Lower Sapey

Descriptive Notes

Also known as Sapey Pritchard, sometimes spelt Sapey Pitchard [15] [25] [11]

St Bartholomew Old Church is set in beautiful and remote countryside. This humble but delightful church is perched on a steep bank above a stream and reached by a long winding lane. A 17th century timber-framed farmhouse is its only neighbour.

The charm and interest of St Bartholomew’s lie in the fact that little has changed since it was built in Norman times. It is very simple in form. The oak porch, weathered to a beautiful silvery-grey, leads to a splendid door set within a fine Norman doorway. Inside the church is simplicity itself – plain plastered walls and ceilings, a floor made of clay and gravel, and a little west gallery. Wall paintings are faintly visible on the north wall of the church. You can just make out part of a lion, from a 17th century royal coat of arms. Other fragments date from the Middle Ages.

Most of the fittings were transferred when a new and more convenient parish church was built in Victorian times. St Bartholomew’s was neglected for more than a century after this, and was even used as a farm building. Only in the last 20 years, thanks to efforts of local people, has it been rescued from oblivion. If you visit in the summer, when the countryside is at its most lush and a mass of honeysuckle hangs over the porch, it is a truly unforgettable experience.[40]


Ancient Parish [25]
Originally a chapel in Clifton-upon-Teme Ancient Parish, Lower Sapey, or Sapey Prichard, was perhaps a separate parish as early as 1291 and had a separate civil identity early. It had all ecclesiastical rights except burial until completely independent in 18th century. [25] It was created a civil parish in 1895. [11]


13 miles N.W. of Worcester off the B4204

Parish Church

St. Bartholomew
O.S. Ref:
SO699602 - Old St.Bartholomew Church in Clifton-upon-Teme, sign posted from Hope Lane.
The church was declared redundant on 20 July 1993 and is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.[80]
SO687612 - a new church was built in 1876 at nearby Harpley.

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction

Archdeaconry of Salop, Diocese of Hereford until 1919, when transferred to the Diocese of Worcester. [1][5]


Upper Doddingtree [11] [25] [28]

Poor Law Union

Bromyard (1836 - circa 1894), Martley (circa 1894 - 1930) [3] [25]

Adjoining Parishes

Upper Sapey (Herefordshire); Clifton on Teme; Tedstone De La Mere (Herefordshire); Tedstone Wafer (Herefordshire); Wolferlow (Herefordshire) [1]

Parish Registers at Worcestershire Archives

[Contact details]

Coverage Source
Microform Christenings 1674-1969 [5]
Marriages 1674-1969 [5]
Burials 1878-1970 [5]
Banns 1754-1811, 1824-[1969] [5]
Originals Christenings 1674-1993 [12]
Marriages 1674-1993 [12]
Burials 1878-1993 [12]

Pre 1878 parishioners of Lower Sapey had the right to be buried at Clifton upon Teme as there was no burial ground at Lower Sapey. [5]

Bishops' Transcripts

Herefordshire Record Office

International Genealogical Index (IGI)


Parish Registers Births / Christenings 1661-1849
Marriages 1661-1845

Register Copies

At Society of Genealogists [68] :-
SAPEY, LOWER : Christenings 1636-38, 1661-1849, Marriages 1663-67, 1673-1838, 1845 (Bishops' Transcripts) [Microfilm.] Published Salt Lake City, UT (USA) : Genealogical Society of Utah, 1981

Hereford Diocese marriage licence registers 1663-96, 1709-1843 [with contemporary indexes] [Microfilm.] - Published Salt Lake City Genealogical Society of Utah

Monumental Inscriptions and Associated Documents

Names of persons buried in churchyard ([early 20th century], microfilm) Worcestershire Archives [51]

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 51 1901 at Worcestershire Archives [14]

Herefordshire 1851 census returns : Bromyard registration district HO 107/1980 [Microfilm.] - Published London Public Record Office 2003

Herefordshire 1891 census returns: Bromyard registration district RG 12/2069-2071 [Microfilm.] - Published London Public Record Office 2003

Search Services (Fee paying) - BMSGH and Independent

Burial 1878-1900 Worcestershire Burial Index
Marriage see Worcestershire Marriage Index

Manorial Records

Worcestershire Archives [50]
Extent [c.1550]


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

SAPEY-PRITCHARD, a parish in the upper division of the hundred of DODDINGTREE, county of WORCESTER, 5¾ miles (N.E. by N.) from Bromyard, containing 200 inhabitants. The living is a discharged rectory, in the archdeaconry of Salop, and diocese of Hereford, rated in the king's books at £4. 4. 2., and in the patronage of P. Rufford, Esq. The church is dedicated to St. Bartholomew. A court leet is annually held here.

Last Updated: 30/07/2012