Noake's Worcestershire Page 113

DROITWICH. 113

no increase in three centuries. Agriculture is the employment of this little colony, with the working of some sandstone quarries. Soil, a stiff clay, with marl a little beneath the surface. The parish lies in a well-watered valley, a fact supposed to be conveyed in its name " Dur " (water), and " Dal" (a valley). Flax was grown here in the time of George III, Henry Ellens obtaining a bounty for the same under the statute of that day; but no such crop has been known here for many years. The acreage of the parish is 704. The landowners are Sir John Pakington, Miss Bourne, the heirs of Mr. Prattington, and Mr. Minine. The living is valued at 230 ; patroness, Mrs. Curtler; rector, the Rev. J. Oldham; church accommodation, 109. The little church has merely a chancel and nave, with bell turret, and the walls and windows exhibit fragments of Norman work.

Droitwich.

HABINGDON, in his MS., compliments the good people of Droitwich thus: "Five miles north from Worcester is Wich, anciently named Wiccii, whereof this county before ye Conquest took ye name - a famous borough, whose burgesses challenging thyer places by descent, surpass for nobilitie, worthynes, and wealth, die greatest burgesses of the kingdom. The mercate is but mean, but the salt wells is rytch, as they advance the inhabitants." There is an old legend that at a very early period of our history letters were directed to Worcester, "near Droitwich;" and Birmingham, I believe, once bore the same relationship to and dependence on King's Norton. The reader may treat this as he pleases, but I think there can be no question that a place which produced so abundantly one of the greatest necessaries of life would be among the very first settlements