Scepwaeisctune (viii cent.); Scepwestun (xi cent.);
Sipestone, Sepwestun, Schipton (xiii cent.); Sepestonon-Sture (xiv cent.).
The parish of Shipston-on-Stour, which was formed
out of the large parish of Tredington in 1719, (fn. 1) is one
of the detached parishes of Worcestershire and lies to
the south-east of the county proper. The River Stour,
flowing north, forms the eastern boundary, and it
is joined by a small tributary called Pig Brook,
flowing east, which forms the southern boundary.
The parish consists of 1,220 acres, (fn. 2) of which 110
are arable and 900 permanent grass. (fn. 3) The soil
is clay, lying on a substratum of Lower Lias. The
chief crops are wheat, barley and oats, but during
the last twenty years much of the land has been put
down to grass. At one time shag or plush weaving
was largely carried on at Shipston-on-Stour, but the
industry was declining in the middle of the 19th
century, (fn. 4) and has now died out.
The township of Shipston-on-Stour is on the left
bank of the River Stour, on the high road from
Woodstock to Stratford-upon-Avon. The church of
St. Edmund, near the river bank, is about 200 ft.
above the ordnance datum. To the west and south
the land rises steadily to Waddon Hill and Hanson
Hill, 300 ft. above the ordnance datum. The main
square is situated on the west side of Church Street; the
George Inn and the 'White Bear' stand on the east
side of the square and the 'Black Bear' on the west.
Adjoining the Bell Inn is a good 18th-century house,
and not far distant, in the Bell Inn road, is a house
with a tablet over the porch bearing the date 1678.
The rectory stands at the corner of the Chipping
Camden and Chipping Norton roads. On the Stratford road, which is known in the town variously as
Stratford Road, Church Street, New Street and
London Road, is the Ellen Badger Memorial Cottage
Hospital, erected in 1896, and to the south of the
town a cemetery, consecrated 5 April 1865, with two
mortuary chapels for members of the Church of
England and Nonconformists. The Shipston-on-Stour
union workhouse lies to the north-west of the town. (fn. 5)
There is no town hall, but the 'Hostel' in Sheep
Street, the property of the trustees of the late
Mrs. Townsend of Honington Hall, is used for meetings and musical entertainments. Petty sessions are
held in the police station on alternate Saturdays.
There is a Baptist chapel in Shipston-on-Stour,
which was first formed in 1781. The present chapel
was built in 1867. There is also a Wesleyan Methodist
chapel, built in 1880, and a meeting-house for the
Society of Friends. (fn. 6)
An Inclosure Act for Shipston was passed in 1812,
and the award is dated 1815. (fn. 7)
Place-names occurring in the 17th century are
Boggies, Oddenhall, Fell Mill Grounds. (fn. 8)
Francis Hickes, the translator, was born at Shipstonon-Stour in 1566. William Parry, the calligrapher
and numismatist, was presented to the rectory in
1739. (fn. 9)
Huthrid (Uhtred), subregulus of the
Hwiccas, granted to the church of Worcester two 'manses' near the ford of the
River Stour, called Scepeswasce (i.e. Sheepwash), (fn. 10)
and this grant was confirmed by King Edgar in
his famous charter of 964. (fn. 11) At the date of the
Domesday Survey the monks of Worcester held 2
hides in SHIPSTON-ON-STOUR, (fn. 12) and these they
also held at the beginning of the 12th century. (fn. 13)
In 1201 the manor was leased to Sir Thomas
de Erdington for sixteen years. (fn. 14) In the register
of the priory full details are given as to the services and rents due from the tenants of this manor. (fn. 15)
The annual money receipts in 1240 were £2 11s. 7d. (fn. 16)
In 1291 the Prior of Worcester owned 3 carucates
here and at Blackwell worth £3 per annum, (fn. 17) and in
1345 he increased his holding in Shipston-on-Stour
by the purchase of a messuage and 3 virgates of land
from John de Tottenham and William de Hull. (fn. 18)
At the beginning of the 15th century a dispute arose
between the prior and his tenants as to customs and
services. (fn. 19) The manor of Shipston-on-Stour remained
with successive priors until the dissolution of the
priory in 1540. (fn. 20) It then passed to the Crown, and
was granted in 1542 to the Dean and Chapter of
Worcester, (fn. 21) with whom it remained until 1650,
when it was sold by the Parliamentary commissioners for the sale of dean and chapter lands to
Maurice Gething. (fn. 22) After the Restoration the manor
of Shipston-on-Stour was restored to the Dean and
Chapter of Worcester and confirmed to them in
1692. (fn. 23) It was taken over in 1859 by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 24) to whom it now belongs. (fn. 25)
Seventeenth-century House, Shipston-on-Stour
In 1268 Henry III granted to the Prior of
Worcester a market in Shipston-on-Stour to be held
weekly on Saturdays and a fair to be held there yearly
on the vigil, feast and morrow of Saint Barnabas
(10–12 June). (fn. 26) This grant was confirmed in 1400 (fn. 27)
and again in 1461. (fn. 28) On the dissolution of the
priory in 1540 (fn. 29) the stallage of the market was worth
£4 10s. (fn. 30) About the middle of the 16th century the
tolls of the market were in the hands of members of the
Morris family under a long lease. (fn. 31) In 573 Edward
and Richard Morris, two brothers, were the lessees,
taking the profits in alternate years. (fn. 32) The tolls are
now leased by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the
present owners, (fn. 33) to the parish council. (fn. 34) At the
present day there is a market every Saturday and a
monthly cattle fair, but the three statute fairs are a
horse fair on the first Tuesday after 10 April, a horse
and pleasure fair on 22 June, a pleasure fair and the
old annual Michaelmas fair on the first Tuesday after
10 October. (fn. 35) The October
fair is called 'bull roast,' as
an ox is then roasted in the
market. At this fair servants
are hired. (fn. 36)
The mill at Shipston-on-Stour was worth 10s. in 1086,
and in 1240 its value was the
same. (fn. 37) There is no mill mentioned in the valor of the
manor taken in 1535. At the
present day there is a cornmill in the town on the River
The church of
which stands on
the east side of the Stratford
road, between it and the River
Stour, consists of a chancel
27½ ft. by 19 ft., a north
chapel 15½ ft. square, a vestry
to the north of this 12 ft.
by 9½ ft., south chapel 15½ ft.
by 12½ ft., nave 71 ft. long
and of similar width to the chancel, north aisle
15½ ft. wide, south aisle 17 ft. wide, south porch and
a western tower 9½ ft. by 8¾ ft., all these measurements
being taken within the walls.
The whole of the church, except the 15th-century
tower, was rebuilt in 1855 in the style of the 14th
century. Beyond the tower there are now no old
remains. From notes made by Prattinton in 1812
the former church appears to have been of early date,
consisting of a chancel and chapel and a nave separated
from a north aisle by a round-arched arcade. The
font, however, was of 1707. Habington mentions
two raised tombs in the churchyard to John White,
who died in 1632, and Thomas White his son, who
died in 1631. The present chancel has an east
window of five lights with a traceried head and a
single light on the south. The sedile in the same
wall has a segmental head, while on the north side
is a flat pointed arch. On either side of the chancel
are arches opening to the chapels, and that opening
to the nave is of one order. The nave has arcades on
both sides of five bays, and each of the chapels has
a western cross arch and is lighted by a four-light
traceried east window.
Both aisles have four two-light traceried windows
in their side walls, with north and south entrances at
the west ends. The west window of the north aisle
is of two lights and the corresponding window of
the south aisle of four lights, both with traceried
The tower arch is old and two orders, the outer
of which is continuous and the inner interrupted by
a moulded capital of late form. The tower is two
stages high, and is supported on its west face by
diagonal buttresses which rise to about half its height.
It has a western window of three lights with modern
tracery and arch, but with an old two-centred rear
arch. Over the west window, and also on the north
side, are small rectangular lights of a single chamfered
order. The belfry is lighted on each side by a two-light window with a plain spandrel in the pointed
head. The parapet of the tower is embattled, and
at each corner is a small square pinnacle rising from
the coping only, and surmounted by a crocketed
finial. There are also intermediate pinnacles set
diagonally and rising from grotesque heads in the
parapet string. Grotesques project likewise from the
western angles at the same level.
The pulpit and the font are modern and both of
There are six bells in the tower, all by Matthew
Bagley, and of 1754, except the third, which is of
The plate consists of a communion cup inscribed
1824 with the hall mark for 1822, a salver of 1823
and a flagon of the same date.
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms and burials 1572 to 1797, marriages 1572
to 1754; (ii) baptisms and burials 1798 to 1812;
(iii) marriages 1754 to 1805; (iv) marriages 1806
Shipston-on-Stour was a chapelry
of Tredington, and from very early
times difficulties seem to have arisen
as to the provision of a chaplain for Shipston. In
1299 it was agreed that the chaplain was to be chosen
by the Prior and convent of Worcester, (fn. 38) and to be
presented every year to the rector of Tredington
and admitted by him, and to owe him canonical
obedience. The chaplain was to receive all tithes
and oblations from Shipston except tithes of sheaves,
hay, fleeces and lambs and all mortuaries and the
oblations of the parishioners on St. Gregory's Day.
The chaplain was also to pay the rector a yearly
pension of 12d. The rest of his stipend was to be
paid by the parishioners. (fn. 39) This agreement was confirmed in 1363. (fn. 40) In 1516, at the request of the
inhabitants, permission was given them to bury their
dead at Shipston. (fn. 41) Though it seems to have been
looked upon as a separate vicarage in 1535, (fn. 42) and its
advowson was granted to the dean and chapter in
1542 as a late possession of the prior and convent, (fn. 43)
Shipston was in reality a chapelry of Tredington
until 1719, when Shipston and Tidmington were
formed into a separate rectory and endowed with a
third of the rectory of Tredington. (fn. 44) At the same
time an agreement was made between the fellows of
Jesus College, patrons of Tredington, and the Dean
and Chapter of Worcester, by which the dean presented every third time to the rectory of Shipston-onStour, (fn. 45) and this arrangement still holds.
John Pittway by his will devised four
houses and 2a. of land for the instruction, books and clothing of six scholars and for other
The trust property, applicable for education, now
consists of land in Horn Lane let in allotments, a
building used as an engine-house producing in rents
about £30 a year, and £1,501 13s. 9d. consols, producing in annual dividends £37 10s. 8d., arising from
the sale of three houses in the High Street.
In 1789, as stated on the benefaction table, the
Rev. Thomas Jones left £60 in augmentation of the
salary of the schoolmaster. The legacy with voluntary
contributions is represented by £100 consols.
These charities are regulated by a scheme of the
Board of Education 19 May 1910, whereby £5 a
year is directed to be applied towards religious instruction by means of a Sunday school, and the residue of
the income is made applicable in apprenticing, in
school fees, exhibitions, &c.
In 1747 George Marshall, by will proved in the
P.C.C., left certain securities for establishing and
supporting a free school. The trust fund now consists
of £1,412 2s. 5d. consols, producing yearly £35 6s.,
which is applied for educational purposes under the
provisions of a scheme of the Charity Commissioners
of 5 January 1886.
John Pittway, by his will, dated in 1706, also
directed that a portion of the rents of the devised
property should be applied in clothing and bread for
the poor, and for a sermon, the trust funds of which,
derived from the sale of the three houses in the High
Street, were by an order of the Charity Commissioners 9 March 1906 apportioned as follows:—
Pittway's clothing dole, £140 consols, the annual
dividends of £3 10s. being applied in clothing three
poor men and three poor women; Pittway's bread
dole, £215 6s. 8d. consols, producing £5 7s. 8d.
yearly; and Pittway's ecclesiastical charity, £20
consols, the annual dividends of 10s. being paid to
the rector for a sermon on Good Friday.
The several sums of stock above mentioned are
held by the official trustees.
In 1555 William Willington, by his will, devised
an annuity of £1 13s. 4d. for the poor, issuing out of
land at Brailes, co. Warwick.
In 1747 George Marshall, by his will, left £100
South Sea new annuities, now represented by
£105 19s. 2d. consols with the official trustees, producing £2 13s. yearly. The two charities are
administered together and applied every three years
in the distribution of meat.
In 1719 Sarah Halford, by her will, devised an
annuity of £10 4s. issuing out of a farm in Willersey,
co. Gloucester, 50s. to be given in clothing to each of
four poor widows and a sum of 1s. in money to
In 1729 William Hobbins, by his will, devised an
annuity of £4 out of his copyhold estate in the
parish to be applied in clothing four poor men. The
property charged is now in the possession of five
different owners, who each pay a certain proportion.
The three charities next mentioned are administered together, namely: Thomas Hodgkins,' will
proved in 1811, trust fund, £113 16s. 7d. consols;
Thomas Sabin's, will proved in 1820, trust fund,
£105 consols; William Horniblow's, will dated in
1826, trust fund, £88 15s. 7d. consols.
The several sums of stock are held by the official
trustees, the annual dividends of which, amounting
together to £7 13s. 4d., are applicable in gifts of
clothing, usually of the value of 5s. each.
In 1891 Edward Vere Nicoll bequeathed £600,
the interest to be applied for the benefit of the poor.
The legacy was invested in £633 4s. 11d. consols
with the official trustees; the annual dividends
amounting to £15 16s. 4d. are applied in the distribution of grocery, drapery, coal and clothing.
The charities founded by will of Richard Badger,
proved at London 7 December 1907.
This testator bequeathed for the benefit of the
poor of certain parishes in this county, and in the
counties of Warwick and Gloucester, a considerable
sum which has been invested in the following railway
securities, now held by the official trustees: £5,000
Buenos Ayres Great Southern Railway 4 per cent.
stock, £6,000 Canadian Pacific Railway 4 per cent.
stock, £5,000 Grand Trunk Railway of Canada 4 per
cent. stock, and £4,711 London and North-Western
3 per cent. stock, producing £781 a year. This
parish is entitled to one-fourteenth part of such
income, amounting to £55 16s. 2d. yearly, for the
benefit of the poor; this is distributed in meat and
coal; also to one-twenty-first part, amounting yearly
to £31 4s., which is applicable to the Church Restoration Fund.
The church is also entitled to a moiety of the
income of allotments made under the Inclosure Act,
known as the Church Piece and Pound, producing
£5 a year, the poor being entitled to the other
The Curfew Bell Charity consists of £81 14s. 9d.
consols with the official trustees, derived under the
will of the above-mentioned William Horniblow for
a bell-ringer for ringing one of the bells in the
morning and in the evening at certain specified hours.
— The Baptist chapel is
endowed with land in Church Street and a messuage
thereon let at £30 a year, also with £161 10s. 2d.
consols with the official trustees, producing £4 0s. 8d.
yearly, arising under the will of Miss Martha Sabin.