Noake's Worcestershire Page 187


four wings, and made the family residence. This (the residence of the present baronet) is now one of the most interesting old buildings in Worcestershire, and is surrounded by noble groves of trees, radiating avenues affording charming vistas, a fine park, and extensive sheet of water.

Westwood afforded a shelter to several learned divines during the civil wars, among whom were Dr. Hammond, Bishops Morley, Fell, Gunning, and others. Near the present mansion formerly stood the Benedictine nunnery of Westwood, founded in the time of Henry II. The nunnery was variously endowed, one giving it a slice of land, another a mill, a third bequeathed certain rents, a fourth gave the living of St. Nicholas, Droitwich, a fifth a quantity of salt, a sixth 12d. a year, a seventh a messuage, an eighth a free passage over a neighbouring bridge; in all forty-three charters are recorded, besides others unknown. Habingdon says: " Aboute this time was a matter worthie of memorie concerning ye Prior of Wor. and ye nunnerie of Westwood, comit. Wig., a place whereunto the chiefest gentle women of these parts retired themselves fro' ye vanities of this worlde, whose prioresse and religious there p'fessed were so subordinate to ye abbesse of Front-Everard, a nunnery founded beyond the seas by Hen. 2, and the place both of his and his sonne Richards the first burialls. The prioresse of this house was made by yt abbesse, but she (Isabella) and her nunnes falling into schisme, adhering to an anti'pope who styled himself Clement ye 7, the election and confirma'on of ye prioresse of Westwood, named Editha, who succeeded Isabelle, were by Pope Urban committed to Walter prior of Wor. But Editha de Bonacre being chosen prioresse renounced the honor imposed on her, whereupon ye sub-prioresse, Marie de Acton, Editha de Boneacre, Johan de Egbarston, Isabell Caasie, Helianor Porter, Margaret Ruyhall, Alice Sudery, Anice de Sutton, Beatrice de Sutton, Edith Horniwold, Isabelle Northfolke, Isabelle Rossell, Dyonisia Brugge, Helianor de Acton, conventual nunnes of Westwood, An. D. 1384, did choose Maria de Acton (she only refusing and