Moreton On Lugg, Herefordshire

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

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2004

MORETON is a parish and railway station on the Shrewsbury and Hereford railway, and on the river Lugg, distant about a quarter of a mile E. of the main road between Hereford and Leominster, 4 miles N. of Hereford, 9 S. of Leominster, and 12 S.W. of Bromyard; is in Grimsworth hundred, Hereford union, county court district, polling district, and petty sessional division. The population in 1861 was 77; in 1871, 85; inhabited houses, 12; families or separate occupiers, 13; area of parish, 885 acres; annual rateable value, £2,209. Mrs. Evans, of Moreton court, is lady of the manor and owner of the soil. This property (with lands in adjoining parishes) was purchased in 1864 by the late Thomas Evans, Esq., a gentleman of ancient Welsh ancestry, who was for many years resident at Sufton court, in this county. Moreton formerly belonged chiefly to the two prebendaries of Moreton Magna and Moreton Parva, as shown by Domesday Book.

It was purchased in 1851 by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners from the two prebendaries and their lessees, and also from William Chute Gwinnett Esq. (since deceased), who served as high sheriff of the county in 1823, and was famous at Moreton court as an agriculturist, and for his celebrated breed of Herefordshire cattle; and also from the representatives of the late John Keysall, Esq., banker, of London, who formerly resided at Moreton court, and who likewise served as high sheriff in the year 1794. Amongst the nobility and gentry of England in the time of Charles II., the name of Peter Dancer, of Moreton-on-Lugg, appears, as extracted from Blome's Britannia folio, London, 1673, and he was Lord Farmer at that time. Afterwards, Mansel Powell, Esq., who served as high sheriff in 1734, appears to have been owner of Moreton manor and estates, and resident there. The soil is a rich deep loam, producing excellent crops of wheat, hops, roots, fruit, and pasture. The river Lugg affords some good fishing.

Moreton is in the diocese, archdeaconry, and rural deanery of Hereford; living, a rectory; value, £212, with residence; patron, the prebendary of Moreton Magna in Hereford cathedral; rector, Rev. Charles Henry Taylor, B.A., of Queen's College, Cambridge, who was instituted in 1875. The Rev. W.R. Shepherd, of Caius College, Cambridge, is the curate. By an Order in Council for the arrangement of episcopal patronage under the acts of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, the next presentation to this living is vested in the Lord Bishop of Worcester. This parish was formerly exempt from episcopal and archdeaconal visitation. The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, was beautifully restored in 1867, mainly through the exertions and liberality of the late Thomas Evans, Esq. Before its restoration the church was in a sad state of dilapidation and decay, so that it became necessary to wellnigh rebuild the fabric, and it now has almost the appearance of a new edifice. It is in the Early English style of architecture, and consists of a chancel, nave, south aisle, north porch, and south tower and spire, with a peal of six bells.

The walls both inside and out have been cleaned and repointed, and the gables of the chancel, nave, and porch ornamented with floriated crosses. The outside roof has been covered with the original weatherworn tiles, which is a relief to the modern appearance of the new work, and has a very good effect. It is ridged with ornamental crest tiles. The chancel, which is small, has been reconstructed and lengthened about 9 feet. It is separated from the nave by a handsome screen with gates of polished brass (by Messrs. Hodgkinson & Co., of Coventry), the gift of Mrs. Evans, being a portion of the work intended to be executed in memory of her late husband. Above rises a spacious chancel-arch of moulded stone, springing from corbels, supported by double shafts; and the floor of the chancel, which is raised considerably above that of the nave, by marble steps, is paved with Godwin's encaustic tiles. The east wall on each side of the altar is also faced with these tiles, bearing the sacred symbols of the seven lamps of Holy Scripture, being a portion of the design prepared by Mr. Seddon, and manufactured by Mr. Godwin for the Paris Exhibition.

The east window bears three lights, with quatrefoils above. The centre light represents the Ascension, and the two outer lights "The Agony in the Garden", and "Christ bearing the Cross", the foils above containing a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, and the monograms IHS and AO. In the north wall a new window of two lights has been placed, divided by a light shaft with foliated capital. The reredos consists of an arcade of three compartments filled in with alabaster bearing fleur-de-lis. The shafts of the arcade are of marble with foliated capitals of Derbyshire spar. In the centre compartment is a cross of white marble studded with carbuncles. The altar rails are of polished brass. On the south side is the sedile or priest's chair, carved in stone, also the credence; on the same side is an ancient aumbrye, which has been fitted with a new door, ornamented with metal-work with lock and key. Near to this aumbrye is a small ancient window fitted with stained glass.

The roof of the chancel is of stained pine, divided by moulded ribs, while the ancient roof of the nave has been cleaned of plaster and whitewash, and its fine old oaken rafters exposed to sight, and the ceiling painted dark blue. The pulpit, which is furnished with a desk and candle standards of polished brass, is placed against the north wall, near the entrance of the chancel, and is of Bath stone, with small open arches, over which runs a deep alabaster moulding. Opposite to it, on the south side, is an elaborately carved oak lectern. A carved oak litany desk stands at the foot of the chancel steps. In the nave are three two-light windows with quatrefoil heads of coloured glass in the north wall, and a western window of two lights filled with tinted glass, with cinquefoil head of stained glass. The mullions and stone-work of this window were given by the architect, and the whole of the new stained glass throughout the church (the work of Messrs. Rogers, of Worcester) was the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Evans.

The seats, which are new, have been panelled with the old dark oak, the effect of which, contrasting with the light colour of the new material, is very good. They are all virtually free, none being rented or held by faculty or prescription; but they have been appropriated among the parishioners. The church contains 97 sittings. A new font of plain Bath stone has been placed at the north-western end, near the entrance; which has lately been supplied with a magnificent spiral cover of painted and gilt metal-work, with oak base, surmounted by a polished brass cross, the work of Messrs. Hart & Co., of London, and the gift of Mrs. Evans. The organ by Bevington (also the gift of Mrs. Evans) is placed at the south-western end of the nave (it being impossible to place it in the chancel), near which is the vestry, which stands immediately beneath the tower.

The church has recently been heated by means of hot-water coils, at the expense of Mrs. Evans. This work has been carried out by Messrs. Weeks & Co., of Chelsea. The south aisle, which contains an ancient eastern and two other single-light windows, each bearing as the principal device in stained glass the cross of St. Andrew, is divided from the nave by an arcade of three ancient depressed arches. The eastern end of this aisle (as is the case with so many of the Herefordshire churches) appears to have been used for the service of a chantry, the stone slab beneath the eastern window apparently having been used as an altar. It is rudely marked with five crosses, and near it, on the south side, is an oblong cavity in the wall, which was probably used as a credence or aumbrye. The eastern end of this aisle was formerly separated from the nave by a screen or partition of oak, with bunches of grapes and vine leaves, now removed to a position in front of the organ. A handsome new stone porch has been built on the north side of the church, and a new tower surmounted by a well-proportioned stone spire crowns all.

The belfry is approached by steps from the outside. The bells are six in number, the heaviest weighing about 8 cwt., and were cast by Messrs. Mears & Stainbank, and hung by Messrs. White & Son, about the beginning of the year 1872. The 1st and 2nd bells were given by Mr. and Mrs. Evans, and the cost of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th was collected in part amongst their friends, the deficiency at the last being most generously defrayed by Mrs. Evans. In 1874 a sixth bell was presentcd by the ringers. The churchyard has been levelled, and enlarged at the western end by a gift of land by the late Mr. Evans, who at the same time, at his own expense, enclosed it with a wall. The cost of the whole work of restoration of the church (together with recent additions) has been £2,600; the principal contributors being Mr. and Mrs. Evans, the Rev. Edward Bulmer (the late rector), and the Hereford Diocesan Church Building Society; the remainder being raised partly by the contributions of the parishioners and their friends, and partly by a loan advanced by the Commissioners for Public Works, on security of the rates.

The Dean and Chapter of Hereford very kindly presented the stone from their quarries for rebuilding the church. The architect was W.H. Knight, Esq., of Cheltenham, and the contractors were Messrs. Collins & Cullis, of Tewkesbury. The church was reopened for divine service the 12th September, 1867. Since that time, besides the new peal of bells, the church has been enriched with many costly gifts, the principal of which are a new silver-gilt and jewelled service of communion plate, presented by the parishioners; font cover, pair of massive, seven-branched, polished brass candle standards for the chancel, altar candlesticks, flower-vases, altar linen, alms-bags, a complete set of altar frontals, books, cushions, hangings, &c., and a chiming apparatus, all presented by Mrs. Evans; a litany desk presented by the late Mr. Dawe, of the Lower House farm; and a polished brass enamelled altar desk, and brass-mounted litany book, by the Rev. W.R. Shepherd.

The parochial school for boys and girls was built and furnished by the late Thomas Evans, Esq., in 1872, at a cost of about £400. There is a residence for the mistress attached. The average attendance is about 30. Moreton Court, the seat of Mrs. Evans, is an elegant mansion in the Italian Elizabethan style. It was built on the site of the old mansion-house by the late Thomas Evans, Esq., the architect being Mr. J.H. Knight, of Cheltenham. It stands in a very quiet secluded spot. To the east rises Sutton-walls, the site of the palace of Offa, King of Mercia; to the west the picturesque summits of "The Pyons", Foxley, &c.; to the north the wooded range of Dinmore; on the south-west it is hidden from Hereford by the eminences stretching from Holmer to the Lugg valley, on whose rich soil, and amidst whose pleasant meads it lies, surrounded by a land of trees.

POSTAL REGULATIONS.- Letters arrive by messenger from Hereford, which is the nearest money order and telegraph office and post town.
Parish Church (St. Andrew's).- Rev. Charles Hy. Taylor, B.A., Rector; Rev. William Robert Shepherd, Curate; Mrs. Harriett Evans and Mr. Emmanuel Goatman, Churchwardens; Mrs. Elizabeth Daw, Sextoness.
Parochial School (boys and girls).- Miss Katherine Evetts, Mistress.
Railway Station (Shrewsbury and Hereford Joint Railway - Great Western Railway and London and North-Western Railway Companies).- Joseph Dodd, Station Master.
Evans Mrs. Harriett, Moreton court
Shepherd Rev. W.R. (curate in charge)
Taylor Rev. Charles Hy., B.A. (rector)
Allen & Co., coal, coke, and lime merchants, depot at the Railway station (Benjamin Williams, Salesman); head offices, 24 Church street, Hereford (see Hereford advertisements page 18)
Andrews Robert, mason on Moreton estate
Clarke Edwin James, farmer and hop grower, Brook farm
Daw Mrs. Eliztb., blacksmith & sextoness
Dawe Edward Shepherd, farmer and hop grower, Lower house
Dodd Jph., station master, Railway sta.
Edwards Jas., farm bailiff to Mrs. Evans
Evetts Miss Katherine, schoolmistress
Goatman Emmanuel, farmer and hop grower, Church house
Goatman Thomas, butcher, Upper house
Parker Thomas, head gardener for Mrs. Evans, The Lodge
Powell James, carpenter on the estate

OCR/Transcription by Rosemary Lockie in June 2004.

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