Croft, Herefordshire

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

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2004


CROFT is a parish distant 6 miles N.N.W. of Leominster; and 18 from Hereford, adjoining the main road between Ludlow and Presteigne; is ill Wolphy hundred, Kingsland polling district, Leominster union, county court district, and petty sessional division. The population in 1861 was 155, viz., Croft civil parish, 55; Newton township, 100: in 1871, 98; viz., Croft civil parish, 26; Newton township, 72: inhabited houses, 22, viz., Croft, 7; and Newton, 15: families or separate occupiers, 18, viz., Croft, 2; and Newton, 16. The area is 1,564 acres, viz., Croft civil parish, 1,057 acres; and Newton township, 5,07 acres. The rateable value is, Croft, £1,368; and Newton, £681. The Rev. William Trevelyan Kevill Davies, of Croft castle, is lord of the manor and owner of the Croft estate. John Hungerford Arkwright, Esq., of Hampton court, is the chief landowner in Newton township. The soil is fertile; chief produce, wheat, beans, fruit, hops, and excellent pasture.

Croft is in the diocese and archdeaconry of Hereford and rural deanery of Leominster; living, a rectory, consolidated with Yarpole vicarage; joint value, £326, with residence and 93½ acres of glebe, and £14 derived from Bishop Croft's charity patron, Rev. W.T. Kevill Davies; rector, Rev. Joseph Edwards, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford, who was instituted in 1839, and is also a prebendary of Hereford cathedral and rural dean of Leominster deanery. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, is a small edifice situated on the lawn in front of Croft castle. It has a nave, chancel, and bell-turret; also an ancient monument to the memory of the Croft family. The nave is in great need of restoration.

Croft Castle, the seat of the Rev. William Trevelyan Kevill Davies, J.P., is a handsome structure, with circular and pointed windows, embattled tower entrance, and four embattled corner towers. It has an extensive park, famous for its ancient oak and beech trees. It was anciently the seat of the Crofts, a Saxon family of distinction and celebrity, of whom Sir Bernard á Croft resided here in the reign of King Edward the Confessor, about the year 1000. Sir Jasper a Croft, his successor, siding with King Harold, was deprived of his estate by William the Conqueror, who gave it to his follower, William de Scochin. Again recovering possession, their descendants continued to reside here till the conclusion of the last century, when the property was sold by the third baronet, Sir Archer Croft. Two chiefs of this house, viz., Sir Bernard, in the tenth, and Sir Herbert Croft, in the fifteenth century, retired from the world, and entered a Benedictine monastery at Donny, in French Flanders, where they lived many years in a narrow cell, and were interred in the church belonging to that order, in which are still extant their monument and their epitaph - illustrating by their example the truth of the observation, that a life of great worldly splendour and activity terminates in religion.

The ancient family of Croft is now represented by Sir Herbert George Denman Croft, ninth baronet, of Lugwardine court, near Hereford, M.P. for Herefordshire from 1868 to 1874, whose ancestors represented this county in fifteen Parliaments between 1307 and 1695. Thomas Johnes, Esq. (the learned translator of Froissart's "Chronicles" and other works), bought the estate of Sir Archer Croft, Bart., and sold it to Somerset Davies, Esq., from whom it descended to his grandson, the present proprietor. On an eminence in the north-western part of the park is a British camp, of elliptical form, with double ditch and ramparts, called Croft Ambury. The prospect from this site is extremely grand and extensive, including within its range thirteen counties. This is said to have been the camp of the British king, Ambrosius.

Newton is a small township in the parish of Croft (but distant 8 miles S. therefrom), about 4 S. of Leominster, 9 N. of Hereford, and ½ mile from Ford station on the Shrewsbury and Hereford railway, by which line the township is intersected. It is situated on the summit of some rising ground westward of the main road between Leominster and Hereford, and the few houses which it contains have a remarkably retired and sequestered appearance. Although forming a part of Croft parish for ecclesiastical purposes, it supports its own poor, and appoints its own officers. There is neither church, chapel, nor school in the township. The inhabitants attend Hope-under-Dinmore and Ford churches, which are each about 1 mile distant. The township is in Bodenham polling district: (The population and other statistics are given under the Croft heading.)

POSTAL REGULATIONS.- Croft letters arrive from Leominster at 9.30 a.m.; despatched thereto at 3 p.m. Newton letters arrive at 9 a.m.; despatched at 4 p.m. Leominster is the nearest money order and telegraph office and post town.
Parish Church (St. Michael's).- Rev. Joseph Edwards, M.A., Rector; Mr. W. George, Churchwarden.
Davies Rev. William Trevelyan Kevill, J.P., Croft castle
Edwards Rev. Joseph, M.A. (rector of Croft, vicar of Yarpole, prebendary of Inkbarrow in Hereford cathedral, and rural dean of Leominster), The Rectory
Bodys John, frmr. &hop grwr., Newton ct.
Jones Edwin, farmer, Hill house
Roberts William, mason
Rollins John, gamekeeper to J.H. Arkwright, Esq., J.P., of Hampton court
Wood Thomas, farmer, Cold Oak

OCR/Transcription by Rosemary Lockie in January 2004.

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