Bosbury, Herefordshire

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

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2002


BOSBURY is an extensive parish and very picturesque village, distant about 4 miles N. of Ledbury and 13 E. of Hereford; in Radlow hundred, Ledbury union, county court district, and petty sessional division, and Coddington polling district. The population in 1861 was 1,090; in 1871, 1,005; inhabited houses, 231; families or separate occupiers, 260; area of parish, 4,725a. 2r. 7p.; annual rateable value, £8,120. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners are lords of the manor, and the Rev. Edward Higgins, of Bosbury house, and John Pitt, Esq., of Temple court, are the principal landowners. The soil is a deep heavy clay, and produces excellent cider and hops. Bosbury was once a place of considerable importance. Its Saxon name was Bosamberig, or Bosa's town. It early became a residence of the Bishops of Hereford, for an old MS. in the British Museum tells us that "the Bishops of Hereford held their state here, and dwelt in a fayre palace in the time of King Offa", A.D. 757 to 796, and the Old Court estate and lordship of the manor has belonged to the see ever since.

According to Leland, Bishop Athelstan died here in 1056. The Norman prelates also lived at Bosbury. It was the favourite residence of the great Bishop Cantilupe, St. Thomas of Hereford, and his friend, and successor Bishop Swinfield died here A.D. 1316. The parish is in the diocese and archdeaconry of Hereford and rural deanery of South Froome; living, a vicarage; value, £400, with residence; patron, the Lord Bishop of Hereford; vicar, Rev. John Edmund Cheese, of St. David's College, Lampeter, who was instituted in 1866. The church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was erected in the twelfth century. It has undergone three restorations; in 1851 in the Rev. J. Underwood's incumbency, in 1859 under the Rev. Berkeley L. Scudamore-Stanhope, and was completed in 1871 under the Rev. J.E. Cheese. The total cost of restoration was about £3,100, nearly the whole of which was defrayed by voluntary subscription. The tower is detached from the church, and is a massive square structure containing six bells and a clock. It was originally surmounted by a wooden spire.

Entering the church by a Norman doorway, the interior is seen to consist of a long nave, divided from its side aisles by six pointed arches, resting on round pillars, with capitals, characteristic of the Transition period. The clerestory windows, the triple lights of the west end, and the very beautiful lancet windows of the side aisles, are of the same date (about A.D. 1180). An interesting fan tracery screen of oak divides the nave from the spacious chancel, which was entirely rebuilt by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners at the last restoration, when an organ-chamber was built on the north side of the chancel for the reception of a splendid organ presented to the parish by Mrs. Hope, sister of Mrs. Higgins, of Bosbury house, at whose cost also the chamber and warming apparatus were erected. The case is of pitch pine, and the front double diapason pipes are richly coloured. Messrs. Speechly & Ingram, Camden works, London, were the builders; cost, £800. Encaustic tiles adorn the chancel floor.

There are two very curious and well-preserved sepulchral monuments on either side of the altar, one representing a recumbent figure of John Harford, with the date 1573, the other having figures of Richard Harford, son of the former, and his wife. The old pre-reformation open seats in the nave have been preserved. There are some fine specimens of ancient carving inserted in the pulpit. On the south side of the nave is the mortuary chapel of Sir Rowland Morton, a beautiful specimen of late Pointed architecture, temp. Henry VII. This chapel is embattled on the exterior, and is lighted by windows of the peculiar shape and tracery of the time when it was erected. Near this is the oldest inscription in the church, painted on the wall in old characters, in memory of the father of Bishop Swinfield, who died in 1282, but the inscription is now illegible. The font near the west end of the church deserves notification, being of large size, square, and supported on five short pillars, and is of thirteenth-century date. But an older one is preserved, forming a very rude round cavity of sandstone, which is presumed to be of Saxon origin.

In the churchyard is a well-restored cross of red sandstone. The parish registers begin with the year 1558. There is a grammar school for boys, endowed by Sir Rowland Morton with lands yielding a rental of £108 per annum. There is also a national school for girls. The number of children under instruction at both schools is 138. The Wesleyan chapel at Stanley hill is a neat brick building, erected in 1863. The Primitive Methodists have a chapel here also. Among the objects of curiosity in this parish may be mentioned "the ancient oak-room" at the Crown Inn, where the Harford family once resided, which is wainscoted round, and above the fireplace, under carved circular recesses of Jacoboean date, are placed the arms and quarterings, duly blazoned, of the Harfords and their relatives. Singular enough, the oak wainscoting on one side of this room had been transferred to the church to make a reredos, but in the late alterations being deemed inappropriate, it has been sent back to the place from whence it came. The "Swinfield Lodge of Oddfellows" hold their meetings in this room.

Temple Court, the residence of John Pitt, Esq., was formerly a preceptory of the Knights Templars, and afterwards of the Knights Hospitallers. There are interesting monumental slabs of each preserved in the church. The gatehouse, and a room where the original ceiling of massive parallel oak beams are still entire, are the only remains of the Bishop's palace, which was taken down about the year 1572. From a claim for dilapidations against the executors of Bishop Scory, A.D. 1586, preserved in the British Museum, it appears that the Court hall was 80 feet long, 40 feet broad, and the height between the foundation and the wall-plate 20 feet. There was also a stage-hall 40 feet long and 20 feet high, kitchen, and brewhouse.

In this episcopal hall many most important matters were transacted. Here on the feast of St. Gregory, 1278. Bishop Cantilupe challenged the judges who had been appointed by the Court of Rome, to decide upon the cause between the see of St. Asaph and that of Hereford, and appealed to the apostolic see. This he did in all due form in the presence of many witnesses. First he read the appeal in Latin, and afterwards expounded it to them in French, and was careful to have it recorded that this was done in his hall at Bosbury before dinner. The columbarium, or pigeon house, is an almost unique specimen of such a building, temp. Edward I. Bosbury House is the seat of the Rev. Edward Higgins, M.A., of Brasenose College, Oxford, J.P. for Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and D.L. for Herefordshire. It is a spacious red brick and stone mansion in the Italian style, with balustrades and portico; and contains a rare collection of valuable early printed books, MSS., drawings, engravings, curiosities, and articles of virtu. Upleadon is a township about 12 miles W. of the village; Catley is ½ mile N.

POSTAL REGULATIONS.- Sarah Kendrick, Sub-Postmistress, Letters arrive by messenger from Ledbury at 8.30 a.m.; despatched thereto at 4 p.m. Letters can be registered. Ledbury is the nearest money order and telegraph office and post town.
Parish Church (Holy Trinity).- Rev. John Edmund Cheese, Vicar; John Pitt, Esq., Churchwarden; Edwin Townsend, Parish Clerk.
Grammar and National School (boys).- Mr. Owen Bishop, Master.
National School (girls).- Mrs. M.A. Gibbard, Mistress.
Primitive Methodist Chapel.- Ministers various.
Wesleyan Chapel, Stanley hill.- Ministers various.
Carrier to Ledbury.- James Fidoe, every Tuesday; leaves at 9 a.m., and returns from the Star Inn, Ledbury, at 5 p.m.
Carrier to Worcester.- James Fidoe, every Saturday; puts up at the Swan Inn, New street, Worcester, and returns the same day.
Carrier to Worcester.- William Parsons (from Ashperton) passes through Bosbury on Fridays; stops at the Prince of Wales Inn, Shrub hill, Worcester; and returns on Saturdays.


Andrews Mr. William, Shin's croft
Barrett Mr. James, Staplow house
Cheese Rev. John Edmund (vicar of Bosbury and surrogate for the diocese of Hereford), The Vicarage
Higgins Rev. Edward, M.A., J.P. (for Herefordshire and Worcestershire), and D.L. (for Herefordshire), Bosbury house; and Carlton club, London, S.W.
Morrell Charles, Esq. (master of the Ledbury hounds), Stone house
Mutlow Mrs., sen., Cold green
Palmer Mr. John, Upper house
Pitt John, Esq., Temple court
Shayle Mr. George, Upleadon court.
Allen Jos,, frmr. & hop gr., Swinmore fm
Barrett James, landowner and farmer, Staplow house
Bishop Owen, schoolmaster
Bosley Thomas, farmer, Bentleys
Brazier James Herbert, Crown Inn
Bury Edward, farmer, New house
Bury Wm., farmer & hop gr., The Vern
Careless George, grocer, &c., Stanley hill
Caundel Henry, Bell Inn, & horsebreaker
Chadd Wm., cottage farmer, Brier croft
Collett Wm., grocer and provision dealer
Cotton John, frmr. & hop gr., Catley ct.
Cotton Robert, farmer & hop grower, The Hill
Cummings Joseph, farmer, Slatch farm
DODD JAMES, thrashing-machine proprietor, agricul. implement maker and agent, New house, Ledbury road
Drinkwater Edward, farmer and hop grower, The Farm
Edwards William, landowner and farmer, Woodlow
Fidoe J., carrier to Worcester & Ledbury
Gardiner Joseph, cottage farmer, Paddles
Gardiner Thomas, farmer, Upper and Lower Town End farms
Gardiner Wm., cottage farmer; Norbridge
Gibbard Airs. M.A., schoolmistress
Greaves John, farmer and hop grower, Catley's cross
Green Tho., frmr. and hop gr., Up. Catley
Green William, farmer and hop grower, Lower house and Brook farms
Hall John, farmer, Merrings farm
Hall' Thomas, farmer, Long Acre
Harding Richard, cider retailer, Staplow
Harding Thomas, farmer and hop grower, Stoneyards Green farm
Harford Rd., frmr., Lower ho., Swinmore
Hickox Thomas, blacksmith, Pow green
Hoare William, farmer, Little Noverings
Hodgetts. John, coal and timber dealer, Staplow wharf
Holder Joseph; beer retailer (Woodman's Arms), Old country
Homes Robt., farmer & hop gr., Old court
Homes William, jun., farmer and hop grower, Gold hill farm; and at Munsley and Parkhold, Ledbury
Jackson Joseph, farmer and hop grower, The Orchards and The Noverings
Jennings, William, cooper
Kendrick Sarah, butcher and sub-postm.
Kendrick Jas., frmr. & hop gr., Hill house
Lloyd Charles Edward Audley, land agent, farmer, hop grower, and surveyor to the Martley district bighway board, The Grange
Matthews John, farmer, Sugar croft
Morris Mary, miller, Upper mill
Mutlow John, landowner, farmer, and hop grower, Cold green
Mutlow Mary, baker
Mutlow Richard, farmer, Shillo
Newman Joseph, farmer, Little Upleadon
Orgee Kenelm, cot. farmer & beer retailer
Palmer George, butcher
Palmer Wm.,farmer & hop gr., Note house
Parry Thos., pump maker & well-sinker
Pearson Jos., frmr. & hop gr., Nash end
Philpott John, farmer, Red castle
Pitt John, landowner, farmer, and hop grower, Temple court
Preece Chas., cot. frmr. & haulier, Pow gr.
Preece John, carpenter, Gospel yew
Ritchie Mrs. H., frmr. &hop gr., Nelmes
Shaw John, farmer, assistant overseer, and beer retailer (New Inn)
Shayle George, farmer and hop grower, Upleadon court
Smith John, cottage farmer and beer retailer, Dowdings brook
Spencer Ed., farmer & hop gr., Woodlow
Tandy Charles, baker
Tomkins Thomas, grocer, Stanley hill
Townsend Edwin, parish clerk
Townsend James, blacksmith
Townsend Jas., jun., blksmith., Bowler ln.
Vobe William, farmer, Hill park
Walker Samuel, farmer and-hop grower, Riddings; res., Moor End house, Mathon, near Malvern
Wilkes S.W., shopkeeper
Winter John, boot and shoe maker

OCR/Transcription by Rosemary Lockie in June 2002.

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