Noake's Worcestershire Page 110

110 DEFFORD-CUM-BESFORD.

The population of Defford was stated to be 463 in the Government returns of 1861, but I am assured by resident parties that there must be some mistake, there being really not one-half that number, yet till recently it contained eleven public-houses, or one to every sixteen inhabitants ! That number is now reduced nearly one-half. Besford population was 164 in 1861. As a strange contrast to Defford, it was the boast of the Beefordians that they had no lawyer or medical man, no public-house or beer-shop, no dissenting chapel, no choir or school. The singers were got above their work, and the children went to the National. School at Pershore. There is now, however, a capital choir and a Sunday School, but the other negatives remain.

The village of Defford is an interesting little place, principally surrounding a circular mound, on which the church stands. This is an humble structure, consisting of chancel, nave, and western capped tower, with south porch. Mainly fourteenth and fifteenth century work, with a few remains of Early English. A new chancel was built in 1865, and other restorations effected. There are 174 sittings, of which 110 are free. Defford in early times belonged to the Church of Westminster, and gave the name to a family resident here for some centuries. Then" it fell to the Baskervilles, Russells, and Coventrys. Earl Coventry is now lord of the manor, and among the landowners, besides his lordship, are Sir J. Sebright, Miss Porter, Eev. Ellis Wall, G. Whitaker, Esq., Joseph Checketts, Esq., and the trustees of Dudley Blue-coat School. The parish was enclosed in 1774 by Act of Parliament, when it was found to contain only seven acres of old enclosed land to 00 acres of common. It has been sought to enclose the present common, but it is said that Earl Coventry refuses. One of his lordship's ancestors, I believe, sank a shaft in this common for the purpose of procuring brine, and the grandfather of the present Earl imagined that it might be profitably worked; but the result was not favourable, the brine spring being but weak. It is also believed that valuable