Westhope, Diddlebury, Shropshire

The census records discussed in The Jones Family in Kent, England gave William Jones’ birthplace as either Diddlebury, Shropshire, or Westhope, Shropshire, and his date of birth as around 1823. They also identified various sisters: Jane Jones, b. abt. 1826, Mary Jones, b. abt. 1836, and Emma Jones, b. abt. 1834). The birthplaces for the sisters was the same as for William.

Westhope is apparently a village that was located in Diddlebury Parish. It’s identified on wiki’s list of Shropshire deserted villages and lost places as “Westhope SO471864 Former Domesday Manor in Diddlebury, recorded as Weshope.” From Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848):

Diddlebury (St. Peter)

DIDDLEBURY (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Ludlow, hundred of Munslow, S. division of Salop, 8 miles (N.) from Ludlow, on the road to Wenlock; containing 896 inhabitants. Limestone and an inferior stone for building are quarried. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king’s books at £12. 1. 3.; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Hereford. The tithes have been commuted for £340, and there are 50 acres of glebe given in lieu of right to a common now inclosed; also a glebe-house. At Westhope, in the parish, is a chapel of ease. A school is partly supported by subscription, and a Sunday school by an endowment. Mary Valentine, in 1822, gave £1000 four per cent. consols, reduced, of which the dividend is distributed in bread to the poor; and in 1840, Mrs. Radnor left £100, the interest to be distributed to poor widows on the Saturday before Christmas-day. Here was an alien priory, which, with the patronage of the church, belonged to the convent of Sagium, or Seez, in Normandy, and was afterwards appropriated to the abbey of Shrewsbury. At Corfton, on a bank above the rectory, stood a small Norman keep, and at Broncroft another; and extensive moats remain at Peeton, where stood Corsham Castle, one of the strongholds of the Earl of Clifford, and, it is said, the occasional residence of Fair Rosamond. At Little Sutton is a petrifying spring.

In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Westhope:

WESTHOPE, a chapelry in Diddlebury parish, Salop; under Wenlock Edge, 3¼ miles NE of Craven-Arms r. station, and 5 S by E of Church-Stretton. Post town, Diddlebury, under Bromfield, Salop. The statistics are returned with the parish. The living is a donative, annexed to Diddlebury.

thumb_westhopeSo far, the only references to Westhope Chapel currently that I have managed to find relates to a burial grounds, but it is in the correct place. Photos, including of what I think is the chapel, are here.

Also in the area now is Westhope College, which states on its website: “The College was started in 1981 by Anne Dyer and Elizabeth Rumble. Anne’s great grandfather, Henry Clement Swinnerton Dyer, a successful Manchester businessman, inherited this valley from a senior line of the family. The land that now forms the seven and a half acres of college grounds was originally two fields with a tree lined stream running between them.” A History of the Manor of Westhope was written (in 1909?) by Evelyn Martin, nee Swinnerton Dyer. This book discusses, among other things, the various farms of various tenants, including who I believe (from census and other evidence) my distant cousin Edward Jones:

Edward Jones was the tenant of "The Alders," "Brookev Piece," "Well 
Meadow," "Calves Patch," "Crabtree Piece," "Pit Leasow," "the land round 
Hill End House," "Rackington," "Coltfolt Piece," "Briary Piece," "Old 
House Piece," "Upper Orchard," " Broomy Ground," all lying to the south 
of Hill End House and below Callow Hill. The Lower and Upper Meadow 
are exempt from tithe.

Other historical tidbits from this book:

Westhope is a township in the Parish of Diddlebury. It has preserved the 
same way of spelling almost since the Conquest. In the Domesday Book the 
name is " Wes-hope," in old deeds it is written " YVesthop" or "Westhopp,"
by some local people pronounced as it was spelt.... It is situated south 
of the Parish of Diddlebury, and joined by "The Batch" or Hollow to 
Siefton, once a large forest. It is bounded on the north by Diddlebury 
and Wenlock Edge, on the south by Culmington and Dinchope, on the west by 
Acton Scott, and on the east by Culmington and Corfton.... 

In the time of Domesday the area comprised 600 statute acres. In 1707 
the estate was upwards of 1,108 acres. In 1845, as also at the present 
time, the area shows 1,186 acres 26 perches....
In the book of the Freeholders of the County of Salop, Westhope is given 
as in the Hundred of Monslowe. There is no date. (Sir Thomas Phillipps' 
MSS. 11,233, in Shrewsbury Free Library). 

In 1707 the estate was in the occupation of John Fleming, Lord of the 
Manor, the father of Richard Fleming, the under-tenants being John Hill, 
John Meddlicott, Edward Tyler, Nathaniel Smith, Richard Garbet, David 
Jones, Samuel Yates. Richard Amies, Francis Penny, John Trustram, Adam 
Keysall, John Matthews, Preese Price, John Campion, John Bridgewaters, 
and John Parker....
In 1841 there were seventeen houses on the estate and 103 inhabitants." 
Westhope Hall," occupied by John Banks, farmer," Lower Westhope," by 
Thomas Banks, farmer," Chapel Farm" by William Price, farmer, "The Hill 
End," by Richard and John Smout, farmers. At this time Baroness von Zandt 
was Lady of the Manor.

My note: this is likely from the manor records, but the numbers are consistent with the 1841 Census, which identifies the following 17 families (with 103 persons, 47 male, 56 female):

  • Upper Westhope: Thomas Leighton (agricultural laborer, age 55) and family
  • Upper Westhope, Edward Jones (farmer, age 70) and family
  • Upper Westhope, Richard Carter (agricultural laborer, age 25) and family
  • Upper Westhope, Benj. Purslaw (farmer, age 42) and family
  • Upper Westhope, William Price (farmer, age 50) and family
  • Westhope, John Banks (farmer, age 35) and family
  • Fitherell[?], John Goodman (agricultural laborer, age 50) and family
  • Fitherell[?], William Palmer (agricultural laborer, age 25) and family
  • Fitherell[?], John Francis (agricultural laborer, age 25) and family
  • Moor Hood, George Reece (agricultural laborer, age 30) and family
  • Moor Hood, John Hughes (agricultural laborer, age 35) and family
  • Moor Hood, Richard Haycock (agricultural laborer, age 50) and family
  • Hill End, Edward Jones (farmer, age 40) and family
  • Lower Westhope, Sarah Richard (age 40) and minor son?
  • Lower Westhope, Thomas Sargent (agricultural laborer, age 30) and family
  • Lower Westhope, Susannah Butler (age 65)
  • Lower Westhope, Thomas Banks (farmer, age 40) and family

I believe from other records that the younger Edward is William Jones’ father and my great-great-great-great grandfather, while the older one is his father.

Helpful and informative historical maps of Westhope and the area are here, and the general location based on a current map is shown here:


Some photos of the surrounding area from the 1950s and 1960s can be found here and a more recent one, plus some information about the area currently can be found on this site: http://www.diddleburyparish.co.uk/.

Information about St Peter’s Church in Diddlebury, shown in the background here, from wiki (CC By SA 2.0, see here):



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