Parishes
Ombersley

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Victoria County History

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1913

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460-468

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'Parishes: Ombersley', A History of the County of Worcester: volume 3 (1913), pp. 460-468. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=43154 Date accessed: 26 November 2014.


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OMBERSLEY

Ambresl', Ombresleya, Ambreslege (viii cent.); Ambreslege (xi cent.); Aumbresleg, Humbresl' (xiii cent.); Ombresleye (xiv cent.).

Ombersley is a large parish containing 7,129 acres, of which 86 acres are covered by water. It is bordered on the west by the River Severn, on the south by the Salwarpe and on the east by Hadley Brook. The high road from Stourport to Worcester passes through the parish from north to south and in the village of Ombersley it crosses at right angles the high road from Droitwich to Tenbury, which is carried over the Severn by Holt Fleet Bridge. This bridge consists of one iron arch with stone piers. The country round is very beautiful and is much frequented by visitors. The bridge was built under an Act of 5 May 1826. (fn. 1)

The village of Ombersley stands in the middle of the parish at the junction of the two above-mentioned high roads. The remains of the old church of St. Andrew, which was superseded in 1825 (fn. 2) by a new structure built near the site of the old one, are still to be seen on the west side of the Worcester and Stourport road. Near it is a cross. Two stone coffins were found on the site of the old church in 1834. (fn. 3) The vicarage is on the opposite side of the road. Nearly opposite the church is the King's Head Inn, a fine half-timber building of two stories, the earliest part of which appears to date from the 15th century. King Charles is said to have stopped here after the battle of Worcester, (fn. 4) and upon the plaster ceiling of the ground-floor room at the northern end of the building the royal arms, which still exist, were placed in memory of the event. Elsewhere, upon the same ceiling, is a small figure of a mermaid with comb and mirror and a design of roses and thistles. To the north of the church in a beautifully wooded park stands Ombersley Court, a building of the time of William and Mary, re-fronted with stone in the early 19th century. Upon the north side of the Holt Fleet road, a little to the west of the main street, is the house known as the Dower House, a good two-storied half-timber building of the early 17th century. It is of the normal central entrance-hall type with a fine fireplace at its western end; the jambs are of stone, but the four-centred arch is of brick. The entrance is to the south of the fireplace, a small lobby being formed by the stack. In the ground-floor room to the west of the hall is a fine stone fireplace, and the enriched ceiling is divided into compartments by the plastered beams supporting the joists of the floor above. The room over this has also a fine fireplace of stone. Much of the original woodwork still remains. The original staircase has been replaced by modern stairs, which occupy the greater part of the entrance hall. At the corner of the main street and the Holt Fleet road is a late 15th-century half-timber house of two stories with a fine spirally-fluted chimney shaft of brick. A little distance to the north of the crossroads, upon the east side of the main street, is a half-timber house with a thatched roof, probably of a somewhat later date. The village abounds in half-timber work of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, most of which has been kept in excellent repair. At Hadley, about a mile to the eastwards, there are also many good specimens of similar work. There is here an old-fashioned inn called 'The Bowling Green,' with a fine bowling green attached.


Ombersley: The Dower House

Suddington, Chatley Green and Hawford are districts to the south, Hadley is in the east, Uphampton, Oldfield, Northampton, Sytchampton, Dunhampton, Cornhampton, Brookhampton, Acton, Owlhill and Lineholt are to the north, and Boreley and Holtfleet are to the west. At Hawford there is a square timber-framed dovecot on a stone base, with a roof of four gables and a square open lantern. The lower part is used as a coach-house, the pigeon-holes being on two sides in the upper part. There are also timber-framed dovecotes at Chapel Farm and at Pipstile Farm, Uphampton, and at Northampton, but the two latter are ruined. At Sytchhampton are several half-timber cottages and farm-houses. Acton Hall is an irregular half-timber and brick house. There is a square timber-framed dovecote. The nesting-holes, now brick and slate, were formerly wooden rails with small baskets. An inn on the main road near Acton is partly of half-timber and partly of brick, with false timbers painted on the brickwork.

The land rises from the valley of the Severn in the west to a height of 300 ft. above the ordnance datum at Lineholt Common on the north. The southern part of the parish is at about 100 ft. above ordnance datum.


Ombersley: The Village Street

This parish gave its name to an ancient forest which had originally formed part of the great forest of Wyre. (fn. 5) Nash gives the boundaries of the forest of Ombersley. (fn. 6) This forest not being ancient demesne of the Crown was disafforested by the charter of Henry III of 1217, (fn. 7) but the actual disafforestation did not take place until 1229. (fn. 8) Though the parish is well wooded at the present day, there are no large tracts of woodland. An Inclosure Act for Ombersley was passed in 1814, and the award is dated 11 October 1827. (fn. 9) In 1905 Ombersley contained 3,291 acres of arable land, 3,082 acres of permanent grass and 223 acres of woodland. (fn. 10) The subsoil is Keuper Sandstone, the soil various, chiefly a rich loam, producing crops of wheat, peas, beans and barley, fruit and potatoes. Agriculture is now the principal industry, but some women and girls were in the middle of the 19th century engaged in glove-making and slopwork for Worcester tradesmen. (fn. 11)

The Queen Dowager and the Duchess of Kent visited Ombersley in September 1843. (fn. 12)

Doctor Johnson visited Lord Sandys at Ombersley in 1774. He observes that the house was large and the hall a very noble room, and 'we were treated with great civility.' Piozzi relates that he heard Dr. Johnson protest that he never had quite so much as he wished of wall fruit except once in his life 'when we were all together at Ombersley.' (fn. 13)

Edward III in 1354 granted to the Abbot of Evesham a market on Mondays and a fair for four days at the feast of St. Barnabas (11 June) at Ombersley. (fn. 14) This grant was confirmed in 1467 by Edward IV. (fn. 15) The market has long been discontinued. It apparently was not held at the time of the Dissolution, as no mention of it is made in the valuation of the manor taken at that time. A pleasure fair was held until recently on 29 May, but has now been discontinued.

There was a prison at Ombersley in 1203. (fn. 16) It was one of the duties of the oxmen (bovarii) on the manor of Ombersley to guard any thieves who might be taken on the manor. (fn. 17)

It was presented in 1612–13 that the tenants of the manor were bound to repair all the bridges standing in any highway in the manor. Two of these, called Hawford's Bridge and Wade Bridge, 'are now ruyned and not passable without great danger.' (fn. 18)

At Hadley Heath Common there is the site of a camp with entrenchments. (fn. 19) Near this camp were several mounds, which were levelled in 1815, when 'red earth' ware was discovered. (fn. 20) A prehistoric ringed palstave, now in the Worcester Museum, was dug up on Lineholt Common. (fn. 21)

The following place-names occur in the boundaries of Ombersley in 706: Lincumbe, Geofandene, Blacamore, Merbroc, Uffanheale. (fn. 22) Other placenames are Owood (fn. 23) (xvi cent.); Fowles, (fn. 24) Jerves, Redenhurst, Cutnull, (fn. 25) Vicars Park, (fn. 26) Suddington Orchard, Swirdland, Lilhalle, Linchford, Tapenhill, Knights Grove, Birchen Vallett in Linholt, (fn. 27) Wynnald (fn. 28) (xvii cent.).

MANORS

Twelve cassata of land at OMBERSLEY were granted to Abbot Ecgwine and the abbey of Evesham in 706 by Ethelward, subregulus of the Hwiccas, with the consent of King Coenred. (fn. 29) This grant was confirmed by Ccolred and Ethelbald, Kings of Mercia, and by King Offa. (fn. 30) The fate of Ombersley is not known during the troubled times in the middle of the 10th century, when Evesham Abbey so often changed hands, but in 976, when the monks were expelled for the second time by Alfhere, ealdorman of Mercia, Ombersley was given to Alfward, Alfhere's brother. (fn. 31) Subsequently the lands of Evesham Abbey were given to Earl Godwin in exchange for Towcester, (fn. 32) and evidently Ombersley thus passed into the hands of the earl, and the various grantees of the abbey after this time were unable to recover it. (fn. 33) It remained in Godwin's hands until redeemed by Abbot Brihtmar after long suit. (fn. 34)

The estate which the abbey of Evesham had at Ombersley in 1086 had been reckoned at 15 hides in the time of Edward the Confessor. Three of these hides were free of geld, but in ancient times, so it was said, the whole manor was assessed at only 3 hides. (fn. 35)

Free warren at Ombersley was granted in 1251 to the Abbot of Evesham, (fn. 36) and in 1275–6 it was presented at the assizes that he had made a new warren without licence. (fn. 37) Various improvements were made in the manor of Ombersley during the 13th and 14th centuries. Abbot Ralph (1214–29) made a fish stew at Lineholt and two other stews under the court. (fn. 38) His successor, Abbot Thomas of Marlborough, assarted 2 carucates of land at Chattesley, having obtained the permission of Walter de Beauchamp, who had common at Chattesley. (fn. 39) John de Brokhampton (1282–1316) erected a room with a vault at Ombersley Manor, (fn. 40) and Abbot John Ombersley (1367–79) added a hall and two rooms, one in the west and one in the north, a stable outside the lower door and a small grange in the outer court. He also obtained licence from the king in 1376 to inclose 300 acres of land and water in the manor called the wood of Lineholt and to make a park there. (fn. 41) Abbot Roger Zatton (1379–1418) restored the fish-pond called Trylpole and mills at Ombersley, and rebuilt the dovccot, kitchen and chapel. (fn. 42) Abbot William de Bois died at Ombersley in 1367. (fn. 43) At the time of the surrender of Evesham Abbey the manor of Ombersley was bringing in the considerable revenue of £121 7s. 9¾d. to its owners. (fn. 44)

In 1546–7 the manor-house was leased for twenty-one years to Philip Brace of Doverdale, on the surrender of a lease for ninety-two years granted by the abbot in 1538. In the same year the manor was leased for the same period to Robert Constable. (fn. 45) A thirty-one years' lease of the manor, after the expiration of Robert Constable's lease, was granted, probably by Queen Mary in 1554, to Sir John Bourne. (fn. 46) Queen Elizabeth leased it for twenty-one years in 1560 to William Garrard and others, but in 1562 they surrendered it to the Crown, (fn. 47) and in 1574–5 it was granted to John Hamond and John Hill for thirty-one years after the expiration of Sir John Bourne's lease. (fn. 48) In 1594 a lease for thirty-one years from Michaelmas 1619 was granted to Sir Samuel Sandys. (fn. 49) Sir Samuel had evidently obtained Hamond's lease, for in 1608 he was in possession of the manor, and his lease had still above forty years to run, and he expressed himself willing to renew it if the king wished. (fn. 50)


Sandys of Ombersley, Lord Sandys. Or a fesse dancetty between three crosslets fitchy gules.

In 1610 Ombersley Manor formed part of the large estate granted by James I to his son Henry, Prince of Wales. (fn. 51) Prince Henry died in 1612, and in 1614 the manor was granted to Sir Samuel Sandys at a fee-farm rent of £26 19s. 3d. (fn. 52) Sir Samuel was the eldest son of Edwin Sandys, Bishop of Worcester, and afterwards Archbishop of York. (fn. 53) The manor was confirmed to Edwin son and heir of Sir Samuel by Letters Patent in April 1614, (fn. 54) in the lifetime of his father, who did not die until August 1623. (fn. 55) Edwin died in September 1623, and was succeeded by his son Samuel, (fn. 56) who died in 1685, when the manor passed to his eldest son Samuel. (fn. 57) Edwin, son of the latter, married Alice daughter of Sir James Rushout in 1694, when a settlement of the manor was made. (fn. 58) He died in 1699, before his father, and on the death of the latter in 1701 the manor of Ombersley passed to Samuel son of Edwin. (fn. 59) He was chancellor of the exchequer and one of the Lords of the Treasury in 1742–3, and was created Lord Sandys in December 1743. (fn. 60) He died in 1770, and was succeeded by his son Edwin. (fn. 61) He was M.P. for Droitwich 1747–54 and for Westminster 1762–70 (fn. 62) and Lord of the Admiralty in 1757. He died without issue at Ombersley Court in 1797, when the title became extinct. His estates passed to his niece, Mary daughter of Martin Sandys, fourth son of the first Lord Sandys. (fn. 63) Mary married Arthur Hill, second Marquess of Downshire, and shortly after the death of her husband, in June 1802, she was created Baroness Sandys of Ombersley, with remainder to her second, third, fourth and fifth sons respectively, with a final remainder to her eldest son, the Marquess of Downshire. (fn. 64) She died in 1836, and the manor of Ombersley descended with the title of Lord Sandys to her second son, Arthur Moyses William Hill. He was succeeded in 1860 by his next younger brother, Arthur Marcus Cecil Hill, who took the surname Sandys in 1861. (fn. 65) He died two years later, and the manor passed to his son Augustus Frederick Arthur Sandys, on whose death without issue in 1904 the estate passed to his brother Michael Edwin Marcus Lord Sandys, the present owner. (fn. 66)

The fee-farm rent payable by the owners of the manor from the site and demesne lands was granted in 1637–8 to James Duke of Lennox, (fn. 67) and in 1664 to Catherine queen consort of Charles II. (fn. 68) In 1670 the fee-farm rents belonging to the Crown were vested in trustees, (fn. 69) who sold the reversion after the death of Queen Catherine of the rent due from Ombersley Manor to Charles Lord St. John, Ralph Bucknall and others in July 1672. (fn. 70) Benjamin Bathurst and Elizabeth his wife made a conveyance of this rent in 1747 (fn. 71) ; in 1753 it belonged to James Brydges Marquess of Carnarvon. (fn. 72) It passed from him on his death in 1789 to his only daughter Anna Eliza, who married Richard Marquess of Buckingham. (fn. 73) Their son Richard Earl Temple was in possession of the fee-farm rent in 1818. (fn. 74)

A fishery and two weirs, one where the spring called Ombreswelle falls into the Severn and the other at the ford called Leverford, were included in Ethelward's grant of the manor in 706. (fn. 75) In 1086 there were a fishery and a half at Ombersley yielding 2,000 eels and two mills worth 8s. (fn. 76) Abbot Thomas of Marlborough in 1230–1 recovered into his own hands the mill of 'Haddeley' in Ombersley. (fn. 77) In 1291 two mills belonged to the abbot's manor of Ombersley. (fn. 78) Abbot Zatton (1379–1418) rebuilt the mills at Trylpole. (fn. 79) A mill called Pig Mill is mentioned in grants of the manor in 1574–5 and 1593–4. (fn. 80) In 1613 the mills called Squint Mill, Tirle Mill, and Pig Mill were granted to William Whitmore and others at a fee-farm rent of 7s. 4d., (fn. 81) but they must have sold them afterwards to Edwin Sandys, for the three mills were included among his possessions at the time of his death. (fn. 82)

Watered as it is on all sides by rivers or brooks, Ombersley still has many mills. Winnall Mill, a corn-mill, is on the tributary of the Severn in the north-western corner of the parish, near Hampstall Ferry. Hadley Mill is at Hadley on Hadley Brook on the eastern border. New Mill on the Salwarpe is also on the eastern border. Turn Mill, probably the same as Trylpole Mill and Tirle Mill, is a cornmill on a tributary of the Severn.

A part of a weir at Ombersley which Thomas Gugun had given him was granted by Absalon de Bevere to Marjory his daughter by an undated charter of the 13th century. (fn. 83) In 1348 William the fisherman of Ombersley gave to William ate Tolle of Salwarpe, clerk, all his land and tenements with a rent and fishery at Ombersley. (fn. 84) Richard de Hansforde, son and heir of Richard de Hansforde, in 1357–8 granted to Sir William Rome of Ombersley, chaplain, a portion of his weir in Ombersley, for which he paid a yearly rent to the Abbot of Evesham. (fn. 85)

An interesting survey of the mansion-house of Ombersley was taken in 1584. (fn. 86) There was a hall built of timber and covered with tile, a house at the south end of the hall, a room on the east of the hall adjoining the outer court, an old chapel built of stone with a timber roof covered with tiles, and a vaulted room beneath, rooms on the south and east of the chapel, and a room on the north of the hall. All this part of the manor was considered fit to remain standing, though the repairs would be costly, but a house on the east of the court with a passage built upon posts leading from it to the hall was in a state of ruin past repair. (fn. 87) The present mansion, Ombersley Court, was built by the first Lord Sandys. (fn. 88)

The lord of the manor had free warren in the manor, in Oldfield, in the Haye by Trehampton, in the Winyards, in Birchin Lane, in Lineholt, and in the Heath by Woodham field. (fn. 89) In 1752 an Act was passed to extinguish the right of the lord of the manor of Ombersley of keeping a warren on Linall Common, the Birchin Valley and the Lyth, and for securing to him the rent then paid for the warren, and for annexing Birchin Valley to several ancient copyholds in the manor. (fn. 90)

Rents called Honysilver and Hundred silver were due by his tenants to the lord of the manor of Ombersley. (fn. 91) The latter rent was a composition paid by the tenants at Ombersley for exemption from suit at the Abbot of Evesham's distant hundred of Blackenhurst, to which Ombersley belonged until the middle of the 18th century. (fn. 92)

Habington gives a mythical origin of the family and manor of ACTON, (fn. 93) but the earliest authentic reference is to Philip de Acton, who appears to have been a landowner in Worcestershire in 1175–6. (fn. 94) Ellis de Acton is given as a juror in 1219, and an Ellis de Acton assigned rent which he held in Ombersley to the support of a chaplain in a certain chapel there. In 1274–5 Iseult widow of Ellis de Acton son of Ellis mentioned above sued John de Acton, son of the younger Ellis, (fn. 95) for a third of this rent, which she claimed as dower. It appeared that Ellis the son had never held the rent, but had merely acted as collector for his father, so that Iseult's claim was void. (fn. 96) In 1342 John de Acton and Isabel his wife settled the manor of Acton upon themselves with reversion to their son Walter and his heirs male, with contingent remainders in tail-male to their sons Edmund, William and Simon. (fn. 97) Richard de Acton and Isabel his wife, to whom there was a monument in the old church of Ombersley, (fn. 98) may have owned the manor of Acton. In 1513 an award was made by the Abbot of Evesham in termination of a dispute which had arisen between Francis Acton and the two daughters of Walter Acton as to the manor of Acton. The abbot awarded the manor, which had descended to Walter from William Acton, probably his father, (fn. 99) to the co-heirs, Isabel wife of Thomas Broughton of Belbroughton, and Joyce Acton. (fn. 100) Joyce afterwards married Thomas Barneby, and they were dealing with the manor in 1547–8, (fn. 101) and in 1554–5 they and Richard Barneby their son conveyed half the manor to Ellis Evans and others (fn. 102) for some settlement. Thomas Barneby was dead before 1578, and his widow Joyce conveyed the moiety of the manor to Thomas Pury. (fn. 103) Pury may have been a trustee for her son Charles, to whom she gave part of the manor. (fn. 104) Charles gave this estate to his eldest brother Richard, (fn. 105) evidently before 1581, for Richard was then dealing with the manor. (fn. 106) It passed from him to his son William, (fn. 107) who conveyed it in 1602 to Abel Gower and John Sheldon. (fn. 108) They were probably trustees for some settlement, for Sir William Barneby was dealing with the manor in 1624, (fn. 109) and his son John sold it in 1649 to Richard Bourne the elder. (fn. 110)


Acton of Acton. Or three bars wavy gules.

Part of the other moiety of the manor appears to have been alienated by Thomas Broughton, Isabel Acton's first husband, to Richard Bourne the elder. (fn. 111) Walter Blount, the second husband of Isabel, died in 1561, and she died in the following year. (fn. 112) On their tomb in Astley Church are two sons and five daughters, (fn. 113) who apparently all died young except the youngest daughter Margery, who is the only child of Walter Blount mentioned in the Worcester Visitation of 1569. She is there given as wife of Roger Stamford, (fn. 114) but she also must have died without issue, for the estate retained in this family passed to Robert Blount, who was presumably Walter's brother. (fn. 115) Robert sold part of the manor to Thomas Clent about 1572, and part of it to James Nash. (fn. 116)

Richard Bourne seems to have acquired the whole manor before 1663, when he conveyed it to Robert Wylde and others. (fn. 117) Richard's son Richard, who married Anne daughter of Robert Wylde, died at about this time, (fn. 118) and on the death of his father in 1669 (fn. 119) the estate passed to John son of the younger Richard. (fn. 120) John conveyed the manor of Acton in 1678 to Robert Wylde and Arthur Charlett, (fn. 121) possibly on the occasion of his marriage with Elizabeth daughter of Arthur Charlett. (fn. 122) Elizabeth Bourne, widow, and Richard Bourne, who conveyed the manor in 1721 to Allen Cliffe and other trustees, (fn. 123) were probably the widow and son of John Bourne. Richard Bourne of Acton was Sheriff of Worcestershire in 1730. (fn. 124) It was probably this Richard who died in 1754 and was buried in Ombersley Church. (fn. 125) Francis Bourne of Acton, whose relationship to Richard is not known, changed his name to Page about 1741 in accordance with the will of his grand-uncle Sir Francis Page. (fn. 126) He held the manor in 1782 (fn. 127) and died unmarried in 1803. (fn. 128) In 1868 Acton Hall belonged to T. Amphlett, (fn. 129) and it is now the property of Mr. Thomas Edward Amphlett.

Richard son of Maurice de Ombersley held half a knight's fee of the Abbot of Evesham in 1166. (fn. 130) In 1281–2 Simon de Ombersley gave John de Grafton two-thirds of a messuage and 2 carucates of land which Simon held, and the reversion of a third of the tenement which Peter de Lench and Margaret his wife held of Simon's inheritance. John agreed to let Simon and his wife Margaret hold the two parts of the tenement for their lives with reversion to John. (fn. 131) In 1349–50 Sir John, lord of Grafton, granted to John Searle, rector of Grafton, and others certain of his manors and lands including the manor of Ombersley, (fn. 132) and in 1350 Thomas de Beauchamp Earl of Warwick granted land and rent in Evesham and Ombersley held for life by Roger de Grafton to the Abbot and convent of Evesham to find chantries and alms and other pious works in their abbey as he should ordain. (fn. 133) This estate, which is called the 'manor of Oversudington' within the manor of Ombersley, had come into the earl's hands by surrender. (fn. 134)

CHURCH

The church of ST. ANDREW consists of a chancel 30 ft. by 20 ft. with vestries north and south of it, nave 69 ft. by 21 ft., north and south aisles 15 ft. wide and a western tower 12 ft. square. These measurements are all internal. The building was erected by Rickman in 1825 for the Marchioness of Downshire, near the site of the former church, which was pulled down with the exception of the eastern portion of the chancel, which now serves as a mortuary chapel to the family of Lord Sandys.


Plan of Ombersley Old Church (based on Prattinton's plan)

The new building is of the most florid 14th-century style and is ashlar faced. The nave has a clearstory of four two-light windows on each side, and the arcades of four bays are divided by a gallery which runs round the north, west and south sides of the church. The east window of the chancel is of four lights, and in each side wall are four three-light windows, the buttresses between them having crocketed pinnacles. The roofs of the nave and chancel are stone vaulted, but those of the aisles are flat. The tower is three stages high with an embattled parapet and angle pinnacles. Above this rises an octagonal spire strengthened by flying buttresses at the angles.

The stone and marble font is a recent gift replacing the mean font dating from 1828 which now stands in the mortuary chapel. The pulpit and quire seats are also modern, but the box pews date from 1828.

The remaining portion of the former church includes about two-thirds of the chancel and measures 29 ft. by 21½ ft. inside. It is of late 13th-century date with the exception of the east wall, which was probably rebuilt in the 18th century. The east window, which was square, is now filled in. In each side wall are two trefoiled lancets with detached shafts having moulded capitals and bases to the internal jambs, supporting rear arches, moulded in each case with a filleted bowtel. Their labels are returned as a string-course on each wall, while at the level of their sills is a second string-course, which leaps the heads of the sedilia and piscina in the south wall and forms their labels. On the north side the sill-string rises as though over a square-headed tomb recess, but the wall is filled in flush. The piscina has a trefoiled head and the basin is in the form of a moulded bell capital. The three sedilia are also trefoiled. The east and west jambs have detached shafts with moulded bases and capitals. The capitals between the seats rest on diminishing corbels, which are in turn supported on carved human heads. The head appears to have been dropped in a later alteration or rebuilding. The inclosing west wall with its doorway is modern, and the ceiling is plastered. Outside the walls are almost entirely hidden by ivy. They are finished with a modern embattled parapet and are supported on either side by three buttresses, with two on the east wall.

A 17th-century oak altar table still stands against the east wall. It has carved baluster legs and around the top rail is the text 'Whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily shall be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord.' There are several monuments and gravestones to members of the Sandys family, all of 17th or 18th-century date.

According to Dr. Prattinton the nave of the old church was three bays long with north and south aisles and arcades resting on piers of quatrefoil plan. The main roof was arched and panelled in oak. The tower apparently stood at the west end of the nave, opening to it by a lofty arch with a respond of clustered shafts on the north. It appears, however, to have been subsequently rebuilt at the west end of the south aisle. The nave also possessed north and south porches.

In the churchyard is a tall cross raised on a platform of four steps; the 15th-century square base is moulded and its faces are panelled with quatrefoils. The shaft is octagonal, chamfered out to the square above and below, and supports a red sandstone head, surmounted by a hollow-sided pyramid. The cornice and the pyramid are 18th-century work and the lower part of the head probably 17th-century. A dial is set on the south face.


The Sandys Mausoleum, Ombersley Old Church

The six bells were brought from the old church, but the second, fourth and the tenor were recast by John Rudhall before the rehanging in 1828. The treble is by Henry Bagley and has fifteen bronze Charles I coins in the shoulder and mouth of the bell; the third and fifth are dated 1628, the former with Matthew Bagley's name as the founder.

The communion plate consists of a silver Elizabethan cup and cover paten of 1571, a silver-gilt cup of 1630, a stand paten dated 1704 with the hall mark of 1697 and two flagons dated 1685, and having the hall mark of 1682.

The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms 1574 to 1674, burials 1574 to 1675 and marriages 1574 to 1676 (the entries from 1649 to 1660 being entered from 'hearsay' by Edward Pilkington, 'the routed vicar'); (ii) baptisms and burials 1676 to 1752 and marriages 1677 to 1752; (iii) baptisms and burials 1753 to 1812; (iv) marriages 1754 to 1789; (v) marriages 1789 to 1812.

ADVOWSON

It would seem that originally the advowson of the church of Ombersley belonged to the Bishops of Worcester, for in 1207, in the settlement of the dispute between the bishop and the Abbot of Evesham as to the churches of the Vale of Evesham, the bishop agreed to give the church of Ombersley to the abbot. (fn. 135) Ranulph, Abbot of Evesham (1214–29), converted to the use of the poor and the convent an ancient pension of 60s. from the church which his predecessors had been accustomed to bestow upon their kinsmen and clerks. (fn. 136) In 1248 Pope Innocent IV granted an indulgence to Theodisius, canon of Beauvais, the pope's grand-nephew, to serve by fit vicars his church of Ombersley and any other benefices which he might hold or in future obtain, and to receive all the benefits and profits of such benefices; it also exempted him from being compelled to take orders or make residence on these benefices. (fn. 137) In December 1269 the church of Ombersley was consecrated by the bishop in honour of St. Andrew. (fn. 138) It was committed by the bishop in 1283 to William de Cherinton, as the bishop's sequestrator, until he should be certain of the death of the rector, (fn. 139) but Theodisius was still rector, and trouble arose between him and William in 1285. (fn. 140) The bishop declared in the following year that neither by authority of the pope, nor of the Archbishop of Canterbury, nor of the bishop himself, was William instituted to the church of Ombersley, nor by authority of the bishop had he any title to it, (fn. 141) and Theodisius was restored to his possession. (fn. 142) Cherinton became Abbot of Evesham in 1317 and immediately endeavoured to get the church of Ombersley appropriated to the abbey. (fn. 143) The abbot pleaded the poverty of his house owing to excessive taxation and calls on its hospitality due to its situation near the public way, (fn. 144) but it was not until 1326 that licence was finally given for him to appropriate the church. (fn. 145) For this privilege he had to pay 30s. a year to the Bishops of Worcester. (fn. 146) The vicarage was ordained in 1327 and a portion of the tithes assigned to the vicar. (fn. 147) William de Cherinton bequeathed the churches of Ombersley and Badby (Northants) in 1344 to his prior and convent to dispose of as might seem best to them. In accordance with the will of the abbot it was ordained in full chapter at Christmas 1344, that at Ascensiontide and at the feast of St. Peter ad Vincula, £24 from these churches should be distributed between the prior and monks. (fn. 148) The advowson remained with the Abbot and convent of Evesham until the Dissolution, (fn. 149) when it passed to the Crown. It was granted in 1558 to Richard Bishop of Worcester, who presented in that year. (fn. 150) The rectory and church were included in Robert Constable's and Sir John Bourne's leases of the manor, (fn. 151) and the advowson was probably also included, for Sir John's successor as lessee, John Talbot, evidently held it, as the presentation was made in 1587 by the grantees of his executors. (fn. 152) The rectory and advowson were granted in 1609 at a fee-farm rent of £32 18s. 4d. to Francis Philipps and Richard Moore, (fn. 153) but they sold it a month later to Thomas Coventry, Thomas Sandys and others. (fn. 154) They were probably trustees for Sir Samuel Sandys, to whom the advowson and rectory passed at about this time. (fn. 155) The subsequent descent of the advowson and rectory is the same as that of the manor. (fn. 156)

The fee-farm rent of £32 18s. 4d. from the rectory of Ombersley was granted in 1613–14 to Queen Anne, consort of James I, for life, (fn. 157) and in 1627 to Queen Henrietta Maria. (fn. 158) In 1675–6 it was sold by the Crown to Sir Walter Wrottesley, Richard Congrave and John Gifford. (fn. 159)

There is a Congregational church in the town, opened in 1823.

CHARITIES

In 1768 John Amphlett by his will gave £30 in trust for the poor. This was augmented in 1773 by a legacy of £100 under the will of Thomas Amphlett. These legacies were secured on Southall Farm, part of the Westwood Estate, in respect of which an annuity of £5 17s. is paid, and applied in the distribution of tickets on tradesmen of the value of 10s. 6d. each.

A further sum of 10s. is applied with these charities as interest on a further sum of £20 on deposit in the Post Office Savings Bank. This is understood to be a legacy under the will of another John Amphlett.

The Church Estate, the origin of which is not precisely known, consists of a house and shop, twelve cottages, 1 a. 2 r. let in allotments, and a building known as the Parish Institute, bringing in a total gross income of £88 a year, which is applied to church expenses.

Lloyd's Charity School, founded by Richard Lloyd by deed, 1723, is regulated by a scheme made under the Endowed School Acts of 7 July 1874, whereby the charities of Thomas Clent and others, recorded on the church table as having been given for the benefit of the poor, were directed to be applied for the advancement of education.

In addition to the schools and land, a sum of £3,499 6s. 5d. consols, producing £87 9s. 8d. yearly, is held by the official trustees as part of the endowment. (fn. 160)

Footnotes

1 Burton, Bibl. of Worcs. i, 102; Loc. and Personal Act, 7 Geo. IV, cap. 59.
2 a Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.). In 1814 an Act was passed for taking down the old church tower and steeple of Ombersley, erecting a new church, enlarging the churchyard, and for building a workhouse (Loc. and Personal Act, 54 Geo. III, cap. 218).
3 b Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.).
4 c Charies certainly passed through Ombersley, and it was here that Massey left him and rode away to Droitwich.
5 V.C.H. Worcs. ii, 316.
6 Hist. of Worcs. Introd. p. lxviii.
7 V.C.H. Worcs. ii, 315; Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i, 359.
8 Cal. Close, 1227–31, p. 220; Cal. Chart. R. 1226–57, p. 102.
9 Loc. and Pers. Act, 54 Geo. III, cap. 227; Blue Bk. Incl. Awards, 191.
10 Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
11 Noake, Guide to Worcs. 292.
12 Ibid.
13 Boswell, Life of Johnson (ed. Bell), v, 455.
14 Chart. R. 28 Edw. III, m. 4.
15 Cal. Pat. 1467–77, p. 67.
16 Chron. de Evesham (Rolls Ser.), 127.
17 V.C.H. Worcs. i, 274.
18 Exch. Dep. East. 11 Jas. I, no. 3.
19 Noake, op. cit. 293.
20 V.C.H. Worcs. i, 220.
21 Ibid. 195.
22 Birch, Cart. Sax. i, 172.
23 Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 188, no. 20.
24 Exch. Dep. Hil. 4 Jas. I, no. 13.
25 Ibid. East. 5 Jas. I, no. 9.
26 Ibid. East. 9 Jas. I, no. 11.
27 Pat. 11 Jas. I, pt. ix, no. 1.
28 Nash, op. cit. i, 569.
29 Birch, op. cit. i, 171; Chron. de Evesham (Rolls Ser.), 72; Haddan and Stubbs, Councils, 278.
30 Birch, op. cit. i, 172–3. This charter is a forgery (inform. from Mr. F. M. Stenton).
31 Chron. de Evesham (Rolls Ser.), 79.
32 V.C.H. Worcs. ii, 114.
33 Ibid.
34 Chron. de Evesham (Rolls Ser.), 80–1.
35 V.C.H. Worcs. i, 307.
36 Cal. Chart. R. 1226–57, p. 364.
37 Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 283; Assize R. 1026, m. 44 d.
38 Chron. de Evesham (Rolls Ser.), 261.
39 Ibid. 275.
40 Ibid. 288.
41 Ibid. 300–1; Pat. 50 Edw. III, pt. i, m. 8. A licence for this inclosure had been obtained by the Abbot of Evesham in 1358 (Cal. Pat. 1358–61, p. 15).
42 Chron. de Evesham (Rolls Ser.), 304.
43 Ibid. 299.
44 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 249.
45 a L. and P. Hen. VIII, xxi (2), pp. 439, 441.
46 Exch. Spec. Com. 26 Eliz. no. 129; Pat. 17 Eliz. pt. i, m. 19.
47 Pat. 2 Eliz. pt. xiii, m. 13.
48 Ibid. 17 Eliz. pt. i, m. 19. John Talbot seems to have succeeded Sir John Bourne as lessee (Exch. Dep. Mich. 20 Jas. I, no. 28; East. 9 Jas. I, no. 11).
49 Pat. 36 Eliz. pt. ii, m. 14; Cal. S. P. Dom. 1591–4, p. 513.
50 Cal. S. P. Dom. 1603–10, p. 489
51 Pat. 8 Jas. I, pt. xli.
52 Ibid. 11 Jas. I, pt. ix, no. 1.
53 Nash, op. cit. ii, 221.
54 Pat. 12 Jas. I, pt. i, no. 6.
55 Nash, op. cit. ii, 222; Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccv, 154.
56 Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccv, 154.
57 Nash, op. cit. ii, 221.
58 Feet of F. Div. Co. Mich. 6 Will. and Mary.
59 G.E.C. Complete Peerage, vii, 54; Recov. R. East. 11 Geo. I, rot. 150.
60 G.E.C. loc. cit.
61 Ibid.; Recov. R. Mich. 9 Geo. III, rot. 141.
62 a Ret. of Members of Parl. ii, under date.
63 G.E.C. loc. cit.
64 G.E.C. op. cit. vii, 55.
65 Ibid.
66 Burke, Peerage.
67 Pat. 13 Chas. I, pt. xiii.
68 Ibid. 15 Chas. I, pt. xiv, no. 1.
69 Palmer's Indices (P.R.O.), lxxiii, fol. 83; see also Pat. 22 Chas. II, pt. ii (1st roll).
70 Close, 24 Chas. II, pt. xii, m. 10.
71 Recov. R. East. 20 Geo. II, rot. 145.
72 Ibid. Hil. 26 Geo. II, rot. 472.
73 G.E.C. Complete Peerage, ii, 206.
74 Recov. R. East. 58 Geo. III, rot. 189.
75 Birch, op. cit. i, 171.
76 V.C.H. Worcs. i, 307.
77 Chron. de Evesham (Rolls Ser.), 275.
78 Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 229.
79 Ibid. 304.
80 Pat. 17 Eliz. pt. i, m. 19; 36 Eliz. pt. ii, m. 14.
81 Ibid. 10 Jas. I, pt. xxv, no. 2.
82 W. and L. Inq. p.m. xl, 49; Exch. Dep. East. 11 Jas. I, no. 3.
83 Anct. D. (P.R.O.), B. 2671.
84 Ibid. 2692.
85 Ibid. 2673.
86 Exch. Spec. Com. 26 Eliz. no. 2480
87 Ibid.
88 Noake, op. cit. 292.
89 Exch. Dep. East. 11 Jas. I, no. 3.
90 Burton, Bibl. of Worcs. i, 52; Priv. Act, 25 Geo. II, cap. 22.
91 Dugdale, Mon. Angl. ii, 45; Pat. 17 Eliz. pt. i, m. 19; 12 Jas. I, pt. i, no. 6.
92 Burton, op. cit. i, 55.
93 op. cit. ii, 226.
94 Pipe R. 22 Hen. II (Pipe R. Soc.), 39.
95 Assize R. 1025, m. 1.
96 Ibid. 1026, m. 11.
97 Feet of F. Worcs. East. 16 Edw. III.
98 Habington, op. cit. ii, 227.
99 Visit. of Worcs. 1569 (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 3. This William may have been the son of Richard and Isabel (ibid.).
100 Deed quoted in Prattinton Coll. (Soc. Antiq.).
101 Feet of F. Div. Co. Mich. 1 Edw. VI.
102 Ibid. Worcs. 1 & 2 Phil. and Mary.
103 Com. Pleas D. Enr. East. 20 Eliz. m. 37.
104 Exch. Dep. Hil. 38 Eliz. no. 3.
105 Ibid.
106 Feet of F. Div. Co. East. 23 Eliz.
107 Metcalfe, Visit. of Worcs. 1682–3, p. 8.
108 Feet of F. Worcs. Mich. 44 & 45 Eliz.
109 Recov. R. Mich. 22 Jas. I, rot. 92.
110 Feet of F. Worcs. Mich. 1649; Metcalfe, loc. cit.
111 Exch. Dep. Hil. 38 Eliz. no. 3.
112 Nash, op. cit. i, 43.
113 Ibid.
114 op. cit. (Harl. Soc. xxvii), 19.
115 Ibid.; Exch. Dep. Hil. 38 Eliz. no. 3.
116 Exch. Dep. Hil. 38 Eliz. no. 3.
117 Feet of F. Worcs. Trin. 15 Chas. II.
118 Metcalfe, op. cit. 19.
119 Nash, op. cit. ii, 219.
120 Ibid.
121 Feet of F. Worcs. Mich. 30 Chas. II.
122 Metcalfe, loc. cit.
123 Feet of F. Worcs. Mich. 8 Geo. I.
124 P.R.O. List of Sheriffs, 159.
125 Nash, op. cit. ii, 219.
126 Dict. Nat. Biog. under Sir Francis Page.
127 Nash, op. cit. ii, 218.
128 Dict. Nat. Biog. under Sir Francis Page.
129 Noake, op. cit. 293.
130 Red Bk. of Exch. (Rolls Ser.), 302.
131 Feet of F. Worcs. 10 Edw. I, no. 24.
132 Add. MS. 28024, fol. 135a.
133 Cal. Pat. 1348–50, p. 565.
134 Ibid. 1350–4, p. 60.
135 V.C.H. Worcs. ii, 119; Chron. de Evesham (Rolls Ser.), 223.
136 Chron. de Evesham (Rolls Ser.), 260.
137 Reg. G. Giffard (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 107.
138 Ibid. 30.
139 Reg. G. Giffard (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 204.
140 Ibid. 264.
141 Ibid. 284.
142 Ibid. 299.
143 Cal. Papal Letters, ii, 148.
144 Worc. Epis. Reg. Cobham (1317–27), fol. 112 d.
145 Cal. Pat. 1324–7, p. 256; Cal. Papal Letters, ii, 397.
146 Worc. Epis. Reg. Wulstan de Bransford (1339–49), fol. 20 f.
147 Ibid. Cobham (1317–27), fol. 124 d.; Nash, op. cit. ii, 226.
148 Dugdale, Mon. Angl. ii, 31.
149 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 253; Nash, op. cit. ii, 220.
150 Nash, loc. cit.; Pat. 5 & 6 Phil. and Mary, pt. ii, m. 30.
151 L. and P. Hen. VIII, xxi (2), p. 441; Pat. 17 Eliz. pt. i, m. 19.
152 Nash, op. cit. ii, 220.
153 Pat. 7 Jas. I, pt. ix, no. 12.
154 Recov. R. D. Enr. Trin. 7 Jas. I, m. 9.
155 Exch. Dep. East. 11 Jas. I, no. 23.
156 Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
157 Pat. 11 Jas. I, pt. xiii.
158 Ibid. 2 Chas. I, pt. iv.
159 Ibid. 27 Chas. II, pt. v.
160 See 'Schools,' V.C.H. Worcs. iv.


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