Droitwich

Status

Civil Parish & Ecclesiastical Parish [25]

The Civil Parish was created in 1920 by the union of Droitwich St Andrew Ancient Parish, Droitwich St Nicholas Ancient Parish, Droitwich St Peter Ancient Parish & Land common to Droitwich St Andrew & St Peter (The Wrangling Division).

The Ecclesiastical Parish created in 1972 by the union of Droitwich St Andrew with St Mary Witton Ecclesiastical Parish, Droitwich St Nicholas Ancient Parish & Droitwich St Peter Ancient Parish.[25]

Location

O.S. Ref: SO899634
7 miles N.N.E. of Worcester along the A38

Marlborough, lately (1884) annexed to St. Nicholas under the Divided Parishes Act, was constituted a parish, under the Act 20 Vict. c.19, in the hundred of Upper Halfshire and Parliamentary borough of Droitwich, but not within the municipal borough: it consists of two small detached places, one of six houses, situated in the Hill End, and another, situated in the Vines, comprising a salt work and four cottages. [57]

Hundred

A borough having exclusive jurisdiction, though locally in Upper Halfshire [25] [44]

Poor Law Union

Droitwich (1920-30) [3] [25]

War Memorials

For the names of those included on Droitwich War Memorial see:
http://www.rememberthefallen.co.uk/Casualties/ListByMemorial/Droitwich War Memorial

Census Records

All the censuses between 1841 and 1901 are now available on a number of fee-paying (Subscription or PayAsYouGo) sites including Ancestry.co.uk, FindMyPast.co.uk, thegenealogist.co.uk and genesreunited.co.uk. The 1911 census is available in full or in part on some of these sites. We are unable to advise on the choice of site since researchers' personal preferences will be influenced by the content and search facilities offered by each site. Some sites offer a free trial.

Access to the library edition of Ancestry.co.uk is widely available at most record offices, including Worcestershire Archives, and some libraries. You are advised to book time on their computers before making a visit.

A free-to-view site is being developed at freecen.org.uk for the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1891 censuses. Coverage of Worcestershire parishes is rather sparse at this time.

Census returns can usually be viewed at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' Family History Centres.

Some repositories offer census details on microform, disc or printed copy. These include:

1841-1901 at Worcestershire Archives [14]

1891 1901 Droitwich Workhouse Worcestershire Archives [14]

At Society of Genealogists [23]:

Worcestershire 1851 census index HO 107/2046 : Droitwich registration district [Microfiche] -Published , 1997 - Author: Friend, A F

Worcestershire 1851 census returns : Droitwich registration district HO 107/2046 [Microfilm] - Published London : Public Record Office 1996

Worcestershire 1861 census returns : Droitwich registration district RG/9 2108-2112 [Microfilm.] - Published London : Public Record Office 1996

Worcestershire 1891 census returns: Droitwich registration district RG 12/2341-2343 [Microfilm.] - Published London : Public Record Office 2003

Manorial Records

Worcestershire Archives [50]
Account roll Mich.[1425]-Mich.[1427]; Extent [c.1550]

Other Sources

At Society of Genealogists:
The boat people of the Droitwich Canals: boat registrations 1879-1912 & inspections 1891-1917 Published Stoke Mandeville The EurekA Partnership 2009 Author The EurekA Partnership

Droitwich : a pictorial history Published Chichester : Phillimore & Co Ltd, 1994 Author Field, Bob Author Blewitt, Lyn

The story of Droitwich Published , 1923 Author Whitley, W T

Droitwich nick names : Worcestershire monumental inscriptions, vol. 6 [Typescript.] IN: Worcestershire monumental inscriptions, vol. 6 Published , Nd. Author Gwilliam, Bill

Historical guide to the parish churches of the Borough of Droitwich, St. Peter de Witton; St. Augustine, Dodderhill; St. Mary de Witton; St. Andrew, Droitwich; St. Nicholas, Droitwich; Monumental Inscriptions in Dodderhi Historical guide to the parish churches of the Borough of Droitwich, St. Peter de Witton; St. Augustine, Dodderhill; St. Mary de Witton; St. Andrew, Droitwich; St. Nicholas, Droitwich; Monumental Inscriptions in Dodderhill church Published , 1930 Author Cooper, W Sterry

Chateau Impney - The Story of a Victorian Country House - by John Richard Hodges at www.johnrichard.totalh.com

Directories

An extract from the Topographical Dictionary of England 1831 by Samuel Lewis:

DROITWICH, a borough and market town, having exclusive jurisdiction, though locally in the upper division of the hundred of Halfshire, county of WORCESTER, 6¾ miles (N. E. by N.) from Worcester, and 118 (N.W.) from London, and containing 2176 inhabitants. This place was anciently denominated Wich, or Wiche, from the wiches, or salt springs, with which the neighbourhood abounds; and the prefix Droit, right or legal, is supposed to refer to some exclusive privilege for the manufacture of salt, obtained by the inhabitants. Droitwich appears to have been a town of the ancient Britons, called by Richard of Cirencester Salinae, from its saline springs; having been situated on a British road, called the Saltway. There is no evidence of its having ever been occupied by the Romans; but under the Saxon government it rose to importance, and seems to have given name to their province of Wiccia, of which Worcestershire constituted the principal part. During the war between Charles I and the parliament, the inhabitants adhered steadily to the royal cause, and subsequently received a letter from that unfortunate monarch, acknowledging a due sense of their loyalty.

The town is situated on the river Salwarp, upon which there are several corn-mills. The manufacture of salt is probably coeval with the town itself; but it was not until the year 1725, that the strong brine, for which it is now famous, was discovered. Its purity is considered superior to that of any salt obtained elsewhere; and the quantity produced amounts to about seven hundred thousand bushels a year. Various acts of parliament have passed for the better regulation of this branch of manufacture. By charter of James I the exclusive privilege of sinking brine pits within the borough was given to the corporation, who granted licenses to others; but this was overthrown about 1690, by a legal decision in favour of an enterprising individual, who, by a breach of this supposed right, successfully encountered the opposition of the party claiming it. Pits then became numerous, and the trade was thrown open to competition, to the great advantage of the community. At the distance of from thirty to forty feet from the surface of the ground is a hard bed of talc, or gypsum, generally about one hundred and fifty feet thick. A small hole is bored through this to the river of brine, which is in depth about twenty-two inches, and beneath which is a hard rock of salt. The water, which rises rapidly through this aperture, is pumped into a capacious reservoir, whence it is conveyed into iron boilers and heated. This produces evaporation, and the salt, which sinks to the bottom, is collected, dried, and made ready for the market. Previously to 1610, wood alone was used in boiling it; but owing to a scarcity in this article of fuel, coal was then adopted, and has since, been continued. Of the brine obtained, one-fourth part is salt, whilst in that of Northwich, in Cheshire, the proportion of salt is only one sixth. The want of conveyance by water for a long time operated as an impediment to the extension of the trade, but in 1655 a project was formed for making the Salwarp navigable, though not then under taken. However, soon after the Restoration, the design was renewed, and operations commenced: but, when five out of the six locks which were considered necessary for the purpose were completed, the attempt was abandoned, from a conviction of its inefficacy. An act of parliament was then obtained, in 1767 for cutting a canal from this town to the Severn : it was consequently begun in 1768, and completed in 1771, under the direction of Brindley, the celebrated engineer, at an expense of £25,000. The canal is navigable for vessels of sixty tons burden, and the junction takes place at Hawford. A building, called the Exchequer-house, where the payments from the persons who held licenses to make salt, and the other profits derived by the corporation from the brine pits, were made weekly, was erected about the year 1581, but it was taken down about the year 1826, and new court-rooms have been built near the spot on which it stood. At the same time an old market house was taken down, and a new one formed under the court-rooms; also two good prisons. The malting trade is carried on to a limited extent.

The market is on Friday; and fairs are held on the Thursday before the 20th of June, and the Wednesday before St. Thomas' day; during which a court of pie-powder is held. The town was originally incorporated by a charter from John, conferring on the inhabitants various privileges, which have been confirmed and increased by succeeding monarchs. By the charter of the 22nd of James I, which refers to prior charters, the body corporate consists of two bailiffs, a recorder, two justices, a town clerk, burgesses, &c. The bailiffs, the recorder, and the bailiffs for the preceding year, are justices of the peace: the bailiffs are also clerks of the market, and coroners for the borough. A court of record is held every Thursday before the bailiffs and town-clerk, for the recovery of debts under £10. A court of session is held quarterly by the bailiffs, recorder, &c.; and a court leet twice a year before the town clerk. The bailiffs and burgesses have the power of enacting byelaws, and in all cases exercise exclusive jurisdiction. The borough returned two burgesses to the parliaments of Edward I, and to those held in the 2nd and 4th of Edward II, from which period the privilege ceased until its renewal in 1554. The right of election, according to a decision of the house of commons in 1690, is vested in the burgesses of the corporation of the salt-springs: the number of voters is about forty, and the bailiffs are the returning officers. The heir apparent, or the adopted heir to a deceased burgess, is entitled to the freedom of the borough; and an heiress communicates the same privilege to her husband; but if a burgess die, leaving daughters, without having adopted either of them as the successor to his burgage tenure, his burgess-ship becomes extinct. The freedom may also be obtained by gift of the corporation at large. Each person made free must possess, at least, a quarter of a plat of inheritance. The parliamentary influence is possessed by Lord Foley, who nominates both members.

The borough comprises the greater part of the united parishes of St. Andrew and St. Mary de Witton, those of St. Peter de Witton and St. Nicholas, and a small portion of that of St. Augustine de Wich, or Dodderhill; all in the archdeaconry and diocese of Worcester. The parishes of St. Andrew and St. Mary were united by letters patent of Edward VI, dated 4th of June, in the second year of his reign, which union was confirmed by an act obtained in the 13th of Charles II. The living is a discharged rectory, rated in the king's books at £7. 12. 1, and in the patronage of the Crown. The church, which was rebuilt after having been destroyed by a casual fire in 1293, has some fine portions in the early English style; with additions of later date : the southern entrance, which still remains, appears to be Saxon. The living of St. Peter's is a discharged vicarage, rated in the king's books at £6, and in the patronage of Earl Somers. The church has a tower in the later English style; some fine decorated windows, and a small quantity of ancient stained glass. A chapel of ease to this church formerly stood on the bridge, but it was taken down and a new one built in, 1763, on a different site. The living of St. Nicholas’ is a rectory, rated in the kings books at £4. 9. 7., and in the patronage of the Crown. The church was greatly injured during the parliamentary war, and only about half of the tower remains. Here are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyan Methodists. The hospital of St. Mary, in the parish of St. Augustine, was founded for a master and brethren, by Walter de Dovere, in the reign of Edward I, under the patronage of the prior and convent at Worcester : part of the building still remains near Chapel bridge. The Coventry charity hospital, which is situated in St. Peter's parish, comprises nineteen tenements occupied by thirty-eight old men and women above sixty years of age: it was founded in consequence of a bequest from Henry Coventry, Esq., who, in 1686, left £1000, to erect a workhouse, or hospital, and £240 for its support. Here is a charity school for forty boys and forty girls, who are educated, clothed, and, on leaving school, apprenticed. Richard de Wich, Bishop of Chichester, was born here: he was a man of extensive erudition for those times, and was canonized by Urban IV, in 1262, nine years after his death. The inhabitants of the borough held his fame in great estimation, and were wont to celebrate an annual festival, with games, &c. in his honour thereof. Sergeant Wilde, an eminent republican lawyer, who was made Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, under the Protectorship of Cromwell, was also a native of Droitwich.

Last Updated: 13/11/2012