Footpath: Chapel Lane to Birmingham Road
Photos taken 2006.
LANE, ALDINGTON, TO BIRMINGHAM ROAD, BLACKMINSTER
Grid Reference: 065443 to 073446
This footpath, which is today a public right of way, did not feature on the 1807 Enclosure Map, nor is it mentioned in the Award Schedules. This may have been just an oversight, or it was probably because the path crossed over only old enclosures rather than common land. The footpath features on an estate map of 1825 showing land in Aldington and Offenham owned by the Reverend Thomas Williams. It leaves the end of Chapel Lane in a north-easterly direction and arrives at the Birmingham Road in Blackminster, which was then part of Offenham, but has belonged to Badsey since 1949.
Arthur Savory in his book, "Grain and Chaff from an English Manor", refers to a huge pear tree at Blackminster, which was once in the vicinity of this path: "I had a splendid specimen of the Chate Boy pear tree at an outlying set of buildings, said to be the father of all the trees of that kind in the neighbourhood, and it was a landmark for miles, as it stood on high ground. It was fitted with a ladder reaching to the middle of the tree, where seats were arranged on a platform for eight or nine people; but it was unfortunately blown down on the night of the great gale of October 14 1877 when 12 other trees on the farm were likewise". In a later chapter, he says: "October 14 1877 was memorable for the most terrific south-west gale that happened in all the years I passed at Aldington; 13 trees, mostly old apple trees and elms, were blown down, including the splendid veteran "Chate boy" pear tree at Blackminster, an exceedingly sad and irreparable loss. The gale blew hardest in special tracks, the course of which could be followed by the destruction of trees and branches in distinct lanes, cut through woods and plantations." The location of the tree would either have been near the buildings at Sheepditch Barn or Upper Blackminster, none of which exist today but which are shown on the 1883 Ordnance Survey map.
Here is a description of a walk along the path today. [LINK TO BE MADE AVAILABLE IN DUE COURSE.] The following paragraphs give an historical description of ownership of the land over which the path passes.
In 1807, at the time of the Aldington Enclosure Act, these plots of land were old enclosures owned by George Day, known as the Cow Pastures, amounting to 9a 3r 25p and 12a 1r 34p, and formed part of Aldington Farm. George Day had bought the Aldington Farm estate and Brooke’s Farm estate from Thomas Lord Foley in 1805 for £7,000. Aldington Farm had been in Lord Foley’s family for 140 years, an earlier Thomas Foley of Witley having bought "all that Manor of Aldington alias Aunton, and all that farm called Aunton Farm now in the tenure of William Jarrett, gentleman" in 1665. On 6th October 1808, just two days after the Enclosure Awards, George Day sold this plot of land, together with all the estate bought from Lord Foley in 1805, to James Ashwin of Bretforton, for £12,000; the land remained in the Ashwin family until the latter part of the 20th century. Whilst most of the Ashwin property was sold in the 1950s, the fields and meadows were not sold until after the death of the last Squire, Harry Ashwin, in 1983; the Wheatleys, as tenants, bought the land.
In 1808, at the time of the Aldington Enclosure Award, this plot of land was an old enclosure owned by the Reverend Thomas Williams, known as Mill Ham Meadow, amounting to 2a 3r 26p. It was the site of an ancient mill mentioned in the Domesday Book, but it had fallen into disuse by the early 19th century and no building remained. It had previously been owned by George Day who had bought this as part of the Aldington Farm estate and Brooke’s Farm estate from Thomas Lord Foley in 1805 for £7,000. Aldington Farm had been in Lord Foley’s family for 140 years, an earlier Thomas Foley of Witley having bought "all that Manor of Aldington alias Aunton, and all that farm called Aunton Farm now in the tenure of William Jarrett, gentleman" in 1665. In June 1806, a full year before the Aldington Enclosure Act was passed, George Day entered into an agreement with the Reverend Thomas Williams who owned neighbouring land in Offenham (now part of Badsey): ". after reciting that the said Thomas Williams and George Day had each of them freehold estates in Aldington aforesaid and that the said Thomas Williams had also freehold estates in the parishes of Offenham and Badsey in the county of Worcester part of which lay adjoining to the estate of the said George Day situate in the hamlet of Aldington and reciting that the proprietors of lands in the hamlet of Aldington had it in contemplation to inclose the open and common fields and other commonable and waste land within the said hamlet and in case the said inclosure should take effect it would be much to the advantage of the said Thomas Williams and George Day to make exchanges of part of their said estates it was mutually agreed by and between the said parties thereto and their respective heirs executors and administrators that in case the said Inclosure should take effect the said Thomas Williams should receive in exchange for his lands in Aldington so much of the under-mentioned lands of the said George Day as should in the judgement of the Commissioner or Commissioners to be appointed for making the said Inclosure be a full equivalent to the said Thomas Williams for the lands and hereditaments in the said hamlet of Aldington … And whereas by a Memorandum on the said agreement dated 17th March 1808 it was agreed between the said George Day and John Whoods the elder on the behalf of the said Thomas Williams that in lieu of the piece of ground intended to be set out as an equivalent to make the balance of the exchange in the field called the Hanging Ground being two divisions there should be allotted to the said Thomas Williams the Mill Ham Meadow then belonging to the said George Day and if the said Mill Ham Meadow should in the judgement of the said Commissioners be of more value than the above equivalent the difference should be paid in money to the said George Day." In October 1808, when the Enclosure Commissioners made their awards, the exchange with the Reverend Thomas Williams was formally agreed: "To and for the Reverend Thomas Williams, All those several pieces or parcels of old Inclosed Land next hereinafter described (that is to say), … And all that other old Inclosed Meadow called the Mill Ham containing two acres three roods and twenty-six perches, bounded on the North, the East and the South by Lands in the Parish of Offenham belonging to the said Thomas Williams and on the West by the Brook dividing the Closes called the Cow Pasture belonging to the said George Day from the said Mill HDam Meadow, which said several Inclosures so set out, allotted and Awarded as aforesaid (by and with the consent and approbation of the said George Day) testified by his signing and sealing these presents as well as by the agreement hereinbefore described together with the sum of one hundred and thirty-one pounds three shillings hereinbefore mentioned and agreed to be paid by the said Thomas Williams to the said George Day. The said Commissioners do hereby declare, adjudge and determine to be a fair, just and reasonable compensation to the said Thomas Williams for his Open field, Land, rights of Common, Messuages, Barns, Buildings and old Inclosed Lands hereinbefore assigned and Awarded to the said George Day." After Thomas Williams’ death in 1829, it passed by inheritance to the Allies family. In 1864, Susanna Allies, the widow of Robert Allies who had died in 1861, sold the land, together with all the rest of her husband’s land-holdings in Badsey, Aldington and Offenham, to Joseph Woodward for £12,500 (who had been agent for the Williams’ estate). Woodward in turn sold the land in 1866 to William Henry Ashwin of Bretforton, this field forming part of Lot 2. In 1912, the Ashwin family sold most of the land to the east of the brook, but retained their estate in Aldington. This meadow did not form part of the 1912 sale, and so it is assumed it remained in the Ashwin family until the meadows were sold in the 1980s after the death of the last Squire, Harry Ashwin, in 1983.
Far Blackminster Ground, Flood Gate Meadow, First Blackminster Ground, Blackminster Meadow, Barn Ground (Offenham Map 174, 176, 177 and also 178, 179)
This land was owned from the 18th century by the Reverend Thomas Williams. An Estate Map, dated 1825 and drawn by William Woodward (the son of William Woodward, the agent), gives the name of these fields as: Far Blackminster Ground (8a 2r 16p), Flood Gate Meadow (2a 1r 6p), First Blackminster Ground (9a 0r 4p), Blackminster Meadow (4a 2r 5p) and Barn Ground (4a 1r 38p). The footpath passed between Flood Gate Meadow, First Blackminster Ground and Far Blackminster Ground, with the other two pieces of land to the south. Reverend Williams died in 1829 and the land passed by inheritance to the Allies family. In 1841, at the time of the Offenham Tithe Map, these fields were all listed separately, but were all given the name Old Saintsoin Ground. They belonged to Walter, Frederick, Edward, Jabez, William, Robert and George Allies and the tenant was William Collett. They were mainly used as arable, although the fields by the brook were used as pasture. In 1864, Susanna Allies, the widow of Robert Allies who had died in 1861, sold the land, together with all the rest of her husband’s land-holdings in Badsey, Aldington and Offenham, to Joseph Woodward for £12,500. Joseph Woodward was the younger brother of William Woodward who had drawn the 1825 map, and had replaced his father as agent. Woodward in turn sold the land in 1866 to William Henry Ashwin of Bretforton, these fields forming Lot 2. The land remained in the Ashwin family until 1912 when all the fields (with the exception of Flood Gate Meadow) were sold as Lots 19 and 20.
This land was owned from at least the 18th century by the Wilson family. In 1806, Francis Wilson of Kempsey passed all 35 acres of his land at Offenham to his son, Edward Wilson (not the Edward Wilson who was Lord of the Manor of Badsey, but a distant cousin); the tenant was John Ballard. In 1841, at the time of the Offenham Tithe Map, Edward Wilson is recorded as the owner and the tenant was Charles Drury. It was called Level Ground and used as arable. It was situated at the south-western corner of a crossroads of paths. William Parker was the tenant in the 1850s. Edward Wilson died in 1860 and, after his wife Sophia’s death in 1861, it passed to Sophia’s niece, Victoria Montague Angle. In 1863, Victoria, by now married to Robert Payne, sold all the land at Offenham to Joseph Woodward for £2,430. Woodward in turn sold the land in 1866 to William Henry Ashwin of Bretforton, this field forming part of Lot 3. The land, now referred to as Lower Blackminster, remained in the Ashwin family until 1912 when it was sold as part of Lot 20.
This land belonged, in the 18th century, to Francis Jones of Badsey. By his will of 1795, he gave all his estate at Blackminster to his nephew, Piercy Jones. Piercy Jones died in 1837 and, by his will, he granted life interests in his land at Offenham and Badsey to Esther and Alice Laugher (the younger spinster sisters of his brother Joseph’s first wife Elizabeth who had died in 1826). In 1841, at the time of the Offenham Tithe Map, Miss Esther Laugher was recorded as both owner and tenant. The fields were called Barn Ground, Old Saintsoin Ground and Corner Ground (by 1866 known as Shoulder of Mutton Ground), used as arable. The path then met with Blackminster Lane (now Birmingham Road). Esther Laugher died in 1858, some 12 years after her sister, and the nieces and nephews of Piercy Jones (the five surviving children of the third marriage of Joseph Jones) were free to sell the land, which they did in September 1858 to Joseph Woodward. Woodward in turn sold the land in 1866 to William Henry Ashwin of Bretforton, these fields forming part of Lot 4. The land remained in the Ashwin family until 1912 when it was sold as Lot 17 and part of Lot 18.
Where they are available, links are provided to historical information about places and buildings. This index of roads and paths in Badsey and Aldington was compiled as part of the Badsey Society Enclosure Map Project. The house numbers and names are correct as at May 2006. Every care has been taken to provide accurate information, but if you are aware of any error, please contact us. If you wish to provide a history or memories of an individual house on this road, please email History@badsey.net.