Spetchley Worcestershire Billings Directory 1855

Spetchley is a small parish, situated bout 3 ½ miles E.S.E. of Worcester, and contained in 1851 a population of 166 inhabitants.

Spetchley Park is the seat of Robert Berkeley, Esq. In the reign of Edward IV, the manor of Spetchley was purchased by Sir Thomas Littleton, K.B., and Justice of the Common Pleas. In 1508, Richard Sheldon, a descendant of the Sheldons of Rowley, in Staffordshire, married Catherine, daughter of Thomas Littleton, and thus became possessed of the manor of Spetchley. It continued in the possession of the Sheldons till Philip Sheldon sold it to Rowland Berkeley, Esq., M.P. for the city of Worcester, lineally descended from Thomas, a younger brother of William, Marquis of Berkeley, and of Maurice, Lord Berkeley, ancestors of the earls of that title. Rowland died in 1611, and his eldest son, William, settled at Cotheridge, near Worcester, in 1634, whose son, Sir Rowland Berkeley, dying without male issue, left it to Henry Green, Esq., of Wykin, in Warwickshire, who had married his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, and their son Rowland Green, assumed the name of Berkeley. Sir Robert Berkeley, Knight, inherited Spetchley, with the contiguous manors of White Ladies’ Aston, Churchill, and Warndon. He was one of the justices of the King’s Bench in the reign of Charles I. Having with eleven of his brethren given his opinion in favour of shipmoney, he was impeached of high treason by the Parliament, and was fined very heavily, deprived of his post, and imprisoned in the Tower. He was afterwards plundered by the Parliamentary forces; and a little before the battle of Worcester, in 1651, the Scotch Presbyterians, though in the King’s service, burnt his house at Spetchley, as it lay in the way from White Ladies’ Aston, where Oliver himself lodged. Sir Robert died in 1636, leaving Spetchley and his other estates to his only son, Thomas, and they belong to the family at the present period. In the front of the house is the park, with a fine sheet of water, which is brought into view, as well as the luxuriant foliage of the beech and oak. The Malvern hills on the right, Bredon on the left, and the distant Gloucestershire in front, greatly contribute to give the scenery a grand and picturesque appearance.

The Church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is a small, ancient edifice, consisting of nave, chancel, south chapel, and western square tower, with embattlements and pinnacles. The chancel and the chapel on the south side contain elaborate monuments to the Berkeley family, the principal of which is one to Mr. Rowland Berkeley and Catherine his wife, whose effigies lie on an altar-tomb, in alabaster, under an arched and lofty canopy of Derbyshire spar, supported by pillars of porphyry; the monument and the chapel were built in 1614. there is also on the south side of the chapel, on a raised monument of white and black marble, a recumbent figure of Sir R. Berkeley, a justice of the King’s Bench. He is represented holding a scroll in his right hand, and in his robes. There are some other mural monuments, exhibiting fine specimens of carving, and the chapel is hung with hatchments. The living is a Rectory, in the patronage of Robert Berkeley, Esq. Rev. R. Sarjeant, Rector; Mr. Samuel Bettum, Clerk. Service – 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., alternately.

Spetchley School and House were erected in the year 1840, by R. Berkeley, Esq., for the education of children of Spetchley and adjoining parishes, and are entirely supported by that gentleman. Miss Jane F. Beard, Mistress. Average number of children, 45.

Charities – Moses Hyett, in 1767, gave £80 to remain in stock for ever; the interest to be distributed annually to the poor. There is also £30 more, given for the poor, but by whom is unknown.

DIRECTORY

Berkeley Robert, Esq., Magistrate, Spetchley Park

McCann Rev. Matthew, Roman Catholic Priest, Round Hill

Broom Richard, farmer, Withy Wells

Carter Thomas, blacksmith and farrier

Cambridge Benjamin, Station Master, Station

Dale John, agent to Robt. Berkeley, Esq., Spetchley Cottage

Daniel Samuel, baker and shopkeeper

Guise John, mason

Higgins William, farmer, Spetchley Farm

Mitton Mary Anne, farmer, Old House

Tyler William, carpenter

Post Office – Thomas Carter, Sub-Postmaster. Arrival, 8 30 a.m.; despatch, 5 15 p.m.

Source: Billings Directory of Worcestershire 1855

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