Newsletter No 8

Newsletter No 8             Winter 1975/76

Miss G. S. Amiss has again shown her great generosity to the Society by buying a typewriter for which we are most grateful. She has been made our first life member, as was announced at the Members’ Meeting on 16th January.


Bromyard Parish Registers                A Study by Edna D. Pearson, B.A.

A few copies of this study, our second publication, are still available. It costs 60p, and is obtainable from hiss Pearson, 61. New Road, Bromyard (by post 80p), and from Mr B.C. Howe’s Bookshop, Bromyard. It covers not only Bromyard itself, but the large ecclesiastical parish of Bromyard.

Beginning with a short history of the Acts of Parliament regulating the keeping of church registers, from 1538 when the compulsory recording of baptisms, marriages and burials was established, and a description of how they were kept in Bromyard, Miss Pearson goes on to examine the records themselves. Rates of illegitimacy, the licensing of midwives, epidemics of plague, and the civil marriages of the Commonwealth are among the matters of interest which she mentions. Other aspects of local life, based on the evidence of the registers, including the influential families of the district, the trade in the town, the occasional acts of violence and death by misadventure, and the use of the registers for the safe recording of matters of communal information have separate sections.

The study, which is excellently produced, is based on the realities of the times, about real people, not merely characters.



The Society once again enjoyed the opportunity to mount a display at Bromyard Gala. The theme this year was “Children’s Bygones”, divided into nursery, playroom, wardrobe and school., The quality and quantity of material available and lent for exhibition was most rewarding, our grateful thanks are expressed’ to all donors for their generosity. Visitors to our tent are always’ most appreciative and this is an excellent way of demon­strating different aspects of the work of the Society. Thanks to the efforts of Mrs Paske and Miss Amiss, the raffle was an enormous success and adequately covered the expenses of hiring the tent and mounting the exhibition. Our grateful thanks to all donors for their generosity and all the helpers for their work, with especial mention of Mr Inett Homes and Mr. Bemand who so nobly guarded the ~tent and exhibits over the two nights.   P.D.W.



On 21st’ September next this Society will be ten years old, the inaugural meeting having taken place, in what is now the dining-room of the Hop Pole, on that date in 1966. Is some decorous junketing desirable, or necessary?



The vagaries of April weather were experienced by the large number of members and their friends who met at Stoke’ Lacy church on the afternoon of 5th April 1975, for a conducted tour of the parish. Despite the inclement weather a welcome contingent from Leominster Local History Society: arrived in a coach to join in our tour. I set the scene with a short introduction to the study of the parish by way of maps and historical outline, given. within the shelter of the church of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Stoke Lacy is one of the largest parishes in the Broxash Hundred measuring, in 1843, 2005 acres, and extended in 1884 to 2,505 acres. It ranges in height between 600ft and 300ft a.s.l. and is four times as long as it is wide. The name of the parish is derived from Roger de Laci to whom the manor was granted after the Norman Conquest. – There is some dispute as to how many manors were contained within the parish but Mintridge, Nether­court, Rodds and possibly a fourth manor located at Stoke Cross all get mention in the parish records. ‘

The church of St. Peter and St. Paul was drastically rebuilt in 1863, but it does retain a mid-l2th-century chancel arch, and the font is part 13th or 14th century. The first named incumbent was John of Bristol in 1279. Across the road from the church is Nethercourt Farm, which has traces of its former moat still visible though the house itself was rebuilt in 1872. Alongside the road is a commodious tithe barn

Travelling slowly south-west along A465 we passed, the site of a one­ time toll house, and, on the opposite side of, the road, a former inn, now Brickhouse Farm. Turning right at Cowarne cross roads, we paused at a view­point and could clearly see the old village nestled in the Loddon valley, whilst on the higher ground beyond is a concentration of newer properties at Stoke Cross. Proceeding to the Ullingswick turning, the old mill road was followed down to Huddle Mill, though in places the track has well-nigh ceased to exist as it was “stopped up” in 1837. The mill itself is now a ruin and there is no trace of the mill race. A somewhat muddy track was then followed down to Stoke Lacy Mill. The mill house has a massive chimney and there is a suggestion that it was a “one-night” construction to establish squatters rights. It ceased to be a mill in the nineteen-fifties though the mill race is still clearly evident, and within the mill itself remain traces of a mill­stone and some of the mill apparatus. A sign of the changing times is that the mill house now caters for tourists. Still in the valley is a fascinating herb farm which time did not permit us to visit, and the large old rectory nearby which has been converted into flats. This rectory was once owned by the Rev. Henry Morgan whose son built the first Morgan car in the coach house. The Rev. Henry Morgan provided the village with a reading-room located alongside the churchyard, but this he later closed since it was alleged to be a haunt for card playing.

Using the Leominster coach and private cars, we next visited Woodend where the remains of an extensive quarry were inspected, and a small lime kiln alongside the road was to be seen. By kind permission of Mr and Mrs D. Weaver, many members were able to admire the interior of 16th-century Woodend Farm. On leaving the house (by now it was snowing hard so tea was taken in the vehicles), we were excited to discover that the main barn was a fine example of cruck construction (15th century”) It had been intended to walk past the Sough Farm, now in ruins, but which once contained a pulpit and served as a Dissenters meeting place However, due to the inclement weather, we drove to Hall Place Farm where we were welcomed by Mr G. Weaver and invited to roam through ‘the rooms ‘of this fine old farmhouse which was built circa 1600 on a T-shaped plan.

Time was now running out and the last part of the planned itinerary was little more than a cavalcade past Tuthill Farm, Newton Farm (built on a T ­shaped plan with a cross-wing Of the late 15th century or early 16th century) and so to Mintridge Farm. In a sale notice of 1840 the house is described as “a capital stone and brick-built house in excellent repair”, but Mintridge is claimed by some to be the oldest dwelling in Stoke Lacy, though much altered. After the Norman Conquest this part of the parish was granted to Griffin, son of Mariadoc, but the name of the farm was derived from ‘Walter de Muntryche who lived in the reign of Henry III and held the manor by the fifth part of a knight’s fee.

As we drove back to the church it was pointed out how much larger are the’ fields in ‘the high part of the parish and how scattered and infrequent the houses, compared with the area at Stoke Cross and in the Loddon valley. Stoke Lacy parish is notable for the number of fine old houses it contains, and it was unfortunate that time permitted us to visit only two or three; there remain such others as Roxpole, Merryfield, Upper House, Church House, all of which will have to wait f or a subsequent occasion.



Hereford cattle are said to include, among their ancestors a’ Flemish’ breed introduced into the county by Lord Scudamore in the 17th century, Welsh white cattle, and a breed from the Ukraine.

Lord Scudamore’s imports were red with white faces, and beasts similarly marked are to be seen in the pictures of the old Dutch and Flemish masters. But the first deviation in colour may have come from crossing the native Hereford with the, white Welsh. As to the inclusion of a Ukrainian strain the Earl of Chesterfield, after some research, wrote in the Quarterly Review of March 1849, “The Hereford brings’ good evidence that he is the representa­tive of a widely diffused and ancient race The most uniform drove of oxen which we ever saw consisted of 500 from the Ukraine. They had white faces, upward horns, and tawny bodies. Placed in Hereford, Leicester, or Northampton markets, they would have puzzled the graziers as to the land of their nativity, but no one would have hesitated to pronounce that they were rough Herefords.” From the statements of authoritative agricultural writers it is a fact that towards the end of the 18th century the Hereford was in colour a middle red and that the ‘white face, the ‘bald face’ was considered characteristic of’ the breed.

All the  preceding information is to be found in “History of Hereford Cattle” by James MacDonald and James Sinclair, published first in 1886 then in a revised edition in,1909, by Vinton & Company, and reprinted in 1968 for the Hereford Herd Book Society. This book was used by Mr H. W. Herford, of  the Herd Book Society, when he spoke to us in February last year.

Mr Herford pointed out that originally cattle were bred to be draught animals and only killed for human consumption when their working life was over. Indeed, MacDonald and Sinclair quote astonishment being expressed by one authority at “the six-year-old oxen of Herefordshire, proscribed and cut off in the fullness of their strength and usefulness”. With the improvement in farming in the 18th century and the industrial development of the country the ox came to be bred, to quote MacDonald and Sinclair, “as a machine for the rapid and economical conversion of the crops of the farm into human food”. Mr Herford mentioned the pioneer, breeders who had realised the possibilities of the new situation, among the first being Robert Bakewell who from 1755 took the most prominent part in the improvement of Hereford stock. However, about twenty years earlier Richard Tomkins of the New House, King’s Pyon, had already begun the systematic improvement of his herds, which was carried on by his son, Benjamin, born in 1714, who farmed at the Court House, Canon Pyon, and Wellington Court, and Benjamin’s son, also Benjamin, of Blackhall and Brook House, King’s Pyon, and Wellington Court William Galliers of Wigmore Grange was a close friend of Benjamin Tomkins the elder, and another noted breeder. It was thought that some time during the first’ half of the 18th century he had bought from Yorkshire a red bull with a white face which influenced the breed, but there is no other confirmation of this apart from a handwritten document

saying the unidentified writer, had been told by an unidentified “Herefordshire  which was in the possession of the Galliers family. The sale of the Wigmore Grange herd, by William’s son, John, on 15th October 1795 is the first sale of Herefords of which there is a detailed account. Other prominent breeders were the Tully family of Huntington, Haywood and Clyro, the Skyrme family of Dewsall and Stretton, and the Haywoods of Clifton-on­Teme. MacDonald and Sinclair devote a chapter to Benjamin Tomkins the younger, and another to the Hewer and Jeffries families.

In 1846 the first volume of the Herd Book was published, although it was regarded with suspicion by some breeders who wanted to keep their own systems to themselves, and with scepticism by others, Thomas Duckharn of Baysham Court, Ross, a successful breeder and Member of Parliament for Ross, became editor in 1857, eventually retiring in 1878. In that year the Herd Book Society was established. In 1886 the Herd Book was closed to any animal whose sire and dam had not been entered in the records.

Mr Herford listed some of the owners of prominent herds in the Bromyard district at the turn of the century, including Henry J Bailey of Rowden Abbey, Archer B Baldwin of Underley, T Barneby of Saltmarshe Castle, William Enderby of Munderfield Harold, Francis W. Firkins of Paunton Court, Captain R L Heygate of The Wells, Richard Phippps of Buckenhill, and at Knightwick T L Walker of Knightwick Manor.  Speaking of the breed’s success abroad he mentioned the polled Hereford controversy which arose from the accidental breeding of a Hereford cow to a Red Polled bull in the United.’States, producing a male with perfect Hereford markings and polled. The polled descendants were not considered to be Herefords by breeders in this country and were not imported until the 1950s.

The export of pedigree Hereford stock still continues, said Mr Herford, especially to Denmark, Sweden and Russia.  Russia? Considering Lord  Chesterfields observation perhaps the wheel has come full circle.


A BRIEF SURVEY OF  THE  PARISH  OF  PENCOMBE       By H.B.J.Evans            -.

Pencombe is one of the largest parishes in the Broxash Hundred and at the time of the 1839 Tithe Survey covered by estimation 3,955 acres 1 rood. It is bounded on the north by Grendon Bishop, on the east by Winslow, in the south by Little Cowarne and Stoke Lacy, and in the west by Bodenham and Humber. The village lies in a natural bowl, the lowest point of which being at 350 ft near Broädfield Lodge on the west and 400ft on the Lodon at Hyde Bridge on the boundary with Winslow, and rising to its highest point, 829 ft atH egdon Hill.

The soil is very rocky, mostly Old Devonian with limestone, known locally as Cornstone from its yellow colour, which overlies the sandstone. It is very fertile and good for growing wheat, oats, barley, hops, beans and fruit. The existence of several old quarry holes bears evidence that stone was quarried on the spot where it was required for building purposes.

In 1066 Herefordshire belonged to the King who gave it to Earl William Fitz Osbern of Herefordshire and he, in his turn, divided it among his followers, by which Alfred of Marlborough came by the Manor of Pencombe, consisting of 15 hides, as well as the castle of Ewyas Harold. Agnes, Alfred’s daughter, married Thurstin the Fleming of Wigmore, another of the Earl’s followers. When her husband was banished for insurrection against the King, Agnes held the Manors of Pencdmbe and Much Cowarne in her own right. Eustace, Agnes’s son, became known as Lord of Whitney as he held the manor there. The Whitney family retained Pencombe until they sold it to Sir Thomas Coningsby in the early 18th century and it became part of the Hampton Court estate. In the 17th century the Coningsby family lived at Great Hegdon, and a Henry Coningsby died there in 1636. In the Hearth Tax returns of 1665 a ‘Coningsby Gent’ had a. house with eight chimneys which would have been fairly large and I assume this could have been Great Hegdon. (The Rectory also, had five chimneys with three ‘stopt’ up.) The house was rebuilt c.1875 when it was owned by Septimus Holmes, Godson of Tenbury.         

The Whitney family lived at Pencombe from 1305to 1452, and it is thougt that the Manor House  was on the site of the present Pencombe Court Farm behind the church. Early in the 15th century the farms were let out to tenant farmers. A Court Roll, in which there are many gaps, covers the period 1303-1452, and about thirty different years are mentioned, but there were often several meetings a year. There are fairly frequent references to land held, especially when such land was demised.

Clearly the Manor of Pencombe was not organised as a nucleated settlement, i.e. Pencombe itself was one of several settlements within the Manor. The actual extent of the Manor is not known, but it seems to have been roughly equivalent to the modern parish, although one or two possible settlements lie outside the boundary. Many of the settlements mentioned in the Court Roll of 1303-1452 can easily identified with modern farms as follows:-

BARNSTONE FARM (grid ref.581533), called Bernesland, Berneston, de Berneston, held by knight’s service. Succession of people surnamed de Berneston throughout period. Land seemed to have been held by Dean and Chapter of Hereford.

BITTERLEY HIDE (grid ref.578517), now HOLLY GROVE, called Bitterley (place where butter was made).            Succession of people after c.1340 called Butterley, Bytherieye.

DURSTON (grid ref.598542), Thourdeston, Thoreston, Thurleston, Thurston.

FISHPOOL (Grid ref.594531), Fysshpool, Fispol, Vyspoll.  Succession of people surname de la Fispol.

MAIDENHYDE FARM (grid ref.568548), Maidenhyde, Mayenhithe. Succession of people’ named de Maidenhyde.

MARSH COURT (grid ref.584520), Merscourt, Merssh, Marrsch. Succession of people named de la Marsch.

MARSTON STANNETT (grid. ref.571552), Maristun

People: 1335 ‘alter, de ‘lent’ de Merston.

NASH FARM (grid ref.578542), variously de la Asche, atte Nash, de Fraxino. De Fraxino held land in Pencombe by knight service. Succession of people named de la .ashe etc.’, throughout period.

PENCOMBE (grid ref 600528), the modern village

Succession of people named Pencombe.

SIDNAL (grid ref.595515), Sothenale, Southunhale.

Succession of people named Sothenhale etc

SPARRINGTON’ (grid ref.568537), Sparuton, Sparweton. Succession of people named de Sparuton etc., also in 1437 John Mule of Sparuton.

STONE FARM (grid ref.584528), Stone.  Succession of people named de la Stone, including 1304—1341 John Faber de Stone. (Demolished 1975 by present owner).

WOOTTON FARM (grid ref 574525), Wotton, Wodeton.  Succession of people named de Wodeton, etc., including 1374 WilliamBach…? of Wooton, and 1305 William le Bond de la Wodeton.

Identification of the other settlements is not so certain:-

Castell –  doubtful. There seems to be no evidence of a castle at Pencombe 0. S. shows Copy Castle (grid ref 582545). This is, in fact, a very small ‘stone cottage, now ruinous, in an orchard. The orchard and the next field contain what might be ‘ridge, and furrow’. ‘ ‘

hircheord, Cimiterio, Chirwoode – possibly Church House (grid ref 576538) Obviously more than simply the cemetary around the church. Succession of quite important members of one family named le Chyrchyard etc.

Hakeleye, Nether Hakeleye, Netherhecluid – some doubt. Possibly Hackley Barn and Hack wood (grid ref.557530).Succession of people named de Hakeley etc., including 1374-85  John ‘~ebbe of Netherhakeley.

Honalwood, Hoonaldewode, Fonalwood — possibly Hennerwood Farm (grid ref.562537). Succession of people named de Honalwoode etc.

In the mid-l9th century there was a large brick and drain pipe works owned by Mr J.H. Arkwright and managed by Thomas Hunt. It was on Hegdon Hill, the clay pit being on land now belonging to Foxholes.

The parish church of St John was entirely rebuilt on the old foundations in 1864-5 at a total cost of £3,600. It was built after the plan of the old church from designs and under the supervision of the diocesan architect and surveyor, Mr Thomas Nicolson, and comprises nave, chancel, sanctuary apse, organ chamber, vestry, apparatus crypt, south porch and engaged tower to the south-east of the nave. The style is transitional Norman richly treated. An arch divides the chancel and nave, and another, of more elaborate design, the chancel and aspe which is vaulted and groined in stone. The stained glass windows are from the old church, but a new font replaced the 14th century one which is now stored under the tower. The Parish Chest is 17th century. When the church was rebuilt there were four bells, but two more were added in 1890 in memory of the Rev. Robert Burroughs, rector from 1877 to 1890, a treble from his friends and a first treble from his brothers and sisters. There are brass monumental tablets to the memory of Louisa Margaret Domville and others, including one to Richard Hall, clerk of the parish for fifty-two years, who died on 8th March, 1902. An interesting memorial is to Richard Jordan, son of Mr and Mrs George Jordan of New House Farm, who “led by a spirit of enterprise and a passionate love of knowledge accompanied Mr Richard Landor in his third and last attempt to explore the interior of Africa, and there fell a sacrifice to the baneful influence of the climate dying at Damgugoo on the 21st day of November 1832 in the 20th year of his age …“.

The Reading Room, now known as Townsend Cottage, was given to the parish by the Arkwright family in 1890, £150 being expended on fittings for a billiard, and news room. Stables at the rear of the Room provided shelter for horses during church services.

The village school was built in 1862 to accommodate a hundred boys and girls, and has a house attached for the schoolmaster. The land, a parcel of orchard, called Bank Orchard, was given to the. Rector and Churchwardens by Mr.Arkwright for a school “to be conducted according to the principles of the established Church”.


BROMYARD  NICKNAMES                             by Daphne Davies

This collection of local nicknames, compiled by a Brornyardian now deceased, appear to date from the late nineteenth century to the present day.

Sturdy Page

Gassey Ward

Comic Smith

Kitchener Taylor

Tich Harrell

Sharkey Jones

Swallow Courtney

Tarrif Reform Taylor

Bantum Pensome

Spider Lock

Zacky Handley

Ting-a-Ling Taylor

Asquith Taylor

Batchelor Gittings

Sherriff Davies

Bucket Webb

Whippet Phillips

Murderwork Smith

Fazo Moss

Bungay Lloyd

Bogey James

Totsy Hincksman

Mousey Griffiths

Knocker Lock

Nake Ruck

Sniggy Smith

Rumour James

Scutty Evans

Englishman Taylor

Burger Preece

Rankin Walwyn

Ceaser James

Actor Taylor

Birdie Partridge

Tapper Jones

­Lumber Hinksman

Boozer Booth

Twitter Bayliss

Bumper Westbury

Hurry-up Lewis

Snitcher Smith

Curly Lewis

Rooty Smith

Tipper Bedford

Cobbler James

Snidor James

Suffy Charlie

Clocky Harris

Punch Partridge

Ju-Ju Lewis

Ponto Jatkin

Paddy James

Buggy Davies

Skinny Passey

Cloggy Haynes

Fussy Carter

Thatcher Haynes

Bubbles Taylor

Chaser Lock

Jockey Bedford

Windy Perkins

Lazabout ……

Doiger James

Dardy Edwards

Scutter Powis

Tich Charlwood

Ten-to-Two Powell

Sog James

Slab Corbett

Tackler Bowers

Durge Harrell

In addition, others have been given to us:

Cooky or Cookie

Upper-the-Villa Jock

Cosmo Payne

Baggy James

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines nickname as “Name added to or substituted for person’s proper name; abbreviation or familiar form of Christian name”. This is a cold definition and gives no feeling for the regard that lies behind the bestowal of a pet name or nickname known usually only to one’s close friends or family. The widespread use of nicknames in Bromyard in the early part of this century indicates a closeness of community. Many of the names on this list are very familiar to many local residents and were recalled by the compiler with kindness and affection.


The following four items were given at the Members Evening in January.

ORES,  ARLES  OR  ALDERS                  by Katharine A. Carey

Not long after we moved to Herefordshire a neighbour offered me an ‘oblionker’ tree to plant along my new driveway. I awaited, with keen anticipation, the arrival of such an exotic sounding tree and was some surprised when she presented me with a horse chestnut.  Since then I learned that local children have a rhyme to herald the opening of the conker season.

“Obli, oblionker, my first conker “

In the Malvern area there is a slight variation in the first goes “Knobbly Oblioriker” The same neighbour subsequently ‘sally’ tree, but by now I possessed Miss Winifred Leeds book on ‘Herefordshire Speech’,’and there I found sally equals sallow or willow.

In the tithe schedule for Stoke Lacy I encountered another unfamiliar word. This word (pronounced orrells) and sometime “arles”, is the Herefordshire name for the Alder tree, and a told me that the wood of the alder was used for making the clogs such as the Lancashire cotton workers used to wear. My far remember a Mr Lunn, from Ullingswick, making these clog sole about 1910. Mr Lunn would pitch a tent on the banks of a stream where the orles grew and live there all through the summer The trees he chose were 18 ins to 2 ft in girth, and after felling he would cut them into suitable lengths and split each length in two. For shaping the clog sole he tool called a ‘stock-knife’ which was hinged at one end on to a bench. The knife part was about 2 feet in length and had a long handle so that a conciderable leverage could be bought to bear on the cutting edge of the blade, and the clogger could shap a clog sole in three deft strokes. He then stacked the clogs to dry out  during the summer months, before sending them to Lancashire, where the rough would be shaped to the individual foot and the leather upper attached. The craft of clog sole making seems to have vanished from Herefordshire, but in Wales the orle, arle or alder is still fashioned into clog soles and the finished clogs can still be bought from a shop in Wigan.


BROMYARD  RURAL  District  COUNCIL,  1968-74  By Joan Leese

I was prompted to do this piece by one of the rules in a historical novel competition run by MacMillan, the publishers, last year. The rule read, “For the purposes of this competition History ends in 1925”. Very convenient, very neat, and would that History could always be so. But, on reflection, I realised that sometimes it is, and that we have a recent local example.

So for the purpose of this piece History ends on 31st March, 1974 and it begins on 1st April, 1968. That was when the new Bromyard Rural District Council came into being, formed, you may remember, ‘by the amalgamation of the Bromyard Urban District Council, which looked after Bromyard town, and the old Rural District Council. It was a marriage of convenience which, despite gloomy forbodings by members of both parties, turned out quite successfully, as such marriages “often do.

Looking back on the Council’s six years of life one may be tempted to think of a glorious imperial sunset before the coming of Dark Ages and the onslaught of barbarians – from Malvern. But that would be nostalgia and we will ‘not’ give way to it. Instead let -us consider if anything of lasting value ‘really was accomplished in those six ‘short years’, besides a bowling green and a hard tennis court, a pavilion and some charming rose beds.

Yes, I think there was, and it can be seen here in Bromyard and throughout the district, and the record of how it came about ‘can be found in my sources which are the minutes of the Council and its committees.

The Bromyard Development Sub-committee held its first’ meeting on 9th May when the Council’ was just over a month old. One of the subjects on the agenda was industrial development. It sometimes seems now, doesn’t it, that there have always been small factories where the old I Bromyard Station and its goods yard used to be. But none of them were there in the late Spring of 1968 – in fact, the old station platforms were still in place. A year later in his first annual report the chairman of the Council could say that – and I quote him – “in spite of atrocious weather!’ the ground was ready for the first  of the factory owners to take possession of the sites they had bought. He also reported that the disused railway had been made into a road to the Three Mills where there was already an ‘industrial firm working. This road he pointed out, “not only avoided the use of Church Lane, which is narrow and dangerous, but it has put the disused line to good use and removed a potential eyesore from our midst, which was indeed true.

Another matter on the agenda for that first meeting of the Bromyard Development Sub-Committee was the proposed car park in Cruxwell Street at the top of the town. That took much longer in the making. Not all the land which was needed belonged to the Council and it was not until two years later in his -annual report of 1970 that the chairman could say that at last it had been bought. But, after all, the selling of private land for public use needs careful consideration.

To digress for a while it is in this report of 1970 that there is a mention of the Maud report on the reorganisation of local government -the faint jingle of the barbarians spurs in the distance, if you feel fanciful. The chairman said, “There is little doubt that the days of the Rural District Council are numbered.” He continued, “It is unlikely that the Report will be implemented, either in its present order or in some revised form before 1973/1974 and I think it is up to the Council in these intervening years to press on with such schemes that will assist the area, whether they be housing, sewerage, car parks or the provision of leisure facilities, thus ensuring that whatever new authority is created, we shall have made progress that will leave its mark as a tribute to the forward looking attitude of the Council. Our voice will be very weak in the large unitary council envisaged under Maud and I feel that what we do not achieve in the intervening period, as for example car park schemes etc will be too insignificant to interest a large multi-purpose authority which will have ‘little local representation.”

Is it fanciful to call those prophetic words?

To return to the Cruxwell Street car park and the residents near it suffering what seemed to them, an endless time of weeks of mud alternating with days and days of dust. Eventually in his annual report of 1971 the chairman was able to say that the car park was completed, and “is now fully operational “ and has been used consistently from that day to this.

So we have a collection of light industries and a useful car park to the credit of the late lamented aural District Council.

There were other achievements, including 32 dwellings built at Whitbourne, an industrial estate established at Bishops Frome, a sewerage system at Pencombe. ,

There were disappointments of course. Perhaps the sharpest was that the houses here on Quarry Meadow were not built and occupied, preferably by local people, before the Council’s history ended. But perhaps that was beyond the direct control of the Council.

Remember the first chairman’s wish that the Council should leave its mark as a forward—looking body? Light industry, new houses, a car park among other things, were achieved. I don’t think it’s fanciful or nostalgic to say his wish was realised to some extent before History ended for the Council on 31st March 1974.


PRICES                       by Edna D. Pearson

The subject of prices is a very tricky one and really calls for much research by an expert on the subject. This is a case of one rushing in where angels fear to tread. I always hope that our evening will bring some light—hearted relief to serious studies. These few remarks will leave you not wiser but sadder people when I sit down.

The conversion of medieval to’ modern money is an impossible task, but it must be borne in mind that, at the end of the 13th century, landowners with an income of more than £2O were rich enough to undertake the expensive honour of knighthood. This, at first, was a military rather than a social distinction.

Of course all kinds of .things affect prices, wars (think of the value of our own £1 compared with pre-1939), debasement of the coinage, poor harvests, social change etc. Allowing for all this and not taking the subject too seriously, it is an amusing, if nostalgic, exercise to glance, at prices in earlier centuries. If we look at the money value of most articles we see, with few exceptions, it keeps increasing steadily with each successive decade.

In the 13th century the wages of an agricultural labourer, not counting extra payment for harvest, would be about £2.11.8d. per year. In the 14th century the price of food fell and wages rose. Prices rose again due to the base money of Henry VIII and EdwardVI. The reform of the coinage was one of the first Acts of  Elizabeth’s  reign, but between the end of that reign and the Civil war prices more than doubled, but wages did not keep pace. In addition, the value of land had been rising since the 15th century.

Up to 1540 the average wage of an artisan in the country was 3/- a week. An agricultural labourer earned 2/-.

In1684 the hours of labour were defined. Between March and September from 5 a.m, to 7 or 8 p.m., 2 hours were allowed for meals; an hour for breakfast, 1 hour for dinner, 1 hour for drinking, and between mid-May and mid-August 1 hour for sleep. From mid-September to mid-March labourers worked from daybreak till night and forfeited a penny an hour for absence.

According to Philps-Brown, the index of food prices cited by Professor Hoskins giving a base period 1451-71 as 100 by 1650 had reached 839!

Arthur Young on a tour through England in 1767 mentions the average wage of a husbandman as 7/6 a week – with extra at corn and hay harvest.

The end of the 18th century was another period when wages did not keep pace with high prices. Thus we see that inflation was not only a problem of the’ 20th century.

From the end of the 19th century the Bromyard newspapers give more detailed accounts of local prices and conditions. In 1883 the average wage of agricultural labourers did not exceed 12/- or 13/- weekly. Eighteen-eighty-five was another period of depression for the country. Farmers were complaining of the low prices they got for their commodities and labouring men were complaining of the scarcity of work so that they could not purchase more than the bare necessities of life.

A quotation from the ‘Morning Post’, April 6 1887, says, ‘Although wages may have decreased, yet it is certain that the working man gets a corresponding benefit in the cheapness of articles of daily consumption. Indeed it is admitted on all side that a sovereign will almost as far again as it did 30 years ago’  A somewhat contradictory note in the Bromyard paper for December 1883 says: ‘Thirty years ago egg were sold at 1/2d each. On Thursday last they were 1/6 a dozen.’ But an advertisement by Scarlett Davies at the Wine Stores in Broad Street quoted port and sherry at 84/- a dozen, brandy at 30/- a gallon, rum 20/- a gallon, whisky 20/- a gallon and champagne 30/- a gallon. In 1884 fine dinner ale was 9/- and superior ale was 12/- a gallon.

In 1885 boys strong trousers were 2/6 and boys’ shirts from 4d. ~ winter overcoats were 10/6 and twill sheets 2/6 per pair. Harwick House of Malvern (obviously not under present ownerships) offered evening dresses from 29/6.

At that time Henry Pumphrey had ‘a showroom ‘for mantles and millinery’. Mr McIntosh was also a general draper, wholesale and retail, who had a small factory. for making readymade garments and was advertising for girls to work as machinists in the factory or at home.

It is gratifying to learn from a letter from a traveller that ‘Shops in Bromyard were numerous and good and that the inhabitants of all classes in the politeness of their manners afford, a pleasing contrast to those of the manufacturing towns’.

In 1893 labour was scarce owing to migration to South Wales in the previous four years. Ordinary labourers got about £32 – £42 a year. Ploughmen or or skilled men rather more and their hours of work were from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. Then 1.5  hours interval. Then again from 12.30 p.m. until 4.30 p.m. or 5 o’clock, after which horses had to be fed and cleaned. Ordinary labourers worked from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. with half an hour ‘for breakfast and 1 hour for dinner.

In 1889 there was an advertisement for a plain cook, not under 25 year of’ age, “Baking but not dairy work. Salary £12 per annum.”

By 1888 the railway had come to Bromyard and a firm called Bakers, of Friar Street, Worcester, wholesale clothiers and drapers, offered to pay ‘customers the return fare from Bromyard if purchases were over 30/-. We do not know the quality of the goods but prices were certainly attractive. Ladies gloves, usually. 1/6, sale price 1 penny;  Witney blankets from 1/6 to 6/8. By 1889 the railway was blamed for the quiet trade in Bromyard. Shopkeepers complained that people went to Worcester and Leominster.

In 1890 .J. 1. Williams were advertising finest sausage at 8d a lb; preserving sugar at 2d a lb and best bacon at 4d a lb. Good eating potatoes were 4/- per cwt. In January 1891 in the poultry market turkeys were 1/- a lb; geese, ducks and fowls 9d; eggs 8d and 1/— a dozen and butter 1/6. In March 1890 at the cattle sale (by Sampson in the yard next to the White Horse Inn) bullocks fetched £22.l0s.0d; fat pigs £4.15s.0d; fat bulls £20.15s.0d; calves 40/- to 92/-.

In 1893 Mr. Pumphrey opened a new shop; the old one ‘did not meeting the requirements of. Mr Purnphrey’s fast increasing business’. There were new dressmaking rooms where some 20 girls were employed. We read that trade all over the country was depressed, but there seemed to be a demand for shops in Bromyard.

In February 1898 eggs were i6 for 1/- and marmalade was 3~d and 4~d per lb.

At Mrs G.ough’s Refreshment Rooms in Church Street one could get a dinner comprising ‘joint and two vegetables’ for 4d, 6d, 9d or 1/-. Whether the differing prices related to quality or Quantity is unknown.

In 1899, a Mr Broad, a contractor of Bredenbury, advertised for a bricklayer and a carpenter at 8d per, hour.

In 1900 blackcurrants were 2.5d per lb and  black cherries 8/- to 10/-per cwt. In 1901 Bromyard barbers decided not to cut, hair for less than 3d.

Furnishing a home could be reasonable with bedsteads (single) from 8/- to double size 57/6, and, in 1902, kitchen chairs were quoted at 15/- for half a dozen. As late as 1911 the Gloucester Furnishing Co. were offering bedroom suites for £7. 15s.0d.

In March 1906 eggs were i8 for i/- and coal was 14/i a ton. Home cured ham was 8d lb. Bread was 5d for a 4lb loaf. The Vicar of Avenbury (1907) was offering a handsome steady  pony; brown leather harness, a phaeton for 4, as new, complete with lamps, mat and whip all for

£33. l0s. 0d.  Surely a remarkable bargain unless he had some special reason for disposing of it.

Men’s suits, made to measure, could be bought for £1 in 1906, although ‘better numbers’ were obtainable from 25/- to 55/-; but it was still possible to get a ready-made suit from 15/11.

1n 1913 there were complaints that necessities were going up in value all over the world. Then came the First World War and prices continued to rise. Farm worker in 1915 was offered 18/- a week and a cottage. In 1918 the hours of labour were fixed at 56 hours a week in Summer and 48 hours in winter, and by 1919 the minimum wage for 50 hours a week work for men aged over 21 was 36/6. Hours were reduced to 48, but the average wage did not rise much until 1939. By 1940 the national minimum wage was 48/- and by this time there were holidays with pay. From then on wages rose steadily; in 1941 54/-, in 1942 67/6. In 1949 skilled workers received £4.14s.0d. and others £3.lls. for a 47-hour week and 7 days holiday with pay. And so the rise  went on year by year, in 1954 to £6; in,1957 to £7.lOs.O;d; in 1964 £10.2s.Od. and so on until the present rate of around £38 (1976).

Of course wages and prices moved together. In 1914 Pumphreys were advertising black velvet hats from 1/11; corsets were 1/11 to 3/11 a pair. Coal was 18/- per ton. At Christmas time in 19I3 Pettifers Ironmongery Stores claimed that anything can be had in presents from a motor car at £350 to a watch at 2/9.

At Christmas 1915 one could still buy 500 Players cigarettes for 8/6. Milk was 5d a quart in 1917, 8d in 1918, ‘Christmas fruit cost 2/- lb (4d in 1888). Eggs were 4d each and bread by 1921 was 11d for a 4lb loaf. Then prices began to fall. In 1922 eggs were clown to 1/10 a dozen and home cured ham was 1/8 lb. Yet a Matron’s assistant at the Workhouse was only offered £20 per annum with board and the school cleaner at Brockhampton only received £13. On the other hand, preserving sugar was 6/6 a dozen pounds, potatoes were 3/- a cwt and cockerels 6/- to 7/- each.

Potatoes by 1925 were fetching 8/6 to 12/6 a cwt. Lamp oil was 1/1 a gallon, Whisky was 12/6 a bottle. In 1926 crystal wireless sets ‘giving splendid reception’ were obtainable for 35/- or with an amplifier and dullo-­meter for £4.14s.0d. A cook (general) was now offered £40 a year. Oranges were 12 for a shilling and Witney blankets 35/- a pair.

In 1928 the price of a 4lb loaf was reduced to 8d. Eggs were l1d a dozen; milk, grade A, and delivered, was 2d a pint. Sports jackets cost between 14/11 and 35/6.  

In 1932 Avenbury Vicarage and two pasture fields 2.5 acres, were sold for £540, and 2 villas at Westhill fetched £490.

Tomatoes in 1936 were 3d a lb, Victoria plums 1.5d per lb, lemons 1/- a dozen and coffee 2/6 per lb. There was an advertisement for bricklayers at the standard rate of 1/5.5  per hour.

Motor cars were advertised in 1939, a Vauxhall l0hp from £168 or a 25hp for £345.

In September 1939 came the war. The Board of Trade fixed the maximum price of potatoes at about a penny a pound. Butter was 1/5 – 1/7, eggs 2/6 a dozen, but best meat could still be bought in Bromyard at 1/- a pound. By 1940 milk was 7d a quart. Postal rates went up from 1d to 2d. Coal was 53/8 a ton, sugar was 4d lb, eggs 3/3 a dozen and rabbits 3/5 a couple. Coal by 1942 had risen to 64/7 a ton. Men’s overcoats were 85/- and needed 18 clothing coupons. Men’s suits were now 80/4 – 94/- and made to measure 110/-.

In 1949 bread went up from 4d to 5d for a large loaf and Bromyard barbers demanded 1/6 for a haircut.

On the brighter side the Falcon still managed to provide a farmers’ lunch on Thursdays for 2/9.

It was possible to get a return ticket to Birmingham for 7/- and the fare to Worcester was 2/6.  For those who preferred their own transport in 1957 a new Austin 35 motor car with 4 doors could be bought for £596.

With the present rate of inflation in mind it would seem kinder to go no further. One grim reminder the prices quoted are all before decimalisation and 2/- = one l0p piece.



Phyllis D. – Williams

The parish has been a unit of local administration since its earliest days, with responsibility on householders of properties within the parish. Decisions were made by the Vestry, which was a meeting of the ratepayers of the parish, represented by the priest, parish officers and inhabitants. The parish officers for Whitbourne were the churchwardens, the overseers of the poor, the constables and the supervisors of the roads. House­holders served the offices in turn, usually representing the property they occupied. This explains entries in the parish records as “overseers of the poor April 6th 1725 William Pritchard for Iddy’s and John Collins for Tedney”, and the constables in the same year were, ‘John Walker for Horsenetts and John Bishop for his own”. Another entry runs, “At a parish meeting held the 18th February 1724 it is agreed as followeth, that Richard Lawrence do serve the office of overseer of the poor till Mayday which shall excuse him for his next turn”. The income to fulfil these offices was similarly raised from the householders within the parish, by a levy in accordance with the value of their estate. At a parish meeting held in Whitbourne on 7 January 1801, “it was agreed to pass the accounts of the Reverend Mr Jennings and Mr Pennell, surveyors of the highways for the year 1800 & to allow them a 12 pence levy to reimburse them for the same”. At the same meeting “the. accounts of Thos. Haynes overseer were examined & to allow him a levy of 3 shillings in the pound to reimburse him for the same”.

The churchwardens looked after and maintained the parish church, the churchyard, utensils and furniture of the church and the goods necessary for church worship. John Winwood and John Hill were churchwardens for the year 1719, spending between them £5.18.5. which included, such items as:

Bread and wine at All Saints   ,           1/8

Bell ropes & putting on ,           16/6

Pint of oyle for the, bells            0/9

3 pints of wine & Bread at Christmas    , 4/11.5

for washing and mending the surplice twice        1/6

paid for a new book for parish accounts            5/10

The overseers of the poor provided housing, heating, food, clothing, nursing and medical care and money payments for those in need. They were also responsible ‘for placing orphan and poor chiliren out as parish apprentices. George Hales of Elmores End was overseer for half the year 1761. He was paying most weeks 16 weekly pensions of about 1/- per persorn to Gardener’s child, Walter’s wife, Widow Hadland, Old Sarah Barber, Eliza Wilk’s. bastard child,” these payments totalled in the six month period £19.10.6.. At the same time he made occasional payments bringing his expenditure up to £33.12.10. such as-

To William Bishop for old Sarah Barber                            4/-

Widow Batman’s rent                                                       7/7

Mr Philpotts for 0.5d a hundred fagots for Eliz Stanton 3/-

Shift for old Sarah Barber                                                  3/7

Allowed me for Abraham Bell and his family being at

my house a week                                                                4/-

Between November 2nd and April 11th George Hales made some 14 payments to Mary Web which came to 17/6, he paid Starling for Mary Web at his house one week 1/- and sadly on Apri 11th  “To burying of Mary Web’s child 7/-”.

The constables were responsible for law and order within the parish and had power of arrest. In Whitbourne they did not seem to have a levy for their own income, but submitted their expenses to the overseer with whom they worked closely and appear to be paid out of the poor rate. This expense on a loose piece of paper was amongst the overseers’ accounts:—

July 1st & 2nd 1825

A jurney for myself and Joseph Arden to Upton after William Storey         £1. 0 s  0d   .

A jurney to Bringsty after Soley and keeping him a night.                                 3s

A jurney to Bromyard.                                                                                         1s.  6d

John Green Constable.                              £1. 4s. 6d

The supervisors of the highways, or waywardens, had the duty of maintaining road surfaces, filling in holes, trimming and scouring wayside edges and ditches. The only surveyors’ accounts that have survived appear

to be those of Robert Douglas, 1792-3, and Ben Birch, 1793-4. The sum of £26.14.0d. was expended by Robert Douglas and £21.7.l0. by Ben Birch on such items as :-

Paid Gomery (a carpenter) for wheelbarrow and mending the stocks     10/10

Blacksmiths bill for tools made and repaired.                                                 14/-

John Fudge for work and raising gravel.                                                         £1. 1. 0.

William Calder for 33 days work.                                                                    £2.1.9.

Burroston for raising gravel at Badley Wood                                                  £3.7.8.

Paid William Burroston for getting 12 yards of stone to make drains

at Acridge Lane.                                                                                               5/-  

Paid Mr Hodges for carrying 1 ton of stone from Bringsty.                            2/6

Cyder for men upon, the roads.                                                                        £1

This last’ payment of £1 for cider takes one back to a Whitbourne parish meeting “legally called” on August 2nd, 1720, when “it is agreed no supervisor of the highways be allowed anything for ale to be drank on the highways”.

Other interesting decisions made at parish meetings include on December 14th, 1743, “it was agreed upon by the parishioners then present that three shillings worth of ale should be drank at each parish meeting and laid to the charge of the parish and be collected by the overseers”. Earlier on 9 June, 1730, “it was then agreed at a parish meeting legally called and held that 10 shillings shall be allowed to the ringers for the whole year (if they ring when desired) and no more”. Finally an undated expense of c.1800 shows there were occasional compensations for the work of parish officers.

Hotel Hereford July 18th Whitbourne Parish.

4 Lunches     4s.

An                 1s

4 Dinners      12s

An                 1s.

Wine          £1.2.6.

Dessert           2/-

Hay & Corn   3/-

Waitress         2/-

Ostler             1/6