Noake's Worcestershire Page 1

Abberley, or Abbot's Lea.

ABOUT a dozen miles N.W. from Worcester lies the parish which I shall distinguish by placing it first on my list. It is one ef the very few hilly districts in Worcestershire, and possesses limestone and coal. Ralph de Todeni, one of those enterprising gentlemen who in 1066 paid this island a visit in company with the Duke of Normandy, and who in fact bore his standard, had most of the land hereabout assigned to him as his share of the spoil, of which he frequently helped the monks of his own country to a slice. His possessions afterwards fell to the Earls of Warwick, and in the time of Henry VIII to Walter Walsh, one of the grooms of the chamber to that wayward monarch. From him descended William Walsh, the friend of Pope and Dryden. The latter styled him "the best critic in the nation," and Pope said of him -

" Granville the polite,

And knowing Walsh would tell him how to write."

"The Muses' judge and friend,

Who justly knows to blame or to commend."

Moreover, he was a man of fashion, gave 80 for a wig, and employed a barber a fortnight to comb it. He was a knight of the shire for his native county, and a gentleman of the horse to Queen Anne ; and, lastly, a poet. Like Mr. Boswell,