Many towns and villages have daughter settlements: this is true enough in the parishes of our area.
The causes for this are not always the same but as they happened a long time ago we can only guess at the reasons. Alcester is a case in point. Why is King's Coughton (an integral part of Alcester parish and manor) detached from Alcester town? It has been so for 800 years, though modern expansion is rapidly joining the two tog-ether.. The answer probably lies in King's Coughton's most prominent feature - Beauchamp Court. The original house, surrounded by a moat, stood behind the present building The Beauchamps, Alcester's lords, built it and lived in it for many generations. It was right away from the town and abbey. Many manor houses were much closer to the church and market than Alcester's. It would have had a life of f its own, with constant visitors and the servants needed for a great house. Around this Court would grow up a settlement; some of them farmers, some of them artisans: all able to supply the lord and his dependants with food and services: so much so, that King's Coughton developed its own two-field system, quite separate from Alcester's open field.
In fact, Alcester seems the only one of our parishes where a subsidiary settlement grew up in the same manor. Arrow, Haselor, Coughton and Studley all had twin settlements, respectively Oversley, Walcot, Sambourne and Mappleborough. These were all in different manors from the chief ones and it was the chief ones where the parish churches were situated. [Bidford, Salford Priors and Aston Cantlow had each more than one subsidiary. Bideford's manorial history is terribly complicated but it resulted in manorial centres in Barton, Marlcliff, King's Broom and Burnell's Broom. These all flourish today, except Burnell's Broom, where its lost village may be pin-pointed. Aston Cantlow has a number of scattered settlements, viz. Little Alne, Shelfield and Newnham but in manorial terms they were not attached to Aston. Salford Prior's satellites are Dunnington, Bevington, Cock Bevington and Abbot's Salford, all manors in their own right.
The parish churches of our parishes have given the main centres of Bidford, Salford and Aston Cantlow and Coughton a pre-eminence and the satellites have remained small, some even tiny. Only three of the hamlets developed daughter churches, viz. King's Broome, Sambourne and Wilmcote and Wilmcote alone went on to pursue an individual existence.
Places such as Spernall, Kinwarton, Morton Bagot and Weethley were tiny and have remained so, with no satellite appendages springing up: being single-rnanored parishes, this helped. Great Alne had a second manor, Woodhouse, but it was never important and only the odd cottage sprang up round its manor house.
Summer 1991 Index
© Alcester & District Local History Society 1991