Kidderminster: Churches and charities

A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1913.

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'Kidderminster: Churches and charities', A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3, (London, 1913), pp. 173-179. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

. "Kidderminster: Churches and charities", in A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3, (London, 1913) 173-179. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

. "Kidderminster: Churches and charities", A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3, (London, 1913). 173-179. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

In this section


The parish church of ST. MARY AND ALL SAINTS occupies a high position in the centre of the town, the tower being particularly prominent when approached by the wide street leading up to the fine wrought-iron gates of the churchyard.

The building consists of a chancel 43 ft. 6 in. long by 19 ft. 6 in. broad, with a south passage called 'the cloisters' 8 ft. wide, a nave 81 ft. by 19 ft., north and south aisles and south-west tower. These measurements are all internal. There are further buildings at the eastern end of the chancel consisting of a vestry and the 13th-century chantry of St. Mary, restored later. The church as a whole is very late in style and has been much rebuilt in modern times.

The six-light east window of the chancel is modern, and is designed in the style of the 14th century. The two piscinae, the sedilia and the side windows are all modern, but part of the walling is old. To the north side is an organ bay, built in 1874, and on the south side a modern arcade of three bays opening into an eastern extension of the south aisle, built in 1850, beyond which are 'the cloisters,' built in 1888. The chancel arch has been rebuilt. The nave has an arcade of six bays on the north and a similar arcade on the south, but the two western bays are replaced by the tower arch.

The arches are of two moulded orders with octagonal capitals and piers of about 1530. The north-east respond is cut back, probably to allow for a rood-loft, the entrance to which was by a stair behind the southeast respond. Above the arcade are clearstory windows of two lights with tracery and square heads of a late type.

The windows in the north wall of the north aisle are five in number, and are of three lights, with the exception of the westernmost, which is of four. The window in the west wall is of eight lights. All are modern, in the style of the 15th century.

The tower, as proved by the remains of an internal buttress, is slightly older than the arcades, and has an arch with multiple shafts. The west window is similar to that of the nave, but of five lights.

All the windows to the south nave aisle are modern restorations in 15th-century style, and to the south of the tower is a small modern porch, the roof of which abuts against a five-light window of the same date in the tower wall. The broken masonry on the south-west pier of the south aisle arcade seems to indicate an earlier arcade outside the present one. The roofs and fittings are modern, as is likewise the large font.

The church contains a number of fine monuments. In the chancel floor is a beautiful 15th-century brass consisting of a lady with a knight in plates on either side of her, and above them a triple canopy with a row of shields over. The brass is 8 ft. in length and has a Latin inscription in rhyming hexameters to John Phelip and his wife Matilda, formerly wife of Walter Cooksey. John Phelip died in 1415.

Above are the remains of six shields: the first, which had the arms of Phelip, is lost, the second is Phelip impaling Harmanville, the third Harmanville, the fourth Phelip, the fifth Cooksey and the last Cooksey impaling Harmanville.

On the north side of the chancel is a large monument to Sir Hugh Cooksey, lord of Caldwall Manor, and his wife, 1445. The figures lie in a recess under a four-centred arch. Above and on the sides the tomb is panelled and enriched with quatrefoils containing shields. In the centre above the tomb is a shield of the arms of Cooksey quartering Braose, supported by two others. On the east and west ends are angels holding shields; the western is quarterly (1) and (3) Cooksey, (2) Boteler, (4) St. Piers. The eastern has quarterly (1) and (3) Cooksey, (2) Harmanville, (4) Argent a bend gules within a border checky or and azure.

West of this is a semicircular panelled arch in the wall containing a tomb with the effigies of Thomas Blount and his wife Margery with their five children. There is a defaced inscription on the wife's tomb, which states that she died November 1500. Above the figures is a shield: Quarterly (1) and (4) Blount; (2) Cornwall of Kinlet; (3) Argent three cheverons engrailed gules impaling Or a lion sable.

In the chancel is a carved chair which is said to have belonged to Richard Baxter, 1640.

On the south wall of the church are the marble effigies of Sir Edward Blount and his two wives (1630), with a shield, which, like all the rest of the heraldry of these monuments, has been repainted.

In the south aisle wall opposite the chancel arch are the mutilated remains of a 15th-century recessed tomb having four panels divided by groups of shafts, the lower panels with as many angels holding shields. Above these the panels are pierced and open on a recess with an effigy of Lady Joyce Beauchamp, who founded the chantry of St. Catherine. Above the opening are four figures, under rich crocketed canopies: the first two, perhaps, represent the Annunciation, the third is an angel, and the fourth figure, which holds the base of a chalice, may be St. John. The tomb extended above these, but is broken off, and has been inserted for preservation in its present position.

The exterior of the church has been to a great extent refaced at various dates in modern times. The tower, west front and clearstory were the last renovations. The former is a good copy of what the 15th-century tower was, and has three stages with crocketed angle pinnacles, canopied niches and panelled and embattled parapet, the latter feature being repeated to the nave clearstory. The wrought-iron gates of the churchyard are modern copies of an older pair.

There are eight bells, cast in 1754, and four more for chimes added in 1882.

The plate consists of a paten presented by Thomas Jennens, 1623, mark obliterated; a second paten similar to this, but uninscribed and with obliterated mark; a third, modern. There are three modern chalices, a modern flagon and three glass cruets with silver lids. There are also a silver straining spoon and six pewter plates marked S.H.B.

The registers are a remarkable set, being complete from 1539, and, besides being in excellent preservation, are enriched with colours in the titles and capitals and with various pen designs. Before 1812 they are as follows: (i) all entries 1539 to 1636; (ii) 1636 to 1672; (iii) 1672 to 1706 (these books, especially the first, being elaborately enriched); (iv) 1706 to 1722; (v) 1722 to 1761, the marriages stopping 1754; (vi) baptisms and burials 1761 to 1784; (vii) the same 1784 to 1800; (viii) the same 1801 to 1812. The marriage books from 1754 are five in number, 1754 to 1767, 1767 to 1777, 1777 to 1789, 1789 to 1802, 1802 to 1812.

The church of ST. GEORGE was erected in 1824 in early 15th-century Gothic, and consists of a short chancel, the sanctuary projecting into the body of the building, a nave, north and south aisles, a west tower—the bottom stage of which is used as the main vestibule—and vestries at the east end of the chancel. Over the aisles and the west end of the nave is a gallery.

The church of ST. JOHN BAPTIST consists of a chancel, with an organ chamber and vestries on the north, a nave, three aisles, one on the north of the nave and two on the south, a south transept, a south porch and a tower at the west end of the inner south aisle. The church was originally built in 1843, but was, with the exception of the tower, completely rebuilt and greatly enlarged from 1890 to 1894. It is a large and dignified structure in 14th-century style.

The church of ST. JAMES is a small red brick building erected in 1872 in the pointed style, and consists of chancel, nave, north vestries, with a small bell-turret and a west porch. The open pitch pine roof is tiled.

The church of ST. BARNABAS, Franche, which was consecrated in 1871, is a small red brick building, consisting of a chancel, a nave, a south porch—above which rises a small lead-covered bell-turret—and a north vestry. It is built in 13th-century style, and has an open pitch pine roof covered with tiles.

The old church of ST. MICHAEL, Lower Mitton, now disused, is a late 18th-century red brick building consisting of transepts, nave with galleries, north and south porches, and west tower, with an apsidal chancel added in the 19th century. The galleries are reached by two external stone stairways, one on each side of the nave. The tower is in three stages separated by stone strings. To the north is the new church, also dedicated to St. Michael, begun in 1887. It consists at present of a nave of six bays with clearstory, north and south aisles, and a vaulted south porch, built in the style of the 14th century, of ashlar sandstone dressed both internally and externally. The chancel and west tower included in the design have not yet been built.

The church of HOLY TRINITY, Trimpley, consisting of chancel, nave, and vestry, was built in 1844.

The church of ALL SAINTS, Wribbenhall, consisting of chancel, vestry, nave, south aisle, south porch, and north-east octagonal tower, is built of coursed sandstone rubble in the decorated style with tiled roofs. The lower part of the tower is square and serves as the organ chamber.


Manasser Biset had a church at Kidderminster of which he gave the reversion, contingent upon the death of Robert of Hurcott the Clerk, to his foundation for lepers at Maiden Bradley, co. Wilts., before 1175. (fn. 1) This grant was confirmed both by the king and by Bishop Roger. (fn. 2) Later Henry de Soilli, Bishop of Worcester, appropriated the church to the priory. (fn. 3)

The prior and monks pensioned Robert, appointing a vicar, Adam of Hurcott, who paid 100s. to him and 100s. to the priory yearly; but when the vicar 'went away' John Biset claimed the right of presentation as lord of the manor, and the dispute resulted in the appointment by the bishop of a 'rector,' Master Thomas de Upton paying 20 marks yearly to the priory. Upon the death of this 'rector' John Biset presented another, the priory having certain tithes assigned to it (1241). (fn. 4)

The advowson formed part of the dower of Alice widow of John Biset, and litigation ensued, both in England and at Rome. (fn. 5) In spite of the prior's release of his rights in 1250 in return for 40s., land and rent in 'Wytford,' (fn. 6) a dispute arose about 1265 between the rector appointed by Alice Biset and the prior as to tithes, (fn. 7) and was finally settled by arbitrators appointed by the pope. (fn. 8)

After the death of Alice Biset two of the three co-heirs of John Biset surrendered all their rights in the advowson to John Rivers, the third co-heir, who re-granted the church, 'with all liberties rights and customs belonging thereto,' to the priory. (fn. 9) In 1270 the prior obtained royal confirmation of these grants. (fn. 10)

The prior subsequently petitioned the pope for a renewal of the former appropriation, (fn. 11) and in consequence a portion was assigned to the vicar, with a house, curtilage and dovecot adjoining the south side of the churchyard (1336). (fn. 12) In 1340 the recently presented vicar, John de la Doune, 'like an ungrateful man,' obtained for himself a larger portion, including the manor of Hurcott. (fn. 13) The Priors of Maiden Bradley continued to present until the dissolution of the house. An attempt to seize the advowson made by Richard II was reversed by Henry IV. (fn. 14)

A new ordination of the vicarage was made in 1401 and again in 1403. (fn. 15)

After the dissolution of Maiden Bradley Priory the rectorial rights and the advowson were granted, with the other property of the priory, to Viscount Lisle. (fn. 16) After his attainder Queen Mary granted the rectory and advowson to Richard Pates, Bishop of Worcester, 14 November 1558. (fn. 17) In June 1559, after Mary's death, (fn. 18) he was deprived and imprisoned, and Elizabeth granted the rectory and advowson to Thomas Blount, 1559–60. (fn. 19) The subsequent history of the advowson is identical with that of Hurcott (q.v.), but the rectorial tithes were sold by Edmund Waller to Daniel Dobbyns, who divided them into portions and bequeathed them to his several sons. (fn. 20)

The parishes of St. George, Kidderminster, and St. John the Baptist, Kidderminster, were chapelries of St. Mary and All Saints until 1867, when they were constituted separate parishes. (fn. 21) The livings are in the gift of the vicar of St. Mary and All Saints. St. James is a chapelry of St. Mary and All Saints.

St. Barnabas, Franche, is a chapelry of St. Mary and All Saints, dating from 1871.

Lower Mitton was a chapelry from very early times. A certain Philip was chaplain of Mitton 1200–14. (fn. 22) The chapelry was valued at 53s. 4d. circa 1334, and the altarage and the heriots in Mitton were set aside for the chaplain's use. (fn. 23) A burial-place was consecrated in 1625. (fn. 24)

In 1844 Lower Mitton was formed into a separate ecclesiastical district, (fn. 25) and in 1866 the living was declared a vicarage. (fn. 26) The vicar of St. Mary and All Saints, Kidderminster, was patron of the living until the building of the new church, the advowson now being vested in the bishop. Until 1860 the rectorial tithes formed a part of the Lower Mitton and Lickhill estate. (fn. 27)

Holy Trinity, Trimpley, is a chapel of ease to St. Mary and All Saints, Kidderminster. The chantry chapel of Trimpley was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. (fn. 28) Tradition locates this chapel near the present chapel of Holy Trinity, possibly on the site of the orchard now attached to the Trimpley post office. This supposition is borne out by the fact that the name 'Guyldones' is still applied to land in the neighbourhood, while land called 'Gyldons' lay near the chapel in 1501. (fn. 29)

John Attwood, usher of the king's chamber, of Wolverley and Trimpley, had licence to hear divine service in his oratory at Wood Acton, Wolverley, and Trimpley in 1357. (fn. 30) He built the chapel of Trimpley, endowing it with lands sufficient to maintain a priest to celebrate there daily for the souls of himself, his wife Alice, and his parents, (fn. 31) and obtaining indulgences and relaxation of penance for those who visited the chapel and gave alms for its repair. (fn. 32)

The advowson of the chapel remained with the successive lords of Park Attwood (q.v.) until 1547, when it was seized by the Crown under the Chantries Act. In 1549 the messuage called the Chantry House, with the chapel yard and the land belonging to it, was purchased by John Cupper and Richard Trevor. (fn. 33) It subsequently came into the possession of Hugh Lee (d. 1576), (fn. 34) under whose will it ultimately passed to Sir Hugh Wrottesley, kt., who died seised of it in 1633. (fn. 35) By this time, however, the chapel had been pulled down. (fn. 36)

All Saints', Wribbenhall, is in the gift of the vicar of Kidderminster. The original chapel, built in 1719 upon ground leased by John Cheltenham from Lord Bergavenny, was for some time unconsecrated. The vicar of Kidderminster nominated two successive curates, but in 1742 and again in 1749 Lord Foley, as successor of Lord Bergavenny, nominated a curate and claimed the room as his private property. (fn. 37) In 1844 Wribbenhall was constituted a separate chapelry. (fn. 38)

There were two chantries attached to Kidderminster Church. (fn. 39) The one dedicated to the Virgin Mary existed in 1305, when the lord of the manor joined with the commonalty of the town in presenting a chaplain. (fn. 40) It was built within the churchyard, (fn. 41) and is now part of the main building. Apparently the patronage remained with the lords of Kidderminster Biset, although in 1499 a chaplain was presented by Sir John Mortimer, Thomas Jenyns, bailiff, William Colsell, and others of the more worthy parishioners, (fn. 42) doubtless reviving the former rights of the commonalty.

Simon Rice (who died in March 1529–30) of Over Mitton, rebuilt the chantry. It was suppressed in 1547, and the building was used as a school in the early part of the 17th century. (fn. 43)

The chantry of St. Catherine in the south aisle was founded by Lady Joyce Beauchamp in 1469, and was well endowed with lands at Trimpley, Puxton and Habberley, (fn. 44) which were granted after its suppression to Robert, Thomas and Andrew Salter, and afterwards became the property of Simon Clare. (fn. 45)

In 1401 a devotional gild of the Holy Trinity came into collision with the rector and vicar, and applied to the pope for licence to have mass celebrated very early in the morning by their own priest at the altar of the Holy Trinity in the parish church. (fn. 46)

The history of Nonconformity in Kidderminster dates from the time of Richard Baxter, the famous divine and author of 'The Saint's Everlasting Rest.' The corporation is justly proud in the possession of an autograph copy of the first edition of this book, and the townspeople have perpetuated his memory by erecting a statue in the Bull Ring.

He was appointed lecturer at Kidderminster in April 1641 by a committee of fourteen, in consequence of an agreement between the congregation of All Saints and their vicar, George Dance, whom they blamed for 'weakness in preaching, drunkeness and turning the table altar-wise.'

Baxter found in the town 'a small number of converts not much hated by the rest.' His eloquence in preaching, his diligence in catechizing and visiting, and his skill in medicine won the hearts of all classes; he persuaded the weavers to read or to enter into edifying converse at their looms, and his congregations were so large that 'they were fain to build galleries' in the church. Upon the outbreak of war he retired to Coventry, for the 'rabble,' who clung to their 'fooleries,' parading the streets yearly with painted forms of giants, were angry at the churchwardens' attempt to destroy the crucifix on the churchyard cross and vented their malice on Baxter, crying 'Down with the Roundhead!' In 1647 he returned, after 'the rabble had all gone into the King's army and been slain.'

About 1647 the vicarage was sequestered, and the townspeople, who had the sequestration, offered the living to Baxter, and ultimately procured it for him against his will. (fn. 47)

He allowed the vicar, Mr. Dance, to 'live a reformed life in peace,' at the old vicarage, himself occupying a few rooms in the top of another man's house. (fn. 48) This house is said to be the building at present occupied by a confectioner on the north side of the High Street.

At the restoration Mr. Dance became 'malapart' again, and supported by Sir Ralph Clare, whose zeal for conformity was greater than his (considerable) respect for Baxter, recovered the living, and prevented Baxter from resuming the lectureship. (fn. 49)

The 'Old Meeting' in Kidderminster is said to have been founded in Mill Street by the Rev. Thomas Baldwin, one of Baxter's assistants. (fn. 50) Certainly in 1672 Thomas Baldwin and Thomas Ware, Presbyterians, had licence to hold conventicles in their houses. (fn. 51) A site for a meeting-house was purchased in Bull Ring Street, 1694; the meetinghouse was rebuilt in 1753 and 1824, (fn. 52) and the present 'Baxter Church' erected on the same site in 1884.

Another Congregational meeting in Park Street was founded in 1774, and a chapel was built at Stourport in Mitton Street, 1871. (fn. 53) A new Congregational Hall was opened at Kidderminster in 1907.

The Unitarian chapel in Church Street was built in 1782 and rebuilt in 1883. Its founders seceded from the 'Old Meeting' in 1780. (fn. 54) The chapel contains Baxter's pulpit, removed from the parish church at one of the restorations.

John Wesley frequently visited Kidderminster and Stourport. The Wesleyan chapel in Mill Street dates from 1803; it was built on the site of the Countess of Huntingdon's chapel, (fn. 55) and is regulated by a scheme of 4 November 1844. A second chapel has recently been built in the Birmingham Road. There are also a Wesleyan chapel at Stourport and Primitive Methodist chapels in George Street (1824) and at Lickhill Road, Stourport. New chapels have been built to supply the needs of Foley Park and other extensions of the town. The Baptists have a chapel in Church Street. Their first chapel was built in 1813 in Union Street. The present building was erected in part by proceeds of the sale of the former chapel under an order of the Charity Commissioners 2 April 1878, on land comprised in a deed of 1864. It has a subordinate meeting at Blakedown. Milton Hall was built in 1890. (fn. 56)

The Countess of Huntingdon's Free Church in Dudley Street was built in 1818 to replace the one sold to the Wesleyans. (fn. 57)

A Swedenborgian church was erected on Comberton Hill in 1908.

The Roman Catholic church of St. Ambrose, Leswell, built in 1858, through the efforts of Father Courtenay, replaced a chapel built in 1834. (fn. 58)


The Free Grammar School. (fn. 59) Thomas Butcher, as appears from an inquisition of commissioners of charitable uses, 16 Charles I, by his will gave an annuity of £2 12s., issuing out of a public-house in Kidderminster, for poor every Sunday in bread.

In 1620 William Seabright, by his will, gave £3 0s. 8d. yearly for the poor in bread and 6s. 8d. yearly for the parish clerk for his trouble. The annuities are received from the governors of Seabright's Endowed School, Wolverley.

In 1690 John Oldnall, by his will proved at Worcester, gave 20s. yearly for the poor of the borough and 20s. yearly for the poor of the foreign of Kidderminster.

In 1693 Thomas Cook, by his will, gave £2 12s. yearly for the poor in bread issuing out of a house and garden in Church Street.

The rent-charges above mentioned are duly paid and distributed in bread together with the interest of a legacy of £100 in the Post Office Savings Bank by will of Edward Crane, dated in 1820.

In 1664 Abraham Plimley, by will, gave an annuity of £3 2s. issuing out of two houses in the Bull Ring for a poor person of the borough, the trustees to retain 2s. for their expenses.

In 1701 Elizabeth Bowyer, by deed, gave an annuity of £3 5s. for a poor man or woman, the trustees to retain 5s. for their expenses. The charge is now represented by £108 6s. 8d. consols with the official trustees, producing £2 14s. yearly.

In 1717 John Sparry, by his will, gave an annuity of £2 5s. issuing out of three houses at Stourbridge for a poor, honest man, the trustees to retain 5s. for their expenses.

In 1833 Joshua Cotton Cooper, by will, left a legacy, now represented by £105 10s. 8d. consols with the official trustees, the annual dividends amounting to £2 12s. 8d. to be given in equal parts to two poor persons not being man and wife.

The income of the four above-mentioned charities, together with the income of £110 16s. 6d. on deposit at the Metropolitan Bank, amounting to £3 6s. yearly, representing a legacy by will of Thomas Doolittle, is applied in the distribution of money.

In 1908 twenty-eight persons received about 10s. each.

In 1709 the Rev. Joseph Read, by deed, gave a yearly sum of £7, £5, part thereof, to be applied for the relief of a poor widow of the age of sixty years and upwards, or for apprenticing a poor boy, and the residue for the poor.

The legacy is now represented by £280 consols with the official trustees. In 1908 £5 was paid to a poor widow and £2 distributed among six poor persons.

In 1710 Edward Butler, by deed, gave an annuity of £2 2s. issuing out of two houses in the Bull Ring, to be distributed equally among six poor men or women on New Year's Day, the trustees to retain 2s. for their expenses. The charge is duly paid and applied.

In 1734 Mrs. Mary Glynn, by a codicil to her will, directed £200 to be invested in land, the rents thereof, subject to the repair of the vault of her husband and herself, to be divided yearly among ten poor old women. The land purchased was sold in 1880 and the proceeds invested in £551 14s. 4d. consols with the official trustees, producing £13 15s. 8d. yearly, which is duly applied.


— The charities known as Witnells Alms, and the almshouses founded in 1670 by will of Sir Ralph Clare, are regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners 15 May 1900. They comprise the charities of Edmund Broad, founded by deed, 1596–7; Edward Mills, will 1614–15; Elizabeth Mills, will, 1626; Thomas Dawkes, will, 1611; Edward Dawkes, deed, 1632; Alice Dawkes, deed, 1614–15; and the charity of William Thomas Cowper, founded by will proved at London 21 January 1888.

The trust property consists of three almshouses in Church Street and a house in Hall Street used as an almshouse, fourteen cottages in St. Mary Street and Dudley Street, 2 a. l r. 34 p. in Broad Street, and small pieces of land in Dudley Street, Clensmore Lane, and Church Fields, producing a rental of £166 a year or thereabouts; six rent-charges amounting together to £7 a year issuing out of certain properties; also a sum of £1,745 12s. 7d. consols (including £281 0s. 8d. consols belonging to Cooper's charity), and £1,239 2s. 2d. Local Loans 3 per cent. stock, producing together £80 16s. in annual dividends.

The sums of stock which arise from sales of land from time to time and the investment of accumulations are held by the official trustees.

In 1909 a sum of £149 18s. was paid to the inmates of the almshouses, and a sum of £17 was applied in relief of the poor generally.

The almshouses founded in 1630 by will of Sir Edward Blount for six poor decayed housekeepers are endowed with a house now known as the Fox Inn, let at £55 a year, and a sum of £1,173 4s. 4d. consols, producing £29 6s. 8d. yearly arising from the sale of land.

The stock is held by the official trustees, who also hold a further sum of £146 19s. 7d. consols, arising from the sale in 1868 of four tenements used as almshouses devised in 1684 by will of Henry Higgins. The annual dividends amounting to £3 13s. 4d. are applied in coal to the inmates of Sir Edward Blount's almshouses.

The charities founded by Humphrey Burlton and Edward Burlton, by deeds, 1645 and 1707, now consist of a sum of £493 16s. 6d. consols held by the official trustees, arising from the sale in 1898 of 7 acres of land allotted on the inclosure of the foreign of Kidderminster. The annual dividends amounting to £12 6s. 8d. are distributed among the poor of the districts of Wribbenhall, Foley Park, Franche, Trimpley, &c.

In 1708 the Rev. John Hall, D.D., by his will, directed that the rents of his estate called Hollow Fields should be applied for charitable purposes, of which £5 was made applicable for the teaching of poor children.

The land was sold in 1865 and the proceeds invested in £1,553 8s. consols with the official trustees, of which £200 stock has been set aside as an endowment of Bishop Hall's Educational Foundation. The dividends upon the residue of the stock, amounting to £33 16s. 8d. yearly, are applied in gifts of money and clothing tickets of the value of 6s. to 10s. each.

In 1776 John Brecknell, by his will, left £150, the interest to be applied in providing every child or unmarried person born in or an inhabitant of Church Street with a twopenny plum cake upon the eve of every Midsummer Day, and pipes and tobacco and ale for the male inhabitants then assembled, and the remainder to the poor in gifts of 2s. to 5s. The legacy is represented by £275 consols, producing £6 17s. 4d. yearly, of which about £2 is expended on a supper, £1 10s. in cakes and loaves, and the remainder in the distribution of money.

It further appears that a maiden lady gave 40s. a year for providing farthing cakes for every child born or living in Church Street.

In 1822 Joseph Lea, by will proved in the P.C.C. 17 January, bequeathed a legacy, now represented by £1,007 11s. 1d. consols with the official trustees. The charity is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners, whereby the annual dividends, amounting to £25 3s. 8d., are applicable in making grants of not less than £2 or more than £5 to poor persons resident in the borough, with a preference to persons who have been employed by any of the family or relatives of the founder.

Brinton Park consists of 23 a. 2 r. 31 p., comprised in the deed of gift by Mr. John Brinton, D.L., J.P., of Moor Hall, Stourport, then member of Parliament for the borough, dated 1 August 1887.

In 1837 Miss Sarah Colley, by will proved in the P.C.C., bequeathed £1,000, which was invested in £1,061 2s. consols in the names of trustees, the annual dividends, amounting to £26 10s., to be applied in warm clothing to old and infirm poor, each person to have a suit valued at £1 10s. on 24 December every year.

Charities of William Thomas Cooper.

—William Thomas Cooper, by his will proved 21 January 1888, bequeathed a legacy of £400 to each of the following institutions, namely— the Children's Hospital, the Infirmary, the School of Art, the School of Science and to Witnells Alms Charity (see above). The several legacies were—owing to insufficiency of the personal estate, legacy duty and expenses—each reduced to £264 3s. 6d., which have been invested and the income applied for the benefit of the interested charities.

Nonconformist Charities: New Meeting Chapel.

— In or about 1731 Jane Matthews gave £50 for the poor belonging to the New Meeting House. This gift, with accumulations, was invested in land, which has been sold, and the trust fund is now represented by £1,437 6s. 5d. consols with the official trustees, producing £35 18s. 8d. yearly, which is distributed to the poor in sums of about 5s. each.

In 1787 Serjeant Crane, by will, gave £100, now represented by £152 consols with the official trustees, the annual dividends, amounting to £3 16s., being applied in the same manner as the charity of Jane Matthews.

The same testator likewise bequeathed £200 towards the support of the 'New Meeting,' now represented by £357 2s. 10d. consols with the official trustees, the annual dividends of which, amounting to £8 18s. 4d., are paid to the treasurer of the chapel.

In 1798 Nicholas Pearsall, by his will, proved in the P.C.C. 20 October (among other things), bequeathed £300, the income to be applied in certain proportions in support of the New Meeting House, the Sunday schools and instruction of children in the borough or foreign of Kidderminster. The legacy is represented by £428 11s. 6d. consols, with the official trustees, producing £10 14s. a year, of which onethird is apportioned as the Pearsall Educational Foundation and two-thirds in support of the New Meeting House.

In 1868 George Talbot, by his will, proved 10 November, bequeathed a legacy, now represented by £531 1s. 3d. India 3 per cent. stock, standing in the names of A. G. Hopkins and three others, the annual dividends of which, amounting to £15 18s. 8d., are applicable as to three-fifths for the day schools and Sunday school in connexion with the chapel and two-fifths in support of the same chapel.

The same stockholders hold a sum of £460 stock for the benefit of the minister arising under the will of Richard Eve, proved at London, 28 August 1900.

The almshouses founded by Thomas Banks and endowed by his will, proved at London, 11 November 1891, are under the management of the deacons of the Baxter Congregational Church. They consist of six almshouses in Broad Street, and are endowed with £1,000, secured by a mortgage at £4 per cent. per annum. In 1909 the sum of £31 16s. was divided amongst the eleven inmates.

The minister of the Particular Baptist chapel in Church Street receives £20 a year from the charity of the Rev. George Brookes, founded by deed 2 October 1840 and will, proved 2 April 1844.

Lower Mitton.

—The girls' Sunday school is endowed with a sum of £244 8s. 10d. consols, arising from the gifts of Mrs. Christie and Mary and Richard Barnett, producing £6 2s. yearly.

The National school was conveyed upon the trusts declared by deed 17 November 1842.


— The Wesleyan chapel, school and trust property, comprised in deeds 1799, 1805, 1829 and 1831, were by an order of the Charity Commissioners 29 September 1882 vested in trustees, thereby appointed on the trusts of 'The Wesleyan Chapel Model Deed.'


— Henry Chillingworth, by deed, 11 July 1832, founded and endowed a school for this district. The endowments consist of the school buildings and schoolmistress's house, and a house given by John Crane of High Habberley, let at £8 a year, and by a further deed, dated 20 April 1838, the donor settled a sum of £500 consols, the annual dividends to be applied in payment of schoolmistress and for books and clothing for eight poor scholars.

The official trustees also hold a sum of £839 17s. 11d. consols, producing £20 19s. 10d. a year, arising from the sale in 1891 of buildings and 13 a. 2 r. 15 p.


— In 1882 Mrs. Anne Hallen, by will, proved 2 November, bequeathed a legacy, now represented by £88 11s. 2d. consols, the annual dividends, amounting to £2 4s. 2d., to be applied for the benefit of the poor of this district.

The same testatrix bequeathed a further legacy, represented by £1,771 10s. consols, the annual dividends amounting to £44 5s. 8d. to be paid to the incumbent.


  • 1. The confirmatory charter of Henry II is witnessed by R[eginald] Earl of Cornwall, who died 1175. The terminal of the name proves the existence of a pre-Conquest church at Kidderminster.
  • 2. Add. MS. 37503, fol. 30; Dugdale, Mon. vi, 644.
  • 3. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 644; see Cal. Pat. 1334–8, p. 113; cf. Add. MS. 37503, fol. 31. The first appropriation seems to have been in the time of Henry de Soilli, who certainly admitted Adam of Hurcott.
  • 4. Add. MS. 37503, fol. 31d., 32.
  • 5. Ibid.; Cur. Reg. R. Mich. 33 Hen. III, m. 38 d.
  • 6. Cur. Reg. R. Hil. 34 Her. III, m. 1.
  • 7. Anct. D. (P.R.O.), D 325.
  • 8. Add. MS. 37503, fol. 33 et seq.
  • 9. Dugdale, Mon. vi, 644.
  • 10. Cal. Chart. R. 1257–1300, p. 151.
  • 11. Add. MS. 37503, fol. 38.
  • 12. Worc. Epis. Reg. Monte Acuto, i, fol. 20 d., 21, 24.
  • 13. Ibid. Wulstan de Braunsford, i, fol. 21 f., ii, 21 d., and Add. MS. 37503, fol. 50.
  • 14. Cal. Pat. 1396–9, p. 444; 1399–1401, p. 116.
  • 15. Worc. Epis. Reg. Wynchecomb, fol. 61 d.; Clifford, fol. 74.
  • 16. See above.
  • 17. Pat. 5 & 6 Phil. and Mary, pt. ii, m. 30.
  • 18. Dict. Nat. Biog. See V.C.H. Worcs. ii, 46.
  • 19. See Comberton.
  • 20. Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.), Habington MS. v, 3; Feet of F. Worcs. East. 1651.
  • 21. Lond. Gaz. 23 Aug. 1867, p. 4694; 10 Dec. 1867, p. 6766.
  • 22. He witnessed the admission of the Prior of Maiden Bradley to the church and parsonage (Add. MS. 37003, fol. 30d.). Mr. Campbell J. Craven states that the chapelry existed in 1195.
  • 23. Add. MS. 37503, fol. 44.
  • 24. Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.), Habington MS. v, 3.
  • 25. Lond. Gaz. 18 Sept. 1844, p. 3281.
  • 26. Ibid. 7 Aug. 1866, p. 4406.
  • 27. Inform. kindly supplied by Mr. C. J. Craven.
  • 28. Cal. Papal Pet. i, 350.
  • 29. Deed quoted by Burton, Hist. of Kidderminster, 97. It is noteworthy that Hugh son of Henry Mustell gave a messuage and land in Habberley to William 'le Gildon' temp. Edward I (Add. Chart. 24706).
  • 30. Epis. Reg. quoted by Burton, Hist. of Kidderminster, 96.
  • 31. Inq. a.q.d. file 363, no. 7; Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.).
  • 32. Cal. Papal Letters, iv, 36; Cal. Papal Pet. i, 350.
  • 33. Pat. 3 Edw. VI, pt. vi.
  • 34. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), clxxix, 67.
  • 35. Ibid. cccelxix, 194.
  • 36. Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.), Habington MS. v, 3.
  • 37. Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.); Lewis (Topog. Dict.) gives 1701 as the date of the erection of the chapel.
  • 38. Lond. Gaz. 18 Sept. 1844, p. 3281.
  • 39. Chant. Cert. 61, no. 15.
  • 40. Worc. Epis. Reg. Gainsborough, xi, 30.
  • 41. Ibid. Wulstan de Braunsford, i (3), fol. 116.
  • 42. Worc. Epis. Reg. Sede Vacante (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 227, where 'Dokesey' is evidently an error for 'Cokesey'; list of patrons given by Nash, op. cit. i, 58.
  • 43. Habington, Surv. of Worc. (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), ii, 167.
  • 44. Burton, op. cit. 97; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 274; Aug. Off. Misc. Bks. ccclxxiv, fol. 30.
  • 45. Pat. 4 Edw. VI, pt. iv; cf. the account of Habberley.
  • 46. Cal. Papal Letters, v, 411.
  • 47. Reliquiae Baxterianae (1696), 79; see V.C.H. Worcs. ii, 69, 71.
  • 48. Reliquiae Baxterianae (1696), 20, 24, 40, 42, 79, 80, 83, 88–90, 97, 157, 299.
  • 49. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. vii, App. i, 121a; V.C.H. Worcs. ii, 79.
  • 50. Burton, Hist. of Kidderminster, 135.
  • 51. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1672, p. 473.
  • 52. Burton, Hist. of Kidderminster, 134.
  • 53. Congregational Yearbook, 1912, pp 307–8.
  • 54. Dict. Nat. Biog. under 'Robert Gentleman' and 'Job Orton.'
  • 55. Burton, Hist. of Kidderminster, 138.
  • 56. Baptist Handbk. 1912, p. 135.
  • 57. Burton, Hist. of Kidderminster, 139
  • 58. Ibid.
  • 59. See 'Schools,' V.C.H. Worcs. iv.