Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for DROITWICH

DROITWICH, a town, three parishes, a sub-district, and a district in Worcester. The town stands on the river Salwarp, and on Ryknield-street, adjacent to the Gloucester and Oxford and Wolverhampton railway, and near the Worcester and Birmingham canal, 6¼ miles NE by N of Worcester; and it has a canal of its own, 53/4 miles long, cut in 1768 by Brindley, going to the Severn, at the mouth of the Salwarp, and falling 56½ feet with eight locks. It is supposed to have been the Salinæ of the Romans; it has been famous from remote times, for great salt springs; and it acquired its name from the word "droit, " denoting a right by royal grant to keep the springs open, and the Saxon word "wyche, " signifying a salt spring. It was populous in the times of the Conqueror, and had manorial connexion with the crown till the time of King John; and it was the head-quarters of Charles I. in 1645, and stood so stoutly out for his cause as to receive from him a letter of thanks. It has a straggling form, and a dingy appearance; but it comprises three or four principal streets, and rejoices in pleasant environs. It has a head post office, ‡ a railway station with telegraph, three chief inns, a town-hall, two churches, several chapels, a lunatic asylum, a workhouse, an hospital and school, with £1, 009 from endowment, two other schools, with £34 and £20; and other charities with £104. The town-hall, called also the court-chamber, has a market underneath, and cost about £1, 200. St. Andrew's church stands at the junction of High-street and St. Andrew-street; and is early English, partly stone and partly brick. St. Peter's church stands about a mile south of the town; is an ancient cruciform structure; and contains a fine recumbent effigies of George Wylde, and several tablets to the Nash family. An Augustinian friary was founded at the town, by the Beauchamps; and an hospital, belonging to Worcester abbey, stood at Dodderhill. Markets are held on Fridays; and fairs on the Monday before 20 June, and the Wednesday before 20 Dec. The salt springs rise from a substratum of rock salt, alternating with marl and gypsum; are pumped from a depth of 180 feet; yield, by manufacture, about 60, 000 tons of salt a year; and give large employment to the inhabitants, in the works and by the export. Saline baths, supplied by pipes and pumps from the springs, are connected with one of the hotels. The town was chartered by King John; is governed by a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors; sent two members to parliament from 1554 till the act of 1832; and now sends one. The municipal borough comprises the parishes of St. Andrew, St. Nicholas, and St. Peter, the extra-parochial tract of Malborough-in-the-Vine, and the in-liberties of the parish of Dodderhill. The parliamentary borough comprises also the rest of Dodderhill parish, the parishes of Himbleton, Oddingley Hinlip, Martin-Hussingtree, Salwarp, Doverdale, Hampton-Lovett, and Hadsor, parts of the parishes of Warndon, Hanbury, and Claines, and the extra-parochial tracts of Westwood Park, Crutch, and Shell. Acres of the m. borough, 1, 660; of the p. borough, 22, 656. Real property of the m. borough in 1860, £17, 008. Direct taxes of the p. borough in 1859, £5, 772. Electors in 1868, 400. Pop. of the m. borough, 3, 124; of the p. borough, 7, 086. Houses, 663 and 1, 504. Bishop de la Wich and Chief Baron Wylde were natives.

The three parishes are St. Andrew, St. Nicholas, and St. Peter. Acres, 540, 343, and 698. Rated property of St. A. and St. N., £5, 236; of St. P., £4, 615. Pop., 1, 008 and 707 and 854. Houses, 210 and 138 and 201. The property in the town parts is much subdivided; but that in St. Peter is little. divided. The manors belong to the Earl of Shrewsbury and Earl Somers. St. A. and St. N. are rectories, and St. P. is a vicarage, in the diocese of Worcester; and the first and second, together with the rectory of the extinct parish of St. Mary, form one living. Value of St. A., £330; of St. P., £160. Patron of the former, the Lord Chancellor; of the latter, Earl Somers.—The sub-district contains also the parishes of Dodderhill, Hadsor, Hanbury, and Upton-Warren, the extra-parochial tracts of Malborough, Grafton manor, and Crutch, and part of the parish of Fladbury. Acres, 20, 876. Pop., 6, 643. Houses, 1, 414. -The district comprehends also the sub-district of Ombersley, containing the parishes of Ombersley, Hartlebury, Elmley-Lovett, Doverdale, and Hampton-Lovett, and the extra-parochial tract of Westwood-Park; and the sub-district of Claines, containing the parishes of Himbleton, Huddington, Crowle, Oddingley, Tibberton, Warndon, Hinlip, Martin-Hussingtree, Salwarp, the greater part of Claines, and the extra-parochial tract of Shell. Acres, 56, 525. Po-rates in 1862, £8, 877. Pop. in 1841, 17, 468; in 1861, 19, 289. Houses, 4, 133. Marriages in 1860, 180; births, 600, -of which 44 were illegitimate; deaths, 376, -of which 132 were at ages under 5 years, and 17 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1, 589; births, 5, 719; deaths, 3, 396. The places of worship in 1851, were 24 of the Church of England, with 6, 566 sittings; 2 of Independents, with 320 s.; 1 of Baptists, with 80 s.; 5 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 736 s.; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 140 s.; 1 of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, with 100 s.; 2 undefined, with 170 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 200 s. The schools were 15 public day schools, with 1, 448 scholars; 42 private day schools, with 673 s.; 27 Sunday schools, with 1, 662 s; and 1 evening school for adults, with 55 s.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, three parishes, a sub-district, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Droitwich CP       Droitwich SubD       Droitwich PLU/RegD       Worcestershire AncC
Place: Droitwich

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