Alcester

Alcester, Warwickshire

Alcester is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Warwickshire.

Fairs

Alcester, Jan. 23, March 20, April 17, May 18, July 31. Sept. 18, Oct. 17, Dec. 4.

Parish church:

Parish registers begin: 1560

Nonconformists include: Particular Baptist, Presbyterian, Society of Friends/Quaker, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Parishes adjacent to Alcester

  • Inkberrow
  • Coughton with Sambourn
  • Arrow

Historical Descriptions

Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Alcester, Jan. 23, March 20, April 17, May 18, July 31. Sept. 18, Oct. 17, Dec. 4.

Source: History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Warwickshire; Francis White & Co.; 1850.

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1840

Alcester, a parish and market-town in the Alcester division of the hund. of Barlichway, union of Alcester, county of Warwick; 16 miles west-south-west of Warwick, and 103 north-west of London. It is situated in a fine valley, on the western bank of the Alne, at its confluence with the Arrow; and consists of one principal street, with several small diverging ones. Living, a discharged rectory in the archd. and dio. of Worcester; rated at £14 2s. 10d.; gross income £260. The church, a fine structure, was rebuilt in 1792. Patron, in 1835, the marquis of Hertford, who is lord of the manor, and holds his courts in the market-hall. There are also chapels of the Baptists, Old Presbyterians, Wesleyan Methodists, and Quakers, in this town. The Baptist church has existed since 1655. The free grammar-school was founded by Walter Newport in 1592. In 1780, Brook Bridges endowed a school here for 12 boys and 12 girls, with £20 per annum. There a also an alms-house for 4 men and 4 women. The yearly amount of these and the other charities, con nected with this parish, is £279 4s. Tanner says: “Ralph Pincerna, or Le Botelre, of Oversley, built, A. d. 1140, upon an island about half-a-mile north of this town, an abbey of Benedictine monks, which he dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and St John the Baptist. But this house, being much decayed, was, about A.D. 1467, united and made a cell to the abbey of Evesham. Its revenues were valued, 26° Henry VIII., at £65 7s. 11d. per annum, Dugd.; £101 14s., Speed; and were granted first to Thomas Cromwell, earl of Essex; after his attainder to Foulk Grevill; and 36° Henry VIII., to William and John Sewster.” Traces of this abbey are still visible. Alcester was made a free borough in the reign of Henry I., and was of some note in the 16th and 17th centuries. It afterwards became the property of the Beauchamps, and subsequently of the Grevilles. It is now within the jurisdiction of the county-magistrates for the Alcester division of the hundred, who hold petty-sessions at Alcester. The Alcester poor-law union comprehends a district of 74 square miles, containing 22 parishes; and a pop. returned, in 1831, at 15,933. The average annual expenditure on the poor of this district, during the three years preceding the formation of the union, was £6,593; expenditure, in 1838, £4,410. The Gloucestershire Banking Company has a branch here. The principal manufacture is that of needles; there are also several malt-kilns and corn-mills. The market is held on Tuesday, and is well supplied with corn. Fairs are held on the Tuesday before the 25th of March, 18th May, 2d Tuesday in July, and 17th October, principally for horses and cheese. Alcester is supposed to have been a Roman station. The Roman way called Icknild Street passed through it, and may still be traced in the vicinity. Some antiquaries identify Alcester with the Alana of Richard of Cirencester. In Saxon times it was a place of great importance; and, at the period of the Conquest, was a royal residence. Pop., in 1801, 1,625; in 1831, 2,405. Houses 491. Acres 1,530. A. P. £6,354. Poor rates, in 1837, £714 — Beauchamp court, in the neighbourhood of Alcester, was the seat of Fulke Greville, Sir Philip Sidney’s beloved friend.

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1840.

The History Topography and Directory of Warwickshire 1830

Alcester or Aulcester, – usually called Auster, – is a bustling and considerable market town, in Barlichway hundred, 8 miles west from Stratford-on-Avon, 19 miles from Birmingham, and 103 from London; pleasantly, though remotely, situate on the western skirts of the county, at the confluence of the rivers Alne and Arrow, over each of which is a bridge. In 1803 the sum raised by its parochial rates was £1009 8s. 6d, at 6s. 6d. in the pound. In 1811 it contained 416 houses and 1862 inhabitants. In 1821 it contained 465 houses and 2229 inhabitants, of whom, it is supposed, 500 are employed in the manufacture of needles. In 1826 it was valued at £6296; - its proportion to the county rate was £26 4s. 8d. It is a Rectory, value £14 2s. 10d. – Patron, the Earl of Warwick.

Alcester was formerly a place of much greater importance than at present, as well as a principle Roman station, ascertained not only from the various coins, urns, and bricks which have been found near it, but from the Roman way, called Ickneild Street, which passes through it. It is said formerly to have had three parish churches and an abbey, on a piece of ground encompassed by the Arrow and a moat. It was the residence of some of the kings, and anciently a borough, by prescription; and, as it has been already observed, “the buildings of Alcester prove the commercial respectability of the place in the 16th and 17th centuries. The chief houses have now received modern fronts, but the interior of many is yet unaltered, and here are seen the massy timbers and abundant carvings of past days.” There is a Free School in the town, founded in the reign of Elizabeth, in pursuance of the will of Walter Newport, gent. There are also almshouses for aged men and women, and a workhouse. The church, a gothic structure, is much admired, and the monument of the Marquis of Hertford, recently erected, is particularly fine. It also contains the well preserved altar tomb of Sir Foulke Greville and Lady Elizabeth his wife. On the top are the recumbent effigies of the deceased. Over the ornamented Market Hall the Marquis of Hertford, as Lord of the Manor, holds his courts. The colonnade below is appropriated to the market people. The market, on Tuesday, is always abundantly supplied with corn, and well attended. Not only Camden and Dugdale, but all modern writers agree on the antiquity and consequence of this place; and Mr. Brewer justly remarks, and agrees with Dugdale, “that this was a Roman station may be asserted on secure grounds. Its name evinces its antiquity, as the word Cestre or Cester, was invariably used by the Saxons to express a fortified place; and the situation of the town Ickneild, or Ryknild Street, readily points to the people by whom those fortifications were raised. Vestiges of the Romans are, likewise, frequently discovered.” Dugdale mentions “old foundations of buildings, Roman bricks, and coins,” which were often found here in his time. Gibson says, that “about fifty years ago, in digging a cellar, there was an urn taken up, with 600 and odd pieces of Roman coin in it’” and Gough notices coins found in making the turnpike road, to lead from Alcester to Stratford.  Remains of the Romans are frequently turned up by the spade and plough, at the present period.  In the 17th volume of the Archaelogia, is an account of two urns found in a piece of ground, termed Blacklands, near Alcester: one contained many fragments of human bones, which had evidently passed through the fire; the other was of squat proportion, and held on a small quantity of human dust or ashes. – These urns were submitted to the Society of Antiquaries, by Joseph Brandish, Esq. and are now in the possession of that gentleman, who kindly favoured us with a view of them.  From the remarks with which we were also favoured by Mr. Brandish, during our investigation respecting Alcester, we are enabled to observe, that urns are occasionally met with in every quarter of this vicinity, though they are usually knocked to pieces by the inadvertence of the rustic labourers: while here we also procured a vast number of small Roman coins.  It is likewise a curious fact, that the earth is seldom penetrated to the depth of more than two feet, without the discovery of a human skeleton.  It seems evident that Alcester was a Roman station of some importance, and its situation shews it to be the Alauna of Richard of Cirencester.  A general synod is supposed to have been held in this place early in the eighth century, at which were present Bertwald, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Wilfrid, Archbishop of York; but there is not any mention of Alcester in Doomsday-book, nor does the name directly occur in any record discovered by Dugdale, till the time of Henry I.; in that reign Alcester was styled a borough, and in 23rd of Henry II. it paid four marks to the King, amongst the other boroughs of this county.  A monastery was founded here by Ralph Boteler, in the 5th of King Stephen, and stood on the north of the town, on a spot now called Prior Close.  The site was completely insulated; the river Arrow forming a boundary on the north and east, and a moat being constructed on the other sides.  This moat is still apparent, though in many places filled with earth, and overgrown by trees.  The area within comprehends somewhat less than two acres, and was considered arable in the early part of the 17th century.  On ploughing within the limits of the monastery a few years back, a stone coffin was discovered, with places formed to admit the head, the elbows, and the heels of the corpse. A moiety of the manor being purchased by the Beauchamps, in the latter part of the reign of Henry III, that powerful family fixed their chief seat in the vicinity, and became munificent patrons of the town.  By the Beauchamps were procured several charters for fairs, and the family of Greville, which succeeded to the lordship by marriage of the daughter of Sir Richard Beauchamp, in the reign of Henry VIII, continued to reside in the ancient mansion, and to protect the interests of the town.  Some of the old materials of this city, (which stood where the Blacklands now are) are said to have been made use of in building Bidford Bridge.  In the 15th century, there was a description of trade here called Town Knitters.

Source: The History Topography and Directory of Warwickshire 1830. Wm. West. Printed and Published by R. Wrightson, Athenaeum, New-Street; and sold by Baldwin and Craddock, and Hurst, Chance and Co., London. 1830.

Complete Pocket Gazetteer of England and Wales 1807

Alcester, or Aulcester, (Warw.) a market town situate at the confluence of the rivers Alne and Arrow, with a bridge over each. It is a neat town, with a consideiable manufacture of needles; and, from many Roman coins and other antiquities discovered here and in the neighbourhood, it was evidently a Roman station. It is also conjectured to have been formerly a place of greater importance than at present; and, according to some, it contained 3 parish churches.

Market Day, Fairs, Inn. The weekly market is held on Tuesday. Fairs, Thurs. before Ap. 5, May 18, and Oct. 17. Principal inn, the Swan.

Bankers. Messrs. Haynes and Co. draw on Bloxam and Co. Gracechurch-street.

Alcester is distant from London 103 miles. 3 furlongs. On the left is a turnpike-road to Evesham and. Worcester

Source: Complete Pocket Gazetteer of England and Wales; Crosby Rev. J. Malham; 1807.

Alcester Warwickshire Marriages Out of Parish

Below is a list of people who were from Alcester but who were married in another parish.

William Young, of Alcester, & Sarah Woodward 22 June 1763 at North & Middle Littleton, Worcestershire.

John Wall, of Alcester, w., & Margaret Cull, w., lic. 22 Oct. 1790 at North & Middle Littleton, Worcestershire.

Henry Mander, of Alcester, co. Warwick, b., & Sarah Brookes, s., lic. 28 Jan. 1808 at North & Middle Littleton, Worcestershire.

Poll Books

Alcester Warwickshire Poll Book 1868

Directories

Alcester 1791 (Principal Inhabitants of)

Administration

  • County: Warwickshire
  • Civil Registration District: Alcester
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Worcester (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Worcester
  • Rural Deanery: Warwick
  • Poor Law Union: Alcester
  • Hundred: Barlinchway
  • Province: Canterbury