Feckenham is an Ancient Parish in the county of Worcestershire.
Parish Church: St. John the Baptist
Parish registers begin: 1538
Nonconformists in Feckenham include: Baptist, Particular Baptist, Society of Friends/Quaker, and Wesleyan Methodist.
Fairs, March 26 and September 30.
Feckenham, a village, a parish, and a sub-district, in the district of Alcester and county of Worcester. The village stands near the boundary with Warwick, 4½ miles SSW of Redditch r. station, and 7 E by S of Droitwich; and has a post office under Bromsgrove. The manufacture of needles and fish-hooks is carried on; and fairs are held on 26 March and 30 Sept. The parish comprises 6, 786 acres. Real property, £11, 547. Pop., 3, 217. Houses, 701. The property is much subdivided. The manor belonged to the Culpeppers and the Hanburys. A forest anciently covered large part of the area; had in it a prison belonging to the manor; and was cut down for consumption at the salt-works of Droitwich before the introduction of coals. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Worcester. Value, £386.* Patrons, Trustees. The church is neat and good; and contains many ancient monuments. There are chapels for Independents and Baptists. Hanbury’s free grammar school has £57; and other charities have £50. John de Feckenham, last abbot of Westminster, an opponent of the Reformation, was a native.—The sub-district contains three parishes of Worcestershire and one of Warwickshire. Acres, 15, 636. Pop., 5, 068. Houses, 1, 132. Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].
Feckenham – a parish in the hundred of Halfshire, upper division, 7 miles E.S.E. from Droitwich, and 112 from London; containing 460 inhabited houses. The church is a neat building, containing several curious monuments. A considerable part of the population is employed in the manufacture of needles and fish-hooks, for which the town has long been famous. Sir Thos. Cookes, Bart. established a school here, and endowed it with £50 per ann. with exhibitions to Worcester College, Oxford, in case the vacancies were not filled up from his school at Bromsgrove.
John de Feckenham, Abbot of Evesham, was born of poor parents, residing in a cottage bordering on Feckenham Forest: his proper name was Howman, which was changed according to the monkish custom in those days. Having a good natural genius, he was, on the recommendation of the priest of his parish, taken into Evesham Monastery, and afterwards admitted into Gloucester College, Oxford, from whence he returned to Evesham Monastery, and on the dissolution of that Abbey, in 1535, he received an allowance of 100 florins per ann. from the exchequer. He disputed with Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, previous to their martyrdom, and though a zealous catholic, it is said, he often performed good offices for the persecuted protestants, and even ventured to intercede with the Queen for the princess Elizabeth, for which he was some time in disgrace, but was shortly after made Dean of St. Paul’s, and Abbot of Westminster. On the accession of Elizabeth to the throne, he still continued to deny, and make speeches against her supremacy, in the House of Peers, and was afterwards committed to the Tower. During the preceding reign of Mary, he held a conference with Lady Jane Grey, which he published, with several other things. Feckenham has 2 fairs, viz. 26th March, and 30th Sept. The living is a vicarage; Rev. E. Bate Compson, incumbent; instituted 1813; patron Rev. E. Neil. Population, 1801, 1830 – 1811, 2135 – 1821, 2383.
Source: Worcestershire Delineated: Being a Topographical Description of Each Parish, Chapelry, Hamlet, &c. In the County; with the distances and bearings from their respective market towns, &c. By C. and J. Greenwood. Printed by T. Bensley, Crane Court, Fleet Street, London, 1822.
Feckenham lies a little to the eastward: it belonged once to the Culpeppers, and then to the Hanburys. The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is a very neat building, and contains many curious monuments. The iron trade has spread thus far; and the inhabitants have long been famous for the manufactory of needles. Nor is their education neglected; for Sir Thomas Cookes, Bart. established a school here for boys and girls, which he endowed with 50l per annum for ever, out of lands near this place. He was founder of Worcester College in Oxford, and ordered this to be the second school from whence the scholars for that college should be chosen; Bromsgrove being the first. The Forest of Fakenham [sic] has already been mentioned as having been very extensive: here too was a station for the justices in Eyre; and a prison for delinquents against the forest laws. Drayton, in his Polyolbion, thus notices it:
“ Whilst Clent and Lickey thus, doe bothe expresse their pride, As Salwarpe slips along by Feck’nham’s shady side, That forest him affects in wandering to the wych; But he himself by salts, there seeking to enrich His Feck’nham quite forgets.”
This village has two annual fairs, both for cattle; and held on the 26th March, and 30th of September.
John de Feckenham, a man deserving of particular record, was thus called, because his parents, who were poor people, lived in a Cottage bordering on the forest: his proper name, however, was Howman, which seems to have been changed for the other, according to monkish custom. Wood, in his Athenae, gives an interesting account of him, and says, that while he was yet a child, he was very apt to learn, having a natural genius to good letters, and to any thing that seemed good; which being perceived by the priest of the parish, he was, by the endeavours and persuasions of several considerable persons, taken into Evesham monastery, from whence he was taken to Gloucester College, Oxford, where there were apartments for the young monks of that abbey to lodge in; but on his return to Evesham, that abbey being dissolved in 1535, he had an allowance of 100 florins per annum from the exchequer. Being committed prisoner to the Tower, during the changes of the reformation, he was released, “or rather borrowed hence for time, by Sir Philip Hobie, for no other reason but to dispute about matters of religion, to satisfy Protestants, who then thought that their religion could not be denied.” He disputed with Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, about these points, a short time preparatory to their martyrdom; yet during the whole time of Queen Mary’s reign, he employed himself in doing good offices for the persecuted Protestants of every rank in life; and even ventured to intercede with the queen for the princess Elizabeth, for which he was for sometime in disgrace. He was shortly afterwards made Dean of St. Paul’s, and Abbot of Westminster, which office he was the last to hold; and when Queen Elizabeth came to the crown, and the reformation again began to take place, he still ventured to deny, and to make speeches against her supremacy in the House of Peers. (About this period he planted the elms in Dean’s yard, Westminster.) It is recorded that the Protestant queen was so struck with his character for learning, piety, charity, humility, and other virtues, as to offer him the archbishopric of Canterbury, provided he would take the oath, and conform to the ritual of the church of England as then established; but this he refused. After this he seems to have suffered persecutions, was committed prisoner to the Tower, and obliged to undergo several disputes with Protestant divines about religion; yet it is remarkable that he was not permitted to be one of those that were publicly to dispute with their antagonists, as happened more than once in the early part of Elizabeth’s reign. During the preceding reign of Mary, he held a conference with Lady Jane Grey, prior to her death; this he published. He wrote many other things; and performed and established many charities, as yet but little known, but which are now in a train of elucidation, from the genius and industry of a gentleman well qualified for the task, who has been for sometime occupied with the investigation of the Habyngdon and other MSS. in order to leave nothing unknown respecting the county which is worthy of enquiry.
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.
Feckenham, twelve miles from Worcester, had a forest in the reign of Henry II. Here the lords and justices kept their courts to determine breaches of the forest laws, and had a prison-house which stood near the church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The principal persons in trade here are Mr. Jones, Surgeon and Apothecary; and Thomas Bates Eades and John Eades, Attorneys. Beanhall, in this parish, was the ancient seat of the Hanburys, of Hanbury-hall. Feckenham is remarked for being the place of nativity of John Feckenham, D.D. so eminently distinguished for his learning and piety in the reign of Edward VI. Here are several needle-manufactories. Its forest has been very much thinned by the wood consumed in the salt-works. Fairs, March 26 and September 30. Here is a charity-school founded, and endowed with 50l a-year, and a neat church. Source: Universal British Directory 1791
Feckenham is a village, and parish, in the hundred of Halfshire; 108 miles N.W. from London, 7 E. from Droitwich, and the like distance south-east from Bromsgrove – both the latter towns being stations near the line of the Birmingham and Gloucester railway. The village was formerly surrounded by a forest (to which it gave name) the which was of great extent and densely wooded, but thinned from time to time for supplying the salt works at Droitwich with fuel. This place has been long noted for the manufacture of needles and fish-hooks, but in other respects its importance is very limited. The Earl of Coventry is lord of the manor, and holds a court-leet in October, when two constables are chosen. The places of worship are the parish church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and a chapel for independents: the living is a discharged vicarage, in the gift of the Rev. Edward Neale, and incumbency of the Rev. James Beesley. The free grammar school, here, was founded by Sir Thomas Cookes, Bart.: a regular attendance at this school (wherein a liberal education is obtained) for two years renders young men eligible for scholarships, established by the founder, in Worcester College, Oxford. John de Feckenham, an eminent Roman catholic divine, and the last abbot of Westminster, was born here. Fairs for cattle are held on the 26th of March, and the 30th of September. The parish contained, in 1831, 2,762 inhabitants.
POST OFFICE – Elizabeth Gardener, Post Mistress – Letters from all parts arrive from Bromsgrove Railway Station (by foot post) every morning at eight, and are despatched every afternoon at half-past four.
Barnett Mrs. Mary
Bayliss Mrs. Nancy
Beesley Rev. James
Bird Miss Mary
Harris Mrs. Ursella
Ladbury Mrs. Sarah, Ham green
Smith Rev. James, Astwood bank
Sorrill Mr John, Astwood lane
Beesely Rev. James, head master of the Blue Coat School
Harrison Richard Steel, surgeon
Harrison Thomas, surgeon
Ladbury Robert, second master of the Blue Coat School
Peart Henry, surgeon
Taylor Henry Bayley, surgeon, Astwood bank
Black Boy, Elizabeth Gardener
Crown, Sarah Sanders
Rose and Crown, James James
White Lion, Ann Richards, Astwood bank
Avery William & Son, Headless cross
Boulton J & P. Hunt end
English John & Co (and pin)
Evatts & Son, Hunt end
Hemming & Son, Astwood
Smith James & Sons
Webb Thomas & John
Baker Wm. Shoe maker, Astwood
Bayliss John, blacksmith
Beekin John, grocer and draper
Benton William, blacksmith
Brown Nestor, painter and glazier
Clarkson David, boot and shoe maker and schoolmaster
Davis Thomas, butcher
Day Gabriel, saddler
Deakin John, shoe maker and beer retailer
Deakin William, boot and shoe maker
Ford Thos. Carpenter, Astwood bank
Greenhill George, boot and shoe maker, Noah’s green
Haines John, boot and shoe maker
Haynes Edmund, miller, Ham green
Hemming Henry, grocer and draper and beer retailer, Astwood bank
Hewitt James Edwin, saddler
Holtham John, tailor
James James, malster, Headless cross
Ladbury John Boulton, malster, Ham green
Ladbury Richard, saddler & shopkeeper
Ladbury Robert, grocer, draper and schoolmaster
Lea William, bricklayer
London Charles, carpenter
Mason Joshua, tailor
Mason Thomas, blacksmith & wheelwright
Morris Thomas, builder
Paine Hannah, grocer and draper
Palmer Henry, baker
Pearman William, butcher
Perks John, grocer & tallow chandler
Renaud David, grocer, draper and Fire Office agent
Richards Benjn. Butcher, Astwood
Rouse Richard, boot and shoe maker
Sandles John, watch & clock maker
Sorrell John, jun. blacksmith, Astwd
Stevens Richard, malster
Surmon James, butcher
Willmore Joseph, blacksmith
Wilson Edward Lewis, grocer
Wiltshire William, retailer of beer and shoe maker
Young Anthony, shopkeeper & needle stamper
Young Solomon, baker
On the Birmingham and Gloucester Line. The nearest stations are the Droitwich and Bromsgrove, of equal distance from Feckenham, as previously noticed.
To Worcester, Samuel Williams, from his house, every Wednesday and Sat.
Source: Pigot & Co.’s Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of the Counties of Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Rutlandshire, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire 1841⁄1842
Alcester Co-operative Industrial Society, Limited, Market square
Barrett J V, sadler, Astwood lane
Dunne t, draper & milliner, High st
Feckenham Post Office, High st – J D Green, postmaster
Field & Son, drapers, High st
Edkins L, boot & shoe dealer, Brook rd
Eight Bells Inn, High st – A A Lewis
ENGLISH J & CO, LTD, mnfrs of every description of sewing needles, sewing machine needles, knitting pins, etc., The Square. Estbd 1756
Gould W W & Sons, needle & fish hook mnfrs, Feckenham mills
HICKS J, grocer, tea dealer, provision merchant, baker, corn, flour and mealman, High st. Ham and bacon curer. Families waited on daily
Hawkes G, stationer & bookseller, High st
Lygon Arms, Brook st – G Laight
LYGON ARMS HOTEL, High st – Proprietor, F R Sprosen. Every accommodation for cyclists and visitors
MILWARD J, butcher & farmer, High st. Families waited on daily for orders and supplied with best quality of English meat
Mogg T A H, physician & surgeon, High st
Morris J, general dealer
Morris H, wheelwright & coffin maker, Rock hill
Newman G, shoeing smith, Astwood lane
Old Rose and Crown Hotel, High st – G Laight
Pearce W, coal dealer & smith, Astwood lane
ROGERS M A, grocer & general grindery dealer in all kinds of small goods, Brook st. White’s celebrated seeds
Rouse G, boot maker, High st
STYLER W W, butcher & ham & bacon curer. Families supplied daily on lowest terms
VIGERS W J, family grocer, tea dealer, provision & wine merchant, wholesale & retail miller and corn factor, The Square
Source: Bennetts Business Directory (Worcestershire Section) 1899; Bennett & Co. Printers and Publishers, Birmingham.