Britannia, by William Camden


Big T THE Second Province of the Cornavii, having now changed its name, is from the principal town call’d in Latin Wigorniensis Comitatus, in Saxon Saxon Wirecearten-scyre , and in the present English, Worcestershire. ⌈It is well known, that after the Britains were expell’d this Nation by the Conquering Saxons, they retir’d beyond the Severn, and defended their new Territories against the encroaching enemy. So that this County, with those others through which that large river runs, were for a long time the frontiers between the two people. And (* * Breviar.
f.26. p.1.
as Mr. Twine has observ’d) most of the great cities that lye upon the East-shore of Severn and Dee, were built (to resist the incursions of the Britains) by the Romans or Saxons, or both.⌉ The Inhabitants of this part, with their neighbours, in the time of Bede, before England was divided into Counties, were call’d Wiccii;Wiccii. which name, if not given them from the winding course of the river on which they dwell (for as I have before observ’d, the Saxons stil’d the winding reach of a river, Saxon wic,) may seem to be deriv’d from the Salt-pits,Salt-pits. which the ancient English in their language nam’d Wiches. For in this Country, there are noble Brine-pits; and many Salt-springs are ever and anon discover’d, but are presently stop’d up, because, as I learn from some ancient writings, they are oblig’d, for the preservation of wood, to make salt only in one place. Nor let it be thought improbable, that places should take their names from Salt-pits, seeing there are many instances hereof in all Countries; and our Ancestors the Germans (as Tacitus reports) firmly believ’d such places to be nearest Heaven; and that mens prayers are no where sooner heard by the Gods.

⌈These Wiccii seem to have inhabited all that tract, which was anciently subject to the Bishops of Worcester, that, is, all Glocestershire on the east-side Severn, with the city of Bristol; all Worcestershire, except sixteen Parishes in the north-west part, lying beyond Aberley-hills, and the river Teme; and near the south-half of Warwickshire with Warwick town. For, as under the Heptarchy, at first there was but one Bishop in each kingdom, and the whole realm was his Diocese; so upon the subdividing the kingdom of Mercia into five Bishopricks, An. Dom. 679. (of which Florentius Wigorniensis saith, Wiccia was the first,) doubtless the Bishop had the entire Province under his jurisdiction, and accordingly he was stil’d Bishop of the Wiccians, and not of Worcester.AEthelred This will appear more probable yet, from a passage in * * P.559. edit. Lond. quarto.Florentius, who saith that Oshere, Viceroy of the Wiccians, perswaded Æthelred, King of Mercia, to make this division, out of a desire that the Province of Wiccia, which he govern’d with a sort of Regal power, might have the honour of a Bishop of its own. This being effected, his See was at Worcester, the Metropolis of the Province, which, according to † † Hist. Eccl. lib.2. cap.2.Bede, border’d on the kingdom of the West-Saxons, that is, Wiltshire and Somersetshire; and Coteswold-hills lie in it, which in Eadger’s Charter to Oswald is call’d Mons Wiccisca, or Wiccian-hill, tho’ ¦ ¦ Conc. Tom.1. p.433.Spelman reads it corruptly Monte Wittisca, and the * * Monast. Angl. T.1. p.140.Monasticon more corruptly Wibisca. Moreover Sceorstan, which possibly is the Shire-stone, beyond these hills, is said by † † Flor. p.385. 4°.Florentius to be in Wiccia.⌉

Worcester Shire map, left Worcester Shire map, right

Worcester Shire

This County is bounded by Warwickshire on the east, by Glocestershire on the south, by the Counties of Hereford and Salop on the west, and on the north by Staffordshire. perry peary To say all in one word; the Air and Soil are both so propitious, that it is inferior to none of its neighbours, either for health or plenty. It produceth, especially, Pears in great abundance, which, though they be not grateful to nice palates, nor do they keep well; yet they afford a vinous juice, of which is made a sort of counterfeit wine call’d Pyrry,Pyrry. that is very much drunk; though it be, like other liquors of that kind, both cold and flatulent.

Neither is it less happily accommodated with Water; for it hath in all parts very fine rivers, which furnish it plentifully with fish of the most delicious kinds. Not to mention those rivers which are less remarkable, the most noble river of Severn directs the course of its rich stream from north to south through the very middle of the County, and Avon waters the south-part thereof in its way out of Warwickshire into Severn.

⌈In the very north-point, lies Stourbridge,Stourbridge. so nam’d from the river Stour upon which it stands: a well-built market-town, and of late much enrich’d by the iron and glass-works. King Edward 6. founded and liberally endow’d a Grammar-school here; and in our time, near this place, the pious munificence of Thomas Foley, Esq; erected a noble Hospital, and endow’d it with Lands for the maintenance and education of sixty poor Children, chosen mostly out of this and some neighbour-parishes. They are instructed in Grammar, Writing, Arithmetick, &c. to fit them for trades. Their habit and disciplin are much like that of Christ’s Hospital in London.⌉

Severn, at its very first entrance into this County, runs between KidderminsterKidderminster and Beawdley. and Beawdley; the latter justly taking that name from its most pleasant situation, upon the declivity of a hill over the western bank of the river: it was † †† So said, ann. 1607.lately remarkable for the wonderful height of the trees in the adjacent forest of Wyre, which are † now in a manner all gone; whence our Poet and Antiquary Leland saith of it,

Delicium rerum Bellus Locus undique floret
Fronde coronatus Virianæ tempora Sylvæ

Fair seated Beawdley a delightful town,
Which Wire’s tall Oaks with shady branches crown.

But now, this little town is celebrated only for its delicate situation and beauty; together with the Palace of Tickenhall, which King Henry the seventh built, to be a place of retirement for Prince Arthur. ⌈The true name is probably Ticcen-hill, that is, Goats-hill, and was the name of the place, before the house, or hall, was built; which, with the adjoyning Park, was destroy’d in the late times of Usurpation.⌉ The former, Kidderminster, which is also call’d Kiddelminster, lies over-against it on the east-side, but at a greater distance from the river; a neat town, and a market well furnish’d with all commodities, and divided by the little river Stour, which runs through it. The greatest ornaments it hath at present, are, a very fair Church, in which some of the eminent family of the Cokeseys lie inter’d; and a fine house of the * * They do not reside here.Blounts, a good family, honour’d with Knighthood, and descended from those of Kinlet. But anciently this place was of note for its Lords the Bissets, very great men in their time; whose rich Patrimony coming at length to a division among sisters, part went to the Barons of Abergavenny, and part to an Hospital of Leprous women in Wiltshire; which house one of these sisters, being her self a Leper ⌈as is commonly said⌉ built and endow’d with her share of the estate. ⌈But the Hospital of Maiden-Bradley, in truth, was † † Monast. Angl. Tom. 2. p.408.built by Manser Bisset in King Stephen’s time, or the beginning of Henry the second, and endow’d by him and his son Henry, long before the estate was divided among daughters. * * Dugd. Baronage, T.1. p.632.For that happened not till the year 1241, so that the Tradition of the Leprous Lady is a vulgar fable.⌉ Afterwards, this place gave the title of Baron to John Beauchamp, Steward of the Houshold to Richard the second, who by his Letters Patents created him Baron Beauchamp of Kidderminster.Baron Beauchamp of Kidderminster. Soon after this, he, with many other eminent persons, was, in defiance of that King, condemn’d and beheaded by the Barons, who making an Insurrection with the Commons, in contempt of the King’s Authority, call’d all his prime Favourites to account for male-administration. ⌈And in our time, Thomas Foley of Whitley Court, hath been advanced to the Honour of a Baron of this realm, by the title of Baron Foley of Kidderminster.⌉

Hence, Severn taking somewhat an oblique course, salutes Hertlebury,Hertlebury. a Castle of the Bishops of Worcester, not far distant from it; and so goes on ⌈near Whitley,Whitley. the seat of the Lord Foley,⌉ to HoltHolts, in old English, Woods or Forests. (which hath that name from the thick woods,) a castle formerly belonging to the Abtots, and since to the Beauchamps. These, springing from William Beauchamp, sirnam’d the blind Baron, grew up into a very honourable family; whose estate after some time by heirs-female came to the Guises and Penistones. ⌈It was, since, the inheritance of the Bromleys, descended from Sir Thomas Bromley, Lord Chancellor of England in the middle of Queen Elizabeth’s reign: The eldest branch of which family being lately extinct by the death of William Bromley, Esq; (a person of great worth) without issue-male; this estate is now pass’d into another family of the same name, in the County of Cambridge.⌉ In its passage downward, Severn feeds such a number of River-Lampreys,Lampreys. that Nature seems to have made a Pond for them in this place, such as the Romans anciently invented in the height of their Luxury. Lampreys have their name from the Latin Lampetra, or licking the rocks; they are like Eels, slippery and of a dark colour, only somewhat blueish on the belly: on each side the throat they have seven holes, at which they receive water, having no gills at all. They are best in season in the spring, as being then of a most delicious taste, whereas in the summer the string within them, which doth the office of a back-bone, groweth hard. The Italians do much improve the delicacy of their taste, by a particular way of dressing them. First, they kill the fish in * * Vino Cretico.Malvesey, and stop the mouth with a nutmeg, and each hole with a clove; then rolling them up round, they add the kernels of filbirds stamp’d, with crums of bread, oil, Malvesey, and Spices; and then stew them all together carefully in a pan over a moderate fire for some little time. But to instruct Cooks and Epicures, is no part of my Business.

Below Holt, the Severn opens its eastern bank to receive the river Salwarp; ⌈for the making of which navigable, together with the neighbouring Stour, an † † 14 Car.2. n.46.Act of Parliament was procur’d in the reign of King Charles the second.⌉ This Salwarp, rising in the north-part of the County, runs by Brome’s-grave,Brome’s-grave. a considerable market-town, not far from Grafton,Grafton. a seat of the renowned family of the Talbots, which ⌈(upon the Attainder of Humfrey Stafford)⌉ King Henry the seventh gave to Gilbert Talbot a younger son of John the second Earl of Shrewsbury; whom, for his bravery in war, and his extraordinary wisdom, he also made Knight of the Garter, and Governour of Calice in France. ⌈UponBrook’s Catalogue of Nobility with Vincent’s Corrections, p.471. the death of Edward Earl of Shrewsbury, Feb. 7. 1617. (the last heir-male of John the third Earl of this family) the honour came to the house of Grafton; which was the seatDugd. Bar. T.1. p.334. of Charles Earl of Shrewsbury, the next lineal heir of Sir Gilbert Talbot before-mention’d.⌉Boeotia

From Brome’s-grave, Salwarp proceeds to Droitwich (DurtwichDurtwich. some call it, from the Brine-pits and its wet situation, as Hyetus in Bœotia ⌈is said to be⌉ from its dirty soil). ⌈Stephanus Byzantius, in his book De Urbibus, under Greek text, mentions this reason of the name. * * See Pausanias, l.9.Nevertheless, it seems not improbable, that the town in Bœotia deriv’d its name from Hyettus an exile from Argos who fix’d here; for the Greek name is not Greek text but Greek text. But this by the way.⌉ ¦ ¦ Vide Phil. Trans. n.142. 156.Here rise * * Three, C.several springs by nature’s particular bounty yielding plenty of brine,Salt-springs. ⌈(which lately were three, but anciently, as long since as King Henry the seventh, were five in number.)⌉ They are separated by a brook of fresh water which runs between them. And out of them is made the purest and whitest kind of Salt, for six months in the year, that is, from the Summer to the Winter Solstice; (being prepar’d in several little boiling houses built about the pits). ⌈Not that they observe these; as the seasons of wealling, nor do they at any time leave off, because the brine is too weak to make salt (for the springs yield strong brine all the year round,) but they leave off only, when they judge the quantity of salt made, sufficient to serve their markets, which they are careful not to overstock; and if that require the making it all the year, they do it. The proportions here made, may be gather’d from the Taxes annually paid from hence to the Crown, above fifty thousand pounds per ann. at the rate of 3s. 6d. per bushel.⌉ What a prodigious quantity of wood these salt-works consume, though men be silent, yet FeckenhamFeckenham Forest. Forest, once very thick with trees, and the neighbouring woods, do by their thinness declare † † So said, ann. 1607.daily more and more; ⌈which being not equal to so great and constant a consumption, they now burn coal, and not wood, in their Seales. The number of the Pits hath been considerably encreas’d, and it is not at all to be doubted, but many more may be yet made.⌉ If I should say, that Richard de la Wich,Richard de la Wich. Bishop of Chichester, who was born here, did by his prayers obtain these Salt-springs, I am afraid some would censure me as very injurious to the Divine Providence, and over-credulous of old wives fables. Nevertheless, so great was the pious credulity of our Ancestors, that they did not only believe it firmly themselves, and transmit it in writing to us, but also upon that account paid him honours in a manner divine: when, for his skill in the Canon-Law, and sanctity of life, he was solemnly canoniz’d for a Saint by Urban the fourth. ⌈And at this day, a Wake is annually kept here, in memory of him, founded probably upon the credit of this Legend.⌉ Yet before this Richard was born, Gervase of Tilbury wrote the following account of these Springs, tho’ not exactly true: In the Diocese of Worcester, there is a village not far from that city, nam’d Wich, where at the foot of a little hill, there runs a stream of very sweet water. On the bank hereof, are certain pits, few in number, and of no great depth, whose water is extremely salt; which, boil’d in pans, condenseth into very white salt. All the Country report, that from Christmas to Midsummer there comes up very strong brine; but that all the rest of the year, the water is somewhat fresh and unfit to make salt. And which I think more wonderful, when the water, † Opportuni partem, for opportuna parum, as it seems.not strong enough for making salt, riseth, it scarce ever runs over the pit; at the season of its saltness, the brine is not in the least weaken’d by the vicinity of the fresh river; and yet it is not at all near the Sea. Moreover, in the King’s Survey, which we call Domesday-book, In Wich there be eight fats of salt belonging to the King and to the Earl, which in every week of wealling yield on the Friday sixteen Bullions. ⌈What proportion this is, I cannot determin. Monsieur du Cange, in his Glossary, contents himself to say in general, that it is a measure of Salt. I am apt to think, it is the same with Bullitiones in Domesday-book,Leicester’s Antiquat. p.427. where an account is given of the rent of eight fats belonging to the King and Earl at Nantwich, which paid every Friday sixteen Bullitiones; and it follows, that fifteen of these made unam summam, one seam or horse-load, or eight bushels †† Spelm. Gloss. in Summa, Tom.2. p.256. col.2.. And in the Monasticon Anglicanum, four sums are said to contain forty Bullions, which I conceive to be Barrows, the size whereof hath been different, at different places and times. But whatever be the meaning of that expression in Domesday; it is certain, that these Annal. Wigorn.Springs were known and used, long before that Book was compil’d. Witness, divers Grants of the Saxon Kings, Kenulph, Edwin, and Edgar, to the Church of Worcester, and the Convent of Parshore; and one other to the said Church as early as King Athelstan; in all which, express mention is made of the Pits and Salt in this place; and they are, by consequence, at least five hundred years, and upwards, older than Richard de la Wich. The town it self is very wealthy; it had great privileges granted it by King John, whose Charter they have to shew at this day; (after whose time, in the year 1290, St. Andrew’s Church, with the greater part of the town, was burnt:) They were also much favour’d by his son King Henry the third and other Princes; particularly King James the first, in the 22d year of his reign, granted them a Charter. The Burrough is govern’d by two Bailiffs and a certain number of Burgesses: they send also two Members to Parliament. Between Droitwich and Worcester, at no great distance from the Severn, is Henlip,Henlip. a fair seat of the Abingtons, remarkable for the taking of Garnet and Oldcorn, two eminent Jesuits concern’d in the Powder-plot; who, after many days fruitless search, were found in a cavity of a wall over a chimney. In the same house was written that obscure Letter to the Lord Monteagle, by Mrs. Abingdon his sister, which gave some light into the horrid design. A large description of Worcestershire, was written by an able and industrious Antiquary of this family; the publication whereof hath been impatiently expected from him, these many years.⌉

Not four miles below Droitwich, Severn with a slow course, and as it were admiring, passeth by WorcesterWorcester. the chief town of this Shire, and seated on its bank: and really it deserveth admiration, both for its Antiquity and Beauty. For Antoninus mentions it by the name of * * Dr. Gale settles in at Rushbury in Shropshire; which see.Branonium, and Ptolemy (in whom by the transcriber’s negligence it is misplaced) by the name of Branogenium,Branogenium. whence the Britains or Welsh call it at this day Cair Wrangon, and in the Catalogue of Ninnius it is call’d Caer Guorangon and Caer Guorcon, ⌈which, altho’ deny’d by † † Comm. p.252.Mr. Burton as to both, is confirm’d by Archbishop Usher as to Caer Guorangon; but the same * * Prim. c.5.learned Primate judges Caer Guorcon to be either Warwick, or Wroxeter in Shropshire.⌉ Afterwards, the Saxons call’d it Saxon Weogare-ceaster, Saxon Wegeorna-ceaster, and Saxon Wire-ceaster, ¦ ¦ Perhaps, some think from Wire a woody forest adjoyning. ⌈But that forest lying near twelve miles from the city, and as much in Shropshire as in this County; Saxon Wirecester must be a contraction of Saxon Wigora or Saxon wigracester, as it was call’d in the days of the Conqueror and his sons. And Saxon wigracester it self seems to be a contraction of Saxon wic-wara-cester, i.e. the city of the men of Wiccia; just as Canterbury is of Saxon Cant-wara-byrig, i.e. the burrough of the men of Kent. The difference in writing Saxon weogora, Saxon weogorena, Saxon weogorna, and Saxon wigracester, is of no moment; for our Saxon-Ancestors us’d eo and i indifferently, as Saxon beorhtwald Saxon birhtwald, Saxon weohstan Saxon wihstan; and so, Saxon weogora, Saxon wiogora, and Saxon wigra-cester. And the difference in termination is as little material; for as here we have Saxon weogora and Saxon weogorena-cester, so in Bede we have Saxon cantwara and Saxon cantwaraena byrig. The present name Worcester, is either form’d from Wircester by the change of one vowel, or else by contracting and melting the Saxon g in Saxon weogoncester. In Latin it is Wigornia. One of the first who mentions it by that name, if I mistake not, is Joseph of Exeter (the most elegant Poet of that age, whose book passeth under the name of Cornelius Nepos) in these verses to Baldwin Archbishop of Canterbury:

In numerum jam crescit honor, te tertia poscit
Insula, jam meminit
Wigornia, Cantia discit,
Romanus meditatur apex, & naufraga
Ductorem in mediis expectat cymba procellis.

Now thy vast honours with thy virtues grow,
Now a third mitre waits thy sacred brow.
Deserted Wigorn mourns that thou art gone,
And Kent’s glad sons thy happy conduct own.
Now Rome desires thee, Peter wants thy hand
To guide his leaky vessel safe to land.

⌈This name Wigornia is made like Cantuaria, by softening the termination after the mode of the Latins. But as to the antiquity of the name, it is observ’d by others, that Florentius who dy’d above sixty years before Joseph of Exeter, dedicating his Book to Baldwin, us’d the name Wigornia; so that Joseph, tho’ one of the first, was not (as * * Burton’s Comment upon Antoninus, p.252.some will have him) the first writer who call’d it by that name. This city was, in all probability, built by the Romans, when, to curb the Britains who dwelt beyond Severn, they planted cities at convenient distances all along upon its east-bank, just as they did ⌈in Germany⌉ on the south-side of the Rhine. ⌈It’s foundation is refer’d by John Rous of Warwick to King Constantius; I suppose, he means Chlorus.⌉ It is seated on an easy ascent from the river, over which lieth a bridge, with a tower upon it. It was anciently fenced with lofty Roman walls, as an old parchment-roll informs us; and hath to this day a good firm wall. But it’s great glory consists in the inhabitants; who are numerous, courteous, and wealthy by means of the Cloathing-trade; as also in the neatness of its buildings, the number of Churches, and most of all, in the Episcopal See, which Sexuulfus Bishop of the Mercians placed here A.D. 680, building a Cathedral Church in the south-part of the city. Sexulfus ⌈This was dedicated to St. Peter; and disus’d, by degrees, after that Bishop Oswald had finish’d his Convent; and the Church thereof (dedicated to the Virgin Mary) became the Episcopal See; continuing so, till Bishop Wulstan pull’d it down, and began to erect a new one, in the year 1084;⌉ which hath often been repair’d, and by the Bishops and Monks hath been lengthen’d westward, a little at a time, almost to Severn-side. ⌈After it had suffer’d greatly by fire in the year 1113, and after that in the year 1202, and was repair’d again; it was dedicated anew to Mary the mother of God, St. Peter, and St. Oswald and Wulstan Confessors, (i.e. the greater Altar to St. Mary, and St. Oswald, and the middle Altar to St. Peter and St. Wulstan;) then, it was new-fronted from the foundation; and many years after, the Tower was rebuilt. Bishop Giffard (who was also Lord Chancellor of England) beautify’d the Pillars of the Quire, and the Chapels and Isles surrounding it, by interlacing little Pillars of grey Marble, which he fasten’d with rings of Copper gilt. Between the years 1317 and 1327, Bishop Cobham vaulted the north-Isle of the body of the Church; and Bishop Wakefield afterwards lengthen’d the body of it by the addition of two Arches (of different forms) to the west-end, and built the north-porch.⌉ It is really a fair and magnificent Structure, ennobled with the monuments of K. John, Arthur Prince of Wales, and some of the Beauchamps; as also with a College of learned men call’d Prebendaries, no less famous than were formerly the Priory of Monks, or College of Secular Priests here. For in this Church, presently upon its first foundation (as in the other Abbies of England) were placedMarry’d Priests. marry’d Presbyters, who govern’d those Churches a long time with great reputation for sanctity; till Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, in a Synod, decreed, That for the future all the Religious in England should lead a single life.

⌈This, according to the dateRegister of the Church of Worcester, A.D. 964. of King Eadgar’s Charter in the Church of Worcester, was in the year 964; which date, tho’ very nicely particular (having the Indiction, the year of the King, the day of the month and the week,) is nevertheless manifestly false. For Florentius, the Annals of Worcester, and other monuments, with one consent fix the expulsion of the Secular Priests to the year 969, and some of them add, that Winsius was created Prior in the year 971, which Winsius is in the body of this Charter mention’d as then actually Prior, so that 964 cannot be the true date †† See Flor. Wig. An.969.
Angl. Sacr. T.1. p.472. & 542, 543.
Chronic. de Mailros & Hoved. ad An.969. Antiq. Brit. in Vitâ Dunstani.
. The said Decree being made,⌉ Oswald, Bishop of this See, who was a most zealous promoter of Monkery, remov’d the Priests, and plac’d Monks in their room; which King Edgar attests in these words: The Convents both of Monks and Virgins were destroy’d and neglected all England over, which I have determin’d to repair to the praise of God for the benefit of my own soul, and to increase the number of the servants of God of both sexes; and accordingly, I have already settled Monks and Nuns in seven and forty houses, and resolve (if Christ spare me life to do it) that I will go on in the oblation of my devout munificence to God, till I have made them up fifty, the number of the years of Remission. Wherefore, at present, that Monastery in the Episcopal See of Worcester, which the Reverend Bishop Oswald hath to the honour of Mary the holy mother of God enlarg’d, and (having expel’d the Secular Clerks, &c.) by my assent and favour bestow’d on the religious servants of God the Monks; I do by my royal authority confirm to the said religious persons leading a Monastick life, and with the advice and consent of my Princes and Nobles do corroborate and consign, &c. After some considerable time, when, through the incursions of the Danes, and civil broils, the state of this Church was so decay’d, that in the place of that numerous company of Monks which Oswald founded here, scarce twelve were left; Wulfstan,St. Wulfstan. who was Bishop of this See about A.D. 1090, restor’d it, and augmented the number of Monks to fifty, and also * * Vid. supra.built a new Church. He was a mean scholar even in the account of that age, but a person of such simplicity and unfeigned integrity, and of a conversation so severe and strict, that he was a terror to ill men, and belov’d by all that were good; insomuch, that after his death, the Church gave him a place in the Kalendar, among the Saints. But after they had flourish’d in great wealth and power above five hundred years, King Henry the eighth expel’d these Monks, and in their room placed a Dean and Prebendaries, and founded a Grammar-school for the instruction of youth. Close by this Church, remain the bare name and ground-plot of the Castle, Which (as we read in William of Malmesbury’s history of Bishops) Ursus who was made Sheriff of Worcester by William the first, built in the very teeth of the Monks; so that the graff took away part of their cemetry. ⌈All that was taken away, together with an acre and half of ground, for their greater convenience, was afterwards restor’d to them in the time of King Henry the third. But, notwithstanding that Grant, it was still claim’d by the Sheriffs (who were the Earls of Warwick,) till, at last, ann. 1276, they releas’d all right and claim to it, in due form of Law, in consideration of one hundred pounds paid by the Monks.⌉ But this Castle, through the injury of time and casualty of fire, hath many years since been ruin’d.

The City also hath been more than once burnt down. A.D. 1041. it was set on fire by Hardy-Canute, who being enraged at the Citizens for killing his HuscarlesMarianus. (so they call’d his Officers who collected the Danegelt,) did not only fire the City, but also massacre all the Inhabitants, except such as escap’d into Beverly, a small island in the river. Nevertheless, we find in the Survey of William the first, that, in the days of Edward the Confessor, it had a great many Burgesses, and was rated at fifteen hide-land; and when the Mint went, every Minter give twenty shillings at London for stamps to coin withall. In the year 1113. a casual fire, which consum’d the Castle, burnt the roof of the Church also. During the Civil wars in King Stephen’s reign, it was fir’d once and again; but suffer’d most, when that King took the City,Anno 15
Steph. Reg.
which he had unadvisedly put into the hands of Walleran Earl of Mellent; but at that time he could not carry the Castle. ⌈To which we may very well add the plunder thereof by the Cromwellians after Worcester-fight, Sept. 3. 1651, in which the Army (consisting mostly of Scots who endeavour’d to re-inthrone King Charles the second) being routed, that Prince was wonderfully conceal’d till he could make his escape into France.⌉ However, it still rose up again with greater beauty, and * * Hath flourished, C.flourish’d under an excellent Government, manag’d by two Bailiffs chosen out of twenty-four Citizens, two Aldermen and two Chamberlains, with a Common-Council consisting of forty-eight Citizens more. ⌈But now, by virtue of a Charter of King James the first, dated Octob. 2. in the 19th year of his reign, this City is govern’d by a Mayor and six Aldermen, who are Justices of the Peace (these Aldermen are chosen out of the twenty-four Capital Citizens,) and a Sheriff, usually chosen out of the said twenty-four; and likewise a Common-Council consisting of 48 other Citizens, out of which number are annually elected the two Chamberlains. They have also a Recorder, a Town-Clerk, two Coroners, &c. The City is a County of it self; and is much adorn’d by a capacious and beautiful structure, erected by the generous Contributions of many Citizens and neighbouring GentryVid. Stat. 2 Ann. c.8. for a Publick Workhouse; in which, Children of both sexes are train’d up to the knowledge of Trade, and (what is of far greater advantage) to the practice of Religion and Virtue; by whose labour also the aged and decrepit, who cannot work, are supported. For the better management hereof, the Mayor of the City, with divers others, are by Act of Parliament erected into a Corporation to continue for ever. Opposite to this, is a fine Hospital for 12 poor men, erected by Robert Berkley of Spetchley, Esquire; who by Deed settled two thousand pounds for the building, and four thousand pounds for the endowment thereof.⌉ As to the Geographical account of it, its Longitude from the west Meridian is 21 degrees, 52 minutes, and hath the north-pole elevated 52 degrees and 12 minutes.

⌈Between WorcesterSee p.629. and Speechley, on a rising-ground, is probably the old Oswald’s-Law; which, † † Concil. T.1. p.434.Sir Henry Spelman says, signifies as much as Lex Oswaldi, and is the Constitution that was made for expelling marry’d Priests; and he is follow’d, in that opinion, by other learned men. But it must be observ’d, that in ancient writings it is not Oswaldes laga, but law, which signifies a knap or little-hill, and Edgar’s Charter gives that name to the place where Oswald’s Hundred-Court was to be kept; and the whole Hundred took its name from thence. It is very usual for Hundreds to be denominated from a hill, a field, a tree, a stone, or a cross, where the Court is call’d. In this Charter, there is mention of Ulferes law and Cuthburges law-Hundreds, now swallow’d up in Oswald’s law; and in other Counties, the names of Hundreds often terminate in law, as in Herefordshire, Radlaw and Wormlaw Hundreds. On the rising-ground before-mention’d, the Hundred-Court is still call’d. Another remain of this Saint, was St. Oswald’s Hospital,St. Oswald’s Hospital. not far off, built and endow’d by him in the year 960; but, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, pull’d down by Sir John Bourn, Lord of the manour of Holt. Upon the Restoration, the late excellent Prelate Dr. Fell, with great pains and charge, recover’d much of the Possessions, and erectedStat.15 Car.2. n.19. a fair and large Hospital, wherein twelve poor men are comfortably maintain’d.⌉

From Worcester,Barons of Powick. the river taking its course southward, passeth by Powick, anciently the seat of John Beauchamp, whom King Henry the sixth raised to the dignity of a Baron; whose estate, soon after, was carry’d by heirs-female to the Willoughbies of Broke, the Reads, and the Ligons.

⌈Below Powick, on the eastern bank of the Severn, stands Kemsey,Kemsey. an ancient manour of the Bishops of Worcester; where, before the Conquest, and many Ages after, they had a noble Palace, which hath been long since demolish’d, so that the ruins are not discernible. Here are some remainsAubr. MS. of a square camp, with single great rampires. About three miles south-ward, is Cromb D’abetotCromb D’abetot. (nam’d from Urso D’abetot anciently Lord thereof) the chief seat of the Lord Coventry; as the adjoyning Church is the burial-place of the family. About two miles on the west-side of the Severn, is Great Malvern,Great Malvern. an Abbey seated at the foot of the hill, which was founded by one Aldwin a Hermit, in the eighteenth year of the Conqueror’s reign; and himself, with King Henry his son, were benefactors to it. This house was of the Benedictine Order, and a Cell belonging to Westminster-Abbey. A very fair Church is yet remaining, which serves the Parish; but almost nothing is left to maintain a Minister. Two miles south from this, lies Little Malvern,Little Malvern. in a dismal cavity of the hill. It was founded An. Dom. 1171, by Joceline and Edred, two brothers, who were successively Priors of the house; which was also of the Benedictine-Order, and a Cell of the Monastery of Worcester.⌉

From Powick and Kemsey, through rich and fragrant meadows, the river runs by Hanley,Hanley. formerly a Castle belonging to the Earls of Glocester; and Upton,Upton. a noted market-town, where Roman Coins are frequently dug-up. Not far off, on the right-hand, Severn hath the prospect of Malvern hills;Malvern hills. hills indeed, or rather great and lofty mountains, rising like stairs one higher than the other, for about seven miles together, and dividing this County from that of Hereford; ⌈near which division, is a spring,Phil. Trans. n.20. that hath been long famed for the virtue of healing eyes, and other parts of the head; call’d therefore Eye-well: And besides this, two other springs issue out of these mountains; one call’d Holywell, heretofore much resorted to, for curing all scorbutick humours and external Ulcers, by bathing, and drinking of the waters; the other, famous for curing of accidental Tumours, and outward Sores.⌉ On the top of these hills, Gilbert de Clare Earl of Glocester did anciently cast-up a ditch all along, to part his lands from those of the Church of Worcester, ⌈as is said by some;⌉ which ditch is still to be seen, and is very much admir’d. ⌈But others have observ’d, that this must be meant of the Church of Hereford, and not of Worcester. For the Church of Hereford hath several-manours on the west-side Malvern-hills, and * * Angl. Sacr. Annal. Wig. ann. 1278. p.503.there was a famous quarrel between Thomas de Cantilupe Bishop of Hereford, and this Earl, touching some lands claim’d by the Bishop in Malvern-chace; and the Judges who were to decide that controversy, sate in the Chace.⌉ On the other side Severn, and near the same distance from it, Bredon hills,Bredon hills. tho’ much lesser than those of Malvern, rise with a sort of emulation. Upon these, appears Elmley,Elmley-Castle. a Castle, which once belong’d to Ursus or Urso d’Abtot, by whose daughter and heir Emeline it descended by inheritance to the Beauchamps. At the foot of these hills stands Bredon, a village, touching whose Monastery, Offa King of the Mercians saith, I Offa, King of the Mercians, will give thirty-five acres of tributary land to the Monastery which is call’d Breodun in the Province of the Wiccians, and to the Church of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, in that place; which my grandfather Eanwulf built to the glory and praise of the everliving God.

Under Bredon hills, to the south, lies Washborn,Washborn. a village or two, which gives the sirname to an ancient and eminent family in these parts. They lie in a spot of this County, that is quite sever’d from the main body.Parcel of the Shire severed from the rest of the body. And divers other like parcels lie dispers’d up and down; the reason of which I know not, unless it were this, That the Governours of this County in elder times, having estates of their own lying near, annex’d them to the County which they govern’d. ⌈It is worthy our observation, that in fact all these dismember’d parts, except Dudley, were originally Church-lands. Old Barrow environ’d by Warwickshire, belong’d to Evesham-Abbey, and Alderminster to Pershore. All the rest were the lands of the Bishop and Church of Worcester, before the division of England into Counties; and tho’ several of these have been alienated many ages, yet they are still in Oswaldslow Hundred; as Olb-barrow is in the Hundred of Blackenhurst, and Alderminster in Pershore Hundred; but the foundation of the last Abbey is later than the division into Shires. As for Dudley, the Castle stands in Staffordshire, but the Church and Town in this County. Before the Conquest, Edwin Earl of Mercia, had both town and castle, which were given to William Fitz-Ausculf, from whom through several hands they came to the Lord Ward, heir of the last Lord Dudley by his mother, who, thereupon, after her decease, did also enjoy the title of Lord Dudley. It appears that above four hundred and fifty years ago, the town and castle were under different civil Jurisdictions, as at present, and the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction was settled by the Pope’s Mandate between the Bishops of Worcester and Lichfield, according to the limits of the two Counties †† Vide Annal. Wigorn. ad An. 1238. in Angl. sacr. T.1. p.490.. Of these dismember’d places, one is Blockley, a Palace of the Bishops of Worcester, before the Reformation, where they also frequently resided; but it is now quite demolish’d. The Fosse-way runs out of Glocestershire, through a village in this Parish, call’d Dorn; which, the Country people have a Tradition, was formerly a City; and the many old Foundations that have been dug-up here, with the abundance of Roman and British Coins commonly found by the husbandmen, and the lines in which the streets ran, still very discernible, are all evident marks of its antiquity, and shew that a Colony of the Romans must have resided here for some considerable time.⌉

A little higher runs the river Avon in its way to Severn: in this County it waters Eovesham,Evesham. which the Monkish writers tell us, had its name from Eoves, swineherd to Egwine Bishop of Worcester (being also formerly call’d Eath-home and Heath-field;)The book of Evesham Monastery. a neat town, seated on a gentle ascent from the river. Bengworth Castle anciently stood at the bridge-foot, as it were in its suburbs; which William d’Audeville,About the year 1157. Abbot, recovering from William Beauchamp, utterly demolish’d, and caus’d the ground to be consecrated for a Church-yard. The town is famous for its Monastery, which Egwine, by the help of King Kenred son of Wolfer King of the Mercians, built about the year 700; as also for the Vale of EveshamThe Vale of Evesham. lying about it, and taking its name from the town, which for its fruitfulness is justly stil’d the Granary of these parts; so liberal is the soil in affording the best corn in great abundance. In more ancient times, this town was very famous for the overthrow of the Barons, and of Simon MountfortSimon Montfort. Earl of Leicester, our English Cataline. He being a person of a very wicked disposition, and extremely perfidious, taught us by experience the truth of that saying, Favours are esteem’d Obligations, no longer than they can be requited. For when King Henry the third had with a liberal hand heap’d all possible favours upon him, and given him his own sister to wife, he had no other returns from him, than the most implacable hatred. For he raised a most dangerous war, and miserably wasted a great part of England under pretence of redressing grievances and asserting its liberties, leaving no method unpractis’d whereby he might depose the King, and change the Government from a Monarchy to an Oligarchy. But after he had prosper’d a while in his enterprize, he, with many others of his party, fell in this place, being subdu’d in a pitch’d battel by the valour of Prince Edward. And instantly, as tho’ the sink of mischiefs had been cleans’d, a welcome peace, which he had banish’d, did every where appear. ⌈This town is an ancient Borough, enjoying many privileges, some by prescription, and others by divers Charters. It was govern’d by two Bailiffs till the third year of King James the first, who, at the request of Prince Henry, granted them a new Charter, giving the chief Magistrate the title of Mayor, and making the Corporation to consist of seven Aldermen, twelve capital Burgesses, a Recorder, and Chamberlain, who are all of the Common-Council; as also four and twenty other Burgesses call’d Assistants: and he extended their jurisdiction over the adjoyning parish of Bengworth. He likewise granted them more ample privileges, particularly power to try and execute Felons within the Borough. It sends also two Burgesses to Parliament. In the year 1697, Sir John Sommers was created a Baron of this Realm, by the title of Lord Sommers,Lord Sommers Baron of Evesham. Baron of Evesham; who being a person of extraordinary endowments, and early taken notice of for his great abilities, especially in the knowledge of the Law; was chosen, among others the most eminent Counsellors of that time, to plead the Cause of the imprison’d Bishops in the reign of King James the second; and, upon the happy Revolution which follow’d, he was made successively Solicitor-General, Attorney-General, Lord Keeper, and Lord Chancellor of England: being also (besides his extraordinary Abilities in that Profession, and an accurate and uncommon knowledge in the most polite parts of Learning) universally esteem’d and acknowledg’d to be the ablest Statesman of this age.⌉

Hard by Evesham, upon the same river, lies Charleton,Charleton. once the estate of a famous knightly family of the Hansacres, but now of the Dinlies or Dinglies, who, being descended of an ancient family of that name in Lancashire, came to this by inheritance. ⌈Not far from hence, below Fladbury, a small stream runs into the Avon; at the head of which is Abberton,Abberton. where are wells that yield a water bitter and purging, little inferior in virtue to those of Epsom, if not equal to them. This, before the dissolution, was part of the possessions of the Abbey of Pershore, and afterwards became the inheritance of an ancient family, the Sheldons.⌉ A little below Charlton, in the primitive times of our English Church, there was another Religious house, then call’d Saxon Fleodanbyrig, now Fladbury,Fladbury. ⌈before-mention’d⌉; and near this, Pershore,Pershore. in Saxon Saxon Periscoran, nam’d from the Pear-trees; which, as that excellent Historian William of Malmesbury informs us, Egelward, Duke of Dorset, a man of a generous spirit, and wholly devoted to pious munificence, built and finish’d in King Edgar’s time. But alas, what vast losses hath it since sustain’d! part, the ambition of great men hath seiz’d, part is forgotten and lost; and a very considerable part of its possessions, King Edward and William bestow’d on Westminster. ⌈Near this, is Alesborough,Alesborough. from which place the Earls of Coventry take the honourable title of Baron; being first bestow’d by King Charles the first upon Sir Thomas Coventry Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England.⌉ From Pershore, the Avon runs smoothly down by Strensham a seat of the Russels, an ancient family of the degree of Knights; ⌈now extinct by the death of Sir Francis Russel Baronet, a person of great worth and honour, who built here an Hospital for six poor widows, with a plentiful endowment; and whose surviving Lady since settled a Charity-school for poor Children to be taught to read and work.⌉ The Avon, ⌈having pass’d by this place, at some distance⌉ dischargeth its waters into Severn.

Hereabouts, in the south-part of the Shire, lies Oswalds-law-hundred,Oswalds-law-hundred. so call’d from Oswald Bishop of Worcester, who obtain’d it of Edgar;See before, p.625. the immunities whereof are thus register’d in the Survey of England, which William the Conqueror made; The Church of St. Mary in Wircester hath a Hundred call’d Oswalds-low, in which lie three hundred Hide-land, where the Bishop of this Church hath by very long prescription all the services and customary duties pertaining to the Lord’s Pourveyance, the King’s service, and his own: so that no Sheriff may hold a Court there, in any plea or other cause whatsoever. This is attested by the whole County. ⌈But it is more truly observ’d by others, that this Hundred is not one continu’d tract of ground, but consists of Town-ships scatter’d in all parts of the County, where the Bishop or Monastery of Worcester had lands, at the time when King Edgar granted that Charter to Oswald. This is evident to any person who observes the places nam’d in that Charter, as it is printed in ¦ ¦ Vol.1. p.433.Spelman’s Councils, and in the * * Vol.1. p.140.Monasticon Anglicanum. It is esteem’d a full third part of the County, but at this day doth not enjoy a third part of that Hundred.⌉

There is a place some-where in this County, but not certainly known, call’d Saxon Augustines-ac, i.e. Augustine’s-Oak,Austin’s Oak. at which Augustine, the Apostle of the English, and the British Bishops, met; and, having for some time disputed about the keeping of Easter, and preachingA.D. 603. God’s word to the English, and administering the Sacrament of Baptism after the rites of the Church of Rome; in conclusion, both sides went away dissatisfy’d. ⌈Some conjectures have been offer’d at the precise place. Sir Henry Spelman thinks, there are footsteps of the name in Ausric, a village in this County bordering on Herefordshire, which (as he expounds Henry of Huntingdon) lies in the confines of the Wiccians and the West-Saxons. The name of this village, he supposes, may be a contraction of Saxon Austines ric, i.e. Austin’s territory. But to omit some other material objections, it is certain that the vulgar maps deceiv’d that learned Knight, which are false printed, and should be Aulfrick; which name at its full length in old writings is Alfredes-wic: but it is his own mistake, to make Herefordshire a province of the West-Saxons. Others have conjectur’d, that Austins-Oak may have been in a Parish call’d corruptly the Rock; but, doubtless, by our Saxon Ancestors Saxon thaere ac, and in Latin Aka. Now this parish lies in that part of the Shire, which is most remote from the West-Saxon kingdom, bordering on Shropshire. All the light we have, is from Bede, who is the only writer within four hundred years of the time, that mentions this congress. He says, it was in the confines of the Wiccians and West-Saxons. He doth not say it was in Wiccia, much less that it was in that part of the Province which is now call’d Worcestershire; but that it was in the confines of the West-Saxons, upon whom Worcestershire doth not border any where. So that admitting this Oak to be in Hwiccia, it must needs have stood in that part of Glocestershire which bounds the Counties of Wilts and Somerset, Provinces of the West-Saxon Kingdom.

Now, we will give a particular view of the west-side of this County.cider The river Teme,Teme. in Latin Temedus, waters the north-west part of this Shire, taking its course into the Severn through rich meadows; and the soil on both sides produceth excellent Syder, and Hops in great abundance. On the edge of Shropshire, the river gives its name to Temebury,Temebury. a small, but well-frequented market-town. This town, with most of the Lands between Teme and Herefordshire, were held by Robert Fitz-Richard, Lord of Ricards-Castle, whose son Hugh marrying Eustachia de Say a great heiress, the issue of that match took the sirname of Say. These Lands, by Margery an heir-female, came to Robert Mortimer about King John’s time; and the issue-male of the family of Mortimers failing, the patrimony was divided between two daughters; the elder of which being marry’d to Geoffry Cornwall, part of it continues in the hands of their posterity, but the rest hath often chang’d its Lords.

About seven miles below Temebury, the river passeth under Woodbery-hill,Woodbery-hill. remarkable for an old entrenchment on the top, vulgarly call’d Owen Glendowr’s Camp; which notwithstanding is probably of greater antiquity. Hence runs a continu’d ridge of hills from Teme almost to Severn; and it seems to have been the boundary of the Wiccian Province. At the foot of Woodbery-hill, stands Great-Witley,Great-Witley. where is a fair new-built house, the chief seat of the Foleys, who bought it of the Russels, to whom it came about King Henry the seventh’s time by marriage with one of the coheirs of Cassy, who had marry’d the heir-general of the Cokesayes, its more ancient Lords. Under the west-side of Woodbery-hill, lies Shelsley-Beauchamp, and over-against it Shelsley Walsh,Shelsley Walsh. where dwelt Sir Richard Walsh the famous Sheriff of this County at the time of the Powder-plot, who pursu’d the traitors into Staffordshire, and took them there. On the south-east side of the hill (now, all together, call’d Abberly-hill,) and near the top of it, very loftily stands Abberley-lodge,Abberley. the seat of another branch of the ancient family of the Walshes, descended from Sir Henry le Walsh Knight, in the time of Henry the third; to the name of which branch, William Walsh Esquire, a person of excellent Parts and Abilities, put a period, by dying unmarry’d, and leaving only sisters.

A little lower, stood Hamme-castle;Hamme-castle. and now in the place of it a fair seat, which the ancient family of the Jeffereys have enjoy’d about two hundred years. Hence, by Martley, Teme passeth under Coderidge,Coderidge. a manour of the Berkleys, formerly of the Actons, and in more ancient times belonging to the Mortimers and Says. On the opposite bank, stands Leigh,Leigh. a manour of the Viscount of Hereford; whence the river, hasting to Powick, falls into the Severn.⌉

This County,Earls of Worcester. after the Norman Conquest, had for its Sheriff Urso d’Abtot,D’Abtot. to whom and his heirs King William the first gave large possessions, together with that honour. Roger his son succeeded him, who (as William of Malmesbury reports) enjoy’d his father’s possessions; but was divested of them, by falling under the heavy displeasure of King Henry the first, because in a furious passion he had commanded one of the King’s Officers to be put to death. But this dignity of Sheriff, by Emeline Sister to this Roger, descended to the family of the Beauchamps; for she was marry’d to Walter de Beauchamp, whom King Stephen made Constable of England when he displac’d Miles Earl of Glocester. In a few years after, King Stephen made Walleran Earl of Mellent,Robert de Monte. brother to Robert Bossu Earl of Leicester, the first Earl of Worcester, and gave him the City of Worcester; which Walleran became a Monk, and dy’d at Preaux in Normandy in the year 1166. His son Robert, who marry’d the daughter of Reginald Earl of Cornwall, and set up the standard of Rebellion against Henry the second, and Peter the son of Robert who revolted to the French in 1203, used only the title of Earl of Mellent (as far as I have observ’d,) and not of Worcester. For King Henry the second, who succeeded Stephen, did not easily suffer any to enjoy those honours under him, which they had receiv’d from his enemy. ⌈On the contrary,⌉ as the Annals of the Monastery of Waverley have it, he depos’d the titular and pretended Earls, among whom King Stephen had indiscreetly distributed all the Revenues of the Crown. After this, till the time of King Richard the second, I know of none who bore the title of Earl of Worcester. He confer’d it upon Thomas Percy; who being slain in the Civil wars by Henry the fourth, Richard Beauchamp, descended from the Abtots, receiv’d this honour from King Henry the fifth. After him, who dy’d without heirs-male, John Tiptoft, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, was created Earl of Worcester by King Henry the sixth. And he, presently after, siding with Edward the fourth, and accommodating himself with a blind obedience to the humour of that Prince, became the Executioner of his vengeance, till he in like manner lost his own head when Henry the sixth was restor’d. But King Edward having recover’d the Crown, restor’d Edward his son to all again. He dy’d without issue, and the estate was divided among the sisters of that John TiptoftOrig. 1 H.7. R.36. who was Earl of Worcester. Which sisters were marry’d to the Lord Roos, Lord Dudley, and Edmund Ingoldsthorp; whereupon Charles Somerset, natural son of Henry Duke of Somerset, was honour’d with that title by King Henry the eighth, to whom, in a direct line, have succeeded Henry, William, and Edward, * * Who is now living, and— C.who, among his other virtuous and noble qualities, † † Is, C.was deservedly honour’d, as a great Patron of learning. ⌈He dying, was succeeded by Henry his son, who was created Marquiss of Worcester by King Charles the first. This honour was, after him, enjoy’d by Edward his son, and by Henry his grandson; who was created Duke of Beaufort by King Charles the second, and (Charles his son, who was stil’d Marquiss of Worcester, a person of great accomplishments, dying in his Father’s life-time,) this title, with the other Honours, did next descend to Henry, eldest son of Charles aforesaid; and, by his death, to Henry his eldest son, the present Duke.⌉

This County hath 152 Parishes.

More rare Plants growing wild in Worcestershire.

Colchicum vulgare seu Anglicum purpureum & album, Ger. Park. Common meadow-Saffron. I observ’d it growing most plentifully in the meadows of this County.

Cynoglossum folio virenti J. B. Cynoglossum minus folio virente Ger. semper virens C. B. Park. The lesser green-leav’d Hounds-tongue. It hath been observ’d in some shady lanes near Worcester by Mr. Pitts an Apothecary and Alderman of that City.

Sorbus pyriformis D. Pitts: which I suspect to be no other than the Sorbus sativa C. B. legitima Park. That is, the true or manur’d Service or Sorbtree. Found by the said Mr. Pitts in a forest of this County.gluma foliacea

Triticum majus glumâ foliaceâ seu Triticum Polonicum D. Bobert. An Trit. speciosum grano oblongo J. B? Polonian Wheat. It is found in the fields in this County; and, as Dr. Plot tells us, in Staffordshire also.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52