Saturday, May 20, 2006


Feckenham, by John Noake.
from Noake's Guide to Worcestershire published in 1868
IN a rich valley, a few miles south of Redditch, among gardens and orchards, where formerly dense forests existed, and many a poor Saxon was gibbeted for infractions of the despotic laws of the chase, now resides a population chiefly bent upon supplying her Majesty's subjects with pins, needles, and fish-hooks. The manufacturers of these articles are Messrs. J. English and Co., W. W. Gould, J. Smith, G. Townsend, &c. Feckenham has an acreage of 6,560, and a population of 3,217. There were 136 families (about 600 souls) in the time of Elizabeth. An air of antiquity pervades the village, and there were formerly some very ancient inns here. The Old Black Boy Inn has been kept by the family of the Gardeners for nearly a century and half, and the sign, which was of copper, stood the whole of that time, until taken down in 1854. In the neighbourhood, too, are some ancient moated houses: Shurnock Court, occupied by Mr. R. Merrill; Astwood Court, once the seat of the Culpepers, now held by Mr. T. Pearce; and Norgrove Court, by Mr. Cheshire, bailiff to R. Hemming, Esq., of Bentley Manor. These, as well as the old legends which attach to one or two of them, are well worth investigation; and the antiquity hunter must not forget that an ancient and interesting road called the Ridgeway runs on the border of the parish, between the counties of Worcester and Warwick, from whence very fine views may be obtained. Moreover, the odd names which obtain here are indicative of historical interest, local peculiarities, and legendary lore; to wit: Fearful Coppice, Windmill Peril, Blaze Butts, Big and Little Fire Field, Camp Field, Castle Hill,Wargrave,Warridge, Warralls, Merry-come-Sorrow, Tricks's Hole, Old Yarn Hill, Monksbury, Puck Close, Borrow Hill, Holborn Hill, Kit's Iron, Horcuts, Salt Meadow, &c.
There is no longer copyright in John Noake's work, and no copyright is claimed for this transcript by John Stafford. Click on the link in the book title for a complete set of pages in facsimile and transcript


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