Blockley - Billings Directory 1855
(Worcestershire, now Gloucestershire (since 1931), England)

(With the Hamlets of Aston Magna, Dorne, Ditchford, Draycott, Northwich, and Paxford.)

BLOCKLEY is a very large and scattered parish, situate in the Upper Division of the Hundred of Oswaldslow, about 90 miles from London, 10 from Evesham, and 8 from Moreton-in-the-Marsh. It is situated in a detached portion of the county, surrounded by Gloucestershire. Blockley, with the hamlets, contained in 1851 a population of 1247 males, and 1340 females, making a total of 2587 inhabitants.

We find in a charter of King Burthred, dated 855, mention made of a monastery which existed here at that time, and which was subsequently given to the see of Worcester, with all its privileges. In the year 1255 free warren was granted to the Bishop in his manor of Blockley, so that no one should hunt or kill game without his leave under a penalty of £10. Previous to the Reformation there was a palace, here, and near the south front of the church stands a house, with a lawn in front, which is said to have been its site, but upon this matter there appears to be some doubt; nevertheless, it is certain that the Bishops had a palace here, for we find that in 1131 Serlo was consecrated a Canon of Salisbury and Abbot of Cirencester, at the palace of Blockley. Walter de Cantelupe, Bishop of Worcester, died here in February, 1265, as did also Henry de Wakefield, another Bishop of this diocese, on the 3rd of March, 1395, on his return from London.

The village of Blockley is pleasantly situated amongst sloping hills and fruitful valleys, and is noted for its fine springs of water, which rise in Dovedale, flowing through the parish in all directions, affording great convenience to the numerous silk manufactories and corn mills. The business of silk throwsting was commenced, and the first mill erected, about the year 1700, and at the present time gives employment to a great number of hands. At Upton Wold, about a mile west of the village, there have been found, during excavations which have taken place at various times, several coins of Constantine the Great. The Roman fosseway passed between this village and Moreton-in-the-Marsh.

ASTON MAGNA is situated about 2 1/2 miles E. of Blockley. It is one of the largest of the hamlets. The Oxford, Worcester, and Wolverhampton railway passes through it.

DORNE is situated about 2 1/2 miles E. by S. from the village, deriving its name from a rivulet called Duran, which in ancient Celtic signifies a small stream. Tradition states that Dorne was once a city of considerable importance, and this appears to be confirmed by the discovery, from time to time, of ancient foundations and Roman and British coins.

DITCHFORD is between 4 and 5 miles N.E. of the parish, and about 4 1/4 miles S.W.W. from Shipston-on-Stour.

DRAYCOTT is about a mile and a quarter N.E. of Blockley, and about 3 1/2 miles N.N.W. from Moreton-in-the-Marsh.

NORTHWICK is about a mile N. of the village. Northwick Hall, the seat of Lord Northwick, is a very handsome structure, after a design of the celebrated Earl of Burlington. The picture gallery contains some fine specimens by the ancient masters, and taken as a whole may be said to equal if not surpass any private collection in the county. The manor of Blockley was purchased by Sir James Rushout, Bart., from the Childe family, who were its owners for a great number of years. Sir James Rushout was ambassador from this country to the Porte.

PAXFORD is about 2-1 miles N.E. from Blockley.

The Church, dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul, is a very ancient stone edifice, containing north and south aisles, of the style of the middle ages, The chancel is of the Saxon style of architecture. The tower, having become very much dilapidated, was taken down, and a new one erected, 1727. The tower contains a fine peal of six bells. It was a beneficed rectory till the reign of Edward I, when Thomas Cobham, Bishop of Worcester, obtained a bull from the Pope for the appropriation of the church to his see; in the 9th of Edward 1., 1281, further license was granted, and in the 25th of Edward III., Bishop Thoresby endowed it with tithes. In the chancel are some brasses to the memory of former Vicars of Blockley. The monuments in it are numerous, to the families of Childe, Rushout or Northwick, Carter, Martyn, &c.; and we do not remember to have seen any church in this county with so many that are worthy of notice. The living is a Vicarage, in the patronage of the Bishop of Worcester. Rev. Miles Coyle, M.A., Vicar; Revs. H. Tuckwell, M.A., and Lewis Coyle, M.A., Curates; Mr. John Taylor, Clerk. Service-11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday, 9 30 a.m.

There is a CHAPEL of EASE: at Aston Magna. It is a modern stone erection Rev. Edward F. Chamberlain, Incumbent; Seth Dyde, Clerk. Service-11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The BAPTIST CHAPEL is a neat stone building, erected 1835. Rev. Edmund Hull Minister. Service – 10.30 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday and Thursday, 7 pm.

There is a BAPTIST CHAPEL at Aston Magna. It is a small stone building. Rev. Edmund Hull, Minister.

There is a small PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHAPEL at Blockley, supplied by circuit preachers.

The FREE SCHOOL for boys is carried on in a building in the churchyard. It is supported chiefly by Lord Northwick. Mr. George T. Herbert, Master. Average number of scholars, 50.

The NATIONAL SCHOOL for girls is held in a room over that for the boys, and is chiefly supported by the Rev. Miles Coyle, M.A., Vicar. Eliza Smith, Mistress.

The BRITISH SCHOOL is a neat building, erected 1850, and is supported by the silk-masters of the village. Mr. Samuel Snell Master. Average number of scholars, 180.


Collier Admiral Edward, St. George's Place
Coyle Rev. Lewis, M.A., Curate
Coyle Rev. Miles, M.A., Vicar, Vicarage
Hiron Mr. John, St. George's Place
Mintorn. Mr. John, Dovedale House
Russell Mrs. Lucy
Smith Mrs. Sarah, Rock Cottage
Tuckwell Rev. Henry, M.A., Curate, St. George's Place

Adams Elizabeth, milliner and dress maker, St. George's Place
Alcock William S., ironmonger, plumber and glazier
Banbury Edward, silk throwster
Bearcroft Mary, baker and Sub-Postmistress
Belcher Richard B., coal merchant, Old Manor House
Blackford Sarah, baker, Northwick Terrace
Bull Edward, surgeon, and agent to the Hope Mutual Life Office, Northwick Terrace
Clark Lancelot, bailiff to Lord Northwick, Northwick Terrace
Clarke John, coal dealer
Coling Wm., boot and shoe maker and leather cutter
Davy John, plumber and glazier
Dowell Wm., blacksmith
Dyde Joseph, victualler, Old Chequers
Edington Wm., baker
Figgures Charles, slater and plasterer, Northwick Terrace
Figgures James, slater and plasterer
Figgures Thos., painter and paper hanger, and bailiff to the Bishop of Worcester for the manor of Blockley
Figgures Thos. B, corn merchant, and agent for ale, porter, wines and spirits, St. George's Place
Fisher Thos., blacksmith
Foster John, boot and shoe maker
Hale Hannah, shopkeeper
Hale John, beer retailer, Old Red Lion
Harris Augustus F., grocer and provision dealer
Herbert Anna, linen and woollen draper, and stationer ; agent to the Phoenix Fire Office, The Square
Herbert Frederick, tailor, and agent to the Albert Life Office
Herbert George T., collector of Assessed, Property, and Income Tax ; agent to the Birmingham Fire Office
Herbert John, Sen., butcher
Herbert John, jun., butcher
Herbert John, beer retailer, Royal Oak
Herbert Peter, tailor
Hobbs Charles, miller

Holtham Joseph, farmer, Upton Wold
Holtham William, farmer, Blockley Park
Hopkins James, beer retailer
Hows Richard, miller, Blockley Mill
Keeble Hannah, Crown commercial inn
Kempson John, carpenter and joiner
Lane James, plumber, painter, and glazier, Bell commercial inn
Mason Thomas, stone mason
Mayo John, Shopkeeper, Northwick Terrace
Meadows Martin, farmer, Lower Upton Wold
Meadows John, farmer, Upton Wold
Moore Charles, shopkeeper
Mullins Hugh, steward to General Lygon
Nicholls Francis, draper, grocer, and druggist
Oliver Henry, maltster
Perkins Thomas, saddler and harness maker
Phipps Wm., beer retailer and shopkeeper
Pickering Charles, builder, St. George's Place
Pickering James, tailor
Pickering Margaret, farmer, Stapnel Farm
Price Charles, Police Officer, Station
Reynolds John, farmer, The Pasture
Roberts James, shopkeeper, and agent for the Oxford, Worcester, and Wolverhampton Railway Company
Smith George Canning, grocer and druggist
Smith and Joyner, druggists and grocers
Smith Charles Edwin, silk throwster
Smith James, silk throwster; agent to the General Fire and Life Assurance Society
Smith Thomas, millwright
Stanley Richard, silk throwster
Taplin William S., timber dealer
Taylor John, tailor and draper, The Square
Thornton Richard, shopkeeper
West Joseph, farmer, Northwick Hill
Westmacott Richard, silk throwster
Westmacott William, millwright and carpenter
Weston Stephen, manager at Mr. J. Smith's silk manufactory
Williams John, miller
Williams Richard, boot and shoe maker and shopkeeper

Chamberlain Rev. Edward F., Incumbent, Parsonage
Beesley Thomas, farmer
Camden John, farmer
Camden Joseph, farmer
Dyde Seth, victualler and wheelwright, Queen's Head
Fisher Charles, blacksmith
Fisher John, blacksmith
Grimmett Geo, farmer, Aston Hill Farm
Marshall Robert, farmer
Purser Samuel, farmer
Simmons Ann, farmer and beer retailer
Smith George, shopkeeper

Phillips William, sen., farmer
Phillips William, jun., farmer

Butler George, beer retailer and timber merchant
Harper Ann, shopkeeper
Haynes Samuel, farmer
Penson Robert, farmer
Wells John, miller, Bran Mill
Wheatcroft Thomas, farmer

Gibbs Edmund, farmer, Far Ditchford
Gibbs John, farmer, Upper Ditchford
Marshall Ann, farmer and miller
Wheatcroft Edward R., farmer and Relieving Officer
Wilkes John, farmer, Ditchford Hill Farm

Northwick The Right Hon. Lord, Northwick Park
Hows Richard, farmer and miller, Northwick Mill
Penson Frederick, farmer, Well Acre Farm
West Joseph, farmer, Northwick Hill

Beesley Elizabeth, shopkeeper Reynolds Richard, farmer
Roberts Henry, farmer
Slater James, farmer
Sharp and Son, builders and timber merchants
Tarplett B., baker and farmer

POST OFFICE,.-- Mary Bearcroft, Sub-Postmistress. There are two arrivals and two despatches every day.

CARRIERS.-- Evesham, Hope, Mon., 6 a.m.; Stratford, Hope, Fri., 6 a.m.

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