Dodderhill is an extensive and thickly-populated parish, situated in an easterly direction from the town of Droitwich. It contained in 1851 a population of 1200; Elmbridge, 400; and the In-Liberties, 589; making a total for the whole parish of 2189 inhabitants.
We find that in times long gone by, the church and patronage of Dodderhill formed a bone of great contention between the Prior and Convent of Worcester, the poor nuns of Westwood, and private individuals, claiming the advowson. In the year 1313, the Prior came into full possession. It appears that at this period there was no bridge over the Severn between Gloucester and Bridgnorth, except that at Worcester, and as monasteries in those days were places in which the weary traveller always found a welcome, the influx through this part of the country was found to be so great, that the claims upon the Prior and convent far exceeded their means; they therefore laid a statement of their losses and burdens before the Bishop, praying restoration and assistance, upon which he gave them the benefit of the church of Dodderhill, which was further confirmed and continued till the dissolution of religious houses. One of our historians states that a convent of Augustine friars, with an anchoret’s cell, was founded here in the fourteenth century, by one of the Beauchamps; and there was formerly an hospital here subordinate to the Prior of Worcester; portions of the old hospital are still in existence. At the foot pf the bank on which stands the church is a timber-framed structure, probably between three and four hundred years old.
ELMBRIDGE, originally written Elmerige, is a chapelry of Dodderhill, about four miles from Droitwich, containing a population of 400 inhabitants.
WICHBOLD is a village in the parish of Dodderhill, about 2 ½ miles on the Bromsgrove road.
The CHURCH, dedicated to St. Augustine, is a very ancient pile of building, standing at the south-west extremity of the parish, on an eminence close to the town of Droitwich, of which it commands an entire view. The church consists of chancel, north and south transepts, with square massive and fortress-like tower, over the south transept. The oldest portions of the building are in the transition from the Norman to the early English style of architecture. The church has undergone very extensive repairs and improvements. There are several handsome stained glass windows, and the one in the eastern chancel has five lights, the centre one containing a beautiful representation of our Saviour. The cost of repairs, exclusive of the painted glass windows, was about £400. There are several monuments worthy of note; one to the memory of Philip Brace, 1671, patron of this church, with his three sons and five daughters; one to Gilbert Penrice, patron, 1726; Rev. Humphrey Penrice, for fifty years vicar of the parish, who died in 1771; Rev. J. Amphlett, vicar for forty-five years, died 1834. There is a curious one to Mr. Gerard Danet, of Elmbridge, his wife and four children; there is another to Thomas Danet, of Elmbridge, who filled the office of Sheriff of Worcestershire in 1654-5, during the Protectorate of Cromwell; and also one to John Danet, of the same place, 1718-19. In the north transept is a mural tablet, with a Latin inscription, to the children of Edward Phillips, Clerk, 1656; and the south transept has a brass with an inscription to John Brace, heir of the ancient inheritance of the Braces of Doverdale and Droitwich (1630). In the burial-ground repose the bones of E. B. Penrice, Esq., the first mayor of Droitwich under the Municipal Act, and those of Coningsby Norbury, Esq., who, as it appears by an inscription in St. Andrew’s church, Droitwich, was captain of a war ship and envoy from George I to the court of Morocco, to redeem British slaves. He was with Admiral Benbow in the West Indies, and with Sir George Byng in the battle of Syracuse. The living of Dodderhill, with the chapelry of Elmbridge, is a Vicarage, the patronage of which is vested in the hands of trustees. Rev. George John Wild, B.C.L., Vicar; Mr. William Chatterton, Clerk. Service – 11 a.m.
The CHAPEL OF ELMBRIDGE, distant from Dodderhill about 2½ miles, in a north-easterly direction, consists of nave, chancel, and north aisle, divided from the nave by three semicircular arches, supported by circular pillars. The east chancel window has three lights, of stained glass, the central one containing a representation of the Crucifixion, the others scriptural devices. The chancel contains an ancient piscina in the south wall. The chapel has undergone an entire restoration, and the interior is neatly fitted up. The font is of octagonal shape, with fluted sides. In the north wall of the chapel is an ancient brass plate, dated 1752, to the memory of John Danet, of Elmbridge Hall, a descendant of the ancient family of the Danets, of Danet Hall, near Leicester. Service – 2 15 p.m.
The INDEPENDENT CHAPEL AT WICHBOLD is a small brick building, erected in the year 1836, by Mr. Stokes, late of this parish. It is sufficiently large to seat about 100 persons, and is supplied by circuit preachers. Service – 3 and 6 p.m.
DODDERHILL NATION SCHOOL, situated at Wichbold, about two miles form the parish church, is a neat brick building, erected in the year 1845, by voluntary contribution and a Government grant, for the education of the children of Dodderhill and the adjacent parishes. It is under Government inspection. It is also licensed for the performance of diving service weekly. Service – 3 30 p.m. Mr. Thomas Wood, Master; Mrs. Jane Wood, Mistress. Number of scholars, boys and girls, 70.
ELMBRIDGE AND RUSHOCK FREE SCHOOL, situate at Cutnal Green, Elmbridge, was erected in 1702, and endowed with landed property and money by Mr. William Norris, for the education of thirty boys of the parishes of Elmbridge and Rushock. Mr. John Evans, Master.
DODDERHILL CHARITIES. – Sarah Penrice gave by will, 1784, the sum of £5; Thomas Wylde, by deed, gave houses and land, the rents arising therefrom to be applied for the benefit of the poor; and Catherine Talbot, by will, gave £1 annually for the same purpose.
ELMBRIDGE CHARITIES. – William Norris, gent., of Elmbridge, in 1702, erected a charity school at Cutnal Green, for the education of fifteen children of Elmbridge, and endowed the same with £11 annually. – Mr. Fouch Bourne gave £2, and Mr. Edmund Brod gave 3s. 4d. annually for the benefit of the poor.
Ricketts William Henry, Esq., Hill Court
Smith Thomas Grove, Esq., Magistrate, Rashwood House
Tolley Mr. John, West Ford
Wall Mrs. Mary, The Ford
Wild Rev. George John, B.C.L., Vicar, Vicarage
Banister Edward, farmer, Piper’s Hill
Baylis Philip, farmer, Rashwood; also of Wichbold Farm
Beck Thomas, shoe maker, Dodderhill Common
Blick John, solicitor, Hill Court House
Bridge Samuel, shopkeeper
Cope Elijah, victualler, plumber and glazier, and shopkeeper, Bowling Green Inn
Dalloe Thomas, farmer, Help Bridge
Dyson Thomas, farm bailiff to Mr. Thos. Harris, Little Ridgeway
Gerrard John, farmer, Park Farm
Godfrey Thomas, shoe maker
Guise George, shoe maker, Hill End
Guise William, farmer, Henbrook
Hammond William, victualler, George Inn
Ingram William, farmer, Sharpway Gate
Manton John, shopkeeper
Nash Thomas, farmer, Causeway Meadow; also of Red House
Perkins Frederick, farmer, Hunting Drop
Reeves James, beer retailer and butcher
Roe Sarah, farmer, Astwood
Rose Thomas, farmer, Ridgeway; also of Kennett’s Hall
Taylor Thomas, coal merchant, Astwood Wharf
Thould Thomas, miller and corn dealer, Impney Lodge
Underhill James, shopkeeper
Wall John, farmer, Rashwood; also of Walk Mills and The Ford
Wall Thomas, farmer, East Ford
Weaver Thomas, carpenter, and brick and tile maker
Weetman Michael, blacksmith
Wheeler John, farmer, Sagebury, and Hobden Hall
Williams Thomas, Police Officer, Station
Wilson John, farmer and maltster, Astwood; also of The Elms
Wilson Matthew, farmer
Wilson Sarah, victualler, Robin Hood, Rashwood
Wilson Thomas, farmer, Impney; also of St. Peter’s
Source: Billings Directory of Worcestershire 1855