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Bromyard (St. Peter)

BROMYARD (St. Peter), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Broxash, county of Hereford, 14 miles (N. E.) from Hereford, and 126 (N. W. by W.) from London; containing 2927 inhabitants. The town is pleasantly situated on the road from Worcester to Hereford, near the river Frome, in a rich and fertile district abounding with orchards and hop-plantations; and consists of several well-paved streets. The ancient market-hall and butter-cross, an unsightly structure, has been taken down, leaving the space open; and on the site of some old buildings adjoining, a commodious market-house has been erected, with fixed stalls and benches. Races are held annually on the Downs, an extensive common adjoining the town, and are generally well attended. The market, chiefly for live-stock, butter, cheese, and poultry, is on Monday; and fairs are held on the last Monday in Jan., the Thursday before the 25th of March, on May 3rd, the Thursday before St. James's day, and the Thursday before the 29th of October. Pettysessions for the district are held on Monday, at Dumbleton Hall, an ancient mansion purchased by subscription and appropriated as a town-hall, containing a spacious court-room for the sessions, and accommodation for the weekly meetings of the savings'-bank trustees, and monthly meetings of the turnpike commissioners. Courts leet and baron are also held twice in the year under the Bishop of Hereford, who is lord of the manor. The powers of the county debt-court of Bromyard, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Bromyard. A new police station house, with a residence for the constable, was built in 1843.

The parish, including the townships of Winslow, Norton, and Linton, comprises 7921 acres, of which 202 are in the town of Bromyard: the land is in a high state of cultivation, producing hops of excellent quality, of which there are nearly 700 acres under cultivation. The surface is varied with hills, and the lower grounds are watered by a brook that flows through the parish into the river Frome. The living consists of a sinecure rectory and a vicarage: the rectory, of which the net income is £612, is divided into three portions, in the gift of the Bishop of Hereford; and the vicarage, of which the net income is £600, is in the patronage of the Portionists. The church is an ancient and spacious structure in the Norman style, and contains a curious font; the accommodation has been increased by the erection of a gallery at the west end, containing a hundred sittings all free. Brockhampton chapel, in the township of Norton, recently built by the Barneby family, is a handsome edifice in the later English style. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends, Independents, and Primitive Methodists. The free grammar school was founded by Queen Elizabeth, and endowed with £16. 14. 11½. per annum, augmented with £20 per annum by John Perrin, alderman and goldsmith of London, in 1656. John Perrin also endowed a weekly divinity lecture by six beneficed clergymen, to be elected by the churchwardens and 12 of the principal inhabitants of this, his native parish, with several other benefactions, for which the Goldsmiths' Company are trustees. A national school, in which are 100 girls, is supported by endowment. An almshouse was founded in the reign of Charles II., by Phineas Jackson, forty years vicar of the parish, who also founded various others, in which seven aged widows are comfortably provided for. The poor law union of Bromyard comprises 33 parishes or places, of which 30 are in the county of Hereford, and 3 in that of Worcester; and contains a population of 11,494.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.