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Worcestershire and Worcester City HERPrintable version | About Worcestershire and Worcester City HER

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Name:Northwick Manor
HER Reference:WCM91039
Type of record:Monument
Grid Reference:SO 842 580
Map Sheet:SO85NW
Parish:Worcester (Non Civil Parish), Worcester City, Worcestershire
Worcester, Worcestershire

Monument Types

  • MANOR HOUSE (MEDIEVAL - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (between))

Associated Events

  • Northwick Manor Community Heritage Project - Bishop's fishponds (Ref: WCM101719)

Full description

The Manor of Northwick is first recorded by name in the Domesday book {1}. At this time Northwick held 25 hides of land, including 3 mills, a fishery, 40 acres of meadowland and an area of woodland 1 league long by 1 league wide. At this time Northwick held 1 salt house at Droitwich which paid 100 measures of salt to the manor in return for 100 cartloads of timber.

The manor of Northwick was one of the principal seats of the early Bishops of Worcester but the acquisition of Hartlebury and the establishment of a palace there, together with the building of the parish church at Claines in the mid-13th century mean that Claines rose in importance at Northwick's expense and it seems that Northwick ceased to be used as a main residence. They did, however, retain the palace for ceremonial use and their tenants, often diocesan officials, used the palace for official entertaining.{2} There are also records of ordinations undertaken at the Bishop's chapel at Northwick, including that of William Canynge who later became Lord Mayor of Bristol {3}.

Records from 1563, document a court case brought by John Bourne of Battenhall against the Bishop, asserting that the Bishops of Worcester were profiting from dismantling the 'fair house at Northwick' and selling off the materials to his friends. The house was described as having being built in the early years of Henry VII's reign (apparently replacing the earlier palace) of timber and plaster, but according to the Bishop (defending his actions), situated in 'low, marish ground' and being in a state of 'greate decay'. {4}

A lease made out to one of the Bishop's officials, Thomas Wem, in 1517, was for the site of the manor of Northwick, with its demesne and pastures, called Bixtons, together with one dovehouse newly built, all houses in the inner court within the moat, two rooms called the Porter's House, the great barn, two stables, one house called the Millhouse and the great garden lying outside the moat, together with all ponds and fishponds and the pasture called the Coneygree.{2}

Another lease made out to the Wem family in 1585, made it clear that extensive alterations were taking place. Much of the moat had been drained and also some of the fishpools. The Wems were granted leave to pull down the remaining buildings and it seems that they rebuilt, using the courtyard of the old house as a building plot.{2} This is likely to be the house that appear on Doharty's map of 1751-3 {5}. The enclosure surrounding the house on Doharty 'probably corresponds to the court, while the Porter's House, with it's two rooms is likely to have faced the lane, opposite the Green and separated from it by the moat... In fact, Doharty's map actually shows a tiny spur, perhaps the remnant of this moat, while the curve of the road at this point, very apparent in the 18th century, may have been dictated by the water. Careful comparison of this map with more modern ones, including the 1843 tithe map for Claines, shows that the palace can be located, across, and to the north, of the boundary line between the gardens of Linely Close and Leslie Avenue.'{2}

Recent observations of the area as part of the Northwick Manor Community Heritage Project have noted a quantity of dressed sandstone exhibiting clear herringbone tooling, being used as a single-course boundary wall between the gardens of 19 and 21 Linley Close.{6}

Sources and further reading

<1>Article in serial: Willis-Bund, J W. 1893. Worcestershire Domesday. Rep & Pap Assoc Archit Socs. Vol 22, Part 1.
<2*>Unpublished document: Hughes, Pat. 1995. A History of the Hamlet of Northwick in the Parish of Claines. Published in Worcester.
<3>Unpublished document: Payne, Sheena. 1995. The History of Northwick - the Bishop's Seat, Manor and Hamlet from the year 680AD to the present day. [unpublished], Worcester.
<4>Unpublished document: 1563. Bourne V Bishop of Worcester - Elizabethan State Papers.
<5>Cartographic materials: Doharty Junior, John. Published in Worcester. 1751-53. An Exact Map of the Manor of Claines.
<6>Verbal communication: Payne-Lunn, S J. Pers comm. 2009.
<7>Monograph: 1913. History of the County of Worcestershire III. p302.