From the Time Traveller's Guide to Defford

Scroll down the page until you find the information you need. You will find more information about this place in the Time Traveller's Guide on the heritage detective's website.

You have found Defford Church

Information for Arthur

We have discovered that there is at least one wall in this building that was built in the 13th century.  If Arthur looks at the doorway in the porch he will find a sculptured head of a lady that is even older than the church!  If he looks at the shape of the arch above the doorway he will see that the arch is round and was probably built around 1200. 

Show him the cross that has been carved into the stone of the doorpost. Defford people think that this shows that somebody from Defford went on the Crusades. When the crusader left Defford somebody cut a vertical line into the stone, when he came home, they added a horizontal line to make a cross.

All this evidence seems to prove that people were living in Defford in the 13th century. In those days this church was not a parish church, it was a chapel of ease built for Defford people because they lived so far away from St. Andrew's  their Parish Church in Pershore.

Is this information useful for Arthur? 

You have found a tiny white house in the churchyard.  

Information for Arthur.

You can tell Arthur that this little house was once the village school. The children walked here from the farms and settlements nearby.  When the school was first opened in the 19th century it was the first time that everyone could go to school. In farming areas like this one the children would often not go to school in harvest time because they would have to help with the harvest. The nearest market was in Pershore.

Is this information useful for Arthur?

You have found a wheel high up on the side of a house. It looks like part of a winch.

Information for Arthur. 

We have discovered that this house, now called 'The Bakery" was probably the village bakery.  Tell Arthur that we often buy our bread from a supermarket but in days gone by many villages had their own bakeries and the baker would bake bread everyday so that everyone had fresh bread.  This winch might have been used to haul up bags of flour into a store room.  Defford was a self sufficient farming community.  The local market was in Pershore. To get to Pershore people had to cross the "deep ford' over Bow Brook a fast running stream on its way to the River Avon.  Today people not may people think of the brook as they drive in their cars over the road bridge to Pershore.

Will this information help Arthur?

You have found a memorial stone. It looks important.

Information for Arthur?

You can tell Arthur that we have found out that there is an airfield on Defford Common and during the 2nd World War the Royal Air Force helped to develop radar there. Arthur may ask you more about radar, he will think it quite wonder...full but he will also want to know more about Defford Common.  Commons were very important for medieval people because they could graze their animals on common land.  Most commons were absorbed into people's farms when the land was enclosed in the 19th century so it is unusual for a place still to have a common.

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You have found a bridge with a railway track underneath.

Information for Arthur.

You have found out that trains regularly pass under this bridge on their way to Bristol or Birmingham but they do not stop in Defford.  About a hundred years ago trains did stop at a station in Defford but today there is no station.  You can tell Arthur how the trains helped the people of Defford to become richer. Tell him about the market gardeners and fruit growers who packed their produce in baskets and took them by horse and cart to the station where they put them on the train to be taken to markets in far away industrial towns  The growers were no longer dependant on the market in Pershore. 

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You have discovered a very old cottage.

Information for Arthur.

You can tell Arthur that the cottage was built in the late 16th century. Show him the great curved pieces of timber called crucks, they support the roof which is covered in thatch and the walls are made of wattle and daub. Arthur will probably be familiar with houses a bit like this one, there are several more timber framed houses in Defford but they do not have cruck frames. Houses like this one were very expensive to build.  In Arthur's time most people lived in much simpler buildings which didn't last very long and have long since disappeared.

 Does this information help Arthur? 

 Information from the Heritage Knights.

The heritage detectives from Defford First School are not sure that Arthur will find much to interest him here in Defford but we are not so sure. When they started to collect information for the Time Traveller’s Guide the detectives made a big discovery - they discovered that all the land in their parish had once belonged to Westminster Abbey in London! 

Westminster Abbey owned great estates in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. The Abbot of Westminster organised them into manors and employed the Steward of the Western Parts to collect the rent!  All the land around here and the tenants who farmed it were part of the great Manor of Binholme, the estate office was in Pershore.

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Explore Change in Defford

1949 Defford Village
1949 Defford Village
Defford before the railway
Defford before the railway