Tedstone Delamere, Herefordshire

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

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2001

TEDSTONE DELAMERE is a picturesque parish situated on the borders of Worcestershire, 4 miles N.E. of Bromyard, 11 S.E. of Tenbury, 12 N.W. of Worcester, 18 N.E. of Hereford, and about 3 N.W. of Knightwick station on the Worcester and Bromyard railway. It is in Broxash hundred, Bromyard union, petty sessional division, and county court district, and High Lane polling district. The population in 1861 was 265; in 1871, 235; inhabited houses, 45; families or separate occupiers, 47; area of parish, 1,677 acres; annual rateable value, £2,030. James Lane Wight, Esq., of Tedstone court, who is lord of the manor, Edward Bickerton Evans, Esq., of Whitbourne hall, William Barneby, Esq., of Saltmarshe castle, Stuart Knill, Esq., and Major Baker, are the principal landowners. The soil is red marl, with a subsoil of red sandstone; chief produce, wheat, hops, fruit, &c. Duncombe, in his "History of Herefordshire", gives "Toddesthorne" as the ancient spelling of "Tedstone", and accounts for "Delamere" by a "William de la Mere, who held Tedston (sic) in the reign of Henry III. by the service of one knight's fee, as of the Earl of Hereford".

He mentions two "very romantic spots by the brook (called Sapey brook), the 'Witchery hole', and the 'Hoar stone'", adding, "the wild grandeur of the latter is perhaps not surpassed by the celebrated Vaucluse of Petrarch". The climate of Tedstone is soft, though fine and bracing. It is said that a battle was fought here, close to Tipton farm, during the Wars of the Roses. The situation of the church, as also of the court and parsonage house, on the declivity of the bill, is highly interesting, and commands very extensive prospects in the counties of Worcester, Stafford, Warwick, and Gloucester. The celebrated hills of Malvern form a leading feature towards the south-east. One of the very few instances which are to be found of the mistletoe growing on the oak, is to be seen in this parish. Tedstone is in the diocese and archdeaconry of Hereford and rural deanery of North Froome; living, a rectory; value, £246, with residence and 40 acres of glebe; patrons, the Principal and Fellows of Brasenose College, Oxford; rector, Rev. Frederic Simcox Lea, M.A., formerly fellow of that college, who was instituted in 1873.

The church, dedicated to St. James, was rebuilt in 1856-57, at a cost of £1,540, chiefly defrayed by the former rector (Rev. I.G. Smith, of Malvern), but with liberal contributions from the landowners and parishioners. Under the judicious direction of Mr. (now Sir) George Gilbert Scott, R.A., the character of the old building was reproduced in the new, so far as was possible, with all its local idiosyncrasies, the Norman and Early English work being replaced, piece by piece, not without difficulty. The chancel screen of carved oak, probably of Tudor date, and the old Norman font were also carefully preserved, with other relics of the past, among which must be mentioned a small arched slab, with carving in relief of the Saviour on the Cross on one side, and on the other the Virgin Mother and Child, which was found embedded in the wall of the chancel, and is supposed to have been originally the top of the old churchyard cross; also of later date, but hardly less curious in its way, a veritable hour-glass case, affixed probably in the days of Puritan preachers to the pulpit, and now placed in the porch.

The churchyard cross was restored in 1856. Oak, the timber par excellence of this district, was used largely in the rebuilding, not only in the ordinary fittings of the church, but also in its shingled spire and gable-crosses. The petrified stone formed by a tiny cascade which drops into Sapey brook; and resembling the "peperino" of Italy, has been used in the walls, and, notwithstanding its friable appearance, is singularly imperishable. The western wall of the nave is one of the very few specimens extant, of Saxon masonry. The church is richly adorned with small columns of Serpentine marble from the Lizard Point, and with several painted windows, among which the east window, with three tall slender lights filled with one of Hardman's most successful imitations of mediaeval glass, the offering of James Lane Wight, Esq., of Tedstone court, is conspicuously beautiful.

The two lych-gates, one for each side of the valley, the old "Devil's Door", now blocked up, and the machinery by which the bells are rung, are noteworthy. Altogether, although on a very small scale, the church of Tedstone Delamere represents fairly enough the type of parish church which belongs to this border land of Celt and Saxon. The parish registers only date from the Revolution of 1688, and contain nothing of peculiar interest. The chalice bears a date slightly subsequent to the Reformation; the flagon is of the next century; the paten is new. There is a school on the eastern side of this parish, erected and supported by E. Bickerton Evans, Esq., of Whitbourne hall. Tedstone Court, the seat of James Lane Wight, Esq., J.P., and The Rectory; command magnificent views, extending over 40 miles of beautiful country.

POSTAL REGULATIONS.- Letters are received through Worcester via Sapey Bridge, and arrive by messenger from the latter place about 8.30 a.m. Bromyard is the nearest money order and telegraph office. Post town, Worcester.
Parish Church (St. James').- Rev. Frederic Simcox Lea, M.A., Rector; Mr. James Ward, Churchwarden; Richard Powell, Parish Clerk.
Parochial School.- Mr. William Price, Master.
Lea Rev. Frederic Simcox, M.A. (rector), The Rectory
Wight Jas. Lane, Esq., J.P., Tedstone ct.
Benbow T., parish clk. of Tedstone Wafer
Bishop Samuel, cot. farmer, Hill cross
Evans Thomas, farmer, Ladywood
Farmer John, cottage farmer, Woodball
Gough James, farmer and hop grower, Line house
Herring Thomas, farm bailiff for J.L. Wight, Esq., J.P., Court farm
Hill Charles, gardener for J.L. Wight, Esq., J.P., Tedstone court gardens
Hodges James, carpenter, blacksmith, and cottage farmer, Tidbatch
Jones Richard, farmer, and gamekeeper for E. Bickerton Evans, Esq., J.P., Lay farm
Moseley Henry, farmer and hop grower, Hedge house; res., Tedstone Wafer ct.
Pantall Joseph, farmer, Upper grounds
Pitcher Mr., farmer and hop grower, New house
Pitt Saml., miller & frmr., Horner's mill
Powell Richard, blacksmith & parish clk.
Preece Mrs. E., infant school, Upper Line house
Price William, schoolmaster
Smith William, farmer and hop grower, Wood end
Ward James, farmer, hop grower, and churchwarden, Tipton hall
Wilson George, farmer and hop grower, Winley
Wilson Thomas, farmer, Lamb green

OCR/Transcription by Rosemary Lockie in November 2001.

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