A clothier’s call.

John Aubrey, who’s image is above was a 17th century antiquary and writer, probably best know for his work ‘Brief Lives’, a collection of short biographies of notable characters, from William Shakespeare to Sir Walter Raleigh. But it is in another of his works that we find reference to Pembridge.

Aubrey’s Miscellany, one of his few works that was published during his life time, is a collection of supernatural phenomena and occult practices, one of which mentions Pembridge.

In a chapter discussion the uses of crystals as a method of seeing visions, Aubrey includes a tale concerning William Sherbourne, the Rector of Pembridge.

“A clothier’s widow of Pembridge in Herefordshire, desired Dr. Sherborne (one of the canons of the church of Hereford, and Rector of Pembridge) to look over her husband’s writings after his decease: among other things he found a call for a crystal. The clothier had his cloths oftentimes stolen from his racks; and at last obtained this trick to discover the thieves. So when he lost his cloths, he went out about midnight with his crystal and call, and a little boy, or little maid with him (for they say it must be a pure virgin) to look in the crystal, to see the likeness of the person that committed the theft. The doctor did burn the call, 1671.”

A call was, according to Aubrey, a form of prayer which was written down and used like a spell before the crystal could be looked into. There is no record to show if the clothier ever found the thief.

Petition of the Glovers

Farming has always been a major industry in the area, however there are numerous other trades in history which have occupied the people who lived in Pembridge. There are traces of these in the house names and in documentary evidence.

One such occupation was glove making and the evidence for this can actually be found in the House of Commons Journal for 1698, when a petition of the glovers was presented to the House.

It appears that they were having problems with trade due to an increase in tax on alum leather. Alum leather was a particular method of tanning leather with alum (aluminium) salts mixed with binders such as flour and eggs. This type of leather is technically not tanned as tannic acid is not used. This leather was used to make gloves.

The following extract is taken from the House of Commons Journal Volume 12: 3 January 1698

A Petition of the Glovers, living in the Towns of Kington, Weobley, Pembridge, and the several Parishes thereunto adjoining, in the County of Hereford, was presented to the House, and read: setting forth, That the Gloving Trade employed abundance of poor People formerly; but, since a Duty has been laid upon Alum-Leather, the Trade is much decayed, and the Master-Glovers are forced to turn off many of their Journey-folks for want of Money, through the Dulness of Trade, to pay them their Wages, their Chapmen requiring longer Credit than formerly; so that they are brought to great Extremity: And praying, That the Duty upon Alum-Leather may be taken off.

Ordered, That the Consideration of the said Petition be referred to the Committee, to whom the Petition of the Aldermen, Stewards, and Company of Fellmongers, Leather-dressers, and Glovers, in the City of Chester, is referred: And that they do examine the Matter thereof; and report the same, with their Opinion therein, to the House.

‘House of Commons Journal Volume 12: 3 January 1698’, in Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 12, 1697-1699 (London, 1803), pp. 19-21 http://www.british-history.ac.uk/commons-jrnl/vol12/pp19-21 [accessed 6 November 2015].

Thomas Powell – Day Labourer

Wills are a very useful way of finding out information about people who lived in the village. They are often accompanied by an inventory of the goods that the person owned at the time of their death. Below is the will and inventory of Thomas Powell who lived in Pembridge in the 17th century.

THE WILL of THOMAS POWELL. (22nd. May, 1685)
In the name of God Amen The twenty second day of May 1685
In the first year of the Reigne of our Sovereigne James of England etc.
I Thomas Powell of Pembridge in the diocese and County of
Hereford being sicke and weake in body, but of sound and perfect
memory (praise be given to God for the same) and knowing the un-
-certainty of this life on earth, and being desirous to settle things In
order, doe make this my last will and Testament In maner and form
following; That is to say first and principally I Commend my soul to
Almighty God my Creator, assuredly beleiving that I shall Receive
ful pardon and free Remission of all my sins, and be saved by the
precious death & merits of my blessed Saviour and Redeemer Christ
Jesus, and my body to the earth, from whence it was taken, to be buried
in such decent and Christian man(n)er, as to my executor hereafter
named shall bee thought meet and Convenient. And as touching
such worldly estate as the Lord in mercy hath lent me, my will
and meaning is, the same shall be lmployed and bestowed as
hereafter by this my will is expressed first l give unto Thomas
the sone of Thomas Prosser of Burton and p’ish of Eardisland
the some of twenty shillings to be paid him Item I give unto
Jane Powell my wife all goods Chattels Implements of
Houshold bills bonds debts due to me the said Thomas Powell
Item l do Make and Appoint my wife Jane Powell
executor of this my last will and testament In witnesse
‘Hereof l have put my hand and seal the day and yeare
above written
Thomas Bryan The mark
The mark of Stephen Croone of Thomas Powell
Thomas Bengough Jun.


Hereford dyocesse
A true & p(er)fect Inventory of all & singular the goods Chattels cattells & debts of Thomas Powell, day laborer late of the p(ar)ish of Pembridge within the County & dyocesse of Hereford deceased had taken & apparised by us whose names are hereunto subscribed the sixth day of July in the first year of the reign of James II of England 1685
Impr(imis) the deceaseds wearing apparell ——— Xs (10s.)

Item brassw & pewter ———–———————- VIIIs (8s.)
Ite. Lynnen of all sorts ————– —————– Xs (10s.)
Ite. 2 fether Bedds bolsters bedstedds
& other materialls thereunto belonging —- XXXs (30s.)
Ite. Iron Ware —————————————— XVIIId (18d)
Ite. benches tresseles chests coffers
& other wooden ware ————————— Vs (5s.)
Ite. one pigg ——————————————- lIls..IIIId. (3s.4d)
lte. sperate & desp’ate debts due to
the deceased ————————————- £XlI (£12)

£XV VlIIs Xd
(£15 8s 10d)
Apprized by us the day &
yeare above ment(i)oned
Stephen Croone
his mark
James Croone
Tho. Bengough Sen(ior).

Essex Sherbourne

We’ve talked about William Sherborne previously on the blog as well as his will, and his children also played a large part in the village in the 17th and 18th centuries.

There were three generations of Essex Sherbournes who lived in Pembridge. The first, was the eldest son of Dr William Sherbourne.  Essex was probably named after the Earl of Essex who was William Sherborne’s patron and friend.He built the house called “Clearbrook” on the flat land beyond the bridge just outside of Pembridge. Clearbrook is a pun on the name Sherbourne. The brook was the outflow from the corn mill once at the Leen Farm.

He has no memorial in the Church but is mentioned on his wife’s tablet. Her memorial tablet has become almost unreadable in places but the following transcript is hopefully close to what was written.

This Marble decorative index unto the precious ashes below deposited of Anne the daughter of John Cocks of Chellwood in the county of Somerset Gent and the beloved wife of Essex Sherbourne of ys parish who having been fruitful in her generation in a pregnant issue and true conjugal faithfulness to her husband and in all good workes of fervent piety unto her God of an open handed charity unto this poore members of an exemplary  snd pleasing affability unto all w’ch rendered her person generally respected & her loss as greatly lamented was admitted to receive a glorious recompence

Her mortall putting on immortality
The 7th day of February Ano Dom 1668

Many daughters have done vertuously but Thou excellest them all
Prov 31. 29th

The second Essex Sherbourne was their eldest son and most of the information we have about him comes from his will, the topic for next weeks blog post. His nephew was the third generation of Essex Sherbourne’s in Pembridge, son of Reverend Nicholas Sherbourne, who inherited the majority of his namesake’s property.



The Bells of St Mary’s

There is a peal of five bells in Pembridge, which are still rung regularly.

According to Mary Langston, writing in the 1930s, the following are the inscriptions on the bells:

1. Stephen Stead and Rowland Smith. Churchwardens 1735

2. 1658 All Glory be to God on Hy Recast 1898

3. “Recast A.D. 1898 Barwell. Founders, Birmingham. Sole deo Gloria Pax Hominibus. 1658

4. A Reformation bell: rough tracery runs around the top, broken by the words: ‘William Hall and Howard Rogers, 1658”.

5. This bell is inscribed with the words:

“To the Glory of God and for calling Souls to worship Him.
Recast A.D. 1898 from a Pre-reformation bell on which was inscribed ‘Assit principio Sancta Maria Vocato’.
James Barwell Founder. Birmingham
F. Whitehead, M.A., Rector.
A. P Turner,
H. Langston. Churchwardens.”

These inscriptions suggest that the majority of the bells were recast in 1658, and it is likely that the bells were augmented to a ring of five at this time. There was a lot of work carried out on the bellower during the 17th century, but subsequent to that only minor repairs took place until 1898 when a major restoration project was carried out and the bells recast by James Barwell, who ran a bell foundery in Birmingham.

James Barwell

The tenor bell, in particular, was reported by Rev J B Hewit, Rector of Upper Sapey, Worcestershire, formerly curate of Pembridge when writing in the Woolhope Club Transactions of 1901, to have been badly chipped. Evidently it had been the tradition up until that point to use a blacksmith’s hammer to ring the bell on occasions of festivity, as this produced more noise than the clapper.

These days the bells are rung in a more traditional fashion.

Mrs Bretton – Pembridge Ghost

All villages have their ghost stories and Pembridge is no different – previously on the blog we’ve briefly mentioned some of the legends from the history of the village. The following account is taken from the book Saducismus Triumphatus Or Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions by Joseph Glanvil, published in 1681.

It includes a detailed account, written by Edward Fowler who was Prebendary of Gloucester and talks about the appearance of the ghost of Mrs Bretton, who was the daughter of William Sherborne, Rector of Pembridge in the 17th century. She married Dr Bretton, who, although is mentioned below as a Rector of Pembridge, was more likely to have been a curate for the village.

Dr. Bretton, late Rector of Pembridge, near Hereford, was married to the daughter of Dr. S. This gentlewoman was a person of extraordinary piety, which she expressed, as in her life, so at her death. She had a maid, of whom she was very fond, whose name was Alice, who was subsequently married to a young carpenter, a near neighbour. Not long after Mrs. Bretton’ s decease, as Alice was rocking her infant in the night, she was called from her cradle by a knocking at the door, which opening, she was surprised at the sight of a gentlewoman, not to be distinguished from her late mistress, either in person or habit. She was in a morning gown, the same appearance with that she had often seen her mistress wear. At first sight she expressed very great amazement, and said,

“Were not my mistress dead ? I should not question but that you were she”.

She replied, ” I am the same that was your mistress”, and took her by the hand, which Alice declared was as cold as ice ; she added, that she had business of great importance to employ her in, and that she must immediately go a little way with her. Alice trembled, and besought her to excuse her, and entreated her very importunely to go to her master, who must needs be more fit to be employed; the spectre answered, that he who was her husband was not at all concerned, but yet she had a desire rather to make use of him, and in order thereto had several times been in his chamber, but he was still asleep, nor had she power to do more than once uncover his feet, in order to awaken him; and the doctor said he had heard walking in his chamber at night, which till now he could not account for.

Alice next objected, that her husband was gone on a journey, and she had no one to look after her child, and that it was very apt to cry vehemently, and she feared if it awoke before her return, it would cry itself to death, or do itself a mischief; the spectre replied, “the child should sleep till her return”.

Alice, seeing there was no avoiding of it, sorely against her will, followed her over a stile into a large field, when the spectre said to her, ” Observe how much of this field I measure with my feet”; and when she had taken a good large leisurely compass, she said,

“All this belongs to the poor, it has been gotten from them by wrongful means”; and charged her to go and tell her brother whose it was at that time, that he should give it up forthwith, as he loved her and his dear aged mother. This brother was not the person who did this unjust act, but his father; she added, that she was the more concerned, because her name had been made use of in some writing that related to this land.

Alice asked her how she could satisfy her brother that this was no cheat or delusion of her fancy? She replied,

“Tell him this secret, which he knows only himself, and I am privy to, and he will believe you”. Alice having promised to go on this errand, the spectre proceeded to give her good advice, and entertained her all the rest of the night with heavenly and divine discourse. When the dawn appeared, they heard the whistling of carters, and the noise of horse- bells, whereupon the spectre said,  “Alice, I must be seen by none but yourself”, and then disappeared.

Immediately Alice makes all haste home, being thoughtful of her child, but found it as the spectre had said, asleep, as she left it. When she had dressed it, and committed it to the care of a neighbour, away she went to her master the doctor, who, amazed at the accounts she gave him, sent her to his brother-in-law. He, at first hearing Alice’s story and message, laughed at it heartily; but she had no sooner told him the secret, but he changed his countenance, told her that he would give the poor their own, and accordingly he did so, and they now enjoy it.

This is attested by me, 17th February 1681. Edward Fowler

Pembridge Free School

William Carpenter, Esq. a prosperous layman who was born in Pembridge, left money in his will of 1650 to endow a free school in Pembridge for the children of the poor. The school may have been established before this, possibly as early as 1616. The school used an existing building, which still survives today and can be seen in the photo above. This was a timber framed property, next to the church which was probably built in the 1500s. In 1680 the schoolmaster was James Williams.

The school was administered by the churchwardens and from the church warden account books there is evidence showing a number of repairs to the building over the years. In 1712 they mended the chimneys; in 1719 the walls were repaired with 2 loads of clay and severn burdens (or loads) of rods. These were probably split hazel wattles to make up the wattle and daub walls. In 1773 the roof was re-thatched, however at some point the thatch was replaced by tiles that exist today.

In 1782 an inventory was taken of the school and the contents were as follows:

Inventory 1782

  • A lock and key to the door
  • a grate
  • a form fixed on the East side – 9 feet long
  • a form fixed and joined to the former on the south side
  • 2 benches of equal length – with the aforesaid forms
  • a writing desk 5′ 6″ long
  • a writing desk 8’6″ long
  • 2 benches to each desk equal in length thereto
  • a shelf on the North side – 10′ long.
  • 3 shelves on the north side  – each 3′ long
  • 2 shelves on the East side – each 3′ long
  • 1 shelf on the west side, 6′ long
  • 1 shelf on the mantelpiece – 6′ long
  • 2 benches for readers to sit on, each 6′
  • 1 bench 6′
  • 1 bench 3’6″

seen and compared & do agree with the above by us
Henry Copner
Thos. King April 28th

In 1841 James Higginson, aged 35, was the schoolmaster living in the school building with his wife Mary and their 7 month old baby. Mary was also the schoolmistress but taught the girls elsewhere in a room that was rented for £4 per annum. Her salary was £20 and she had 50 girls on the roll, 40 of which turned up regularly for lessons. They were taught reading, writing and arithmetic, but also knitting, spinning, plain sewing and plaiting straw for their bonnets.

James had a salary of £25 and also had 50 students on his roll but only 16 to 30 boys turned up regularly. They also learnt reading, writing and arithmetic. The school continued until 1866 when it was absorbed into the newly built ‘National school’ which exists today as Pembridge CE Primary school.


Thomas Trafford

We’ve mentioned previously the Trafford Alms Houses, paid for by a bequest by Thomas Trafford and his wife Alice. Thomas Trafford was the Rector of Pembridge from 1667 until 1685. He was probably born around 1630 and educated as a Doctor of Divinity in Cambridge.

He married Alice, the daughter of William Sherbourne, who was also a Rector of Pembridge. He died in 1685 and has a memorial tablet in the Chancel. It is written in Latin and although we have a transcription we would be very grateful if anyone could provide a translation. The last few lines on the tablet have ben identified as being taken from Isaiah 57 V 1-2:

The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.

Thomas Trafford's Memorial

Thomas Trafford’s Memorial in Pembridge Church


The transcript of his memorial is as as follows, although is is worn and may have errors in places

H:S:E Thomas Traford S:T:P

Ex. antiqua familia in Agro Cestrens
Cantabriga educatus
Vt Ingenio Theologiam ingeniumg Theologia
De Ecclesia Anglicanaa bene meruit
Quia bene effuleivit
Haereticorum Iras contempsit & fugavit
Nunquam felix
Nisi Parodnanes fdiciores docendo redderet
Non Aurum Sed corum Ammas ae quisivit
Regni & Regis inimicos
Hostili odio prosequutus;
Ideo Hostis.
Quid Hostibus dissimilis
Alijs Herefordiensi Lectione Vitani tribuit
Suam amisit
Fallor ron amisit Sed mutavit
In Meliorem
Viccsimo di Decembri Annog Domini
1685 Aftatis Suic 59
Isaiah 57 V 1-2
Iustus Peuit
Et non est qui recogitet in Corde Suo
Et Viri miscricordiae Colliguntur
Quia non est qui intelligat
A facis anim nialitiae olledtus est Iustis
Venial Pax reque??t  Cubili Suo
Qui ambulavit in directione Sira

In his will he left the majority of is belongings to his wife Alice Trafford and property in Chester to his mother.  He also left £10 to be invested and the interest given as bread to the poor of Pembridge who attend Church on Good Friday.

Will of Thomas Trafford

In the name of God Amen

I Thomas Trafford Rector of Pembridge the County of Herefordshire this the eighteenth day of June in the out and thirtyeth yeare of the reign of  our Sovereign Lord Charles the second of England Scotland ? and  Ireland King Defender of the Faith and in the yeare of our Lord one  thousand six hundred seventy nine being in health of body and soundness of mind and perfect understanding doe make this my last will and Testament in manner and forme following Imprius I bequeath my soule into the hands of my great Creator who first gave it me and my body to the earth from whence it came to be buryed at the direction of my ? hereafter named hopeing in a joyfull resurrection to eternal life through the merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour And for my Worldly estate which God hath given to me I thus before it bestow it

First I give devise and bequeath unto my well beloved wife Alice Trafford my two tenements with the appurtenances in Kington now in the posession of Thomas Arnold my Tenant which I lately purchased of Thomas Addys of Kingsland to have and to hold to her the said Alice my wife and to her heirs forever

item I give devise and bequeath unto my said wife Alice Trafford all that Messuage and Tenenment with the Lands thereuntobelonging with all ites appurtenances and which I lately the purchased of Barnaby Traniter lying and being in Lyonshall unto her the saidAlice my wife and to her heirs forever

Item I give devise and bequeath unto my well beloved mother Mrs Dorothy Banner alll my Lands lying in the Township of great Saughall in the County of Chester which were heretofore purchased by my predessors from out Richard Speuer with all their appurtenauts to her my said Mother during her natural life and after her decease I give devise and bequeath the said Lands to wellbeloved kinsman William Greene of Willasson in the County of Chester to him the said William and his heirs forever

item I give devise and bequeath unto to my Mother Mrs Dorothy Banner my house in the Watergate street in Chester now in the possession of one John ? my tenant to have and to hold to her the said Dorothy and and her heirs forever Item I give devise and between unto my aforesaid Mother Dorothy Banner my house in the Abby Court near the Cathedral Church in Chester to have and to hold to Her my said Mother during natural life And if it please God that my wife Alice Trafford survive her my will is that she hold it During the reminder of the Lease which is for her life which I give and bequeath to her

And whereas my two tenements in Stoke in the County of Chester both in the possession of Timothy Barker are both assigned over to my Mother during her life my will for the disposallof them after her decease is ? I give devise and bequeath all that Messauge and Tenement with its appurtenances to ? was heretofore Mr Banners unto my welbeloved wife Alice Trafford to have andto hold after my Mothers decease during her life And after her decease I give it to my ? William Greene and his heirs for theremainder of the lease

It. I give devise and the bequeath the other tenement with its apputenances  being neare the Church unto to the above said William Greene heirs or Assigns after my Mothers decease

It. I give all those goods that I have in Cheshire to be absolutely at my mothers disposall

It. I given to the parish of Pembridge the sume of Tenne pounds to be put out to interest which interest I order to be disposed every yearly to be distributed in bread to poore people which shall be at the Church on good friday this routine forever

lastly all the rest my good chattells bonds and debts I give unto my dearly beloved wife Alice Trafford who I make my sole heir of this my last Will and Testament renouncing all other former Wills whatsoever In witness whereof of I have hereunto putt my hand and and seale the day and yeare above written. Tho: Trafford ? signed and published in the presence of us Essex Sherbourne William Higgins ? Morgan
his mark.