Noake's Worcestershire Page 289

OFFENHAM. 289

A MOST pleasant village on the banks of Avon, in the charming Vale of Evesham. Tradition says that the Mexican King Offa had one of his palaces here, and hence the name of the parish. The abbots of Evesham, to whom the place was given by the Saxon King, were also wise enough to retire here occasionally for health, recreation, and to look up their tenants' arrears. The park is still clearly defined by a fosse and bank, known as "the deer's leap;" and part of the moat which once protected the mansion may yet be traced. Many antiquities have been found here. The village is remarkable for - 1, having no road through it! consisting chiefly of one straggling street of cottages; 2, a veritable Maypole (a fixture) at the end of the said street; 3, there is some of the richest land and one of the poorest livings in the county; 4, the hour-glass stand used two centuries ago by the Puritan preachers in the church, and the sanctus-bell cot, both of which were in situ till the recent restoration of the building, when the stand was placed in the vestry and the bell-cot in the parsonage garden, but both, I hope, to be replaced in their original positions - as relics which are every year becoming more rare.

The old church was in a pigsty condition till 1861, when it was pulled down except the tower, and rebuilt in the Early Decorated style, at a cost of 1,800. Value of living, 123; patrons, Dean and Chapter of Christ Church; perpetual curate. Rev. W. J. Bristow. Population, 461. Church accommodation, 214, of which 165 seats are free. Acreage of the parish, 1,215; a gravelly soil, very prolific in ordinary farm produce, except about one-third, which is worked as market gardens. The employment of the people is entirely agricultural. Chief