[Preamble] [Private Residents] [Commercial Residents]
BOSBURY is an extensive parish and very picturesque village, distant
about 4 miles N. of Ledbury and 13 E. of Hereford; in Radlow hundred, Ledbury union,
county court district, and petty sessional division, and Coddington polling district.
The population in 1861 was 1,090; in 1871, 1,005; inhabited houses, 231; families or
separate occupiers, 260; area of parish, 4,725a. 2r. 7p.; annual rateable value, £8,120.
The Ecclesiastical Commissioners are lords of the manor, and the Rev. Edward Higgins,
of Bosbury house, and John Pitt, Esq., of Temple court, are the principal landowners.
The soil is a deep heavy clay, and produces excellent cider and hops. Bosbury was once
a place of considerable importance. Its Saxon name was Bosamberig, or Bosa’s town.
It early became a residence of the Bishops of Hereford, for an old MS. in the British
Museum tells us that the Bishops of Hereford held their state here, and dwelt in a
fayre palace in the time of King Offa, A.D. 757 to 796, and the Old Court estate
and lordship of the manor has belonged to the see ever since. According to Leland, Bishop
Athelstan died here in 1056. The Norman prelates also lived at Bosbury. It was the favourite
residence of the great Bishop Cantilupe, St. Thomas of Hereford, and his friend, and
successor Bishop Swinfield died here A.D. 1316. The parish is in the diocese and
archdeaconry of Hereford and rural deanery of South Froome; living, a vicarage; value,
£400, with residence; patron, the Lord Bishop of Hereford; vicar, Rev. John Edmund Cheese,
of St. Davids College, Lampeter, who was instituted in 1866.
The church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was erected in the twelfth century.
It has undergone three restorations; in 1851 in the Rev. J. Underwoods incumbency,
in 1859 under the Rev. Berkeley L. Scudamore-Stanhope, and was completed in 1871 under the
Rev. J. E. Cheese. The total cost of restoration was about £3,100, nearly the whole of which was
defrayed by voluntary subscription. The tower is detached from the church, and is a massive square structure
containing six bells and a clock. It was originally surmounted by a wooden spire. Entering
the church by a Norman doorway, the interior is seen to consist of a long nave, divided
from its side aisles by six pointed arches, resting on round pillars, with capitals,
characteristic of the Transition period. The clerestory windows, the triple lights of
the west end, and the very beautiful lancet windows of the side aisles, are of the same
date (about A.D. 1180). An interesting fan tracery screen of oak divides the nave from
the spacious chancel, which was entirely rebuilt by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners
at the last restoration, when an organ-chamber was built on the north side of the
chancel for the reception of a splendid organ presented to the parish by Mrs. Hope,
sister of Mrs. Higgins, of Bosbury house, at whose cost also the chamber and warming
apparatus were erected. The case is of pitch pine, and the front double diapason pipes
are richly coloured. Messrs. Speechly & Ingram, Camden works, London, were the builders;
cost, £800. Encaustic tiles adorn the chancel floor. There are two very curious and
well-preserved sepulchral monuments on either side of the altar, one representing a
recumbent figure of John Harford, with the date 1573, the other having figures of Richard
Harford, son of the former, and his wife. The old pre-reformation open seats in the nave
have been preserved. There are some fine specimens of ancient carving inserted in the pulpit.
On the south side of the nave is the mortuary chapel of Sir Rowland Morton, a beautiful
specimen of late Pointed architecture, temp. Henry VII. This chapel is embattled on the
exterior, and is lighted by windows of the peculiar shape and tracery of the time when it
was erected. Near this is the oldest inscription in the church, painted on the wall in
old characters, in memory of the father of Bishop Swinfield, who died in 1282, but the
inscription is now illegible. The font near the west end of the church deserves notification,
being of large size, square, and supported on five short pillars, and is of thirteenth-century
date. But an older one is preserved, forming a very rude round cavity of sandstone, which is
presumed to be of Saxon origin. In the churchyard is a well-restored cross of red sandstone.
The parish registers begin with the year 1558.
There is a grammar school for boys, endowed by Sir Rowland Morton with lands
yielding a rental of £108 per annum. There is also a national school for girls. The number
of children under instruction at both schools is 138. The Wesleyan chapel at Stanley hill
is a neat brick building, erected in 1863. The Primitive Methodists have a chapel here also.
Among the objects of curiosity in this parish may be mentioned the ancient oak-room at
the Crown Inn, where the Harford family once resided, which is wainscoted round, and above
the fireplace, under carved circular recesses of Jacoboean date, are placed the arms and
quarterings, duly blazoned, of the Harfords and their relatives. Singular enough, the oak
wainscoting on one side of this room had been transferred to the church to make a reredos,
but in the late alterations being deemed inappropriate, it has been sent back to the place
from whence it came. The Swinfield Lodge of Oddfellows hold their meetings in this room.
Temple Court, the residence of John Pitt, Esq., was formerly a preceptory of the Knights
Templars, and afterwards of the Knights Hospitallers. There are interesting monumental
slabs of each preserved in the church. The gatehouse, and a room where the original ceiling
of massive parallel oak beams are still entire, are the only remains of the Bishop's palace,
which was taken down about the year 1572. From a claim for dilapidations against the
executors of Bishop Scory, A.D. 1586, preserved in the British Museum, it appears that
the Court hall was 80 feet long, 40 feet broad, and the height between the foundation
and the wall-plate 20 feet. There was also a stage-hall 40 feet long and 20 feet high,
kitchen, and brewhouse. In this episcopal hall many most important matters were transacted.
Here on the feast of St. Gregory, 1278. Bishop Cantilupe challenged the judges who had been
appointed by the Court of Rome, to decide upon the cause between the see of St. Asaph and
that of Hereford, and appealed to the apostolic see. This he did in all due form in the
presence of many witnesses. First he read the appeal in Latin, and afterwards expounded it
to them in French, and was careful to have it recorded that this was done in his hall at
Bosbury before dinner. The columbarium, or pigeon house, is an almost unique specimen of
such a building, temp. Edward I. Bosbury House is the seat of the Rev. Edward Higgins, M.A.,
of Brasenose College, Oxford, J.P. for Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and D.L. for
Herefordshire. It is a spacious red brick and stone mansion in the Italian style, with
balustrades and portico; and contains a rare collection of valuable early printed books,
MSS., drawings, engravings, curiosities, and articles of virtu.
Upleadon is a township about 12 miles W. of the village; Catley is ½ mile N.
POSTAL REGULATIONS.Sarah Kendrick, Sub-Postmistress, Letters arrive by messenger from Ledbury
at 8.30 a.m.; despatched thereto at 4 p.m. Letters can be registered. Ledbury is the nearest
money order and telegraph office and post town.
Parish Church (Holy Trinity).Rev. John Edmund Cheese, Vicar. John Pitt, Esq., Churchwarden;
Edwin Townsend, Parish Clerk.
Grammar and National School (boys).Mr. Owen Bishop, Master.
National School (girls).Mrs M. A. Gibbard, Mistress.
Primitive Methodist Chapel.Ministers various.
Wesleyan Chapel, Stanley Hill. Ministers various.
Carrier to Ledbury.James Fidoe, every Tuesday; starts at 9 a.m. and returns from the Star Inn, Ledbury at 5 p.m.
Carrier to Worcester.James Fidoe; every Saturday; puts up at Swan Inn, New Street, Worcester, and returns the same day.
Carrier to Worcester.William Parsons (from Ashperton) passes through Bosbury on Fridays; stops at the
Prince of Wales Inn, Shrub hill, Worcester; and returns on Saturdays.