Noake's Worcestershire Page 22

22 ASTON, WHITE LADIES.

very hard conglomerate, through which the road is cut, and which merits the attention of the geologist. Astley Enclosure Bill was passed in the present century. There is a free school in this parish, founded by Mrs. Mercy Pope in 1717. The principal landowners are the trustees of the late Rev. D. J. J. Cookes ; Mrs. Cookes, Woodhampton House; T. S. Lea, Astley Hall; H. Crane, Oakhampton; J. Lowe, Syntley; and Mrs. Pearman, Church.

Aston, White Ladies.

EAST-TOWN, or the town lying east (five miles) from Worcester Church, to which - or rather to the bishops - it originally belonged, but was subsequently given to the nuns of Worcester, who were called "White Ladies" from the habit they wore. After the Dissolution it fell into various private hands, till it came to the Berkeleys. There are two manors, and the lords are the Bishop and Squire Berkeley. In the time of Queen Elizabeth there were twenty-one families here, but there was in 1861 a population of 353 individuals - a threefold increase; acreage, 1,210. Crops - wheat, barley, beans, turnips, mangolds, apples, and pears; also old pasture; no oats. Vicar, Rev. H. M. Sherwood; patron of the living, R. Berkeley, Esq.; value, 215; church accommodation, 157.

The church is chiefly Norman, and has some points interesting to the ecclesiologist. It was in a shocking state till, in 1866-1, it was taken in hand by Mr. Hopkins, the Diocesan Society's architect, who cleared away the objectionable features, and substituted open seats, whereby, as also by the erection of a new north aisle, seventy-six additional sittings were obtained; a new porch was added in 1864, at the sole charge of the vicar and in memory of his late wife.