Noake's Worcestershire Page 139



SITUATE near the Bredon hills, on the line of the Midland Railway from Tewkesbury to Worcester, is eight miles in circumference, has a population of 748, and an acreage of 2,260. In ancient times it belonged to the Abbot of Westminster, but one of its two manors was the property of the Russells. The Dean and Chapter of Westminster are still the patrons of the living, which is valued at £245, the Rev. H. J. Vernon being the vicar. There is accommodation in the church for 330, of which 160 seats are free. The structure is an interesting one, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, and tower at west end. Real Norman work and imitation ditto (a hideous north aisle) exist in the church, as well as some interesting remains of the Decorated period; and there are portions of a rood-loft, an ancient cylindrical font, curious gargoyles or water-spouts on the tower, carved oak roof, the greater part of which is, however, concealed by a hideous white lath and plaster ceiling, &c. The hamlet or chapelry of Nafford was reckoned as part of Eckington in Hash's time, but when its chapel, on the top of Bredon Hill, was destroyed, the people took a fancy to Birlingham church, and that became the parish of their adoption. Likewise the hamlet of Wollashill was in the seventeenth century in search of a parent, their register and records being lost, till at length they fixed upon Eckington, where, since 1678, they have christened and buried, paid their contributions and taxes, and behaved like dutiful children, so far as I know. Habingdoif thinks Wollashill, or Wolvershill, was a name given on account of the abundance of wolves which at one time " ravened " on Bredon Hill—an inconvenience which he thought was compensated by "the watry drylles fallinge downs from above