A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1913.
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Breodun (xi cent.); Bredune (xii cent.); Breedon (xiii cent.); Breuton (xiv cent.).
The parish of Bredon lies on the southern margin of the county of Worcester, and is bounded on the west by the River Avon running south and on the south by a small stream called Carrant Brook running into the Avon on its left bank.
Included in this parish are the village of Bredon, which stands on a plain at the south-west base of Bredon Hill on the left bank of the Avon, and the hamlets of Bredon's Norton, Bredon's Hardwick, Kinsham, Mitton and Westmancote. Cutsdean, until recently a detached part of this parish, though geographically in Gloucestershire, was part of Worcestershire (fn. 1) until 1912, when by Order in Council it was annexed to the parish of Temple Guiting in Gloucestershire.
The area of the parish is 5,853 acres, of which 30 acres are covered with water; 3,187 acres are in Bredon, 1,106 acres in Bredon's Norton and 1,560 acres in Cutsdean. Bredon includes 851 acres of arable land, 1,678 acres of permanent grass and 40 acres of wood, while Bredon's Norton contains 317 acres of arable, 612 acres of permanent grass and 24 acres of wood, and Cutsdean 717 acres of arable land, 312 acres of permanent grass and 145 acres of woodland. (fn. 2) The soil is loam, sand and clay, and the subsoil is Keuper Sandstone. The chief crops are corn, fruit, vegetables and flowers. (fn. 3) The slope of the land is from east to west, and at Bredon Hill to the north-east, in Bredon's Norton, the land is 700 ft. above the ordnance datum. The highest point in the detached part of the parish, Cutsdean, is Cutsdcan Hill, 1,000 ft.
The high road from Worcester enters the parish from the north and meets the Evesham and Tewkesbury high road in Bredon village close to the station on the Midland railway.
The village of Bredon is situated about 8½ miles south-west of Evesham and 3 miles north-east of Tewkesbury, overlooking the valley of the Avon. The church stands in a large churchyard near the western end of the village. To the west of the church, in the yard of the Manor Farm, is a magnificent stone barn of the 14th century, still in a fine state of preservation, and almost unaltered since the period of its erection. It is placed with its greatest length from north to south, and measures internally about 124 ft. 3 in. by 37 ft. 11 in. The walls are of rubble masonry, with the exception of the buttresses, which are of ashlar work. The end walls, on the north and south, are gabled, and a stone-slated ridge roof, with dripping eaves, covers the building. The western side wall is divided into nine bays by ten buttresses of two offsets, and there are wagon entrances in the third bay from either end. The corresponding bays of the eastern side wall are occupied by two large porches, which also contain wagon entrances, the southernmost having a room with a fireplace above it. Between the porches and on either side of them were originally six buttresses, opposite to the corresponding buttresses on the west wall, but three of these have been removed and lean-to sheds erected against the wall. On the exterior of the north wall are three buttresses, a central buttress of four offsets rising to about half the height of the gable, and two smaller buttresses, each of two offsets, on either side. The wall is terminated on the east and west by the end buttresses of the side walls, which are flush with it. In the centre of the south wall is a buttress of one offset, extending only to about the base of the gable, the flanking buttresses being placed at the extremities of the wall and at right angles to the end buttresses of the side walls, with which they correspond in height. In each bay of the side walls are plain narrow slits, unglazed, about 5 in. in width and widely splayed on the inside. In the north wall are three similar openings, one on either side of the central buttress and one above it in the apex of the gable. The arrangement is varied in the south wall, where there is a pair of openings on either side of the central buttress, one immediately over it, and a second smaller slit in the apex of the gable. The putlog holes in these walls, and here and there in the side walls, are also left unfilled. The walls have a chamfered plinth and a cornice of similar form, beneath the eaves of the roof; gablet finials crown the gables. Internally the barn is divided into three longitudinal divisions, corresponding to nave and aisles, by two rows of posts, about 1 ft. 1½ in. square, carrying purlins which support the principal rafters at the middle of their length. The posts, which stand upon stone plinths about 1 ft. 9 in. square, are stiffened transversely by collars at the purlin level and a little below. These, with the purlins, are strutted from the posts by curved braces, while the rafters are again strutted from the collars. The lower halves of the rafters, which form the roofs of the aisles, are stiffened by horizontal timbers at their feet, abutting upon the posts, from which both they and the rafters are strutted. The side walls of the wagon porches on the eastern side are of stone, their gable ends being filled with half-timber work. The room above the southern porch was probably originally entered by a staircase in the square chamber which occupies the internal angle made by the porch with the main building on the north. This has long been blocked, and an external stair of stone against its south wall now gives the sole access to it. The fireplace on the north side of the porch has also been built up; the chimney stack is corbelled out, and rises square for a few feet above the eaves of the roof. Here it is surmounted by an octagonal shaft crowned by a lantern-like cap of the same form, each face of which is gabled, and has a small opening to let the smoke out. This is in turn surmounted by a pyramidal finial. On the ground floor are small doorways in each side wall. The north porch is of similar character, but being without an upper room is consequently of less height.
The old rectory-house, on the north-east of the church, is an interesting building of various dates. The earliest portion, which is on the north-east and partly surrounds three sides of a court-yard, is of half-timber covered with rough-cast, and probably dates from the late 15th century. It has, however, been so altered and modernized at subsequent periods that the determination of its date must remain a matter of conjecture. A gabled two-storied porch gives entrance to the house from the court-yard. The outer entrance has a moulded segmental head and jambs; above is a window with a pointed head of two trefoiled lights, the spandrel in the head being blocked. This appears to be reset 15th-century work, though the main structure can hardly be earlier than the end of the 16th century. A small bellcote surmounts the gable, in which is hung a bell without date or inscription, commonly reported to be of silver and to have been found in the bed of the Avon. The whole of the western part of the house appears to be an enlargement of the 17th century, and is of stone covered with rough-cast. A complete remodelling of the interior appears to have taken place in the early 19th century, when large sash windows were formed in the wall of the entrance front on the south, to give the appearance of a single lofty story. The entrance-porch is of stone, gabled, with moulded coping, and a ball finial upon the apex of the gable. The outer doorway has a semicircular head, with moulded archivolt and imposts, and is flanked by Ionic pilasters elevated upon pedestals and supporting an entablature. Above is a shield with a lion rampant impaling a cross charged with a leopard's head. Below the shield is the date cIo Io c Lxxxiii. The general style of the porch and the characters in which the date is written would lead one to suppose that it was about 100 years earlier, the whole character being Elizabethan. It is possible that the date is actually intended to be cIo Io Lxxxiii, a c having been placed after the Io in error. Little original detail remains inside the house. The room on the north side of the stable-yard, known as the 'panelled room,' retains its early 17th-century panelling, upon which is a shield with these arms: a bend cotised between three lions and a crescent on the bend.
The house known as the 'Mansion House' is a good early 17th-century building of brick with stone dressings and stands to the east of the rectory. In the centre of the village are Reed's almshouses, a pleasant block of 17th-century buildings, one story in height with an attic over. The eight houses form three sides of a quadrangle. The front, with its projecting wings, is faced with stone, but the back is of plain brickwork. In the wall of the eastern projecting wing is a shield carved in stone: quarterly (1) and (4) a winged lion, (2) and (3) three cross-bows. The windows are mullioned and the doorways have straight-sided four-centred heads.
There is also at Bredon an old village pound.
At Mitton, 2 miles south of Bredon, in what is now the yard of Mitton Farm, a good late 17th-century house of brick, is the site of an ancient chapel, now covered by farm buildings.
Bredon's Norton Manor House is a 16th-century house of stone and half-timber three stories in height, and consists of a central block, the ground floor of which is occupied by a large entrance-hall, with wings at the north and south, the latter of which appears to have been entirely rebuilt. The north wing appears to be of half-timber, while the centre portion and the later south wing are of stone. With the exception of this wing the walls are covered with rough-cast. The chimney stacks are of stone and are surmounted by brick chimney shafts. The external appearance has been much altered by the insertion of sash windows, though some of the mullioned windows of the centre block have been left undisturbed. At the south-east of the hall is a central newel stair, probably of original date, while there are later stairs on the north. In a room on the first floor is a stone fireplace on which are carved the initials T.C. M.C. and the date 1585, with a shield in the centre charged with a cross paty. The same shield and initials occur on a chimney stack on the north side of the house. With the exception of some panelling belonging to this period the house has retained few other features of interest. The forecourt remains much as it was laid out at the end of the 16th century, with its elaborate gateway and plain inclosing walls, with buildings at the north and south angles. The gateway, which was blown down about twenty-five years ago and carefully reerected, is an excellent example of Elizabethan work. It has a semicircular head, and is surmounted by an entablature with a fluted frieze, supported by short pilasters, stopped at the level of the moulded imposts of the arch. In the gable over the entablature, which has a moulded coping, is carved the date 1585, with three blank shields in a panel beneath. In the side walls of the forecourt are gateways with segmental heads and crowned by weathered copings. On the north side of the house is a good stone barn.
This manor-house is now occupied as a residential club and belongs to Miss Z. M. Woodhull of Norton Park in this parish.
Various Anglo-Saxon relics have been found at Bredon's Norton. They were presented to the museum of the Worcestershire Natural History Society in 1838 by one of the engineers employed in making the Birmingham and Gloucester railway. (fn. 11)
Dr. Prideaux, who became Bishop of Worcester in 1641, died in 1650 at Bredon, where he had retired to the house of his son-in-law Dr. Henry Sutton after his deprivation in 1646. (fn. 12)
According to Worcester tradition, between 715 and 717, (fn. 13) Ethelbald, King of Mercia, gave land at BREDON to his kinsman Eanulf to found a monastery there. (fn. 14) Offa grandson of Eanulf endowed the monastery with lands in Worcestershire in 780. (fn. 15) In 781, 12 manses at Bredon were confirmed by Offa to the see of Worcester in settlement of a dispute which had arisen between him and the bishop. (fn. 16)
On Christmas Day 841 Berhtwulf, King of Mercia, freed the monastery of Bredon and its lands from the duty of entertaining persons sent by the king, in return for which the abbot and brethren gave him a large discus of silver, finely worked, 120 mancusae of pure gold, and promised to sing in twelve turns 100 psalms and 120 masses for the king and the people of Mercia. (fn. 17) A few years later King Berhtwulf granted the monastery further privileges, including freedom from the burdens called cum feorme et eafor, in return for which they paid 180 mancusae of pure gold and certain lands. (fn. 18) The monastery of Bredon continued under an abbot of its own for some time, (fn. 19) but before 844 it seems to have become in some way subject to the see of Worcester, for Heming gives a charter of that year by which Aelhun Bishop of Worcester gave to the monks of Worcester 12 cassata of land in Bredon, or rather confirmed it, for it appears that the gift was made by Coenwulf, King of Mercia. (fn. 20) Three years later the monks restored to Bishop Aelhun twelve manses of the land belonging to the monastery of Bredon on condition that after his death and the death of one other to whom he might bequeath the land it should return to the monks of Worcester. (fn. 21) In 964 Bredon was included by King Edgar in his famous charter, granting the hundred of Oswaldslow to the church of Worcester. (fn. 22)
Some confusion has been caused by a charter of King Edgar granting land at 'Bredone' and implying the existence of a church there in 966. The site has been wrongly identified with the Worcestershire Bredon. It is, however, certain that the place referred to is Breedon on the Hill, co. Leicester, land at Diseworth in that county being conveyed by the same grant. (fn. 23) In 1086 the manor of Bredon with its members was in the possession of the Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 24)
By 1118 the bishop had increased his demesne lands at Bredon by 3 hides, (fn. 25) and in 1254 and 1255 free warren was granted to him there. (fn. 26) In 1275 the Bishop of Worcester complained that the Earl of Warwick had impeded him from having free warren at Bredon, and had tried to get possession of his demesne lands there, (fn. 27) and in the same year certain persons (unnamed) came to the bishop's manor of Bredon, assaulted his servants, and carried away his goods. (fn. 28)
The manor remained in the possession of successive Bishops of Worcester (fn. 29) until under the Act of 1558–9 empowering the queen to take into her hands temporal possessions of any bishopric, in exchange for parsonages impropriate, Bredon Manor passed to the Crown. (fn. 30) It was leased in 1569–70 for twenty-one years to Richard May, (fn. 31) and in 1570–1 the site of the manor and all rents of assize belonging to it were granted to him and his sons Richard and John for their lives at a rent of £20 9s. 10d. yearly. (fn. 32) The site and demesne lands of the manor were leased in 1575 to John Morley from 1607 for twenty years, and the capital messuage called Bishopshouse was leased to him for a similar term, beginning in 1613. (fn. 33)
The manor was granted in 1577 to Henry Knollys and Edward Williams at a fee-farm rent of £59 12s. 0½d. (fn. 34) They sold it a few days later to Thomas Copley and George Hornyold. (fn. 35) Copley and Hornyold seem to have alienated large estates, formerly parcels of the manor of Bredon. (fn. 36) The part retained by Hornyold, known as half the manor of Bredon, included the site and capital messuage of the manor, and passed from George Hornyold in 1618 to his son Thomas. (fn. 37) Thomas was succeeded in 1632 by his son Thomas, (fn. 38) who was dealing with this moiety of the manor in 1655. (fn. 39) He sold the greater part of the estate in 1667 to Thomas Turvey and the rest to Richard Harris, John Mason and others. (fn. 40)
Thomas Turvey's daughter Elizabeth married Other son of Thomas Lord Windsor, and in 1673 Thomas Turvey conveyed his share of Bredon Manor to Sir William Coventry and Sir Francis Russell, (fn. 41) as trustees for its sale in payment of Other's debts. (fn. 42) Other was still in possession in 1680–1. (fn. 43) This moiety of the manor afterwards passed to the Darkes, and was dealt with in 1792 by John Darke and Anne his wife and Richard Darke. (fn. 44) Before 1850 the manor had passed to Nathan Dyer. Between 1863 and 1868 it seems to have passed to Nathan Nathaniel Dyer, (fn. 45) who held it till after 1880. It had passed before 1892 to William Dyer of Bickerton Hall, co. Hereford. Nathan Dyer had succeeded before 1904, and is at present lord of the manor of Bredon.
Part of the manor which was alienated by Copley and Hornyold in the 16th century afterwards became known as a moiety of the manor of Bredon. In 1578 Thomas Copley and George Hornyold sold Bishopswood, (fn. 46) Penny Land and Strange Acre to Thomas Cockes and his son Seth. (fn. 47) Seth died in 1599 and Thomas in 1601 holding 'the manor of Bredon.' (fn. 48) Thomas son of Thomas succeeded, but the estate had passed before 1616–17 to Sir Edward Fisher, Thomas Allen and William Allen his son, who joined in conveying it in that year to William Allen. (fn. 49)
William Allen forfeited all his lands to the king for debt in June 1631, and his estates in Bredon, comprising a capital messuage and land called the Downes, Bishop's Field, &c., were granted in the following month to Lady Constance Lucy and Francis Lucy as long as they remained in the king's hands. (fn. 50) In 1637 this estate was sold by Sir Richard Lucy, bart., executor of Lady Constance, to George and Roger Corbett. (fn. 51) Before William Allen's forfeiture the estate was sold by him to Sir Thomas Bowyer and Nathaniel Studley in trust for Pedael Harlow. (fn. 52) They seem to have recovered it from Allen's creditors, for in 1638–9 Sir Thomas Bowyer gave up his claim to Pedael Harlow. (fn. 53) Edward Andrews and his wife Elizabeth and John Harlow were dealing with this moiety of the manor in 1660–1. (fn. 54) The Harlows' estate passed before 1676 to William Dowdeswell (fn. 55) of Pull Court, with which estate it descended (fn. 56) until 1786, when Thomas Dowdeswell sold it to Mr. Morris, who was possibly an agent for John Darke, who eventually acquired it. (fn. 57) It thus became united with the other moiety of the manor.
The part of the manor retained by Thomas Copley, which included an estate called the manor of HALL COURT alias BRACE'S LAND in Norton, (fn. 58) and carried with it the advowson of the church, was settled by him in 1587 upon his son John. (fn. 59) Thomas died in 1593, and John died without issue in 1606, when Thomas son of Thomas succeeded. (fn. 60) He and Thomas Copley, jun., who was probably his son, sold the manor of Hall Court in 1649 to William Hancock, sen., and William Hancock, jun. (fn. 61) The two latter had to compound in 1649 for two-thirds of the estate which had been sequestered for the recusancy of the two Copleys. (fn. 62) William Hancock, who dealt with the manor of Hall Court in 1678–9, (fn. 63) was son of the younger William, (fn. 64) and was probably the William Hancock who died in 1719. (fn. 65) Peter Hancock and Anna his wife were in possession in 1765. (fn. 66) The former died in 1775, leaving two daughters, (fn. 67) one of whom, Charlotte, married John Embury. Charlotte and John dealt with a moiety of the manor of Hall Court in 1776–7. (fn. 68)
When the manor of Bredon was granted in 1577 to Henry Knollys and Edward Williams, a fee-farm rent of £59 12s. 0½d. was reserved to the Crown. (fn. 69) It was granted by James I to his queen, Anne, for life (fn. 70) in 1614, and by Charles I to Queen Henrietta Maria in 1627. (fn. 71) Later it was confiscated by Parliament, and sold in 1651 to Arthur Hollingworth of London. (fn. 72)
At the Restoration this fee-farm rent returned to the Crown, and was in 1670 vested in trustees, (fn. 73) who sold it in 1672 to Peter Lely of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, the well-known painter. (fn. 74) This rent afterwards passed to the Vernons of Hanbury, who were in possession in 1745 and 1819. (fn. 75)
The manor of Bredon was surveyed in 1563, shortly after it came into the hands of Queen Elizabeth. (fn. 76) It was found that the mansion-house, called Bishop's House, was very ruinous and almost fallen down for want of repair. The house was then held under a sixty years' lease by the Hornyolds. (fn. 77)
At the date of the Domesday Survey Urse held 4 hides at WESTMANCOTE (Westmonecot, xi cent.; Westmancote, Westmecote, xiv cent.; Westmoncote, xv cent.; Westencote, xvi cent.) which one Brictuine had held, and for which he had done service to the Bishop of Worcester on such terms as could be obtained. (fn. 78)
Urse's interest in the manor passed with his other estates to the Beauchamps, afterwards Earls of Warwick, and Westmancote was held of the barony of Elmley until 1612–13, when the overlordship is mentioned for the last time. (fn. 79)
Under the lords of Elmley this manor was held by the Pendocks of Pendock for knight service. Robert de Pendock was holding 4 hides there early in the 13th century, (fn. 80) and the manor then followed the same descent as Pendock until 1346, when it was held by John de Pendock. (fn. 81)
In 1371–2 the manor was held by Roger Marshal and his wife Margaret in her right. (fn. 82) It would seem probable that Margaret Marshal was the widow of John or William de Pendock, and held only a life interest in the manor, for in 1402–3 she, then a widow, and John son of William de Westmancote alias Pendock sold the manor to Sir John Cheyne. (fn. 83)
Anne daughter of Sir John Cheyne married Thomas Rous of Ragley, (fn. 84) and the manor of Westmancote was settled upon them in 1427. (fn. 85) They were succeeded by a son Thomas, who died without issue, the manor then passing to his brother William, who brought an action against his father's trustees as to this manor towards the end of the 15th century. (fn. 86) Later he had difficulty in obtaining the manor from Margaret wife of Richard Barneby, who claimed it under the will of Thomas Rous the son. (fn. 87) William Rous died in 1505–6, (fn. 88) and the manor passed with Rous Lench (fn. 89) until it was sold with the other Worcestershire estates in 1861–70 by Sir Charles Rouse-Boughton.
Another estate at Westmancote, known as a manor in the 16th century and later, belonged to the Poers and Washbournes of Wichenford. Its origin is obscure, and nothing is known of it until the end of the 14th century. In 1390–1 William son of John Poer and Philippa his wife conveyed land in Westmancote, Moreton and Bredon to John Poer of Wichenford. (fn. 90) In 1410–11 John and his wife Eleanor conveyed the same estate to John Washbourne. (fn. 91) It then followed the same descent as Wichenford until 1675, when William Washbourne and his wife Susan sold it to William Hancock. (fn. 92) It then passed with the Hancocks' manor of Bredon until 1776–7, when a moiety of it was conveyed with Hall Court by John Embury and his wife Charlotte to John Windus. (fn. 93)
Both the estates at Westmancote seem to have passed before 1872 to Miss Martin, who was then lady of the manor of Westmancote. She continued to hold the manor until 1891, and was succeeded by her brother, Mr. Robert Martin of Overbury, who died in 1897, leaving it to his son John Biddulph Martin. He survived his father only by three days and left his property to his widow, the present owner of the manor. (fn. 94)
A manor called MORETON, which is mentioned in deeds of the 16th century and later relating to the Washbournes' manor of Westmancote, was probably in the parish of Bredon, the present Moreton Farm in Lower Westmancote no doubt marking its site.
Among the charters of the see of Worcester is one by Athelstan, King of Britain (926–40), to his servant Ethelnoth of two manses in Moreton. (fn. 95) This land evidently passed subsequently to the church of Worcester, and is probably to be identified with the 2 hides at Moreton granted by Bishop Oswald in 990 to two brothers, Beorhnaege and Byrhstan. (fn. 96) These two charters probably relate to Moreton in Bredon, as the church of Worcester does not seem to have held any other estate of that name.
Two hides at Moreton were held in the time of Henry II of the manor of Bredon by Robert son of Richard. (fn. 97) These 2 hides were held in the beginning of the 13th century by Robert de Moreton, David son of Robert also holding half a hide in Moreton. (fn. 98) Walter de Westmancote held the 2 hides in 1299 (fn. 99) and both estates had passed by 1346 to John de Moreton. (fn. 100) It was perhaps the same estate which, as land in Moreton, was settled in 1390–1 on William son of John Poet and his wife Philippa with contingent remainder to John Poer of Wichenford. (fn. 101) It followed the same descent as the Poers' manor of Westmancote from that time until 1599, (fn. 102) when it is mentioned for the last time as a manor. It afterwards seems to have become annexed to Westmancote, for in an inquisition of 1622 'the manor of Westmancote in Norton and Moreton' is mentioned, (fn. 103) and at the present day Moreton Farm is the property of Mrs. J. B. Martin, lady of the manor of Westmancote.
CUTSDEAN (Codestune, x cent.; Codestone, xi cent.; Cuttesden, Cutsdowne, Cuttson, xvii cent.) is said to have been given to the church of Worcester by Offa. (fn. 104) In 974 (fn. 105) Oswald Bishop of Worcester granted 5 manses at Cutsdean for three lives to one Wulfheah with reversion to the church of Worcester. (fn. 106) In 987 the bishop granted the same land to Ethelmund for two lives. (fn. 107) Shortly after Bishop Brihteah (Beortheah) leased this land to one Dodo, but Archbishop Ealdred recovered it from his son in the reign of William I. (fn. 108) At the date of the Domesday Survey Aeilric the archdeacon held 2 hides at Cutsdean of the bishop's manor of Bredon. (fn. 109) Before 1118 these hides had apparently reverted to the bishop, (fn. 110) and they are said to have been given by Bishop John de Pageham, who died in 1158, to the priory of Worcester. (fn. 111) According to the Red Book of the bishopric, however, Cutsdean was given to the monks in the time of Bishop Pageham by Peverell de Beauchamp. (fn. 112) In 1212, on the death of William de Wetmora, Cutsdean is said to have returned into the hands of the Chamberlain of Worcester Priory, (fn. 113) William having probably held it under a lease for life. In 1240 the monks held 2 hides at Cutsdean (fn. 114) and in 1256 they obtained a grant of free warren in this manor. (fn. 115) About 1291 Godfrey Bishop of Worcester released to the prior and convent all his rights of scutage, homage, &c., in the vill of Cutsdean. (fn. 116) In 1291 the chamberlain of the priory held at Cutsdean a carucate of land worth £1. (fn. 117)
The manor remained in the hands of the successive Priors of Worcester until the dissolution of the priory in 1539–40, (fn. 118) when it was granted by Henry VIII in 1541 to Richard Andrews. (fn. 119) In the following year he sold it to William Freeman, (fn. 120) who settled it in 1561 upon himself and his wife Ann and their issue male. (fn. 121) He was succeeded by his grandson Thomas Freeman. (fn. 122) Thomas Freeman, his grandmother Anne Freeman, and Edward Freeman, who may have been his son, conveyed the manor of Cutsdean in 1582 (fn. 123) to Robert Ashfield and Francis Kettleby. Edward Freeman married Catherine sister of Humphrey Coningsby and in 1604–5 conveyed the manor to his brother-in-law. (fn. 124) Humphrey Coningsby died seised of the manor of Cutsdean in 1611, (fn. 125) his heir being his sister Catherine Freeman. She and her husband had livery of the manor in 1617, (fn. 126) but only seem to have retained a third of it, the other two thirds passing to the Coningsbys. Edmund Freeman and Catherine were dealing with a third of the manor in 1628, (fn. 127) and Coningsby Freeman, who sold this third in 1633 to John Kite, was probably their son. (fn. 128) This third was sold in 1665 by Francis Kite and his wife Alice to William Dobbins. (fn. 129) William or a descendant of the same name held in 1721 an estate at Cutsdean, (fn. 130) which was conveyed in 1775–6 (fn. 131) by John and Samuel Dobbins and Henry Timme and his wife Elizabeth to John Darke. (fn. 132)
Edward Dobbins West still held an estate at Cutsdean in 1872 and 1880, but William Price is said to have been lord of the manor in 1872 and his widow Mrs. Price held the manor in 1876 and 1892. This estate was bought soon after by the Earl of Wemyss, (fn. 133) who owned the other part of the manor, and Lord Elcho, his eldest son, is now the lord of the whole.
The other two thirds of the manor were held by Sir Thomas Coningsby at the time of his death in 1626. (fn. 134) His son Fitz William Coningsby held the estate in 1658, when he and his son Humphrey agreed to assign a rent from this manor to Sampson Wise. (fn. 135) Humphrey son of Fitz William was in possession in 1660. (fn. 136)
The estate had passed before 1691 to Lady Tracy, (fn. 137) and appears to have still belonged to her in 1721. (fn. 138) In 1735 Robert son of John Tracy of Stanway held the manor, (fn. 139) and from him it passed to his brother Anthony. Henrietta Charlotte, one of the daughters and heirs of Anthony, married Edward Devereux Viscount Hereford, who held the manor in her right in 1775 and at the end of the 18th century. (fn. 140) The viscount died without issue, and on the death of his widow in 1817 Cutsdean passed to her sister Susan wife of Francis Charteris Lord Elcho. (fn. 141) Francisson of Susan was created Lord Wemyss in 1821 and became Earl of Wemyss, Lord Wemyss of Elcho and Lord Elcho and Methel in 1826 by the reversal of the attainder of David Wemyss, his collateral ancestor, who joined in the Stuart rising, and was attainted after the battle of Culloden in 1745. (fn. 142) He was dealing with the manor of Cutsdean in 1821, (fn. 143) and it now belongs to Lord Elcho, eldest son of the present Earl of Wemyss.
An estate which lay partly in Cutsdean, sometimes known as Cutsdean Manor, which appears to have included HINCHWICK Manor or Farm, belonged early in the 18th century to John Dutton of Sherborne, co. Glouc. He settled it in 1710 upon himself and his heirs. (fn. 144) It appears to have been formerly held by his father Ralph and belonged to John, then Sir John, in 1721. (fn. 145) He died in 1742–3 and James Lenox Naper, his nephew and successor, who assumed the name Dutton, (fn. 146) was dealing with the manor of Cutsdean in 1762. (fn. 147) James son and heir of James Lenox Dutton was created Lord Dutton of Sherborne in 1784, (fn. 148) and it was probably his son John who was dealing with the manor (as John Dutton, esquire) in 1800. (fn. 149) The estate passed before the end of the century to the Dugdales, and now belongs to Colonel James Dugdale of Sezincote House, Moreton-in-Marsh, co. Glouc. The present Hinchwick is in the parish of Condicote, co. Glouc., the part of the estate which lay in Cutsdean being marked by Hinchwick Plantation and Hinchwick Hill Barn.
At the date of the Domesday Survey Durand held 2 hides at BREDON'S NORTON (fn. 150) (Nortune, xi cent.; Northton, xiii cent.) which had apparently passed into the hands of the Bishop of Worcester by 1108–18. (fn. 151) This manor was given as 2 hides and a virgate of land by Bishop Samson (1096–1112) to Illi de Turre. (fn. 152) It passed from him before the end of the 12th century to Hamo de Turre, (fn. 153) and probably not long after to William Poer of Wichenford. (fn. 154) Early in the 13th century Richard Poer was in possession. (fn. 155)
James Poer held the estate in 1299, (fn. 156) and it seems to have followed the same descent as Wichenford (fn. 157) (q.v.) until 1663, when William Washbourne sold it to William Hancock. (fn. 158) It then passed with Westmancote and Hall Court to John Embury and his wife Charlotte, who were dealing with it in 1776–7. (fn. 159) The manor seems afterwards to have followed the descent of the manor of Westmancote. Norton Park, now the residence of Mrs. John Biddulph Martin, was built by the Misses Ann and Penelope Martin and finished in 1839.
In 1362 the manor comprised a capital messuage and a carucate of land, and the pleas and perquisites of court were worth 16d. (fn. 160)
Half a hide of land in Norton was held of the manor of Bredon in the time of Henry II by Robert son of Richard. (fn. 161) It was evidently closely connected with the 2 hides at Moreton held by the same owner. It was perhaps part of this estate which was claimed in 1224 by Robert son of Thomas against his cousin Richard son of David, both claiming descent from a certain Robert who held the land in the time of Henry II. (fn. 162)
In 1274–5 Nicholas de Kingsley claimed 3 acres of land in Norton Robert against Geoffrey Fitz Robert, who said that Alice de Kingsley, to whom Nicholas had given the land, had granted it to him. (fn. 163) The half-hide at Norton had passed with Moreton before 1299 to Walter de Westmancote, (fn. 164) and afterwards came to the Washbournes, who owned the other estate at Norton. (fn. 165)
MITTON (Myttun, Multon, ix cent.; Muttune, Mitune, xi cent.) was granted by Berhtwulf, King of Mercia, to the Bishop and monks of Worcester in 841, (fn. 166) and was included by King Edgar in his famous charter of 964, granting the hundred of Oswaldslow to the church of Worcester. (fn. 167) In 965 Oswald, then Bishop of Worcester, granted 2 manses in 'Muctune,' which may perhaps be identified with Mitton, to one Athelstan for three lives. (fn. 168) Mitton is mentioned as one of the manors which were restored to Bishop Wulfstan in the time of William the Conqueror. (fn. 169) At the date of the Domesday Survey 1 hide at Mitton belonged to the monks of Worcester, (fn. 170) having been granted to them by Ealdred, (fn. 171) who was Bishop of Worcester from 1044 to 1061. (fn. 172) It was confirmed to them by Bishop Simon in 1148. (fn. 173) The tenant of this manor owed the special service of keeping the field of battle (custodire campum) whenever a trial by wager of battle was fought as to any of the lands of the priory. (fn. 174)
The monks subinfeudated this manor from very early times, and their interest was represented by a rent of 40s. received by the chamberlain of the monastery from the 13th to the 16th century. (fn. 175) At the Dissolution it passed to the dean and chapter and was confirmed to them in 1608–9. (fn. 176)
The tenant under the church of Worcester of this hide at Mitton in the time of Henry II was a certain Robert Stilia, (fn. 177) and Robert de la Folie held it early in the 13th century. (fn. 178) In 1235 Philip de Mitton died and his wife purchased the wardship and marriage of his heir of the Prior of Worcester. (fn. 179) It is doubtless this transaction to which the Register of Worcester Priory refers thus: 'Prior William received for the premises [Mitton] 10 marks of silver at the instance and petition of the bishop, who married one of his kinsmen to the heir of Mitton in 1235.' (fn. 180) Sir Nicholas de Mitton was in possession of the estate in 1275 and 1287, (fn. 181) and sold it in 1290–1 to John son of Sir John de Thorndon. (fn. 182) In the following year a controversy arose between John and Nicholas le Chamberlain as to the manor. In settlement of this dispute John gave up his claim to this manor and that of Kinsham in exchange for a rent of £10 from the manor of Fladbury. (fn. 183) Simon le Chamberlain seems to have been in possession in 1299, (fn. 184) but must have sold the manor shortly after to Walter de Beauchamp of Powick, who obtained a grant of free warren there in 1300. (fn. 185) He died two years later, (fn. 186) and Alice de Beauchamp, who paid a subsidy at Mitton in 1327, was probably his widow. (fn. 187) In 1329–30 the manor was settled on her third son Giles, on condition that he paid her £100 yearly during her life. (fn. 188) However, in 1337–8 Giles was ejected from the manor by his brother Sir William, (fn. 189) who settled it in 1348 (fn. 190) upon himself for life with reversion to Thomas de Bradeston and his heirs. (fn. 191) Sir Thomas de Bradeston died seised of it in 1360–1. (fn. 192) His grandson and heir Thomas died in 1374–5, leaving a daughter Elizabeth, (fn. 193) who afterwards became the wife of Walter de la Pole. (fn. 194) The manor passed from her to her grandson Edmund Inglethorpe, (fn. 195) who sold it in 1452 to John Beauchamp Lord Beauchamp of Powick. (fn. 196) John died in 1475, (fn. 197) and his son and successor Richard settled the manor in 1495 upon Robert Willoughby Lord Brooke, who had married his eldest daughter Elizabeth. (fn. 198) Her granddaughter Elizabeth, widow of Sir Fulk Greville, died seised of the manor in 1563 and was succeeded by her son Fulk, (fn. 199) who sold the manor in 1571 to Giles Reed. (fn. 200) Giles died seised of it in 1611, when it passed to his son John. (fn. 201) John Reed seems to have been succeeded by Edward Reed, probably his son, before 1627. (fn. 202) Richard Reed and his wife Eleanor and Edward Reed and others conveyed the manor in 1638–9 to Thomas Lord Coventry and others. (fn. 203)
No further deeds have been found relating to this manor of Mitton, but in 1779 the Earl of Coventry was one of the principal landowners in Mitton, and an important estate at Bredon called Mitton Farm has descended with the title of Earl of Coventry to the present day. (fn. 204) There is, however, no longer a manor at Mitton.
Another estate at Mitton, sometimes called a manor, belonged during the 18th century to the Dowdeswells of Pull Court. It seems to have originated in land acquired by the Davis (fn. 205) family in 1590. In 1636 Giles Davis sold the capital messuage of Little Mitton with other land to Richard Dowdeswell, as agent for Mrs. Catherine Savage. The property was made over in 1660 to Richard Dowdeswell, and it passed with the Pull Court estate (fn. 206) until about 1788, when it was sold by Mr. Dowdeswell as Mitton Farm, containing 101 acres, worth £144 a year. (fn. 207) The further descent of this estate has not been traced, the manorial rights, if any ever existed, having long since lapsed.
A hide of land at KINSHAM (Kilmesham, Chelmesham, xii cent.; Kelmesham, xiii cent.; Kilmesham, xiv cent.; Kensham, xvi cent.) was held of the manor of Bredon (fn. 208) in the time of Henry II by Juliane de Ponville. (fn. 209) Early in the 13th century it was in the hands of John de Bonville. (fn. 210) In 1254–5 Parnel wife of John de Caldecote gave up to Nicholas de Caldecote all her claim to dower in Caldecote and Kinsham in exchange for an annuity of 10s. (fn. 211) This estate afterwards seems to have passed to Nicholas de Mitton, who gave it with Mitton to John de Thorndon. (fn. 212) With Mitton, Kinsham passed to Nicholas le Chamberlain in 1296–7, (fn. 213) and from it was to be paid half the rent which Nicholas agreed to pay to John in exchange for the two manors. (fn. 214) Shortly after Nicholas must have sold the manor to Peter Crok, for he was holding it in 1299, (fn. 215) and in 1301–2, when John de Thorndon gave the rent of £10, half of which he received from this manor, to Guy de Beauchamp Earl of Warwick. (fn. 216) Peter must have sold his estate in the manor soon after this time to Walter de Beauchamp or his wife Alice, for in 1304–5 Guy Earl of Warwick was receiving the rent from Alice de Beauchamp, and in that year gave up all his claim in it to her. (fn. 217) Lady Alice de Beauchamp was apparently still in possession in 1327, (fn. 218) but the manor had passed before 1334–5 to William de Beauchamp, (fn. 219) and from that time it followed the same descent as the manor of Mitton (q.v.) until 1570–1, when Sir Fulk Greville sold it to Anthony Freeman. (fn. 220) The further history of this manor has not been traced.
In 1086 the Bishop of Worcester had a mill in Bredon worth 6s. 8d. (fn. 221); it had increased in value to £2 a year by 1291. (fn. 222) In 1302 the tolls amounted to 5s. 11d. and the millstone was renewed. (fn. 223) The mill was worth 20s. a year in 1511–12. (fn. 224)
At the present day there is no mill in Bredon, though Mill End to the north of the village evidently marks the site of a former one.
The RECTORY MANOR of Bredon, which belongs to the rector, was valued in 1535 at £72 11s., the glebe land being worth £12. (fn. 227) In the 18th century the glebe land included 520 acres, with tithes of 3,200 acres, and the rectory was valued at £1,143 2s. (fn. 228) The rectory estate is now to a large extent divided into allotments and let to over 300 people.
The church of ST. GILES consists of a chancel 45½ ft. by 20½ ft., nave 60½ ft. by 23 ft., a central tower 13½ ft. square between them, a north aisle 33 ft. by 10½ ft., south aisle 32½ ft. by 18½ ft. and a north porch. These measurements are all internal.
The original 12th-century church consisted of an aisleless nave, of which a large part still remains, the existing north porch, and a chancel and central tower; but of the two last no traces now remain, with the exception of the western tower arch. The first addition to the church was the south aisle with its arcade of two bays, which was added about 1220. In the 14th century the chancel was enlarged and rebuilt and the central tower reconstructed, the north aisle with its arcade of two bays being added at the same time. A window was inserted above the west doorway in the 15th century and a rood stair constructed, while the west window of the south aisle was blocked for the Reed tomb in 1611.
The east window of the chancel has four lights and geometrical tracery under a two-centred arch. The opening is of the 14th century, but the tracery is modern. The side walls are each pierced by three original two-light windows with trefoiled heads. The piscina and sedilia are also of the 14th century; the former has a trefoiled head and bowl. The sedilia have heads of the same form with cusped spandrels between them. The eastern tower arch has half-round attached shafts to the jambs with moulded bell capitals and bases and a two-centred arch of three orders.
In the north wall of the tower is a small doorway with a two-centred arch, and above is a trefoil-headed window. The 12th-century western arch is of three pointed orders with a label on which there are traces of red painting; the inner order springs from a scalloped capital with a keeled shaft, and the second order on the western face is enriched with cheveron ornament. On the east side the orders are plain and die into the tower walls.
The north arcade of the nave is of two bays with pointed arches of three chamfered orders and shallow chamfered capitals. The north aisle windows—one of three lights in the east wall and three of two lights on the north—are all 14th-century work with traceried heads. The string of the 12th-century porch and nave remains in the west wall of the aisle.
The north, south and west doorways of the nave all date from the 12th century and have shallow rolls on the internal rear arches and jambs. A roll string on the north and south walls breaks over the door heads; but on the west wall the string is higher and clears the doorway, which has a billet label. Still higher up in the wall is a second string. The north door is externally of two orders, the outer having cheveron ornaments with keeled shafts to the jambs and early carved foliated capitals. The west doorway is recessed in three orders, the middle one enriched with zigzag and springing from scalloped capitals. The south doorway only differs from the western in having a lozenge zigzag mould to the middle order. In the western bay on each side of the nave is an original 12th-century light with plain round head and wide splayed jambs.
The north porch, which is contemporary, has an outer doorway of two orders, with one pair of side shafts and foliated capitals. Above it is a horizontal zigzag string, and the cornice has a nail-head decoration on its upper member. The porch is vaulted, with wall and diagonal ribs, springing from late scalloped and carved foliated capitals and keeled shafts. The stone benches on either side do not extend for the whole length.
The south arcade, of two bays, has a pier and responds of clustered shafts with moulded capitals and bases and pointed arches of two orders. In the wall against the eastern respond is a small shallow piscina. A 15th-century rood-stair turret projects at the north-east corner of the aisle and partly covers a moulded arched recess probably of 14th-century date. In the east wall are three trefoiled lancet windows, and between them on the inner face are independent marble shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the rear arches are trefoiled. In the south wall are four pairs of lancets of similar detail, and to the south-east is a large trefoiled piscina. Below the other windows are three arched recesses. In the east wall is a rough blocked arch, probably a barrow-hole. The west pair of lancet windows is blocked by the Reed monument.
The roof of the south aisle is plastered, and those of the nave and north aisle are modern. In the nave are corbels carved with dragons and human figures.
The gable end of the porch is rubble-faced, but the rest of the building is of ashlar, and on the north side of it is a small square blocked window, formerly lighting the room over the porch. The room has been recently opened up through the west wall. On the south side, in the north wall of the nave, is a blocked doorway with staples for the hinges of a door. From this it is evident that the room was entered by stairs from the inside of the nave. On either side of this doorway are shelved aumbrics. There are also small cupboard recesses in each side wall and on either side of the blocked window in the north wall. There is no made floor, a fact which seems to indicate that, whatever its intended use, it was abandoned soon after its construction.
The exterior of the nave generally is of rough rubble with wide jointing. At the west end the clasping buttresses are carried up as square pinnacles in two stages, with angle shafts and foliated capitals, and terminate in plain square spires. The gable cross is apparently original 12th-century work. The side buttresses are carried up to the eaves, which have tabling with moulded roll corbels. The south aisle is faced with coursed and squared rubble. In the west wall of this aisle is part of a round-headed opening now blocked up, and apparently not in situ. On the south walls are traces of several ancient sundials.
The tower, divided externally into two stages, has an embattled parapet, and is surmounted by an octagonal spire, with roll angles. The walls of the tower have been plastered, and above the window in the north wall is the doorway giving access to the ringing chamber, which is approached by an iron stair outside. The belfry is lit by a two-light window in each wall, the lights of which have been half filled in in recent years. The spire is pierced with three sets of four lights with gabled heads, diminishing in size at each stage. The chancel walls of squared rubble are much covered with ivy. In the second buttress on the north side is a niche of 14th-century date, with a trefoiled head enriched with crockets and ball-flower ornament. The lower part of the north wall has evidently been rebuilt at a later date than the 14th century, as the masonry is of square ashlar with coarser jointing. The north wall of the north aisle has three ashlar-faced buttresses, and the walling generally is of rough ashlar.
The monuments are numerous and interesting. In the north wall of the chancel is a recess with a segmental-pointed feathered arch, enriched with ballflower, under a gabled and crocketed head. The finial and the flanking pinnacles have been broken off. In the recess is a plain blue marble coffin slab, evidently not in its original position. On the south side of the chancel is a slab set up against the wall bearing a rood of unusual design under a crocketed canopy. To the west of this is a small canopied and recessed altar tomb of about the year 1500, with a panelled front, on which rest three recumbent effigies—the first a bearded man with a long cloak and close tunic with long sleeves buttoned on the underside, hose, and a sword with a jewelled belt; the second a lady; at their feet is a man, and a child bare to the waist with a long flowing gown below; beneath is a pedestal with a stem, and a leopard's head at its base. In the ceiling of the canopy is a figure of our Lord in glory.
At the west end of the south aisle of the nave is a handsome alabaster and black marble monument of great size to Giles Reed and Catherine (Greville) his wife, both of whom died in 1611. It has lifesized recumbent effigies on a panelled sarcophagus. The arched canopy is carried on Corinthian columns, and bears in the spandrels the arms of Reed quartering Or three crossbows proper, and the shield of Greville, quartered with Arderne, Ufford and Beauchamp of Powick. Above the cornice is a central arched panel with Reed's quartered coat, surmounted by a black eagle displayed, which is Reed's crest, between two obelisks. On either side of the main arch under which the effigies lie are small side canopies with Ionic capitals carrying ball obelisks, and beneath them are the kneeling figures of eight children, with an inscription recording that John Reed set up the tomb to his parents and that he lies in the south wall near by.
In one of the recesses of the south chapel is a slab, probably of 14th-century date, on which are carved two arms holding a heart, and in another is a tall coffin slab with an elaborate cross of similar date.
In the chancel over the sedilia is a mural monument to Thomas Copley, 1593. In the floor of the chancel are several slabs, and a brass to John Prideaux, Bishop of Worcester, 1650, with a mitre and shields of the arme of the see of Worcester, Prideaux, Goodwin and Reynell. In the sedilia is a 12th-century cross-head.
In the churchyard to the south of the nave is a tomb with a coped top and a roll cross, and next to it an old slab with a plain cross.
Several of the windows contain fragments of ancient stained glass. In the second, on the north side of the chancel, are two figures under 14th-century canopies of St. Mary (? of Egypt) and St. Mary Magdalene, a shield of arms, Barry argent and gules. In the next window to the west are the arms of Tatteshall, Checky gules and or a chief ermine. The window opposite to the latter contains the arms of Beauchamp Earl of Warwick. In the second on the south is a shield with uncertain arms, while in the eastermost on this side are the letters IHS in gold on white.
The wall at the east end of the chancel bears ancient diapering in red below the string.
Set in the treads and risers of the sanctuary steps are numerous 14th-century heraldic tiles, with the arms of England, Castile and Leon, France, Beauchamp, Fitz Alan, Warenne, Bohun, Mortimer, de Vere, Cantelow, Newburgh, Clare, Hastings, Berkeley, Graunson, and many others. There are also other patterns, some of the tiles being arranged in groups of five. Frequently an inscription is to be traced, and some bear the names of the months, but their original arrangement has been disturbed.
There are six bells in all: the first cast by Abraham Rudhall, 1733; the second, third and fifth by an otherwise unknown William Whitmore, 1624, the inscription on the third being 'W. Witmore made us all'; the fourth is by Abraham Rudhall, 1706; the sixth is a 'ting-tang' without inscription. (fn. 229)
The plate includes a silver cup of 1567 and a cover paten probably of the same date, though the date letter is worn away. There is also a silver paten of 1779, presented by S. Smith, rector, in 1799, which appears to have been made originally for secular use.
The registers up to 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms from 1563, marriages 1562 and burials 1559, all to 1700; (ii) baptisms and burials 1701 to 1812 and marriages 1700 to 1754; (iii) marriages 1754 to 1812.
The church of ST. GILES at Bredon's Norton consists of a chancel, nave, west tower and south porch. The earliest details now surviving are the south doorway and parts of the outer doorway of the south porch, which belong to the end of the 12th century. A chancel appears to have been added early in the 13th century, to which period the chancel arch is to be referred. The nave was rebuilt from the foundations in 1883, the 12th-century work above referred to, together with some 13th-century work, being incorporated into the new structure. The west wall, with the tower, were, however, left untouched.
The chancel is lighted from the east by a modern three-light window; a portion of the head is of original early 13th-century date. On the north and south are two-light square-headed windows with modern tracery, and there is also a south doorway. The chancel arch is sharply pointed and of three moulded orders, with angle-shafts on both faces of the responds, having curiously stilted bases and foliated capitals of good early 13th-century character.
In the north wall of the nave is a reset lancet of the 13th century, and beneath it is a portion of a scroll string-course contemporary with it. The south doorway is of the late 12th century and is of two round-arched orders, with angle-shafts in the outer order having scalloped capitals. The head is moulded with sunk quarter-rounds. A sundial stone has been set on the inside of the west jamb. The outer doorway of the porch contains stones of the same period. The jamb-shafts are ornamented with zigzags, and their scalloped capitals have chamfered and pelleted abaci, and the arch has the cheveron and pellet enrichment. In the west wall of the nave is a small original lancet looking into the tower, and below it is a plain chamfered pointed doorway, also of original date.
In the south and west walls of the ground stage of the tower are modern lancets, and at the north-east are the stairs, entered originally from within by a square-headed doorway probably of the 14th century. The entrance is now from the outside. The second stage of the tower is lighted by a small square-headed window and the bell-chamber by two-light windows with heads of similar form. The string-course above and the crowning embattled parapet are of the 15th century. The exterior is faced with squared stone.
On the north wall of the chancel is a marble monument to William Hancock, who died in 1719, and to his wife, who died in 1685. It is inclosed by a good wrought-iron railing. On the monument are his arms: Gules a hand argent and a chief argent with three cocks gules therein, impaling Argent a fesse nebuly with three hares' heads or thereon, for Harewell of Wootton Wawen.
There are six bells. The treble, by Mears & Stainbank, was added in 1885, the gift of Mrs. Martin; the other five are by Abel Rudhall, all dated 1738 except the fourth, which is of 1739.
The plate consists of a silver cup of 1708 inscribed 'Norton juxta Bredon 1709,' a paten of the same date inscribed on the foot 'IHΣ,' a plated paten inscribed 'Norton juxta Bredon,' and a small modern flagon of 1889.
The registers date from 1754 to 1812.
The church at CUTSDEAN consists of a chancel 19 ft. by 13 ft. internally, nave 28 ft. by 14½ ft., and a west tower about 6 ft. square. The tower alone remains of the original building and appears to date from the 15th century. It is built of coursed rubble and the stages are unmarked by external string-courses. In the west wall of the ground stage is a doorway with a two-centred head, and above is a single light with a square external head. The ringing stage is lighted by a small plain light on the west and the bell-chamber by windows of two lights, with traceried two-centred heads, in the north, west and south walls. A similar window in the east wall was blocked on the rebuilding of the nave. The nave and chancel were rebuilt on the old foundations in 1863 and do not appear to reproduce the character of the demolished work.
There are two bells, both apparently cast in the year 1865, by Bond of Burford.
The plate includes a silver cup of 1767, a paten of the same date, a flagon, not of silver, and a pewter almsdish.
The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) mixed entries from 1696 to 1758; (ii) mixed entries from 1759 to 1812.
The advowson of Bredon belonged to the Bishops of Worcester. In 1287 Bishop Giffard obtained licence to appropriate the church of Bredon with its chapels of Sutton (? Mitton), Norton and Westmancote to the collegiate church of Westbury. (fn. 230) This was followed by a petition of the Prior and convent of Worcester to Pope Nicholas IV complaining that by making the church of Bredon prebendal to the college of Westbury the bishop had deprived them of their right to institute to the church during a vacancy in the see. (fn. 231) The appropriation of Bredon never seems to have taken place, and the advowson remained with successive Bishops of Worcester (fn. 232) until it passed with the manor into the hands of Queen Elizabeth. It was granted with the manor in 1577 to Henry Knollys and Edward Williams and sold by them to Thomas Copley and George Hornyold. (fn. 233) It then followed the same descent as the Copleys' moiety of the manor until 1626–7, when Thomas Copley sold it to William Sutton, clerk. (fn. 234) Between this date and 1749 the presentations were made by various persons, (fn. 235) but they were perhaps feoffees of the Suttons and patrons for one turn only, for Mary Sutton presented in 1642 and Mary Sutton widow in 1749, (fn. 236) and in 1670 a rent from the glebe lands of the rectory was paid by Dr. Henry Sutton. (fn. 237) Benjamin Pearkes was patron in 1781, (fn. 238) having purchased the advowson about 1780 from William Davenport. (fn. 239) Pearkes sold it in 1783–4 to John Durand, (fn. 240) who presented in 1787. (fn. 241) Before 1806 the advowson had passed to John Keysall, (fn. 242) and he sold it between 1836 and 1842 to Rev. Thomas Arthur Strickland. (fn. 243) Eight years later the right of presentation passed to Jacob Jones, (fn. 244) and was purchased of him in 1858 by the Duke of Portland, (fn. 245) from whom it has passed to the present duke.
The date of the foundation of the chantry of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the church of Bredon is not known. The earliest mention of it occurs in 1287, when Thomas de Hardwick was collated to it by the bishop. (fn. 246) Possibly this chantry was augmented by a bequest by William de Loriaco, rector of Bredon, for finding a chaplain to celebrate in the church of Bredon for the repose of his soul, (fn. 247) as there is no record of a second foundation. The advowson of the chantry belonged to the Bishops of Worcester (fn. 248) until 1458, when the chantry was annexed to the church of Bredon, because the lands belonging to it had become so reduced in value by plague and from other causes that they did not bring in 40s. a year, and were insufficient to maintain a priest. The rector of the church was to possess the chantry on condition that he found a chaplain to celebrate at the altar of the Blessed Virgin when the chaplains of the chantry were accustomed to celebrate there. (fn. 249) At the date of the suppression of the chantries in the reign of Edward VI the chantry priest was still supported by a rent-charge of 40s. from the glebe land of the parsonage, to which the chantry land had evidently been added. (fn. 250) This rent-charge of 40s. passed to the Crown on the suppression of the chantry, and was vested in trustees for sale in 1670. (fn. 251) The rent was sold in 1672 to Sir John Banks of Aylesford, bart. (fn. 252)
There was a chapel at Mitton, dedicated in honour of the Holy Cross, (fn. 253) the remains of which are still in existence. It was a chapelry of the church of Bredon. (fn. 254) The first mention of it occurs in 1287, (fn. 255) and in 1290 Sir Nicholas de Mitton left by his will 1 mark to the work of the chapel of Mitton, and made bequests to the chaplain and clerk of Mitton. (fn. 256)
In 1427 the inhabitants of Mitton petitioned that they might have a cemetery at their chapel of Mitton, as the town was about 2 miles from the parish church of Bredon. Their petition was granted by the pope. (fn. 257) The only other reference to the chapel of Mitton is in 1571, when its advowson was included in the sale of the manor of Mitton by Sir Fulk Greville to Giles Reed. (fn. 258)
A chapel in Westmancote was dependent on the church of Bredon in 1287, (fn. 259) and in 1290 Sir Nicholas de Mitton made bequests to the chaplain and clerk of Westmancote. (fn. 260) No further reference to this chapel has been found.
There is at present a mission room at Westmancote attached to the chapelry of Norton-by-Bredon.
The chapel at Norton was also dependent on the church of Bredon, (fn. 261) and to the chaplain and clerk of this chapel Sir Nicholas de Mitton bequeathed money in 1290. (fn. 262) Bredon's Norton is still a chapelry of Bredon.
At the date of the Domesday Survey there was a priest at Cutsdean. (fn. 263) The chapel was in the 13th century attached to the church of Bredon, (fn. 264) and so remained until 1912, when it became a separate parish in the patronage of the Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 265)
There is a Baptist chapel in Cutsdean, which was opened in 1839, and also one in Westmancote, opened in 1779. The Wesleyan Methodists have a chapel at Bredon, and there is also a Baptist mission chapel in Kinsham, opened in 1849.
The almshouses founded by Catharine Reed, and endowed in 1696 by her nephew, Richard Reed, are regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners 6 May 1884.
The endowments consists of about 90 a. at Aston and Pamington, 35 a. at Tredington, and 16 a. at Fiddington, bringing in a gross rental of £142 a year, or thereabouts; also tithes on land at Ashchurch, co. Gloucester, amounting to £11 0s. 3d. a year. The official trustees also hold £579 12s. 4d. consols, producing £14 9s. 8d. yearly, and a sum of £235 17s. 3d. like stock on an investment account for replacing amount expended on the farm at Tredington. The income—subject to the payment of an annuity of £4 to Brasenose College, Oxford—is applied for the benefit of eight poor widows or maids, inmates of the said almshouses.
In 1731 Charles Parsons—as mentioned on the church table—by his will gave 40s. a year for the distribution of bread on the first Sunday in every month; also a Mr. Gatley, by his will, gave 6s. 8d. a year for the distribution of bread on St. Thomas's Day.
In 1743 Mary Sutton, by her will, left £200 to be laid out in land, out of which the testatrix directed that £1 should be paid to the minister for preaching a sermon on 2nd February each year, the residue of the rents to be distributed to poor residents of Bredon and Norton. The sum of £7 a year is paid by the proprietor of an estate in Bredon and distributed in sums of 1s. among 140 poor people.
—On the inclosure in 1808 an allotment of 6 a. or thereabouts was awarded in exchange for certain lands, known as Church Lands, which had been in the possession of the parish from time immemorial. The land is let at £35 a year, which is carried to the churchwardens' account.
The Free School, or Blue Coat School, founded by a codicil to the will of William Hancock, dated in 1718, was originally for the education and clothing of twelve boys, and for apprenticing, the schoolmaster to be a member of the Church of England, but not in ecclesiastical orders.
The endowment consists of the school buildings and land in Bredon, and 37 a. or thereabouts in Ashchurch, co. Gloucester, the rental value being about £140 a year.
The official trustees also hold £70 11s. 5d. consols, arising from the sale of timber, producing £1 15s. yearly.
The chapel of Norton is in possession of 6 a. in Bredon Meadow, acquired in exchange for certain lands mentioned on the church table as anciently given to the chapel of Norton, and for half an acre derived in 1646 under the will of John Jennings.
The land is let at £16 a year, of which £2 is distributed in bread to the poor and the remainder is applied towards the repairs of the church.
John Haydon, by his will proved at Worcester 9 February 1782, bequeathed his residuary estate to trustees, the income to be paid to a Baptist minister, who should duly and statedly preach to the congregation at Westmancote, and for teaching fifteen poor children gratis reading, writing and arithmetic and the principles of the Christian religion. The charity is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners 26 October 1904. The trust funds are now represented by £1,159 Bristol Corporation 2½ per cent. stock, held by the official trustees, producing £28 19s. 6d. yearly, of which one moiety is payable absolutely to the Baptist minister and the other moiety to the same minister so long as he shall conduct an efficient Sunday school.