A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1924.
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Flœverth (x cent.); Flavel (xii cent.); Flefrith (xiv cent.); Flavell, Flendirt (xv cent.); Fliford Flavel, Flyward (xvi cent.); Fleford Flavell (xvii cent.).
This parish is situated midway between Worcester and Alcester. The scattered village lies on the road connecting these places, and on another road branching southward from it to Bishampton. The church is on the Worcester road, in the west of the village, near the highest point of the parish, where the land is 200 ft. above the ordnance datum. The south of the parish is at a height of about 100 ft. The school lies to the east of the church, and the rectory is at the southern end of the village.
Whitsun Brook, flowing east to west, forms the southern and the Piddle Brook the north-western boundary of the parish. Everywhere there are extensive and beautiful views.
Prattinton, visiting the village in 1823, writes of the badness of the roads, the turnpike road from Alcester to Worcester being impassable for a fourwheeled carriage.
The parish has an area of 692 acres, of which 181 are arable land and 407 permanent grass. There are no woods. (fn. 1) The land, which is on the Lower Lias, abounds with fossil remains. The chief crops grown are wheat, oats, beans and fruit.
An Inclosure Act was passed in 1813. (fn. 2)
Five manses here were included in the lands said to have been restored by King Edgar in 972 to the abbey of Pershore. (fn. 5) FLYFORD FLAVELL is not separately entered in the Domesday Survey, being then included in the estate of 5 hides held at North Piddle under the abbey of Westminster by Urse as successor to Toli, (fn. 6) and having evidently been given with Pershore by Edward the Confessor to the abbey of Westminster. The overlordship of the abbey was recognized until the 16th century. (fn. 7)
Urse's under-tenant in 1086 or shortly after was Robert Parler, (fn. 10) the ancestor of Isnard or Inard Parler, a tenant under the Beauchamps in the reign of Stephen. (fn. 11) It is not known that Isnard held Flyford Flavell, but it is probable that he did so, as half a knight's fee at Flyford Flavell afterwards became annexed to his principal manor, Hampton Lovett. (fn. 12) This estate passed with Hampton Lovett to Brian de Brompton, who gave both to Henry Lovett and his wife Joan to hold in tail with reversion to the heirs of the donor. (fn. 13) The issue of Henry Lovett and Joan failed on the death of their grandson John without issue, and the half-fee reverted with Hampton Lovett to Elizabeth wife of Edmund Cornwall and her sister Margaret, as great-granddaughters and heirs of Brian de Brompton. (fn. 14) This half-fee fell to the share of Elizabeth Cornwall, being held of her manor of Overhall in Hampton Lovett, (fn. 15) and she, with her husband, Sir Edmund, in 1353–4 gave it to their son Peter. (fn. 16) At this date and in 1366 the undertenants of the manor were Simon de Oldbury and Thomas de Quenton. (fn. 17) It was probably included in land at Flyford sold with the manor of Overhall in 1544 by George Cornwall to John Pakington, (fn. 18) but its further descent has not been traced.
Another half-fee at Flyford Flavell, also held under the Beauchamps, to which was annexed the advowson of the church, was apparently held in early times by the Hackets. Philip Hacket presented to the church in 1269 (fn. 19) and 1278, (fn. 20) and John Hacket was said to be holding Flavell jointly with John Lovett in 1315, (fn. 21) and paid a subsidy at Flavell in 1327. (fn. 22) The advowson of the church and possibly also the manor had passed before this to the Nauntons, who succeeded the Hackets also at Broughton Hackett. Avice de Naunton presented to the church in 1290, (fn. 23) and though Alexander de Besford and Margaret his wife presented in 1300 (fn. 24) and 1302, (fn. 25) the advowson was claimed in 1330 by Avice's grandson Thomas de Naunton. (fn. 26) Thomas, however, failed to make good his claim against Alexander de Besford, who stated that Avice had given the advowson and apparently also the manor to her son Robert, and that Robert had given it to Alexander and his wife Margaret. (fn. 27) The manor then descended with Besford (fn. 28) (q.v.) until the death of Alexander de Besford at the beginning of the 15th century, when it was apparently divided between his co-heirs, for John Dicleston and his wife Margaret presented to the church in 1405 and 1407, (fn. 29) and their daughter Margery, with her second husband Nicholas Giffard, presented in 1447, (fn. 30) while William Clopton, who had married Joan, Alexander's other co-heir, (fn. 31) died seised of the manor and advowson in 1420–1, (fn. 32) his widow Joan conveying them in 1422 to the Bishop of Worcester and others, (fn. 33) who were probably acting as trustees, for Joan was still holding the manor in 1431. (fn. 34) The principal manor of Flyford with the advowson of the church appears to have remained with Joan's descendants, while a second estate known during the 16th and 17th centuries as a manor, and held of the principal manor, (fn. 35) perhaps represents the share of Margaret Dicleston, though it had passed before the beginning of the 16th century to the Russells, (fn. 36) and passed with their manor of Strensham (q.v.) until 1592, when it is mentioned for the last time.
Agnes, the daughter and co-heir of Sir William Clopton and Joan de Besford, married Roger Harewell of Wootton and Shottery (co. Warw.). (fn. 37) The presentation to the church was made in 1457 by their son William Harewell of Shottery, (fn. 38) as it was in 1488 and 1494. (fn. 39) William Harewell died in 1500, (fn. 40) but his son John does not seem to have held this manor, which apparently passed to another branch of the Harewell family. Thomas Harewell who presented in 1502 may have been of the Besford branch of the family, and appears to have held the manor in right of his wife Elizabeth, who joined with him in 1520–1 in selling it to John Fulwood. (fn. 41) Before 1534 the manor had apparently passed to Ralph Sheldon of Beoley, who then presented. (fn. 42)
From Ralph Sheldon, who died in 1546, the manor seems to have passed with the advowson to his younger son, Baldwin Sheldon of Broadway, (fn. 43) the presentation being made in 1549 by his eldest son, William Sheldon of Weston and Beoley, by reason of the minority of this Baldwin. (fn. 44) Ralph Sheldon of Broadway, the son of Baldwin, presented in 1560, (fn. 45) and with his wife Mary settled the manor in 1579 on their son Thomas, with remainder to the heirs of Ralph. (fn. 46) This Thomas Sheldon died in 1593, leaving two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary. (fn. 47) Elizabeth, widow of Thomas, seems to have married Charles Kettleby, and her daughter Elizabeth married John Keighley. In 1618 they, with their husbands, conveyed the manor to William Sambache, (fn. 48) who married the younger daughter Mary. The manor subsequently reverted to the elder branch of the Sheldon family settled at Beoley, apparently before 1640, in which year the advowson was held by Edward Sheldon of Beoley. (fn. 49) It followed the descent of Beoley until 1779–80, when it belonged to William Sheldon of Bcoley and his son Ralph. (fn. 50) According to Prattinton the manor had been bought before 1812 by Mr. Humphrey Lyttelton, and in 1812 belonged to Mr. Sandys Lyttelton. (fn. 51) In 1823 Prattinton wrote that Flyford Flavell was divided into small farms, 'the largest belonging to Mr. Hawker of . . . in the county of Gloucester.' Mr. Lyttelton, then lord of the manor, had only about 3 acres. (fn. 52) In 1830 the manor was held by Richard Frances and Eliza Sandys his wife. (fn. 53) From them it had passed before 1849 to Mr. William Laslett of Abberton, (fn. 54) and it followed the descent of Abberton (q.v.) until 1905, when it was sold by Mrs. Baker Carr to Mr. Thomas Richard Bayliss, (fn. 55) the present owner of the manor.
The church of ST. PETER consists of chancel, nave, north vestry, south porch and west tower. With the exception of the 15th-century tower it was almost entirely rebuilt in 1883 at the expense of Mr. William Laslett of Abberton Hall, some of the old doors and windows being, however, reset.
The chancel has an east window of three modern lancets. In the south wall are three modern windows, and at the west end is the lower part of a 'low-side window' reset. The chancel arch is modern, as are all the nave windows with the exception of two on the north, the first of two ogee lights under a square head of late 14th-century date, and the second, at the west end, a single light with an ancient trefoiled head. The north doorway has a plain round 12th-century head reset. In the south wall are two windows and a south door, all modern. The 15th-century tower opens from the nave by a pointed and double chamfered arch. The west window is of three lights with modern tracery and an external label returned on itself at the spring. The tower is three stages high and finished with an embattled parapet; it is covered with a low pyramidal tiled roof supporting a wrought-iron weather vane. The bell-chamber is lighted by a square-headed window of two trefoiled lights in each face. The timber south porch is modern. The moulded octagonal font is of 15th-century date. Under the tower is a fine collection of late mediaeval slip tiles formerly in the chancel; most of them are formed into six designs of sixteen tiles each; some of these are floral and others bear four coats of arms, two shields being Berkeley, one powdered with crosslets, three boars' heads, and a design of a bleeding heart pierced with three daggers between the initials I T or F. At the west end of the nave are two Jacobean pews.
There are two bells, the first cast at Worcester about 1480, inscribed '+ Sce Johēs Baptista, ora pro nobis'; the second has merely the date 1715 with trade mark of Richard Sanders of Bromsgrove.
The plate includes a small chased Elizabethan cup and cover paten without marks and a plate of pewter and silver amalgam.
The registers before 1812 are: (i) mixed entries 1676 to 1739, marriages to 1744 and baptisms 1801 to 1812; (ii) marriages 1759 to 1812.
In the churchyard are several late 17th-century headstones, and to the south of the church the base and part of the shaft of a churchyard cross.
The advowson apparently followed the descent of the Hackets' manor from early times. On the death of Alexander de Besford it seems to have been at first divided between his co-heirs, for Joan widow of Sir William Clopton conveyed it with her share of the manor (q.v.), but presentations were made in 1405 and 1447 by her sister Margaret and niece Margery. It would appear that the advowson afterwards returned to the Cloptons, passing with the manor to the Sheldons. It followed the descent of the manor, though presentations were frequently made by trustees (fn. 56) for the Sheldons, who were Roman Catholics, until about the middle of the 18th century, when it passed to the Abberton branch of the family, Thomas Sheldon presenting in 1782 (fn. 57) and conveying the rectory in 1798. (fn. 58) The advowson was sold with Abberton Manor in 1829 by Samuel Sheldon alias Lesingham to William Laslett, (fn. 59) and has since again followed the descent of the manor.
A parcel of land called Lampmere, held by Peter Wagstaffe with 5 butts of land, and 4 'laund' of land held by Thomas Wagstaffe, were granted to John and William Mershe among lands given for superstitious uses in 1573–4. (fn. 60)
The church lands consist of about 2 acres of the annual rental value of £2, which is applied towards church expenses.