Bromsgrove

St. John the Baptist church Bromsgrove

Bromsgrove Worcestershire Family History

Bromsgrove is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Worcestershire.

Other places in the parish include: Lickey and Chadwick.

Parish church: St. John The Baptist

Parish registers begin: 1590

The registers previous to 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1590 to 1652; (ii) 1653 to 1719; (iii) 1719 to 1733; (iv) 1734 to 1754, also baptisms and burials 1783 to 1793; (v) baptisms and burials 1753 to 1803; (vi) baptisms and burials 1774 to 1783; (vii) marriages 1754 to 1773; (viii) marriages 1773 to 1812; (ix) baptisms and burials 1793 to 1806; (x) baptisms and burials 1806 to 1815.

Other churches:

  • All Saints’ Church - The ecclesiastical parish of All Saints was formed in 1875. The church was erected 1872–4.
  • Christ Church, Catshill - formed from Bromsgrove in 1844
  • Holy Trinity, Lickey - formed from Bromsgrove in 1858
  • St. Mary, Dodford - formed from Bromsgrove in 1908
  • Chapels of ease: Linthurst and at Rubery in Lickey,

Nonconformists in Bromsgrove include:

  • Roman Catholic church at Bromsgrove was erected in 1860.
  • Bromsgrove: Baptist, Congregational, Wesleyan Methodist and Primitive Methodist chapels.
  • Dodford: Baptist chapel founded 1865.
  • Sidemoor: Methodist chapel, Mission chapel.
  • Catshill and Bourneheath: Baptist, Wesleyan, and Primitive Methodist chapels.
  • Lickey: Wesleyan, Congregational and Primitive Methodist chapels.

Parishes adjacent to Bromsgrove

  • Kings Norton
  • Grafton Manor
  • Chaddesley Corbett
  • Upton Warren
  • Dodderhill
  • Belbroughton
  • Catshill
  • Tardebigge
  • Frankley
  • Halesowen
  • Alvechurch
  • Cofton Hackett
  • Stoke Prior

Historical Descriptions

Bromsgrove A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

Bromsgrove (St. John The Baptist), a market town and parish, the head of a union, and formerly a borough, in the Upper division of the hundred of Halfshire, Droitwich and E. divisions of the county of Worcester, 13 miles (N. E. by N.) from Worcester, 13 (S. W.) from Birmingham, and 116 (N. W.) from London; containing 9671 inhabitants. This place, anciently Bremesgrave, was a royal demesne at the time of the Conquest, and continued to be so till the reign of Henry III.: it returned members to parliament in the 23rd of Edward I. During the civil war it was the head-quarters of a party of royalists employed in the siege of Hawkesley House, about three miles distant, which, in 1645, was fortified and garrisoned by the parliament. The town is pleasantly situated on the western bank of the river Salwarp, and consists principally of one street, extending for a considerable distance along the Birmingham and Worcester turnpike-road; the houses are in general substantial and well built; and the inhabitants amply supplied with water. In 1846 an act was passed for paving and otherwise improving the place. The principal articles of manufacture are nails and silk buttons: potatoes, for the Bristol and other markets, are extensively cultivated in the neighbourhood. The Birmingham and Worcester canal passes within three miles to the east; and the Birmingham and Gloucester railway has one of its principal stations a mile and a quarter distant. The market is on Tuesday; the fairs are on June 24th and October 1st. The town is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates: a bailiff and other officers are appointed at the court leet of the lord of the manor, held at Michaelmas; and a court is held every third week, for the recovery of debts under 40s. The town hall is a neat and commodious building, in the centre of the town. The parish comprises 10,968 acres: the soil is in some parts fertile, in others of inferior quality. To the north of the town is Bromsgrove Lickey, a range of lofty hills, commanding an extensive and diversified prospect of the surrounding country; a considerable part, comprising a tract of 2000 acres, has been inclosed, and produces good crops of clover, turnips, and potatoes. A spring rising among these hills divides into two streams, one of which, flowing northward, joins the river Rea, and, uniting with the Trent, falls into the North Sea; the other, running into the Stour, joins the Severn, and empties itself into the Irish Sea. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king’s books at £41. 8. 1½.; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Worcester, whose tithes have been commuted for £1200, and whose glebe consists of 75a. 3r. 22p.: the vicarial tithes have been commuted for £1100, and the glebe consists of 1a. 2r., with a house. The church is a very ancient structure, combining portions in the Norman style and the decorated and later English styles, of which last the tower and spire are fine specimens; the interior contains many interesting monuments. A district church was built at Catshill in 1837. There are places of worship for Baptists, Primitive Methodists, Independents, and Wesleyans; and a Roman Catholic chapel at Grafton, an extra-parochial liberty adjoining. A free grammar school was instituted, with an endowment of £7 per annum, by charter of Edward VI., confirmed by Queen Mary; and the original endowment was augmented with £50 per annum by Sir Thomas Cookes, Bart., of Bentley, who in 1714 founded six scholarships, of £50 per annum each, in Worcester College, Oxford, for this school and four others in the county; and six fellowships, of £150 per annum each, in the same college, to which, as vacancies occur, those who hold the scholarships succeed. Thomas Hawkes, in 1809, left £1000 four per cent. bank annuities for the benefit of the poor; and there are several other endowments. The union of Bromsgrove comprises 15 parishes or places, of which 11 are in the county of Worcester, 2 in that of Salop, and one in each of the counties of Stafford and Warwick; and contains a population of 22,357. At Dadford, two miles from the town, are the remains of a small priory of Præmonstratensian canons founded by Henry I., now part of a farmhouse. At Shepley are some traces of the Roman Ikeneld-street; near Gannow is a petrifying spring.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848

Bromsgrove A Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland 1833

Bromsgrove, co. Worcester.

London 116 m. NW. Worcester 12m. NE. Pop. 7519. M. D. Tu. Fairs, June 24; and Oct. 1; for linen, cheese, and horses.

A market-town and parish in the hundred of Halfshire. It is a large and populous town, with a long and straggling principal street, containing many good houses, interspersed with others of a very ancient description, formed of wood, and curiously decorated with black stripes and cross-pieces, the effect of which is extremely grotesque. It is an ancient borough, and formerly sent members to Parliament, and it is still governed by a bailiff, recorder, alderman, and other officers. The living is a vicarage in the archdeaconry and diocese of Worcester; charged in K.B. 48l. 1s. 1½d., patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Worcester. The church, which is ded. to St. John the Baptist, is a handsome Gothic structure, the tower and spire of which, in height 139 feet, are remarkable for their antique elegance. Here is a grammar-school, founded by Edward VI., with an additional endowment, by Sir Thomas Cooke, who gave exhibitions there from to Worcester college, Oxford, which was of his own foundation. The manufactures of this town consist in wool-combing and spinning, linen for the table, sheeting, and general wear, besides needles, nails, tenterhooks, and various small articles of hardware. The Lickey, a wild and lofty range of hills, are situated in this parish a little to the north of the town, which have been inclosed, and are covered with plantations. The views from them are very fine, and the botanist will find many curious plants in this vicinity. A part of the ruins of a Premonstratension monastery, founded in the reign of John, are traceable in the parts of a farmhouse at Dodsworth. Source: A Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland by John Gorton. The Irish and Welsh articles by G. N. Wright; Vol. I; London; Chapman and Hall, 186, Strand; 1833.

Laird Description of Worcestershire 1814

We now proceed to Bromsgrove through a pleasing line of country, indifferently well wooded, but where the traveller cannot help noticing that observation of Arthur Young’s, that here he first remarked the abominable custom of stripping the timber trees to make them look like Maypoles, to the entire destruction of the timber, and distorting the face of the whole country.

This town was formerly called Bremesgrave, and was in the Crown from the Conquest, until the reign of Henry III it then passed through various occupants, returning several times to the Crown, until James I granted it to the ancestor of the late Lord Chedworth whose heir sold it to the Windsor family. Leland speaking of it in his time, says, “I rode from the Wyche to Bromsgrove, a four miles, by enclosed ground, having some good corne, meetly wooded, and well pastured; and in this waye I passed over two or three bridges over the water that cometh from the Wyche. The town of Bromsgrove is all in a manner of one street, very large, standinge in a plain ground. The town standeth somethinge by Clothinge. The heart of the town is meetly well paved. “

It is not even now much altered from that description, and is still a large, but dirty place, full of shops, and of manufacturers of nails, needles, and some sheeting and coarse linens. The principal street is long, but straggling; containing some very good houses, whilst many of the more ancient ones are framed of wood, and curiously decorated with black stripes and cross pieces, scallops, flowers, leaves, and other ornaments, of which the glaring contrast of colours produces a most unharmonious effect. The church, which is a pleasing Gothic structure, is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The tower and spire, whose height is 189 feet, form a most commanding object, and cannot perhaps be surpassed for antique elegance, by any others in the county. They are highly ornamented with Gothic mouldings, and with three statues of St. John, St. Peter, and St. Paul, on the western side. The body of the church has three aisles; the windows contain some very good painted glass; there are several handsome monuments of the Talbots of Grafton, now the Earls of Shrewsbury, and one of Counsellor Lyttelton, of the Hagley family; but we are sorry to observe, that during the repair of the chancel, some years ago, some very improper changes of the monuments and brasses took place. It were well indeed, if an Act of Parliament were to take place to prevent the barbarous beautifyings which are so often executed by the orders of as barbarous churchwardens. Surely even now, the bishops, or archdeacons, in their visitations, might look into these matters, if the resident clergy will not. The ground on which the church stands is so high as to be ascended by fifty steps.

There is a grammar school here, founded by Edward VI with an additional endowment by Sir Thomas Cookes, who gave exhibitions from the school to Worcester college, in Oxford, of his own foundation.

Bromsgrove, as early as the reign of Edward I returned two members to parliament; but that is now discontinued.

The local jurisdiction consist of a court baron, which sits once in three weeks in the Townhall, for the recovery of small debts.

Those who are fond of hunting after Echoes, may find here several remarkable ones; the first is at a white gate between Dyer’s Bridge and the turnpike; a second in the Crown close, behind the High Street; again, at the east and west corners of the church, and on the east side of the High Street, near the Presbyterian meeting-house. At Barnet Green, in this parish, there is a chalybeate spring, which, though not yet in fashion, is known by the poorer classes, and sometimes used with good effect; a petrifying well also near Holly Wood, but these modes of encrustation are too well known to require description.

The market is on Tuesday; and there are two fairs for linen cloth, cheese, horses, and cattle, on the 24th of June, and 1st of October. In manufactures, Bromsgrove does a little in the combing and spinning of long wool for the hosiers in Leicestershire; and the other modes of industry are linen for wear, and also for sheeting and table-cloths, &c. besides many small articles of iron ware, such as needles, nails, and tenterhooks. The town itself contains about 500 houses, and 3000 inhabitants; but the whole parish consists of 14000 acres, and 3000 of an additional population, of the whole of which, about one one half are supported by manufactures: and it is much to the credit of this place, that although the poor-rates were 6000l per annum, in 1801, yet by careful and judicious management, they were reduced, in 1807, to 3,500l.

Source: A Topographical and Historical Description of the County of Worcester, by Mr. Laird. Printed for Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, Paternoster Row; and George Cowie and Co. successors to Vernor, Hood, and Sharp, 31, Poultry, London. Printed circa 1814.

The history of Bromsgrove from Wikipedia:

Bromsgrove is first documented in the early 9th century as Bremesgraf. Later in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 909 AD Bromsgrove is mentioned as Bremesburh. Then in the Domesday Book Bromsgrove is referenced as Bremesgrave. The Breme part of the place name is almost certainly an Anglo-Saxon personal name.

In the Anglo-Saxon times, Bromsgrove had a woodland economy consisting of hunting, maintenance of haies and pig farming. At the time of Edward the Confessor, the manor of Bromsgrove is known to have been held by Earl Edwin. After the conquest, Bromsgrove was held by the King. Among the manor’s possessions were 13 salt pans at Droitwich, with three workers, producing 300 mits. The King had the right to sell the salt from his pans before any other salt in the town.

It was at the centre of a very large parish and its church of St John the Baptist was certainly of minster status. Bromsgrove, along with all the towns in north Worcestershire, was committed to defending the city of Worcester and is recorded to have contributed burgesses to Droitwich in 1086. There may also have been Anglo-Saxon or Norman fortifications in Bromsgrove, but other than in literature no physical archaeological evidence remains.

Bromsgrove was first granted the right to a market day in 1200, and in 1317 was given the right hold a Tuesday market and three-day fair every 29 August at the Decollation of St John the Baptist. Market day changed several times over the period, settling on Tuesday from 1792 onwards. Fairs were held twice yearly, in June and October by the eighteenth century, with the modern pleasure fairs originating from the June horse and pleasure fair.

Bromsgrove and the area surrounding it was put under forest law when the boundaries of Feckenham Forest were extended hugely by Henry II. Forest law was removed from the Bromsgrove area in 1301 in the reign of Edward I, when the boundaries were moved back.

In the later Middle Ages, Bromsgrove was a centre for the wool trade. Manufacture of cloth, particularly narrow cloth and friezes is first recorded in 1533. It fell into decline by the 1700s. By 1778, 140 hands (i.e., people) were employed in the manufacture of linsey and linen employed 180. By comparison, nail making employed 900 hands by this time.

Nail making was introduced by the French Huguenots in the 17th century and became a thriving industry. At one point Bromsgrove was the world centre of nail making. Mechanisation quickly put the industry into decline.

The Bromsgrove Union Workhouse, on the Birmingham Road, was opened in 1838 and closed in 1948 and is in use as an office building today.

In 1841, Bromsgrove railway works was established. It was primarily a maintenance facility but also built steam locomotives. The works provided employment for people in Bromsgrove. In 1964, following a reorganisation of railway workshops, the works closed and was demolished. The site is now a housing estate. One of the turntable pits still remains.

Major restoration of the Norman and 13th century St. John the Baptist church was carried out in 1858 by Sir George Gilbert Scott. In the churchyard here are the graves of two railwaymen, Tom Scaife and Joseph Rutherford who were killed when their steam locomotive blew up while climbing the steepest mainline railway gradient in England, at the nearby Lickey Incline, on 10 November 1840. The driver and his number two died instantly. St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Worcester Road was built by Gilbert Blount in 1858.

Bromsgrove was home for many years to the famous Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts, a company of craftsmen who produced many fine works of sculpture, ironwork, etc., including the gates of Buckingham Palace (whose locks are stamped with the Guild’s name), the lifts on the Lusitania and the famous statue adorning the Fortune Theatre in Drury Lane.

Directories

Bromsgrove Classified Directory Littleburys Directory 1879
Bromsgrove (with the villages of Stoke Prior, Upton Warren, Tardebigg) Pigots Directory 1842
Bromsgrove with Stoke Prior, Tardebigge, Upton Warren and Neighbourhoods Pigot and Co’s National Commercial Directory 1835
Bromsgrove Professions and Trades Lewis Worcestershire Directory 1820
Bromsgrove (Burcot Yield Division) 1820
Bromsgrove (Catshell Division) 1820
Bromsgrove (Chadwick Division) 1820
Bromsgrove (Shepley Yield Division) 1820
Bromsgrove Universal British Directory 1791

Administration

  • County: Worcestershire
  • Civil Registration District: Bromsgrove
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Worcester (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Worcester
  • Rural Deanery: Droitwich
  • Poor Law Union: Bromsgrove
  • Hundred: Halfshire
  • Province: Canterbury

Photographs of Bromsgrove

Bromsgrove St. Johns Church

Bromsgrove St. Johns Graves

War graves in Bromsgrove Cemetery

Monuments and memorials in Bromsgrove