A personal rendering

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Mary Savage 1841-1928






George Savage 1878-1973


It is assumed that the late Marjorie Bailey compiled her book over several years, 1971 is mentioned in her text. Mrs Bailey had gathered material from various sources such as the Worcestershire Record Office, a verbatim section from the Victoria County History for Worcestershire, and individuals in the village. Her 215 paged handwritten manuscript is on lined exercise paper contained within a ring binder of approximately A5 size.

Marjorie was the wife Leslie Bailey. She was born Marjorie Morgan in South Wales in 1905. She passed a Physics degree at Aberystwyth, taught at Brynmawr in Gwent, then Dartington in Devon. Marjorie and Leslie settled in Redditch before WW2. He was physics master at Redditch Grammar School while Marjorie did some part time teaching at the local Borstal. During the War Leslie was a captain in the REME near Richmond, London where he worked on the development of radar. They rented their home in Redditch while Marjorie went to live with her father and sister in Barry, South Wales.

A group photo of Marjorie Bailey
with her husband Leslie and their three children,
Andrew is on the far left.

In 1960, as Redditch was being developed into a new town, Marjorie and Leslie decided upon Harvington and moved into Grove Lodge in Anchor Lane. She joined the WI and began work on her history. Marjorie and Leslie died in 1990 and are buried in the new graveyard.

Grove Lodge taken in 2013, built in 1880.

Before returning the manuscript to her son Andrew Bailey who kindly allowed us to work on her book, her work was scanned and it is from these images that the following work has been produced. Structure and a contents section have been added.
Julian Rawes & Bryant Bayliffe, 2012.



Name of Village. Records give the following.

  • 709 Herverton [Birch's Chartalarium Saxonicum]
  • 709 Herefordinne [Kemble's Codex Diplomaticus Aevi Saxonici]
  • 799 Hereford [Birch's C.S.]
  • 802 Herereforde [ditto]
  • 964 Herefordtun juxta Avene. [ditto]
  • 1086 Hervertona [Early Worcestershire Surveys of c.1190]
  • 1227 Herwerton [Feet of Fines in Public Record Office]
  • 1240 Hervordituen; Hertertun. [Registrum Prioratus Marige Wiforniensis]
  • 1249 Herfortuen [Feet of Fines]
  • 1275 Hertortone
  • 1508 Hervington [Calendar of Patent Rolls]
  • 1542 Herforten [Letters & Patents Foreign & Domestic]
H.P.R. Finberg wrote a book named "The Early Charters of the West Midlands".
  • 799 The first mention of Harvington is in 799 "Coenwulf, King (of the Mercians) to the abbot Balthuer in exchange for 12 manentes at Hereford, 30 manentes belonging to the minster at Kemsesei (Kempsey)" One of the witnesses of this was Cynebertht, (Bishop of Winchester)
  • 814 Denebertht, bishop of Worcester and his cathedral clergy to Eanswith for her lifetime with reversion to the Church at Worcester, two cassati at Hereforda on condition that she keeps the church vestments in repair.
  • 852 Berthwulf, King of the Mercians, to his thegn Eadgar for 700 shekels of gold, three connabi in "Wiburgestoce" (The lost Domesday manor of Witurgstoke was held with Harvington)
  • 964 "Edgar, King of the English, Emperor and lord of the peoples within it to the Church at Worcester, exemption from all but the three common dues of the following estates" [Seventeen were named, One was Herfortun]
The Latin or Old English charters are the documentary foundation of English local history, but they are not easily accessible.

The early records of the Bishopric of Worcester are exceptionally well preserved. In the eleventh century scores of documents had been copied into a codex now in the British Library. In 1622 James I empowered his librarian Patrick Young to "make a search in all cathedrals". He came to Worcester and made copious extracts from the muniments. In 1643 Dugdale made a numbered list of ninety-two ancient charters which he found at Worcester.

Other names of interest in these charters are

  • 706 Cronnchomme, Hom; 709 Homme : all Evesham.
  • Beddesein (Badsey), Bretfortona, Wicwona (Wickamford), Flendaburch (Fladbury, which had a monastery)
  • Twiforda Lench (Lench Alnod (Sheriff's Lench) and Wigranceastore (Worcester).
Some other great churches might also have had unimanageably large collections of surviving charters but for disasters. For example, Pershore Abbey was burned down in 1002 and again in 1223. In 1055 the King of Gwent and Powys sacked Hereford Cathedral; in 1122 a great fire destroyed St Peter's Abbey in Gloucester and destroyed all but a few books and three mass vestments, whilst in the reign of Stephen fire at Winchcombe Abbey destroyed large numbers of pre-Norman documents, for in the ninth century Winchcombe was the recognised place for the custody of the archives of the Mercian Royal house.

One of Harvington's earliest names was said to have been "Heorfingas" when it was one of the "marks" or sacred stations. I cannot find any record of this and in Volume IV of the English Place-Name Society it says "The County (Worcestershire) contains none of those place names characteristic of the earliest settlement in which a personal name is followed by a final element - "ingas".

The other Harvington near Chaddesley Corbett has a completely different origin: 1275 Herewinton; 1340 Herewynton. Probably Herewine is a personal name i.e. Herwine's town.

There is a survey in "Heming's Cartularian Eccles: Wighorn". This survey seems to go back to an original of the Saxon age but there is reason to suspect that Heming or some predecessor did not copy it out very carefully.

The survey is of so simple a type that it may be suspected that it was originally attached to a 9th century document. But it must be admitted that the simplicity may be due to the omission of landmarks which were in the original.

"This sind tha landgemaera to Hereforda Aerest andlang Auene th'hit to Wistanes Bryage and thonon aefter them Brace th'it cymeth to Heapen Hylle. Of th'it cymeth eith Caersa Waellan and aefter than Sice to Hunig Hommen Streote"

This reads:- "These are the bounds of Hereford. First along the Avon till it comes to the Hill where Wild Roses grow, From the Hill till it comes over against Watercress Springs. And from the Watercourse to the Made Road of Honeyham"

Explanation. The survey begins in the NE corner of the parish and goes down to the Avon to the SE corner where the brook which forms the whole of the Southern boundary of the parish enters the river. This must apparently be Winston's Brook [The upper part is called Ful Broc (Dirty Brook) in an Evesham Charter]

The "Heopen Hyll" must be the high ground at the SW corner of the parish.

Probably Watercress Springs were the source of the brook which forms the greater part of the north boundary.

The "Honeyham" was probably on the Avon near the North East corner of the parish

The "Streote" is probably a copyist's error. It may stand for "Fleot" and refer to the course of the stream just before it enters the Avon.

The Honeyham would be the enclosure where the beehives of the community were set up. Honey in those sugarless times was a necessary element in the economy of the village community.

In a copy of another survey about 1000 or 1100 AD it is called 'Herverton' and the stream between Lenchwick and Harvington was called the "Werrecumbe" stream.

And "Upp and long Avene thaet on Blacan Pol" (Up along the Avon then to Black Pool" - 'Offepol' of an earlier charter. Probably there was a pool in the Avon where a ford is marked at the corner of Offenham parish.

Other references are :-
Thomas Hebingdon in his "Survey of Worcestershire" "This beeinge the patrimony of Denebertus the nythe Byshop of Worcester was by hym given as a dowre to his spouse, the Churche of Worcester, about the yeere of Christ, 800"

Nash in his "Worcestershire" (Vol. 2 Appendix p.44) says
"These are the land boundaries at Hereford. First along Avon whence it cometh to Wistan's Bridge and thence after the brook whence it cometh to Sycamore Hill. From the hill thence it cometh against Cres-well, and beside the stream/drain to Huningham Street and thence again into Avon.


The Stone-Age

According to G. M. Trevelyan it was usual for the men of the Stone Age to occupy higher ground, above the forests of the river valleys. Their occupation is shown in working flints, stone axe-heads etc. They lived in troops of skin-clad hunters. Any tracks were often ridgeways from which the enemy could be seen at a distance - which was not liable to flood - not likely to afford an ambush for the enemy or a lair for a beast. Examples are The Ridgeway & Alcester; along the Marl Cliff from Cleeve Priory.

But the south and east coasts with many harbours and rivers were a temptation to pirates & plunderers long before the foundation of Rome, Mediterranean merchants had heard of pearls, gold and fertile soil with rich grass and the absence of very long frosts. Britain became the natural prey of various sea faring tribes, and they spread by means of the heaths & downs.

These visiting merchants probably helped the dark-haired pre-Celts or Iberians of Cornwall, Wales & Ireland (they lived in the Highlands of Scotland too) with agriculture and metal work & longship building. They probably taught them to smelt Cornish copper & tin together to make bronze.

These Iberians from the 7th century to the 3rd B.C. had been pushed further & further westward by the Celts: tall, fair or red-haired men who came in wave after wave. Two of the big waves were Gaels or Goidels about 600 B.C. (they are in Ireland & Scotland) and the Cymri & Brythens (still in Wales).

These 'Celts' were skilful in ironwork & in arts & crafts and they became the aristocracy. They remained tribesmen or clansmen bound together by legal and sentimental ties of kinship. They were constantly at war with each other and each tribe spread over a considerable area.

Agriculture progressed very slowly because the forests were unfelled and in them roamed thousands of swine. Accumulated wealth was in the form of sheep and oxen. Their ploughs were drawn by oxen. Horses were bred to draw the war-chariots of the Celtic chiefs to battle. Life was hunting, fishing, herding, weaving, bee-keeping, metal working, carpentry working - and above all fighting.

At this time the Midlands, were still sparsely populated and still under forest. Small family groups of Celts lived in 'trevs' or hamlets with light structures of timber, wattles or mud, easily moved. Evidence of the presence of these Celts appears in the name 'Avon' (the Welsh name for a river is "Afon")

An interesting discovery relating to this time - the 'Bronze Age', (which began in Britain about 2000 B.C.) was the discovery in a watery ditch (the County Boundary between Worcestershire & Warwickshire) and between Harvington & Salford Priors of a fine bronze CELT (a prehistoric cutting or cleaving instrument). It was 4½ inches in length, ringed and socketed and evidently cast in a mould of two parts. ([It was in the possession of the late Mr E. Bomford of Spring Hill, Fladbury)

Offenham also had a celt of blackstone and Church Lench a bronze palshave (shaped like an axe-head and made to be fitted in to the handle. This was put into a collection at the Victoria museum, Worcester.

After 3000 B.C. we talk of the 'Iron Age'. Metals were plenteous and there was timber to smelt them. Timber was also plentiful for housing & fuel, and fresh water was widely distributed.

It was agriculture that made the greatest change of all in the life of early man because it enabled him to multiply, it fixed him to the soil and the home and so drew him into larger village communities - and then changes and inventions became easier.


The Romans

Next came the 'Romans' whose rule lasted 400 years.

Discussing the Romans in Worcestershire Dr. Nash thinks that Worcestershire was probably in the district belonging to the Cornovii or perhaps the Dobunni and says that "being a low woody country it was very little known to that cautious war-like people.

He also says that "Ostorious, Propractor of Britain found affairs here in much confusion and posted his forces upon the rivers Antona (Avon) and Sabrina (Severn) to keep in the enemy". [other writers call the Avon the Anfona or the Abona or in 705 Afen, 709 Avena, Avene and 845 Eafene.

Later research says the Dobunni occupied Gloucestershire and extended south to Somerset and northern Wiltshire, east as far as the Cherwell, west to Herefordshire and north into Worcestershire and Warwickshire.

These Dobunni used coins and probably Bagendon near Cirencester was the tribal capital with a coin mint (Cirencester was Corinium Dobunnorum. We know it was surrounded by villas as wealthy as they were numerous).

The Cornovii mentioned by Nash were centred in Shropshire and extended northwards into Cheshire, east to Staffordshire and west to Denbighshire and Montgomeryshire.

In A.D. 43 the Midlands, still forested & thinly peopled did not resist the Romans but this particular part seems to have been just 'a passing through place'. There are no smart Roman villas made of stone with mosaic pavements, frescoes and paths near here. The presence of roads does not mean the opening up of the whole country - they were nodal and served to link up places. All parts outside the five governing cities were divided into cantons answering to Celtic tribal areas. All these cantonal names disappeared in the Saxon invasion.

Unlike the Celts (or the later Saxons & Danes) the Romans did not come to slaughter or expel but to exploit and tax and govern by right of superior civilization, where the earth would yield riches to their industry

So Worcestershire did not present any attractions to them. The greater part of the county between the Malverns and the Fosse Way was covered with forest and morass, through which the sluggish waters of the Severn and its tributary the Avon passed often flooding the land and spreading a rich alluvial deposit over the low-lying meadows. According to G.M. Trevelyan they left behind three things of value.

  1. Welsh Christianity
  2. Roads
  3. Important city states especially London but their life of the cities, their villas, the arts, the language and their political organization all vanished.

Worcestershire is in a square formed by 4 Roman roads.


  1. The Terrace Way over the Marl Cliff at Cleeve Prior then the road went on to Bengeworth, Tewkesbury & Gloucester.
  2. In a Saxon Charter of 709 Buckle Street is called Bugghilde Streete, and in another in 967 Bucgan Streete.
  3. Icknield or Ryknield Street went from Hinchwick across Broadway Hill & Saintbury Hill to the Honeybournes leaving Worcestershire before Bidford-on-Avon for Wixford, Alcester, Studley and the Birmingham outskirts.

I have found several references to the presence of the Romans in the area. In Alcester, a military station, Alauna, and probably walled, was found an ivory ticket which admitted to the theatre.

In October 1811 a labourer named Sheppey found between Cleeve Prior and Middle Littleton two urns containing gold and silver Roman coins. They were bright and un-worn coins of Constantius, Julianus Valentinicus Valius and Gratianus.

One of the lost Roman settlements Ad Antonum said by Richard of Cirencester to be twenty miles from Glevum (Gloucester) and fourteen from Alauna (Alcester) might have been on the banks of the Avon not far from Evesham.

Arthur H. Savory, once of the manor of Aldington had it suggested to him by the Rector of Harvington, Canon Winnington-Ingram that Antona was at Aldington. They think that salt was carried from Droitwich along the Salt Way via Rous Lench, Church Lench and Harvington down Anchor Lane over the fish & Anchor Ford west of S. Littleton to Blackminster later joining Ryknield St.

On his land at Aldington Mr Savory found a British stone quern, then Roman Samian pottery, bones, horns, a millstone, a bronze clasp, coins, a glass lachrymatory, etc. In 1966 during excavations for the 'new' Worcester much of interest was hurriedly examined before the bulldozers destroyed it all.


The Anglo-Saxons

The Saxon pirates to our coasts came well before 300 AD. They were farmers seeking richer ploughlands than the sandy dunes and heaths of Northern Europe, and they began to settle. The first to come must have been heads of warriors, fighting, storming, burning and slaughtering, destroying the Roman civilization. They penetrated along the rivers, and the Roman roads helped. The Roman cities and villas were destroyed as they drove westwards. There is no evidence anywhere that a Saxon took over a Roman villa. Settling began with the arrival of their women and children.

No serious argument has been brought against the accepted opinion that the English occupation of Worcestershire was the result of the battle of Dyrham in 577. An Anglo-Saxon chronicle says. "This year (577) Cuthwine and Ceawin fought against the Britons and slew their Kings Conmael, Connidan and Farinmael at a place called Deorham and took three cities from them - Gleanwanceaster, Cirencester and Bathanceaster"

So Ceawlin, King of the West Saxons brought his people to Severn. They advanced along the ridgeway of the Cotswolds - this led to the Stour Valley near Shipton, then on to the Avon at Evesham with their early settlement on the Avon and east of Worcester. If they came by way of the river they would not linger on the low ground in the dense water-logged forest which probably spread all over the clay of the valley bottoms, but they would make their way up to the terraces of silt and gravel and on to the higher ground. They would hope to find a line of springs for their wells.

Amongst them were many grades of rank, wealth and freedom. They had Kings and lesser Kings (Offa was a lesser King). There are no authentic chronicles of the Saxon conquest - we have only the results.

It is thought that, once again, for a while the Midlands was left as a "no man's land", and the settlement of Worcestershire began late in the 6th century. City life, the Christian religion and the Romano-Celtic language all disappeared. They neglected the Roman roads (which were later used as quarries to build houses) and they became pack-horse tracks.

The Anglo-Saxons were our chief village builders. When they began to settle they found nothing which we would call a village, yet by the time of the Norman Conquest most of our present villages had been established and named. Not only did reasons of security prompt them to settle in small compact communities but also their need to share the heavy labour of clearing virgin land and the possession of such essential aids as plough-teams of oxen. This cultivation in common, subject to communal rules was the only possible pattern of agricultural life for communities poorly provided with capital equipment.

The essential life of Saxon England was village life - the church and the graveyard around it were the centre of village life, mundane and spiritual. They seemed unwilling to live within ramparts of stone. Chester, Bath, Canterbury were reoccupied in the course of time. It is uncertain whether London, Lincoln & York were completely abandoned or not, although it appears that they ceased for some generations to be of any size or consequence. And no one made any hard roads until the turnpike movement of the 18th century.

Our Saxon village probably clustered around its church set on a hill (around which he could clear land with the tools he had). The church would have been made of wood and thatch. The "aristocracy" had log houses with outhouses and farm buildings all protected with a stockade. In the one large room lived the family, the followers & the slaves, and at the front the beasts. In this room everyone slept, ate and did all their business. The table was a board with A-shaped trestles; there were benches or stools. A most important feature was the church coffer which served as a cupboard sideboard, seat and table. Beds were not important - they were just rough timber structures.

How did they wash themselves? Perhaps there was a brass basin & ewer in the hall, or a stone basin somewhere, or a hanging jug with a pierced bottom from which the water poured over one's hands into an iron bowl or into a 'sink-stone'. For sanitation there was a hole in the ground, with a stone or wooden seat.

The houses of the workers were also made of wood, which the forests supplied. The builder dug a chamber to a depth of two feet, then set up one or more posts to support the roof. This was made of thinner poles, stuck into the ground or into a low wall of mud and wattle or straw, and inclined inwards to the central post or to a ridge pole. On the framework of cross pieces he secured a thatch. Really there was no walls. There were no windows. The door was at one end - at which end lived the tethered cattle. In the middle was the fire, and at the far end the family lived, ate and slept.

These people were dirty in their ways, tossing their bones & rubbish on the floor to be trodden in casually until as much as six inches of compressed refuse sometimes covered the gravel bottom. Water was heated by dropping hot stones into the pot. These early Anglo-Saxons lost their old sea habits when they had won themselves good farm lands in the interior, and the most civilised of their desires was to settle around the log hall of their lord & to till the soil on the open-field system of village agriculture. The Kingship was replaced by the personal relating of the warrior to his chief, which is the basis of aristocracy & feudalism.

Around the village were the arable fields. These were divided into strips - each one called a selion, and contained about an acre, 22yds wide by 220 yards long (a "furrow"-long). Each man held a number of strips, dotted about here & there. In this way there were fair shares of poor land and good land.

Sometimes there were three fields. One was planted in October with wheat & possibly rye. The second was planted in March with barley or oats. The third remained fallow to recover from two years of corn-bearing. More often there were only two fields. One lay fallow alternate years and the other was planted half with winter corn, half with barley or oats.

A set-up such as this strip farming needed constant co-operation for ploughing and other tasks.

The plough used was often of a very heavy type drawn by as many as eight oxen. To avoid turning the furrows were long (as I said 220yards); this is the origin of the measurement furlong. As a point of interest from an aeroplane it is possible to see the undulations of Saxon ridge & furrow ploughing in fields bordering Anchor Lane. It is in this part too that there is evidence of what was probably the earliest Saxon settlement - before the community moved up to higher ground, possibly because of flooding.

In addition to the cultivated "furlongs" there was an enclosed meadow, preferably with a stream, to provide winter food for the cattle that were not killed and salted down. Then there was the common pasture and woodland which supplied hurdles, and fuel and a feeding place for hundreds of swine.

The "thegn" or lord owed service to, perhaps, the King, or some Bishop or Abbot, and the men of the village felt their loyalty was to their lord. This feudalism was the only way by which a helpless population could be protected, war conducted and agriculture improved. The Anglo-Saxon was a very unwilling, unskilled soldier. The thegn ceased to be a ploughman and this is the only embryo of the squire. He dealt out rough justice amongst his neighbours.

In the main, life was an outdoor affair for both rich & poor with a constant hand to mouth struggle. Both thegn and his men laboured at spearing & netting. There was a tendency in the later Saxon centuries towards the growth of a large class of semi-free peasants into which the slave or thrall rose and the freeman sank. Later French lawyers gave this half-servile man the title of 'villein'.

In later Saxon times the halls were great places decorated with carving and painting outside and in. The walls were hung with burnished armour but smoke left through a hole in the roof. Articles in daily use were fantastically carved and the jewellery was very fine. There were no books so bards loving the sound of fine words, chanted their epics in the evening. Many an acre of barley went to fill the ale-horn.

During the course of history, fathers blessed with daughters have been faced with difficulties in marrying them off.

But not so in these Anglo-Saxon times. A price was set on the daughters, lead as compensation for the loss of her labour in the household where every 'spinster' was needed to make up their clothing from flax and wool, besides preparing and cooking food.

Girls were bought with cattle, capes of precious metals, bracelets and other jewellery. Obviously fathers were not always truthful about their daughters and a law was passed in King Ethelred's reign (597 AD), requiring that a matrimonial bargain had to be made "without guile". A bridegroom cheated could return the bride, but as the custom grew by which the bridegroom gave 'the bride' a gift on the morning of the wedding as a sign of his satisfaction, so bride could be returned after receiving the morning-gift.

If the price demanded was too much for the prospective bridegroom and he abducted the bride her value dropped and he could bargain on more lucrative terms. Such abductions were common and pleased everyone - the bride took credit from the high price demanded - the neighbours pretended to help in the chase - and enjoyed the eventual celebrations.

The payment sealing a marriage contract changed hands at the espousal often when the bride was but a child. The payment was called "fosterlean" - it was looked at as payment for the bride herself and for her upbringing and training.

An unscrupulous father sometimes took 'fosterlean' from more than one suitor. Then sold his daughter at the last moment to the richest latecomer.

Very much later "fosterlean" came to be paid on the wedding day.

Perhaps one should mention the Danes. They stormed East Anglia, Northumberland and Alfred's Wessex in their search for good farm lands. Their 'Danelaw' consisted of all eastern England between Thames & Tyne.

Alfred and later his son, Edward the Elder and his sister Ethelfleda set about conquering the settled Danes - took over their 'boroughs' and divided them into shires like their own Saxon Wessex and the familiar shape of modern England began to grow.



Shires were not formed & named after their chief towns until after the reconquest of Mercia from the Danes by Edward the Elder in 922. The man in charge of the shire was called the "shire-reeve" - or the sheriff.

The etymology of the name Worcester is in considerable dispute. In the Venerable Bede's time 673-735 = (700AD) the people hereabouts were the Hwicce (or Hwiccii) explained either as

  • the inhabitants on the bank of a winding river - for the Saxon word for a creek is "wic" .
  • with reference to saltpits called in Saxon times "wiches"
But little that is definite can be said about the origin of the meaning of this folk name 'Hwicce'. It would appear that the original English settlers of Worcestershire were West Saxons but by the 7th century its inhabitants were part of a great complex of peoples under the supremacy of the Kings of Mercia.

The shire was territorially divided into Hundred and there were Shire Courts and Hundred Courts. There was as yet no common Law.

The heads of the free families met in the open air to talk over affairs of the village. Villages occasionally quarrelled & it became necessary to have a court to represent a number of villages. So the villages were formed into 'Hundreds'. Did the hundred originally contain a hundred families? Or did the hundred have a supply of a hundred warriors?

Each village sent five elected men - the headman and four others. Even at that time twelve of the men of the "hundred" were a committee to decide matters of law & custom (still twelve in a jury!). Sometimes "hundreds" had disputes so then there was a Folk-moat - a meeting of the folk who constituted the tribe.

In Domesday book Harvington is said to be in the Oswaldslow Hundred , which was said to have manors, all belonging to the Church at Worcester, and assessed at 300 hides. This 'hundred' is supposed to have been constituted by King Edgar in a charter of 964 to the monks of Worcester in the days of Bishop Oswald.

This Oswaldslow Hundred was the chief of five in Worcestershire. This hundred was again divided into three - upper, middle and lower, with Harvington in the middle one.


The Normans

In 1066 came the Norman Conquest. William established a rigorously feudal system of land tenure and made way for a great monarchial bureaucracy.

1086 was the date of the Domesday Survey. It was most unpopular and a Saxon chronicler wrote "So narrowly did he cause the survey to be made that there was not a single hide or rood of land nor - it is shameful to tell but he thought it was no shame to do - was there an ox, cow or swine that was not set down in the writ".

It is primarily a geld-book that is a collection of facts made for a fiscal purpose. But William had other ideas. It gave him an exact account of the power and resources of his feudatories and of their vassals in every shire. Commissioners took facts from sworn juries of the priest the reeve and six villeins of each 'township' (village). Everything is grouped under the shire and in each shire unit under which the information is arranged, is the feudal holding of the tenant-in-chief.

Then the King and his Council laid on each shire a round sum. This was allocated locally among the Hundreds, but the Hundreds made their demands on "he who answers for" the manor and he had to ring the geld from his tenants.

Domesday Book asked

  • the name of the village
  • how many "hides" were there.
  • land for how many ox teams?
  • amount of land cultivated by the demesne.
  • amount of land cultivated by the peasants.
  • the number of peasants of each grade.
  • how many acres of meadow and hay?
  • how many acres of pastureland and grazing?
  • how many plough teams, horses (riding), cattle, pigs, sheep & goats?
It was very inquisitive about woods
  • how many pigs could feed there?
  • is there an eyrie in the woods? (if so the land could sell young hawks for training)
  • are there any hives there? (that means honey, mead and wax for candles)
  • are there any deer in the wood? (where herded deer were enclosed then shot)
  • what was the source of timber & fuel?
  • were there any mills?
  • what were the sources of fish - eels chiefly - any lampreys or salmon - or traps and nets?
  • are there any quarries?
  • or any salt?
In the Domesday Survey says Nash, in his "Worcestershire" published in 1781 "the church of Worcester holds Hereforton with Wiburgestoke there are three hides that pay taxes. In demesne there are two caracutes and twelve villeins and three bordars with fixed caracutes. There are four men servants and one maid and a mill worth ten shillings and twenty-four acres of meadow". It was and is (1781) worth fifty shillings.

What does this mean?

A "hide was a certain portion of land, variously estimated at 60 to 120 acres originally enough to support a family and its dependants. So three hides would be 180 to 360 acres. "In demesne" means the manor house and the lands near it, which the lord of the manor kept in his own hands. A caracutes is a measure of land, as much as could be tilled with one plough in a year. The lord had two.

The villeins were feudal serfs or bondsmen attached to the estate. He owed the lord agricultural services for the strips of land he cultivated for himself. That lord owed military service in return for his manor. A 'bordar' was a villein of the lowest rank, doing manual service for a cottage, which he held at his lord's will.

A villein probably had 60 acres.
A cotter five acres.
A bondsman one acre.

The survey was probably not completed in final 'book' form until about 1100. It was arranged by counties. It consists of closely written folios, entered on both sides of the leaf in double columns. It is written in small, but clear low Latin, closely abbreviated.

William took possession of every acre - and granted estates or manors to tenants-in-chief (mainly Norman) in return for 40 days service each year by a number of armed Knights, varying with the amount of land held. The King received certain dues such as aids, reliefs, wardship, marriage dues and escheat and so he had complete control of his Kingdom. The masses just worked for a Norman lord rather than a Saxon one, and went on with their daily routine undisturbed.

In January 1894 Mr J.W. Willis-Bund (Barrister-at Law) talked to the Worcestershire Diocesan Architectural & Archaeological Society on "Worcestershire Doomesday". He says that Domesday was made for the purposes of taxation only, therefore only matters of taxation were recorded so there are many blanks. It is not a complete of the acreage or of the population of the manors because the lands taxed were private property - so no common land or woodlands or waste lands were recorded in it. So that a large part of Worcestershire is not mentioned. He talks of two kinds of taxes. The Geld or Danegeld levied on each hide of cultivated land at 2/- per hide. A rate had been imposed in 1063-84 but this did not produce as much as was expected, so the Domesday Survey was ordered. The second tax was Caragage, levied on the number of ploughs. Both the lord's ploughs and the villeins' plough were counted - it really counted the number of ploughs capable of being used, or even the number that should have been used!

If we took the facts as they appear to be we should get some very wrong ideas about the population, for example, only one monk is mentioned at Evesham Abbey - there were probably a hundred. Worcester Abbey possessed 19 manors (of which Harvington was one) with 175½ hides (of which Harvington had three).

In the whole county there were 1520 villeins, 1728 bordars, 677 slaves (1/6 in Worcester monastery and 101 female slaves (¼ in the monastery). This number of slaves was fantastic. They were thought to have been carried off in forays on Welsh villages. A few may have been condemned criminals, saved from execution.

Another point of interest. Out of the 4625 people in Worcestershire 4126 were from the 4 groups listed above - so it is easy to see that the bulk of the population could not care who ruled the land, Saxon or Norman. And when the two heads of the Worcestershire monasteries - Wulstan at Worcester - and Aethelwig at Evesham - submitted to the Normans that meant the practical submission of the whole shire. All Saxon landowners (but one) were replaced by Normans. This re-settlement meant increase of the ecclesiastical at the cost of the lay landowners. It was decided to have men who could hold their own when attacked by the Welsh.

Another interesting point made in this lecture was that later slavery gave way to villeinage, which later declined to copyholds, which later became free. This made for better internal peace in Britain, so differing from France where continuation of serfdom helped to bring about the 1789 Revolution.


Feckingham Forest

William also introduced the 'Forest Court'. We know that at the time of Edward I [1272-1307], Feckingham Forest, was very large and stretched to Evesham and Spetchley, so possibly our village was affected by the Forest Law and Court, which both Saxon and Norman hated, and which brought much suffering and servitude.

Sixty nine forests belonged to the Crown about 1/3 of the whole Kingdom. All who dwelt within the jurisdiction of the Forest Courts were deprived of the ordinary rights of the subject. Poaching deer was punished by the Conqueror with mutilation, and by his successors with death.

An Anglo-Saxon chronicler writes "He made large forests for deer, and enacted laws therewith, so that whoever killed a hart or a hind should be blinded. As he forbade the killing of the deer, so also the boars. And he loved the tall stags as if he were their father. He also appointed concerning the hares that they should go free. The rich complained and the poor murmured, but he was so sturdy that he recked [sic] nought of them."

Now that the French barons and knights had ousted the Saxon lords and thegns and foreign clergy replaced with the English in Bishoprics and Abbacies we have very much higher standards, and we enter upon four centuries of splendid ecclesiastical architecture. Also there was the Latinization of religion.

Up until this time the parish priest had been a Saxon, one of the conquered. He was a villein shareholder with virgate, half-hide or hide. Soon the Anglo-Saxon tongue became a despised peasant's jargon, spoken by ignorant serfs. It was hardly ever written.

The new clergy spoke Latin, the new gentry French. Gradually Anglo-Saxon lost its genders and took on French words and ideas until English entered polite society, in Chaucer's Tales and Wycliffe's Bible.

With higher standards expected of the clergy came compulsory celibacy of all priests. It meant that almost all educated men could have no wives or legitimate children. This had lamentable results on moral standards.

The first record we have of the priest of Harvington is from 1207. A list on parchment hangs in the church with a complete list from 1207 until today. The early names seem to relate to French clergy .


Clergy List

This is the complete list

1207 Robert de Clypston 1252 Sampson de Bremesgrave 1280 Robert de Belne 1281 Stephen de Clone (Stephanus de Clare) 1309 John de Bradewas (Prattington's list but not on Nash's or the Church list) 1313 John de Walecote 1316 Clemens de Paston 1317 William de Lodelawe 1318 Simon de Prewes 1320 John de Brannesford 1339 Robert de Waresley 1395 Hugh Pontesbury 1396 Thomas Barntest 1396 John Hook 1397 John Bathe 1399 William Gernown 1404 John de Bekynton ?? 1404 Henry Beset 1405 John Hurlegh (in Prattington & Nash) 1421 John Palmere 1424 William Longfield 1433 Hugh Crobbnyng 1435 John Hurlegh 1435 William Mortimer 1440 Richard Pope 1457 Walter Aston 1468 William Ayston 1475 William Ketley 1494 Richard Baker 1499 Thomas Dene 1513 Thomas Long (not in Nash's list) 1551 Thomas Hobbyns 1559 John Coxetur 1569 Thomas Ferryman Snr. 1618 Thomas Ferryman Jnr. 1623 William Bridges 1656 Stephen Baxter 1662 Nathaniel Tompkins 1667 William Hopkins Snr. 1682 William Hopkins Jnr. 1684 John Jephcott 1690 Moses Hodges 1725 Benjamin Woodroffe 1726 Matthew Forester 1746 Benjamin Mence 1750 John Arnold 1771 David Carpenter 1784 Matthew Lamb 1797 Thomas James 1805 Richard Kilver 1813 James Meakin 1814 William Digby 1818 Henry Anthony Pye 1841 E. Winnington-Ingram 1845 Arthur Henry Winnington-Ingram 1887 Theophilus Sharp 1895 James Hay Waugh 1908 James Davenport (Mrs Davenport gave the inscribed vellum in his memory in 1934) 1930 H.T. Boultbee 1949 E.H. Downey 1957 Christopher P. Johnson 1969 Bernard J. Palmer 1978 Cedric Eve Jonathan Crane


The Twelfth Century

By the Twelfth century the proportion of freeholders in a manor was still very small and not increasing. The serf of villein was by birth and inheritance bound to the soil; he and his family were sold with the estate. His daughter could not marry without the lord's consent (and he expected 'merchet', usually 12 shillings for marrying within the manor and 2 shillings outside it).

When he died his best beast, perhaps his only cow, was seized as "heriot" by the lord of the manor. The Priest took the second best, the theory being that this made amends for any tithes not paid. The villein could not move or strike. If he held 30 acres he must work on his lord's domain 3 days a week and more at seed-time and harvest, without pay and bringing his own oxen for the plough.

A bordar with 5 acres would work one day a week. The bailiff saw no one sat down at the end of the furrow. The villeins chose the pound-keeper collected any straying cattle, and fed them until they were claimed. Fines were then made at the Court for straying cattle, broken fences or for stealing, or attack.

When his lord did not need him the villein worked his own land. He had his share in the use of and profit of the village meadows. These were called "Lammas Land". In the summer and autumn the cattle grazed there, and so the pasture on the common was saved for worse weather. The cattle manured the meadows, and when they had to be turned on to the common, the horses, oxen, cows and sheep went first to have the best. The pigs, poultry, geese and goats followed later. He shared the woodland too and the waste, where swine and geese were loose.

This villein was probably shifty, fearful, ignorant and full of superstitions. The soil was often undrained and sodden, and after a wet summer there was nothing to avert a famine in the village. Norman laws had made less available animal food. The villein was unlikely to possess many cattle or sheep, he relied on pork.

Only muddy riding tracks went through and out of the villages and each village had to manufacture for itself. Among the villeins some were craftsmen who might or might not be husbandmen as well. There was a wright, a carpenter, a thatcher and blacksmith. All the women were spinsters. Some of their clothing was still hides roughly tanned.

The water mill usually belonged to the lord of the manor, who could make the villeins bring their corn to be ground there at his price.

Life in the village was hard so the opportunity was taken to celebrate all outstanding events, either joyful or sad, with an 'ale' - for the safe delivery of lambs, Whitsun, Midsummer, gathering in the harvest. A wedding had a 'bride-ale' (bridal) and there was an annual 'church-ale'.

The villein could gain his rights at the Manor Court where villeins and freemen were judges and assessors (The lord could not raise the rent or the services due)

The court was held every three weeks. If fine it was held on the village green; in the Hall if wet. Every villein had to appear. This compulsory attendance was called 'suit of court'. It was concerned with the demesne and the village, supervising the life of the manor, and interpreting its customs. The offences with which the court dealt were chiefly those concerned with tenure, services and dues. (Other misdemeanours came within the authority of the shire, the hundred courts, or royal and ecclesiastical Courts.) Harvington Manorial Rolls are not listed (as many are) as being in the County Record Office, or the Birmingham Reference Library.

I have read that they were usually written on vellum 7 to 12 inches wide and 20 to 24 inches in length all stitched together in a bulky roll many feet long. The entry for just one court might take from 2 to 3 inches - or even two feet or more.

The calligraphy is very difficult, in minute handwriting of a spiky nature. The language was Latin, with a complicated system of abbreviations. Added to this they were yellowed, faded and damaged and can only be read by very advanced students after intensive work. After all that - the extracts are tediously repetitive. Here are some typical examples from elsewhere

"for trespassing in the autumn in the lord's cornfield."
"for failing to perform their service of gathering nuts."
"for not having cleaned his ditch."
"is fined 3 chickens for stealing the dishes which Brother Richard had bought for William de Westley."
"Christina o' the green by special favour has special license to marry for which the lord, waiving the customary merchet is prepared to accept only 12 pence (not the usual 12 shillings).
"Thomas a villein acknowledges 3 shillings a year to be paid at 4 terms of the year - 3 days ploughing a year, 3 days harrowing after the ploughing is finished, and 3 days harvesting in the autumn, finding his own meals, and mowing the same amount as his neighbours".

Houses have been previously mentioned. In no house was there privacy, either for the peasant with his family and stock in the cottage - or in the Hall which was certainly warmer with more food, but with one apartment for the family the followers, the servants and slaves and the beasts.

In the late 13th and early 14th century, probably very few people had more than one room. By then the animals had been moved out and servants slept with them in the oxhouses. But all the rest still slept in the Hall where they ate and did all their business. Then came a platform at one end, on which was the family table, maybe there was a canopy and two arm-chairs.

Then to the original hall was added a buttery (really a 'bottlery') and a pantry for the food. And behind the large room was the lady's room or bower. The women slept on low wooden beds here. This room was reached by a flight of steps. Below and behind the lord's chair was a room without windows where valuables were kept.

The Hall still had its earthen floor with straw. Possibly there were tapestries on the wall, and there were windows. They had no glass and could be covered with wooden shutters. [Possibly there was glass in detachable frames which could be taken out and carefully stored.

By Henry II's time (1154-1189) it was a sign of wealth to have a house built of stone. (The art of baking bricks had died with the Romans.


The Mill

I have several times mentioned the Mill. At the time of Domesday there was a mill worth 10 shillings a year. (were there once two mills?). In the year 1143 the mill was granted by Prior David (of Worcester) to William Rupe at a rent of 17 shillings and " thirty stiches of eels" (a stiche is 25)

The mill was the subject of a law-suit between his descendant Thomas Rupe, and Richard and Hugh Sandford. It was settled by Sandford holding the mill in exchange for lands.

Another mill? was the subject of litigation in 1294. Possibly this refers to "in 1294-5 an agreement made between William Lench and Alice, his wife, and Henry de Chester, John his son and Henry Austyn concerning the mills in Harvington. These may have been those acquired by the Prior of Worcester from Henry Austyn in 1311.

At the Dissolution of the monasteries both mills passed to the Dean & Chapter at Worcester. Then in 1549 sold both to George Willoughby then lord of the manor of Netherton.

One mill which derived its power from the river, is said to have been repaired with stones from Evesham Abbey.

In 1818 certain corn mills were advertised for sale. It is recorded that a paper mill was held under lease for 30 years by a Mr Phillips.


The Manor

Now I will write about the Manor of Harvington, from the facts I have found. So far I have said that the ninth Bishop of the Worcester diocese was Deneberht or Denebertus - and Hemingas, a monk of Worcester says that "Herfonda was in the patrimony of Deneberht, who bestowed it on the church of Worcester", probably about 800 AD. This refers to the Church and the Manor. At the time of the Domesday Survey it was with Wiburgesboke, held by the monks of Worcester. (See previously under Domesday Survey)

In 1207 they let it to the villagers for 12 years, for twenty-four marks and twelve quarters of oats. The lease was renewed in 1230 for a further ten years. In 1240 annual money rents from the manor amounted to £2 - 14 - 10. In 1254 the prior leased the manor to Simon de Waunton, afterwards Bishop of Norwich. (he died, very old in 1265)

A John D'Abitot, about this time made an exchange with the monks of Worcester for 4 acres of land for a part of the 'messuage' (a dwelling house and adjacent buildings) in Harvington.

At the Worcester Eyre (Court of a Circuit of Judges, like the present assizes) in 1254, Roger de Pershore and his wife Marchia, complained that certain strangers stole their daughter, Maud and abandoned her at Harvington, where John D'Abitot kept her against her will. But he said he had seen a monk and some Welshmen dragging along an unwilling girl, who had begged for shelter. This story was confirmed by the girl, and the parents did not get the hundred pounds for which they had sued D'Abitot.

In the 1291 taxation, Harvington was included with Cleeve Prior?

After the dissolution of the priory at Worcester in 1540 the manor was granted in 1542 to the Dean and Chapter of Worcester Cathedral. They let it on 23rd June 1641 to Kempe Harwarde (see later in Church Records)

In 1652 Thomas Bound bought it from the Commissioners for the sale of Dean & Chapter lands for a yearly rent of £3-6-8 which was payable towards the maintenance of the Free Grammar School at Evesham. Bound held the manor until 1658 when at the Restoration it was recovered by the Dean & Chapter & held by them until 1859 when it was taken over by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

In 1862 it was sold to the trustees of the Duc D'Anmale. Later, sometime after 1872 it passed together with Bishampton Manor, Church Lench, Norton and Lenchwick, Hill and Moor, and the fishing for £100,000 to Sir Charles Swinton Eady. At this time the manor farm was 116 acres 2 roods, 31 perches. It was this acreage when it was rented on Feb 15th 1904 to John Bullock at a yearly rent of £135 due at Michaelmas.

Three generations of Bullocks lived at Manor Farm. In 1958 the Manor House, Farm & land were up for sale, and was bought by [-------?]

The house is a two-storied building of stone rubble and half-timber, dating from the 14th century, but now much altered, some of it probably in the 17th century. Originally it had a large open hall on the north with a 2 storied block of buildings on the south. Alterations have hidden the original simple plane. A floor has been put about 8 feet up in the Hall and the original roof is hidden by a common ceiling. The passage of the original screens is masked by a passage across the house and present door on the East is a later opening.

The roof is of stone slates. The floors appear to be hung by iron straps to the tie-beams of the roof principals (two of the original windows retain their original oak mullions).

To the north the entrance is a central newel stair probably of later date, leading to a loft over this portion of the house.

Viewed from the north west.

[Margin note] Medieval Columbarium 1978 More or less derelict.

A little to the north is a fine pigeon house or dove-cote, probably contemporary with the house. It is built of rubble masonry, lined with stone cells, and with a ridged roof covered internally with stone slates. It is an extremely fine example of its kind.

Dove-cotes were introduced by the Normans. The earlier ones were round, with walls three and a half feet thick. Later ones were square, rectangular or octagonal with walls a little less thick.

Pigeons were kept exclusively for the use of the monasteries and manor houses. They formed a source of revenue, and a means of subsistence for during the winter they were the only source of fresh meat. They were always near the dwelling house so "that the master of the family may keep in sight all those who go in and come out".

Dove-cote breakers were guilty of theft, with heavy penalties. To shoot at a pigeon meant three months in a common gaol. None but a 'Lord of Parliament' or a person possessing one hundred pounds a year could shoot at a pigeon with a bow and arrow. Few were built after the 17th century. As butcher's meat became available - (and the pigeon had always been the farmer's enemy) pigeon meat was too mean for the rich man's table.


Harvington Church

The organization of the English church was begun in 669. Theodore of Tarsus as a man of 68, and he carried on for twenty years. He created a sufficient number of Bishoprics with definite and exclusive sees all subject to Canterbury. The monasteries were also subjected to the general ecclesiastical system.

The parish system began slowly to grow out of the soil. Before the Norman Conquest most of this island was supplied with parish churches and parish priests in Saxon times were often married. The chief agents in the erection of the parish system were the Bishops and the thegns. The Bishops encouraged the growth of secular (non-monastic) clergy, and the thegn gave the land or endowment.

Dr Nash states that the diocese of Worcester was founded at the request of Oshere, a Prince of the HWICCII by Ethelred King of Mercia about 680. At that time the diocese was much bigger including Gloucestershire, which became a separate diocese in 1541 and Bristol, which left in 1542.

It is interesting that in Saxon times even before the parochial system there was a 'Church Scot', and more or less voluntary system, the tithe. Both were used at the discretion of the clergy. Goods especially corn went to the poor, and both helped the upkeep of the church etc. Later the tithe became a legal obligation - to support the church and priest and were paid to the man who built the church. Later again, control passed to the Bishop.

When writing about the village with some attempt at chronological order it has been difficult to fit the Church into the scheme, so I assemble all the facts I can find, irrespective of firm dates.

[Much of the next chapter has been lifted from the Victoria County History for Worcestershire.] The building of Harvington church] was probably begun in the first quarter of the 12th century, or earlier (on the site of a previous Saxon church, made of wood). It was then considerably smaller. The focus for the congregation, which was at the end of the room (Later came an inner room, & then we have a chancel). An early altar would have been of stone, with five crosses cut on it.

The early church was probably sixteen feet wide (see at the west end). The extreme height of the early nave would suggest a pre-Conquest date but the tower then square (since rebuilt) suggests the above suggestion of the first quarter of the 12th century.

There was widespread building in the midlands in the 12th century and 16th. I wonder whether the re-building at Harvington started with a change of ownership of the manor. Our church is in the usual pattern of the 12th century i.e. a nave and smaller chancel. Evidently the Harvington population did not expand enough to need aisles on the outside of the nave walls. (Some villages did not need an aisle on both sides - or they could not afford aisles).

As in many churches the chancel is less ambitiously built than the nave - possibly because the chancel in old churches was the responsibility of the ecclesiastical freeholder i.e. the rector, whilst the nave was in charge of the laity?

Except for the tower the whole church was rebuilt in the early 14th century, and was enlarged to its present dimensions of twenty-five feet wide. Its walls are 3 feet 9 inches thick.

The Tower has no buttresses. It is divided into two stages by a plain string. The early 12th century belfry windows have two lights round-headed with a shaft between, the whole being under a semi-circular hood. There are also two plain Norman windows in the west side. The upper one has been renewed and the lower one is the west window of the church.

The Spire is of the broach type, with a light on each cardinal face. It is covered with oak shingles and was added in 1855. On its north-west corner is a bench-mark, which is 151.7 feet above sea level. [The wooden shingles were replaced by the present copper plating in 1949. It is said the villagers benefitted much from the old shingles which they used as firewood - Ed.]

The Tower Arch into the nave is very low, and little more than a doorway. It is transitional Norman of later 12th century of simple character with two plain square orders. The arch is slightly pointed and the capitals have no ornamentation. Above the mark of the lower gable and just beneath the apex of the lower roof there is a small Norman window, which was at one time on the external face of the tower. Below this there is a blocked-up square door. This led to a wooden gallery (or 'loft' or 'scaffold') (I wonder if there were ever an orchestra there with violin, cello, flute, clarinet hautboy & bassoon (as in 'Under the Greenwood Tree'). If there were, the congregation would turn to face them during the hymns and anthems).

The nave and chancel walls are 14th century work and are of rubble with oolite dressings. There is a basement course all round. The Chancel Arch and North doorway to the chancel are also 14th century. The nave is considerably wider and higher than that of most churches in the Deanery. There are two windows at each side of good early 14th century design, in the Decorated style. Three of these are alike, with two lights, acutely pointed and cusped.

In each light there is an ogee, cusped below which with an irregular quatre foil in the head of the window forms a good tracery. The fourth, a south-east window has loftier and thinner lights, the tracery is now more delicate, and it has additional bars, which resting on the ogee forms, with the upper cusps of the light, a trefoil complete. These windows are not recessed deeply.

In the SE corner of the nave is a piscina of plain character The piscina was a drain where the communion vessels were washed

In the 13th century there were often two piscinas - one was for the priests at ablutions. Harvington has two - the one in the nave and a curious 14th century one in the east-end of the north wall. This has a trefoil head and ball and flower ornament with an abnormal development of the cusps into a thin stone shelf.

On the north side of the chancel arch there was a small image bracket (removed in 1968).

The chancel has three windows on either side. They are 14th century work and are all alike, each with a single light with a trefoil head. The sill of the north-east window is carried to form a seat.

Externally, there is a fine string course around the church which carried over the windows as a dripstone. The string is interrupted by buttresses of which there are three on each side, the two to the west being diagonal. In 1855 the two to the east were extended. There are two doors. The one in the south wall is blocked. Both have good dripstones - that on the south door[?] is curiously "mitred". The roofs are of high pitch and are tiled. They are fitted with gutters and down-pipes. The gable crosses are modern.

In 1812 Pratt wrote "there is a clock and three bells". The first bell was "Jesus be our speed 1625" On the second "Sol: deo gloria pax hominibus".

John Holbrook, Valentine Abell. C.W. [churchwardens?] On the third John Rudhall, Gloucester 1805. He writes that there are "remains of a rood skreen handsomely carved. The church and chancel are not cieled. There are open seats with sentences of scripture carved in the capitals on their tops; the date of 1582 occurs on them in several places and in one instance with the minute addition of 24 January. J. Kempe and G. Strikelande were the Churchwardens who erected these seats as --?-- and their names also carved on them". [more anon]

About 1850 Noakes described the carved rood screen as festoon & tassel pattern. (see later again).


One lack in Harvington Church - there are no brasses or tombs to give a faithful picture of civil, military and ecclesiastical costume. And there is no help with genealogy, heraldry, customs and social class structure. They would give biographical detail and any dates of the parish's most notable personalities - and possibly the story of armour and warfare. Possibly there were no rich people to pay for burial inside the Church. But the path down the nave is paved with lias flags many of them gravestones of the members of the Hardwarde family. So one is led to look up the Hardwarde family in the parish registers, and this results in:-

                 John Kempe m.  Margaret
                    d.1615  |   d.1599
  |              |         |      |           |
Elizabeth     Magdalen   John   Thomas     Probably   
1573-4        1576       1578   1579       others
              m. 22 
              July 1595
  |      |     |      |    |    |      |      |      |
Thomas Kempe Anthony Joan boy  Alice  Thomas Rebecka Katherine
1596   1598  1602    1602 1604 1605   1607-9 1609    1611
  _______|_______* Mary Sambage from Barton-on-the-Hill.
  |             |
Kempe         Marie        
1630          1634

The registers become very difficult to read but :

1654 - Margery Harward died
1678 - Judith Harward died
1688 - Giles Harward died & left £5 "to the town stock"
1691 - Mr Kempe Harward died on Nov 3rd (at 93 years)
1691 - Mrs Margaret Harward died on Aug 31st
1722 - Mrs Mary Harward Senr died Jan 24th
(A woman entered in a register with Mrs before her name was the wife of gentry)

So the Harward name appeared in the registers from 1595 to 1722.

The name "Kempe" as a surname appears in the very first entry in 1573 when Mary Kempe signs as a witness of a baptism. And there are John Kempe (Churchwarden), Edwarde Kempe and Thomas Kempe.


1552 Chalice and paten of silver gilt; two cruets; silver cross; copper holy water pot; two irons to set light's upon; five pairs of vestments with albs; 3 bells; endowment for lights.

1881 A large plain cup of old date; there is no Hallmark but the letter W once punched. There is a salver, paten and Flagon of Plated ware and a very curious old flagon of pewter.

1889 A chalice and an old paten, gilt plated. A pewter tankard used as an ewer.

Value of the living.

1291     £6   13  4
1536    £13    6  8
1669   £100
1841   £296
1889   £294


In canon Winnington-Ingram's time (1845-77) there were no lamps in the Church, so Matins were held at 11 am and Evensong at 3 pm. On dark afternoons the candles in one chandelier hanging in the chancel were lit. (Before large windows were made churches must have been very dark on winter days. In early times candles were stuck on spikes - see below.)

In the latter part of the 19th century lamps were put in the Church. Electric light came in 1929. (The Rev. Davenport would not have lamps removed and one Sunday soon afterwards the electric light failed!)

Up until 1888 the outside of the Church had a thin coat of plaster. This was removed and the walls were pointed. The tower was done a few years later. The inside was also plastered and on the plaster were painted the Lord's Prayer and parts of the Scriptures. By 1901 the plaster was dilapidated and was stripped off and the joints were pointed.

The Rev, Canon James Davenport (Rector 1908-1930) compiled notes on Harvington Church. He tells of a great restoration in 1855 when £1500 was spent £1000 being given by Miss Lydia Ward. It was at this time that the present east window was inserted. In his report in 1921 for the Bishop's Advisory Committee Mr Binyon of Badsey says "it is of flamboyant design". Its main part features the Ascension, and on a visit to Worcester Cathedral I noticed the same "picture" in one part of a much larger window in the Lady chapel, behind the High Altar.

In 1855 the original window of the 14th century of similar design to the others still in the Church was removed to the Rectory garden and in it were inserted some stone said to have come from Evesham Abbey. Since 1855 this reconstruction has suffered the ravages of time, coupled with neglect and vandalism.


Many other tasks of 1855 included the glazing of all the other windows with the building of the North Porch and a vestry on the South side. The tower was strengthened and the present wooden steeple made. In the tower was put a clock and a peal of bells. These six bells weighed 32 cwts, and replaced three old bells of 22 cwts which were dated from the 17th century (see previously). The new bells were supplied by C. & G. Mears of Whitechapel Road, London, who also broke up the old bells.

These six bells are fixed in a wooden frame, so that they can only be sounded by being struck by chiming hammers. There five treble bells, each 2 ft 0½in in diameter, and one tenor bell 3ft in diameter. On them are inscribed:

  1. The F# treble bell weighing 3 cwts 2 qr 12lbs. has "We give three thanks O God"
  2. The E treble bell weighing 4 cwts 1 qr 7 lbs has "We glorify thee O God".
  3. The D treble bell weighing 4 cwts 2 qr 27 lbs has "We praise thee O God".
  4. The C# treble bell weighing 5 cwts 0 qr 14 lbs has " Goodwill towards men".
  5. The B treble bell weighing 6 cwts 1 qr 13 lbs has "On Earth peace".
  6. The A tenor bell weighing 8 cwts 0 qr 16 lbs says "Glory be to God on High". And "we were made at the cost of Lydia Ward", while on each is C. & G. Mears. Founders. London 1854


The Clock was made by Dent in 1854. It has a recoil escapement, and a compensated pendulum. It strikes the hour only, and has one dial only, on the north face of the tower.

The Churchyard was enclosed on the north side by a wall and the south door blocked up. At this time too, the Ferryman tablets were transferred to their present position on the west wall of the nave; they were previously in the chancel.

Mr Binyon mentions sockets for rood beams. It seems that a Mr John Noakes (previously mentioned in Church description) visited the Church in or about 1850 when there was still a rood screen. He speaks of it being in a good state of preservation, but the chancel arch above the screen was closed up with boards. In the 1855 restoration the screen was removed and the chancel arch thrown open.


There were no pews before the 15th century, unless worshipers brought their own stools. There were probably mats to kneel on. In Norman times the congregation either stood or knelt on the floor. The earliest seating took the form of stone ledges in the wall - for the more aged. By the 16th century wooden benches were general and bench-ends gave scope for local craftsmen. Probably at this time the men sat at the south side for the women on the north. Family seats appeared at the beginning of the 17th century.

Harvington Church is certainly interesting here in its early seating, In Elizabethan times - in 1582 but to quote Mr Noakes again. "The most curious relic in this interesting church is the open oak seating of the nave." These seats are wide and massive, bear the date 1582 and contain sentences of Scripture on their back & sides. The sentences were apparently selected with reference to their symbolic application to the service of the Church, those on the principal seat nearest the entrance door being

"I am the dore, by me if any enter in he shall be safe" and "I was glad when they saide unto me, we will go into the House of God".

Five specimens have been preserved and are kept in the belfry".

[Reproductions of the five surviving examples - by Julian Rawes].

The present seats date from the 1855 restoration, carried out in the time of Rev. Canon Arthur Winnington-Ingram under the guidance of Mr Preedy.

The chancel is paved in wooden blocks. Once around the altar there were old tiles bearing emblems of the Four Evangelists. Once these old tiles were to be found in the Rectory coach house, now demolished.

In the incumbency of Rev. T.H. Waugh (1895 -1907) came the second (and exclusive) restoration, with Mr Ford Whitcombe as the architect.

In the Rectory records there is a four-page pamphlet.
On the outside is a picture of the church and "Proposed reparation & renewal of the Interior - about £800 wanted An appeal on behalf of the Parish Church of ST. JAMES. HARVINGTON (near Evesham) WORCESTERSHIRE". Then it says: "We have no resident landowner of substantial degree to help us in this work" signed by the Rector and the two Churchwardens. June 1901.

Inside there is a statement by the Archdeacon of Worcester and the report of the Architect. It is interesting to read what he suggested - then to walk around the present church to check how much was done

  1. strip the decayed plaster
  2. make the basement of the tower a temporary Choir vestry. Open up the West arch into the tower basement and put in an oak screen.
  3. Re-arrange the Chancel fittings. a) new choir stalls (the present ones (then 1901) are of the most inferior Kind and there is no desk for the Priest. b) the organ is in the wrong position and as there is no organ chamber the only thing to be done is to raise it on brackets, on the North side of the Chancel, above the heads of the choir. The present organ is small and antiquated and therefore a new one is much to be desired. c) The floor should be laid with floor blocks.
  4. Place an oak screen across the Chancel Arch.
  5. Re-floor the nave with wood blocks.
  6. Re-seat the church with oak, - the present pews are of inferior material and workmanship.
  7. Build a permanent choir vestry on the South side of the church, adjoining the small priest's vestry.
  8. Construct a cement gutter around the exterior of the church and properly adjust the fall pipes.

Harvington Church is a fine church in itself but, unfortunately during recent centuries the interior has been spoiled and made altogether different from what was originally intended; and your great aim should be and I am sure it is, to regain for this beautiful structure all its former beauty and in no way to introduce new ideas that will in any way spoil the original".

(signed) "C. Ford Whitcombe A.R.I.B.A., 5, Newman Street, LONDON. W."

On the 3rd page a short history of Harvington was given. One new point mentioned is "on the west wall of the nave was formerly a gallery" (It was reached by the blocked-up square door previously mentioned. Then came a list of donations.

A new organ with pneumatic action was supplied by Nicholson and Son of Worcester 1906. It was for electricity in 1958. In this restoration heating apparatus was put in place of stoves.

The new Vestry suggested on the South side was built by Harvington members of the Church of England Men's Society in [-------?] and dedicated by [-------?].

In 1885 'the Pound' containing 130 square yards or thereabouts was consecrated by Bishop Philpot on July 21st.

The new burial ground south west of the Church, containing 1 rood 38 perches or therabouts was consecrated by Bishop Yeatman-Biggs on Sunday, March 7th 1915. The first burial there was that of Charles William Myatt, aged 18.

To return to the bells which were hung in 1854. In 1947 they were taken out for the first time since 1854 - to be re-cast and re-hung. The bulk of the cost was borne by Mrs Towers & Mr Brazier who between them contributed £500. The balance came from the Church Fabric Fund. The six bells had been adjusted to a properly tuned chime and this was now done. The lowering of these heavy bells was accomplished without mishap thanks to the skill of the bell-hanger, Mr Myatt helped by Mr Bromley and a German Swiss - watchmaker. The work of re-casting was handled by John Taylor and Co. of Loughborough.

Thirty one members of the Church went to Loughborough to see re-casting. At the same time they saw bells from Elmley Castle and Alcester. In December 1947 the bells were re-dedicated by the Bishop, and the first time they were used was at the passing of Mrs Sam Coley. Also in 1947, the clock face was lowered for painting and to be furbished with new gold leaf. In 1966 this was done again by the members of the Church of England Men's Society.

In 1952 Mr Bromley gave new Communion rails in memory of his son.
In 1961 the same men built a vestry on the South side - as suggested as long ago as 1901.

Near the church door on the north wall is a piece of tapestry done & given to Harvington Church by a Chelsea Pensioner who once lived here. The erection of the Royal Arms has no authority. (A letter referring to this piece of work has been mislaid)


The incumbent from 1908 to 1930 was Rev. James Davenport. I have already paid tribute to the work he did on the Parish Registers. In 1912 he wrote "Annotated Catalogue of Papers in the Church Coffer of Harvington for the years 1665-1872" by James Davenport. M.A. F.S.A., Rector of Harvington

The 70th Canon of 1603 (i.e. sixty later than the order to keep a register) provides that a register book shall be kept in every parish, and orders that for the safe keeping of said book the Churchwardens at the charge of the parish shall provide "one sure coffer with three locks & keys, whereof the one to remain with the minister and the other two with the Churchwardens severally so that neither the minister without the Churchwardens or the Churchwardens without the minister, shall at any time take that book out of the said coffer".

The Harvington coffer is 5' 8" long by 2 feet broad and stands 2' 4" high. It is divided into two compartments; the smaller one on the left 2' 5" long has one lock doubtless for the Rector the larger one 3' 3" long has two locks to it for the Churchwardens. Thus each compartment could be opened separately from the other. but fixed at the back of the coffer and running partly through one compartment and partly through the other is a smaller coffer 3' 3" long and 7" wide and 7" deep. To this inner coffer there are 3 locks of different make; two of the locks being in the part running through the smaller and left hand compartment of the big coffer - and one in the part running through the larger compartment of all 3 keys were required for the opening of this inner coffer, the Rector not being able to open it without the keys of the Church wardens, nor the Churchwardens without the 2 keys of the Rector - although either Rector or Churchwardens could obtain access to his or their part of the big coffer itself independently of the other party. Thus the order of the Canon was obeyed but the curious thing is that the oldest register nine inches wide cannot have been kept in this coffer of 7" wide, unless it had a flexible cover formerly, and was tied around with string - instead of the stiff cover which it has now. (This last cover was apparently supplied by the British museum authorities at the instance and expense of the Rev. J.H. Waugh 1895-1908)

In later dates this inner coffer held the parish award which after the passing of the Local Government Act of 1894 was handed over to the Parish Council; the locks would not work and were therefore forced. But this award has now (1913) been returned to the coffer and the Rector's keeping - excluding those of the strictly parochial character (like the Act of Parliament (1786) for dividing and enclosing the open and common fields in Harvington).


The papers in the coffer number 144 and cover the period 1665 to 1872. These divide themselves into 2 periods:-

  1. 67 deal with the period from Charles I till the death of George II.
  2. 75 deal with the period 1830-1872 (for the period of George III & IV 1760-1830 only 2 are extant).

The numbers for each reign are:-

Charles II 1660-85 20
James II 1685-88 8
William & Mary 1689-1694 11
William III 1694-1702 7
Anne 1702-1714 8
George I 1714-1727 5
George II 1727-60 8
George III 1760-1820 1
George IV 1829-1830 1
William IV 1830-1837 6
Victoria 1837-1901 69




The documents of the earlier period up to 1670 consist chiefly of Forms of Prayer - Thanksgiving for Special Occasions - Proclamations - Orders in Council - Briefs and Certificates of Burial in Woollen. Some of these were lent for the Worcestershire Exhibition of 1882 by Canon Winnington-Ingram then Rector.

The Forms of Service generally consist of Morning Prayer, Litany and Ante-Communion - & also of Evening Prayer. Special versicles, psalms, lessons, Epistle and Gospel are provided. No celebration of the Holy Communion is ever enjoined. Often the Forms are endorsed "The Minister shall preach a sermon suitable for the occasion". With one exception, the Forms of Prayer and Thanksgiving do not apply to Scotland.

I have summarised some of the papers.:-
1665 Charles II: "A form of Common Prayer to be used on Wednesday, the fifth of April being the day of General Fast appointed by His Majesty's Proclamation for Imploring God's blessing on his Majesty's Naval Forces, war having just been declared against Holland".
There were 60 pages (3 were missing). There were prayers for the then Royal Family. The Prayers contain "Go forth we humbly beseech thee at this time by Thy most especial assistance with His Majesty's Fleet and Naval Forces and bless them all. Let the mercies fill their Sails with prosperous and thine Almighty power for their sure Anchor-hold, the good Providence their Shield and their impregnable Defence.

"A Form of Common Prayer -------- on Wed 11th of February sent through the whole Kingdom of England, Dominion of Wales and the town of Berwick-on-tweed ---- for imploring God's blessing on his Majesty, and the Present Parliament"

The enthusiasm with which Charles II had been restored to the throne, had passed away, and dissatisfaction was supreme - because of the unpopular alliance with Louis against the Dutch - and Parliament had not been summoned for two years - but chiefly to the leniency shown to the Papists. Roman Catholics were allowed to practice their religion in private houses, and the heir to the throne, James, Duke of York, was a professed Romanist.

Nov. 13th 1678 " A Form of Prayer ------- for protection of his Majesty's secret person, and the bringing to light more and more all secret machinations against his Majesty and the whole Kingdom" (2 copies of this).

Sept. 9th 1683. was appointed a Day of Thanksgiving for the King's safety. Affixed to the form of Service is another form relating the Rye House Plot. This second form was to be read on 2 Sundays - all seventeen pages of it.

(The plot was to stop the King's coach on its way from Newmarket races to London near a farm called the Rye House, owned by a maltster named Rumbold. The plot failed because the King left earlier than arranged "because of a sudden Fire".

The next had 46 pages.
The next is particularly interesting. It gives King Charles order as to the days on which persons might attend Whitehall to be touched for the KING'S EVIL.

The King's Evil was scrofula ("a constitutional state, usually hereditary, tending to the development of glandular swellings and consumption"). The custom of "touching" was founded on the doctrine of the King being the Lord's Anointed. It was said to have been introduced from France by Edward the Confessor and was continued intermittently for seven centuries. It was regularly established by Henry II in 1163 and 1d was given to each person. It was practised too by Edward II, Edward III, Richard II and Henry IV then lapsed until Henry VI.

Henry VIII developed a set ceremonial - He touched the sore with a gold angel noble, afterwards given to the sufferer, and worn on a ribbon around his neck. There is little trace of touching in Henry VIII's reign, none in Edward VI's but plenty in that of Elizabeth.

In 1626 (Charles I) times were fixed, & the victim had to produce a certificate from his minister & churchwardens, that he had already been touched.

Between 1626 and 1638 there were 17 proclamations of the observance of the ceremony, and Charles practised it during his captivity. After the Restoration Charles II is said to have touched 600 on a Sunday in Whitehall - altogether nearly 24,000 persons.

In his diary of 1684 Evelyn writes "There was so great a concourse of people with their children to be touched for the evil that six or seven were crushed to death by pressing at the chirurgeaon's (Surgeon) door for tickets".

Between 1660-1683 90,798 persons were touched. James II continued it. William III detested it and called it "papish mummery". Queen Anne was the last to practise it - she touched Dr Samuel Johnson in his infancy - at Leak in 1712 - with no result.

[Margin note:-]
In the books of the Corporation of Evesham in 1680 Charles Adams of Bayleworth was given 1 02s 0d "to assist him to go to London to be touched by Charles II for the evil".

The declaration in the coffer fixed the time "to be from the Feast of All Saints commonly called Allhallowtide till a week before Christmas - and after Christmas until the 1st day of March - then to cease until Passion week, being times most convenient both for temperature of the season and in respect of the Contagion which may happen in this near access to His Majesty's sacred person".

Nos. 11-20 1679-84: There is a copy of the Act ordering "Burial in Woollen" but there are 10 certificates.
This Act was to encourage the wool-trade (passed in 1667). The certificates were sworn before Robert Blondell, Vicar of Norton with Lenchwick. Only one was a printed form. It said.

"was not put in wrapt or wound up or tirred in any Shirt, Shift, Sheet or Shroud, made or mingled with Flax, Hemp, Silk Hair, Gold or Silver or other than what is made of Sheep's wool only".

Penalties of £5 could be levied on

  1. the estate of anyone buried in woollen
  2. on the household in whose house he died.
  3. on the persons connected with the funeral
  4. on ministers neglecting to certify the non-receipt of an affidavit
  5. on overseers for neglecting to levy the penalty
The Act was not repealed until 1814 but, its provisions always unpopular, had long been disregarded

1687 Thanks for the Queen's Pregnancy. (4 of her children had died young. A son was born on June 10th - & the nation was reduced to despair. He would be educated according to Catholic principles. But James II, the father, abdicated.)

1689 and in came William & Mary and on March 12th came a proclamation of 32 pages in which William was looked upon as "the Deliverer of the church from "the Papish tyranny" - & "the Romish Faction".

Nos. 32,44 & Nos. 35-37 - 1692. Gave thanks for the subjection of Ireland, made references to the war with France and the intrigues for the restoration of James II & the invasion of England.

No.39 1695 1696. An Act to prevent & reform "Profane Swearing & Cussing" and Thanks because the king was not Killed near Brentford on his way to Leat in Richmond Forest. William died in 1702.

And there are 8 papers in Anne's reign. Most of them deal with the successes of the Duke of Marlborough - at Blenheim - Ramillies - Oudenarde etc.

Only 5 papers were there for George I 's reign (he was already 54 years old when he landed at Greenwich. His mother was Sophia, grand-daughter of James I.

No.58 1720 "Beseeching God to preserve us from the Plague with which several other counties are at this time visited".

Next came 8 for George II's reign
No. 62 "Thanksgiving after the Battle of Culloden against the abettors of Popish superstition & lawless power".

No.63 1748 A prayer because of "the contagious distemper which has raged & still rages among the cattle in many parts of this Kingdom".

No.64. "Profane Swearing & Cussing" again. And the penalties were given
Everyday Labourer, Common Soldier, Common Sailor and Common Seaman 1/-
Every other person under the degree of a Gentleman 2/-
On the second offence double the penalty. In the event of non-payment, the offender to have 10 days hard labour in a House of Correction, unless he be a Soldier, Sailor or Seaman, in which case he is to be put into the Stocks for one hour for one offence.

The clergyman who did not read the Act on four Sundays of the year to forfeit £5 for each day of the neglect.

No.65. "Anyone marrying a couple without a licence or published banns to be transported for 14 years and the marriage to be null & void.

1760 Thanksgiving for success at the surrender of Montreal and all Canada.

In George III's reign there is only one.
1779. " turn the hearts of his rebellious subjects in America"

In George IV's reign there is only one and is again about clandestine marriages.

1832. And William IV one of six.
"In the Churches of the places now free or as they shall hereafter become free, from the querulous with which this Kingdom hath lately been visited"

Then Victoria. Some of 69 were
1837 Four times a year "the encouragement of piety & virtue" and "Directions for Making a Will".

1840 Thanks for the preservation of the Queen on the atrocious and treasonable attempt on her life.

1841 Safe birth of a prince.

1842 A collection for the Relief of the working classes in England & Scotland.

1842 "For the late abundant Harvest"

1844 "Happy birth of a Prince"

1845 For a collection for the building of Churches & Chapels in England and Wales.

1846 "For repeated victories of the troops against unjust and unprovoked aggression of the Sikhs".

1846 Collection for sufferers in the recent fire at St John's Newfoundland.

1846 Prayer after the failure of the crops

1847 Collection for the relief of a large portion of the population in Ireland & some parts of Scotland.

1847 A statement on the Potato Famine. Then in the autumn "thanks for a good harvest".

1848 A Collection for the "Propagation of the gospel in foreign parts.

1848 "Thank for birth of Princess"

1849 Collection for the National Society for the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church throughout England & Wales.

1849 A special form of prayer "to be used throughout the prevalence of Cholera in this country".

1853 Thanks for another Prince.

1855 For signal and repeated successes obtained by the Troops of Her Majesty and those of her Allies in the Crimea especially for the capture of the Town of Sebastapol.

1856 Thanks for the end of the War with Russia.

1857 Prayers asking for "blessing on our Arms in India".

1859 Thanks for peace in India.

1864 Thanks for birth of another Prince.

1865 Another prayer "for relief from the Plague now existing among cattle, and for protection against the Cholera".

1866 Thanks for the "merciful preservation of H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh from the attack of an Assassin in Australia, and the success of Her Majesty's forces in the Abyssinian Expedition for the rescue of certain captives imprisoned in that Country".

1872 (the 144th and the last) Thanks for the recovery of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales.

Some general observations:- by Mr Davenport in 1923

  1. In set one of these Forms is there any order of celebration of Holy Communion.
  2. It would be impossible today to use such fulsome flattery of the Queen, or such very decided adjectives as of enemies as are contained in the Prayers.
  3. It would be interesting to know whether all these Forms prescribed for use on weekdays and Sundays were actually used in the village churches of the provinces everywhere or whether the parson & churchwarden quickly consigned them to the coffer (or the flames) taking them as read.
If they were read the habit of the going on weekdays must have been more general than it is today in many country villages - and we cannot but admire the stolid & patient demeanour of our forefathers facing Morning Prayer Litany. Ante-Communion and a sermon, with two in three Acts of Parliament or Orders thrown in. So Rev. Davenport seemed to think they were not read but taken as read. Possibly the Harvington coffer was so full by 1760 that they decided it could take a few more. (only 2 between 1769 and 1830)

But seventy years later in 1830 strict Episcopal supervision was more likely - & the old custom of preserving the Forms was revived, but we do not know whether or not they were eventually used in village churches. Possibly in town parishes they were & the congregations duly warned of the penalties incurred by the indulging in the enormities before mentioned! May 1923 - May 1924. (From: Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society.)


The Parish Church of the 13th Century was far less frequently empty than that same church today, although the priest might conduct matins at 7am, mass two hours later and evensong in the afternoon in an untenanted building because nearly all his parishioners were at work in the fields.

On high days and holidays, at times of Church Ales and festival, the churches - or at any rate their naves would be full of merchandise and trafficking, of stalls and stall-holders for the parish church was a social centre not a place to be frequented on Sundays only. During service time the congregation walked about, talked amiably, greeted each other, quarrelled, & came and went at will.

Out of service time the nave was used for purposes nowadays relegated to the Church Hall - singing, dancing, eating & drinking on feast days, as well as for the more sober business of the transaction of legal affairs, the preparation of contracts and the like.

As the years went by the trafficking and revelry were transferred to the porch and churchyard, until in 1285 the Statute of Winchester forbade the use of churchyards for fairs and markets. Dancing was vetoed and the grazing of cattle there forbidden.

This early general use of the church was natural, became the spiritual and secular lives of the people were two threads closely entwined, and religion was an inextricable part of every day life. In contrast with his squalid hut shared with the family pig, goat or cow and with its pile of dung in front of the door - the church was the abode of beauty and colour, cleanliness and sweet savour, the walls bright with pictures of Christ and his saints, and the stonework aglow with painted patterns of blue and red and gold, while the candle-light compared favourably with his single glimmering rush light at home. The floor of stamped down earth was strewn with rushes in summertime and with straw in winter.

Towards the end of the 13th century changes began. The lord of the manor occasionally found it more convenient to take money rents of a penny or halfpenny instead of a day's work due (except at the busy times of hay-making and harvest). So in the first half of the 14th century a change went on very quietly but very slowly from servile to hired labour.

Then in 1348-9 came the Black Death. Here parish records cannot help because they were not compulsory until 1583. Then one third to one half of the population died. The crops were left to rot in the fields and cattle just wandered about. This doubled the market value of labour at one stroke. Serfs began to demand money for their work; some ran away to towns and other manors. This was just as the slow emancipation of the villeins had commenced. In many places most of the labour left after this time was unskilled so many landlords substituted sheep-pasture for tillage. The wool was exported to Flanders until Edward III's import of the Flemish weavers, thus increasing the demand for wool.

The records for Evesham for 1337-8 say that woollen cloths of all kinds were made there so that there were many weavers, fullers, shearmen and dyers.

In 1381 there was the poll-tax, which led to the Peasant's Revolt. The landlords ceased to use the forced labour of the villeins and instead let the land to tenant farmers who produced for the market. With the rent money the landlord was able to hire labour.

The emancipated villein became the small yeoman farmer (freehold, leasehold or copyhold), or a hired labourer. Perhaps he drifted into the towns or took to the wars, or to the high seas. Fluidity of labour had come, but here in Harvington the open village field system lasted until the reign of George III, and enclosures of 1787.

A little "light" relief amongst all these historical facts. In the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) wolves were so plentiful in Worcestershire as to become the object of Royal attention, and Edward issued a precept to Peter Corbett to superintend and assist in their destruction.


The Parish Registers

We should be proud that Harvington's aged register exists - not more than 800 parishes can say this, out of a possible 14,000. Modern day parish registers are formal, with printed headings and columns, with names & dates and little more. But not early registers, which were made on blank sheets recording christenings marriages and burials with frequent comment by the incumbent. So they can be both fascinating and revealing as one delves into the past.

During the year 1535 Henry VIII took the title 'on earth supreme of the Church of England' and soon afterwards 5th September 1538 Thomas Cromwell was appointed Vicar-General. He issued injunctions as to the registration of baptisms, marriages and burials in England, Entries were made every Sunday after service in the presence of one of the churchwardens. When this registration was introduced it was said that it would be used to levy taxation - and that came true. As an example, in 1694 for a quinquennial period 'for carrying on the war against France with vigour' a duty of 2s per birth, 2/6 for a marriage and 40/- per burial of non-paupers. There was even a sliding scale e.g. £30 for the birth of the eldest son of a Duke, and £50 for a Duke's marriage or burial. All births were to be notified within 5 days or there was a 40s fine.

There was very great laxity so in 1755 Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act ordered the second of both banns & marriages to be in proper books of vellum or good & durable paper, to be signed by the parties & follow a prescribed form. Here we have the first bound volumes of printed forms (four on a page). A Stamp Act in 1783 gave the Crown 3d for each entry.

Marriage Registers
Before the Reformation espousal could take place at 7 years of age and marriage at 12 for girls and 14 for boys.

Until 1888 marriages had to be before noon and not from [? in margin] Advent (late November) to St Hilary's Day (January 13th) or Septuagesima (late January or early February) to Low Sunday (Sunday after Easter) or from Rogation Sunday (Two before Whitsunday) & Trinity Sunday (the one after Whitsun). This was observed in the 16th & 17th centuries, but lapsed during the Commonwealth (1649-1660) and was never re-imposed.

Marriage registers are best because there was no legal marriage except in Church, whilst although every lad to be born, not every one had Anglican parents. There was omissions also of un-baptised persons both children & adult. In the burials soldiers & sailors names would not appear - whilst some papists & dissenters were buried privately quite often at night.

On September 22nd 1653 during the Commonwealth the custody of the registers was taken out of the hands of the clergy. There was a new official called 'the Parish Register' (not registrar) elected by the ratepayers. 12d was paid for each birth & baptism. 4d for a death or burial. Sometimes the 'register' was the minister.

Solemnisation of marriage during the Commonwealth was entrusted to Justices.

On 29th [blank] 1654 this civil marriage was legalized. At this time tactful churchmen kept very quiet. The Register disappeared after Restoration in 1660.

Harvington's Registers
In June 1872 the Rector, Rev. A.H. Winnington-Ingram made a list of the registers. These were

  1. A book with parchment leaves, bound in parchment containing entries of: baptisms from 1573 to 1733; marriages from 1570 to 1730; burials from 1570 to 1730; baptisms from 1634 to 1661; marriages from 1633 to 1660.
  2. A book of parchment leaves bound in leather with: baptisms from 1734 to 1812; marriages from 1734 to 1752; burials from 1734 to 1812.
  3. Book of paper leaves bound in leather containing entries of marriages from 1755 to 1812.
  4. Book of paper leaves bound in parchment with entries of baptisms from 1813 to present year (then 1871).
  5. The same with entries of burials from 1813 to present (1871).
  6. The same with entries of marriages from 1814 to present (1871).
  7. The same in cloth with entreis from 1838 to present year (1871).
  8. A duplicate copy of the same.
  9. A lay minute book with paper leaves containing same.
Entries of baptisms & burials from 1653 to 1690, which are copied by a former rector (called the Churchwarden's oblong-shaped book) and set named in register No.1. in consequence of some leaves having been extracted at the time of the Commonwealth. This book is as made May 16th 1645.

Moses Hodges (Rector 1690) copied out of No.9 most of the entries into No.1 but not all e.g. not 17 baptisms from 1653-1660.

The Rector from 1908 until 1930 was the Rev. James Davenport. He studied all the registers, the early one written with poor ink on the parchment, often in very poor writing and he produced in 1912 several books of 'transactions' which are invaluable in saving hours of labour for those following him, [Margin note] and as time goes on more & more entries will become indecipherable. In a separate book he wrote up the entries for all missing dates e.g. 1627, part of 1628, 1672, 1674, 1675, 1676. These he found by trawling to search the transcripts in the Diocesan Registry at Worcester.

The first page of the Harvington Register says:- "Ao. Dom. 1602 Comput Aug. 24 die Martj. The most famous and renowned Soveraign Queene Elizabeth departed this life after shee had governed this Kingdome in peace and much happiness 44 years compleate fower moneths".

"Eidem die et Ao James the Sixth of Scotlande was proclaimed in London Kinge of England and with all possible expedition the same was proclaimed in all parts of the Lande without resistance".

"Blessed be God who vouchsafed to graunte him so peacable an entrance into his rightful inheritance and longe and many yeares maie he raigne and rule in this ande to gods glorie".

July 25 "James aforesaid was crowned in the minster of Westminster by John Whitegifte, Archbishop of Canterbury".

The register itself begins:- "A perfecte register of the Christenings, Marriages and Funeralls which have happened in the P'ishe of Harvington in and vit---- the 28th day of March in the yeere of our Lorde God 1570 beinge the day and yeere wherin Mr Thomas Feriman was inducted into the Parsonage there".

"Ao Dni 1575 Junii 11 the above named Mr Thomas Feryman came to Harvington to reside after he had served the Reverende Father Nocholas the then Bishop of Worcester as ordinarie Chaplin in his house by the space of 4 yeares and upwards. All which time he had of the sayd Reverende Father Dyet (food) for himself, his wife, his man, his wives mayde and Kepinge for 2 geldings". Then a leaf seems to have been cut out.

The first entry says
1573 John Prichet was baptised the 6th day of Aprill. Witnesses John Perke, Anthony Pler and Mary Kempe. It is not until 1578 that the same rector adds the name of the father, and then not very often. Then in 1661 the father's Christian name and mother's name were given - then one can begin to make family trees.

An entry with the mother's name and the words filii or filia pop indicates an illegitimate child. Burials begin on June 6th, and marriages in 1572.

People come & go throughout the pages and very little really of the life of the parish is revealed but here and there, there are clues. In 1614 we get Richard Heming the shepherd - in 1624 Thomas Courte, freeholder - in 1629 John Wilkes, freeholder and John Williams, the smith - and in 1673 Kempe Harwarde, Gent.

Into the parish sometimes wandered strangers, and it would seem they were received with care. e.g. 1623 "John Parsons as he was named in the pasporte a poore wandering boy died in William Wills his barne". e.g. 1624 "Thomas Garrett a poore young fellow who died in Mr Harwardes barne".

The sins were duly recorded too. In 1586 we have Joane filia populi - in 1593 john - filii populi. Ilegitimacy was not common in the 16th century. This was not so in the 17th and 18th centuries - it was quite common from 1750 onwards. In our registers there are about five in the 17th century but in the 18th century about twenty one - one the 'eligatamate' child. One wonders why they are always mentioned. Was it moral indignation or the effects of the village poor-rate?

The reason for the increase might be sought too. Before the enclosures the standard of living of the peasantry was quite high, with houses available. But then cottages were pulled down - peasantry could not leave the parish because of the settlement system. There was much overcrowding, with loss of moral restraint.

In the baptism in 1607 "Annis the daughter of one - Pennell a sory huswife by chance brought to bed in Philip Perkes his house". The rector always it seems baptises the child. 1593 In the deaths we have "John, the sonne of a strumpet was buried".

Gypsies appeared in this country early in the 17th century and in 1602 "it is Humphrey Smith, a wandering traveller" and in 1622 "Marie, daughter of Andrew Adams, traveller".

One wonders what story lies behind "John sonne of a vagrant huswife" in 1593, and in 1634 "Abigail the daughter of Margaret clerk, as she said the wieff of John clerk of Bartley".

Occasionally the rector sees fit to record the advanced age of the person e.g. "Mother Allen was buried" and in 1608 "a widowe, a woman of great years;" in 1624 "a verie aged woman"; in 1625 "a verie poore aged man".


Then brief entries of tragedies. 1579 "Alice Clarke killed in Stanley's dovehouse". and Aug 29 1899 A "13 year old boy, who fell from a horse, which trod on him". July 3rd 1899 "28 year old woman accidentally shot with a gun". 1626 Elizabeth - "slaine by a fall downe a paier of stayers with a pair of cizers in her hand". 1631 "Symon Davies who died in Bretforton field as he came from Cambden faier". 1710 "William Rogers an infant poyson'd by his father". 1808 ----- "an idiot". Another one - "the above father & son were killed by the fall of a cart at Marriage Hill in the parish of Bidford". 1811 "John the illegitimate son of Elizabeth Sorril. William the husband was with the worcester Militia".

With the nearness of the River Avon we might expect references to drowning. The first is 1630 "Robert, a youth drowned the daie before in Avon" and 1675 "a man unknown taken out of the river". 1807 "Sarah - found drowned". 1899 "a 27 year old man drowned in the Avon on a visit".

Parish registers can tell us about the names of the people both Christian names & Surnames, the size of the families, the infant mortality, the longevity and later their occupations.


Names: The children named John were innumerable. Closely followed by Richard, Edward & Thomas, with Henry, James, George & Peter. In 1599 appears Anthony; 1602 Valentine and 1678 Kempe (once a surname) & Simon. 1624 Nicholas. 1630 Christopher. 1661 Joseph. 1668 Andrew. 1681 Matthew. 1688 Michael.

With the girls we begin with Judith & Elizabeth, then Joane, Anne, Margaret, Magdalen, Ursula (often) Fraunces (equally so) Rebecca, Marye, Annis, Roase, Katherine, Elinor. 1592 Margery, 1600 Dorothe, 1602 Jane, I like Fortune in 1670, Meriall in 1623 with Fridswith in 1713 and Frizwith in 1737. Betty appears in 1754 and Nancy in 1784.


The first twins appear in 1594 "Margaret and Anne Haynes sister Twinnes". In 1686 there were Eleanor and Alice and in 1702, the Rector Moses Hodges, baptised his daughters Theodosia and Anne (with 5 days between their baptisms). In 1580 Betterice & Margery Perkes, sisters, were buried in one grave. In 1594 Anne, one twin died on 21st March and Margaret the other on 19th April 1595. Other twins are recorded in 1619 - 1686 - 1702 - 1734 (their mother died) 1789, 1793, 1794 & 1807.


The first surnames are Prichet, Warner, Perke, Cager, Strickland, Abell, Kempe, Distone and Marshall.

The first registered marriage was "Ano Dom 1572 Mr Robert Perrot was maryed to Mrs Elisabeth Starley". 1686 we have for the first time an entry such as this:- "Mr Joseph Ash of Coventree and Mrs Mary Field of Evesham" and now we are told whether the marriage was with banns or by licence.

How far did young people go to seek their brides or grooms? The majority, certainly, both lived in the parish of Harvington. But, in spite of the fact that Moses Hodges the Rector decided to see how many entries he could write on one page one can read Abbot's Morton, Bagworth, Salford, Middle Littleton (1694), Arrow (1695), Hampton (1696), Norton & Lenchwick & Bidford (1698), Church Lench Alcester & Binton (1701), *Hoblench [Ablench] (1701), Bristol (1702), Badsey & Inkberrow (1704), Elmley Castle (1704), Childswickham & Bishampton & Coventry (1709), Cleeve Prior (1710), etc. etc. In 1710 the Rector of Dumbleton married Mrs Anne Archer of Bevington. By 1800 we have Cheddar, Henley-in-Arden, Stow-on-the-Wold, Studley, Overbury, Alcester, Cowhoneybourne, St. Pancras, Cheltenham etc.


Longevity is difficult to gauge until one reaches the 19th century, when a few are 1816 - 82 yrs, 1819 - 86 years, 1820 - 84 years, 1824 - 72 years, 81 yrs, 84 yrs, 82 yrs. 1830 has many deaths for some reason - as many as fourteen - at the age of 17, 70, 48, 74, 70, 75, 57, 25, 79, 1yr 8m, 59 & 69 years. What lies behind these? 1832 Thomas Biven 21st March 5 yrs old, Ann Sanders Biven 23rd March 8 years old, 1835 Emma Jelfs 14th Jan. 5 years old, Elizabeth Jelfs 18th Jan. 1 year old. There are entries for deaths at the ages of 70 yrs, 80 yrs, 78 yrs. 62 and 90 yrs at 16 Union Infirmary or Workhouse in Evesham in 1912 & 1918 and at Hampton Workhouse in 1912 & 1913. One wonders at the deaths in the Workhouse of a girl at 5 months old, and another of two years in 1924. One entry from 1597 "Alice and her son, were buried both together in one pitt".

In 1593 the plague was raging in most parts of the country, and it seems to have been severe in Worcestershire. In the parish of All Saint's Evesham, entries show that three members of one family died in eighteen days, and four of another family in a later period.

Figures can also be given for Stratford-on-Avon. In July 1564 "a dreadful visitation for poor & crowded families. In the first half of that year there were 22 burials and in the second half 237, and that out of a population of 2370". But in Harvington in 1593 only 6 deaths are recorded and 2 of those were of infants. In 1603 the plague was again very deadly in most parts of the country and marred the splendour of the Coronation of James I for in London the number of victims was said to be 30,000. Parts of the midlands had their visitation of 1604 - in that year Harvington records 10 deaths - one in childbirth, three of un-baptised infants and one baptised infant. But there is 1700 when four of the burials were:-

  • Susanna wife of Thomas Pardway 14th March 1700 )
  • Thomas Pardway Sen. 16th March 1700 )
  • Eleanor wife of Thomas Pardway 24th March 1700 )
  • Thomas Pardway 25th April 1700 )

In 1711 the Rector takes the unusual course of including the words "these last 7 died of a malignant fever":-

  1. Anne, wife of John Ellits the younger April 17th
  2. Anne Evetts, widow May 18th
  3. Frances, daughter of John Ellits the younger May 29th
  4. Elizabeth Winne June 7th
  5. Alice Smith June 15th
  6. John Evetts June 19th
  7. Anne, his wife Sept 28th

    In 1830:-
  • Sarah Paddock 55yrs Dec. 18th 1830
  • Mary Paddock 32 March 5th 1831
  • John Paddock 60 March 8th 1831
    In 1845:-
  • Elizabeth Squire 16 Oct 6th 1845
  • Richard Squire 13 Nov 25th 1845
  • John Squire 54 Dec 2nd 1845
    In 1858:-
  • Alfred Elliss of Evesham 4 Sept. 25th 1858
  • Catherine Emma Elliss 2» Oct 20th 1858
Nearer 6 in 1877 and the reference is to the family of Mr George Savage. (At this time he is 92 years of age in 1970.))

    In 1877:-
  1. William Savage 8 years Nov 15th
  2. Elizabeth Savage 6 years Nov 29th
  3. Charles Savage 38 years Dec 2nd
  4. Adelaide Sorrel 7 years Oct 20th
  5. Leigh Woodward 6 years Nov 1st
  6. William Salisbury 4 years Nov 8th
  7. Fanny 8 years Nov 8th
  8. Frances Harris 5 years Dec 14th
    In 1878:-
  9. Henry Spiers 14 years Feb 18th
  10. Robert Cole 14 years June 11th
  11. Ellen Jones 13 years Nov 24th
    In 1879:-
  12. Mary Ann Fowler 7 years Mar 10th
(Mr George Savage was born in February 1878 in one of 4 cottages now combined in 'Crooked Walls'. He & his mother had to vacate this cottage for a workman, and they rented the smaller of two cottages at Longlands (Now one & modernised.))

Returning to the Baptisms register, one has been led to believe that in these earlier times families had many children, and that many of these died in infancy. So it becomes an interesting 'game' to note a birth and then wonder if a death will follow. This searching was not possible for any date before 1661 - that is [from] when both father's name and mother's name were given e.g. John Ellits and his wife, Anne, had 10 children.
1693 Frances (died 1693)
1694 Elizabeth
1696 Frances (the 2nd) (lived until May 1711. Her mother died on April 17th 1711)
1698 Richard (died)
1699 Anne (died)
1700 Anne (2nd) died
1701 Mary (2nd) died
1703 Martha
1705 Anne (3rd)
1701 Susanna (died)
so of this family of 10 children five died very soon, one lived to be 15 years old. Three of these 10 children were named Anne and two Frances.

Even the Rector Thomas Ferriman Jnr. and his wife had 8 children. It was his five year old daughter Elizabeth who had the accident with the pair of scissors on the stairs.

Of the 14 families whose children I counted the numbers were 5 - 7 - 7 - 10 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 5 - 7 - 8 - 6 - 6 - 8 & 7, fairly high figures. An interesting fact too was that perhaps the figures of death in childbirth in the country in the 17th century were not as high as sometimes presumed, for in these 14 families only one mother (& her child died) mother & child and in 1597 & 1604, and 4 mothers in 1634, three of the babies surviving.

On one other occasion the incumbent added information when registering the death of a villager who left money for charity e.g. " William Chaunce was buryed the first of December. He gave the "summe of fforty shillinges to the use of the poore in Harvington which was duly payed and is sette out to John Clifton upon hande for one year. Peter Haines gave his worde to the p'ishe for yt".


The entries are often written in very poor handwriting with possibly poor ink and poor pens. The writing is especially bad in 1790 (Wm. Hutchinson, curate) and again in 1800, 1801 & 1802. The signing of the registers poses questions in one's mind. At first they are signed by the rector and witnessed by the churchwardens, often written "guardians".

In the 17th & 18th centuries the pattern of the signings seems erratic. This is probably because many rectors were also canons of Worcester Cathedral and left the parish in the care of their curate. A curate signs from 1706-1715 (not Moses Hodges, Rector except in 1716) then the curate from 1717 to 1723 (again not Moses Hodges whose death I cannot find recorded (about 1725).

From 1724-1731 there appears to be no signatures (should be Benjamin Woodruffe, Rector and Matthew Forrester, Rector). The latter appears in 1738 and signs until 1746. Then no one signs until J. Brown in 1784.

In 1786, 1787 & 1788 Thomas Haynes (curate) saw fit to put the word "pauper" after thirteen names & once again in 1789. Then after single signatures by two curates so one signs until 1805. another curate.

Why were all marriages from 1755-1778 (except for one) all witnessed by curates? Then again only curates signed up to 1815 (there had been many rectors). One wonders whether they lived here or even came here. Perhaps they were pluralists!

I have been able to find some stories or details of some of the incumbents. John Coxetur 1559 was described as "of Studley, where he had been vicar. He was deprived of this - came here - and was deprived in 1569. He was followed by Thomas Ferryman Senior in 1569. He was recorded as "a reverent, loving, zealous & powerful preacher of the word of God". He was Rector for 47 years & he resigned in 1618 in favour of Thomas Ferryman junior.

During the 17th century the living was one of the poorest in the county, the amount being £13/16/0 per annum. During this period there were many sequestrations for rebellion against the ordinance which did away with the use of the Prayer Book. Sometimes the incumbent had Royalist Leanings. Sometimes the life led by the clergy was definitely bad.

There is a book called Walker's "Sufferings" and under Worcestershire one reads about Thomas Archbold 1623 who was unfortunate.

"He was admitted to his Rectory in 1623 on the Presentation of the Dean & Chapter of Worcester. This chief occasion (as it is said) of his Sequestration (besides his Great Zeal for Episcopacy, and Extraordinary Fidelity to his Majesty, in both which as he was very Eminent, so they no doubt contributed to his sufferings, was his apposing a Design then set on foot by some of his Parishioners to Enclose Part of the Common Field; which it seems provok'd some of the Projectors to Article against him. He was sixty four years of age and had a wife and six children when he was put under Sequestration; which was also managed in such a manner that they got him Dispossessed about August; and so he lost all his crop of that year (which method of proceeding however Barbarous was not withstanding very common in these times?)

Nor was this thought punishment enough for him; but they also seized the whole crop of his Glebe and divided it among his Prosecutors. After which they pulled his wife and family out of his House by Violence and put them in to a Poor Cottage lately a Cow House in the Town where his wife in a few years died with grief. At length he removed to London and died there a short time after. I find a Petition of some of his Children presented to the Corporation for Minister's Widows wherein they set forth that their Father was Plundered and thrown out of doors; not so much as a bed was allowed him for himself, a wife and his Children. However he made a hard shrift to live by the help of some friends and the Labour and Industry of his children, who after his Death lived by their labour sometime; but at last were brought to Extreme Want & Necessity, and forced to implore Charity to Keep them from perishing. His successor was one William Bridges who had been sometime Curate at his living, during the Vacancy of the Church and could get no Preferment until he thrust out Mr Arnold, He continued at Harvington (very unkind to poor Mr Archbold's family) till he died, which was in November 1654.

This same Thomas Archibald had petitioned the king for a Prebend at Worcester, on the ground that his brother Dr Archbold had served the King's father (i.e. James I) as Chaplain & then had been preferred to the Deanery of Bristol. Unfortunately he had died before benefiting - and Thomas supported the widow and seven children.

Stephen Baxter came in 1656 being presented to this living by Captain Bohun "who had bought this towne in Cromwell's time". He was removed for Non-conformity and later practised physick.

Nathaniel Tomkins appears to have been inducted in 1662, but soon made the living void by being inducted into the living of Upton-on-Severn. Instituted for the 2nd time in 1677 & died in 1681.

Then came William Hopkins Snr. 1667, a Prebendary of Worcester. He made the living void by cessation and was followed by William Hopkins Jnr. 1682. He was born in Evesham and educated at the Free School there, entering Trinity College, Oxford at 13 years of age. He was chaplain to our Embassy in Sweden, and added a study of Northern Languages to his knowledge of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Oriental Languages. He was a Prebendary of the Cathedral and "a man much respected and loved, a great scholar and an authority on antiques. He was extremely modest and his activity was much limited by violent headaches".

In 1698 he was appointed master of St Oswald's Hospital, Worcester. He was twice married, but had no children. He died of a violent fever and was buried in Worcester Cathedral, with Aurilla his first wife.

John Jephcott seems to have been an example of a rector practising plurality. 1663-1724 he was Rector of All Saint's, Evesham, yet from 1684-1690 was Rector of Harvington - and 1689 to 1701 of Tredington and 1690 to 1713 of Avechurch and from 1683 to 1713 was Warden the Canon of Worcester Cathedral! (He made the living void by cessation in 1690).

He was followed by Moses Hodges in 1690 who married John Jephcott's daughter. At 27 years old it was said he was worn out with indefatigable pain in the discharge of his parochial duties as Vicar of St Mary's, Warwick, so he retired (!) to Harvington in August 1690. He had four daughters - and died in 1724, when he was in his 62nd year. [then a margin note] He had Sulgrave Manor from his brother John in 1723 - but died in less than a year. He is listed at Norton 1696-1702 and at Harvington 1690-1725, so he did both for 6 years.

Benjamin Woodruffe 1725 resigned.
Matthew Forrester 1726 -1746.
Benjamin Mence 1746 & John Arnold both cessated. (For John Arnold three curates signed)
David Carpenter 1771 with 7 curates signing is listed at Harvington 1771-1784 and at Hadzor 1774-1780.
Matthew Lamb 1784 had three curates.

The came Thomas James with three signing curates. This Thomas James (1797-1804) was a distinguished classical scholar. He was Head of Rugby School when there were only 52 boys. He introduced Eton-type discipline, and members rose to over 300.

Then ill-health caused him to leave and Prime Minister Pitt was asked to give him church Preferment - he became a Prebend of Worcester & Rector of Harvington. He died very suddenly in 1804 - he was said to have been taken ill in the Nut Walk of the rectory. But the "Northampton Mercury said he died suddenly in the night having retired in perfect health". He was buried in the Cathedral where there is a monument.

In his 56th year he "had that day experienced much happiness from affecting a reconciliation between some parties who had quarrelled in his parish". There is a monument with a full length figure of him in the chapel at Rugby School. It is in white marble, executed by "Mr Chantrey".

Next Richard Kilvert 1805 who combined Harvington 1804 to 1813 with Hartlebury 1801-1818. James Meakin 1813 only signed his name once. These two with William Digby 1814 all resigned. He signed the baptism registers from March 19th to April 9th in 1815 - the burial register not at all - & the marriages from Nov 8th 1815 to Oct. 12th 1817. His curate Thomas Eades did the rest of the signing. Henry Anthony Pye 1818-1841 never resided in this village!! He was educated at Merton. He held Lapworth for 46 years, was Vicar of Cirencester (1805), Prebendary for Worcester (1818) and Rector of Harvington (1818-1839). He had three curates in Harvington - Thomas Eades, G. Shute and William Preedy. Rev. Pye moved to Cirencester in 1806 and died there. He was a relative of Henry James Pye, Poet Laureate to George III.

In 1841-1845 the Rector was Edward William Winnington-Ingram who had been Rector of Ribbesford. He had 4 sons and the fourth one succeeded his father. He was Arthur Henry Winnington-Ingram (1845-1887) coming from Clifton-on-Teme. He was Honorary Canon of the Cathedral - an Inspector of Schools - Chairman of the Magistrates at Evesham. He was a geologist, an astronomer, an antiquary and a poet. His volumes of poetry were "The Doom of the Godds of Hellas" and "The Brides of Dinan" in which he describes the Battle of Evesham.

In 1879 he founded the Bonaker Charity in connection with Worcester Infirmary using a legacy bequeathed to him by his friend Rev. William Baldwin Bonaker. This amounted to over £20,000 the largest sum ever received. (before Lord Nuffield). His considerable collection both geological and archaeological is at Worcester Victoria Institute. (His nephew was Bishop of London).

This Canon Winnington-Ingram was a strict disciplinarian. He was known to have said to a widow (Mrs Savage), who had been granted "a leaf and a shilling a week" from Evesham Board of Guardians "it's a poor hen that can't scratch for one chick". She had lost her husband and two children in a diphtheria epidemic in 1877. Another example of his strictness - he used to visit houses on Monday morning to see why the children were not in church on Sunday. Then he caned them at school. He died in 1877.

When Winnington-Ingram died, his wife had the Reading Room [(No!) in margin] built in his memory. In it were books some daily papers. Readers paid 2d a week. His curate. Mr J. Stephenson, lived at Langton House.

The next Rector was Theophilus Sharp 1887 then in 1895 J.H. Waugh, who went to St. John's, Worcester & died in April 1941. The last time a curate signed the register was in 1895.

In 1908 came James Davenport and he was one of those devoted persons who transcribed the registers as a safeguard against the loss of the originals. He made a hand-written copy of the early Parish registers and a catalogue of the papers in the Harvington chest for 1665 to 1872. He added some general observations and speculations of his own on these papers, and these with his annotated catalogue appeared in the Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society" from May 1923 to May 1924. Also whilst in Harvington he wrote "Notes on the Bishopric of Worcester 1547-1559. Also a correction of Dr. Nash's "History of Worcestershire" by compiling a revised register of Diocesan Parish Clergy (this is in the Archaeological Library of the Victoria Institute)

When Canon Davenport died in 1930, Mrs Davenport gave the inscribed vellum of incumbents, which lays in the Church in his memory (in 1934). She herself left the village, and died at the age of 91 in 1941.

In 1930 the new Rector was the Rev. Horace Townsend Boultee, M.A; previously Vicar of Ombersley. He had been educated at Tonbridge School, Christ's College, Cambridge and Radley Hall Cambridge. He had been Chaplain to the Australian Forces in 1917. In 1939 he left for war service and church services were taken by Rev. R.J. Whitaker of Cleeve Prior, and Captain Whittaker C.A.

In May 1942 the Rev. Boultee was "axed" at the age of 55 and returned to this parish. He left for Devonshire in November 1947 & died in 1954.

In April 1949 came Rev, Ernest Harold Downey (Trinity College, Dublin) from St. Clement's, Worcester. He died suddenly in 1956, and in November 1956 the new Rector was Rev. Christopher Percival Johnson. When Rev C.P. Johnson retired (& went to live in Cleeve Prior where he officiated most Sundays at some near-by church. The new Rector was Rev. Bernard J. Palmer, M.A.

To return to the registers:-
The old register ends with a page showing only two deaths in 1730 & 1731. The bottom half of the page has been torn off. Then comes half a page of rector's names beginning with Rev. Mr. Benj. Woodruff I 1725 - & up to 1797. Then comes Moses Hodge's writing, with as much as possible on a page, and starting with Thomas Ferryman 1570. The last page on one side says:- "These several persons hereafter named have in their christian charitie geaven the p'ticular sumes following to remain as a stock to be imployed for the benefit and to the reliefe of the poore in the P'ishe of Harvington".

Geaven by
William Chance the same of XLs
Margaret Willes, widow XLs
John Wilkes XLs
Mr Thomas fferiman the eldr, Parson of this pishe XLs
Elizabeth Wilkes, widow XXs
Mr Thomas fferiman the younger, Person of this pishe XXs
------ Heynes XXs
William Willes XXs
Mr Robert Harward (in a later hand) XLs
In very crowded writing at the side "in toto 12L w'ch this present time is in the hands of Robert and Mr Kempe Harward upon theire bond to pay it unto the two (electinge) Churchwardens on Tuesday in Easter weeke next and the use thereof one good fin day to be then distributed to the poore by the minister and churchwardens". 4 Maii 1634.

The last side of all is very difficult and again we have to thank the Rev. Davenport who deciphered it thus:-

A copies of a note delivered me from Mr feriman by Dr charlett wch as it seemed was cut oute of some little paper booke of Mr Tho. feriman, my immediate predecessor and written wth his hande.

Aprill 22. 1617
A note of the leyes of ---- belonging to the Rectorie of Harvington taken by Directions of Peter Haynes, Phillip Perkes, Roger Totnes, Richard Heming and Symon Davise.

In ??
Three leyes John Stricklands hedg one the easte side and William Wills ley for Perkes ground one the weste ffive leyes more. A leye of Roberte Wheelers one the Easte side and five layes of Tho. Bicknells one the weste. ffive leyes more joyning to and lying one the northe side of Robert Wheelers leye w'ch lyeth next the brooke two leyes on John Stricklande on the easte. ? ?

Three leyes The Abell 2 are the South side and Peter Heynes one on the ? side. Four leyes John Stricklands three leyes one the weste side and Abells two leyes on the Easte.

This was copied into this booke the 27th of Maii (?) 1625. by me Tho: Archbolde.

There are some records of helping distress. e.g.

  1. "for ye distressed inhabitants of Wapping"
  2. "for the poor distressed inhabitants of Newmarket on Dec. 16th 1683".
  3. "a collection in the parish of Harvington for ye relief of the poor persecuted Protestants of France, ye 29 day of May 1686. £1. 10s.
  4. January ye 20th 1681 collected in this parish of Harvington up ye brief for ue poor distressed Protestants. 11s. 4d.
  5. April 27. 1688 nineteen shillings and three pence being the full sum collected for the French Protestants.
  6. "Collected in ye parish of Harvington, Jun 20. 1689 by the curate Richard Burke for ye relief of ye distressed Irish Protestants, the full sum of One Pound five shillings and sixpence.
By us Richard Brooke, Curate (his mark) Thomas Pilkington, Churchwarden.
(was the Curate unable to write for himself ?)


There is extant "A Terrier of Harvington Rectorie (A terrier is a book or roll in which the lands of private persons are described by site, boundaries, acreages, etc. A yarde is a small piece of enclosed ground possibly adjoining a house or other buildings. A leasowe is pasture land, A moiety is a share and lande a strip on land divided off by deep furrows).

"There yr belonginge to the Parsonage those three yarde lande of Glebe togither with meadowe and pasture as others gave. Also in inclosure called parsons leyes and poole the Churchyarde. A close by Whelar's Crofte and a leasowe in the felde next to Henry Perkes leasowe. Also Tithe laye woolle and lambe and other tythes together a moietie of the Tithe Corne and graine amountinge by estimation to 2 thirdes pees of the same tithes as it hath often bene tryde."
It was used to be decided betwixt the parson and the farmer of the moietie thus viz the parson was to have all the tithe of the ffree holdes and 2 partes of the Copielowes and the farmer 2 partes of the verylande and the parson only a thirde.
c.1616 Th. Feriman, W. Willes and H. Perkes [signed]
A Note or Terrier of the Houses and Lands belonging to the Rectory of Harvington or Hertforten in the County and Diocese of Worcester made by Churchwardens of the said Parish August the twenty fifth in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred ninety and three (1693).

Imprimis. The Parsonage house Dovehouse and Stable with an orchard of about halfe an acre, the Street North and East , Henry Perkes house and orchard South and Thomas Haines Orchard West.

One cottage with a barne and stable and a Close containing about one akre Edward Holbrookes house and Orchard West the Street East.

Item - One Close called Poole Close, Edward Holbrookes close South Ann Abell lane North.

Item - One Close usually called the Parsons leasow of Henry Perkes west and the leasow of Thomas Pilkington east.

Item - One close at Nurdway, Widdow Abel south and Mary Abel North.

Meadow Gound
One plot of meadow ground called Sharrowes New Meadow west the River Avon East. Tree Farnels or Roods of Meadow in New Meadow.
Three Farnels or Roods of Meadow in Round Hill Meadow Three Farnels or Roods of Meadow in Smallmore Meadow.
Two acres of meadow ground called the Tyth Acres Mrs Harwards meadow called Hineham East and Mr Charlotts meadow west.

Arable Land Nine lands in the furlong called Rishing. Mr Jarret East and Har----.
Three lands in the furlong called Millway Mr Hodges West and Mr Jarre ----.
Three lands at Longdon John Swan's close north and Tho. Pilkington ----.
One land in the Croft furlong Mary Haines south and Mr Hodges ----.
Three lands in Beckston furlong Thomas Pilkington North Edward H ----.
Three lands in Norbrooke furlong Edwarde Holbrooke East Mr Hodges West.
Three lands in the same, Thomas Pilkington East William Holbrooke West
Five lands more in the same Edward Holbrooke East Mary Haines West.
Three lands more in the same Thomas Tysoe West and Tho. Pilkington East.
Four lands shutting against the leys with headland [plus written the margin:] (strips of unploughed land) & at the west end of them Edward Holbrooke south Mr Hodges North.
Three lands shutting in Brawyarns Way Mr Jarret and Edward Holbrooke last.
Three lands on the top of the Shorton furlong with Edward Holbrooke and Mr Hodges west.
Two lands heading Shorton furlong the furlong north Edward Holbrooke.
Three lands in Sandy Corner Mary Haines north Edward Holbrooke south.
Three lands in Heathway Furlong Edward Holbrooke east Mary Haines west.
Four lands in Broach furlong the furlong west Edward Holbrooke.
Six lands shotting in George Evan's Headland at Begars Bash Thomas Tysoe East and Thos. Pilkington West.
Three lands in the furlong called the Water furrows Edward Holbrooke Sol-----.
Nine lands in the furlong called Dancroft Edward Holbrooke South.
Three lands in Long Heath Edward Holbrooke East and the furlong called Long Brene West. Three lands in Buckhill furlong Edward Holbrooke East Mary Haines West. Mr Davenport added a note that ------ denotes that the paper is torn on the right handside)

The second side of the parchment
Three lands heading Buckhill the furlong North, Edward Holbrooke South.
Four lands in Longdale furlong Mr Hodges North the Furlong South.
Two lands in Short Heath Edward Holbrooke North John Holbrooke South.
Two lands in the same Th. Pearce North Edward Holbrooke South.
Twenty lands in the furlong Homeway Tho. Pilkington W Tho. Pearce East.
Two lands in the same Thomas Pearce North Tho. Pearce South Pilkington. One land in the same Mr Hodges south, Tho. Pilkington North.
Two lands in the same Mr. Hodges south Tho. Pilkington North.
One land in the furlong called Long Hurst Mary Haines west Edward Holbrooke East.
Four lands in Redhurst furlong Mary Haines west Tho. Pearce East.
Three lands in Horsemere furlong Edward Holbrooke south Tho. Pilkington North.
Two lands in Creashill John Ewans, West Tho. Tysoe East Edward Holbrooke south.
Four lands in the Middle furlong Edward Holbrooke south John Ewans North.
One land in the same Tho. Tysoe North John Ewans South.
Three lands lying betweene Middle Furlong East and Green Street West.
Three lands in Green Street furlong Geo. Ewans north and south.
Two lands in the same John Ewans north Edward Holbrooke south.
Two lands shotting against the Townesend Green Mary Haines north Henry -------.
Six lays called Passage Lays the Cow Pasture west Tho. Pilkington east.
One land in the same place Tho. Pilkington west Matthew Holbrooke.
Three lands in the furlong called Restway Tho. Pilkington North Mr Hodges.
One land in the same Tho. Pilkington north and south. The lays of Furze now Common for Sheep.


Harvington Rectory

The History of the Rectory is obscure. Prior to Canon Winnington-Ingram, most of the Rectors were also Prebends or Canons Residentiary of Worcester, so it is doubtful whether any of them lived in the parish. Judging by the Registers all the work was done by the Curates who could hardly have afforded to live in the Rectory, - even before it grew into its present size. No record was kept or has survived on the Sunday Services.

The Winnington-Ingrams found it far too small, so they built the whole of the East wing with two large downstairs rooms. The North entrance was exactly opposite the South entrance so that it meant a draught through the house and up the new staircase. Two large bedrooms and two dressing rooms were added.

They built or adapted stabling for four horses, and a coach house, with saddle and harness rooms, with bedrooms above for coachman and groom and the garden was enlarged.

In the shrubbery then, were two cottages. Mrs Winnington-Ingram bought the Walker's home cottages but they did not belong to the Glebe land so were sold on her death.

So the original cottage or small farm grew into the mansion - dining room, drawing room, schoolroom, study, scullery, pantry, larder and cloakroom - with long passages, with two staircases up to eight bedrooms, a laundry and later a bathroom. There were two attics.

In 1965 things began to change at the Rectory. The former stabling, harness room, coach house etc. were demolished & the general living accommodation was improved. Much ground was sold and on it were built a large house and three bungalows.


The Will of Nicholas Prickett of Harvington, Husbandman, made 21st November 1575

Nicholas Prickett of Harvington, Husbandman, made 21 November 1575

To John my son the (----) of my house and one yoke of bullocks, all my carts and cart geares, my plowe and plowe geares, my yokes.
To my daughters Margerye, Anne, Elizabeth, Magdalin legacies payable at 16; if any die the rest to take the share of the dead one.
To my parish church one sticke of barley and one sticke of wheat.
To the poor of my parish 2 sticke of rye.

John Hunte of Spermale owes me ----.
I owe to my brother John Kempe 6/8 and to my brother George Kempe ----
I owe to John Perkes £3. 10s.
I owe to Tho. Heines son of R. Heines 15/-.
I owe to John Taylor of Sawford ----

Jane (his wife) executrix.
Witnesses: John Kempe, R. Heines, Robt. Hignitt, John Perkes.

The Will is not signed.

The register shows he was buried the next day. It was Proved 21 Jan. 1577 at Worcester. Jane the wife married Wm. Walker on 23 Jan. 1577 - so she did not appear to hurry to prove her first husband's Will. (only 2 days before she re-married)


A Domestic Inventories 1601-1652

In Elizabethan, Stuart, Hanoverian times and up to 1859 probate required a detailed inventory of the "goods, chattels and cattle" of the deceased to be produced. These were "appraised" by reputable neighbours considered to be competent and qualified to assess the value. But often they were illiterate, giving reckless valuation.

The following are taken from Chaddesley Corbett inventories between 1601 and 1652.
Oxen £3 - £4 Kine £2 - £3 Cows £2 - £3
Calves, Yearlings 13/- Weaners 4/- Heifers £1. 10s.
Sheep Jan. 3s - 7s Feb. 6s. April 2/6. July 3/-
Lambs 1/6 Swine 3s. Horses £3 or £1 - £34.
Mares £1/10 to £3. Hens 2d - 6d. Capons 16d.
Chickens 1d each Geese 10d. Turkeys 4d - 1/-

Smock 10d - 18d Hempen Shirt 16d. Shirt 1/-
Gown £2-10s. Apron 8d. Breeches 5d - 10/-

Towel 1/-
Pewter Pots 5/- Candleticks 20d. Lantern 1/-
Silver Spoon 5/- - 10/- Pewter 6d a lb. Bible 4s - 5s.
Carpets (worn) 5/- - 10/- Cushions 3s - 5/6. Earthen jugs 2d.
Frying pan 3d Shovel 1/- Brass Pot 10d.
Silver Bowl £2/10/0

Hay per load 10s - 15s Oats (acre) 13/4 Rye 16s - 30s
Barley (acre) £1 Flax (lb) 6d Wool (Stone) 8s - 16s
Cheese 2d lb Peas (peck) 16d Vetches (acre) 6/8.



So far children have only been mentioned with reference to the parish registers. Now a little more about them.

Nursery stories have always been handed down by word of mouth. So were the lessons. Quite young children had to learn to recite the Psalms in Latin the Gloria in Excelsis, the Nicene Creed and the Paternoster.

At the end of the 15th century there was the hornbook. On a piece of wood was pasted a piece of paper on which was the alphabet and the Ave and the Paternoster. This was then covered with a sheet of transparent horn, with the edge bound with brass. It had wooden handle with a hole - with string, to hang it round the waist or neck.

Children's picture books appeared in the early 18th century - they were little chap-books with small wood cuts, telling all the favourite nursery stories. They were usually bought from travelling chapmen or pedlars - " paultrie pedlars".

Dolls were sold at fairs from 1133; with later drums, hobby-horses, pop-guns, kites, trumpets, hoops, battle doves, shuttlecocks & pipes. The smallest little girls did wonderful embroidery - we all know the samplers with their practice stitches.



In these days of quick transport one cannot be sure how far the villagers walked or rode in the surrounding countryside.

In the Harvington registers we see that in 1629 Kempe Harwarde married in Barton-on-the-Hill and in 1631 Symon Davies "died in Bretforton field as he came home from Cambden faier" [most common after too much ale] and a father and son were killed by the fall of a cart on Marriage Hill in Bidford. So one assumes that the Harvington villager was acquainted with Evesham.

706 Cronuchomme/Cronochomme ("Hamm" is taken from the great bend in the river and "cronne" is OE for crane or heron.
709 Homme
860 Cronuchomme
874 Ecguineshomme - after Bishop Eegwine, founder of the monastery [at Evesham].
1017-1023 Eoneshomme Eofishomme.
1033-8 Eoneshaw
1037 Heofeshamm
1045 Euesham
1229-52 Evesham
1675 Evesholm
In the Chronicle of Evesham one reference from the 13th century to " terra in Merstowe" and in 1546 to a messuage in "lo Merstowe". It lies just north of the wall built by Abbot Chyryton in the early 14th century & this divided the Abbey from the town. Kings visits were fairly frequent. On July 17 1269 King John was in Evesham. In 1289 Edward I travelling from London to Worcester rested at Offenham where the Abbot of Evesham possessed a mansion and a park. In 1328 came Edward III. Then after the Battle of Evesham in 1265 did our villagers join the pilgrimage to the Grave of Simon de Montfort?

We do not know where in 1409 the second person to be burned in England for protestation against the teachings of the Church of Rome actually met his death but he was Thomas Badby, a tailor of Evesham.

But we do know that Elizabeth Morton alias Owen was first strangled and afterwards burnt at Evesham on Friday August 10th 1744 for poisoning her husband. She was born at Beckford of poor but very honest parents who gave her a tolerable education and always behaved in a very modest way. At twenty years old she married ------ Morton, a maltster of Evesham". Who watched ?

There were times when Evesham was avoided, In July 1644 Royalist troops under Charles before leaving for Worcester spent two nights in Evesham. Before leaving they destroyed the bridge. The people of Evesham began to repair it - but Charles returned. He fined them £20, and they had to supply the Royal Army with one thousand pairs of shoes!

In March 1646 the King at Oxford in his last attempt against Cromwell tried to get an Army - he sent Sir John Astley to collect all the men he could from the Royal garrisons - he found 3000 men and horses.

The Parliamentarians under Morgan & Birch marched to meet them at Evesham. For days Ashley tried to cross the Avon - and did so on March 20th at Bidford - then up Broadway Hill. There was a battle between Donnington and Stow. The fate of the King was settled there. (he was beheaded in 1649).

The bridge stood derelict for 18 years & was repaired at the County's expense. It was widened after 1843.

Evesham was not always a pleasant place to visit! In 1610 with 1555 inhabitants was in a neglected sanitary condition. Stone, timber and offal were piled up in the streets deep in stagnant water and mire. Swine wandered at will. An alarming plague of smallpox burst forth and the wealthier inhabitants fled. This increased the distresses of the poor so fines were levied on those who deserted their homes. The new Vicar lost three children in three days.

Evesham missed the epidemic of spasmodic cholera (death came in a few hours) when 76 died in Tewkesbury in 1832 but had a few in 1833 and 15 "in the low ground adjoining the mills" in Nov. 1834. Then there were the merry times. In 1814 after 21 years of war there was a great celebration with a roasted ox, three sheep and plenty of ale.



Surely going to the market and the fairs were great occasions. These were apparently held on Mondays and Fridays even before the Charter of James I. Fairs were most important because it was only at these that the householder finds sufficient variety and supply of the most important articles. At them he often bought sufficient to last the whole year.

Travelling was hazardous so tradesmen had to go to the people. Dealers in all manner of goods would arrive and set up their booths and stalls. There would be ironmongers, furriers, farmers, cattlemen, silk mercers, linen drapers and tea merchants. Alongside the serious business of the fair would be entertainers & those men & women hopeful of picking up an odd copper from the canny farm labourer and his wife. Their side-shows would be full of life & spirit from mummers, jesters and tumblers to later Punch & Judy, bearded lady, dwarfs and freak animals.

Early fairs were held on the feast of St. Silvan and Candlemas. In 1845 there were six fairs; February 2nd, Second Monday after Easter Day, Whit Monday, Second Monday in August (toll free and added in 1795); September 21st, Second Monday in December (toll free & added in 1795).

Children must have looked forward to these fairs. Dolls were sold at fairs from 1133. Later there were stalls of sweets, toys and dolls (called "Bartholomew Babies"), drums, hobby-horses, pop-guns, kites, trumpets, hoops, battledores, shuttlecocks, pipes, etc.

There were also the "hiring-fairs" which were held on the Friday before and after old "Michelmas Day". These started in the Middle Ages. Agricultural and domestic servants stood in rows for inspection (often for hours in all kinds of weather). Each wore the dress of their trade -- the men in smocks - each design being connected with a certain skill - and top-hats. Each carried the sign of his skill - the carter with his whip - the shepherd with a tuft of wool or a crook - the serving wench with a mop. When they were engaged they were given a "fastenpenny". At the fair after Michelmas the master and hired both had chance to change their minds and to break their contract.



It is just possible that our villager sought employment in Evesham. In 1600 (when the Abbey was in ruins) the population of All Saint's Parish was 865 (173 families in Bridge Street, Mill Hill Lowl[?] Street and Oat Street) and that of St. Lawrence 690 (138 families in the Pigmarket (Vine Street), Bewdley Street & Briden (Brick-Kiln Street)

In 1337-8 Evesham made woollen cloth of all kinds so there was spinning carding and sorting wools with many weavers, fullers, shearers & dryers. Parchment of great perfection was produced at first in the monastery.

In Nov. 1598 Shakespeare was asked to invest money in the hosiery business in Stratford. "Knit Knit stockings were doing well in Evesham Market". In 1730 there was the making of linseed oil & cake. In 1772 silk throwing was introduced. In 1822 there was riband weaving and the sewing of Kid gloves for Worcester glovers. Large quantities of barley were malted.

In 1831 began preparation of bones for agricultural purposes especially as manure on turnip ground. Gardening was important even in the days of the Abbey.

E.A. Barnard (who incidentally wrote "Harvington Grange is reported to be haunted") quotes from the Diary of a Rev. Thomas Beale, who was pretty obsessed by the weather! Nevertheless some parts are interesting.

1779 Remarkable Aurora Borealis
1784 Great Flood.
1785 "In 183 days from 18th October only 26 on which the thermometer has not been 1° to 18½° below freezing point - more cold than ever known in ye climate"
1787 The Sacrament administered only 4 or 5 times a year.
1788 Nov.7th "On of the longest and finest summers & most plentiful autumns for fruit and best season for ingathering ever known. No rain for many weeks & fine travelling".
1789 Ye first fine day after a long series of rains. Melancholy prospect of flooded meadows all around Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Pershore & Evesham. May only had 3 days without rain. June six, July little better. It began ye first Sunday in May continued ye summer long with little interruption and, excepting just 3 weeks in August hardly admitted more than three or four fine days together till ye end of ye year which still promises a continuance of wet. 1790 April 5th. One of the mildest winters ever remembered. Ye weather dry and public roads dusty for a month or two past. Ye weather took up about ye end of January.
1791 April 19. Flood, ye largest since 1770.
1794 March 17. Honeysuckle in ye garden in bloom. April 1. Asparagus cutt. Heaviest harvest ever known in ye present century.
1804 Because of the projected Napoleon invasion a committee planted walnut trees to provide wood in the future for gun-stocks. Colours, worked by the young ladies of Evesham were presented to the Evesham & Pershore Volunteers.
1799 From another Evesham Memorandum Book of 1799 Tues. Feb 12. "more ice in the river than ever remembered before. Mar.6. Sir Vere Hunt's Regiment came to town during the Assizes. On March 12 "they set fire to Evesham Gaol"
1822 Discovery of mineral waters at Evesham - a saline spring containing 23.06 of sulphate of soda in every 100 parts.
1838 It seems that on Jan. 26th 1838 the Avon froze to a great thickness - sheep were roasted on the ice of Hampton.
Some Population Figures for Evesham:- 1801 = 2837
1811 = 3068
1821 = 3472
1831 = 3976
1841 = 4245
1851 = 4605

The following appeared in the "Evesham Journal" of October 6th 1866.

"Yesterday the annual Mop or Statute Fair for the hiring of servants was held in our borough and presented the usual features of this yearly gathering perhaps a shade lower in character than in former years for the fates seem to have determined that the few redeeming qualities of these festivities shall die out.

The attendance of the servants seeking places and masters and mistresses requiring was smaller than we have known for several years past, being ample testimony to the fact that the business purposes of the Mop are being gradually superseded by other means of forming these contracts and that the really better class of servants do not need to stand at the Mop to secure places".


Harvington School

The school was established (I believe) in 1849. It was the custom for the Head to keep a comprehensive daily record, and it was very helpful when one such record book was found during re-organisation of the school buildings. When the school was built there was one room (one later for the infants) and a house for the Head Teacher.

The Record begins:-
[normally called the Harvington School Log Book and should you include a page note reference to where the Admissions Registers and School Log Books can be found today ??]

1872, Feb 12th:
Mary Anne Woodward, certificated mistress came - when the school re-opened. One child died, 7 years old. March. April: several boys were absent, working in the fields. June: poor attendance - children working in the gardens. July: poor attendance - children pea-picking. There was school in August, but many were away working. The Summer holiday was August 24th to September 16th.

1873, January:
The school treat was on January 12th. Feb. 14th: His Majesty's Inspector came. Feb. 27th: the weather was so cold that it was recorded. June: the extra books & the monitor or pupil teacher that I [sic] was wanted came. Aug. Sept: Attendance low because children helped in the cornfields then went gleaning. Many children have measles. Several times a week the school was visited by the rector & his wife - and the curate & his wife.

1874: The rector punished several boys for bad behaviour out of school. Feb: the HMI again & in June pea-picking again. The summer holiday is always called the Harvest Holiday. Oct: The rector's wife distributed garments.

1875: When HMI was expected the school was closed the day before for cleaning! Sept: children were away picking hops. Schoolmistress Sarah Ann Morton [or Ann Sarah].

1876: Attendance was down to 29 children. It was very snowy and children had scarletina & scarlet fever (3). The rector's wife brought two kinds of disinfectant to be used about the school. The Sanitary inspector came - children from the Spinks, Ludlow & Field families were not to attend school. March: By this time many of the younger children had whooping cough. July: Fruit picking is added to the hop-picking. August: The Rector gave the children a feast on the Hill. The corn harvest was late & was not finished by the school's September opening. James Ellis was the most idle boy in the school & very deceitful. He was expelled by the Rector for insubordination.

1877: Number of children 32. (Std I 14; II 9; III 5; IV 4). Infants 19-51 Mau 29th: Some children went around the village with Maypoles, the rest remained in school. June 13th: There was a whole holiday so that the Choir could go (with nine older girls to the Festival of Choirs at Worcester Cathedral. June 18th: Half were away for pea-picking. Gleaning was very late because of wet weather. August: Chicken Pox. "H.H. (a girl) very naughty, very rebellious". Oct. 1st: potato picking. Oct 16-19: Two girls died of diphtheria, 30th so did 2 boys. The school was closed from Oct. 30th to Dec. 3rd. There was scarlet fever and more diphtheria. The school was cleansed with carbolic acid, but there were more cases & one boy more boy died.

1878: Jan: Dilute Carbolic Acid was sprinkled around the room 4 or 5 times a day - the Medical Officer of Health came but still it went on. Four families were named then 1 girl, 2 Mansells, S.S's brother died. 1 girl died April - 2 new cases, 2 boys, 3 girls, 1 family, 2 girls, 1 boy , 1 girl. 1 boy died, & his sister & father (the Savages); another girl died, 2 girls ill, 1 boy ill - & more diphtheria in the village.

One afternoon the school was closed for cleaning. The Sanitary inspector took samples from the pump on the school grounds for analysis and the reports were not good. In mid-November the school was closed for the Sanitary inspection & 'burn sulphur'; and the school was closed for 6 weeks. There were only 14 children in the school in late December.

Some of the lighter things in 1878 - Mrs D. fetched her child from school not allowing her to stay & sweep the schoolroom. Rev. W.J. called upon her speaking of her infringement of the discipline & rules of the school.

June: Pea-picking again. C.P. has to pay 4d a week because he does not make the requisite number of attendances. T.J. farmer has to pay 2d extra - for employing his son William contrary to the conditions of the Agricultural Act (Education). Mr A. is summoned for having Minnie H. in his employment.

1879: The remains of the late schoolmistress were removed from the school house to the Station & be conveyed to the Birmingham Cemetery. The Rector, his wife, the school children, assistants & Sunday School teachers & others followed the coffin & remained on the station as a mark of respect till the train which received the body had departed. The salary due at the time of her death to the late schoolmistress was paid to her father.

April 28th: Annie Goodwin. June 2: boys with diphtheria. July 2: boys with diphtheria. Pea-picking. Oct: 1 girl with diphtheria.

1880: Weather too bad for infants. C.W. & G.S. (boys) very troublesome thro' ill-temper. May 29th: School holiday this time for Maypole. Pea-picking & harvest again.

1881: School closed on Jan.19, 20 & 21 & all the next week because weather was too bad. Feb. 28th: a holiday for the school to be cleaned! May: A boy died after 3 days illness. Very much measles that year. Jun: Pea & fruit picking. When the Head Mistress was ill the school opened 6 days late.

1883: Began with one case of scarlet fever. Feb 7th: There was a holiday for the school to be cleaned. Louise Clark aged 13 appointed stipendiary mistress to teach the infants at a salary of 10/- per quarter, subject lessons & dismissed at any time. The HMI approved the list of subject lessons - to be given on dog, cow, sheep, camel, giraffe, lion, coal, knife, orange, tea, bread & colour.

March 2nd: "Louise Clark is working very well with the infants but cannot give a collective lesson at present." April 20: "Louise Clark gave a lesson on an orange to infants but not so as to interest the children". Other lessons given by her were on grass, sheep, the lion & rice (no comment on these). Oct: Inflicted corporal punishment on S.J. for dishonesty, on B.B. for insubordination.

1884: March 10th Emma Cabb. May 2nd "Deviated a little from the time-table for the infants". Sept: Diphtheria again. Then pages & pages say "Routine as usual". The Rector spoke to the children about damaging a tree in the village.

1885: Cow, sheep, camel, lion, reindeer, wolf, duck, milk, salt, coal, a tree, an apple, grass, carpenter, blacksmith, baker. Sept 30th: "I visited this school today". HMI. In late November it was so cold that the infants were sent into the house in the afternoon - & it was so into January.

1886: Subject lessons on: Cat, Horse, Bear, Pig, Robin, Owl, Sheep, Bell, Thimble, chair, Pin, Whale, Iron, Tea, Cotton, Grass, Baker, Carpenter, Shoemaker, Blacksmith, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. June 21st: Millicent M. Mason - 75 children. The Parish paid for some children. All children were reminded that all books had to be paid for. July 25th: Mr. Winnington-Ingram came to ask "Who broke the Reading Room Window?" & all the boys pockets were searched for catapults. Oct: Because of measles only 24 were present, so the school was closed. By the 20th only 9 appeared, the school was fumigated.

1887: subject: - Horse, Camel, Spider, Eagle, Seal, Snake, Leopard, Giraffe, Tea, Milk, Coffee, Snow, Thunder, cabbage[?] Mid March: was very snowy. May 5th: Children went out to play this afternoon for 5 minutes! May 24th: A holiday for the Queen's birthday. June 13th: The infants have been having their lessons in the playground, the room being very full & consequently very hot. June 17th: J. Sorrell allowed by his sister to go fishing instead of coming to school this afternoon. June 20th: 2 days holiday for the Jubilee some book a week. Sept 21st: Miss Penney sent a basket of apples. Poor attendance because of rainy weather. Oct. 26th: "The school closed this afternoon because only 25 children were in attendance, the others having gone to church to witness a wedding celebrated".

1888: Two children with St-Vitus Dance. New subjects this year were:- Elephant, Fox, Goat, Hen, Bee, Lead making, Schoolroom, Sugar, Iron, Potato. Feb 15th. etc. So cold. May: So wet for the infants.

1889 Jan 4th: "Several boys were late this morning through staying to slide in a neighbouring field - & they lost their playtime in consequence. New subjects were:- Owl, Ostrich, Leather, Egg, parts of the body. Feb 11th: only 15 in the morning because of snow & sickness. A.B. sent home for her school fee 2/10. F.L. punished for making ink marks in the reading books. April 23rd: closed for Easter Monday. some of the elder girls were absent picking cowslips. May 24th: Lessons in the playground - so close indoors. The Infants' teacher & 4 children had mumps. By July 8th the school was half empty & the [---lers?] few - the school was closed. Oct 15th: Two children are cripples - Emma C. & William C. Nov 4th: "Four children played truant this afternoon - they followed the hounds".

1890: For many years there had been a January tea party. "The mistress was absent to go to Birmingham to purchase material for school needlework". The Inspectors say a new classroom is needed. June 20th: A month's holiday instead of at harvest because the Assistant was away with a bad knee. Returned on July 21st. Wm. M. was run over outside the school but was not seriously hurt. Absences for fruit picking. Oct. 16th: Rev. Sharp sent a sack of walnuts for the children. Nov 28th. Very snowy. Dec 18th: So snowy, the school closed for 6 weeks.

1891: It was still severe on January 5th. Eight children had whooping cough. March 10th: so much snow - only 15 children. One day for Easter Monday. May 12th: The children had 10 minutes play this afternoon. The room was very close in spite of 3 windows being open. The children were examined frequently on Knowledge of the Testament, the Catechism and the Prayer Book. In repetition of the Scriptures, Hymns, Collects, Catechism and in Writing, Arithmetic & memory. Aug 3rd: Bank Holiday - 1 day. Aug 28 - Sept 28: Holidays. Nov: Eleven children were sent home for their school fees. Dec 11th: School closed - the room was unbearably draughty.

1892 Opened on Feb 1st after being closed for 7 weeks. 4 had scarlet fever. Subject lessons were to be the same with added - Mouse, Bear, Pin, Needle, cotton, Money, Leather, Box of matches, Shoemaker. Mar 3rd: School closed for ceilings and walls to be whitewashed. April 19: The new classroom was ready for the Infants. June 1st: Two days for the gallery in the classroom to be altered. July 25th: The Schoolroom has been supplied with a new teacher's desk & the classroom with an Infant's desk. Up until now all inspections have been in February - in the future they will be in April. (Infant's Teacher) "Miss Eden having been married in the will be spoken of as Mrs Pickering in the future in this book". Oct 18th: Mr Penney called in at the school with a new door mat". One case of scarlet fever.

1893 58 children, Jan. 10th: snowy. Jan. 26th: stormy. Feb 6th: Reuben W. has been absent the last week; he is very ill suffering from pressure on the brain. Feb 14th: Some of the older boys were absent this afternoon attending the funeral of Reuben W. New subjects were: Peacock, Zebra, Monkey, Clock, Candle, Wheat, Spingle[?], The seasons, The senses. 3 scarlet fever. A report said there must be desks & a porch. June: Seven cases of scarlet fever so the school was closed for twelve days & was fumigated and cleaned! July 6th: Half holiday in commemoration of the Royal Wedding.

In all these years if the Head changed a lesson it had to be recorded in the Log Book. e.g. Dictation instead of Drawing. Mental arithmetic & tables instead of Singing. Dec: Mumps & colds.

1894, April 19th: "The infants have all been in the large schoolroom today on account of the workmen being in the classroom putting in a door". April 30th This morning early lessons were commenced by pupil teacher from 7 - 8am. July. Mrs Pickering has pleurisy & 1 months absence but was ill again. Dec 17th: School closed for the Election of Parish Councillors (the 1st time this is mentioned).

1895, Jan 14th: Water is dropping from all parts of the ceiling owing to the rapid thaw of the snow which drifted in under the tiles. The children had to be sent home. Jan 22nd: an election. Feb: still no Mrs Pickering. Subjects for lessons are: Blackbird, Thrush, Farmyard, Penny, Inside of a house, Trees, Primrose, Money, Dairy, Tin, Tea, Train, Candle. This had to be approved and signed by the Inspector.

Sept. 29th: There were 104 children in 2 rooms. The Inspector said “The Infants’ class is intended for little children and not for backward scholars of standard age”. June 14th: Mrs Pickering returned. July Scarlet fever again, & the Sanitary Inspector came. By the 15th only 20 children were present so the school was closed for the summer holidays. August 18th: 95 children but scarlet fever came again, Nov, 1st: School closed for the walls to be re-coloured.

1896, Jan 6th:“Lucy A. has gone to the sanatorium again to be with her baby brother who has scarlet fever”. Jan 29th: Rooms fumigated. Jan 31st: Ordered by the Sanitary Inspector to be closed for 3 weeks. One boy died. The time out of school per case was about 9 weeks. Subjects were the usual ones with rabbit, gold, book, haymaking, copper coins, infants' classroom.

April 27th: Rooms fumigated yet once again – all approved. June 29th: Mr George Williams. The managers had to consent to introducing Tonic sol fa and History. So there had to be a new timetable. And 5 new desks. The H.M.I. objected to history and said Geography was more important. So the timetable was altered once more and maps etc. were ordered. Geography lessons were Std. 1 & 2. Definitions in Geography; Std. 3 & 4. England & Worcestershire; V. & VI. British Isles.

1897, Feb 3rd: The School Attendance Officer has instructions to summons any “irregulars” at his discretion. 19th: Several were absent – to go to Sanger’s Circus. The H.M.I. said “The new master has already affected some improvement in the children’s attainments”. There has been some repainting. Some new desks are needed. The boy’s playground should be more thoroughly cleaned.

June 4th: The school was closed for one month – Whit week, Jubilee week & pea-picking. July 12th: Received Oliver & Boyd’s “Subject Lessons” yesterday. Aug 26th: School Attendance Officer has decided & summon five. Aug 31st: Closed for one month (to Sept 27th) for hop picking. One case of scarlet fever. Oct 25th: Sudden death of one little boy with Pneumonia. The Inspector said:- “A proper place is needed for storing coal & wood for lighting fires. They make the boy’s playground very untidy”.

1898. Whooping cough & influenza all over the district. The Education Department sent a letter with a grant of £26 to improve salaries & apparatus. H.M. £54 per annum + house & fuel and wife as Needlework Mistress. February: Whooping cough influenza & croup “Many infants have been in serious danger.” March 8th: Sores on hands – the 'itch'. March 18th: Arranged for seven to sit for Labour Certificates tomorrow. Four passed & left for work. April 25th: Wm. H. left for Evesham Grammar School.

The Kindergarten now has reel-knitting, embroidery, tablet laying or parquetry & stick-laying. To Std V & VI Geography was added Canada & Australia. June 24th: Two weeks holiday. 96 pupils. Aug 12th: Two girls had accidents to legs & were unable to walk. Aug 26th: “Extreme heat so we are looking forward to the hop picking holidays. Sept 1st to October 3rd: Monitresses had to go to Evesham for examination with a view to apprenticeship.

1899, Jan 16th: “The old lead lights of the west window have been removed & large squares put in making a great improvement in the light & lessening the draught. The other leaded lights are also to be removed”. Jan 25th: 1 scarlet fever. A new subject lesson – seashore. Now thirty. May 9th: 102 pupils. June 19th: Two week pea picking. Advertisement for H.M. £90 pa. + house & fuel. Oct 2nd: Edward Thomas Weatherly. – he thought HRH Duke of Orleans gave gravel for the playground. Everything most unsatisfactory, & the timetable unworkable.

Nov 19th: There was a grant of £31.10s. shared out: New monitress £5; Head Teacher £14; Two Assistants £7; Better Instruction of Pupil Teachers £1. 10s; Painting & cleaning £4; thoroughly cleaned = £31. 10s. Dec 12th: Heavy snow. Dec 15th: So cold, school closed.

1900, Feb 14th: Deep snow – only 41 children present. March 1st: Many children were absent & attend a military funeral. April 27th: Annie N. & Sarah C. to have 2 afternoons a week off for private study. (cf. Day Release!) July 20th: So hot! When a child wanted to leave school for work & had to have an attendance certificate 350 attendances in 5 years. Nov: Measles so on Dec 4th closed school for 5 weeks.

1901, June 13th: Evesham Agricultural Show has lowered the attendance for two days. 21st: The first mention of Prize day. Aug 12th & 19th: a boy ran out of school; punished next day. 4 children were absent from May to November 4th (no explanation given) Measles again. Dec 3rd: Stove put in room – fireplace was no good. 2 with diphtheria (Alteration to girl’s closets). Dec 15th: (£1.10s to repair harmonium). Dec 12th: “I have on several occasions had to call the attention of A.H. (monitress) to her inattention to her work & to encouraging others & talk. This afternoon I removed her to another place for this reason.”

1902: In the examination for Pupil Teacher (B. of Ed.)

  1. passed well
  2. passed (No. N.Rice given later – failed)
  3. passed with limitation !” (withdrawn by parents)

H.M.I. “The premises should be kept in a more cleanly condition especially as regard the floors. The ventilation in the Infant’s room needs improvement.” Pupils must have Physical Exercises & Military Drill. Aug 13th: A half-holiday for sports. Nov 17th: 1 scarlet fever. Lots of colds & sore throats.

1903, Jan: The boys have drill when weather allows.

School furniture in 1903.

  • (New copper in the school house)
  • Infants. 1 table – 2 chairs –5 desks – 2 seats – Coal box – guard – tongs – poker – 2 blackboards – 2 easels – 1 clock. Many pictures & diagrams.
  • Main Room. 14 desks – 4 chairs – 2 cupboards – 1 stove – 1 harmonium – 1 table – 1 clock – 1 teacher’s desk – 2 easels – 1 poker – 12 maps – 1 needlework box – sundry pictures & diagrams.
62 children.

1903: Nettle rash, Lots of sickness – measles – 2 weeks holiday. H.M.I. “Premises cramped. Playground too small – & to be asphalted. The boys need a cloakroom – at once.” The H.M.I. needs a qualified Drill Instructor. July 2nd: Whooping cough. Nov 2nd: 4 boys & 2 girls returned – absent since May. Throats – throats – throats.

1904. February much snow. H.M.I. Rearranged the floor space – the stove & the harmonium. “The offices are maloderous, greatly needing better cleaning. Boys must not be allowed to bring their caps into school.” May 2nd: 23 away with colds & influenza. Sept 19th: 1 Diphtheria, later others. Nov. 22nd: Snowy. (Repair to school floor) (Whitewash back Kitchen of house).

1905: Croop. Sores. 2 scarlet fever. November: More sores on faces & heads (school house pump needed repair). 13th: 1 scarlet fever. 15th Medical Officer of Health closed the school.

1906: Headmaster’s wife had died. Still fever. March 25th: 1 scarlet fever. April 2nd: Thomas W. Bonne. April 2nd: 1 scarlet fever. 17th: 1 scarlet fever M.O.H. closed the school for 2 weeks. Altered to 4 weeks then to 6 weeks & Whitsun. 24th: 1 scarlet fever. 26th: 2 scarlet fever. During that time the school was painted. June 26th: Mrs Pickering had scarlet fever. Aug 14th: Measles. Attendance down to 41. Another 6 weeks for hop-picking. Oct 1st: Back to school after Summer holidays.

The new Headmaster made a new time-table saying the other was psychologically deficient & unsuitable for the restricted buildings.

1907, Oct: After 6 weeks hop-picking (88 children) the new head was W. M. CHATTERLEY. (Petition from H.M. to reduce rent of house by £2.) Dec: Much sickness.

1908: “F, E & T (in one family) were sent home according to medical advice until they can come thoroughly clean & free from odour. Measles – chicken pox – measles – chicken pox. March 13th: 18 ill – mostly influenza. March 20th: 21 ill – mostly influenza. April 3rd: Closed until the 13th: – “owing to sanitary operations being carried out”. June 22nd: 4 sent home with face sores. Many absent – pea picking & strawberry picking. July 3rd: Great heat. 16th Still 2 very bad faces. 15 children at school with very loud coughs.

Six weeks holiday. Dec 17th: Received a weighing machine. Dec 23rd: Medals – books & certificates were given – the last of their kind under the old regulations of Worcestershire County Council.

1909, February: – much illness, mostly influenza, The book ends on March 31st 1909.

After that date there is still a Manager’s book.

1908: The Sanitary Inspector & the Medical Officer of Health condemned the closets & urinals.

Balance                              £13.10.09
(quarter) Rest of house                2.10.00
(year)     “    “  “                  10.00.00
Withdraw from deposit                 20.00.00
Use of School for Free Trade Meeting      7.06
Sub. From Rector                       2.00.00
Rectors use of school for 4 nights.
For allotment payments                   10.00
Rates                                  1.15.02
Insurance 1907                           12.00
Cleaning of house & sweep                 8.00
Share of heating, cleaning for 3 years 5.02.03
Repairs                                3.18.06
Rates                                  2.19.05
Insurance 1908                           12.00
Diocesan Inspection                    2.00.00
Alterations (drains)                  23.15.00
Gravel                                   15.00
Hauling gravel	                       1.10.00
Fitting locks & keys                      3.06
                                       Balance  £5.38.08.

1909: Galley to be removed. The Rector will buy the wood. Galley taken down. Wood sold. No money to alter the upstairs of the Master’s house – he wanted 3 rooms made into two. The school bell pull was altered. The framing of 3 sacred pictures cost 15/-.

1910: There would be a concert in January to buy a flagpole & a Union Jack – 15ft by 7ft, cost 43/6 from Hamilton & Bell.

The M.O.H. came about “alterations to the closets & a little more cleaning”. Soil to be sprinkled on the “refuse” twice a week. Closets to be cleaned out 6 times a year. Boys toilets to have water poured down twice a week!

Worcestershire Education Committee to be asked to raise the salary of the caretaker from 30/- per annum to £3. The toilet floors & seats to be scrubbed once a week. Salary increased to £7 per annum. There was a pump & a well.

1911, January: The accounts were £11 in the red.

1912: Playground must be improved. Espley’s £25.6.0.

1913: £4.2.6 – to paint doors & parts of school house.

1914: There was a fir tree. Should it be cut down because it had torn the Union Jack. The top was cut out. Hamilton & Bell repaired the flag for 1/8. There were holes in the playground – so Epsleys had to repair it. Education Dept. said the school was overcrowded.

1915: The roots of the tree were interfering with the drains. Whoever fells it may have the wood. The southern wall of the playground is to have a partition. Along the top to shield the children from the morning sun.

1916: The pump was out of order. So went as the mains water was put in the schoolhouse & in the schoolyard. The Headmaster moved to Fair View – so the house was let to the Police for £14 p.a. Many alterations were done before it was taken over by P.C. Tee.

1917: The Rector thought that £1 per ½ year for water was excessive. Anti-aircraft insurance in 1817 was £1/11/0.


Enclosures & Parish Officials

[Margin Note]
e.g. in another village The enclosed land was 53 acres. The homestall and 5 field. The other common land was 44 acres in 168 pieces!| in 74 separate parcels, dispersed all over the manor.

[main text]

In 1967 W.E. Tate wrote a book with the title “The English Village. Community and the Enclosure Movements”, (Harvington’s Enclosure was in 1787). He begins by describing the open-field village of medieval times. This system was evolved to meet the needs of a stable society based on predictions for subsistence (not for market). To grow wheat or rye for bread, barley for bread or for beer or for stock, oats for stock, pulses with pasture for the summer & meadow hay for the winter. Its disadvantages were:-

  1. it could be uneconomic in labour & time.
  2. it did not lend itself to agricultural experiment & progress.

Open Arable was divided into two, three or later four fields with

  1. wheat, rye or barley
  2. fallow
  1. Wheat or rye
  2. barley
  3. fallow

Every man had to have an equal area in each field; the entire field had to be under one crop at one time, sowing had to be at the same time as did reaping – and so all pasturing was at the same time.

Meadow was valued – even in Domesday only meadow land was measured in acres. It as far too valuable to be private property, and was re-allocated each year. It was closed or “Lained” at Candlemas (February 2nd), or perhaps on St Gregory’s Day (March 12th), until the hay was mown and up to Lammas tide (August 1st) when it became common pasture until the next closure. Ownership of the parts of the meadow was shown by marks – either wooden “tickets” or a certain cut in the turf on the owner’s strip. – these marks were called “reads”.

The Common was unredeemed waste land. Near the village there were the Cow Pasture and the Horse Common. It was mostly very rough for grazing. And here one would find the Plough Cattle, the Geese, the Swine and the Donkeys. On the Common, too, were the Sand & Gravel Pits.

The right to cut turf or other fuel was called Turbery and that of cutting wood for fuel or for the repair of houses and for making implements was Estowers.

In the community the parish priest and the churchwardens supervised the moral welfare of the people – the Overseers looked to the care of the poor – the way wardens looked after the highways - law & order depended on the constable & the vestry meeting regulated the use of the commons & open fields. (this had replaced the manorial court).

The Churchwarden was the most substantial, and wielded enormous power in the village. They (for there were often two) held the office for one year and were elected on a rough-and-ready rota system, from the more considerable householders, yeomen & tradesmen. They were unpaid, and could not refuse the office, except by paying a very heavy fine. They were originally ordered by the Council of London in 1127 but there are very few records of these.

Churchwardens must have been very busy men. I have found that they were responsible for:-

  1. the upkeep of the Church fabric
  2. the seating and apportioning of the seats.
  3. the provision of the fittings, e.g. tables of commandments, Royal Arms etc.
  4. the maintenance of the many service books and the bells (we do not know whether there were any before the 17th century) and the clocks.
  5. the provision of candles, beeswax & tallow for lighting.
  6. the salary of the clerk.
  7. the provision of bread & wine for the Communion.
  8. the cost of bonfires for the feasts.
  9. the expenses of bell ringers.
  10. the administration of charities
  11. the provision of rushes for the floor
  12. the provision of boughs & flowers on special occasions.
What were the latter?
Palm, box & yew throughout the year, but especially on Palm Sunday.
Holly, ivy, rosemary & laurel at Christmas
Birch on St John’s Day.
Yew for immortality at Easter.
Red roses and sweet woodruff for Corpus Christ; (this did not survive the Reformation but was revived in Mary’s time (1553-1558). It is obvious that the Churchwarden had to raise money – which he did by various means.
  1. The churchyard was the proper place for a man to do business; the court and the school were sometimes held there, sometimes there was even a fair with stalls and sideshows, with the villagers dancing & playing. For all this he would make charges. At this time graves did not lie long before they were turned over and used for someone else. Headstones must have started when the churchyard was no longer used for secular business. He (the Churchwarden) also:-
  2. Leased the Church land.
  3. Let hives of bees to the parishioners.
  4. Made a collection during any processions and many special ones in church.
  5. Had money from miracle & mystery plays.
  6. And from the games & dances held on May Day, Plough Monday etc.
  7. Bequests were probably frequent e.g. a brass pot, half-a-dozen spoons. These he sold towards the fund.
  8. He charged fees for Vapers.
  9. And for ringing the passing bell.
  10. For burial in church.
  11. For hiring jewellery to brides.
  12. He charged rent and fees for the use of the church bake house and brew house.
Or he could have a Church Ale (we have coffee evenings!). He would buy malt from the farmers, brew a vast quantity of strong ale and Call on people to come and drink it! There was a tariff – so much for the family man – so much for the bachelor – so much for the stranger to the village. (After the Reformation Church Ales and parish plays disappeared).

Another of his jobs was to provide a dog whipper! - to keep order among the many dogs at church – and sometimes among the children. At the end of the 18th century not only sheepdogs attended church but the turnspits as well. (My grandfather in Wales at the end of the 19th century always took his dog to church with him. On the wall of the church hung large wooden dog-tongs used to remove any fighting dogs).

In the 16th century it must have taken the Churchwardens all their time to keep pace with the swing of the political pendulum e.g. stone altars which were destroyed in Edward VI’s time (1547-1553) were restored by Mary. They disappeared again under the Commonwealth 1649-1660 as “monuments of superstition and idolatry”.

Fonts also suffered very badly during the Commonwealth and were replaced by pewter mugs costing only a few pence. They were restored after the Reformation. In these early times they were sometimes locked, because font water could be used in witchcraft.

As for pulpits – there are some references to medieval ones. Elizabethan ones are rarely found. After the Reformation everywhere was unsettled, and priests were not allowed to preach on any subject he might choose! By the 17th century pulpits were often very imposing and were often three-decker affairs!

The other three Parochial Officers were mostly unskilled and very unwilling and sometimes illiterate.

The Overseers One of the first responsibilities put upon the parish was the care of the poor. At first it fell morally on the Church and was an enormous problem. They distributed bread and often provided hospitals. Then in 1536-9 the monasteries were suppressed so a need for a poor law fund was necessary to look after the “can’t works” and the “won’t works”.

In 1563 & 1573 legislation compelled parishioners to contribute to the relief of impotent paupers. The clergy and churchwardens tried to gather voluntary alms with boxes every Sunday and Holy Day, whilst Bishops were expected to exhort the parishioners.

In 1597-8 Overseers were appointed and there was direct relief by weekly or monthly payments to the aged, sick, impotent and to orphans or to the good-wives for looking after them.

In 1601 came the great Poor Law of Elizabeth which lasted for two centuries. It had twenty sections. One was that the churchwardens or two or three or four substantial house-holders were to be nominated each year as Overseers of the poor with the duty of maintaining and setting to work the poor. Each parish was independent – and the Poor Rate was a burden on every ome.

A pauper appealed to the Overseers. Perhaps he sent him from house to house – and the employer then paid half his wages and the parish the other half. Sometimes a house took one for a week – or a farmer one per 100 acres or one per £20 rent. This was an evil practice but it reduced the poor rate! There was supposed to be a house of correction for rogues, vagrants, lewd women and parents who left their children.

In 1662 with the Settlement Act only those born or settled in the parish were entitled to assistance. Outsiders were moved by licence from a magistrate and were often bribed to go. This Law of Settlement was a great trouble to the officials & real hardship to the poor. People were sent back to their own parishes, single women especially harried, vagrants were sent to the stocks.

In the 17th century in Harvington a way of relieving parochial paupers was (as above) by assigning them for certain days to any of the inhabitants who would employ them. An entry occurs in the parish register thus: April 6th 1697. “A particular of the several days as Thomas Godfrey is to worke with the persons underwritten for which they are to give him 8d a day, or if they do not employ him 4d a day, to begin from 6th of April 1697 and soe to Goe thro' the towne as thus" – then follows a list 36 persons – giving him an intermission at harvest time. It was in that year 1697 that a pauper, his wife and children had to wear a large P on their right shoulder and the first letter of the name of the parish in red or blue cloth.

By some Local Acts (from 1696) some Overseers were replaced by Incorporated Guardians of the Poor, who set up “workhouses” or “ houses of industry” (The first workhouse appears to have been in Bristol in 1655. Worcester had one in 1703). In 1782 Gilbert’s Act authorised parishes to combine & set up a “proper workhouse” but most parishes continued to cope independently with the appalling burden of poor relief. In 1834 there was compulsory grouping of parishes into Poor Law Unions. They were elected Guardians of the Poor. A variety of registers were kept, and the bulk became enormous and went in Record Offices after 1930 when County & County Boroughs took on Guardian’s duties.

Next the Parish Constable – or the headborough – the thirdborough – the tithing man. His position in the parish was established by Edward III (1327-1377). His job was “Keeping watch and ward in the parish”. His annual appointment might have been the responsibility of the lord of the manor or he was chosen by the parishioners.

  • He provided & maintained the parish butts – usually found in the churchyard, and he saw that every man practised at them.
  • He took charge of the parish armour – calivers (a light musket fired without a rest), guns, gunpowder and match, pikes, swords, corselets, head pieces and soldiers coats. Henry VIII (1509-1547) said “Every village in time of war was expected to provide an archer, a pikeman and a billman at the very least – as well as a store of corselet almaines? rivets, shirts of mail and jack’s quilted & covered with leather fustien or canvas, over thick plates of iron that are sewed in the same”.

    By the Militia Act of 1662 all owners of property were charged with horses, arms and men but in 1757 this was removed to the parish & was managed by the Constable. Then he was chosen by lot and was compelled to serve for 3 years or to provide £10 for a substitute.

  • He collected any national levies or rates e.g. in Elizabeth’s time there was a rate of 12d for the relief of maimed or sick pressed soldiers or mariners.
  • Levies were also levied to free the parish of saltpetre men. They claimed under royal patent the right of entering stables and houses in search of nitrogenous refuse – and used the parishioners carts to carry it.
  • He supervised the stocks, the whipping post, the pillory, the ducking stool and the cage. (Harvington’s stocks were in Hughes Lane.)
  • He was responsible until the end of the 16th century for the suppression of beggars, the lodging of impotent poor, the apprenticing of children, the removal of vagrants, the supervision of ale houses, the convening of parish meetings and he was in charge of that important personage – the parish bull.
Last of the officers the Surveyor. By the Highways Act of 1555 all parishes had to elect annually two surveyors of highways or Waywardens and to assess every adult according to his station to provide cartage or labour, & later known as “statute labour” in lieu of which in later years many paid fines out of which payments for digging gravel, picking stones, filling in ruts and so forth were paid.

[margin note]
The “labour” was 2 able bodied men for 6 days a year. Cottagers also gave 6 days labour. This labour was unlikely to be very efficient.


The River

(Much of this information came from “Waterways to Stratford” by Charles Hadfield & John Norris)

I have previously mentioned that it is possible that salt was carried along the Salt Way from Droitwich via Lenches and Anchor Lane in Harvington and over the “Fish & Anchor” ford. Also I have given names by which the river was known e.g. Antona – Anfona – Abona – FEN (705) – Avena (709) – Avene – and Eefene (845).

A more definite history can be written from the time of Henry IV (1399-1413), Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, “mynded to have made passage for bootles[?] from Tewkwsbury to Worcester for transporting of merchandise for the advancement of Warwick”.

The question of the river also attracted the attention of George, Duke of Clarence, Henry IV’s brother. It was then a very different river in appearance – a narrow, sluggish stream, deep & shallow in turn and said never to have “borne a boat of any burden”.

A Mr William Sandys and his father lived on their estate at Fladbury. In January 1636 Sandys obtained from the Corporation of Stratford “our approbation, Commendation & allowance of the making of the River Avon passable for bringing of wares from sundry places to the borough of Stratford–on–Avon” and he began work in March (at the age of 29). It seems likely that he ran into difficulties with local landowners, because he applied the King (Charles I. 1625-1649) for Letters Patent – probably Charles asked for substantial payment! (He was regarded him as a monopolist)

March 9th 1636: A commission of local landowners & others including Sandy’s cousin, Lord Windsor was set up. They met at Evesham on 30th August 1636 to deal with matters which affected landowners between Tewkesbury and Stratford. They agreed on the price to be paid for the land for towing paths, and reported that there were to be 13 cuts to sluices and they recommended the prices to be paid for the land for these. These were approved at a council in November.

Sandys had to buy “with excessive charge mills, meadows and other grounds“ and according to William Habingdon he spent over £20,000 in three years. In this time he had done enough to make the river passable for 43½ miles from Tewkesbury to Stratford. By 1640 his letters patent enabled him to exert an additional toll of 12d per chaldron on coals.

Sluices were made at Tewkesbury – Strensham – Nafford – Pershore – Wyre – Fladbury – Chadbury – Evesham – Harvington – Cleeve – Bidford – Welford - they were described as “keeping of the water in summer”.

“He erected also locks and placed many wires (weirs) in the quickest streams”. “He built 2 new flood gates”. All these places named had mills. The river became navigable for barges of 30 tons. His locks were probably diamond shaped. In 1641 John Taylor found the river navigable for a small boat to within 4 miles of Warwick, and he gave Sandys the credit.

He carried on his work during the Civil War (the Commonwealth 1649-1660), but at the same time navigation languished. Upon the restoration of Charles II (1660-1685) he was attainted, and all his possessions were forfeit to the Crown, who in 1661 granted them to the trustees for James, Duke of York. These assigned the river for a suitable payment, to Thomas, Lord Windsor in 1664. He granted two-thirds of the upper Navigation (Evesham to Stratford) to a syndicate – Andrew Yarranton, Richard Hunt (mercer) of Stratford, Richard Turton of London, Richard Bartlett of Old Stratford, and Nicholas Baker (mercer) of Worcester – on condition that they, at their own cost, should by 8th September 1666 make the river navigable from Evesham to Stratford.

The syndicate put up £600 “suitable for a barge carrying 10 tons”. They did this with 6 sluices and embankments so that now there were 14 locks between Severn & Stratford. Lord Windsor granted them the profits of the Upper Navigation for 1,000 years.

Sandy's retained the Lower Navigation and the syndicate paid him 4d a ton for goods carried, and these were not to be sold lower on the river than Bidford. Later he gave the right of the Lower Avon to his second son, later Baron Montjoy.

In 1665 Lord Windsor divided the ownership of the Upper River into fifteenths – he purchased 7 of them – the syndicate owned the other 8 of 15. A new man, John Wordin of Stratford joined the syndicate. He got some exemptions of monies for pressing 68 men for the Navy. Yarranton had ideas of linking the Warwickshire Stour to the Cherwell at Banbury - & so with Oxford & London.

David Defoe visited Stratford in the eighteenth century and said: “The navigation of the River Avon is an exceeding advantage to this part of the country and also to the commerce of the City of Bristol. For by this river they did a very great trade for sugar, oil, wine, tobacco, iron, lead, and in a word all heavy goods which are carried by water almost as far as Warwick – and in return the corn, and especially the cheese is brought back from Gloucestershire and Warwickshire to Bristol”.

Coal from Severn-side collieries in the Broseley area was probably sold at wharves up to Stratford. Lord Windsor, then Earl of Plymouth, died in 1687. He settled his rights in the Avon on his second wife, Ursula who drew £400 per annum from coal carried from the Severn (in 1696).

In 1703 she and her son Thomas leased their rights in the lower Avon to Mark Ramell of Pershore for 21 years at £328 per annum. When she died in in 1717 the rights of the Lower Avon went to her son Thomas and those of the Upper Avon to Andrew Windsor – and from then on the two navigations were separate.

The Lower Avon
In 1738 the Lower Avon was left to Herbert, Lord Windsor – there were lessees who raised the tolls unreasonably. It is thought that about 400 craft a year carrying an average of 30 tons each used the navigation – and that 16,000 sacks of flour and 5,000 of grain passed down it while much coal came up. The barges used were about 35 feet long, flat bottomed or nearly so, sometimes steered with an oar,and with a square sail on a mast fixed forward. There was no horse-towing path in either upper or lower Avon. If necessary, the work was done by gangs of men.

The first experiment in propelling vessels by steam power was made on the Avon at Evesham by Mr Jonathan Hull of Campden in December 1736. The idea was treated with ridicule. In 1751 (Geo. II) the Borough of Evesham sought an Act, which laid down the tolls to be charged according to distance. Merchandise:-

  • maximum 4/- a ton Tewkesbury to Stratford Bricks
  • maximum 10d a ton Tewkesbury to Stratford
Coal paid a relatively high toll from Tewkesbury to Evesham. There was an extra 6d for it to go through Evesham lock. It cost 2/6 for a laden boat to go through Tewkesbury, Pershore, Evesham and Stratford locks. In 1760 the Lower Avon was offered for sale. It was sold to George Perrott. The locks needed repair, so the river was closed.

Between 1763 and 1768 £4000 was spent on repairs. In April 1767 corn barges at Pershore were raided & pillaged by women & children and the Riot Act was read. In 1770 Perrotts House in Bridge Street, Pershore was built & when the business was inherited by a nephew. In 1793 he built Craycombe.

Evesham was the centre for a considerable coal trade to the surrounding countryside (upstream from Tewkesbury the Severn was excellent but down to Gloucester it was unsatisfactory until 1874)

The Upper Avon
1758 – Major William Fitz Thomas inherited the 7/15 of the Upper Avon, and up until 1813 very little information is available.

In 1814 forty-ton barges were said to be still going up to Stratford “which had the appearance of a small sea-port.” But trade diminished – there were many canals and turnpike roads. There was still some through trade to Stratford and local traffic on the upper river, and to the old established paper mill at Harvington.

1825/6 – The river was “not being in good navigable condition or in full operation.”

1827 – It was cleared from Evesham to Stratford – three new locks were built, with many other essential improvements at a cost of £5,000. Before this there had been staircase locks at Stratford with single ones at Luddington, Cleeve, Welford, Harvington & Evesham. Now new ones were built at Luddington, Welford and Harvington in each case below the old one to reduce the speed of the current. The fall at both Harvington locks was 4' 8”.

1827 – A steamer ran from Bristol to Stratford to the Mill of Thomas Lucy & Son (1970: Lucy & Nephew). It was hoped to supply 3,000 bushels of Irish corn per week. There was also a weekly barge with Bristol and Gloucester goods to Pershore, Evesham & Stratford. On the return journey it carried coal and paving stones.

The Avon was expected to be useful for carrying timber, probably for house-building from Gloucester to Warwick and Leamington. This trade, however, did not develop. The transport of coal down the river did – as did that of limestone from a wharf near Cleeve Quarry.

1843 – The millers of Harvington were in dispute about the obstructions of the navigaton.

1845 – James Thomas wrote in Rambles by Rivers – The Avon “Navigation is conducted in a primitive fashion. There are no horses. At a large heavy-laden craft five or 6 strong men may be seen tugging laboriously (a horse-path would be too expensive – for its limited use). "It is a painful sight to see these men dragging their barge along this river which from its many curves would be extremely hard work for horses”.

1845 – Richard Greaves of Stratford saw the closure of the river if a railway were built. (Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway Bill).

1852 – The railway was opened from Evesham to Kidderminster in 1852 but the Evesham Council said the river was to be dredged, widened and improved.

1857 – By 1857 the river had to be virtually abandoned by its owner, who had ceased to take tolls. It was sold to the O.W.M.R. (above) for £300.

1860 – After amalgamation in 1860 it passed into the hands of the West Midland and in 1863 to Great Western Railway, who made no effort to maintain the river.

1863 - A prosperous farmer of Salford Priors giving evidence in favour of the Evesham to Redditch Railway said of the Upper Avon – “No one attends to it”.

1873 – It was in a bad way, with locks in a wretched state. One boat still brought corn from Bristol to Lucy’s Mill at Stratford-on-Avon. This was preferred because the corn-boat came right under the mill.

1878/9 - The Evesham, Redditch & Stratford Junction Railway profits act, & the line was opened on June 2nd. In 1878 the Great Western proposed the Avon should be abandoned. There were many recommendations about the river – in 1895 – in 1897 – in 1899, but all failed.

In August 1939 a writer (Barnard) to a local newspaper said “I remember the last barge that came through the lock at Harvington Mill one Sunday afternoon about 60 years ago. We lads helped to bring it down the river with a long tow-rope, as far as the lock which was then in good condition, below the “Fish & Anchor Inn”.

In 1949 the Lower Navigation Trust took over & in 1962 the river was opened up as far as Evesham.

March 1971 – At the time of writing, the Upper Navigation Trust has been at work for three years, working on locks, & deepening the channel in parts & has passed Offenham, Harvington, Cleeve & Bidford - & will work at Welford & Luddington & eventually reach Stratford-on-Avon.

The Harvington Locks (Old)

Sketch of Locks.

The Upper Harvington Lock
This lock placed on the right-hand side of the river was circular in shape with earth sides, dry stone walling being used at the entrance and exit to form sills to prevent erosion. Both sets of gates were double with balance beams. The right hand gate could be seen when the U.N. Trust began to work – caught up in a tree. The diameter of the lock was some 70 feet, the width 12 feet and the lift 4ft 8 inches. Upstream of the lock where there are ruins of a corn mill, there are remains of a wharf. The main overspill weir has been twice lowered. There were also two auxiliary weirs.

The Lower Harvington Lock
This was sited on the left hand side of the river about a quarter of a mile downstream from the “Fish & Anchor” yard. It had double rail gates and a single head gate. This combination was necessary because one wall of the chamber was built into a steep bank, leaving no room for a balance beam. The dimensions were about 60 feet by 12 feet with a fall of 4 feet 8 inches.

Some interesting facts
Records of Worcester Monastery say that John Newman, a tenant of Harvington in the 16th century presented Prior Moore on the first New Year’s Day of his official life, with a dish of roaches and two and a half dozen larks – and that another tenant gave 60 capons.

Pennant writing in “British Zoology” says that although Avon joins the Severn at Tewkesbury no salmon, shad or lamprey ever mistakes its course to come up the Avon.

In 1845 there were roach, dace, bleak bream, carp, tench, trout, eels and pike (although tench, trout and carp were rare). There were several kinds of eels – silver, yellow and frog-mouthed eels!

In 960 a seal appeared at Evesham Bridge.

In the time of Edward III (1327-1377) a grant of market tolls shows that salmon and lampreys were exposed for sale.

Swans were apparently nurtured on the river by the monastery as a sumptuous dish for the table for visitors.

1509-1547 – Twyford Bridge crossed from Battlewell to Offenham. In the reign of Henry III Leland wrote of “a narrow stone bridge for footmen”.

1878 – The weir broke at Harvington and the river flooded the land and drowned 200 head of cattle. This ruined Mr Malin the wealthiest local landlord. Mr Richard Bullock of Manor Farm was also “sorely hit”.

Early this century eels were caught down by the mill. A man from Bidford rented the eeling. He came round selling them still very much alive, weighing them on a pair of balances. They cost 6d. He had a donkey.

Precis quote from the Daily Telegraph – May 26th 1971:-

  1. Canal conscious Europeans think our Government is mad to allow silt to gather in our British waterways. But the abandoned navigation from Evesham to Stratford is being dragged back to use.

    This is being carried out by volunteers, by prisoners (Gloucester Gaol) and the army, being paid for by one large-scale benefaction and many smaller ones. One anonymous donor gave £100,000, if another £100, 000 could be collected. It is directed by David Hutchings & it will enable boats to cruise from Evesham to Stratford & then on in a circle taking in part of the Severn & its connecting canals.

    All the old locks were in ruins, and they and weirs were rebuilt and several new channels dug. In the new locks there are gates from the Thames and the Bridgewater Canal old & new paddle gear, gate opening gear from Liverpool and many cleverly devised steps and swing bridges and lock ladders and loading-stages.

    At Marlcliff an exceedingly hard 300-yard rock stretch had to be blasted yard by yard. At Bidford the 500 year old bridge had its foundations lowered by six feet. In one short section alone 100,000 tons of gravel were removed, and roads, bridges and drains built or rebuilt in many places.

    By this date the 4 new locks have been built by different methods, including steel piles & hollow concrete blocks. And there are five more to do. Because of the different source of materials each lock has its own character.

  2. The Harvington lock for instance, has its gates wound open by wheels that once operated Thomas lock sluice gear. This lock is named after George Billington, a Coventry man who paid for its cost & died just as it was completed. The Pilgrim Trust paid for a lock just above Bidford. (A similar operation from the Severn to Evesham was done by the Lower Navigation Trust).

    Both Trusts have existed almost entirely on private contributions. Despite all the voluntary labour and donated materials the UN Trust has spent so far over £100,000. The counties of Warwickshire & Worcestershire have given small amounts for what will be a priceless amenity to them.


Hop Picking in 1893

The growing of hops began in the last century, probably about 1893. There were two large hop fields down Anchor Lane. Then on the last Sunday before September began the 'Dudleys' came in special trains. [Insert by Jess Fairs:- In the early days Dudley girls were employed to train the hops up the sticks to keep them clean.] Whole families came, and the actual number varied between two and five hundred. All came prepared to work hard, even the children. All worked long hours, because it was piecework. Over everyone was the 'queen', an older woman who controlled & organised the work.

The hops were picked into 'bins' of sacking with trestle ends that could be filled and moved along the lines as the vines were pulled down the long cutters. Each bin was visited by a measurer with a bushel bucket. The number of bushels was entered on the worker’s card, and then in the bailiff’s notebook. Then the hops were taken to large ovens to which was added sulphur, so that for weeks the sulphur fumes pervaded the air of the village.

There were three malt houses 1: a large black & white one near the smithy – with the maltster’s house near-by 2: and next to the Shakespeare Inn 3: down by the river by the ford where there was also a paper mill. [A margin note states: "This was made into a bake house in 1894". The positioning however does not indicate to which building she was referring.]

This most highly skilled man was the hop-dier. With his several assistants he worked day & night, keeping the ovens at a constant temperature. When dried the hops were packed with the aid of a press into enormous sacks called 'pockets'. These were stored until the hop harvest was over then off went the loaded waggons to Worcester Hop Market – and the 'Dudleys' departed in the Special trains. The ground was then cleared for food crops.

In the village, misty mornings & the first frosts were “real hop-picking weather”, and hop-picking meant work for the villagers of Harvington & surrounding villages. In the 1914-1918 War the Rector’s wife Mrs Davenport had a 'crib'. A few local people would come to pick hops in the morning and twenty or more as the day wore on. Those bushes were entered on the 'hospital crib card' for funds for the Red Cross.

In the Evesham Journal “Fifty Years Ago” column for November 3rd 1817 is an acknowledgement from the Treasurer of Evesham Cottage Hospital for £1.18.0. for “ proceeds of the Harvington Rectory Hop-Picking Crib”.


Some population figures

1086 (Domesday) 93 in 20 families.

1564 93

1776 228 Rateable Value

1801 262 1086 50/-

1811 260 1817 £2348

1821 353 1833 £1800

1831 318 1875 £2871

1841 347 1888 £2571

1851 360

1871 435 Area

1881 490 1086 10 Acres

1891 524 1888 £1238 Acres

1901 497

Poor Rate

1776 £76

1786 £74

1803 £272

In the 17th century Halington said. "The town is rychly seated in the vale of Evesham - well - neighboured with wood, the greatest want in this vale."


The Railway

In 1845 the nearest stations to Evesham were:-

  1. Defford i.e. 9 miles west of the Gloucester to Birmingham line.
  2. Spetchley. Also on the Gloucester to Birmingham line.
  3. Warwick on the London to Birmingham line.
  4. Cheltenham on the Great Western Railway.
Then in 1867 the Midland Railway Company from Birmingham to Redditch was extended. Quote. “April 27th 1867 the work at the Redditch end of the line is being very rapidly pushed forward with extraordinary rapidity and upwards of 70 workers have in the last few days been added to the staff. The tunnel which is 330 yards long is now cut through and bricking operations have been commenced.”

The railway was opened in 1868 and on May 4th 1868 the first excursion train ran between Redditch and Evesham, with 900 passengers many of whom were paying their first visit to Evesham. 60 guests sat down to a Celebration dinner at the Corn Exchange, Alcester.

On June 2nd 1879 the Ashchurch, Evesham and Redditch line was linked with the Stratford by the opening of the Eastward West Railways branch from Broom Junction. Wixford was a halt largely used by anglers at week-ends.

Salford Priors was a favourite station – for visitors to Cleeve Prior. They walked over the fields past the mill (this was destroyed by soldiers in the Second World War) to a tea-room and Bridge over the Avon. This was washed away. This railway must have been very busy. There were five passenger trains each way each day, connecting with the main line at Ashchurch.

Fifty trucks loaded with fruit for Scotland passed through four days a week. Coal from the Warwickshire and Leicestershire coalfields went to the South Wales ports, whilst bananas from Avonmouth passed through to Broom, Stratford and the Midland Junction Railway to Towcester for the London markets.

Near Harvington the railway became a close neighbour of the Avon crossing Blayney’s Lane, which runs down by the Offenham Ferry at Dead Man’s Ait, where Simon de Montfort’s Welsh troops were slaughtered as they retreated from the Battle of Evesham in August, 1265.

When the railway was closed in 1962 for a very short while a railway bus called in the morning at all stations to Redditch. The Station House was unsuccessfully offered for sale and suffered badly at the hands of vandals. In 1968 it was repaired & altered substantially and is a home as well as the central office of the Upper Avon Navigation Trust – engaged in opening the Avon for navigation.

In the parish registers the first mention of the railway was in 1869 the occupation “platelayer” is common; the first child of a stationmaster is baptised in 1870 and of an engine driver in 1877.


1787 Harvington Enclosure Awards

The Award under regulations & determinations of: Edward Palmer of Coleshill, John Whateley of Chadsham & John Clark the Elder of Pebworth.

Commissioners for putting into execution an Act of Parliament passed in the 26th year of the Reign of George III [1785].

An Act for dividing & inclosing the open & common fields & all other communal land within the parish of Harvington in the County of Worcester.

They were known by the general names of Harvington fields Meadows Leys & Moors & containing together with the ancient enclosures Sixty yard Land and one quarter or thereabouts.

Dean & Chapter were Lords in Manor & patrons in Rectory & Parish Church. Rev. Matthew Lamb rector was entitled to the Glebe - i.e. 3 in said yard land & to all tithes & dues payable in the parish. The said Dean & Chapter were proprietors of 46 yard land and a half for leases.

Commissioners were to view & enclose all the said open & common fields & communal land & also the inclosed & titheable tenements, & shall cause a survey & admeasurement & also a map or plan.

All notices about meetings of these Commissioners to be affixed on the door in church before Divine Service at least six days before the meeting.

Commissioners to set out & appoint such public carriage roads in over & upon the said lands & grounds as they should think necessary & proper & that all such public roads shall be & remain in the breadth of 40' at the least & shall be well & sufficiently fenced out on both sides by such a means[?] - & it shall not be lawful for any persons to erect any gate necessary of the said roads or to plant any trees in or near the hedges on the sides of any of the said roads at a less distance from each other than 50 yds. A surveyor to be appointed to keep the roads in order. Salary, road-making & repair to be born by the owners of the land. (except the Dean & Chapter and Rector) - to be raised by a rate. J.P. at Quarter Sessions to give a certificate saying "that roads were fit for the passage of travellers & carriages.

Also public bridle roads & footways & private roadways, banks, ditches, drains, watercourses, bridges, stiles & other conveniences to be made & retained in repair. Grass & hedges on roadsides to belong to persons appointed by Commissioners.

Before lands are alloted one acre for public gravel pits in trust for proprietors & tenents - to be used for erecting new or repairing old buildings in the parish - & for making & repairing the public roads & ways. Also 2 acres for public waste pits - both gravel & waste pits to be properly fenced in.

Rector to have so much of the communal land enclosed - 1/5 of all the arable - & 1/8 of all convertible enclosures -1/9 in meadow pasture & other greensward - instead of tithes.

1/16 of the waste land for the Lords in Manor. Yearly rents to the Rector (of several messuages, cottages orchards & gardens instead of tithes - on Michaelmas Day.

In Allotting the land the Commissioners shall have regard to its quality - & the situation & contiguity of the houses & old Inclosures

All allotments to be fenced and fences kept in repair.

No going to law about what dividing up of the land the Commissioners should decide upon. Commissioners to decide on the general course of husbandry to be used in the tillage parts in Common fields. They shall say which trees could be cut down for fencing & any new buildings. Fences to be 4 ft from any ditches. No tree to be planted less than 18' from the quickset hedge of any proprietor without his consent.

No keeping of sheep or cattle on any of the lanes or ways. Commissioners to direct laying of drains & watercourses.

Commissioners would allow exchanging of previous owning of communal land & inclosures.

Commissioners to allow the Rector to lease any of his land.

A daily allowance to the Commissioners for their trouble.

1st meeting Tues. May 23rd at the dwelling of Mr Hughes - The Harford Arms Inn at Salford.

All the survey & the Map & Plan were prepared by John Clark the younger of Evesham.

  • A public carriage road 60' broad entering parish at Norton Brook - going north - to the extreme of [the] Parish of Salford to New Inn Lane being part of the Turnpike Rd from E. to Alcester.
  • Public carriage road of 40' issuing out of the village of Harvington at a place called Sawpit Lane & going N.E. to a place called Salford Lane in the Hamlet of Abbots Salford.
  • Another 40' issuing out in village of Harvington at a place called the Blacksmith's shop passing S.W. into the said turnpike road at or near a place called Porters Elm & these crossings the said road & passing in a W. direction to Atch Lench Gate.
  • A public footway near the N.E. corner of a piece called Lambpit in a S.W. direction over land awarded to Dean & Chapter & Thomas Rowell of Norton & Lenchwick.
  • Another public footpath out of N. side of (Leys Road) then Ann Hawks piece near
  • Porters Elm (Hill Farm) (Brackets today's names)
  • Public path from the Blacksmith's shop eastwards to a stile leading to Salford.
  • Public footpath from Small Moor, on to Slingalls, (Buckhill, the Limes' meadow) to the accustomed landing place on the bank in River Avon opposite to a public house called the Fish & Anchor - 4 feet.
  • Private road from Sawpits Green - 40' wide to the Mill of Charles Oldaker.
  • Private road from S. end of Mill Lane 24' S.
  • Another private road to Longlands 24'
  • Private road from Salford road N. to the (Leys Road)
  • Private road 24' to Gravel Pit
  • Private road 24' to Leasow Lane
  • Private road 24' to (Gipsies Lane)
  • Private road 24' to across Round Hill & Bury Lenches
  • Private road 24' to footway from Churchwarden's Lane to N---[?] 4'
Surveyor George Evans of Evesham (responsible for roads) Annual salary £6/6/0.

Soil, grass & hedge on sides of road to belong to owners or occupiers of the land - and on public roads to those owning land near.

Open & common fields & communal land to be divided & inclosed was 932 acres 1 rood 33 perch , roads included.

To Thomas Ramell, John Godfrey, Thomas Walford Marshal & Wilson Marshall as Trustees. (Hill Farm) to Ann Hawks.

The Rector got 14 allotments - Ragley 3 acres Greenstreet 53 acres, part of meadow, part of Greenstreet furlong, 3 acres of (Hill Farm), another acre in Greenstreet, another 4 acres in Greenstreet, another 6 acres in Greenstreet, 5 acres in Well Spring leasow, 32 acres of meadow in Berry Lynch & Hynham meadows. 13 acres in Croft and Furlong 136 Moors, another in Greenstreet.

85 acres in Leasow piece, Short Heathway, Long Heathway, Long Bream, Clay boner, said Corner Wells Spring, Taylor Hill - (all was Hill Farm)

20 acres in the Leys Glebe

Hill Farm
20 acres in the Leys glebe
much of this was in exchange for parts previously owned. -----[?] 5 allotments thought to be equal to 1/5 in arable in the parish 1/8 in convertible enclosures 1/9 in meadow
in lieu of all tithes.

The fencing to be done by the Rectors

neighbours proprietors.
Dean & Chapter, Lords of the Manor allotment 13 acres
others Elizabeth Marshall, Tho Walford, T. W. Marshall, T. Ranell, John Marshall, George Ewans, John Godfrey, Edward Williams, Ann Chamberlain, John & James Pierce & Master

The size, position, boundaries of every allotment was written out & its owner named - stated whether it was an exchange, also original name & furlong was often given.

Then Mary Holbrook, Wm Tovey, John Bennett (about 1 acre), Richard & Eliz Warren (very little), Ann Hawkes (5 acres), Charles Oldaker (1 rood 34 perch), 78 pages[?] of all the details on who shall own the lands.

The Award was signed by the Commissioners on the 17th March, 27th yr of George III (1787) at a public meeting at the dwelling house of John Headley known by the name name or sign in Crown Inn at Evesham.

Ditches & drains to be kept open by the users. Master drain begins at E. end of Croftland furlong, passes the s end of Nesters, terminating in the R. Avon. Another begins at the Post in the Moors & terminates in the County Ditch.

Wilson Marshall to make & keep in repair for 7 yrs all the origl[?] fences that the Rectore had to make - for £394/14/10 1/2 - this assessed on all the other land users!

[The following three loose pages, are not numbered, but they are believed
to be connected to the 1787 document.]

All these furlongs had to have names so that they could be well distinguished
(Taken from a copy of the Enclosure Award).

(rear left of golden Cross crossing)

Porter's Elm Furlong
Twenty Lads
Wells Spring
Beekston (Homeward B, & Further B)
Brach (Broach) Brock
Elder Stump
Long Dean
Norbrook (Ist & Upper)
Long Dole
Barn Ground?
Inward Piece
Milking Way
Blackfords Furze

(To whom was all this given?)

Rev Matthew Lamb
Dean & Chapter
Dean & C. T. Ramell
D & C & Elizabeth Hamball
D & C Edward Williams
D & C John Godfrey
D & C Ann Chamberlain
D & C John Marshall
D & C Wilson Marshall
D & C John & James Pearce
D & C Mary Holbrock
D & C T. W. Marshall
            (John Bennett
D & C (& Richard Warren
            (& Eliz Warren
George Ewens
Eliz Marshall
Eliz Marshall & T. W. Marshall
Wm Torey
Ann Hawkes
Ann Chamberlain
John Marshall
Charles Oldaker
14 allotments
13 their copyholder
3 copy holder
13 copyholder
17 copyholder & lessee
13 copyholder
3 copyholder
7 copyholder
3 copyholder
1 copyholder
her mortagee
1 lessees

6 own right
2 own right
13 own right
2 own right
2 own right

(Which is large farm? leasowes)

Pool Close (forge)
Bitten Lane
Long Close
Mowed Leys
Rouens leasow
Wells Spring leasow
Berry Lynch
Hynham Meadow
The Moors
                New Inn Lane
The Doles
Short Heathway
Long Heathway     The Lots
Long Brooms
Clay Corner
Sand Corner
Taylor's Hill
Roundhill Meadow  (Limes)
Lamb Pit
Crabtree Leys (forge)
Long Cross
        New Meadow
Powson's leasow (left of Leys Road?) [written sideways alongside the proceeding 4]
Water Furrows
Long Shorten
Pope's Swardy
Lords Heyston         Perks
Rothill (Anchor Lane) [written sideways along side the succeeding 4.]
Town Rushings, The Leys [written sideways alongside Nestors & succeeding 3]
The Down
Two Leys Close
Small Moors Close
Sideland Piece
Rothill Lane (Anchor Lane?)
Little Great Herbert Meadows
The Park



Not far away too is Abbots’ Salford Hall. In 708 A.D. Kendred (Coenred), King of Mercia, granted the Manors of Salford Major and Minor to the Benedictine Abbey of Evesham.

Salford Major later passed to the Countess Goding (Godiva), famous wife of Earl Leofric and was eventually granted to Kenilworth Priory (hence Salford Priors). Salford Minor was then still in the hands of the Abbey (hence Abbots’ Salford).

They had one of their granges there and it served as a place for rest and study. The oldest part of the present building (the west part) was probably built by the abbot around 1480. In 1543 it was confiscated by Henry VIII and granted by him in 1545 to Sir Philip Hoby who later passed it to Anthony Littleton.

After a long series of conveyances and chancery suits it descended to John Alderford, who married Littleton’s daughter and sole heir. It was Alderton who added the north and east ranges in an E shape as a compliment to Queen Elizabeth – and using the local blue lias and Cotswold stone and sandstone. This was in 1602 although his motto appears over the north door with the date 1662. He was also responsible for the coats of arms in the north bay window of the hall. There is an authentic priest’s hole probably constructed by Nicholas Owen a Jesuit lay-brother so that after the Dissolution of the Monasteries secret Mass could be celebrated.

Alderford’s second marriage produced two daughters, Eleanor and Margaret. Eleanor married Charles Stanford who succeeded Alderford on his death in 1606. He completed the enlarging of the Hall, probably adding the gateway. It remained in the Stanford family for almost 200 years. The last of the line, Robert died in 1789 and his widow bequeathed the Hall to Robert Berkeley of Spetchley Park, Worcs. at whose request a community of nuns settled there. They were English Benedictines from Cambrai, escaping the French Revolution.

They were said to make wonderful lace. In 1838 they moved to Stanbrock Abbey near Worcester - & they opened a school there. It was their 30 year stay that gave Abbot Salford Hall the name 'The Nunnery'. They had “a school for young ladies” there. Whilst there the nuns received much practical help from the 2nd Marquess of Hartford – he obtained a pension for each of them and recovered some of their property lost in the flight from France. A frequent guest at Ragley Hall was the Prince of Wales, later George IV, and he often visited the nuns.

Early in the 18th century part of the ground floor was converted into a Roman Catholic chapel for the neighbourhood. In 1911 was written “the centre of interest is the old chapel, where generations of Roman Catholics have gathered for feats and festivals – as a place of worship for a large area, Bidford–on–Avon, Broom, Broadway, Priors and Abbots Salford, and Harvington and Evesham.” The last mass was said there on Nov. 1st 1948. A new chapel was built in the garden adjoining the Presbytery.

Salford Hall

In 1839 Robert Berkeley left the Hall to George Eyston whose family kept it until the Second World War. The Eystons sold it to Mr A.W.Hughes of Moat Farm. It as sold again to two brothers who carried out very careful restoration, before it was sold yet once again.



Life in the village was hard & difficult, and it was the practice to celebrate all outstanding events either joyfully or sad with “an ale” e.g. for the safe arrival of the lambs, for the gathering in of the harvest – and at a wedding when there was a “bride-ale” (bridal). There was an annual Church 'ale'. Every opportunity was taken for games, singing and dancing – often in the churchyard, in the northern un-consecrated part, where only stillborns and felons were buried.

During the year there were many Village Festivals:-

  • Christmas Day the lords kept open house for the villeins and others. After dinner each was given a silver groat, probably a new outfit of the lord’s livery and two Christmas “Kitchells” (puddings).
  • New Year’s Day people gave presents as tokens of luck and rejoicing. They drank to the beasts and crops and ate triangular “mince-pies”.
  • Twelfth Night January 17th the feast of the Epiphany, every village held its carnival procession and appointed its King & Queen of Epiphany. They ate elaborate cakes, and wassailed the fruit trees. (This date is according to the Old Calendar after the “lost eleven days”. Epiphany is now January 6th).
  • Plough Monday, which was once the first working day after Christmas, when the new parming year began. The plough was blessed. Then they dressed up as “plough bullocks” or “plough stots”, asking for pennies to pay for the “Plough lights”, which was kept burning in the Church throughout the twelve months. Then they would dance and perform their Plough Monday plays, which were handed down. When later, ploughing began in the autumn, the custom was revised as Plough Sunday.
  • Candlemas was on February 2nd. There were candle processions in Church. In their houses rich and poor sat drinking punch in the light of a wax candle, and retired to bed when the flame went out.
  • St. Valentines Day. February 14th was the day in some places to start sowing.
  • Shrovetide. The meat was used up on the Monday and the eggs on the Tuesday. The “pancake bell” was rung as a warning to the housewife (since there were very few clocks or watches). One pancake was to be taken from each household – for those who rang the bells! It was a public holiday.
  • Mothering Sunday (the fourth in Lent) all maidservants went home to mother with cakes and flowers. Simnel-cakes (from the Latin simila, meaning finest wheat flour) rich with fruit and spices and made in elaborate shapes were eaten.
  • Palm Sunday with elaborate services and processions of crosses and willow wands.
  • Good Friday was unexpectedly gay. The boys dressed up and received eggs or money for acting plays.
  • May Day was then May 12th and the merry month of May was quite an occasion. Supplies of corn were running low – there were few poultry left – bacon and hams were dwindling and all were very tired of salt meat and salt fish. This was a great day of hope & expectation. They brought in the maypole and made garlands for the maypole, the Church and all the village houses. The children called from house to house with posies and dolls (which represented the Virgin Mary). Dancing went on all day.
  • Rogation Day, the fifth Sunday after Easter. On the three days following this the parson and choirboys walked through every field in the parish. Every property in the village was inspected. Between 750 and 1550 it was important that the young should know the boundaries of the parish. There were no maps.
Between 1547-1558 all religious processions were prohibited by Royal injunction of Mary. In 1559 Queen Elizabeth I ordered “the clergy shall once a year at the time accustomed walk about their parishes with the Curate and other substantial men of the parish, and at their return to the Church make their common prayer”. It cannot have been an easy task – there was no boundary path and they would trudge over ploughed, sown or marshy land, and through scrub and woodland.
  • Whitsun Week brought gaiety again. “Ales” games and dancing were held. Again there was a village “King & Queen”. On Whit-Thursday the village green was covered with a fair for this was Club-Day.
  • Midsummer there were fertility rites to the Sun, “God of Warmth”. On Midsummer’s Eve fires were lit and up to about one hundred years ago young men and maidens linked hands and jumped through the flames.
  • Lammas was August 1st. It was the “loaf-mass” when the first sheaf and the first loaves from the new wheat were brought, with thankfulness that the early prayers had been answered, and they acknowledged their continued dependence on God.
  • Harvest, the highlight and greatest milestone of the rural calendar. All met for the “churn supper” with enormous quantities of cream and tankards of goodly ale and cider. The came weeks of sweat & toil and anxious times with the weather & until finally Harvest Home, and the “mel supper” with beef, bacon, fowl, turkey and cider and the great Harvest Festival in the Church.
  • Michaelmas (Sept.29th) when every landholder gave geese to his landlord as rent. After Michaelmas the dark days returned, and amongst their pastimes there was the acting of Mummer’s Plays.
These festivals were held throughout the village year and centred around the Church and the production of crops and animals for the continuance of life. One could investigate at great length rural beliefs and superstitions Deep and subtle meanings were attached to any unusual doings of the beasts and birds, to any strange behaviour of the crops to the position of the moon in the sky or to the failure of the sun to shine. The crow and magpie were feared; the midnight call of the cock forecast death, hares cursed any field, cats were very suspect unless black. But the robin and the cuckoo were held in high esteem. Most important of all was the bee – in the morning the cottager told his bees all his plans for the day, and at night gave them a report of his daily doings.

Back to Michaelmas, this was the time of the “hiring-fair”, started in the Middle Ages. It was then that new servants were engaged. Those seeking employment went to the fair. The men wore smocks (each design was connected with a certain skill), and each man carried the sign of his skill – the carter his whip, the shepherd with a crook or a tuft of wool and the serving wench with her mop. When they were engaged, they were given a “fasten penny”. After a second fair was often held a week or two later – in case man or employed was not happy with the hiring.

The following appeared in the “Evesham Journal” of Oct.6th 1866. “Yesterday the annual mop or Statute Fair for the hiring of servants was held in our borough and presented the usual features of their yearly gathering perhaps a shade lower in character than in former years, for the fates seem to have determined that the few redeeming qualities of these festivities shall gradually die out. The attendance of servants seeking places and of masters & mistresses requiring servants was smaller than we have known for several years past, being ample testimony to the fact that the business purposes of Mop are being gradually superseded by other means of forming these contacts and that the really better class of servants do not need “to stand at the Mop” in order to secure places”.



George Savage - one of Harvington's "characters". He spent the whole of his life in Harvington. He was born in February 1878 in one of four cottages (now made into one "Crooked Walls") near the Church. He was the youngest of five children. His father was a builder but in November of the year in which George was born his father, sister & brother died in a diphtheria epidemic, which swept through the village (there were 12 deaths in all). He says "There was a lot of poverty, little or no welfare service and much disease. My mother [Mary] was left to bring up a family on a parish pension of 1 shilling and a loaf of bread a week"

Mary Savage, George Savage's mother.

They had to move from their cottage which was wanted for a workman & she rented the smaller of two cottages at Longlands. Down there was a corn mill and the small boy George saw waggons & horses every day. An old man from Bidford with a donkey, rented the eeling down at the river, and sold them at so much per lb.

The land was "all corn & cattle food". I remember two old men who wore smocks. The plum trees mostly started in the late 80's. During the 90's most farmers had apple & pear orchards & they made cider & perry at the Cider mill behind the blacksmith's shop. The rickyards were full of corn & hayricks. Stockyards were used for cows. A few farmers fed bullocks & pigs. Most cottages kept a pig of course.

Land previously owned by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners was split up in 1893 and this is when the 'Mill Ground' was bought by Mr. Ernest Bomford. Hops were a new crop planted in the autumn of 1893. (See under "Hop-Picking"). In 1895 he got a Herefordshire firm to instruct men in wiring (for hops). At this time the agriculture wage was 2/- a day, but for this wiring Mr Bomford paid 2/6 a day & men walked from Bishampton, Cropthorne, Fladbury & the Lenches etc. to earn that! The hop fields were established in 1896 and ceased in 1924 when owned by Mr. Griffiths.

George talked of being employed in 1896-97 at the grinding of corn. He mentioned the great freeze-up of the river, when it was possible to skate to Evesham. Then he was at Wood Norton employed as a beater (see under 'Wood Norton') at tree-planting etc. The he worked at the Rectory. Later he was a self-employed grower until a few years before he was 90 years of age. He lived in his cottage in Rectory Lane from the age of 12. His wife Winifred, died in 1926.

For more than 60 years he was the village clerk, verger, sexton & gravedigger, and he was present at nearly every christening, wedding, funeral and confirmation that took place in the village for over 50 years. He could recall seven rectors.

He had a very good voice and for 63 years was a member of the Church Choir. He could recall 1845-1877 when the Rector was Canon Winnington-Ingham - there were no lamps in the Church. The one chandelier of candles was only lit on the darkest of afternoons for Evensong at 3pm. then came lamps until 1920 when electricity arrived. George liked to tell the tale of the Canon who hated electricity so he would not remove the lamps & there was always the day when the electricity failed - & the Canon was jubilant!

When George died in 1973 he left his 300 year old cottage to a kind neighbour. 1973 - it has recently been renovated and modernised inside. [New Croft, the eastern half of Geil Cottage.]

In 1924 Chiel wrote in the Evesham Standard.
"They are very tactful Harvington way, and no doubt they thought they could not have a better combination keeping the gate at the fete than Messrs. Meek and Savage. If a mild mannered little fellow came along he would be dealt with by Mr Meek, while if a burly villager did not want to pay Mr Meek would say "Forward Mr Savage" and peace would reign."

[William (Bill) Meek lived in Poplar Cottage on the corner of Hughes Close.]

As the poet remarks:-

"The gatekeepers both were most courteous & kind,
And they each had a bright word to speak,
But no one would think from their good-humoured smiles
That they could be both Savage and Meek."



One cannot tell if 'our village' ever had the time (or energy) to play, but I have looked up games and pastimes, and one can see that some were indulged in. Perhaps not 'panme' introduced by the Normans and a fore-runner of tennis, but possibly 'Keyles' or 'Kayles', which were ninepins, could have been played.

Archery in medieval times was definitely military training. Every man had to play and in 1466 every church yard had to have butts; training took place after Church and on all feast days and holidays. Undoubtedly village challenged village. Elizabeth made great efforts to preserve the use of the long-bow. The people were getting tired of archery, and in 1621 the old archery laws were repealed. (The long-bow was made of yew with a string of flax, hemp or silk. At Agincourt (1415) the arrow was one yard long with a wood of ash, oak or birch and a feather of the wing of a goose). Wrestling was also to keep the body fit for military purposes. Part of the churchyard was also the place for handball. Until Elizabeth bowls and tennis were for Kings and noblemen only. The primary pastimes were hunting and hawking, both very necessary to supplement the larder. Hunting was for Kings, lords, noblemen and clergy. They hunted stag, bears, wolves, foxes, hares etc.

I have mentioned the Forest Courts with their terrible punishments of castration, loss of eyes, hands or feet, or even death. Hawking was first for the nobility, but by King John’s time for every freeman too. This list is interesting:-

  • The King had his gerfalcon
  • The Prince his tercle gentle
  • The Duke his falcon of the sock
  • The Earl his falcon peregrine
  • The Baron a bastard
  • The Knight a sacre
  • The esquire a laner?
  • The yeoman his goshawk
  • The parson the sparrow hawk
  • The poor man his tercel Each man took his hawk with him wherever he went. It is not unlikely that tourneys or jousts took place anywhere near our village! But high and low probably played quintain. The wealthy played on horseback, the poor on foot. Their target was a tree stump – or a butt of water – or a sack of flour or sand on a pole. This was tilted at and points were joined for the most skilful attack. Perhaps popinjay was played in our churchyard. A number of 'parrots' each painted a different colour, were set in a line along the Church tower, and they were shot down with arrows. The points were given according to the colours shot down.

    Possibly there were those cruellest of sports – Cock-fighting, bear-baiting and dog-fighting and in the eighteenth century perhaps prize-fighting was held in secret. Less harmful games were battledore, shuttlecock, rounders, stool ball, club-ball, trap-ball, Knur-and-spell, cat and dog.

    By the seventeenth century every “decent” village had a “billiard table” but it was a very different game. Tadoors [?] from the thirteenth century there were draughts, chess, dice and Backgammon. I have found an advertisement for cock-fighting in Worcester: March 29th 1805.

    Cocking: A main of cocks will be fought at the house of John Lloyd, the Sign of the Pheasant, New Street, Worcester between the gentlemen of Worcester and gentlemen of Gloucester to show and weigh 31 cocks on each side of the main for four guineas a battle and fifty guineas the odd battle, the twenty cocks on each side in the byes for two guineas a battle. To weigh on Saturday the 18th March 1805 and fight on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the following week being Easter week.

    Feeders ) Gosling - Worcester & Haynes - Gloucester

    There was still bull-baiting in Worcester in 1818



A Terrier and Survey

of an

Estate being 6½ yard lands



in the

County of Worcester

belonging to

Thomas Ramell Esq.

taken on

May 1777

by John Clark, Surveyor.

(There are 20 foolscap pages of inventory.)

A     R     P
No. 1 The Farm Yard, Garden, Buildings etc.
  0   2   11
No. 2 The Orchard adjoining
  2   3     1
No. 3 The Tenement and garden ? way
  0   0   14
No. 4 A Farmyard & Orchard adjoining
  0   3   23
No. 5 A Cherry Orchard at Towns End
  0   2   33
No. 6 A small inclosure in Middle Field called Maggots Nest
  0   2     1
No. 7 A close of Arable called Leasow butting agt Norbrook Field
  3   1   26
No. 8 A close of pasture near Hatch Lench Field called Powlston
  2   0   31
No. 9 Three Inclosures called the Leasows lying together & open to each other
13   2     2
No. 10 A close of Pasture called Longlands butting at North End gt the moor at the South End agst the Road to the mill
  3   3   24
No. 11/12 Two closes of pasture called Longlands, lying open to each other & a little east w. of the last described
  4   0   38
No. 13 A small inclosure called the park lying on the north side of the moor
  0   3   28


33   2   32

No. 14 A close of arable called Little Nestor
  1   3   15
No. 15 One Do called Great Nestor
  4   0   16
No. 16 A close of pasture called Holloway Close butting at the West End agst the Green Lane leading to the meadow
  2   3   13
No. 17 One other close of pasture called Mill Close, the East End being opposite the Mill House
  2   2     3


44   3   39

Page 2 has the Commonable Land listed
  1   3   32

[Page 3, Commonable Land being 3 crops & a fallow
  2   2   35

[Page 4, Horsemoor Furlong
  0   0   32

[Page 4, Furlong behind the Dean
  1   0   10

[Page 5, Elder Stub (furlong)
  2   1     9

[Page 5, Middle Furlong
  2   0   22

[Page 5, A Furlong
  1   0     4

[Page 6, Green Street
  0   3     4

[Page 6, Green Street
  1   2   03

This quartor collected

14   3   09

[Page 7, Buckhill Field (Some said to be   4   3   33

[Page 8, The Long Doles barley fields   3   0   17

            Short Heath then. Otherwheat   2   0   05

            Long Heath then.)   2   2   19

[Page 9, Long Broom
  1   2   24

            Furlong at Top of Marbit
  1   1   31

            Furlong behind Buckhill
  0   3   01

19   0   18

etc. Interesting names are Middle Field, Breach Furlong, Heath Furlong, Green Street Furlong, Water Furrows.

Milkingway Furlong, Norbrook Furlong, Shorton Furlong, Buckstone Furlong, Candle Furlong, Croft Furlong.

Meadow Ground New Meadow - Roundhill Meadow. Most meadow ground on the Estate was changeable and drawn by lots.

1 acre was mown for o9ne shilling. There were Furge Leys in Leasow Furlong. Two butts of woodland. Shorting up at Hippon Hill. Also:-

  1. The Lott Hedges of 100ft, 3 small oaks & 1 large poplar tree.
  2. The Lott Hedges of 40 yards.
  3. 1 lott next the Green Lane to the mill 50 yds in length. Three maiden oaks pretty large.
  4. 90 yards with trees and a few small ash trees.
  5. 42 feet - 20 withy trees only.

The Right of Common for Beafs are in the Lottes and Meadows for Thirteen upon the Leys.

Then there is a very large piece of paper (original & stained):-
"A true & perfect account of the Lands in the Leys and the Lotts of Hedging belonging to Mr Biddle's Estates in Harvington in the County of Worcester.

  1. Leys in the Leasow Furlong belonging to ? The Sixth the Fourteenth, the Eighteenth, The Twenty ffirst, Twenty Second, Twenty Fifth, Twenty Sixth, the ffortieth, fforty first, fforty Second, fforty third, fforty fourth. fforty ffifth, fforty sixth, ffifty third, ffifty sixth, ffifty seventh, ffifty ninth, ninetyeth, ninety first, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, the fforth and fifth butt from Powsons Leasow which short up to Lench ffield and the Hedge at the top the breadth of the Two Leys.
  2. Up Hippon Hill
  3. in the ? furlong
  4. In Norbrook furlong
  5. Lotts of Hedging in the Leys
  6. Lotts of Hedging in the ffields
  7. Lotts of Hedging in the Meadows. 2 Lays next the Quagmire!
[To the right of the above is written: "again with the names of those on each side of the rectangle."]

We notice the great distances to be travelled between one's strips and lays & hedging.



Churchwarden's Book:-
In the only extant Churchwarden’s book, begun in 1864.

The name of H.R.H. Duc D’Aumale appears for some years. In 1862 the Manor Farm passed into his possession and in 1870 Harvington Grange Farm. For £200,000 he acquired the Manor of Lenchwick & Norton, the Manor & Lordship of Bishampton with all woods etc. with parts of Harvington, Fladbury, Church Lench etc. from William Matthew Coulhurst & Hugh Lindsey Antrobus.

The Duke was a colourful character – tall, very fine-looking with fair hair and beard, & brilliantly blue eyes. He rode through the village on his horse - & one old villager told how she curtsied to him as he passed. He died in May 1897.

Another said that up to 1900 Wood Norton had shooting parties at which forty or fifty beaters were needed. They wore white coats, pull-on hats and storm-proof water proof trousers. They were paid three shillings a day with bread and cheese at mid-day. Their evening meal of roast beef etc. was served in a hall at the rear of Wood Norton. In its hey-day Wood Norton (now a BBC electronics training centre) was a country estate & hunting box, a sporting visit for royalty from all over Europe with the Duc D’Orleans, Pretender to the throne of France.

The estate was 600 acres & the daily bag was, between 1896 and 1912, three thousand pheasants (this meant there were several gamekeepers & many under Keepers). The Duke kept a good stable of Arab stallions, one a dapple grey given him by the King of Siam. He was also very fond of dogs e.g. some years Woolly-coated retrievers were bred by Mr. Wasley. The Duke’s favourite was a husky brought back from Antarctica which the Duke had visited in his yacht the “Maruchia”. Also he introduced eighty four varieties of deer as pets and also installed a bear-pit.

At Wood Norton there was no lack of festivity & no expense spared. This reached a peak in 1905 when the Duke’s sister Princess Louise of France married the Infanta Don Carlos, Prince of Bourton–Siciles. To Evesham came Kings & Queens, princes & princesses, grand dukes & duchesses & counts & countesses with King Alphonso of Spain as the chief guest.

Wood Norton was very full so the Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia stayed at Bretforton Manor; the Infanta Entalia of Spain at the Northwick Arms & the Duc de Guise at Miss Randell’s house in Chadbury. To represent him King Edward VII sent Prince Henry of Battenburg. All the hotels were full, carriage owners & tradesmen of all kinds did a very good trade. The greatest responsibility lay with the police, with the area full of foreign royalties. For 4 days £200 was spent each day on flowers. Fleur de-lys were everywhere. Estate workers were each given 18 gallons of beer! At Wood Norton a vast chapel was built in the Italian style – a timbered, temporary structure, with the walls covered in canvas which resembled stone work. The choir was made up by stars of the Paris Opera, & a company of Royal Hussars from Madrid were to be the Guard of Honour.

Rather late in the preparations it was realised that this chapel was unhallowed! So at 8.00 am there was a civil wedding and a later religious ceremony at the then Roman Catholic Church at Evesham (a corrugated-iron chapel) with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham officiating. Those few days must have offered many interesting moments for Evesham & District people.

In the Churchwarden’s book for 1868 the landowners are listed as HRH Le Duc D’Aumale at Manor Farm & Harvington lodge Farm. Mr George Malins, Rev. T. Charles, Mr J.T. Cole – Rectory Farm, Archdeacon Buckle. The value of the living then was £300. The Church accommodated 300 people and the free seats numbered 225.

Much nearer was Norton “north town from the Abbey”.

In 1703 the Saxon Kings Kenred (Coenred) and Offa gave seven menses or farms in this parish (Norton) to the Abbey and at the time of Domeday it held there seven hides. The Church dedicated to St. Egwin, is definitely stated to have been erected by the Abbot, Brockhampton in 1290.

At the Dissolution Norton became the property of the King from whom it came to Sir Philip Hoby. The Biggs family inherited through him. In the Church are three striking monuments to the Biggs family. The Church has a beautiful alabaster lectern with beasts and foliage & a bishop with his crozier. In the chapel the monuments with their heraldic adornments are good examples of Renaissance ornament. Early in the 17th century the Biggs mansion & land was purchased by Lord Craven (the funereal flags & tabards & arms are his). His house stood for over one hundred & fifty years in Lenchwick (beyond the turning to Charlbury). In it were stones from the Abbey ruins. Lenchwick was also given by the same two Saxon Kings to the Abbey. Once it had a chapel dedicated to Saint Michael.