Beoley (St. Leonard)

BEOLEY (St. Leonard), a parish, in the union of King's Norton, Upper division of the hundred of Pershore, Northfield and E. divisions of the county of Worcester, 2 miles (N. E.) from Redditch; containing 657 inhabitants. It belonged successively to the noble families of Mortimer, Beauchamp, and Holland, of whose ancient castle the mound and moat still remain; and in the reign of Charles I. the manor was the property of Ralph Sheldon, a distinguished royalist, whose mansion was burned by the family themselves, to prevent its falling into the possession of the parliamentarians. The parish is on the borders of Warwickshire, and is intersected at its eastern extremity by the road from Birmingham to Alcester. It comprises 4489a. 3r. 3p., mostly arable and woodland, with a small quantity of pasture; the surface is hilly, and the scenery beautifully picturesque. The population is employed in straightening needles in the rough, and in agriculture. The village of Holt-End, in the parish, is situated in a vale, five and a half miles north-west of Henley-in-Arden. Beoley Hall, surrounded by groves and lawns, was formerly a place of great consequence. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £7. 16. 10½.; patron and impropriator, W. Holmes, Esq.: the vicarial tithes have been commuted for £69, and the glebe comprises 4 acres. The church, an ancient structure situated on elevated ground, consists of a nave, chancel, and two aisles, with a square tower; the chancel is Norman, and the body early English: it was repewed in 1844-5, and 75 sittings gained, all of which are free. Attached to the church is the chapel of "Our Lady," formerly a private chapel of the Sheldon family, to whom it has a very handsome monument: underneath the chapel is the vault. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans at Holt-End, erected in 1836; and connected with the church is a Sunday school, at which from 90 to 100 pupils attend.

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

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