Towns & Parishes
"Upper Arley, or Over Arley, on the banks of the River Severn, is a village and parish, containing 667 inhabitants, and 3803 acres of land, occupying a narrow neck of Staffordshire, bounded on three sides by Shropshire and Worcestershire, and distant four miles NNW of Bewdley, and ten miles WSW of Stourbridge. The soil is generally a good clay loam, and from its situation and aspect, is well adapted to the cultivation of fruit, especially apples, of which large quantities are consumed yearly in the cider trade. Hops were formerly cultivated here, but have long been neglected. The mines of coal have been exhausted, but here is still an excellent quarry of red free stone, of which a considerable number of grindstones and millstones are made, and immense blocks are raised for the building of docks, bridges, etc. The Severn, which crosses this narrow limb of Staffordshire, is navigable for barges of 60 tons burthen, and sometimes vessels of 90 tons may pass with a draught of six feet. At the eastern verge of the village is a Roman road called the Port-way, which now forms part of the road from Worcester to Shrewsbury.[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]
The manor of Arley was possessed by the male descendants of Sir Thomas Lyttelton, from the reign of Henry VI, till the year 1779, when Thomas, son of George Lord Lyttelton, bequeathed it to his nephew, the late Lord Valentia. The fine old Hall, now called Arley Castle, was rebuilt by the Lytteltons about 1650, and is delightfully situated on the well-wooded banks of the Severn. It was the seat of the late Earl Mountnorris, but is now the property and residence of AL Annesley, Esq, who is lord of the manor and owner of most of the soil. The grounds descend to the Severn, where there is a ferry."
The population of Upper Arley parish was as follows:
1801 -- 693
1811 -- 691
1821 -- 715
1831 -- 735
1841 -- 667
"The Parish Church, St Peter, which stands on a lofty eminence, is a small fabric, first erected by Henry de Port, in the reign of Henry I, and rebuilt in the time of Edward I, since when it has undergone many repairs, and the interior was renovated at the expense of the late Lord Valentia. It has several ancient monuments, one of the Heckston, and several of the Lyttelton family.
The perpetual curacy is in the patronage of AL Annersley, Esq, and incumbency of the Rev John Allen."
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]
Church of England Registers
The parish register of the church of St Peter commences in 1564. The original registers for the period 1564-1964 (Bapts), 1564-1963 (Mar) & 1564-1964 Bur) are deposited at Worcestershire County Record Office.
Bishops Transcripts, 1672-1861 (with many gaps) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.
A transcript of the registers for the period 1564-1812 was published by the Worcestershire Parish Register Society.
Upper Arley parish was transferred to the Diocese of Worcester in 1905. Extracts of the registers in the IGI are filed under Worcestershire.
A transcription of the section on Upper Arley from A Topographical History of Staffordshire by William Pitt (1817)
A map showing the pre-1850 boundaries of Upper Arley Parish
Upper Arley parish became part of Kidderminster Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.
[Last updated: 22nd September 2014, Mike Harbach. © 1999 - 2014]