A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1913.
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In this section
Segcgesbearuue, Secgesbearuue (viii cent.); Secgesbearawe (x cent.); Seggesbarwe (xi cent.); Seggesbereg, Shegeberwe (xiii cent.); Seggeberugh (xiv cent.); Segebarowe (xv and xvi cent.); Sedgborowe (xvii cent.).
The parish of Sedgeberrow lies in the south of the county, and is almost surrounded by Gloucestershire, being connected with Worcestershire by a narrow strip of land. It is bounded on the east by the River Isbourne, (fn. 1) which flows north and joins the Avon near Bengeworth. The Carrant Brook forms part of the southern boundary. The village of Sedgeberrow lies on the left bank of the River Isbourne on the road from Winchcomb to Evesham, which joins the Cheltenham and Evesham high road to the north of the village. The Court House, which stands on the site of the old manor-house of the Priors of Worcester adjoining the churchyard on the west, is a rectangular half-timber building of the later 16th century. The house is now divided into two cottages and the interior has been much altered to suit its present use. A secret chamber or 'hiding hole' is constructed by the side of one of the stone chimney stacks. On a stack on the west side of the house is carved the date 1572. At the north end of the village are some good halftimber cottages with thatched roofs, one of which contains elaborate Jacobean panelling on the ground floor. The house at present occupied by Miss Ashwin at the south end of the village is a rectangular half-timber building of the early 17th century, with a brick wing added early in the succeeding century. The older portion contains little of its original detail internally, but there is a fine staircase in the later wing.
In a cottage at the same end of the village are some interesting 13th-century remains, probably part of a former chapel. These consist of a rectangular building of rubble with wrought stone quoins, surmounted by later half-timber work. In the east wall is a window of two trefoilheaded lights with a plain quatrefoil between the heads. Internally the jambs and mullion have a square rebate with two holes formed in the back of the mullion as if for shutter bolts. The lights measure 8½ in. in width and 3 ft. in height; the width of the whole opening is about 2 ft. 4 in. externally, splaying internally to 4 ft. 3 in. The head is cut out of a single semicircular stone, the jambs are each of three stones, and the mullion and sill are each single stones. Externally on either side were originally corbels, one of which still exists, but that on the south has disappeared, and the pocket has been filled. At the southern angle of the wall, and at about the same level, is a similar corbel, cut out of one of the quoin stones. At the north-east is a small trefoiled light, probably of the same date. The walling contemporary with these details appears only to extend westwards about 13 ft. on the north and 11 ft. 3 in. on the south, the width of this portion being 13 ft. 10 in. and the thickness of the walls varying from 2 ft. 1 in. to 2 ft. 4 in. All the western part of the ground floor, the walls of which are about 1 ft. 8 in. thick, is probably contemporary with the half-timber upper story and dates from c. 1600. The present division of the ground floor probably belongs to the same period. There is a large room on the east into which the entrance opens, a living room on the west, with the staircase and a smaller room in the centre. A brick kitchen has been added on the north side, probably in the 18th century. A fine Jacobean settle with baluster legs, apparently an original fixture, occupies a large recess formed on the east side of the western room, which has a large fireplace in the west end wall, where is the only chimney stack of the house with the exception of that in the later kitchen on the north. The building has recently been restored and put in thorough repair by the present rector of Sedgeberrow.
The village and the greater part of the parish lie low in the valleys of the River Isbourne and the Carrant Brook, about 100 ft. to 120 ft. above the ordnance datum, but the land rises slightly to the west and south.
The area of the parish is 1,020 acres, (fn. 2) of which 611 acres are arable land and 347 permanent grassland. (fn. 3) The subsoil is Keuper Marl and the soil is clay, producing crops of wheat, oats, beans and barley. (fn. 4)
Some implements of the Stone and Bronze Ages have been found in the parish. (fn. 5)
The following place-names have been found: Horsham (fn. 6) (xii cent.); Bightwell Furlong, Bridge Pleck Furlong, Hinton Mill Leasow, Barrew Leyes (fn. 7) (xvii cent.).
An Inclosure Act for Sedgeberrow was passed in 1810. (fn. 8)
In 777 Offa, King of Mercia, gave SEDGEBERROW to the under-king Aldred, ealdorman of the Hwiccas, who bestowed it on the Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 9) It was confirmed to the church in King Edgar's famous charter of 964, (fn. 10) and was assigned to the support of the monks. One Dodd held it, and his son Brictric tried to dispossess the monks, but Ealdred, Bishop of Worcester (1044–69), restored it to them. (fn. 11) At the date of the Domesday Survey the monks of Worcester held Sedgeberrow, where there were 4 hides that paid geld. (fn. 12) The manor remained in the possession of the prior and convent until the dissolution of their house. (fn. 13) The register of 1240 gives full particulars of the tenants and their holdings. At that date there were 2 carucates and half a virgate of demesne land. (fn. 14) In 1256 the monks obtained a grant of free warren at Sedgeberrow, and this right was confirmed to them in 1355. (fn. 15) In 1535 the manor was worth £27 4s. 8d. a year, (fn. 16) and after the dissolution of the priory in 1539–40 (fn. 17) was granted to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester in 1542. (fn. 18) It was confirmed to them by James I in 1609. (fn. 19) On 23 June 1641 they granted a lease of it to Judith Langston for three lives. (fn. 20) In 1654 the commissioners for the sale of the dean and chapter lands sold the manor of Sedgeberrow for £1,164 14s. to Henry Sealey, (fn. 21) who sold it to Edwin Baldwyn and Edward Feild in 1657. (fn. 22) The site of the manor had been sold by the commissioners in 1651 to Giles Parsons of Overbury. (fn. 23) At the Restoration the dean and chapter recovered it, and it was confirmed to them in 1692, (fn. 24) and in 1859 was taken over by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 25) who are lords of the manor at the present day. (fn. 26)
At the date of the Domesday Survey the monks of Worcester had in their manor of Sedgeberrow two mills which were worth 10s. (fn. 27) In 1240 there appears to have been only one mill, (fn. 28) and both had disappeared before 1535.
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN is of a simple rectangular plan 71 ft. long (of which 26½ ft. is to the east of the chancel step) and 22½ ft. wide inside, a north porch, modern south vestry and a small western tower 10½ ft. wide outside covered by a stone spire.
An entry in the Worcester Episcopal Register records the dedication of the church with its three altars in 1331, (fn. 29) and the building has remained almost intact from that time. Licence was granted to Thomas de Evesham for celebration 'in his Chapel of Seggeberewe' in 1335. (fn. 30) The tracery of the east window is somewhat later in appearance than the usual work of this date, and may be a reconstruction of the next century. The vestry was built in 1900, and the church had been previously restored in 1868.
The east window has a two-centred head and is of five trefoiled lights, the heads rising toward the middle light; the tracery over is of vertical character, each piercing except the spandrels being trefoiled. The jambs and arch are of two chamfered orders with a label. The stone reredos in front of the window is an exceptional example of 14th-century work, and, though somewhat over-restored and painted, its lines and carving are substantially original. It consists of three recessed semi-hexagonal bays (the centre bay raised to correspond with the arrangement of the lights of the window above), divided from each other by small square buttresses, finished with gabled and crocketed finials and flanked by taller outer buttresses of the same form at the angles of the window jambs. Each bay has a vaulted canopy completing the hexagon with three hanging arches, ogee-shaped and cinquefoiled on the face and enriched with crockets and foliated finials, separated by small pinnacles with leaf bosses below. The canopies have vaulted soffits with small ribs springing from miniature vaulting shafts, having moulded bases but no capitals, and there are bosses at the intersections of the ribs. In the wall on either side of the reredos is a moulded corbel for an image. The piscina in the south wall, which is also painted, has a projecting ogee-vaulted canopy, with carved crockets and finial, and a fan-shaped basin. The two sedilia in the window recess appear to be modern. There are four windows in each side wall and each window is the counterpart of the one opposite. They are all of two lights under pointed arches of two chamfered orders, and the second pair has vertical tracery similar to that in the east window. The others have leaf tracery of trefoils and quatrefoils in the heads, and the two western pairs have somewhat larger lights.
Just east of the third window in the south wall of the nave are the remains of a piscina, evidently once resembling that in the chancel. The projecting part of the canopy and basin have been cut away. The pointed north doorway in the bay between the third and fourth windows is of one chamfered order, and the label is continued around the porch as a moulded wall-plate. In the side walls are rectangular lights and a holy-water stoup is set in the west wall. The outer doorway appears to be old, and has a pointed head of two chamfered orders. The side walls of the church are divided into five bays externally by buttresses in four stages besides the plinth, all apparently original. The moulded dripstones of the windows are continued as strings along the walls between the buttresses. The roofs are gabled, with pointed curved trusses below the rafters. They are modern, but some of the plain timbers are, perhaps, original.
The modern vestry is lighted on its east wall by three lancets and at its south end by a three-light pointed window.
The tower is of four stages and is octagonal above the roof, five of the sides continuing up from the plinth. The first and second stages both have doorways towards the nave. The lower one has a single chamfered order and a pointed arch, while the upper is square-headed, and to the south of it a large corbel remains, which may have supported a gallery. The first and third stages are lighted only by slits, but the second has a rectangular light in addition. The fourth has a rectangular light in each of the four cardinal faces. The spire rises directly from the hollowed cornice and has a roll at each angle.
The whole of the church is faced with ashlar.
A large modern screen reaching to the wall-plates divides the nave from the chancel and stands on a low stone wall.
The font appears to be original with the church, though the simplicity of its detail suggests an earlier period. It is round in plan, with a cup-shaped bowl, a cylindrical stem and a base with a large rounded upper mould.
There are a few modern wall monuments, the oldest of which commemorates John Parsons, who died in 1713.
There are three bells: the first by Henry Bagley of Chalcombe, cast in 1665; the second by Abraham Rudhall, 1718; and the third inscribed 'IESVS BEE OVR SPEED 1623,' cast by Godwin Baker of Worcester and bearing his stamp, the crossed keys of St. Peter. (fn. 31)
The plate includes a cup and cover paten inscribed with the vicar's and churchwardens' names and the date 1664 and stamped with the hall mark of that year; also a modern cup, paten and flagon, the gift of Mary Barber, 1869.
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms from 1566 to 1783, marriages 1566 to 1751 and burials 1567 to 1783, with many gaps; (ii) marriages 1756 to 1782; (iii) baptisms and burials 1783 to 1812 and marriages 1785 to 1812.
At the date of the Domesday Survey there was a priest at Sedgeberrow who held half a hide of land. (fn. 32) The advowson belonged to the Prior and convent of Worcester until the Dissolution. (fn. 33) It was granted with the manor in 1542 to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester, who have since been patrons of the church. (fn. 34)
The official trustees hold a sum of £11 5s. 7d. India 3 per cent. stock derived under the will of John Pitts, proved 19 May 1884. This is in course of being accumulated at compound interest.