Noake's Worcestershire Page 324


of the gardens is a cedar of Libanus, planted in 1749, which is perhaps the largest in the kingdom. The Court is backed by woods, and has an extensive lake of water. The family of Winnington is of great antiquity in Cheshire, and has produced some distinguished individuals, among whom were Sir Francis, Solicitor General to Charles II, and the Right Hon. Thomas, Lord of the Admiralty, &c., early in the last century.

Southstone Rock, about a mile from the church, is said to be the largest mass of travertine in the island. It was formerly the retreat of hermits and the resort of pilgrims, to taste the waters of a holy well. There are cells in the rock, and at the top was formerly a chapel, belonging to the Abbey of Evesham. A short distance above the park are the remains of a British camp. Among the curious names of places are Devil's Den, Hell Hole, and Death's Dingle; and hereabout grows the plant called "Devil's Bit" (Succisa pratensis), which, tradition says, was given to heal man of any deadly wounds, but When Satan saw what numbers of the human race it deprived him of, he, in spite, bit the roots off, whereupon it miraculously grew without those usually necessary appendages; and this is the reason we find it growing apparently without roots.


HERE is a little village, some twenty miles from Worcester and only seven-and-a-half miles from Gloucester; once a town of some importance, having a charter for a Wednesday's market and four days' fair; was successively held by the families of De Staunton, Whittington, Horton, Cookes, and Lechmere, and the present Sir Edmund Lechmere is lord of the manor; is watered by the Ledden, - denominated "a melancholy stream," from Herefordshire;