Bedwardine (St. John)

BEDWARDINE (St. John), a parish, in the union of Worcester, Lower division of the hundred of Oswaldslow, Worcester and W. divisions of the county of Worcester, ¼ of a mile (S. W. by W.) from Worcester; containing 2663 inhabitants. This parish, which is bounded on the east by the Teme and the Severn, comprises about 250 acres of land. The village is pleasantly situated on an eminence rising from the western bank of the latter river, by which it is separated from the city of Worcester. The chief employment of the females here is glove-making. The allotment system has been introduced by the vicar. Among the seats are Pitmaston, Broughton House, and Crow's Nest, with grounds, well planted, attached to each; and in the village are many handsome and substantial houses and shops. A fair is held on the Friday before Palm-Sunday, on which day (by ancient usage, originating in a grant of certain privileges by the prior of Worcester, in the reign of Edward IV.) the mayor and corporation of the city walk in procession through the village.

The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £13. 6. 8.; net income, £635; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Worcester. The church is an ancient edifice, partly Norman, but chiefly in the early English style, with a square tower; and stands at the junction of the Bromyard and Bransford roads. It is said to have been a chapel of ease to the mother church, originally at Wick, and to have been made the parish church in 1371: an organ was presented in 1841 by John Williams, Esq., of Pitmaston, who also gave about £300 towards the repair and enlargement of the edifice. The Wesleyans have a place of worship. Charity schools for twelve boys and twelve girls, afterwards united, were respectively founded and endowed by Milbarrow Doelittle in 1719, and Mercy Herbert in 1722, each granting land for the purpose. An infants' school, in which 120 children are instructed, was built in 1843. A rent-charge of £25 was bequeathed by Timothy Nourse, in 1698, for apprenticing children and clothing aged persons; and among other charities are, several bequests for the benefit of the poor, four almshouses for aged widows, a district-visiting clothing club, a Sunday-school clothing club, an infants'-school clothing club, and a coal club; the clothing clubs being under the auspices of the clergy. There is also a parochial lending library.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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