The Hemmings of Great Alne became successful in the Redditch needle trade and acquired estates in Worcestershire, particularly Bentley; to these they added a good portion of Haselor. Richard Hemming, died 1891, left an heiress, Maude,but she is remembered under her married name of Cheape, her husband being Lt.Col, George Cheape. Everyone in Haselor called her 'Squire', the title relating to the manor of Bentley. She seems to have been very fond of Haselor and her visits, according to old inhabitants, were rather like royal progresses. For one thing, before World War 1, she visited the village in a motor car, an event in itself. The children cheered when it came and those who remembered to curtsey or touch their caps to the grand lady got the reward of a shilling. Mrs.Roberts of Haselor, who died recently, said 'We met her on every possible occasion'.
The Squire financed parties at Christmas for the children and the old people. But Mrs.Cheape's greatest delight was to bring over from Bentley her beagles; she descended with her retinue on Hasel or Lodge (at the foot of Red Hill), one of the Bentley estate properties, and usually stayed there for a couple of weeks.
The parish church of Haselor benefitted from the Lady Squire's generosity; there are memorials there to her family, the Hemmings, but a good deal of the church furnishings were given by her, including the organ.
'The Squire' died in 1919 and there are many details of her origins and her personality in the book about her ('The Squire of Bentley') written by her daughter, Maude.
Alcester & District Local History Society
Summer 1985 Index