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HISTORY OF ACONBURY. A COLLECTION OF

NOTES FOR FAMILY HISTORIANS

If you are "surfing" or have a specific interest in this place - a BIG welcome!

During the many years researching ancestry in this parish a few items of interest have been collected along the way. It is presented in the hope that it may aid others with similar interests and illustrate some of the available records of this interesting parish and the historical context. Included are some 19th century directory entries for parishes neighbouring Aconbury.


PARISH AND CHURCH HISTORY

The parish  is about five miles SSE of Hereford City and was remarkable for its wooded hills, especially Aconbury Hill anciently called Caer Rein. On its summit is an entrenchment said to be the remains of a Roman camp. During the Civil War a large Scottish Army encamped there and on Dinedor.

In 1871 the population was just 144 (in 35 inhabited houses), and in 1901, 117 - less than half of its neighbours Much and Little Birch. The whole of the parish in the 19th century, save for three small tenements, was the property of Guys Hospital Herefordshire Estates.

The church has some important monuments -

Dame Maud de Cobdene, wife of Roger de Clifford. (ancient)

Joan Pauncey or Dauncey (ancient)

Sir Henry Barnard, Knight 25 April 1680 - "leaving his daughter Elizabeth wife of James Lord Chandos and Emma, wife of Sir Josiah Child of Wansted.

Giles Wilton, gent 1718

Thomas Eustance, 1775 

Fortune his wife 1767

James, Lord Chandos 1714

The monument of John Pearle of Aconbury, 1643, is in Dewsall Church.

(His will PCC 1649 includes bequests to his labourers - Thomas Smith, Thomas Hodge, Thomas Morgan, Thomas Griffith, William (Sime?), Richard Jones and John Phillips.)

(The Herefordshire Family History Society have recorded monumental inscriptions in the churchyard and they are available on their web-site, searchable by surname and on CD Rom.)

The church is dedicated to St John the Baptist as suggested by steps leading down into the church, symbolising descent into the river for baptism. One authority suggests St John of Jerusalem. But the records of the Knights Hospitallers make no reference to Aconbury being in their possession.

The church is all that remains of what was an important Augustinian priory, a female religious house of influence founded by Margery Lacy for the souls of her father and mother William and Matilda de Braose in the time of King John (1199-1216). To this place, for religion and probably a degree of education, came the daughters of those "landed": families of Herefordshire and South Wales.

The site was well chosen, being a knoll of about four acres leading into the surrounding forest, with a lake on three sides. Later, fish ponds were made with embankments to conserve water and water-wheels to drive corn mills. The site of the nunnery is occupied by an old mansion, Aconbury Court Farm house near the church.

Some of the Prioresses whose names are known were  (with representative dates) -

1280
Beatrice de Gamages
1288
Catherine de Genevile
1346
Matilda de Grandison
1399
Joan of Ledbury
1415
Ann Barry (Barre?)
1452
Agnes King
1474
Joan Draper
1481
Cecily Mason
1489
Isabella Gardiner
1535
Joanna Scudamore




When, in 1538, the Priory was dissolved the value of its estates was estimated at 75 pounds 7 shillings. Joanna Scudamore, the last Prioress, was granted a pension of nine pounds. The record is silent as to the other nuns.

The Bailiff then was John ap Gwillim. His final account records the demesne lands, three water mills and the following pasture -

Boughgard
Kings Close
Further Huntley
Millerough
Little Walbrooke
Gosty Lesue
The Bury
Adams Valley
Pykemedowe
Hygyns Medow
Stanke Medow
The Court Close
Rydings or Strekynge
Syssills Ford
Goose Lezowe
Meadows abutting the Worme Brook  - (presumably  in Much Dewchurch)
Skydmore
(Scudamore?)

Mantell Medowe
Quarrell Field
Mill Field


(Many of these field names, in their modern spellings, are on the 1841 Tithe Map.)

The big timber was reserved to the King (Henry 8) and granted to John Seycill, gent. It is recorded that William Wilcock held a house and lands called Meryvalle. But soon after the whole manor, including Rowlstone in Little Birch, was granted to Sir William Sydney. It then came into the hands of Hugh Parry of Poston and then to his heir who married into the Pearle family. It devolved similarly, in 1627, to the Bridges family. (See "After the Dissolution"). I have used the spelling Bridges for this family, but am aware it was often written Brydges, anciently Bruges.

In 1538 after the Priory was closed, it was recorded that - "the trees with the underwoods growing about the foresaid lands and tenements pertaining to the said manner and parsonage of Acornebury and Rowlston, and in hedges inclosing same will barely sufice to repair the houses standing there, and the said hedges which with the tenants have used to repair the same by their custom of old time used."

Some of the Priory's earlier accounts and transactions are in Duncomb's "Collections Towards the History and Antiquities of the County of Hereford" 1912. Here are some extracts from the account of Phillip Godrich who was Bailiff in 1400 -

Farm of John Taillour for Mury Valefeld, thirteen shillings and four pence
Farm of the mill demised to John Whithed by Roger Comyn, thirteen shillings and four pence
For 30 stone of wool at two shillings per stone
Recouped the price of 45 skins sold two shillings and not more because they were putrid
By the sale of 60 sheep at seventeen pence each
For seven bushells of wheat, five shillings and ten pence
For one bushell of barley, six pence
Defects of rents at Hereford seven shillings and two pence. 
And four shillings and two pence in Foye because the Bailiff dare not distrain.
And in defect of rent of Ewyas, six shillings and eight pence because the Bailiff dare not levy it.
Necessary expenses. And in one man brought to raise stone from the quarry and to hold a plough in the absence of the Bailiff who had gone on business of my Lady (the Prioress).
And in one carpenter engaged to repair the great cloister on the east, to saw timber and make the granary at Childesmalmeshull and make wheels for 30 weeks deducting festival days, twenty shillding and ten pence.
And in mowing Keilnowe twenty shillings (ie Kivernoll, Much Dewchurch).
Corn received of the whole issue of the grange of Malmeshullacy (ie Mansel Lacy) this year, Roger Comyn, granger.
Delivered to William Brower, baker for bread for the hospice, fifty two quarters of wheat.
And delivered to him for making the capital brew, thirty quarters.
To William Moill for custody of the meadows, two bushells of wheat.
And delivered to Roger Smith by my Lady's orders, two bushells.

Bailiffs in this period were Walter Jackeson, Richard Dobbins, Richard Wall. Edward Chylde and Thomas Barry are recorded as proctors in 1412 and Robert Kent, 1447. Caldecot Manor in Aconbury was anciently a parcel of the Priory, but in 1533 held by the Priory of Llanthony, Gloucester and the tithes demised to Henry ap Thomas.

Prior to the Reformation Little Birch was a chapel of Aconbury church. After the Reformation the benefice of Little Birch was held with Aconbury.


An interesting feature in this parish is St Ann's Well which was believed to be of great medicinal value, especially for eye troubles. According to Jacqueline Simpson ("Folklore of the Welsh Borders") Aconbury folk used to compete for the first bucketful at the magic moment - midnight on 12th night. The well seems to have been purposefully used, being boarded and with a door.


ACONBURY CHURCH
(with thanks to Glen Peel for the photo)


AFTER THE DISSOLUTION

A forlorn attempt to exclude the Nunnery from closure was made by Bishop Lee of Coventry in a letter to Thomas Cromwell, 1536. The Priory and all of its land went first to the mayor and burgesses of Gloucester. But soon after it was in the hands of Hugh Parry (or ap Harry), who in 1572 was the subject of an inquisition concerning spoil of woodlands in the parish. His daughter Elizabeth Parry married John Pearle in 1600. Thus the manor came to that family. Through the marriage of their daughter to Sir John Bridges in 1627 the manor devolved to their descendants, Dukes of Chandos and Buckingham, for whom it served as an occasional summer residence. Their principal seat was at Wilton in Bridstow near Ross-on-Wye.

James Bridges (or Brydges) Duke of Chandos ("Princely Chandos") was born at Dewsall Court in 1674 and died at his mansion Canons in Middlesex, 1744. (Although the matter does not concern Aconbury's history, he was succeeded by his son Henry, the one famous for buying his second wife, a chambermaid at the Pelican Inn, Newbury, the wife of Jeffries the Ostler there.)

That family's Herefordshire estates, including Aconbury were vested by Act of Parliament in the Duke of Chandos (born 1674) absolutely, reserving rights of the Dowager Lady Carnarvon, her daughters and the daughters of Henry, Marquis of Carnarvon. For financial reasons, not in pique at his defeat in the Hereford election in 1714, as some have written, Chandos began negotiations with Guys Hospital of London in 1728. Agreement was substantially reached in 1732. But he was unable to fully dispose of the entire property until 1754 because of reversionary clauses. After 1754 almost the whole of Aconbury parish became the property of Guys Hospital. They disposed of it in 1962 and it is now mostly owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. 

Guys Hospital estate records in Hereford Record Office include those of their predecessors, Bridges. The genealogical benefit of some of this material may be useful for periods where the parish register is defective.

When the leases Guys took over expired, they were often commuted to annual rentals in accordance with the policy adopted by Guys for all of their estates. The estates were administered from their Counting House in London and by local agents.

Many of the estate papers are itemised on the "A2A" catalogue, on-line. But for quick reference a brief summary, down to 1870 is given below. In some cases farm plans have survived, especially for 1841 as a result of the Tithe Survey. Some rental data for selected dates, which has not been catalogued with detail, is at the end of this section.

At the time of the Militia Assessment 1663 Lord Viscount Scudamore (of Holme Lacy) owned property in the parish. And Sir William Powell alias Hinson of Pengethly Manor, near Peterstow, also held some land in Aconbury through his marriage to Mary (Pearle), widow of Sir James Bridges. But that ownership appears to have reverted to Bridges. Scudamore appears to have owned much of Athelstones Wood in the parish. The Public Record Office, London hold various deeds for the Scudamore estate which may have Aconbury material for the early period. Their catalogue is on-line but unavailable for refined searching. For those reasons extracted data on leases and rentals must be considered incomplete especially for the period prior to Guys accessions circa 1754. However it is an illustration of the type of material available for researchers and, hopefully might be of specific help to some.

It should be noted also that the Manor of Aconbury was a small part of the total holdings of Guys (and the Bridges family before them). Other estates included the Manors of Callow, Dewsall, Wilton and farms and cottages in Much and Little Dewchurch, Bridstow, Peterstow, the Manor of Monnington Stradle in Vowchurch, mills and other properties in St Weonards, Michaelchurch and Tretire and estates in Pipe and Lyde and Stretton Sugwas. It is therefore possible that some families, or individuals moved for work on these other components of the Herefordshire estates.

During the period when Bridges was lord of the manor some leases had the peculiar requirement that the lessee was to keep a hunting dog and cock. The lease to Thomas Eustance of Caldicott Farm, 1736 allowed him to "run his horses and colts into the Coppice wood adjoining Netherwood for the first two years after every fall, they doing no damage" .... and after the end of two years, to run his horses, colts, sheep, swine and cattle (except goats) into the same coppice.

After acquisiton by Guys the organisation appointed agents answerable to their Treasurer in London, who in turn was responsible to the Governors. The Governors seldom viited Herefordshire, not through disinterest but because of the hazards of 18th Century roads - it was a 140 mile coach journey. But during one of their visits their survey revealed the poort state of buildings and much almost orthless farm land.  
.

A survey of all of the acquired estates was conducted by Guys in 1754 and it is recorded that many houses were in bad repair. Even as late as 1798 when John Verry took a tenancy for ten pounds per annum, Guys rebated it by nine pounds nine shillings "towards putting the dwellinghouse and other buildings into repair". Nor was it just small holdings affected for in 1864 Archibald Hepburn of the Aconbury Court Farm sought arbitration regarding rent and the condition of the property. Nevertheless the accounts suggest that the various manors were well administered, both from a committee at Guys Counting House in London and by their local agents.

William Fortune, their first agent in Herefordshire, who  had earlier worked for he Duke of Kent (and therefore should have been competent) was demoted because of his neglect of duty and the Governors' distrust. One of the complaints against him concerned his inability to explain large arrears of rent. The hospital's choice of agents thereafter was to be central to its policy  -  "A person fit to be a Bailiff to a nobleman or gentleman would be very sufficiently qualified for the service". The Woodhouse's (uncle and nephew) were their agents 1791-1809 followed by Whaley Armitage. Arthur
Armitage , his son held the position between 1849 until 1889. This almost "dynastic" appoach to appointments extended to their gamekeepers and woodmen. In 1780 John Verry was appointed head woodman and gamekeeper, including their Manor of Callow, succeeding Robert Powell. His son John Verry took over in 1808 and with duties extending to their neighbouring Manors of Twyford (in Callow) Dewsall and Much Birch. Indeed the Verry family (and their Preece relations) were employed by Guys in various capacities well into the 20th century.

Thomas Lewis was appointed gamekeeper after John Verry died in 1842 (after 45 years' service according to his monument in Aconbury Churchyard). James Mathews was a gamekeeper from 1817. Charles Macklin of Kingsthorne in Much Birch was bailiff in 1851 and in 1881 William Lewis of Mount Skippett farm, Much Birch and  Aconbury was Chief Woodman employing five men and one boy. In 1890 Thomas Mumby, a builder of Kings Thorn Cottage, Much Birch was an agent for Guys.

The tenancy agreements often contained clauses instructing tenants to clear ditches, maintain hedges and graft fruit trees. Preventative clauses included forbidden crops such as hops which could be grown only with permission. On some of their Herefordshire farms ploughing of land for three or four consecutive years was allowed only because it was local custom. But on one of their rare visits in 1781, the Governors thought the use of cots to house sheep ill advised but did not enforce changes as "it is a custom so generally practised it could not be broke thro".

By the end of the 18th century clover had become common due to the agents persuasion and on the heavier land swedes were encouraged. And at the end of that century an agricultural commission commented on the success of Guys in improving their estates.

The French Wars caused rentals to rise markedly throughout England. But those for Guys Herefordshire estates the rise was more moderate in comparison, no doubt attributed in part, to the charitable disposition of the organisation. Many of their cottages in Aconbury Hill are now in ruin but, given free access to timber for warmth and cooking, access to game, their tenants lives were probably comfortable in comparison to others affected by the Industrial Revolution in the cities.

Upper Twyford in Aconbury was administered with that manor. Lower Twyford was part of the Manor of Callow. Therefore, records of the Callow estate may need to be considered also. Farm boundaries are often invisible with respect to parish and manor boundaries.

MISCELLANEOUS LEASES, RENTALS GUYS ACONBURY ESTATE
(including those documents acquired from their predecessor)
DATE
NAME
DETAILS
1670
Roger PRICE, carpenter, Aconbury son of Thomas (believed to be PREECE)
Dwelling/Land
1671
John ROBERTS,weaver, Aconbury Hill
House Aconbury Hill for lives of John ROBERTS, Margaret and Edward EDRIDGE
1694
Rees PRICE, yeoman, Dewchurch (probably Little Dewchurch
House late Mary and Thomas PRICE for lives Rees PRICE, William and Benjamin, his sons
1694
John SKYNNER, husbandman, Dinedor
Netherwood Farm late Mrs Jane ABRAHALL for lives John SKYNNER and children William and Anne
1695
Mary WOOD, Widow, Dewchurch
Part Pigges Farm or Navilla Green for lives children Richard, Elizabeth, Ann
1698
Thomas EUSTANCE, husbandman, Aconbury
Caldecott Farm
1700
Christopher TORR, Dinedor
Benefit of watercouse (for mill at Dinedor)
1704
Katherine PREECE, spinster and John PREECE, yeoman, Llanwarne
House Aconbury Hill
1707
Elizabeth RUDGE, daughters Jane and Susan
Cottage
1712
James MEREDYTH, yeoman
House/land
1715
Thomas EUSTANCE, yeoman, Coldicott, Aconbury and son Thomas
Capital messuage and Aconbury farm (Eustance Snr died 1716)
1717/18
Mary WOOD, widow, Much Dewchurch, son Richard
Recitation 1695 lease etc.

1720
Thomas WILLIAMS, yeoman, the Bower, Holme Lacy
Maddoxton Farm
1723
John WILLIAMS, Upper Twyford, Aconbury
Upper Twyford House (occupied by his father Theophilus)
1731
William ROBERTS, sawyer, Aconbury
Cottage, Aconbury Hill
1731
Charles THOMAS, yeoman, Aconbury
Cottage
1732
John WILCOX, yeoman, Lower Twyford, Callow
Land Twyford and Aconbury
1734
Thomas EUSTANCE, yeoman, Aconbury
Aconbury Farm
1734
John PREECE the younger, yeoman, Aconbury
Cottage, Aconbury Hill
1736
Frances MEREDITH, widow of Thomas, of Brainton
Pyes Nest
1737
William JONES, yeoman, New Tindings, Much Birch
"Cottage he built 12 years ago and land he inclosed of Much Birch Common and Aconbury Hill"
1742
James BAILEY, labourer, Wooolhope, wife Susan daughter of Elizabeth  RUDGE
Assignment lease to Richard TAYLOR, yeoman, Aconbury (cottage)
1752
Charles WILLIAMS, yeoman, Aconbury
Hosiers Farm ex James THOMAS
1754
By this date most properties assigned from Bridges to Guys Hospital Estate

1754
Thomas MEREDITH, yeoman, Mancell Lacy son of Frances, widow, deceased
Pyes Nest
1756
Assignment Pyes Nest to Guys Hospital Estate

1771
James SMITH, yeoman, Bolstone
Benefit of water-course
1779
John PENNER, yeoman, St Martins, Hereford
Merrivold (sic) Farm late Joseph BALDWYN
1791
Richard GARROLD, yeoman, Little Dewchurch
Moraston, White house and land in Aconbury and Little Dewchurch
1792
Mary WILCOX of Twyford, Callow
Land in Upper/Lower Twyford, Cottage Aconbury in occupation of John and Mary WILCOX
1819
William ROBINS, labourer, Little Birch
Cottage/land enclosed of Aconbury Hill Common
1857
Thomas HUGHS, labourer, Aconbury Hill
Cottage, Aconbury Hill
1857
Thomas WILLIAMS, labourer
Cottage, Aconbury Hill
1858
Thomas DAVIES, labourer Cottage, Aconbury Hill
1859
William JONES, yeoman
Cottage, land Aconbury and Much Birch, late Thomas JONES
1861
Re: Probate Benjamin PREECE (Ann his widow, executrix)
Pyes Nest
1870
Ann PREECE, Widow, Aconbury
1 acre land Aconbury

NOTE: The following properties had been purchased by Chandos circa 1713: Morriston and Whitehouse in Little Dewchurch and Aconbury, purchased from William Fellows; House of John Abrahall in Twyford, Aconbury. All other property in Aconbury had been acquired at earlier dates by marriage settlements.

In addition Hereford County Quarter Session Records include a deposited deed for Thomas BINOLS Jnr, gent of Aconbury 1 January 17 Chas II but it may relate to property elsewhere.  

Duncombs's "Collections Towards the History and Antiquities of the County of Hereford" 1912 says: "Other homesteads in this parish are Kings Pit, Merryvale, The Warren, Mount Skippet and Cross-in-Hand".


RENTAL RECORDS: MANOR OF ACONBURY (Guys Hospital)

The following data was extracted from the ledger records for selected years, 1785, 1808, 1820, 1832 and 1840. Some data was not copied such as amounts allowed for land tax and shire hall rates, these being included in the total rent. Rent during the 19th century  was generally collected at Michelmas, 29 September. Later rolls were not copied as it is felt that the census returns from 1841 provide a more satisfactory record for family history research.

Many of the cottages on Aconbury Hill remained in poor condition. In 1871 Arthur Armitage, Guys agent reported on them and referred to those built on waste-land who were paying an "acknowledgement" of one or two shillings per annum. Some tenants declared the property to be their own. His earlier report in 1857 includes personal comments on some tenants as well as the condition of the buildings. That biographical matter should be of interest.

Plans made of specific farms in Aconbury for the 1841 Tithe Survey include Moraston Farm (P Garrold Jnr), Maddoxton and Caldecot, the Cross in Hand (J Verry), Merrivale Farm (William Bickerton). The records also include other plans, surveys and measurements made at diverse dates. The catalogue should be checked for specific properties particularly under the general heading "Surveys and Measurements". The plan for the Cross-in-Hand farm includes a list of fields and their use in 1841. Presumably others do likewise.

As far as can be discerned each roll of tenanted cottages is in the same order, year by year, but with an increasing number of additions, presumably of cottages newly built, occupied or became chargeale. In some cases new tenants were related to the old. This is sometimes noted on the ledger.

The cottages are not named in the ledgers. Some are known - Woodhouse, Camphouse, Pyes Nest,Upper House, Priory Cottage, Hill Cottage. Finally, there was presumably some sub-letting of cottages not represented in the ledgers such as Merryvale Cottage on Merryvale Farm and Bowle House Cottage.

EXTRACTS - RENT ROLL:
MANOR OF ACONBURY (GUYS HOSPITAL ESTATES) 1785

RENT PER HALF YEAR
Pds=Pounds

Sh=Shillings
P=Pence
NAMES OF FARMS etc
TENANT
ARREARS RENT
Aconbury
Thomas EUSTANCE

100.00.00
Caldecott Farm
Thomas EUSTANCE

 15.00.00
Mournhall Farm
John PENNER

 45.00.00
Rabbit Warren
John PENNER

 20.00.00
Maddoxton Farm
Roger EDWARDS

 16.00.00
Upper Twyford
Mary WILCOX, Widow

 16.00.00
Kings Pitts
Francis POWELL
  3.10.00
  7.00.00
A tenement and lands
John VERRY
  3.10.00
  1.10.00
Bowl Farm
Thos. EUSTANCE
  3.00.00
  6.00.00
A tenement and lands
Mary THOMAS
  2.10.00
  2.10.00
Water Course to Torrs Mill
Wm. SKYRME ex James SMITH
     1.11.06  
   1.01.00
Pyes Nest
Robert POWELL
the Woodward

NIL
Cottage/garden Aconbury Hill
John PREECE ex wid. NICHOLAS
     0.15.00
  0.10.00
Cottage/land Aconbury Hill and Much Birch
Walter MEEK

  1.05.00
Cottage/ Aconbury Hill
MILBRO, JONES ex Edw. Wm. RAVENHILL
      0.02.00
  0.02.00
Cottage Aconbury Hill
Wm. SKYRME ex Wm. COLEBORNE
       0.00.06
  0.00.06
Moraston, White house in Wilton and woodlands in Aconbury
Richard GARROLD

  65.00.00
EXTRACTS - RENT ROLL:
MANOR OF ACONBURY 1808
RENT PER ANNUM

NAMES OF FARMS etc.
TENANT

Aconbury, Bowle and Caldicott Farms
Walter FISHER
166.00.00
Madoxton Farm
Walter FISHER (Sic)
  50.00.00
Mournhall Farm and Rabbit Warren
Thos. BULLOCK now Sam BICKERSTON
110.00.00
A tenement called Cross and Hand and part of Kings Pitts farms
John VERRY
  10.00.00
Parish House, the Camp Piece and late Smiths Rough
Mary SKYRME
    5.05.00
Water Course leading to Torrs Mill
Chas. BODENHAM Esq (of Rotherwas)
    1.02.00
Cottages etc. on Aconbury Hill

Mary SKYRME
Edward MAYOS
Daniel BIGGS
Samuel WILLIAMS
William SEAL
Thos. PREECE
Thos. JONES
John SEAL
0.01.00                  0.00.06
1.15.06
0.01.00
0.01.00
0.01.00
0.01.00
0.01.00


Moraston and White house and Woodlands etc
Richard GARROLD
104.08.06 

NOTES
:
  1. Cross and Hand recorded in other documents as Cross-in-Hand which appears historically correct, and may have been the site of a pre-Reformation chantry.

  2. The name Bickerston appears from other records to be derived from Biggleston.

EXTRACT - RENT ROLL: MANOR OF ACONBURY 1820
NAMES OF FARMS etc
TENANT
RENT PER
ANNUM

ARREARS
1819
Aconbury Court and Bowle Farms
Thomas NASH
350.00.00
272.14.00
Madoxton and Caldicot Farm
S BICKERSTON Jnr
130.00.00
Mournhall Farm and Rabbit Warren
BICKERSTON
110.00.00

Cross and Hand tenement, meadow etc.
John VERRY
  26.00.00  

Water Course to Torr's Mill
C BODENHAM Esq
(of Rotherwas)
    1.02.00

Cottages etc. on Aconbury Hill

M SKYRME
E MAYOS
D BIGGS
S WILLIAMS
W SEAL
Thos. PREECE
Thos. JONES
Mary SEAL
? SEALE
     0.00.06
     1.15.06
     0.01.00
     0.01.00
     0.01.00  
     0.01.00
     0.01.00
     0.01.00  
     0.10.00



 
0.01.00  
 
  0.01.00  

   0.08.00
   0.08.00  
   1.10.00

Moraston, White house and Woodlands etc
Richard GARROLD
  200.00.00 

LAND TAX, SHIRE HALL RATES (included in rent) 1820 - examples
LAND TAX
SHIRE HALL
Thomas NASH
7.06.00
1.04.08
S BICKERSTON
3.12.00
1.04.08
BICKERSTON
3.12.00
0.00.00
J VERRY
1.00.00
0.05.00
GARROLD
5.04.00
2.03.08
No tax or hall rates were levied on cottages on Aconbury Hill



EXTRACT - RENT ROLL: MANOR OF ACONBURY 1832
TENANT
NAMES OF FARMS etc
LAND
Acres Roods Perches
ARREARS
RENT PER
ANNUM

Thomas NASH
Aconbury Court and Bowle Farm
418.2.39
103.14.02
330.00.00
Samuel BICKERSTON
Madoxton and Caldicot Farms
170.0.23
 97.00.00
100.00.00
Wm. BICKERSTON
Murrivale and Warren Farms
 Not Recorded
 56.08.00
 66.00.00
Joseph VERRY
Cross and Hand tenem't and meadows
 44.2.24

20.00.00
Chas. BODENHAM
Priory Sheen tithes in Dinedor


 25.10.06
Chas. BODENHAM
Watercourse to Torrs Mill
 

  1.02.00
Chas. BODENHAM
Road to Mainscroft Wood


  0.01.00
James POWELL
Cottage on Aconbury Hill


  1.15.06
Ann now Thos. HARRIS
Cottage on Aconbury Hill


  0.01.00
William WILLAMS
Cottage on Aconbury Hill


  0.01.00
Sam'l WILLIAMS
Cottage on Aconbury Hill


  0.01.00
Will'm WATKINS
Cottage on Aconbury Hill


0.01.00
Thos. PREECE Cottage on Aconbury Hill


0.01.00
Thomas JONES
Cottage on Aconbury Hill


0.01.00
Late SEAL
Cottage on Aconbury Hill


0.01.00
Richard SEAL
Cottage on Aconbury Hill


0.01.00
John HUGHES
Cottage on Aconbury Hill

0.01.00
Richard DAVIES
Cottage on Aconbury Hill


0.01.00
John PREECE
Cottage at Netherwood
late "Ann Seal" (possibly refers to Davies)


0.01.00
Thomas POWELL
Cottage on Aconbury Hill


00.01.00
Late Thos. VALE
Cottage on Aconbury Hill


00.01.00
Jors. MACKLIN
Cottage on Aconbury Hill


00.01.00
Richard GARROLD
Moraston Farm etc in Little Dewchurch
278.2.15

168.00.00
NOTE: Between Macklin and Garrold is a note "Thomas Davis, Hughs, J Biggs - Much Birch" (no amounts shown).

EXTRACT - RENT ROLL: MANOR OF ACONBURY 1840
TENANT
FARMS, COTTAGES
LAND
Acres Roods Perches
ARREARS
1839

ANNUAL RENT
Catherine NASH
Aconbury and Bowle Farm
418.02.29

330.00.00
Thomas ADDIS
Madoxton and Caldecot Farms
162.02.03

  94.00.00
Wm. BICKERTON
Merrivale Farm
153.02.27
 
 72.00.00
Mary VERRY
Cross and Hand ten't and meadow etc
  44.02.24

20.00.00
Chas. BODENHAM Esq
(of Rotherwas)
Priory Sheen tithes in Dinedor
Water course Aconbury to Torrs Mill
Road access Maincroft Meadow
261.01.12
 
 25.10.06
  1.02.00
  00.01.00
Revd. Mr HAMPTON
House and land in Little Birch

  05.00.00
  05.00.00
James POWELL
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill


 01.15.06
Ann HARRIS  "now John"
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill


00.01.00
Late William WILLIAMS
"
now Mary WILLIAMS"
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill

00.01.00
Sam'l WILLIAMS
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill

00.01.00
Wm WATKINS
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill

00.01.00
Late Thos. PREECE now  B PREECE and his sister
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill
(Note: probably Benjamin PREECE)


00.01.00
Will'm JONES
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill

00.01.00
Rich'd DAVIS
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill


 00.01.00
Richard SEAL
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill

00.01.00
John HUGHES
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill
"two tenemants"


00.10.00
Richard DAVIES
Cottage on Aconbury Hill

00.01.00
John PREECE
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill

01.10.00
Tho's POWELL
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill


00.01.00
Ann HANDLEY
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill
("Allotment")


  01.00.00
John BIGGS     )
Mary HARRIS )
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill


  00.01.00
  00.01.00
Will'm VERRY
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill


  00.01.00
Charles MACKLIN
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill


 00.01.00
Caleb DAVIS
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill


00.01.00
James ADDIS
Cottage and land on Aconbury Hill
Note: bottom of page "arrears six pence"


  00.01.00
Charles MACKLIN
Allotment in Much Birch six years at 10 shillings per annum. (Note: that is what it says).


  03.00.00
xx Ann HANDLEY  married
COLBORNE? 1 November 1841
Note: the writing for this note is poor. I think it says "Colborne" or similar.



John SEAL
Cottage near Netherwood

  03.00.00
  01.10.00
James MORRIS
Land in Much Birch

  01.10.00
  00.15.00
Richard GARROLD
Moraston Farm etc in Little Dewchurch and Aconbury
278.02.15

168.00.00

NOTES:
  1. The annotation in line John Hughes may relate to Richard Seal but it is in line John Hughes. A note bottom of page referenced to William Watkins states: "John Meek is to be added. He + Watkins succeeded Wm. Seal whose daughter (Ann?) they married".

  2. There is no Handley/Colborne marriage on the IGI but Colborne/Coborn names are in the parish register.

  3. Biggs/Harris are bracketed for no clear reason.

FOR 1857 THE ACONBURY ESTATE RECORDS INCLUDE -
ACONBURY HILL

Mary POWELL
Thomas DAVIES
Mary WILLIAMS
James PREECE
Esther and Mary PREECE
William JONES
John SEAL
Thomas PORTER
Charles MACKLIN
Richard DAVIES
John PREECE
Sarah VERRY ("late WILLIAMS")
John BIGGS
Mary HARRIS
Margaret WATKINS ("late William WATKINS")
Elizabeth DAVIES ("now son-in-law John HUGHES")
James ADDIS
Henry George WATTS
Benjamin PREECE
John MORGAN

MUCH BIRCH
James MORRIS

TENANTS: Twyford Common in CALLOW 1857 included:
William COOKE
John PREECE
Ann CLOSE
William PREECE
Thomas PREECE
Thomas POWELL
Elizabeth "late Richard HODGES"
Richard "late Mary TOMKINS
John POWELL
James MORGAN "son of old Rebecca MORGAN"
Walter "late Mary COOKE"
William ":late Mary BEVAN"
Benjamin MORRIS
Esther MERRICK


LASCELLES 1851 DIRECTORY OF MUCH BIRCH INCLUDES -
NAME
OCCUPATION
PLACE
John TOMKINS
Farmer
Aconbury Common
James TREHEARNE
Shopkeeper
Aconbury Hill
Willim WATKINS
Shoemaker
Aconbury Common
Sam. TULLY
Shopkeeper
Reform Cottage, Aconbury Common
Joseph LEWIS
Shoemaker
Aconbury

LITTLEBURY'S GAZETTEER AND PARISH HISTORY 1876/7 - ACONBURY

is on GENUKI>HEREFORDSHIRE>TOWNS AND PARISHES>ACONBURY

(You may have arrived here via that site).

That directory for "Callow with the Hamlet of Twyford" includes Thomas Dance, Kings Pit Farm (in Aconbury Manor Records).

HEADS OF HOUSEHOLDS ACONBURY
(as enumerated 1881 Census)

(Having failed to locate a reasonably complete 19th Century Directory of Aconbury (too small perhaps?) I have created the following which will also serve as a quick reference to the 1881 census).

HEAD OF
 HOUSEHOLD
OCCUPATION
RESIDENCE
BIRTH
PLACE
Eliz. ADDIS
Market Gardener
Cundy Gate Cottage
Much Birch
George BAILEY
No occupation recorded
Bowl House Cottage
Lugwardine
William BLUNT
Ag. Lab.
Tars Mill Cottage
Stoke Lacy
Thomas CHARD
Ag. Lab.
Aconbury Cottages
Preton, Worcs.
Thomas DAVIES
Carpenter
Priory Crossway
Little Birch
John DAVIS
Ag. Lab. Aconbury Cottages
Radnorshire
Richard DAVIS
Ag. Lab.
Aconbury Cottages
Aconbury
Thomas EDWARDS
Ag. Lab.
Priory Cottages
Weston (Penyard?)
John FOWLER
Farmer, 300 acres
Morrastone Farm
Buckley, Gloucs.
Martha FRANCIS
Charwoman
Priory Cottages
Callow
John HALFORD
Farmer
Kings Pitt
Fownhope
William HODGES
Ag. Lab.
Woodland Cottage
Kings Caple
Henry HUSTINGS
Ag. Lab.
Merryvalle Cottage
Glewson
Joseph JONES
Farmer
Warren Farm
Aconbury
William E LEWIS
Chief Woodward, Guys Estate
Mount Skippet Farm
Ross
James E LITTLE
Police Constable
Callow Pike Cottage
Claines, Worcs.
Edwin NORRIS
Carpenter/Wheelwright
Pyes Nest Cottage
Much Birch
Daniel PAINE
Farmer
Merryvalle Farm
Gloucester
Richard PANNIERS
Farmer, 85 acres
Kings Pitt Farm` Sutton
James PARRY
Labourer
Vine Cottage
Clifford
Eliz. PREECE
Charwoman
Old House Cottage
Brecknock
Esther PREECE
Charwoman
Castle Pool Cottage
Bolston
James PREECE
Farmer, 11 acres
Upper House
Hereford
Samuel PREECE
Ag. Lab.
Hill Cottage
Hereford
Samuel PREECE
Gen. Lab.
Priory Crossway
Aconbury
Thomas PREECE
Farmer, 77 acres
Crosshand Farm
Allensmere
Thomas PRICE
Gen. Labourer
Castle Pool Cottage
Little Birch
William PRITCHARD
Carpenter/Joiner
Hill Cottage
Middlesex
George  PROSSER
Ag. Lab.
Aconbury Cottages
Hentland
Mary ROOKE
Market Gardener
Holly Cottage
Monmouth
Thomas SALTER
Farmer, 386 acres
Aconbury Court Farm
Battlefield, Shrops.
John VERRY
Gen. Lab.
Thorne Cottage
Aconbury
Thomas VERRY
Gen. Lab.
Thorne Cottage
Up. Bulllingham
William VERRY
Mason
Old House Cottage
Aconbury
Mary WALL
Monthly Nurse
Green Cottage
Aconbury
Edward WALL
Ag. Lab.
Warren Cottage
Little Dewchurch
James WATKINS
Farmer, 160 acres
Caldicot Farm
Clodock
Richard WEST
Ag. Lab.
Caldicot Pike Cottage
Llanwarne
Frederick WILLIAMS
Unemployed farmer
Crosshand Farm
Llanwarne

Aconbury had  no Inn but a James Preece is recorded as a brewer of beer in 1870.

(FULL CENSUS is available on-line on LDS Family Search site.)


ACONBURY AND THE CIVIL WAR

Aconbury played an important part in the Civil War in Herefordshire. In 1642 Lord Herbert (for the King) came from Raglan and briefly occupied Aconbury hill. In the same year Parliament occupied Hereford. In 1645 Leslie Earl of Leven occupied both Aconbury and Dinedor hills. His men, unpaid, had to eat what food they could find. Apparently being unused to cider apples many became ill.

Of Leven and his Scots stay in Herefordshire Webb wrote - "Herefordshire felt every day more and more heavily how disastrous is the pressure of ill-paid, unfed, unrestrained soldiers. During the first fortnight in November the troops on the Monmouthshire border, augmenting their numbers and drawing up towards the invaders for observation and attack, or cutting their resources, had shown themselves in foraging, or reconnoitering parties along he course of the Worm (brook), making their way into places seldom visited by strangers......" "Thus they penetrated still further towards Hereford where amidst the lovely woods ..... stood the vestiges of the Priory."

The news of the arrival of the King's forces pannicked the Scots and they dispersed. A few of the clergy and inhabitants addressed a petition to Parliament in 1642. It is unsurprisingly lacking in signatures, for the bulk of the county was Royalist.

"To the Right Honourable Henry Earl of Stamford, Governor of the City of Hereford. The woeful Complaint and humble Petition of divers well affected to the King and Parliament in that evil evil (sic) affected Country:

Humbly shewing,

That, since the beginning of this present Month of November we whose names are subscribed, and some others, have been constrained to flee, with our Wives and Children, for our lives and safety, from our Habitations and Estates, and have had our Houses rifled of all our Goods and Stuff, our Cattle driven away, our Corn and Grain threshed and carried from us, by the barbarous Cavaliers of the Welsh Parts, who are under the Command of a dangerous Papist, the Lord Herbert, Son and Heir to the Right Honourable Henry Earl of Worcester; so that many of us are wholly deprived of all present Maintenance;  Wherefore we commend our miserable Condition to your Honours' pious consideration, and rest, Your Honours' in all Observance,
Rich'd DEW, Gent
Wm. NEWPORT, Minister of Kenderchurch
Tho. THOMPSON
Jo. TYRER, Minister of Cornebury (ie Aconbury)
Tho. GWITHAN, "who was carried
Prisoner to Ragland for no other cause
but for being a Protestant".
Martin HUSBANDS, Gent
Tho. RAWLINGS, Gent
Jo. SAISE, Gent
Ric'd GREENELEAFE
James PERRIN
Tho. HUSBANDS
Tho. PRICE
Roger PRICHARD












("Memorials of the Civil War Between King Charles 1 and the Parliament of England as it Affected Herefordshire" Webb - 1879)

Stamford, for Parliament took Hereford in September 1642 with little resistance. But in response to the hostility of its citizens he wrote - "The county, as well as the vile city is so base and malignant." In 1642 he withdrew his army to the comfort of Puritan Gloucester.

A useful article on the Civil War in Herefordshire can be found here.


PARISH REGISTER COPIES

Aconbury and Little Birch were one benefice. There are Aconbury family names in the Little Birch register. It is recommended that both be searched.

ACONBURY
LITTLE BIRCH
ORIGINAL REGISTER

1736-1971 FILM 992633 Items 11-14

ORIGINAL REGISTER


Marriages 1911-1969
Banns 1941-1969

FILM 1594647
Items 2-3

ORIGINAL REGISTER

Christenings 1557-1884
Marriages 1557-1837
Burials 1557-1812
Banns 1755-1812

ORIGINAL REGISTER

Marriages 1837-1963


FILM 1040327
Items 13-17






FILM 1040016
Items 1-3


BISHOPS TRANSCRIPTS FILM 993073 Item 1
BISHOPS TRANSCRIPTS FILM 992310 Item 3
Christenings 1665-1867
Marriages 1665-1846
Burials 1665-1865
Christenings and Burials 1661-1871
Marriages 1661-1847

Christenings and Burials 1661-1871
Marriages 1661-1847
FILM 1593752 Item 1 (duplicate filming)

The transcripts have the following years missing -
1667/8, 1706/12. 1726/7, part 1742 and 1757, whole of 1759.


Film numbers are LDS British film numbers.



ACONBURY
LITTLE BIRCH
IGI BATCH NUMBERS
IGI BATCH NUMBERS
C071552
1771-1871
J071553
1736-1875
K071553
1736-1875
J137721
1557-1875

M137721
1557-1837
M071552
 1771-1846
M071553
1736-1883

K137721
1557-1875

M137722
1837-1885
Each needs to be checked - not exact duplicates

CHURCHWARDEN AND VESTRY ACCOUNTS

It appears that no early accounts have survived.

VISITORS' BOOK


Herefordshire Record Office hold the Visitors' Book for Aconbury Church, 1942-1971. Perhaps some visitors noted family links to the parish? The church "closed" in 1972.


WESLEYAN METHODIST

There was a chapel at Little Birch during the 19th century. It was within the Hereford Circuit. It was converted to a house in 1912. Herefordshire Record Office hold a photo of the Chapel. I have been unabled to locate the whereabouts of any surviving registers. If anyone knows please email.



RECUSANTS

The Recusant Rolls record only two for Aconbury (cf. Much Dewhurch with twenty three).

Ann Abrahall 1677
Joan (Jane), wife of William Abrahall



VICARS OF ACONBURY WITH LITTLE BIRCH

The last pre-Reformation vicar was John Gregg, 1516. Post-Reformation vicars were -


1570 John YONGER
1611 William HIGGS
16??  John TYRER **
1664 Hugh OWEN
1679 Titus NEVE
1733 Thomas WILLIM
1750 Richard REECE
1767 Richard GOMOND
1777 William WHITMORE
1792 William BARRY
1810 Richard LUCAS
1833 William HUTTON
1835 Thomas PHILLIPS
1838 Henry HAMPTON
1850 Vernon GUISE
1852 Richard FOOT
1855 Stephen THACKWELL
1883 Henry MARRIOTT-DODINGTON
1890 Walter FITZWARINE-SMITH



** TYRER's tenure may have been short. Known from the Civil War petition, but not listed officially as vicar.

The benefice was held with Little Birch for much of this period.



LANDOWNERS - Militia Tax 1663
(extracted from "Herefordshire Militia Tax Assessments" M A Faraday 1972).

Aconbury was assessed with Little Birch and Little Dewchurch. I have listed each parish. Names are in descending order of property value.This book should be available through most library services if the rateable value is required, or email me. (Note that these are landowners, not tenants /leaseholders although some may well have leased land also.)



LITTLE BIRCH
LITTLE DEWCHURCH
ACONBURY
Viscount SCUDAMORE Rudhall GWILLIM Esq
The Lord Viscount SCUDAMORE
(ie of Holme Lacy)
Jo KIDLEY, gent
Thos. RAWLINS Esq
Sir James BRIDGES
Wm. GUILLIM, gent Mr GETHING
Sir William POWELL
Jo. GUILLIM, gent
Mr HELMES

William HIGGS, Clerk Mr VOILE

Mary ABRAHALL, widow
Mr BARNES

Tho. PARSONS Mr EDWINS

Jo. GWATKIN
Thos. JONES

Tho. WEAVER Rich. JONES

Tho. BINKES
Jo. HEY

Ri. ROGERS
Phil.WITHESTONE

Tho. BANTON
Phil. LAMBERT


Phil. OSBURNE


Ja. BILLINGSLEY


Tho.WILCOCKS


The Widow WILLIAMS


Jo. JONES Jnr


Thos. BIGGS


David FREYER


Walter UNDERWOOD


Jo. BENNETT


Guilb.WILCOCKS


Jo. HOPKIN


Wm. ROBERTS


Thos. BIGGLESTON


Wm. PITMAN


Ri. COMBE


Ja. ANDREWES


Edw.WITHERSTON

Ja. LINKE



HEARTH TAX RETURNS

The Herefordshire Family History Society have indexed the returns for Lady Day 1664 and Michaelmas 1665, which they will search for a fee. All houses with a hearth were taxed unless the occupier was exempted by poverty.

The largest Hearth Tax charge in Aconbury 1664 was for Giles Wilton who had nine. In 1712 a Giles Wilton with William Wilton Snr of Madley was involved with the lease of Twyford Green from Bridges.

PROBATE

Most wills and administrations prior to 1858 are at Hereford Record Office. There is no on-line index. There is a private index. See Hereford Family History Society site for details and costs. PCC wills are being indexed on-line but is not complete for the earlier years. Those for Aconbury as at July 2003 are:

Issord FISHER 1626, John PEARLE, gent 1649, Richard TAYLOR yeoman 1655.



Visiting Aconbury today it is difficult to comprehend that it was not always the settled peaceful community it seems. In 1682 alone William WILTON of Twyford in Aconbury was presented before the church court for abusing Willoby DAVIS, churchwarden of Little Birch and threatening to break down the church door (keen to pray?!). And William MATHEWS, Vicar of Aconbury, with his churchwarden Henry HODGES attested that although Blanche GRIFFITHS was presented for being a curser and making seditious comment, was but a poor woman - the proceedings apparently based upon false assumption and envy. Lucky Blanche! In some places she might have been ducked, or worse.


SCHOOL

The nearest and earliest school was at Little Birch. In 1841 the schoolmistress was Martha HODGES of Dove Cottage with eleven pupils. In 1881 Alfred BUGDEN from Kent was a certificated schoolmaster with a role of about 70 pupils which suggests it was a newer school. I do not know if there are surviving records for either.

NOTE: BUGDEN is wrongly written BUGDEW on the 1881 Census


WOODLANDS ACONBURY HILL
KING PITS FARMHOUSE
                                                                                                   


MOUNT SKIPPETT FARMHOUSE
OLD CIDER PRESS

MY ACONBURY INTERESTS (briefly)

  1. John VERRY baptised 1756 son of William VERRY of the Haywood near Hereford, Gamekeeper, Guys Hospital, Aconbury married Elizabeth MORGAN, Much Birch 1777. Tenanted part of Kings Pits and from 1808 Cross-in-Hand farm.

  2. William VERRY baptised 1780 son of 1. above, cordwainer of Camp House, Aconbury Hill, married Philadelphia EDWARDS of Skenfrith.

  3. John VERRY baptised 1782 son of 1. Gamekeeper, Guys Hospital, Aconbury. Married Alice PREECE. Tenanted cottage Aconbury Hill, but will 1842 demised freehold house and orchard at Little Birch. Also tenanted Mount Skippett.

  4. Joseph VERRY baptised 1785 son of 1. Rented Cross-in-Hand farm, married Mary POWELL from Breconshire.

  5. John VERRY baptised 1807 Upper Bullingham, son of 3, shoemaker, Aconbury. Married Elizabeth VERRY, his cousin from Monmouth.

  6. Thomas VERRY baptised 1814 Upper Bullingham, son of 3, woodreve, Guys Hospital, Aconbury. Rented Woodhouse, Aconbury Hill. Married Mary MORRIS of Aconbury. This couple had numerous descendants. Many still reside  in Herefordshire.

  7. James VERRY baptised 1819 at Callow, son of 3, bootmaker of Drybrook, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. Married Mary PRICE of Cwmyoy, Monmouthshire. Their son Richard VERRY, a leather goods merchant of Ripley, Derbyshire married Ada MANGER and their son Arthur emigrated to New Zealand in 1905 (my grandfather).


ACONBURY KELLY'S POST OFFICE DIRECTORY 1856 (Abstract)

(including some adjacent parishes - abstracted. Note that the directory does not include all residents. At this period much mail was directed care of landlord, employer etc).

ACONBURY

ADDIS, James Parish Clerk
ADDIS, Thomas
Farmer
Caldicott
BICKERTON, William
Farmer
Merryfield
DAVIES, Thomas
Carpenter

HUGHES, Thomas
Stonemason

JONES, William
Farmer
Warren
MANSELL, Thos.
Farmer
The Cross-in Hand
MORGAN, John
Sawyer
Aconbury Hill
PREECE, James
Carpenter

PRITCHARD, Wm.
Carpenter
Aconbury Hill
SPENCER, Wm.
Farmer
Aconbury Court
VERREY, John
Shoemaker




"Letters through Much Birch"



LITTLE BIRCH (PARISH) - KELLY's PO DIRECTORY 1856 (Abstract)
THACKWELL, Rev. Stephen MA

Rectory
BULLEN, William
Farmer

DAVIES, George
Tailor

DAVIES, William
Farmer
Well Orchard
GREEN, William
Farmer
The Green
GUNTER, Benjamin
Stonemason

JONES, James
Stonemason and Parish Clerk

JONES, William
Farmer
Castle Hill
LAWRENCE, John
Farmer
Church Farm
LAYTON, Thomas

"Castle"
McMULLEN, John
Beer Retailer

MATHEWS, James
Shopkeeper and -
"Little Castle"