Shrawley Parish Council
Welcome to Shrawley Parish Council in Worcestershire.
The Parish of Shrawley lies in heart of the English countyside in the County of Worcestershire 8 miles from Worcester, 4 miles from Stourport and 6 miles from Bewdley. The area of 1,940 acres is bounded on the east by the River Severn, on the north by Dick Brook, on the south by Shrawley Brook and to the west by the Parish of Witley. Some 450 acres is woodland, mostly in Shrawley Wood, 40 acres is water and the remainder is mixed agricultural land. The many public footpaths that interweave the Parish provide beautiful and varied walks for the people of Shrawley and its visitors.
The early evidence of a settlement in what is now the Parish of Shrawley was centered near a ford across the Severn, between it and the Woods. It remained in constant use until bridges were built at Stourport and Holt and until the use of river vessels of a deeper draft demanded the construction of weirs and locks or the dredging and deepening of the shallows associated with rocky outcrops such as those at Shrawley Weyre. It probably ceased to be useful about the middle of the nineteenth century. Associated with it and on higher ground was a "castle" or fortification obviously designed to protect the ford from marauders whether they were local bandits or invading Britons, Saxons, Danes or Normans. The tracks leading to and from the crossing place, later known as Redstone Ford, are generally regarded as having been important elements in the routes from North Wales, through the Abberley Gap to London via Hartlebury or Droitwich and, in the case of the latter, part of a "Salt way".
The heavily wooded countryside included the Hundred of Doddingtree, which embraced the manors of Abberley, Astley and Glasshampton as well as that of Shrawley. The overlordship of the Hundred of Doddingtree was granted to a Ralph Todeni, a relative of the Duke of Normandy, in the year 1066 by William the Conqueror as a reward for his services as Standard Bearer during the Norman Conquest. He and other members of the family owned large areas of land throughout the county as recorded in the Domesday Rook. His sister owned the Manor of Elmley Lovett and Hadzor near Droitwich. After the Battle of Hastings, Ralph built the Priory near Astley Church and the well there still functions today. He also built castles at Abberley and Glasshampton.
Towards the end of the 11th century the first stage of the Parish church was built on a commanding site at the west end of the parish and with the appointment of a priest
with responsibility for "the care of souls" in the surrounding district began the first real evidence of the Parish of Shrawley. The Lord of the Manor's right of appointment of a clergyman to the parish—a survival of the control exercised by Feudal Lords over churches—meant that the boundaries of manor and parish were commonly and conveniently co-extensive. There is no firm evidence of the site of a Manor House but it would seem likely that its first equivalent was situated on the "Court Hills" by the ford.
The parish of Shrawley is not mentioned in the Domesday Book and the first official record of its existence is in the Evesham Chartulary or Register assigned to the latter half of the 12th century.
Through Ralph Todeni the manor of Shrawley fell by marriage to the Beauchamps* (see further details of the Beauchamps and le Poers at the end of this brief history) associated with the manor of Holt and subsequently again by marriage to the Earl of Warwick, the King Maker, who died discredited by the King, and so the Manor of Shrawley passed to the crown. During the reign of Henry VIII some fifty years later the Manor of Shrawley was granted to one Mr. Sheldon of Spetchley.
At the time of the Civil Wars 1642 - 1651 the Manor was divided, William Chylde, an ardent Royalist, possessing the woods and John Adams the remainder. At this time there may well have been two hamlets, one by the river and one by Frog Pool. Tradition has it that Chylde defended the ford and castle against Cromwell and that Cromwell subsequently occupied the site and doubtless the church, for the billeting of his troops. Around the same time Andrew Yarranton was active with his forge by the Dick Brook, and, being a sympathiser with the Parliamentarians, may well have rendered service to Cromwell with the repair or fabrication of his instruments of war. It would seem that the "Court Hills" which was the site of the fortification by the ford changed its name about now to "Olivers Mound".