wife Margaret. (fn. 31) Edmund died about 1303–4 (fn. 32) and in 1314–15 his widow Margaret reconveyed the manor to Alina, to hold for her life with reversion to John son of Edmund Mortimer. (fn. 33) At about this time considerable confusion seems to have arisen as to the ownership of the manor. Sir Thomas Berkeley was dealing with it in 1358–9, (fn. 34) and his widow Katherine claimed a third as dower in 1366–7, (fn. 35) but in 1361 the manor was successfully claimed by Sir Roger Clifford, (fn. 36) who stated that his grandfather Robert Clifford, who died in 1314, (fn. 37) had held the manor and granted it for a term of years then expired to Alina Poer. (fn. 38)
From this date it descended in the Clifford family (fn. 39) in the same way as Severn Stoke (fn. 40) (q.v.) until 1546, when Henry Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, sold or mortgaged it to William and Baldwin Sheldon. (fn. 41)
The Sheldons must have conveyed the manor to William Parsons, who is said to have purchased it of Henry Earl of Cumberland in 1542–3, (fn. 42) and William was succeeded by his son Ralph Parsons of Overbury. (fn. 43) According to a statement made by the defendants in a suit of 1569, (fn. 44) Ralph Parsons on 23 June 1559 conveyed the manor to his brother John, but the conveyance referred to is probably one of a moiety of the manor made in 1562 by Ralph Parsons to John Parsons. (fn. 45) John Parsons shortly after granted certain tenements in the manor to Richard Pates and John Richardson, (fn. 46) who seem afterwards to have acquired the manor, for in 1573 they were in possession of it, (fn. 47) and in 1583–4. John Richardson and his wife Dorothy sold it to John Russell of Strensham. (fn. 48) It then followed the descent of Strensham (fn. 49) (q.v.) until 1697, when Sir Francis Russell gave it as part of the endowment of the almshouses at Strensham. (fn. 50) To this charity it still belongs.
In 1086 4 hides less 1 virgate at Eckington were held of the abbey of Westminster by the Sheriff Urse, and had been previously held by Dunning. (fn. 51) This estate was held of the abbey by the sheriff's descendant William Beauchamp in the 12th century. (fn. 52) The overlordship of the abbey was acknowledged until the beginning of the 15th century, when the greater part of the estate was acquired by the abbot in fee. (fn. 53)
In 1195–8 William Beauchamp appears to have been holding this estate in demesne, (fn. 56) but during the 14th century part of it (fn. 57) was held under the Beauchamps by the Saltmarsh family. (fn. 58) Peter de Saltmarsh died about 1316 holding land in Eckington, (fn. 59) and this must have passed with the Saltmarsh estate at Longdon (q.v.) to the Grendours. About 1395 Henry Grendour was holding this land, (fn. 60) which passed with the Grendour lands at Longdon to the abbey of Westminster in 1397. (fn. 61) This estate remained in the possession of the abbey of Westminster until the Dissolution, (fn. 62) and was granted in 1542 to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. (fn. 63) It followed the descent of the rest of the dean and chapter's lands (fn. 64) until 1650, when it was sold to Sir Cheney Culpeper. (fn. 65) At the Restoration this manor was recovered by the dean and chapter, and it remained in their possession (fn. 66) until it was transferred in 1869 to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who are the present owners. (fn. 67)
An estate of 1 hide at Eckington was held in 1401 of the Earl of Warwick by John Russell. (fn. 68) William Russell held this land in 1409, (fn. 69) and it afterwards apparently passed to Robert Arderne, who owed suit to Lord Clifford's court at Eckington in 1442–3 and 1448. (fn. 70) This estate, called in 1525 and subsequent deeds the manor of Eckington, (fn. 71) passed from Robert Arderne to his son Walter Arderne, (fn. 72) and followed the descent of Pedmore (fn. 73) to Thomas Arderne. (fn. 74) It seems to have formed part of the estate settled on his son William, who died in 1544, (fn. 75) but must have passed shortly after his death to John Vampage, who settled it in 1546 on himself and his wife Anne for their lives with remainder to Thomas Winchcombe and Dorothy his wife (sister of John) and John Hugford, son of Dorothy, successively. (fn. 76) Since that date it has followed the descent of Wollashull (fn. 77) (q.v.).
The manor of WOLLASHULL or WOOLLAS HALL (fn. 78) (Wllaveshulle, Woloueshull, Wlhaueshulle, Wllashulle, xii cent.; Wolaweshull, Wolaushull, Wulloshill, xiii cent.; Volashulle, Wolarshull, xiv cent.) is perhaps to be identified with land in Eckington bequeathed by Wulfric in 1002 to Morcar. (fn. 79) It was probably represented in the Domesday Survey by the 3 hides held of the abbey of Westminster by Turstin Fitz Rou as successor to Brictric. (fn. 80) The manor was subsequently held of the abbey of Westminster, as of the manor of Binholme in Pershore, (fn. 81) the last mention of this overlordship occurring in 1617–18. (fn. 82)
Turstin's estate at Eckington appears to have passed shortly after to Hugh de Holonsella, (fn. 83) but before 1175–6 it had probably passed to the family of Wollashull, William de Wollashull paying a forest fine in the county at that date. (fn. 84) Mention is made of the lordship of Alfred de Wollashull in 1193–5. (fn. 85) The Muchgros family, which later held this manor, appeared in Eckington in 1234–5, when Maud daughter of Philip granted to Richard de Muchgros two parts of a virgate of land in her own possession, and, at the petition of John le Fol, one third of the same virgate held for life by Mabel his mother as dower. (fn. 86) In the same year a rent in Eckington was granted to Walter Beauchamp by Roger de Ormsby, whom Richard de Muchgros vouched to warranty. (fn. 87) This Richard de Muchgros was probably the Richard of that name who built Wollashull Chapel (fn. 88) and confirmed to Pershore Abbey tithes it had been accustomed from of old to receive 'from my land of Wollashull and from my men of the said vill,' the 'curtilage of my demesne of Wollashull' being excepted. (fn. 89) It is probable that he was succeeded by Robert de Muchgros of Wollashull, who in 1256 received respite from knighthood for five years at the instance of the Countess of Cornwall. (fn. 90)
William de Muchgros, lord of Wollashull, witnessed undated charters of 1268–98 and 1280–1312. (fn. 91) Mary, lady of Wollashull, probably the widow of William de Muchgros, paid 1 mark to the subsidy about 1280. (fn. 92) Robert de Muchgros had succeeded before 1308, (fn. 93) and occurs as a witness to a deed of 1312–13. (fn. 94) In 1343 he settled the manor upon himself for life, with remainder to his children, William, Richard, Nicholas, Katherine, Eleanor and Alice, in tail. (fn. 95) He was holding the manor in 1346, (fn. 96) and in 1387–8 Sir Maurice Russell paid relief for the manor of Wollashull 'as mesne between the abbot and Robert Muchgros.' (fn. 97) In 1398 Robert de Muchgros of Wollashull and Margaret his wife granted to William son of Robert de Muchgros of Wollashull, and Elizabeth daughter of John Moraunt, a rent issuing out of the manor. (fn. 98) In 1428 William Wollashull held the manor. (fn. 99) He was probably William Muchgros, the son of Robert, as the previous grant suggests. (fn. 100) He was still holding the manor in 1431. (fn. 101) In the Visitation of 1569 he was described as 'Garden of the Flette,' and his daughter and heir (Joan or Catherine) married Sir John Vampage of Pershore, a settlement of property upon their marriage being made on 10 August 1436 by the parents of both. (fn. 102) John Vampage, the son of Sir John, was succeeded by his son Robert, (fn. 103) and the manor followed the descent of Ryall in Ripple (fn. 104) until the death of John Vampage in 1548. (fn. 105) His heirs were Edmund Harewell, son of his sister Margaret (by Thomas Harewell of Besford), his sister Mary and his sister Dorothy, then wife of Thomas Winchcombe. Dorothy had previously married John Hugford of Dixton (co. Gloucs.), by whom she had a son John, then living, and a daughter Margaret, finally the sole heir of her mother. (fn. 106) John Vampage's widow Anne married Sir Thomas Baskerville, (fn. 107) and in 1561 Joyce (Jodocus) Harsey and Mary his wife, alias Mary Vampage, granted her a third of the manor. (fn. 108) In 1567 Sir Thomas Baskerville and Anne his wife granted this third to Thomas Hanford, who had married Margaret Hugford, mentioned above. (fn. 109) Thomas Hanford thus became possessed of two-thirds of the manor, which he held in 1578, when his estates were confiscated by the Crown for the payment of his fines as a popish recusant. (fn. 110) His wife Margaret died seised of a third of the manor on 18 November 1594, and was survived by her husband, (fn. 111) who, according to Habington, 'dwelled and dyed at Wollashull.' (fn. 112) The Harewells were still holding their third of the manor in 1605, (fn. 113) when Sir Edmund Harewell sold a rent from it to Sir Rowland Berkeley, but they must afterwards have conveyed it to Thomas Hanford or his son John, the latter of whom built the now existing hall in 1611, and died there on 17 August 1616. (fn. 114) His son Francis, who succeeded him, had disputes about common of pasture with Sir William Russell and with Richard and John George, and other tenants of the manor, in 1630 and 1642. (fn. 115) His widow, after his death in 1643, married Ayliffe White, barrister-at-law, in 1648, (fn. 116) and they appear as claimants on the estate of her late husband and of his son Walter, who succeeded him, in various petitions to the Committee for Compounding between the years 1650 and 1652. (fn. 117) In 1669 Elizabeth White, then a widow, was engaged in litigation with her son concerning annuities from the manor. (fn. 118) Walter Hanford died on 16 July 1679 (fn. 119) and was succeeded by his son Francis. The latter settled the manor in 1680 in tail male on himself and his brothers Henry and Compton. (fn. 120) Henry died unmarried in 1681, and Francis died in 1682 leaving a daughter Frances as his heir. (fn. 121) Wollashull then passed to Compton, who settled the manor and chief mansionhouse in 1711 upon his son Edward. (fn. 122) Edward Hanford at his father's death in 1722 inherited Wollashull. He made various mortgages and assignments of the manor in 1752, 1756 (fn. 123) and 1764. (fn. 124) Edward was the son of Compton's first wife Elizabeth, only daughter and heir of Sir Robert Slingsby, bart., of Newsells (Herts.), and niece of Francis Earl of Derwentwater. He died in 1766 and was succeeded by his son Edward, who died unmarried in 1797. (fn. 125) In the following year Charles, brother of the latter, who had succeeded him, was dealing with the manor. (fn. 126) Charles died childless in 1816, when the estates passed to his cousin Charles Edward Hanford. (fn. 127) He was succeeded in 1854 by his son Compton John, on whose death unmarried in 1860 (fn. 128) the property passed to his only surviving sister Frances, who had married in 1847 William Lloyd Flood of Farmley (co. Kilkenny). (fn. 129) Mr. Flood assumed the additional name of Hanford in 1861, and died on 3 May 1892, Mrs. Hanford-Flood having predeceased him on 21 February 1875. Their son, Colonel John Compton Hanford, C.B., who assumed the name and arms of Hanford only, by royal licence, in 1893, (fn. 130) died in 1911, when he was succeeded by his brother Major Robert Thomas Hanford-Flood. He also assumed in 1912 the name and arms of Hanford in lieu of Hanford-Flood, (fn. 131) and is the present owner of the manor of Wollashull.
A mill was held by Urse at the date of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 132) This passed with his holding to the Earls of Warwick, and was granted by Guy Earl of Warwick in 1302–3 to James Russell of Strensham. (fn. 133) It followed the descent of the Russell estate, (fn. 134) but was reserved when that manor was given to the almshouses at Strensham, and Sir Francis Russell left it by his will (1705) to his wife. (fn. 135) There are now two disused mills in the south-west of the parish on the Avon. A reference to Wollas Mill occurs in 1620. (fn. 136)
Certain islands and fisheries in Eckington were among the possessions of Thomas Earl of Warwick, forfeited on his attainder, and granted in 1397 to Sir John Russell, (fn. 137) by whom they were immediately sold to Roger Walden and others. (fn. 138) After the earl's restoration he kept the fishery in his own hands, (fn. 139) and it passed with Elmley Castle to the Crown, and was granted with that estate to Christopher Savage in 1544. (fn. 140) The free fishing in the water of the Avon at Eckington was conveyed to Sir William Russell by William Moore and Alice his wife and by Isabella Woodward, widow, in 1634, (fn. 141) but in 1727 it was held by the owner of the mill. (fn. 142)
The earliest work in the existing building is the west wall of the nave and the south arcade, which are of late 12th-century date. There was then no north nave aisle, and the western bay of the north wall is also of that period. Early in the 13th century the chancel was apparently rebuilt, and the east window of the south aisle dates from rather later in the same century. At the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century the east and north walls of the chancel were rebuilt, and in the following century the west window was inserted and the tower added. About 1830 the north aisle was built and about 1887 the north arcade was rebuilt. Other modern alterations include the rebuilding of the south aisle with the old materials and the addition of the organ chamber.
The east window is pointed and of three trefoiled lights. In the north wall is an early 14th-century window of two lights with a pointed head, removed here from the north wall of the nave. Further west is a modern opening to the organ chamber. In the south wall are two lancet windows, of which the first is of the early 14th century with moulded jambs and an external label ornamented with small ball flowers. The second is of the 13th century and has chamfered jambs; between them is a small square-headed priest's doorway of late date. The chancel arch is a poor modern imitation of 12th-century work and the roof is also mostly modern, but retains some ancient tie-beams. In the east wall of the modern organ chamber is a pointed two-light window of 14th-century date, formerly in the north chancel wall, and in the north wall is a second similar to the north chancel window, and removed here from the north nave wall.
The nave has a modern north arcade of three bays resembling that on the south, and to the west of it is a blank bay of late 12th-century masonry. The south arcade is also of this date, the arches consisting of two plain orders resting on cylindrical columns with circular fluted capitals of differing designs, one resembling a large linen fold. The western arch springs from a large 15th-century angel corbel on the east face of the tower. The wide north aisle, a poor example of the early Gothic revival, has three windows in the north wall. The south aisle has apparently been reconstructed and has a 13th-century east window of two trefoiled lights. The three windows in the south wall are all modern. The west wall of the nave has a four-light traceried and pointed 15th-century window, and below it is a late 12th-century doorway formerly in the north nave wall. It is round-headed and of two orders, the inner with lozenge ornament and the outer with lozenge and cheveron; the inner jambs have a quarter-round shaft and the outer a free shaft, both with foliated capitals. Flanking the west window were two small lancets deeply splayed within; of these the northern remains entire and has billet ornament externally; the southern is blocked and cut into by the later tower, only one splay being visible inside. The nave roof is very good 15thcentury work; the principals and purlins are moulded and have square foliage bosses at the intersections. Alternate principals are brought down on to modern corbels, the others resting on tie-beams. Each truss is tied at the collar, alternate collars being supported on curved struts and the others having vertical boarding above; the faces of collars, struts and boarding are carved and panelled.
The tower is of mid-15th-century date, and opens into the church on the north and east by arches with attached shafts to the responds, with moulded capitals and bases carrying the inner order of the arch above. The west window is of three lights, pointed and traceried, and in the south wall is a modern door. The north-east angle of the tower is cut away to form a canopied niche with a trefoiled head and ribbed vault; in the north-west angle is the vice. The bell-chamber is lighted by a two-light window with a four-centred head in each face, and the tower is finished with an embattled parapet.
The 13th-century font has a circular bowl and a stem of four engaged shafts divided by deep hollows and having a moulded necking and base. Against the north chancel wall is a large Jacobean monument to John Hanford of Wollashull (d. 1616) and Anne his wife, who was daughter and co-heir of Richard Rake of Allesley, with a round-arched canopy and Corinthian columns supporting an entablature; beneath are large kneeling figures of a man and wife at a prayer-desk. Round the base are kneeling figures in high relief of eight daughters and five sons. On the centre of the cornice is a shield of the Hanford arms and two other shields, Hanford impaling Argent a cheveron engrailed between three wolves' heads razed, for Rake, and Sable a cheveron between three scallops and a bordure engrailed or impaling the same coat. On the spandrels of the arch are Hanford and Rake, and behind one son a shield of the third coat. On the south wall is a tablet to Christian Kenrick, vicar (d. 1711). In the second window on the south of the chancel is a small kneeling angel in red of 15thcentury glass. Other ancient fittings include an early 17th-century communion table, a reading-desk of 17th-century woodwork cut down, an old parish chest under the tower formed of a 'dug-out' log, and some 17th-century pewing in the south aisle, now cut down.
The tower contains a ring of six bells by Richard Sanders of Bromsgrove. The first is inscribed 'Edward Hanford Esqr Flock Kendrick 1721'; the second, 'Thomas George of Overberry gave this guinny'; the third, 'Richard Sanders made us all 6 1721'; the fourth, 'John Thistellwheat Vicar 1721'; the fifth, 'Richard Woodward Joseph Boulter Churchwardens 1721'; the sixth, 'My masters doupted of my sound Ile please them all when we ring round 1721' (with Sanders's trade-mark, a bell with R S).
The plate consists of a cup and cover paten of 1571 and two patens, a cup and a flagon, all modern. There are also a pewter flagon and three plates of the same material, inscribed, 'Thomas Fisher and John Checits Churchwardens of Ekinton 1630.'
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1678 to 1756, marriages to 1754 only; (ii) marriages 1754 to 1812; (iii) baptisms and burials 1757 to 1800; (iv) baptisms and burials 1800 to 1812.
In May 1217 the patronage of Eckington Church was confirmed to the Prior and convent of Great Malvern, (fn. 143) to whom it had probably been granted by the Abbot of Westminster, Great Malvern being a cell of that abbey. In 1232 the advowson was successfully claimed against the Prior of Great Malvern by Constance de Leigh, (fn. 144) who afterwards bequeathed her body with the advowson of the church to the convent of Pershore during the rule of Abbot Roger (1234–50). (fn. 145) This gift was evidently disputed by the Prior of Great Malvern, but in 1251 he revoked the presentation which he had made in opposition to the abbot, and gave up all his right in the advowson. (fn. 146) From that time until the Dissolution the right of presentation remained in the possession of successive abbots. (fn. 147) In 1344 the abbot and convent received royal licence at the request of John Beauchamp to appropriate the church. (fn. 148) After the Dissolution the advowson passed to the Crown and was granted by Queen Mary with the manor to the refounded abbey of Westminster in 1556–7. (fn. 149) The abbey being again dissolved by Queen Elizabeth, the advowson was granted to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster in 1560. (fn. 150) The Bishop of Worcester presented in 1614, (fn. 151) Sir George Shersey, bart., in 1621, (fn. 152) and Anne Hanford in 1625, (fn. 153) these presentations apparently having been made by permission of the Dean of Westminster, who, with the Bishop of Rochester, presented in 1671, (fn. 154) the Bishop of Rochester presenting alone in 1681, (fn. 155) and the Bishop of Worcester in 1711 and 1715. (fn. 156) Since that date the presentation has been made by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster.
Under the Commonwealth an augmentation of £30 was granted to the minister of Eckington in 1657. (fn. 157)
On 14 September 1538 the Abbot and convent of Pershore demised to Edward Morgan, late of Comberton, the reversion of the tithes of corn and hay in the parish of Eckington, with the reversion of the tithe grange there, immediately after the death, forfeiture or yielding up of William Vampage (in whose tenure they were) for three years. (fn. 158) At the Dissolution the tithes of grain and hay belonged to Pershore Abbey and were valued at £12 13s. 4d. (fn. 159) In August 1542 the tithes and tithe grange in Eckington (the latter in the tenure of William Vampage) were granted to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, (fn. 160) and remained in their possession until the end of the 18th century. (fn. 161)
The chapel of Wollashull called St. Katherine of the Rock is first mentioned in an undated deed of Richard de Muchgros confirming the tithes of Wollashull to the abbey and convent of Pershore. (fn. 162) The grantor was probably the Richard de Muchgros living in Eckington in 1234–5. (fn. 163) He speaks of the chapel as having been built in 'my court of Wollashull' with the consent of Pershore as mother church, whose permission was to be obtained before the corpse of anyone dying 'within my court or without it' was brought into the chapel for masses to be celebrated. (fn. 164) Habington wrote of 'Wolashull's Chappell' as 'below Nafford, on the same hill' (Bredon). (fn. 165) The advowson of this chapel followed the descent of the manor, being mentioned for the last time in 1617. (fn. 166) As the Hanfords were Roman Catholics, they possibly used the chapel for Roman Catholic service. (fn. 167) It had entirely disappeared by 1781, but may have been in use in Habington's time, for he gives an account of the arms then existing in the chapel.
The abbey of Pershore in 1193–5 was holding half the tithes of corn of the lordship of Alfred of Wollashull, (fn. 168) and Richard de Muchgros (circa 1234) confirmed to the abbey all the tithes received by it from of old from 'my land of Wollashull.' (fn. 169) In 1589–90 the tithe and glebe lands belonging to the late monastery of Pershore and to the chapel called St. Katherine of the Rock in Wollashull were granted to William Tipper and others, (fn. 170) and they must later have been granted to Sir Thomas Hanford, or his son John, the latter dying seised of tithes in Wollashull in 1616. (fn. 171)
In 1428 the Abbot of Pershore accused the inhabitants of Eckington of burying a parishioner in their parish church in infringement of the rights of the church of Pershore. (fn. 172)
The Church and Bridge Lands (fn. 173) acquired under a grant in 1572–3 for the maintenance of the church and bridge are regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners 9 March 1900. The trust property now consists of 12 a. 2 r. in Eckington awarded on the inclosure in lieu of the original land let at £25 a year and £375 7s. 2d. consols with the official trustees, arising from the sale in 1879 of 2 r. 26 p. and some cottages in Eckington, and of land in Bredon's Norton allotted on the inclosure of that hamlet in 1814. The annual dividends, amounting to £9 7s. 8d., together with the net rent, are applied in repairs to the church and payment of churchwardens' expenses.
The Church of England Sunday school is endowed with £113 4s. 9d. India 3 per cent. stock, by will of Joseph Crump, proved at Worcester 21 May 1864, and with £95 12s. 4d. consols, by will of Miss Priscilla Arabella Attwood, proved at Worcester 6 April 1875. The sums of stock are held by the official trustees producing together £5 15s. 4d. yearly.