Parishes: Kempsey

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

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'Parishes: Kempsey', A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3, (London, 1913), pp. 430-437. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

. "Parishes: Kempsey", in A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3, (London, 1913) 430-437. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

. "Parishes: Kempsey", A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3, (London, 1913). 430-437. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

In this section


Kemesei, Kemeseg (viii cent.); Kemesege (ix cent.); Chemesege (xi cent.).

Kempsey is a parish on the left bank of the Severn, containing 3,238 acres of land, of which 32 are covered with water. The parish is watered by the Severn and a tributary, the Hatfield Brook. The village of Kempsey lies on the high road from Worcester to Tewkesbury. This road is mentioned in 1427 and 1448, when an indulgence was granted to all who should assist in repairing the old highway leading from Worcester to Kempsey. (fn. 1) In 1634 and 1635 it was presented at the county court of Worcester that this road was in great decay, (fn. 2) and in 1640 it was still out of repair. (fn. 3) The site of the bishop's palace is near the church of St. Mary in the middle of the village. Close to the church are traces of a Roman camp where urns and coins were found in 1835–6. Kempsey House, the residence of Mrs. Boucher, stands west of the high road, in grounds through which flows Hatfield Brook, supplying a small piece of artificial water.

Kerswell Green with its mission church and Methodist chapel is on the southern border of the parish. Most of the houses there lie on the north side of a small green. Between Kerswell and Baynhall is The Nash, the seat of Lieut.-Col. Sir Richard Carnac Temple, bart. The house is now an irregularly shaped building running east and west with the porch and entrance on the south. It is of red brick partly on a stone base. The existing building is of various dates, and consists of three independent halftimbered blocks, standing partly on a stone base and recased in red brick, which have been joined together by covering in the spaces between them under connected pent roofs, now showing twenty stepped gables with brick copings. The present hall was thus formed. To the left of it is the dining room, and over it the 'oak bedroom,' forming one of the old houses, apparently a 'hall.' In the dining room was an ingle, now covered in, and traces of a stair leading from it to the room above still exist. Both rooms are panelled with early oak, covering earlier walls of half-timber. They are ceiled with fine Italian plaster-work with plaster friezes of about 1600, and are of the same pattern as a ceiling at Madresfield Court: vine, rose, oak and thistle. The dining room frieze is of Tudor roses and Prince of Wales' feathers. The over-doors are of plaster with figures. In the oak bedroom is a large Italian painted plaster mantel of figures and strap-work dated 1598. Above this room and under the present roof are the timbers of the original roof, showing curved tie-beams and wind-braces. The hall is half-panelled in linen pattern oak, and contains a good 'Queen Anne' staircase, a leaded stained glass window of unusual construction, and a fireplace in an ingle with a window (restored) dated 1648 carved with figures and foliage. Here is also an early font originally in Pershore Abbey. The bowl is circular with a line of interlacing arches enriched with nail-head ornament and having thirteen seated figures within them. The stem, resting on a modern base, has a band of scallops and cable moulding. There is much panelling elsewhere and furniture of the 17th and 18th centuries. The bay windows and other openings chiefly date from the extensive changes made in 1831. The chimneys are very tall and are set diagonally.

An extensive museum of Burmese carvings and savage implements from the islands in the Bay of Bengal has been recently added to the house.

Draycott lies to the south. Draycott House is the residence of Lieut.-Col. Charles Edmund Southouse Scott, R.A. Napleton, with the seat of Mr. Philip Seymour Williams, and Stonehall are in the east, Brook End in the north-east and Upper Ham in the north. Lower Ham is a large common meadow, subject to floods, to the south-west of the village. There is a ferry there to Pixham and Malvern. At Clerkenleap, Treadway Russell Nash, the historian of Worcestershire, was born on 24 June 1725. (fn. 4)

Kempsey Common is a large piece of rough grassland south-east of the town. There is another smaller common at Stonehall, and Normoor Common is north of Kerswell Green.

The village and a large part of the parish lie very low in the Severn Valley 50 ft. or less above the ordnance datum. Kempsey Common is about 100 ft. above the ordnance datum, and the land rises northeastward to a height of 200 ft. at Stonehall Common. In 1905 the parish of Kempsey contained 877 acres of arable land, 1,677 of permanent grass and 20 of woods and plantations. (fn. 5) The soil is various and the subsoil Keuper Marl, producing crops of wheat, barley and beans.

At Upper Broomhall Farm in the north of the parish there are remains of a moat.

Beanhall in Kempsey was purchased with a sum of £100 bequeathed to the poor of the parish of St. Michael, Worcester, in 1712 by Mrs. Henrietta Wrottesley. The rent from this land was to be distributed upon All Saints' Day and at the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin by the minister and churchwardens and two of the feoffees of the charity. (fn. 6)

During the siege of Worcester in June 1646 the house of a Mrs. Andrews at Barneshall was fortified by the besieging army, who stationed troops of horse and dragoons at Kempsey in order to cut off communications towards the south. (fn. 7)

Richard de Marisco, who may have been related to the family of that name holding land at Nortonjuxta-Kempsey, was presented in 1212 to the rectory of Kempsey. He was one of King John's worst advisers, becoming Chancellor in 1214 and Bishop of Durham in 1217. (fn. 8)

Various antiquities, of which an account has been given in a former volume, have been found at Kempsey. (fn. 9)

Place-names which occur in deeds relating to Kempsey are the Lode Ground (fn. 10) (xvi cent.); Carlsome, (fn. 11) Garston Bridge, Ripple Gate Close, (fn. 12) and Byrdley Hall (fn. 13) (xvii cent.).


Thirty manses belonging to the 'monasterium' called KEMPSEY were given in 799 by Coenwulf, King of Mercia, to Abbot Balthun, and at the same time this land was freed from all secular services, except military service and the building and repairing of bridges and strongholds. (fn. 14) The same king gave all the monasteries which belonged to Worcester to the monks of Worcester in 814. (fn. 15) This grant evidently included the monastery of Kempsey, which was given by the monks to their Bishop Deneberht (798–822) and his assigns for two lives, with reversion to the monastery. (fn. 16) The gift of Beormodeslea and Colesburna to Balthun by the bishop and monks may have been made to compensate him for the loss of Kempsey. (fn. 17) The manor evidently passed from Deneberht to his successors in the see, Eadberht and Aelhun, and the latter gave the manor back to the monks in 844. (fn. 18) In 847, however, they gave it again to Bishop Aelhun for two lives, on condition that his heirs should pay yearly to the monks on his anniversary certain specified provisions. (fn. 19) The manor seems to have passed into the possession of the Bishops of Worcester, possibly on account of these grants by the monks, and at the time of the Domesday Survey the large manor of Kempsey, including 24 hides, was held by the Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 20) In 1189 Richard I gave licence to assart 161½ acres in the manor of Kempsey, (fn. 21) and this grant was confirmed by King John in 1199. (fn. 22) Henry III in 1255 granted to the bishop free warren in his manor of Kempsey, provided it did not lie within the king's forest. (fn. 23) The bishop held 4 carucates of land, a mill, and a dovecot at Kempsey in 1291. (fn. 24) Kempsey remained in the possession of successive bishops (fn. 25) until 1648, when it was confiscated and sold by the Parliamentary trustees to Christopher Meredith of London. (fn. 26) It was conveyed in 1656 by Richard Harlakenden to Herbert Pelham and John Joscelyn, (fn. 27) but was restored to the bishop on the accession of Charles II. Since that time the successive bishops remained in possession of the manor until it was transferred in 1860 to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 28) in whose possession it still remains.

The Bishops of Worcester had a park at their manor of Kempsey. (fn. 29) A manor-house evidently existed here in early times, for Bishop Leofric died at Kempsey in September 1033. (fn. 30) A house in the village still called the Palace probably marks its site. It seems to have been a favourite seat of the Bishops of Worcester, (fn. 31) and it was here that Simon de Montfort, accompanied by Bishop Cantilupe, brought Henry III as a prisoner in 1265 before the battle of Evesham. (fn. 32) Henry II issued from Kempsey a charter relating to Inkberrow, (fn. 33) and Edward I appears to have been a frequent visitor here as the guest of Bishop Godfrey Giffard. (fn. 34)

The estate called HOWDENS probably originated in two messuages and a virgate of land at Broomhall in the manor of Kempsey granted by William, Bishop of Worcester (1302–7), to his chamberlain Adam de Howden, and confirmed to Adam by the prior and convent in 1313 (fn. 35) and by the king in 1320. (fn. 36) A tenement called Howdens in Kempsey and Broomhall seems to have been in the possession of Adam Moleyns, Dean of Salisbury, in 1444. (fn. 37) The capital messuage of Howdens afterwards passed to the Mucklow family of Martley. Richard Mucklow died seised of it in 1556, when it passed to his son Simon. (fn. 38) He settled it in 1570 upon his son John and upon Appollina wife of the latter. John died in 1579, leaving a son Simon, a minor. (fn. 39) The further descent of this estate has not been found.

A messuage called BROOMHALL at Clerkenleap in Kempsey belonged to the monastery of Tewkesbury, but it is not known how the monks became possessed of it. In 1535 it was leased out at a rent of 24s. a year, (fn. 40) and it was granted in 1544 to John Thatcher. (fn. 41)

William de Kerswell and Taillefer (fn. 42) held 2½ hides at KERSWELL of the manor of Kempsey in the time of King Henry III. (fn. 43) In 1299 Nicholas de Hulle or Hill held land at Kerswell, (fn. 44) and was probably succeeded by a son of the same name, for in 1311 Nicholas de Hulle of Kerswell did homage to the bishop (fn. 45) for lands held of him in the manor of Kempsey. (fn. 46) He seems to have been succeeded by a son John, (fn. 47) and the estate had passed before 1346 to John son of John de Hulle, (fn. 48) who obtained a grant of free warren in the manor in 1347. (fn. 49) From this time it would appear from the few deeds which have been found relating to the estate that it passed in the same way as the manor of Hill Croome (fn. 50) to Thomas Lord Coventry, who died seised of it in 1640. (fn. 51) It has since descended with the title, and now belongs to the Right Hon. George William Earl of Coventry. (fn. 52)

Habington states that according to an undated survey of Kempsey Manor the heirs of John Clopton held there. (fn. 53) Sir William son of John Clopton died in 1420 holding a messuage and a carucate of land in Kerswell of the Bishop of Worcester as of his manor of Kempsey for knight service. (fn. 54) He left a son Thomas, aged thirteen, but he apparently died without issue, for the estate passed to his sister Joan, who married Sir John Burgh. (fn. 55) Sir John outlived Joan, and died in 1471, leaving four co-heirs. (fn. 56) This estate apparently passed to John Newport, son and heir of Elizabeth, one of the daughters of Sir John, for Habington states that he had heard that this land passed to Sir Richard Newport, grandson of John Newport, (fn. 57) and was sold by him to Kenelm Winslow, of whom it was purchased by Sir John Buck. (fn. 58)

The estate at Kempsey called the NASH (Atenasche, Asshe) was held of the manor of Kempsey. (fn. 59) References to inhabitants of the hamlet of Nash occur in early times. Robert de Fraxino was a tenant of Kempsey Manor in the time of Henry II. (fn. 60) In 1299 John son of Ralph de Ash was holding 3 virgates in Kerswell, (fn. 61) and in 1302–3 he was dealing with land in the field of 'Asshe.' Part of his estate afterwards passed to his brother Walter, who gave it in 1311 to his mother Alice and his sister Margery. (fn. 62) Land held by the Ash family at Kempsey seems to have passed to John de Kempsey, the founder in 1316 of the chantry at Kempsey, for he endowed this chantry with a messuage which he had bought of Adam de Fraxino. (fn. 63) The estate now known as the Nash seems to have been identical with that land at Kerswell held in the time of Henry III by Taillefer, (fn. 64) who may have been a member of the Ash family, Taillefer de Fraxino occurring in a deed in the parish chest of Kempsey, quoted by Prattinton. A messuage and 6 acres of land at Kempsey were held in the 13th century under John Taillefer by Peter de Frechnie, whose son John gave it up to John Taillefer, the chief lord. He afterwards gave this tenement to Osbert Buck, from whom it descended to Richard Buck, the owner in 1274. John Taillefer's interest in the land was then vested in his son Ralph. (fn. 65) Richard Buck paid a subsidy for this land in 1280. (fn. 66) John Buck and Isabel his wife levied a fine concerning land in Kempsey in 1356–7, (fn. 67) and in 1358–9 the king committed to them a messuage and a virgate of land in Kempsey, to be held during pleasure. (fn. 68) According to the pedigree of this family given in the Visitation of Worcestershire (1569), (fn. 69) which starts from this John Buck and Isabel, the estate descended from father to son in the family for many generations, but there are no documents which throw any light on the history of the estate from 1359 until 1535 when Kenelm Buck did homage to the king for a messuage in Kempsey. (fn. 70) Kenelm died in 1550 holding an estate described as a capital messuage and land called Nash, held of the Bishop of Worcester as of his manor of Kempsey. (fn. 71) Kenelm was succeeded by his son Francis, on whose death in 1580 it passed to his son John, then a minor. (fn. 72) He was afterwards knighted, (fn. 73) and sold the estate to Humphrey Baker of Worcester. (fn. 74) Charles Bentley held it about the middle of the 17th century. (fn. 75) About 1738 it was bought by Sir William Temple. (fn. 76) He succeeded to the baronetcy in 1749 on the death of his cousin Viscount Cobham, and died in 1760. His only daughter by his second wife, Anna Sophia, married her cousin Sir Richard Temple, who succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of Sir Peter Temple, brother and heir of Sir William above named. (fn. 77) The estate of the Nash passed to her. She died in 1805 without surviving issue, (fn. 78) and the estate passed to John Dicken, son of her half-sister Henrietta, wife of William Dicken of Sheinton, co. Salop. (fn. 79) John Dicken took the name and arms of Temple by royal licence 23 September 1796, (fn. 80) and his grandson Richard Temple was created a baronet in 1876. (fn. 81) He died in 1902, and his son Lieut.Col. Sir Richard Carnac Temple succeeded to the estate, (fn. 82) where he now resides.

Buck of the Nash. Party fessewise and wavy argent and sable with three pairs of bucks' horns with the scalps countercoloured.

Temple of the Nash, baronet. Or an eagle sable quartered with Argent two bars sable with three martlets or upon each bar.

CLERKENLEAP (Clarconleppo, xvi cent.) at one time belonged to the Winslows. (fn. 83) Edward Winslow, grandson of Kenelm Winslow of Kempsey, sailed in the Mayflower and became Governor of Plymouth Colony. (fn. 84) The estate was purchased about 1650 by John Nash of Worcester, and left by him to his nephew Richard Nash, from whom it passed to his grandson Dr. Treadway Russell Nash, the historian of Worcestershire. It descended with his other estates to Lady Henry Somerset, the present owner. (fn. 85)

There was a windmill worth 13s. 4d. at Kempsey in 1299. (fn. 86) In 1324 pardon was granted to John de Mareys 'mouner' for acquiring in fee from Godfrey Bishop of Worcester two mills in Kempsey held in chief of the king. (fn. 87) In 1690 a water grist-mill at Kempsey belonged to William Yarranton. (fn. 88) A weirpool at Clerkenleap called Wheler's Weare was granted in 1545 to John Bourne, (fn. 89) and passed at his death in 1575 to his son Anthony. (fn. 90) There were two windmills at Kempsey in 1821, (fn. 91) but the last was pulled down about 1875.

The manor of the RECTORY of Kempsey seems to have existed from quite early times. Godfrey the archdeacon, who may have been rector of Kempsey, held a hide and a half in the manor about 1182, and he also held 8 acres which had been given by Bishop John (1151–8) at the dedication of the church. (fn. 92) In 1223 Boidin, parson of Kempsey, was summoned to answer the Abbot of Pershore as to a claim set up by the parson to common in the abbot's manor of Wadborough. Boidin claimed it in exchange for common of pasture which he said the abbot enjoyed in his land at Kempsey. (fn. 93) In 1305 free warren was granted to Peter de Collingburn, parson of the church of Kempsey, in the demesne lands of the church of Kempsey. (fn. 94) In 1334 the privilege was granted to the parson of Kempsey that the rectory-house should be quit of livery of stewards, chamberlains, &c., so that none of them should lodge there against his will. (fn. 95) When the church of Kempsey was appropriated to the college of Westbury by the founder John Carpenter, Bishop of Worcester, in 1473, (fn. 96) the manor of the rectory passed to this college. The farm of the manor brought in £46 13s. 4d. at the time of the Dissolution, and from it various payments were made in alms. A sum of 4s. 4d. was given to six poor men and six widows by the ordination of Bishop John Carpenter, and alms to the value of 20s. were distributed on the anniversaries of Edward IV and the Duke of York his father. A sum of 9s. was paid for the diets of six senior priests, six poor men and six widows twice a year. (fn. 97)

The manor was confiscated by the Crown on the suppression of the college, and was granted in 1544 to Sir Ralph Sadleir and his wife Ellen. (fn. 98) Sir Ralph exchanged it with the king for other property in 1547, (fn. 99) and in the same year it was granted to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester. (fn. 100) It was confiscated by the Parliamentary trustees and sold in 1650 to George Wylde of Gressenhall, co. Norfolk. (fn. 101) The manor then included a mansion-house, fields called Butchers Meadows on the banks of the Severn, Windmill Fields, Carlsome, a tithe-barn and a wood near Jagg Mills.

At the Restoration the manor was given back to the dean and chapter, in whose possession it remained until it was transferred in 1859 to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 102) who are the present owners.


The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN consists of a chancel 47½ ft. by 21 ft., a south organ bay, a nave 60¾ ft. by 28½ ft., a north transept 35 ft. long and 19 ft. wide, a south transept 26½ ft. long and 18¼ ft. wide, north and south aisles 10¾ ft. and 9½ ft. wide respectively, a west tower 15 ft. square, and a north porch. These measurements are all internal.

That the present building has been developed from an aisleless cruciform church of the 12th century is shown by the remaining jamb of a window in the west respond of the south arcade. Additional evidence may be seen in the plinth and buttresses at the western angle of the nave, the plinth of the south transept, and the south-east buttress of the north transept.

The chancel appears to have been rebuilt about 1250, and towards the end of the same century a south aisle was added to the church and the existing south arcade built. Soon after this a similar addition was made to the north side of the church, the north aisle and existing arcade being added early in the 14th century. During the 15th century extensive repairs became necessary, and the whole of the north and south transepts and aisles were rebuilt. A little later in the same century the west tower was rebuilt and heightened, much of the older masonry being re-used. In modern times an organ chamber has been added to the south of the chancel, the chancel arch and parts of the transepts rebuilt, new windows inserted and a porch added on the north side.

The chancel walling is of fine coursed rubble, the arcade walling of large random rubble, and the greater part of the later work faced with red sandstone ashlar. Parts of the internal details are in oolite, and greenstone is used in the arcades and elsewhere.

The east window of the chancel is of five grouped lancets under a moulded arch with shafted jambs; the external labels have leaf stops and a moulded inclosing arch. In the north wall are three double lancet windows with internal and external inclosing labels. The south wall contains two similar windows and a south door, the latter with a segmental rear arch and continuously moulded jambs.

Kempsey Church: 13th-Century Piscina

The trefoil-headed piscina has three moulded brackets, one foliated, and a slot for a shelf. The sedilia are of similar design but with moulded labels and head stops, the spandrels being filled in with foliage. A moulded string-course runs round the chancel, breaking over the piscina, sedilia and doorway, and on the exterior is a corresponding course, apparently modern. The details of the chancel have been much repaired throughout, but the sedilia and piscina are excellent examples of 13th-century work. The chancel arch is modern.

The early 14th-century north nave arcade is of three bays, with arches of two chamfered orders, springing from square piers, with a half shaft against each face, and moulded capitals. The south arcade, also of three bays, has similar piers with mouldings of rather earlier date. The arches, of two moulded orders, are built of green and white stone alternately.

The 15th-century east and west windows of the north transept are of three lights, and in the modern north wall is a large window of the same type. The two north aisle windows, one on each side of the porch, are similar to the old windows in the transept. The north door, which may be of 15th-century date, but suggests a later copy, opens into a modern porch. The 15th-century west window is of three lights.

The south transept has a window on the south only, a large modern five-light opening, set in modern walling. In the east and west walls are traces of 13th-century windows with filleted shafts to the jambs, and on the east is a trefoiled piscina of similar date. The south aisle has been rebuilt with two windows similar to those opposite and a modern south door. The west wall, which is original, has a lancet light. The transverse arches at the eastern end of the aisles are contemporary with the adjoining arcades.

The tower is of three stages, with angle buttresses and an embattled parapet, having crocketed pinnacles at the four corners. The two-centred tower arch has flat panelled jambs and soffit, and the west window of the ground stage is of four large cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in the head. At the north-east is a blocked entrance to the vice, which is now entered by a modern external doorway. The bell-chamber is lighted on all four sides by windows of two trefoiled lights with traceried twocentred heads, and the ringing chamber beneath by windows of similar design on the north, west and south.

The roofs are all modern.

The second window from the east in the north wall of the chancel, and the corresponding window on the south, contain some exceedingly fine remains of 14th-century glass. In the north window are the figures of St. Margaret and an archbishop, probably St. Thomas of Canterbury, both with well-designed cusped and crocketed canopies. Below in small trefoiled panels are the figures of a bishop and St. Catherine. These are earlier in style, and probably belong to the latter part of the previous century. The southern window contains figures of St. Catherine and St. Cuthbert of the same size as the figures in the opposite window, and with canopies of a similar design. Below are small trefoiled panels, with the figures of a bishop and a king, perhaps St. Edward. All have red backgrounds, with the exception of the St. Catherine in the southern window. The heads, grounds and borders of the windows are made up of various fragments of canopy and border work.

The seating and fittings are all modern. On the north chancel wall is a monument to Sir Edmund Wylde, 1620, consisting of an armed effigy on an altar tomb with arch and cornice above, and two kneeling figures of his sons Edmund and Walter, and in the pediment the quartered arms and crest of Wylde. The wife of Sir Edmund was Dorothy Clarke of Houghton Conquest, Bedfordshire. Out of this tomb for some years there formerly grew a horse chestnut tree, which was considered one of the great ornaments of the church. Under the tower is a large modern bronze bust of Sir Richard Temple, bart., who died in 1902.

The bells are six in number: the first inscribed 'Cantate Domino Canticum Novum 1686'; the second, 'Fear God, Honour the King 1686'; the third, 'Matthew Bagley made me 1686'; the fourth, 'Henricus Bagley me fecit 1686'; the fifth, the churchwardens' names. These bells have the same lettering and are probably of the same date. The sixth is by Mears, 1821, and the sanctus is inscribed T, R, K, W, I, L, with rose and fleur de lis stops, and a bell between the initials I. B.

Kempsey Church from the North-east

The plate consists of a 1571 cup repaired and recently gilt, a paten, apparently of 1639, a large flagon, 1732, a modern silver gilt copy of the 1571 cup, a small flat paten, and two large almsdishes. All the plate except the flagon is silver gilt.

The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1688 to 1782, burials 1688 to 1783, marriages 1690 to 1753; (ii) baptisms and burials 1783 to 1812, marriages 1783 to 1807; (iii) marriages 1754 to 1812. Many earlier 17th-century entries will be found among the Bishops' Transcripts.


There was a priest at Kempsey at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 103) The advowson belonged to the bishopric of Worcester. (fn. 104) John Devreux, nephew of the Bishop of Worcester, was made rector of Kempsey in 1284. (fn. 105) He was apparently non-resident, for he appointed a vicar whose portion consisted of part of the tithes, mortuaries, Peter's pence and two loads of hay, a manse and garden. (fn. 106). In 1288 the bishop made the church of Kempsey prebendal to the college of Westbury and bestowed the prebend upon John Devreux. (fn. 107) In the following year an inquiry was instituted by the Pope, Nicholas IV, regarding a petition of the Prior and convent of Worcester stating that they had had the right of instituting rectors and vicars during a vacancy in the see of Worcester, but the bishop had constituted the church of Kempsey, which was subject to the church of Worcester, prebendal to the church of Westbury-on-Trym and assigned it to his clerk, John Devreux, whom he had made rector of the church of Kempsey and a new canon in the church of Westbury, so that the church of Kempsey was no longer immediately subject to the church of Worcester as it ought to be. (fn. 108) Kempsey, however, remained a prebend of Westbury in the gift of the Bishops of Worcester, (fn. 109) the vicars being appointed by the rectors, (fn. 110) and in 1434 it was declared by a papal letter at the petition of Adam Moleyns, rector of the church, that the church of Kempsey as a prebend of Worcester might be held with other benefice or dignity without papal dispensation. (fn. 111) In 1473 the church of Kempsey was appropriated to the college of the Holy Trinity, Westbury, by Bishop John Carpenter, who had refounded the college, the revenues being found insufficient, (fn. 112) and from that time the presentations to the vicarage were made by the Dean and Chapter of Westbury. (fn. 113)

In February 1544 the college with all its possessions was surrendered to the king, (fn. 114) and the rectory and advowson of Kempsey were granted in that year to Sir Ralph Sadleir and his wife Ellen. (fn. 115) They exchanged them with the king in 1547 for other property, (fn. 116) and in the same year they were granted to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester. (fn. 117) The presentations have been made by the dean and chapter from that time until the present day. (fn. 118)

An oratory at Kempsey was built and dedicated to St. Andrew by Aelhun, Bishop of Worcester, in 868. (fn. 119)

In 1316 a chantry of one chaplain was founded in the parish church of Kempsey by John de Kempsey, treasurer of the cathedral of Hereford. He endowed it with two messuages, 40 acres of land, 2 acres of meadow and 9s. 8d. rent in Kempsey. (fn. 120) The first presentation to this chantry was made by John de Kempsey, (fn. 121) but subsequent collations seem to have been made by the Bishops of Worcester. (fn. 122) In 1362–3 Roger de Otery, clerk, granted a messuage and land at Norton by Worcester to the chaplain of the chantry at the altar of St. Mary in the church of Kempsey. (fn. 123) At the time of the dissolution of the chantries in the reign of Edward VI the endowment of this chantry amounted to £6 10s. 11d., of which 26s. was paid to the bishop and 11s. 4¾d. to the king for tenths. In one return of the value of the chantry it is stated that the parish of Kempsey contained 400 'houseling people' and that the one parish priest was not sufficient, (fn. 124) but in another the number of householders is returned as 120. (fn. 125) The chantry was granted in 1548 to Sir John Thynne and Laurence Hide as a late possession of Kenelm Buck of The Nash. (fn. 126) They must shortly afterwards have transferred it to Kenelm Buck, for he died in 1550 in possession of the chantry lands of Kempsey which he held of the Bishop of Worcester as of his manor of Kempsey. (fn. 127) Francis his son succeeded him, and appears to have been in possession of the chantry in 1566. (fn. 128)

A messuage called the Church House was granted with the chantry to Sir John Thynne in 1548. (fn. 129) It passed with the chantry to the Bucks and was conveyed in 1558 by Francis Buck to trustees, for the use of the inhabitants of Kempsey. It was then described as containing four bays, and every bay 15 ft. in length. The trustees leased the church-house from time to time, retaining the right to enter into possession on a quarter's notice, for the purpose of holding a church ale. (fn. 130)

There is a Baptist chapel at Kempsey erected in 1860.


The Church Lands.

—The parish has been possessed from time immemorial of certain lands and hereditaments under this title. The trust estates now consist of six cottages situate in different parts of the parish, also of twelve tenements in Church Street and at The Greens; 3 a. 3 r. 20 p., known as Lammas Land, or Ann's Acre; 1 a. or. 20 p., known as Southam Lammas Lands, and allotments, Church Street, containing 3 a.

The official trustees also hold a sum of £427 10s. 3d. consols, producing £10 13s. 8d. yearly, arising from sales of land and accumulations.

The net income, amounting to about £110 a year, is applied towards repairs of the church and general church expenses.

The trust is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners 17 June 1902.

Christopher Meredith's Charity.

—In pursuance of the will of this donor, dated 24 January 1652, Bibles and Prayer books to the value of £3 a year were received from the Stationers' Company for distribution amongst the tenants of the manor of Kempsey, and the like books of the same value among the scholars of the school. By an order of the Charity Commissioners 5 December 1905 this branch of the charity was constituted the Meredith Educational Foundation.

A free school was carried on in this parish as far back as memory goes, the master of which received £1 a year from a gift of John Winslow in 1717. The official trustees also hold a sum of £105 9s. 6d. consols, producing £2 12s. 8d. yearly, bequeathed in 1839 by will of Rebecca Sargent as a subscription to the Charity school.

Eleemosynary Charities.

—Sir Edmund Wylde, kt., as stated on the church table, in 1620 gave £20 for the poor, and other donors (twenty in number) gave smaller sums, amounting in the aggregate to £94 10s. In 1679 a tenement and 1 a. 2 r. in the hamlet of Kerswell were purchased therewith. In 1902 the sum of £4 4s. was received as rent, and the official trustees hold a sum of £42 15s. 3d. consols in respect of these charities; also a sum of £4 16s. 5d. consols in respect of William Giles's gift of £5 for bread on New Year's Day.

The church table further mentioned that Charles Geary by his will 1788 left £20, the interest to be laid out in bread and coals at Christmas among ten poor women. The legacy is represented by £19 10s. 2d. consols.

In 1789 Elizabeth Eaton, by her will and a codicil thereto, bequeathed £150 and £50 respectively for the poor, which are represented by £195 11s. 11d. consols.

In 1822 William Hay by his will left £19 19s., the interest to be applied in the distribution of shoes to poor men. The legacy is now represented by £35 19s.

The several sums of stock are held by the official trustees, producing together in annual dividends £7 9s. These five charities are administered together and applied mainly in the distribution of coals.

An annual sum of 20s. is distributable in bread to the poor in respect of the charity of John Winslow, which is payable out of the rents of 4 a. 2 r. in the tithing of Draycott in this parish belonging to the charities of George Lloyd and Richard Spencer, comprised in deed of 21 August 1762. The annual rent, amounting to about £12, is applicable in moieties for the benefit of the poor of Kempsey and Severn Stoke.

Edward Hurdman by his will (date not stated) left £100, the interest to be applied in clothing on St. Thomas's Day for three or four poor men. The legacy has been invested in £102 13s. 11d. consols.

In 1839 Rebecca Sargent by her will left £100, the interest to be applied on St. Thomas's Day in clothing six poor old women; invested in £105 9s. 6d. consols.

In 1853 Frances White left a legacy, now represented by £30 3s. 11d. consols, the income to be applied in bread.

In 1880 Mrs. Mary Handy Mercer, by her will proved at Gloucester 27 August, bequeathed £100, the interest to be distributed to the poor. The legacy has been invested in £97 18s. 4d. consols.

In 1883 Miss Caroline Wigley Bell, by her will proved at Gloucester 15 November, left £100 for the poor. The legacy, less duty, is represented by £88 6s. 10d. consols.

The several sums of stock are held by the official trustees, who also hold a sum of £10 13s. 2d. consols in respect of a legacy under the will of Sarah Mills, proved at London 23 August 1876.

The annual dividends of the six preceding charities, amounting together to £10 17s., are applied mainly in the distribution of doles, with a preference to widows.

In 1859 Joseph Munn, by his will proved at Worcester 18 February, bequeathed £100, the interest to be applied in bread for the poor. It was invested in £94 19s. 9d. consols, producing £2 7s. 4d. yearly.

In 1898 Thomas Crisp, by his will proved 11 November, bequeathed £20 consols, the annual dividend of 10s. to be applied in the purchase of shoes to be given on Good Friday to a poor man of not less than fifty years of age, any residue to be distributed in bread.

These sums of stock are also held by the official trustees.


  • 1. Worc. Epis. Reg. Thos. Pulton (1425–33), fol. 34 f; John Carpenter (1443–76), fol. 61 d.
  • 2. Worcs. Quarter Sess. R. (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 572, 598.
  • 3. Ibid. 684.
  • 4. a Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 5. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 6. Nash, Hist. of Worcs. ii, 322.
  • 7. Ibid. App. 99, 100.
  • 8. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 9. V.C.H. Worcs. i, 196, 210.
  • 10. Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 21, no. 27.
  • 11. Close, 1650, pt. xxxviii, no. 4.
  • 12. Ibid. 24 Chas. I, pt. xiv, no. 9.
  • 13. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cccc, 81.
  • 14. Birch, Cart. Sax. i, 411; Heming, Chartul. (ed. Hearne), 452.
  • 15. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. i, 608.
  • 16. Ibid.
  • 17. Ibid.
  • 18. Heming, op. cit. 562.
  • 19. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. i, 608.
  • 20. V.C.H. Worcs. i, 288.
  • 21. Cart. Antiq. RR, 15.
  • 22. Ibid. I, 31.
  • 23. Cal. Chart. R. 1226–57, p. 443.
  • 24. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 225.
  • 25. Abbrev. Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), ii, 133; Feud. Aids, v, 306, 318; Cal. Close, 1346–9, p. 231; Pat. 6 Edw. VI, pt. vii, m. 21; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 218; Chan. Proc. Eliz. Dd. 8, no. 52.
  • 26. Close, 24 Chas. I, pt. xiv, no. 9.
  • 27. Feet of F. Div. Co. Hil. 1656.
  • 28. Stat. 23 & 24 Vict. cap. 124.
  • 29. Abbrev. Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), ii, 133; Pat. 6 Edw. VI, pt. vii, m. 21.
  • 30. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. i, 570.
  • 31. Worc. Epis. Reg. passim.
  • 32. Rishanger, Chron. et Ann. (Rolls Ser.), 35; Reg. G. Giffard (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), Introd. p. xx.
  • 33. Habington, Surv. of Worcs. (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), ii, 145.
  • 34. Cal. Chart. R. 1300–26, p. 9; Cal. Pat. 1396–9, p. 85.
  • 35. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. x, App. iv, 445.
  • 36. Cal. Pat. 1317–21, p. 522. A hide of land in Kempsey had been held towards the end of the 12th century by Roger Chamberlain, to whom it had been given by Bishop Simon (1125–50) (Red Bk. of Bishopric of Worc. [Eccl. Com. Rec. Var. bdle. 121, no. 43698], fol. 49).
  • 37. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. x, App. iv, 445. Adam Moleyns was rector of Kempsey in 1434 (Cal. Papal Letters, viii, 506).
  • 38. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cvi, 91.
  • 39. Ibid. clxxxvii, 109.
  • 40. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 473.
  • 41. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xix (1), g. 812 (57).
  • 42. For Taillefer's part see below under the Nash.
  • 43. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 42.
  • 44. Red Bk. of Bishopric of Worc. fol. 35.
  • 45. This land was held of the bishop as of his manor of Kempsey in 1411, but the overlordship is not mentioned after that date (Chan. Inq. p.m. 12 Hen. IV, no. 41).
  • 46. Worc. Epis. Reg. Walter Reynolds (1308–13), fol. 43 d.
  • 47. Habington, op. cit. ii, 148.
  • 48. Feud. Aids, v, 309.
  • 49. Cal. Pat. 1345–8, p. 529.
  • 50. Chan. Inq. p.m. 12 Hen. IV, no. 41; Feet of F. Worcs. Mich. 13 Hen. VIII; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccxcii, 68.
  • 51. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccxcii, 68.
  • 52. Exch. Dep. Hil. 7 & 8 Will. III, no. 18; inform. from Mr. W. Hill.
  • 53. Habington, op. cit. ii, 148.
  • 54. Chan. Inq. p.m. 7 Hen. V, no. 46; Visit. of Worcs. 1569 (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 71. The estate was so held in 1471, but no further mention of the overlordship has been found (Chan. Inq. p.m. 11 Edw. IV, no. 61).
  • 55. Arch. Journ. xxxiv, 373.
  • 56. Chan. Inq. p.m. 11 Edw. IV, no. 61.
  • 57. Bridgeman, Hist. of Princes of South Wales, Table viii.
  • 58. Habington, loc. cit.
  • 59. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 42; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xciv, 102.
  • 60. Habington, op. cit. ii, 148.
  • 61. Red Bk. of Bishopric of Worc. fol. 35.
  • 62. a Deeds in parish chest of Kempsey quoted in Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.).
  • 63. Habington, op. cit. ii, 153. Adam was holding a messuage and land at Kempsey in 1274–5 (Assize R. 1026, m. 22).
  • 64. Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 42; Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.).
  • 65. Assize R. 1026, m. 14.
  • 66. Lay Subs. Worcs. c. 1280 (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 79.
  • 67. Sir T. Phillipps, Index to Worcs. Fines, 6.
  • 68. Abbrev. Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), ii, 248.
  • 69. op.cit. (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 26–7.
  • 70. a Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.).
  • 71. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xciv, 102.
  • 72. Ibid. cxci, 121.
  • 73. Worcs. Quarter Sess. R. (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), Introd. p. xxx.
  • 74. Habington, op. cit. ii, 148.
  • 75. Nash, op. cit. ii, 20. Charles Bentley was dealing with land at Kerswell in 1657 (Feet of F. Worcs. Mich. 1657), and Edward and Charles Bentley in 1695–6 (ibid. East. 7 Will. III).
  • 76. G.E.C. Complete Baronetage, i, 84.
  • 77. G.E.C. Complete Baronetage, i, 84.
  • 78. Ibid. 85.
  • 79. Ibid. 84 n. (a).
  • 80. Ibid.
  • 81. Burke, Peerage, 1909.
  • 82. Ibid.
  • 83. Nash, op. cit. ii, 21.
  • 84. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 85. Nash, loc. cit.; inform. from Mr. J. W. Willis-Bund.
  • 86. Red Bk. of Bishopric of Worc. fol. 35.
  • 87. Cal. Pat. 1324–7, p. 51; Inq. a.q.d. file 173, no. 14.
  • 88. Recov. R. East. 2 Will. and Mary, rot. 83.
  • 89. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xx (1), g. 465 (80).
  • 90. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), clxxii, 142.
  • 91. a Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.).
  • 92. Red Bk. of Bishopric of Worc. fol. 49.
  • 93. Maitland, Bracton's Note-Bk. iii, 462–3.
  • 94. Cal. Chart. R. 1300–26, p. 49.
  • 95. Cal. Pat. 1330–4, p. 534.
  • 96. Worc. Epis. Reg. John Carpenter (1443–76), fol. ii, 25 f.
  • 97. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii, 432.
  • 98. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xix (1), g. 278 (68).
  • 99. Pat. 1 Edw. VI, pt. ix, m. 42.
  • 100. Ibid. m. 5.
  • 101. Close, 1650, pt. xxxviii, no. 4.
  • 102. Lond. Gaz. 16 Dec. 1859, p. 4757.
  • 103. V.C.H. Worcs. i, 288.
  • 104. Reg. G. Giffard (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 249, 250; Thomas, Surv. of Worc. Cath. App. no. 49.
  • 105. Reg. G. Giffard (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 249, 294.
  • 106. Ibid. 250; Nash, op. cit. ii, 26 n b.
  • 107. Reg. G. Giffard (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 343.
  • 108. Ibid. 362. See above, p. 275.
  • 109. Cal. Pat. 1301–7, pp. 29, 63; 1313–17, p. 47; 1429–36, p. 322; Reg. G. Giffard (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 461; Worc. Epis. Reg. Wulstan de Bransford (1339–49), fol. 10f.
  • 110. Nash, op. cit. ii, 26–7.
  • 111. Cal. Papal Letters, viii, 506.
  • 112. Worc. Epis. Reg. John Carpenter (1443–76), ii, fol. 25 f.
  • 113. Nash, op. cit. ii, 27.
  • 114. V.C.H. Gloucs. ii, 108.
  • 115. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xix (1), g. 278 (68).
  • 116. Pat. 1 Edw. VI, pt. ix, m. 42.
  • 117. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xxi (2), g. 770 (50).
  • 118. Nash, op. cit. ii, 27; Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
  • 119. Matt. Paris, Chron. Maj. (Rolls Ser.), i, 391.
  • 120. Cal. Pat. 1313–17, p. 387; Worc. Epis. Reg. Walter Maidstone (1313–17), fol. 54 f.
  • 121. Worc. Epis. Reg. Walter Maidstone (1313–17), fol. 45 d.
  • 122. Ibid. Simon de Montacute (1333–7), fol. 20; Thos. Pulton (1425–33), fol. 148 d.; John Carpenter (1443–76), i, fol. 8d., 124 d.; John Alcock (1476–86), fol. 50d.
  • 123. Inq. a.q.d. file 346, no. 1; Cal. Pat. 1361–4, p. 237.
  • 124. Chant. Cert. 25, no. 10.
  • 125. Ibid. 60, no. 8.
  • 126. Pat. 2 Edw. VI, pt. v, m. 60.
  • 127. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), xciv, 102.
  • 128. Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 30, no. 98.
  • 129. Pat. 2 Edw. VI, pt. v, m. 60.
  • 130. Deeds in the parish chest of Kempsey quoted in Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.).