Stretford, Herefordshire

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

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2002

STRETFORD (anciently Stratford) is a very small parish situated on Stretford brook, about 4½ miles S.W. of Leominster, 11 N.N.W. of Hereford, 4 N.E. of Weobley, and 4 S.E. of Pembridge. It gives name to the hundred in which it is situate, and is in Weobley union, petty sessional division, and polling district, and Leominster county court district. The population in 1861 was 50; in 1871, 41; inhabited houses, 9; families or separate occupiers, 9; area of parish, 424a. 3r. 18p.; annual rateable value, £660. Arthur Henry Wall, Esq., is lord of the manor and principal landowner. The soil is sandy and loamy; subsoil, clay; products, wheat, barley, hops, roots, and fruit. The old Roman road, "Watling Street", passes through the parish. Stretford is in the diocese and archdeaconry of Hereford and rural deanery of Leominster; living, a rectory; value, £86, with residence and 15 acres of glebe; patron, A.H. Wall, Esq.; rector, Rev. George Armstrong Blakely, M.A., of Worcester College, Oxford, who was instituted in 1870.

The church of St. Peter has been beautifully restored, and was reopened for divine service, July 15th, 1875. It consists of nave, with north aisle, chancel, vestry, south porch, and bell-turret. Previous to restoration it was in a sad state of dilapidation and decay. The building is an excellent specimen of Early English type, and the treatment of the roof, continuing from east to west in one span, with principals, of ring-post form, rising directly over the centre ascending, has a particularly quaint effect, the timbers being of oak, of massive construction. The work of restoration has been to throw open this beautiful roof by cleaning and thoroughly renovating the timbers, which are stained and varnished, and recovered on the exterior with Broseley tiles, surmounted with ornamental terra-cotta cresting; the crosses at the east end, at the point of destination between nave and chancel, and over the porch gable, are of the same material, chaste in designs.

The south porch and campanile, or bell-turret, over the west gable of oak, have been thoroughly renovated, the latter covered with a shingle roof, surmounted with the ancient vane. The whole of the stonework is laid bare and well pointed. During the progress of the work it was found necessary to take down and rebuild the south wall, and this cautiously, by replacing the whole, stone for stone. An oak screen, of the 15th-century tracery panelling, divides the nave from the chancel, and is carefully preserved and cleaned. The font, of early date, is reconstructed and fixed by the south door, and the canopy of Decorated period in the north wall, containing a couple of recumbent figures, now shown to advantage. In the "History from Marble", completed in the reign of Charles II., by Thomas Dingley, plate ccxliii., is a pen-and-ink illustration of this canopy and figures, as well as of the font, besides its south view, and its east face, of this church, and in reference to the figures it states, "Of this family is Richard de la Bere, in the county of Gloucester, Esqre&."

There are also shields at the foot of the roof principals, bearing arms of the same family. In this MS. it states, "In this parish is also a well, dedicated to St. Cosnio and St. Damiâ. The pulpit, of oak, of the Jacobean period, is refixed and refitted at the north-east angle of the nave. The chancel is fitted with oak altar rail and standards, and conveniently-arranged stalls, and prayer-desk of pitch pine. The seating of the nave and north aisle is also of pitch pine, on wood floors; the gangways, throughout, laid with Godwin's encaustic tiles, of characteristic design. The windows are reglazed with the old glass, as far as it could possibly be utilised. The works were executed by Mr. John Sandford, of Norton Canon, under the direction of Messrs. Haddon, of Hereford and Malvern, architects; the total expenditure being within £600. The parish register begins with the year 1712. The charities amount to 13s. 9d. yearly. The children from this parish go to Monkland school.

POSTAL REGULATIONS.- Letters arrive by messenger from Leominster. The nearest money order and telegraph offices are at Leominster, Dilwyn, Weobley, and Pembridge. Post town, Leominster.
Parish Church (St. Peter's).- Rev. George Armstrong Blakely, M.A., Rector; Matthew Wilson, Esq., Churchwarden; Edward Powis, Parish Clerk.
Blakely Rev. George Armstrong, M.A. (rector of Stretford and chaplain of Dinmore), The Rectory
Bounds John, farmer, Bainstree cross
Richards George, farmer and beer retailer (Stretford Bridge Inn)
Wilson Matthew, Esq., farmer and hop grower, Stretford court
Powis Edward, parish clerk
Yeld Edward, farmer and hop grower, Moss hill

OCR/Transcription by Rosemary Lockie in October 2002.

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