BROMSGROVE - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868


The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"BROMSGROVE, a parish and market town in the upper division of the hundred of Halfshire, in the county of Worcester, 11 miles to the N.E. of Worcester, and 116 miles from London by road, or 127 miles by the London and North Western railway. It has a station on the Bristol and Birmingham section of the Midland railway, the station itself being situated in the adjoining parish of Stoke Prior. This place was a royal demesne for some time after the Norman Conquest, and was anciently called Bremesgrave. In the reign of Edward I. the town sent two members to parliament. Burcot, the Rock, and Sidemoor, are hamlets of this parish.

Bromsgrove is situated in a rich and beautiful valley at the southern foot of the Lickey hills, on the banks of the river Salwarp, which, with several small streams, has its source in the neighbourhood. Among these are the Rea, which runs through Birmingham, and the Arrow. The Lickey range, which is of considerable elevation, and commands extensive and diversified prospects, consists chiefly of quartzose sandstone. The great gravel-beds of Oxfordshire are believed to have been derived from these hills. One of the springs on the Lickey supplies two streams, one of which, joining the Rea, falls with the Trent into the North Sea, and the other, joining the Stour, falls with the Severn into the Irish Sea. On the hills are found the cranberry and the purple cinquefoil.

The town consists chiefly of one long street, with others branching off right and left. The High-street is spacious, containing many well-built houses and shops, interspersed with a few ancient wood-framed houses of divers colours, giving a picturesque appearance to the place. The town has been much improved since 1846, under an Act passed for that purpose, and is now well paved, lighted with gas, and supplied with abundance of water by means of pumps. Near the middle of the town is the townhall, erected in 1832, beneath which is a market-house, principally used for butter and poultry.

The principal trade of the town is the manufacture of nails, needles, and buttons. In the neighbourhood are extensive beds of salt and a brine spring, the discovery of which led to the establishment of the great works in the adjoining parish of Stoke-Prior. The linen manufacture is no longer carried on at Bromsgrove, nor is the clothing trade mentioned by Leland; but there are coach factories for building railway carriages, and some malting establishments.

Bromsgrove is the seat of a Poor-law Union, the head of a County Court district, and one of the polling places for the eastern division of the county. The town contains a police station, a branch bank of the Stourbridge and Kidderminster Banking Company, and a savings-bank. The Union poorhouse, a large brick building, is about a mile to the north of the town. Petty sessions are held by the county magistrates every Tuesday in the townhall, and the county court meets once a month.

The living is a vicarage* [the asterisk denotes that there is a parsonage and glebe belonging to the living] in the diocese of Worcester, of the yearly value of £1,005, in the gift of the dean and chapter, to whom belong the rectorial tithes, compounded at £1,227 per annum, and about 40 acres of glebe land, let to the Baroness Windsor. They are also lords of the manor. The church, which stands on high ground, is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. It is very old, having been built in the reign of Henry I., and is partly in the Norman and partly in the perpendicular styles of architecture. It has a very fine tower and spire, rising to the height of 189 feet, and contains some good stained windows and monuments of the Talbots, Lytteltons, and others.

It underwent an entire restoration in 1858, under the direction of the eminent architect, G. G. Scott, at the cost of £5,600. There are two district churches, endowed from the vicarage - one called Christ Church, at Catshill, the living of which is a curacy worth £90, in the gift of the vicar of the parish; the other, "the Lickey", likewise a perpetual curacy* [the asterisk denotes that there is a parsonage and glebe belonging to the living] , value £80, also in the gift of the vicar. In the town are chapels belonging to the Independents, Baptists, Wesleyans, and Roman Catholics.

Here is a free grammar school founded by Edward VI., and subsequently further endowed by Sir Thomas Cookes, who also established, in connection with it, six scholarships and six fellowships in Worcester College, Oxford. There are a literary and scientific institution, a mechanics' institute, a school of design, National, British, and infant schools, and some endowed almshouses. The parochial charities amount altogether to about £350 a year. At Dadford, a hamlet of Bromsgrove, are some remains of a small priory, founded in the 12th century, on the site of which the vicar intends building a chapel.

Three miles from the town, on the N. side of the Lickey hills, is Hawkesley House, which was garrisoned by the parliament during the Civil War, and besieged and taken by the king in May, 1645. Bromsgrove was on that occasion the head-quarters of the royalist troops. There is a mineral spring at Barnet Green. Tuesday is the market day for corn and other produce, and a toll-free market is held for cattle on the last Tuesday in the month. Fairs are held on the 24th June and the 1st October, and a statute fair for hiring servants on the Wednesday before the 29th September. The Birmingham and Worcester canal passes within 3 miles of the town."
"BARNT GREEN, a hamlet in the parish of Bromsgrove, and hundred of Halfshire, in the county of Worcester, 11 miles to the S. of Birmingham. It is a station on the Bristol and Birmingham railway."
"CHADWICK, a hamlet in the parish of Bromsgrove, in the county of Worcester, 3 miles N. of Bromsgrove."
"DODFORD, a hamlet in the hundred of Upper Halfshire, in the county of Worcester, 2 miles N.W. of Bromsgrove. There are remains of a priory founded in the reign of King John."
"LICKEY END, a hamlet in the parish of Bromsgrove, county Worcester, 1 mile N.E. of Bromsgrove. It is situated on a range of hills, which command extensive prospects, and are overgrown with cranberry and purple cinquefoil. Here is a seat known as "The Lickey", situated near a spring which discharges part of its waters into the North Sea and part into the Bristol Channel, the former by way of the rivers Rea;and Trent, and the latter through the Stour and Severn."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]