Besford, a village and a parish in Worcestershire, near the river Avon, 2 miles NE of Deffbrd station on the M.R., and 3 WSW of Pershore, which is the post town and money order office; telegraph office, Defford station. Acreage, 1383; population, 178. The manor was anciently held by the Besford family, which became extinct in the reign of Henry IV.; thence it passed successively to the Harewell and Sebright families, and is now the property of Earl Beauchamp. Besford Court, originally built in the time of Henry VIII., is an interesting manor house, retaining much of the ancient structure. It has an ancient chapel, a large tithe-barn, and a fine avenue of old yew trees; the living is a vicarage, united with Defford under the name of Defford-cum-Besford, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. The church is a small ancient half-timbered structure, partly Early English and partly Later. It was carefully restored in 1880. It has an ancient rood-screen, a triptych, and some ancient monuments to the Harewell and Sebright families.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Besford St. Andrew|
|Poor Law union||Pershore|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register dates from the year 1540, the entries from that date to 1598 being copied from an older volume.
Church of England
St. Peter (parish church)
The church of St. Peter, formerly attached to St. Andrew's, Pershore, is a small but very ancient building of stone and rubble with timber framing, in the Early English and later styles, consisting of chancel and nave, under a continuous roof, north and south porches, and a western turret containing 2 bells: the chancel is Early English, but the nave is apparently of the 14th century, and is constructed of massive heart-of-oak framing, filled in with mortar, rubble and plaster, and at the west end is a square-headed window of two lights, with wooden tracery: the porch is also timber-framed, but of later date: the ancient painted rood loft remains in a very complete state, and is ornamented on the west side with a string of quatrefoils: the church contains an altar tomb, with recumbent alabaster effigy of a youth holding a book, to Richard, son and heir of Edmund and Elizabeth Harewell, ob. 1576: on the adjoining wall is placed a triptych, with various figures and long inscriptions in verse, lamenting his death: there is also a monument, with arms, to Sir Edward Sebright bart., d. 11 Sept. 1679. the Lady Elizabeth Montagu, his wife, and two daughters: in the chancel are suspended a helmet, with the crest of the Sebrights, a gauntlet and a sword and banner staff: the church was carefully restored in 1879-81, under the superintendence of W. J. Hopkins esq. architect, of Worcester, at a total cost of about £1,726, when a new bell-cote was erected with the old framing, the interesting monuments and rare triptych being carefully preserved: the church was reopened April 27th, 1881 and affords 96 sittings.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Besford from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Besford (St. Andrew))
Land and Property
The full transcript of the Worcestershire section of the Return of Owners of Land, 1873.
Online maps of Besford are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Worcestershire papers online:
The Visitation of Worcestershire 1569 is available on the Heraldry page.