Besford is a village, and was formerly a chapelry in the parish of St. Andrew, Pershore, but in 1865 it was united with Defford as one ecclesiastical district. It is 1 ½ miles N. of Defford station, 4 S.W. of Pershore station (about 3 from the town of Pershore), and 6 N.E. of Upton-on-Severn; is in the eastern division of the county, hundred of Upper Pershore, union, petty sessional division, polling district, and county court district of Pershore; is assessed to the county rate at £2,300. The acreage is 1,360; population in 1861, 164; in 1871, 176, with 34 inhabited houses. The Bristol and Birmingham branch of the Midland line runs through the parish. Sir Thomas Gage Saunders Sebright, Bart., is lord of the manor and owner of the whole parish. The soil is clay and sand; subsoil, stone and gravel; chief crops are wheat, beans, barley, and fruit. The united vicarage of Defford-cum-Besford is in the diocese and archdeaconry of Worcester and rural deanery of Pershore; yearly value £170, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, and held by the Rev. George Swinden, M.A., Brasenose College, Oxford, who was instituted in 1865, and resides at Defford. Besford church is unique in this county for being a timber-framed structure, probably erected during the Perpendicular period, as the western window presents a curious specimen of the style, its mullions and tracery being of wood! The building consists of a chancel, nave, bell-cot or small tower at the west gable, and wooden south porch; the chancel is Early English. The panelled mural monuments to the ancient family of Harewell are singularly interesting, and there are memorials of the Sebrights. Here also are a rood screen, triptich, and other things highly interesting to the ecclesiologist. The church having been for some time past in a state of gradual decay, a thorough reparation and restoration has been decided upon, at an estimated cost of £1,600, and subscriptions are now being obtained for that purpose. The register dates from 1750. Besford Court, the ancient seat of the Harewells and Sebrights, is at present void. It has the original gates and porter’s lodge remaining; and an ancient tithe-barn is near the house. Postal Regulations. – Letters are received through Pershore. The letter-box is cleared at 5 p.m. daily (Sundays excepted). Postal telegrams may be sent from and received at Defford railway station. Pershore is the nearest money-order office and post town.
St. Peter’s Church. – Rev. George Swinden, M.A., Vicar; Joseph Checketts, Esq., Churchwarden; Thomas Houghton, Parish Clerk.
Carrier to Worcester. – Joseph Cockbill (from Birlingham) passes through on Saturdays; stops at the Union Inn, Carden street, Worcester.
Checketts Joseph, Esq.
Checketts Jos., farmer, near the Church
Day George, farmer
Evans Thomas, farmer
Houghton Charles, farm bailiff for Joseph Checketts, Esq.
Houghton Thomas, parish clerk
Revill John, farmer
Tovey Frederick, farmer, The Bridge
Source: Littlebury, Littlebury’s Directory and Gazetteer of Worcester & District, Third Edition. Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. 1879.