‘…divers men’s sonnes and servants do often resort and contineue drinking in the said houses day and night, whereupon divers disorders and abuses are offered to the inhabitants of Bayton aforesaid, as in pulling down styles, in carrying away of yertes, in throwing men’s waynes, plowes, and such like things, into pooles, wells, and other bye places…’ – Worcestershire Quarter Sessions, 1612
This is a blog about Bayton, a small parish in northwest Worcestershire on the Shropshire border. More specifically, it is about Bayton in the (high) Middle Ages – roughly speaking, the years from 1066 to 1540 – although with inevitable fuzziness at either end. Drawing on a wide range of material and documentary evidence, the blog hopes to shed new light onto the day-to-day lives of peasants and lords – and everyone inbetween – in a part of the country whose history is so often overlooked.
Why Medieval Bayton? During the Middle Ages the parish was home to no less than four manorial estates, two associated villages, and a parish church, St Bartholomew’s. For centuries people lived, worked and died in and around such places, whose lives and beliefs can be as interesting and important as their modern counterparts. While a concise summary of the Medieval parish is available in the 1924 Victoria County History, the present blog aims to provide more detailed and thematic insights into life (and death) in Bayton in the Middle Ages, drawing on additional – and often new – sources of documentary and landscape history, toponyms and archaeology.
Why a blog? Local history has tended to stay local; the unfortunate side-effect being that the stories uncovered and the lessons learned – no matter how interesting or important – tend to get overlooked by non-local enthusiasts or researchers. The internet provides a welcome opportunity to break down these barriers and engage with similar work elsewhere in Britain – whether in Surrey, South Ayrshire or Sherwood Forest. Any comments or thoughts on my research would be greatly appreciated , as would any contributions, so feel free to get in touch on the comments or via email – firstname.lastname@example.org .
Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the blog!