History of Abbots Morton parish

The most northerly of the four parishes in the benefice, the parish of Abbots Morton incorporates the hamlets of Morton Spirt, The Low and Gooms Hill as well as the village of Abbots Morton itself. The parish contains approximately 70 homes. Many of the houses in the village are half-timbered "black and white" buildings dating from the 17th and 18th centuries; three have 15th century origins.

Village website: www.abbotsmorton.info

Images of Abbots Morton

8th - 16th century: Evesham Abbey and "Morton Abbatis"

The Domesday Book of 1086 lists Abbots Morton as "Mortune", assessed at 5 hides and belonging to Evesham Abbey, but the settlement is believed to have been established several hundred years earlier. Before the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century, Abbots Morton used to be a country retreat for the abbots of Evesham; the remains of their moated manor house can still be seen near the church. The site of the manor house was acquired by Evesham Abbey in the 8th century, and a building existed on the site before the Norman conquest.

Abbots Morton (Morton Abbatis) was one of the parishes entangled in the dispute between Evesham Abbey and the Bishops of Worcester: both parties claimed control over the churches in the Vale of Evesham and the surrounding area. After 200 years, the dispute was finally settled in the middle of the 13th century when the abbey was given jurisdiction over all the churches within the Vale apart from one: Abbots Morton.

16th-17th century: the Hoby and Kighley families

After the Dissolution, Abbots Morton passed into the hands of the Hoby [Hobby] family, who acquired many of the properties originally belonging to Evesham Abbey. In 1600 ownership of the manor appears to have been disputed: documents held at the Worcestershire Records Office include "Letters Patent of Elizabeth I being a licence for alienation from Richard Hobby [Hoby], esquire, to Richard Mottershed, gent., and Ralph Hodges of the manors of Badsey and Abbots Morton…" while the Records of the Kings Remembrancer in the National Archives show "Philip Kighley of Broadway, genleman to Thomas Edgeok of Broadway, gentleman: Demise, indented, for 3 years, of the manors of Badsey and Abbots Morton,…"

Philip Kighley had married Elizabeth Hoby, Richard's daughter, in 1597 which is presumably how the manor of Abbots Morton passed into the hands of the Kighley family. After Philip's death at the beginning of the 17th century, Elizabeth married Charles Ketilby who sold the manor a few years later. The Records of the Kings Remembrancer for the first decade of the 17th century (held at the National Archives) include "Inquisitions as to the possessions late of Sir Philip Keighley,… (Kettleby v. Bond, Edgiock, and Hodges)" referring to properties within the Vale of Evesham. Is "Kettleby" Charles Ketilby, and "Edgiock and Hodges" the Thomas Edgeok and Ralph Hodges mentioned in the documents from 1600? Perhaps ownership of the manor of Abbots Morton was also part of the enquiry?

18th century: the Throckmorton family of Coughton Court

By the beginning of the 18th century, much of the land around Abbots Morton appears to have been acquired by the Throckmorton family of Coughton Court. Papers deposited in the Shakespeare Centre Library and Archive record 500-year leases of "rights of common" granted on lands of Sir Robert Throckmorton; and a century later John Throckmorton was disputing the tithes of Abbots Morton.

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