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At Rowley Regis which is situated on a lofty peninsulated tract, which stretches into Worcestershire, between the parishes of Bradley and Dudley, there was found, some years ago, a pot of a globular form, which contained 1200 Roman silver coins, of 140 different sorts. Some of them bore fine impressions of the Roman emperors, Galba and Otho. The church here is particularly remarkable for the deformity and barbarous taste of its construction.
Clent, a village situated in a detached portion of this hundred, surrounded by Worcestershire, and a part of Shropshire, claims notice as being the place near which Cenelm, king of Mercia, was murdered by the orders of his elder sister Quendrida, about the year 820. The unnatural conduct of this princess is finely described by Shenstone, in the following lines:*
"Born near the seat for Kenelm's fate renowned,
I take my plaintive reed, and range the grove,
First by the centre of our various wild,
Where spreading oaks embower a Gothic fane,
Th' ambitious maid could every care employ,
But soon the bosom's pleasing calm is flown,
See garnished for the chace, the fraudful maid,
* XXIII Elegy.
+ Quendrida did not reap the benefit she expected from her barbarity, the Mercians having placed her uncle Ceulph on the throne. Rap. Hist. England, Vol. I. p. 55. Lel. Collect. Vol. I. p. 212.
The parish church here is a very ancient fabric, surmounted by an elegant Gothic tower, richly ornamented with niches and pinnacles. On the outer wall is sculptured the rude figure of a child. Two of its fingers are raised in the form of a benediction, and over its head is a crown. Above the door, within the porch, stands also the figure of a man, greatly mutilated, in the act of giving benediction. The arch here displays a neat specimen of the Saxon style of architecture. This church appears to have originally belonged to the church of Worcester.*
Over Arley. This village is situated near the north bank of the river Severn, which passes for a few miles through an angle of this county.* It would appear to have been at one time a much more considerable place than it is now. Leland calls it "a good uplandish town." A Roman vicinal road, which probably led from Brennogenium, (Worcester) to Uriconium, (Wroxeter) passes the eastern portion of the parishes, and now forms part of the post road from Worcester to Shrewsbury. In Arley Wood are the remains of a Roman camp, which is an exact square. On one side there is a treble ditch; but on the other sides it is only double. Mr. Shaw supposes this entrenchment to have been the work of Ostorus, who, it is well known, fortified many spots in this part of the county, during his wars with the Silures and Ordivices.
The church, dedicated to St. Peter, is a very ancient building, first erected during the reign of Henry the first, or of Stephen; but probably afterwards renewed in the time of Edward Į. The nave is divided from the chancel, by a continued range of pillars. Some old paintings still decorate the windows, and there is likewise a modern one by Mr. Egginton. In an arch placed between two of the pillars, appears the monumental effigy of a knight in complete armour, cross legged, and having a lion couchant at his feet. This church was some years ago, thoroughly repaired by Lord Valentia; who orna
Lel. Itin. Vol. VI. 76.
mented the singing gallery with various coats of arms. pulpit desk, also the gift of his lordship, is adorned with hang. ings of peculiar richness and elegance.
Kinver, is a very pleasant village, situated on the west bank of the river Stour. It was formerly a market town of considerable importance; and, though the market is now discontinued, there is still a market house or townhall, in which is deposited some old armour. Here is likewise a free grammar school well endowed, but the name of the founder is unknown.
To the south of the hill on which this village is situated, be tween the Warren House and Sandy town, is a small plain covered with sand, where are the remains of an ancient camp of an oblong form, 300 yards in length, and 200 in breadth. Tradition says, it was the work of the Danes. Mr. Shaw, however, is rather inclined to regard it as having been constructed by Wulfere, one of the kings of Mercia, on account of its posi tion with respect to the adjoining country. Just below the camp, appears a tumulus or barrow, surrounded by a narrow ditch, and in every way similar to that described by Dr. Stukely on Salisbury plain, which that author supposed to be Celtic. Near it, is also a large stone of a square figure, and tapering towards the top, about two yards in height, and four in circumference, having two notches on the summit. This stone is called Baston of Boltstone.
The church is an ancient building, dedicated to St. Peter. From the form of an arch over the principal window, bishop Littleton was induced to conclude it to have been erected even prior to the Norman conquest. Here are some paintings on glass, and a few monuments deserving of notice. At the top of the middle aisle, stands a fine tomb of speckled marble; and thereon, on plates of brass, is the figure of a knight in complete armour, having his hands raised as in prayer, together with the portraitures of his two wives, both dressed according to the fashion of their age. Beneath the knight's feet are the figures of seven
boys, and at the feet of the woman ten girls. From the inscription this monument appears to have been received in honour of Sir Edward Grey, who lived in the reign of Henry the eighth. In a portion of the chancel, which is railed in, stands a mutilated alabaster monument of very ancient date, but to whose memory it was erected is uncertain.*
Stourton castle is situated in this parish, on the west bank of the river Stour. At an early period it was the property of the Hamptons. Leland says, "Sturseley, or Sturton Castle without fayle, is in Staffordshir. And I hard that there was a Lord Storton, a baron of this Storton." It was fortified for the king at the commencement of the civil wars, but surrendered to the Parliament in 1644.
The celebrated Reginald Pole, Archbishop of Canterbury, and a cardinal, was born in this castle in the year 1500. His descent was illustrious, being a younger son of Richard Pole, Lord Montague, Cousin German to king Henry the seventh. His mother was Margaret, daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, brother to king Edward the fourth. The early part of this prelate's education was conducted by a private tutor, from whose charge he was removed at the proper age, to Magdalen College Oxford. Having finished his studies here, he went into orders, and soon after proceeded abroad, to attend the foreign universities. During which time, he was allowed a very handsome pension from Henry the eighth, who likewise conferred upon him several benefices in commendam. In the year 1525, he returned to England, and was received by the king with distinguished marks of favour. His court influence, however, was but of short duration; for having vigorously opposed the divorce of Catharine of Arragon, he became so obnoxious to Henry, that he was compelled to seek shelter in Italy, where he wrote his celebrated piece intituled "De Unitate Ecclesiastica." This work exasperated the English monarch so highly, that he not
• Erdeswicke supposes it to have been designed for John Hampton, (or one of his ancestors) who was lord of Stourton in the time of Edward the fourth. t Lel. Vol. VII. p. 36.