Noake's Worcestershire Page 8


residence of a genteel family. I believe he never attempted to translate Homer or explain the differential calculus, but the villagers thought he conld do everything else. He was sober, honest, and industrious, and was greatly respected.

Acton Beauchamp.

On the western border of the county, adjoining Herefordshire, Acton projects like a promontory; and from the beautiful elevations for which this district is distinguished the views are delightful, particularly where the Silurian ridges stretch northward from the Malveru chain, and occasionally broken, still in connexion with the Suckley hills, carry the admiring eye forward to Knightsford and Ankerdine. Here are old-fashioned timbered farm-houses, upland pastures, lonely cottages, and shadowy lanes. The population, which is entirely agricultural, has long been on the decrease; in 1841 the number was 217; in 1851, 206; in 1861, 205. This is said to be owing to the distance from any railway, and to the practice of throwing small farms into larger. There were twenty-two families or about 110 individuals here in the time of Queen Elizabeth ; but a remarkable increase occurred in the seventeenth century, when there were said to he forty-four families in the parish, being more than at the present time. Acreage, 1529 ; heavy land, some strong clay, the rest sandy; hops much cultivated, with wheat, beans, and roots.

Acton belonged to the church of Worcester fiym the earliest times ; then it went to Urso, " the great bear," the first of the Norman chieftains, who ruled over Worcestershire with a rod of iron ; next it fell to the Beauchamps, from whom it derives the larger half of its name ; then to the Lygons, who married into the Beauchamp family; next to the Berkleys.