Stoke Prior is an extensive parish, pleasantly situated, about 5 miles N.E. from Droitwich, and about a mile and a half from Bromsgrove. The Oxford Worcester, and Wolverhampton Railway, and the Midland line pass through it, the Bromsgrove Station being in the parish of Stoke, which contained in 1851 a population of 1613 inhabitants.

The Church, dedicated to St. Michael, is a fine ancient pile, of about the eleventh or twelfth century, consisting of nave, chancel, north aisle and south transept, with square tower and low spire. The tower is of two stages, and is allowed to be a fine specimen of early English architecture, containing on each side triple lancet lights, which are partially walled up. The north aisle is separated from the nave by five Norman arches, with massive circular columns. The chancel arch is in the transition style, and the south transept windows are in the perpendicular style. The church having undergone extensive repairs, was re-opened for divine service in September, 1848. It combines the characteristics of the Norman and first and middle pointed styles. The south transept, which had been walled up, was again thrown into the church, and re-seated with substantial oak benches, whereby 114 additional free sittings have been obtained. The chancel is paved with encaustic tiles. On the east wall the Commandments, Creed, and Lord’s Prayer have been illuminated, with a floriated cross, and crown of thorns, in gold, on a blue ground, studded with the fleur-de-lis in gold. During repairs an ancient recumbent monuments of an ecclesiastic was discovered, and removed from the south to the north aisle, in order to make room for additional pews. Beneath the monument was a stone coffin, supposed to be of the twelfth or fourteenth century, and which bore evidence of having been opened before, the coffin containing part of a skull and other bones; it was suffered to remain in its original situation. The font, which is of the reign of Henry VII, is octagonal, with scriptural designs on a floriated pedestal. In a wall at the east end of the nave is an ancient brass, to the memory of Henry Smith, of London, date 1606; and a memorial brass to Robert Smith, of London, with his two wives, eleven sons, and six daughters, in a kneeling position. The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Worcester. Rev. Harcourt Aldham, B.A., Vicar. Service – 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., alternately.

There is a Chapel of Ease at Finstall, in connection with the Church. Service alternately with that of Stoke.

The National School is a neat brick building, erected in 1840, for the education of the children of Stoke and adjoining parishes, and was built by contribution and a Government grant. It is a mixed school, and under Government and Diocesan inspection. Ellen Hall, Mistress. Number of scholars, 80 There is also a Branch School at Finstall, for the convenience of the upper part pf the parish, also under Diocesan inspection. Margaret Bimson, Mistress. Number of children, 80.

Gentry

Aldham Rev Harcourt, B.A. Vicar, Vicarage

Fardon Mr Jonathan, The Firs

Gould Mr Richard, Grimley House

Grovenor Mr John, Finstall

Hill Mr Joseph, Mount Pleasant

Nash Mr Goodwin, Broom House

Perkins Mr Edward, Oakalls

Sanders Benj L Esq LL.B, The Grange

Sanders James Esq, The Grange

Sanders John M Esq, The Grange

Watkins Mrs Elizabeth, Stoke Heath

Vernon Thomas Wm Esq, Rigby Hall, Finstall

A

Allbutt Caleb, farmer, Wood Gate

Allbutt Jeremiah, farmer, Harbour’s Hill

Allen Joseph, farmer, Cottage Gate

B

Baker James, farmer, Moor Gate

Barber Joshua, grocer and provision dealer

Baylis Henry, miller

Bladon Walter and William, millers and farmer, Stoke Mills

Bladon William, farmer, Intal Fields

Boddington Richard, engineer

Bray George, farmer, Pool House

Breedon William, market gardener, Stoke Heath

Buggins Lydia, farmer, Stoke Cross

C

Chin William, Slide Slow

Corbett John, salt manufacturer

Cordell Richard, farmer, Cross Brook

Cund Jeremiah, wheelwright, Finstall

D

Day George, Shopkeeper

Dowley Henry, victualler, Ewe and Lamb, Stoke Heath

F

Fardon Henry Fowler, soap and salt manufacturer, The Firs

Featherstone John, farmer, Finstall

Francis George, victualler, Boat Inn and Railway Tavern

G

Gibbs Mark, beer retailer, Halfway House

Green John, farmer, Beesley

Griffin Henry, victualler and farmer, The Dragoon

Guise Joseph, farmer, Castbridge

H

Hancock George, farm bailiff to Mr J Sturge, Rye Fields

Harbon George, needle scourer

Harrell Samuel, tailor

Harris William, farmer

Haynes Jeremiah J, miller

Hodges William, farmer, The Meadows

Howard Joseph, victualler, The Cross

I

Imperial Salt Company, Stoke Works

Ingram Henry, shopkeeper

J

Jeptha William, farmer and dealer, Finstall

Jones John, farmer, Stoke Court

Jones Joseph, farmer, Tan House

Jones Joseph, farmer, Newton

Jones Michael, farmer, Slide Slow; also of the Hop Gardens

L

Lacy James, farmer and cider retailer

Lacey Joseph, shoe maker

Lay Thomas, baker and shopkeeper, Stoke Heath

Lucas William, victualler, Navigation

M

Martin John, beer retailer

P

Parkes William, farmer, Sharp Way Gate

Parry George, farmer, Lower Barn

Paxton Joseph, farmer and shopkeeper

Perkins William, farmer, Ford House

Pinfield Richard, blacksmith, Finstall

Potter George, blacksmith

R

Radford Joseph, Police Sergeant, Station

Russon Joseph, farmer, Warwick Hall

S

Smith the Misses, Ladies Boarding and Day School, The Elms

Spilsbury Joseph, wheelwright and carpenter, Stoke Heath

Spilsbury William, wheelwright and carpenter, Stoke Heath

T

Thompson Henry, shopkeeper

Thompson Joseph, beer retailer, Moor Gate

Tustin William, shoe maker, Finstall

W

Ward Thomas, beer retailer and shopkeeper

Watton William, farmer, Stoke Heath

West Nathaniel, beer retailer, New Inn, Stoke Heath

Whitehair Henry, farmer, The Priory; also of Stoke Heath

Wild Nathan, beer retailer, The Bell

Warmington William, shoe maker

Post Office – Stoke Jane Checketts Sub-Postmistress

Post Office – Finstall Miss M Rose Sub-Postmistress

Source: Billings Directory of Worcestershire 1855.