Noake's Worcestershire Page 62

62 BRETFORTON AND BADSEY.

Bretforton and Badsey.

TWO of the pleasantest villages in the justly celebrated "Vale of Evesham." They belonged to the great and powerful Abbey of that town till the Dissolution, when Badsey was granted to Sir P. Hoby, a gentleman who is chiefly known through having had a dispensation under the privy seal (Edward VI) for himself and all who should dine with him at his table during his natural life to eat meat and dishes made of milk through Lent, or on any other fast-days, freely and without punishment. Bretforton was given by Queen Elizabeth to her favourite Leicester, and afterwards passed into various hands, as also did Badsey. The former parish is eight miles in circumference, was enclosed in 1765, and has a dry, gravelly soil; acreage, 1,629 ; population, 563, there being about 200 in the time of Elizabeth. W. H. Ashwin, Esq., is the principal landowner. He resides at the manor house, and owns the hall opposite, now the residence of J. S. Dixon, Esq. The Rev. G. Morris is patron and vicar. Value of living something under 200, the incumbent himself occupying the glebe. Church, dedicated to St. Leonard, will accommodate 300; free seats, 120. The building has many features of interest, being chiefly Transitional to Early English work. In it will be found the rood stairs and doorway at top that led to the loft, a peal of bells with curious inscriptions, queer epitaphic compositions, and a carving of the old legend of " Maid Margery" on the capital of one of the columns. A nun being tempted by the devil, resists, and is swallowed by him; but the holy sister, by virtue of a cross, which she holds in her hand, bursts the devil asunder, and emerges unhurt! Opposite the church is the National and Sunday School, built in 1849. The