Extract from the
TRANSACTIONS OF THE
BRISTOL AND GLOUCESTERSHIRE
FOR 1894 - 95.
At the Annual Meeting held at Ledbury
On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, July 24th, 25th, and 26th, 1894.
The Annual General Meeting of the Society was held at Ledbury on the days above mentioned. This is the second time within the last three years that members of the Society have visited Ledbury and its neighbourhood. A large and influential local committee were nominated to receive the Society, Mr. M. Biddulph, M.P., being appointed Chairman. Mr. Spencer H. Bickham and Mr. George H. Piper kindly acted as local secretaries, but owing to the serious illness of Mrs. Bickham — and which has since proved fatal — the former gentleman was unable to be present, and the duties were kindly carried out by Mr. Jesse Garrood. Mr. Bickham was also local treasurer. The company first assembled in the ancient Townhall to hold the Annual Meeting of the Society, and during the progress of the business the cries of the market hucksters underneath were plainly heard. Among those present at the introductory meeting were the Revs. C. S. Taylor (Bristol), S. Bentley, G. S. Master, Prebendary Maddison Green, and W. Bazeley, General Vizard, Major Hawkins Fisher, Messrs. M. Biddulph, M.P. (Ledbury), F. F. Fox, S. H. Swayne, F. Tuckett and J. Baker (Bristol), W.J. Stanton (Stroud), J. Biddulph, J. Garrood, G. H. Piper, and C. H. Dancey.
Bosbury was visited in the afternoon [Tuesday], whither the party journeyed in brakes. On entering the quiet, unpretending street the party thought that they could detect traces of the earthworks that gave its claim to be a Bury, but the rain, which was falling gently, prevented any facilities for the mapping out of Bosa’s ancient stronghold. Bosa was the scribe of Witlaf, king of Mercia, and dwelt at Bosbury in the middle of the 9th century. Bosa was now merely a name, but there was no doubt that he was a scholar, a landowner, and a soldier of renown a thousand years or more ago. On entering the churchyard by the Lych Gate the objects that first arrest the attention of the visitor are, the 13th century detached tower,the lineal descendant, it may be, of Bosa’s fortress — a place of refuge for the inhabitants of the village in the time of a Welsh raid; and the 14th century cross of red sandstone, entire but weather-worn and ready to perish. Passing through a 15th century timber-work porch, the members were received at the Norman doorway by the Vicar (the Rev. Samuel Bentley), a parish priest, courteous, modest, and very learned — one of the old school of clergy which is passing rapidly away and giving place to another, more at one, it may be, with the stirring, busy, rushing times in which we live, but not so attractive or so lovable in the opinion of many. Mr. Bentley pointed out two fonts at the west end of the church, one with a square bowl of 13th century orkmanship, and the other belonging to the time of Bosa, it may be, and to a Saxon church of which no traces could be found. A very fine Perpendicular rood screen of oak separates the nave from the chancel. Within the chancel are two fine Elizabethan tombs of the Harfords, who intermarried with the Foxes, and amongst the visitors, by a strange coincidence, were representatives of these two ancient families. A magnificent organ, the gift of the late Mrs. Hope, occupies a chamber on the north. At the east end of the south aisle a chantry chapel, erected by Sir Rowland Morton in the 16th century, contains several examples of his rebus. In the south aisle a stone head projects from the wall, said to be a likeness of Bishop Swinfield, and above an inscription almost illegible, said to be in memory of Bishop Swinfields father, and 600 years old. Two floriated 13th century crosses lie on the floor, and no doubt cover the remains of Knight Templars from the adjacent preceptory of Temple Court. Rev. and Mrs. Bentley invited the members to afternoon tea at the Vicarage, after which they returned to Ledbury, and on their arrival they were received by the Rector of Ledbury in the grounds at St. Katharines, and subsequently a conversazione was held in the Town Hall, the President (Mr. M. Biddulph, M.P.) presiding.
A paper on Sepulchral Effigies in Churches near Ledbury was read by Mrs. Bagnall Oakeley, and the Rev. S. Bentley read a paper on The Knights Templars and Hospitallers.
Votes of thanks to Mrs. Oakeley and the Rev. S. Bentley concluded the proceedings.