Abberley (St. Michael)
ABBERLEY (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Martley, Lower division of the hundred of Doddingtree, Hundred-House and W. divisions of the county of Worcester, 12 miles (N. W. by N.) from Worcester; containing 559 inhabitants. This place, formerly Abbotsley, comprises 2564 acres of land, of which the arable and pasture are in equal portions, with about 70 acres of wood; the surface is well watered, and the soil rather above the average in fertility. The village is situated to the right of the road leading from Worcester to Ludlow, in a valley surrounded by hills whose summits afford delightful prospects: from one eminence eleven counties may be seen. Coal of good quality is wrought, and there are large quarries of excellent stone for building, and of stone for repairing roads. Abberley Hall, a beautiful Italian edifice, was purchased in 1844, with its surrounding demesne, from the Misses Bromley by the late J. L. Moilliet, Esq., by whom considerable improvements and alterations were made, in the purest taste; the whole of the interior was destroyed by fire on the 25th December 1845, but the exterior remains quite perfect, and the mansion is now undergoing complete repair.
The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £11. 10. 2½., and in the gift of Mrs. Moilliet; incumbent, the Rev. Francis Severne, whose tithes have been commuted for £333. 8., with two acres of glebe and a house. Certain impropriate tithes have been commuted for £100. The church is a neat ancient edifice, picturesquely situated on the east side of the village, and has a wood-shingle spire 99 feet high, with four bells; the architecture is of various styles, one of the windows presenting an excellent specimen of the Saxon arch. A school was founded under gifts made by Elizabeth and Victoria Walsh, in 1717; it has an income of £15 per annum, in addition to a house and garden: the school-house was rebuilt by Robert Bromley, Esq., in 1791. On Abberley hill, in the midst of a thickly-planted wood, stands an oak, said to have been a sapling from the oak-tree under which St. Augustine in the 6th century invited the Welsh bishops to a conference, as recorded by Milner in his Church History: the parent tree was afterwards consumed by fire. William Walsh, the poet, and a correspondent of Pope's and Addison's, was born in the parish in 1663: at the close of Pope's Essay on Criticism, are some touching lines to his memory.