Eye, Herefordshire

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

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2001


EYE is a large parish divided into two townships, viz., Luston, and Eye, Ashton and Moreton; is situated on and between the two main roads leading from Leominster to Ludlow and Tenbury, and the Berrington and Eye railway station on the Shrewsbury and Hereford joint railway is close to the church. It is distant nearly 4 miles N. of Leominster, 8 S. of Ludlow, 8 S.W. of Tenbury, and 17 N. of Hereford; is in Wolphy hundred, Leominster union, county court district, polling district, and petty sessional division. The total population in 1861 was 733; in 1871, 742, viz., Eye, Ashton, and Moreton township, 302, and Luston township, 440; total inhabited houses, 173, viz., Eye, Ashton, and Moreton township, 61, and Luston township, 112; total families or separate occupiers, 180, viz., Eye, Ashton, and Moreton township, 63, and Luston township, 117. The area of the parish is 4.338 acres, of which 2,606 belong to the township of Eye, Ashton, and Moreton, the rateable value being £3,420 16s. 4d.; and the remaining 1,732 acres comprise the township of Luston, the rateable value being £3,287. Each township collects its own rates and maintains its own poor.

The trustees of Lord Rodney are lords of the manor and chief owners of the soil in Eye town ship; and the Rev. William Trevelyan Kevill Davies, of Croft castle (who is lord of the manor), and Charles Scarlett, Esq., of Norden hall, are the principal landowners in Luston township. With the exception of the above, the land is in the possession of several small proprietors. The soil is clayey; subsoil, gravel; chief produce, wheat, beans, hops, and fruit. The manor of Eye, about the time of Henry III., belonged to the abbot of Reading. The mean lord was Walter de Eye, whose daughter and heiress conveyed this estate, by marriage, to John Blount, in the reign of Henry VI., which family continued to flourish here for five or six generations. Walter Blount mortgaged this estate to merchant Holmes, who sold it to Dashfield, a servant of the lord keeper Coventry, who, dying without issue, left it to his kinsman Norris, whose executors sold it to Sir Ferdinando Gorges. This gentleman was intrusted, by Queen Elizabeth, with the custody of Mary, the beautiful but unfortunate Queen of Scots, and also deputed by his royal mistress to watch the motions of her favourite, the Earl of Essex. In this family it remained until about the end of the 18th century.

In the year 1754, Richard Gorges, Esq., represented in Parliament the borough of Leominster. His family experienced those vicissitudes from which no condition in this life is exempt. In the year 1787, his son, reduced to necessitous circumstances, sold this estate to the Right Hon. Thomas Harley, of Berrington, and disposed of other valuable property near Leominster, to different purchasers. Here was formerly a small priory of canons, which was removed from Shobdon, where it was founded about the year 1140, by Oliver de Merlylond, steward to Hugh de Mortimer. Eye is in the diocese and archdeaconry of Hereford and rural deanery of Leominster; living, a vicarage; value, £313, with residence; patron, the Lord Chancellor; vicar, the Hon. and Rev. Henry Rodney, M.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge, who was instituted in 1817, and is also a prebendary of Hereford cathedral. The Rev. John Pierrepont Taylor, M.A., of Lincoln College, Oxford, is the curate, and resides at Leominster.

The church, dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul, has been restored under the superintendence of William Chick, Esq., architect, of. Hereford, and was reopened on October 2nd, 1873. The church and tower were in such a dangerous state of dilapidation as to render it absolutely necessary to rebuild several portions of the outer walls of the nave, chancel, and mortuary chapel; to take down and rebuild the tower from the foundations, to build new arches, and to restore the tracery of several windows. Owing to the great accumulation of soil inside the church, it has been necessary to lower the floor 2½ feet, in order to show the bases of the pillars. A new vestry has been built. The whole church has been seated with new oak seats, and the aisles laid with Godwin's encaustic tiles.

A warming apparatus has been provided, and extensive draining operations have been carried out both inside and outside the church. All these improvements have been executed at a cost of £2,742, including mortuary chapel and chancel, the former at the sole expense of Lord Rodney, and the latter at the joint expense of that nobleman and the governors of Lucton school; the church and tower were restored by voluntary contributions from the principal landowners and ratepayers. The east window, of three lights, has been filled with stained glass at the cost of the Hon. Mrs. Pipon. Some old marble monuments in this church have been recently restored by the Cornewall family. The parish register dates from the reign of Elizabeth. A school for boys and girls was erected in 1855 by Lady Rodney, at Moreton, and is supported by private bounty, but is under Government inspection. Upwards of £60 was spent by the guardians of Lord Rodney in 1874 for the enlargement of this school. It will now accommodate about 100 children. The charities belonging to the parish amount to about £20 yearly.

Berrington Hall, the seat of Lord Rodney, has recently undergone thorough renovation. It is a handsome and substantial stone mansion, having a large portico supported by massive pillars. Internally it is full of objects of interest, and is particularly rich in paintings. In front of the mansion are four pieces of brass cannon, taken from the Spaniards by an ancestor of Lord Rodney. The park is distinguished for its grandeur and beauty; its happy combination of undulating verdant meads, extensive sheets of water, and majestic oak, elm, beech, cedar, and other trees, is rarely met with. This estate appears to have been in the possession of the Cornewalls of Burford as early as the year 1386. It was purchased by the Right Hon. Thomas Harley (in 1787), who erected the present mansion on the site of the old house. The present Lord Rodney is a minor, to whom was presented a valuable "Christening Cup", of chaste design, having a cover with two scroll handles, and weighing 80 ounces. It bore the following inscription:

"Christening Cup,
Presented by the Tenants and Tradesmen of Berrington to
Born February 28th, 1857."

Luston is a township and neat village distant 1 mile S.W. of the parish church, and nearly 3 miles N. of Leominster. It is in Kingsland polling district. Here is a small Wesleyan chapel. This place was formerly the property of the Priory at Leominster; and in the reign of Edward III. Herewardus de Aula was lord of the manor, which was granted in a more recent period to Sir James Croft by Queen Elizabeth. A farm called "The Bury" is subject to an annual rent charge of £48, devised by Herbert Croft, Bishop of Hereford, to certain trustees, for the relief of poor clergymen and their widows. "The Croes", in the time of the Britons, consisted of a deep forest, which situations they generally selected as the site of their towns. In this neighbourhood the plough has frequently turned up the heads of battle-axes, brass coins, human bones, &c. Ashton is distant about 1½ mile E. of the church, and 4 N.N.E. of Leominster. In the vicinity are traces of a small camp; also a mound, supposed to be the site of a castle which formerly existed here.

POSTAL REGULATIONS.- Letters arrive by messenger from Leominster at 9 a.m.; despatched thereto at 4 p.m. Leominster is the nearest money order and telegraph office and post town.
Parish Church (SS. Peter and Paul).- The Hon. and Rev. Henry Rodney, M.A., Vicar; Rev. John Pierrepont Taylor, M.A., Curate; Messrs. William Hall and Charles Turner Morris, Churchwardens; James Rollings, Sexton.
Lady Rodney's School (boys and girls), Moreton.- Mr. William Watkins, Master; Mrs. Mary Watkins, Mistress.
Wesleyan Chapel, Luston.- Ministers various.
Berrington and Eye Railway Station (Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway - G.W.R. and L. & S.W.R. Cos.)-Jonathan Huxley, Station Master.


Morris Mr. Charles Turner, Bank cottage
Rodney The Rt. Hon. Lord, Berrington hall
Rodney The Hon. and Rev. Henry, M.A., J.P. (vicar of Eye, and prebendary of Huntington in Hereford cathedral), The Vicarage
Scarlett Charles, Esq., Norden hall
Scarlett Mrs. E.A., Springfield, Luston
Thomas Mrs. Mary, Eye cottage, Luston
Beavan John, farmer, Moreton
Brookes James, blacksmith, Luston
Brown John, farmer, Castle grounds
Bullen Richard, florist, Luston
Clarke William, wood dealer, Luston
Edwards Henry, farmer, Eye court farm
Edwards Henry Connop, farmer, Merry vale farm, Ashton
Edwards Edwin, blacksmith, Luston
Evans Rd., foremn. of wrks., Berrington hall
Everall Thomas, farmer, Cross, Luston
Finney Rupert, farmer and hop grower, Bury farm, Luston
Gregg John, Upper house, Ashton
Griffiths James, wheelwright Park cot.
Hales George, joiner, Moreton
Hall Herbert R,, farmer and hop grower, Lower house, Ashton
Hall Robert, William, farmer and hop grower, Upper house, Ashton
Herron Thos., frmr., Lower Ashwood park
Hughes Thomas, coal merchant, Berrington and Eye railway station
Huxley Jonathan, station master, Berrington and Eye railway station
Jaikson Thomas, timber dealer, Luston
James Thomas, coal merchant, Berrington and Eye railway station
Jay William, farmer, Upper Ashwood park, Ashton
Jones Benjn., farmer, Luston court farm
Lawrence Thos., gamekeeper, Berrington
Lewis Elijah, mason, Moreton
Lloyd John, wheelwright, Luston
Lloyd William, wheelwright, &c., Luston
Lloyd Mrs. Maria, shopkeeper, Moreton
Mainwaring William, farmer, Park farm; res., Brimfield, Ludlow
Miles Benjamin, Balance Inn, Luston
Newman Ambrose William, shoeing and jobbing smith and agricultural implement maker, Ashton
Otley John, house steward, Berrington
Payne John, gamekeeper, Berrington
Phillips Charles, shoemaker, Moreton
Pinches John, farmer, Luston
Price Jas., grazier & dlr., New ho., Broad
Price Jas., sen., dealer, The Broad, Luston
Rollings James, parish sexton
Swain Geo., mason, Dean cottage, Luston
Tipton Thomas, farm bailiff for C. Scarlett, Esq., White house, Luston
Trumper Mrs. John, cottage farmer and shopkeeper, Luston
Vale Richard, castrator, &c., Luston
Vale Thos., castrator, Botany bay, Luston
Walsh Mrs., cot. frmr. & wood dlr., Luston
Warburton Samuel, mason, Ashton
Watkins William, schoolmaster
Wynde Mrs., shopkeeper, Luston

OCR/Transcription by Rosemary Lockie in September 2001.

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