Parishes: Grimley

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

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'Parishes: Grimley', in A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3, (London, 1913) pp. 364-366. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

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Grimanlege (ix cent.); Grimanleag (x cent.); Grimanleh (xi cent.); Grimele (xiii cent.).

The parish of Grimley on the right bank of the Severn to the north of Hallow covers an area of 2,471 acres. Of these 865 acres are arable land, the chief crops being wheat, barley, beans and roots. The soil is loam and gravel, the subsoil red marl and clay. There are 1,187 acres of permanent grass and the woods and plantations cover 180 acres. (fn. 1) Grimley Brook, a tributary of the Severn, rises to the north of Monk Wood and forms the northern boundary of Grimley, the Severn forming the eastern boundary. The land near the river is very low-lying and liable to floods, being only 48 ft. above ordnance datum. The village itself stands about 70 ft. above the ordnance datum. To the west the ground rises, reaching a height of 200 ft. at Oakhall Green near Monk Wood. A road from Worcester to Stourport runs north past the vicarage and crosses Grimley Brook near Ball Mill. At Camp House a ferry leads to Bevere.

The village of Grimley is situated on the right bank of the Severn to the east of the road from Stourport to Worcester. The church stands at the north end of the short street which constitutes the village. Sinton (fn. 2) is a hamlet to the west of the village. Sinton Court, a 19th-century house of moderate size, is the residence of Mr. Thomas MacBean. Thorngrove, the property of Mrs. Lee Williams, now occupied by Mr. Herbert Whiteley, was for several years the residence of Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Canino, younger brother of Napoleon I, when a prisoner of war in this country. It is a plain stone mansion of the late 18th century standing in extensive grounds.

The Priors of Worcester visited Grimley frequently in the 14th century, and transacted business here. Many letters and orders in 1302, 1307 and 1375 are dated from Grimley. (fn. 3) The manor-house built in the reign of Henry VIII was destroyed towards the close of the 17th century and replaced by a cross-timbered building called 'The Palace.' (fn. 4)

George Hooper, Bishop of Bath and Wells, was born here in 1640, (fn. 5) and Sir Samuel White Baker, F.R.S., F.R.A.S., the African explorer, is buried in the churchyard, his father Samuel Baker being then the owner of Thorngrove in this parish.

Former place-names in the parish include Ocholt or Okholtesgrove, Sechenhal, Bertrithestoking, Erthelond, Smocacra, Storteland, Werle, Hashulle, Heldedeshashull, Boygrava, Rugmore, Smethemor, Ailwinch, Holithurn, Marshell, Butholt, Leintewirthin (fn. 6) (xiii cent.); Pritch (fn. 7) (xvi cent.); the Vineyard, (fn. 8) Monkredding and Holy Well (fn. 9) (xix cent.).


Bertwulf, King of the Mercians, in 851 gave 3 cassata at GRIMLEY to the church of Worcester for the salvation of his soul. It was to be free of all service except military service and the building of bridges. (fn. 10) Possibly King Offa also granted land at Grimley to the monastery, as a charter of that king relating to Grimley is noted among the charters of the church of Worcester. (fn. 11)

Bishop Oswald (961–72) leased four manses at Grimley and one at Moseley (fn. 12) to his brother Oswulf for three lives, (fn. 13) but Bishop Wulfstan redeemed it in the time of William the Conqueror and gave it to Thomas, Prior of Worcester. (fn. 14)

Grimley was among the possessions of the monastery of Worcester in 1086, (fn. 15) and was confirmed to the monks by Bishop Simon in 1148. (fn. 16) It is difficult to account for the statement found in one of the cloister windows of Worcester Cathedral that Bishop Walter (1214–16) gave Grimley to the priory of Worcester. (fn. 17) In 1240 the priory held at Grimley a court and 2 carucates of land, one of which was held by the tenants at will and the other let to them at farm. (fn. 18) In 1256 the monks obtained a grant of free warren at Grimley. (fn. 19) From that time until the Dissolution Grimley remained in the possession of the priory of Worcester. (fn. 20)

The manor was granted by Henry VIII to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester in 1542, (fn. 21) but in 1547 they gave it back to the king in exchange for the rectory of Kempsey and other lands, (fn. 22) and Edward VI gave the manor of Grimley in the same year to the Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 23) Bishop Heath was deprived of his see when he refused to subscribe to the Edwardian Prayer Book, but on the appointment of Bishop Hooper Edward VI gave him the lands of the bishopric. (fn. 24) Grimley remained in episcopal hands until 1648, when it was sold to John Corbett. (fn. 25) The bishop recovered it at the Restoration, and it was taken over in 1860 by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 26) who are the present lords of the manor.

Bishop Pates gave a long lease of the rent-corn from Grimley to 'Master Abingdon,' Cofferer to Elizabeth, but John Whitgift, on being appointed to the see, found the bishopric so much impoverished by this and other leases, the rent-corn of Hallow and Grimley being 'the chief upholding of the bishop's hospitality,' that he appealed to the queen to restore it to the see. Notwithstanding that Habington 'was a great man then to contend withal, his wife being sometimes the Queen's Bedfellow,' the queen supported the bishop, and Habington was obliged to surrender his lease in return for £300. (fn. 27)

The monks of Worcester held Monk Wood in demesne in the 13th century. (fn. 28) They bought James de Wichenford's rights of pasturage in 1300 (fn. 29) and obtained licence to impark Monk Wood in 1309. (fn. 30) When the manor of Grimley was granted to William Moore, the retiring prior, in 1536, (fn. 31) he petitioned the king to allow him 'the mansion place' of Grimley with sufficient fuel from the wood called Monk Wood. (fn. 32) Monk Wood was evidently granted with the manor to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester, for in 1546 they surrendered it to the king. (fn. 33) Nash states that when he was writing at the end of the 18th century Monk Wood contained 145 acres, of which about 50 acres were coppice wood. (fn. 34)

In 1086 the church of Worcester owned a mill at Grimley, which yielded no profit, (fn. 35) and half a fishery. In the 13th century the mill was leased at 24s. yearly. (fn. 36) The inhabitants of Grimley were obliged to take their corn to be ground at Broadwas when their own mill was out of repair. (fn. 37) When the manor of Grimley was sold in 1648 by the Parliamentary Commissioners the mill of Grimley, then known as Ball Mill, was included in the sale. (fn. 38) The present Ball Mill is a corn-mill on Grimley Brook, to the west of the village.


The church of ST. BARTHOLOMEW consists of a chancel 27 ft. by 15½ ft., north vestry, nave 45½ ft. by 19½ ft., north aisle 9¼ ft. wide, south porch, and a western tower 13 ft. by 10 ft. These dimensions are all internal. The only remains of the 12th-century church are the south doorway and the lower part of the south wall of the nave. The chancel appears to have been rebuilt in the 13th century, assuming that the restored lancet windows in its walls are copies of their predecessors. The south wall of the nave was partly rebuilt in the 14th century, when the three existing windows were inserted, and a larger window was inserted in the east wall of the chancel in the 15th century. The tower was probably erected at the same time. The north aisle and vestry were added in 1886, and at the same time the rest of the building underwent a drastic restoration.

The 15th-century east window of the chancel is of three lights under a traceried four-centered head. In each side wall are two lancet windows renovated almost wholly with modern stonework. One now opens into the modern vestry on the north side. The pointed chancel arch is modern.

In the south wall of the nave are three windows of two lights under traceried pointed heads; they appear to be of 14th-century date, but are of unusually rough workmanship. Below the first window outside is the lower part of a 12th-century shallow buttress, and to the east of it and also below the second window are some indications of blocked openings. The 12th-century south doorway is of two orders, and has detached shafts to the jambs with modern capitals. The modern south porch is designed to harmonize with it in style, as is the stairway which gives access to the west gallery. The modern arcade north of the nave is of three bays, and the aisle is lighted by three two-light windows on the north and a single light at the west end. The tower has been entirely modernized; it is in four stages, supported by diagonal buttresses. The west doorway has a four-centred head, with a two-light traceried window over it. The bell-chamber is lighted by pairs of two-light transomed windows, with a quatrefoil in the head of each. Their ogee labels terminate in carved finials. The parapet is embattled and a gargoyle projects from each face.

The roofs are gabled and modern.

The font is apparently an old one recut. It is octagonal in plan, with a moulding of 15th-century character on the lower ridge of the bowl; the base is new. The pulpit and the other furniture are modern, and under the tower is a gallery. The monuments are all of the late 18th century or modern.

Two of the 14th-century windows contain 15th-century stained glass. One has the kneeling figure of a saint in the western light holding a cup and paten. In its east light is a figure of God the Father in the act of blessing; the two lights appear to be part of a single subject. Another window has a representation of the Annunciation.

There are six bells: the first three cast by John Rudhall in 1820; the fourth dated 1599 and inscribed 'God be our good spede, William Wogan, I.G.'; the fifth bears the inscription '+ Jesus ba (sic) our sped 1626'; the tenor is a well-known dated pre-Reformation bell, it is inscribed in Lombardic capitals 'O Beate O Sancte Gregori laus tibi in gloria,' with winged dragons and a cross; below it in script letters is another small inscription reading 'T. Clyvegrove, Tempore dñi Roberti Multon Prioris Wygornae Anno Dñi millimo CCCCmo LXXXIJ.'

The communion plate comprises a large silver cup of 1635 with the initials F/RA, a plated paten, and a silver flagon of 1812.

The registers are as follows: (i) mixed entries 1573 to 1731; (ii) baptisms and burials only 1731 to 1812; (iii) marriages for the same period.


In 1238 there was a free chapel at Grimley. (fn. 39) The advowson belonged to the Priors of Worcester (fn. 40) until the monastery was dissolved. It was appropriated to the priory in 1268 under the title of 'church,' and to it was attached the chapelry of Hallow. (fn. 41) In 1269 the bishop assigned to the vicar 10 marks from the priory until a certain portion of the tithes had been provided, (fn. 42) and the vicarage was ordained in the following year. (fn. 43) In the 16th century 20s. was paid to the vicar out of the rectory. (fn. 44) After the Dissolution the advowson and rectory passed with the manor to the Bishop of Worcester. In 1549 the advowson was sold to William Sheldon by Bishop Heath, (fn. 45) but in the following year the bishop recovered the patronage by exchanging for it certain land in Ditchford. (fn. 46) From that time until the present day the Bishops of Worcester have been patrons of the church. (fn. 47) In the 18th century the rectory of Grimley seems to have been leased to members of the Davis family, Francis Davis (fn. 48) dealing with it in 1741 and Thomas and Edwin Davis and others in 1776. (fn. 49)

During the Commonwealth a grant of £50 was made for the maintenance of the minister of Grimley. (fn. 50) Hallow was a chapelry of Grimley until 1876. (fn. 51)

Question arose in 1733 about the tithes of hops, which, it was claimed, should not pay tithe because they had been introduced into the parish recently and after the time at which a composition in money had been made for the small tithes. Dr. Thomas took counsel's opinion, but he does not state how the matter was settled. (fn. 52)


The Poor Land.

—In 1732 Mrs. Rebecca Clarke, as stated on the church table, gave land in Grimley Field and Broadley, the rents whereof to be laid out in bread to poor housekeepers. The land was sold in 1880, and the proceeds invested in £151 6s. 5d. consols with the official trustees, producing £3 15s. 8d. yearly.

In 1812 Thomas Berrow, as stated on the same table, gave £40 for the poor. This sum was invested in £40 5s. 7d. consols in the name of the official trustees, producing £1 yearly.

Thomas Bourne, by his will (date not stated), gave £100, the interest to be distributed in flannel and linen to the poor. The legacy was invested in £100 15s. 1d. consols, with the official trustees, producing £2 10s. 4d. yearly.

In 1875 Susannah Garmston, by her will proved at Worcester 21 August, bequeathed £1,000, the interest to be applied in the purchase of coal for the poor. This sum was invested in £1,036 5s. 4d. consols, with the official trustees, producing £25 18s. yearly.

The church allotments consist of 2 a. 2 r. 28 p., producing £4 4s. yearly.

In 1910 the net income of the preceding charities, amounting to £35 13s. 10d., was applied as to £4 10s. 6d. in money gifts, £5 3s. 4d. in bread and flannel, and £26 in coal.

The church table further stated that Anna Bull, by her will, gave £100 to purchase lands, the yearly rents whereof were to be laid out for teaching poor children of Hallow and Grimley to read English and to learn the Church Catechism. The money was laid out in 1722 in land at Newland in Leigh, which, with an allotment under the Inclosure Act, consisted of about 3 acres. The land has been sold, and the endowment now consists of £2,886 16s. 1d. consols, with the official trustees, producing £72 3s. 4d. yearly, of which two-fifths is applied for educational purposes in Grimley, two-fifths in Hallow, and onefifth in the parish of Madresfield.

In 1864 Susan Bourne, by her will proved at Worcester 22 June, left £300, the interest to be applied in clothing or relief in money, or both, to sick and other poor persons. The legacy, less duty, was invested in £303 15s. 11d. consols, with the official trustees. The income, amounting to £7 11s. 8d. yearly, is applied at Christmas in clothing to about twenty widows or other needy persons.


  • 1. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 2. Sinton is probably to be identified with the 13th-century Suthintun or Sudintun (Reg. of Worc. Priory [Camden Soc.], 44a). In the 13th century Matthew de Hallow gave land there to his daughter Joan, by whom it was afterwards given to the priory of Worcester (Prattinton Coll. [Soc. Antiq.], Deeds of D. and C. of Worc. no. 81, 250, 133).
  • 3. Sede Vacante Reg. (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 78, &c.
  • 4. Noake, Guide to Worcs. 171.
  • 5. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 6. Hale, Reg. of Worc. Priory (Camden Soc.), 42a, 42b, 43a, 46b, 47a.
  • 7. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccxl, 63. Pritch may have derived its name from J. Prich, a rod-knight of the prior, in 1240 (Hale, Reg. of Worc. Priory [Camden Soc.], 44b).
  • 8. The vineyard at Grimley is mentioned in 1240 (Reg. of Worc. Priory [Camden Soc.], 43b).
  • 9. Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.).
  • 10. Heming, Chartul. (ed. Hearne), 416; Birch, Cart. Sax. ii, 55. The bounds of the land are given in this charter.
  • 11. Heming, op. cit. 584.
  • 12. Moseley, though not mentioned by name, seems to have been included in King Coenwulf's grant of 816, freeing Hallow and its members from secular services (Thomas, Surv. of Worc. Cath. A 25).
  • 13. Birch, op. cit. iii, 385; Heming, op. cit. 596, 147. The boundaries of the land are given in this charter.
  • 14. Heming, op. cit. 407.
  • 15. V.C.H. Worcs. i, 295b.
  • 16. Thomas, op. cit. App. no. 18.
  • 17. Ibid. S. 32; Habington, Surv. of Worcs. ii, 366.
  • 18. Reg. of Worc. Priory (Camden Soc.), 41a.
  • 19. Cal. Pat. 1354–8, p. 266.
  • 20. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 221. At this time the manor was valued at £55 15s. 9½d. It had been assigned to William Moore in 1536 when he resigned the priorship, and he continued to hold it far into the reign of Elizabeth (L. and P. Hen. VIII, x, 1272; Dugdale, Mon. i, 581).
  • 21. Pat. 33 Hen. VIII, pt. v, m. 19.
  • 22. Close, 38 Hen. VIII, pt. ii, no. 51; Pat. 1 Edw. VI, pt. ix, m. 5; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xxi (2), g. 770 (50), 326.
  • 23. Pat. 1 Edw. VI, pt. iv; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xxi (2), g. 770 (67).
  • 24. Ibid. 6 Edw. VI, pt. vii.
  • 25. Close, 24 Chas. I, pt. xiv, no. 26.
  • 26. Stat. 23 & 24 Vict. cap. 124.
  • 27. Sir Geo. Paule, Life of Archbishop Whitgift, 27, 28.
  • 28. Hale, Reg. of Worc. Priory (Camden Soc.), 47a.
  • 29. Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iv, 549.
  • 30. Inq. a.q.d. file 71, no. 18; Cal. Pat. 1307–13, p. 200.
  • 31. a See note 20 above.
  • 32. L. and P. Hen. VIII, x, 1272.
  • 33. a Ibid. xxi (2), 326.
  • 34. op. cit. i, 471.
  • 35. V.C.H. Worcs. i, 295b.
  • 36. Hale, Reg. of Worc. Priory (Camden Soc.), 41b.
  • 37. Ibid. 32a.
  • 38. Close, 24 Chas. I, pt. xiv, no. 26.
  • 39. Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iv, 430.
  • 40. Hale, Reg. of Worc. Priory (Camden Soc.), 44a.
  • 41. Ann. Mon. (Rolls Ser.), iv, 458; Reg. G. Giffard (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 1.
  • 42. Reg. G. Giffard (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 26.
  • 43. Worc. Epis. Reg. Carpenter (1443–76), i, 193 d.
  • 44. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 224.
  • 45. Pat. 3 Edw. VI, pt. v.
  • 46. Ibid. 4 Edw. VI, pt. ii, m. 21.
  • 47. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
  • 48. Feet of F. Worcs. Mich. 15 Geo. II.
  • 49. Ibid. Trin. 16 Geo. III.
  • 50. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1658–9, p. 112.
  • 51. Parl. Papers (1890–1), lxi, no. 386, p. 50.
  • 52. Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.).