Sutton St. Michael, Herefordshire

Extract from Littlebury's Directory and Gazetteer of Herefordshire, 1876-7
with Private and Commercial Residents

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2004

SUTTON ST. MICHAEL is a small parish situated on the river Lugg, about 4½ miles N.N.E. of Hereford, 10 S.S.E. of Leominster, 10 S.W. of Bromyard, and 1 mile E. of Moreton station on the Shrewsbury and Hereford joint railway. It is in Broxash hundred, Hereford union, petty sessional division, and county court district, and Bodenham polling district. The population in 1861 was 95; in 1871, 131; inhabited houses, 28; families or separate occupiers, 33; area of parish, 679 acres; annual rateable value, £1,340. Mrs. Evans, of Moreton court, is lady of the manor. The principal landowners are Mrs. Evans, William Henry Jones, Esq., Stephen Pitt, Esq., Charles Brunsdon, Esq., Joseph Carless, Esq., and Mrs. Jancey. The soil is loamy and gravelly; subsoil, Marl; products, wheat, beans, hops, fruit, &c. The parish is in the diocese and archdeaconry of Hereford and rural deanery of Weston; living, a vicarage; value, £62, including the rent of the glebe (29 acres); patrons, the Executors of the late John Price Williams, Esq.; vicar, Rev. D. Arthur F. Saunders, of King's College, London, who was instituted in 1876.

The church (St. Michael's) is a small stone edifice, with nave, chancel, and bell-turret containing two bells. It was restored in 1867; the late patron gave reading-desk, lectern, reredos, east window, and tablets for commandments. The seats are all free. The charities belonging to the parish amount to £8, 12s. yearly. In this parish is the site of Sutton Walls, which is celebrated as having been the position of the camp of Caractacus. It is equally famous as the site of the palace of Offa, King of Mercia, who married Quendreda, daughter of Charles the Great of France. They had a daughter, Elfrida, whom Ethelbert, King of the East Angles, sought in marriage; but, while visiting at King Offa's palace, he was treacherously murdered by Quendreda, A.D. 793. He was buried at Marden, and afterwards removed to Hereford; was canonised and became the patron saint of the cathedral. By way of expiation of this crime, and to get a dispensation from the Pope, Offa greatly enriched the cathedral at Hereford, founded the abbey of St. Alban's, and, what was of still greater importance, enjoined his subjects to pay Peter's Pence, and established the right of tithes to the clergy, by the common law, throughout his dominions, which hitherto wanted this sanction; and which was extended over all England by Ethelwolf, about the year 853.

Sutton Walls continued to be the residence of the Mercian kings until Egbert united the kingdoms of the Heptarchy into one sovereignty, in the year 827. The spot comprehends a spacious encampment on the summit of a hill, surrounded by a single rampart about 40 feet high, with entrances on the east and west ends and north and south sides. The area inclines to a narrow ellipsis, or oval form, including about 27 acres of land; and is nearly level, except towards the western end of the north side, where there is a low place, called Offa's Cellar. In digging on this spot, an antique silver ring was found some years ago. Although the place bears the name of Sutton Walls, yet there is not the least trace of buildings remaining. Giraldus Cambrensis, however, mentions the ruins of a castle which he saw there; and Leland notices the remains of some ancient and great building. Freen's Court is the property and residence of William Henry Jones, Esq., and Over Court that of Stephen Pitt, Esq.

POSTAL REGULATIONS.- Letters arrive from Hereford at 9.30 a.m.; despatched thereto at 4.30 p.m. Hereford is the nearest money order and telegraph office and post town.
Parish Church (St. Michael's).- Rev. D. Arthur F. Saunders, A.K.C., Vicar; Messrs. Stephen Pitt and Thomas Evans, Churchwardens; Thomas Evesham Parish Clerk.
PRIVATE RESIDENTS.
Jones Wm. Henry, Esq., Freen's court
Pitt Stephen, Esq., Over court
Reece Mrs., The Villa
COMMERCIAL.
Bennett William, farmer, Sutton hill
Constable James, boot and shoe maker
Davies Thomas, farmer, Brick house
Evans Thomas, farmer, Orddis
Evesham Thomas, parish clerk
Kinsey Edwin West, thrashing machine proprietor and farmer, Seabournes
Pearce Thomas, stonemason, Homme
Ruff Mrs. Elizabeth, farmer, White house
Tew John, gardener

OCR/Transcription by Rosemary Lockie in July 2004.

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