Claverley Church James Bowyer Shelley Location Morfe Valley Nursery James Bowyer Shelley Location Claverley Church Bridgnorth       Claverley is a village and parish in Shropshire. Farmcote is a hamlet within the Claverley parish. Click on a point on the 1840 Claverley Tithe Map below to go to it.

Claverley. Map

  Charlotte Elsmore (left) and Thomas Shelley (right).

      According to Thomas Shelley�s (great-grandfather, 1822) diary, he was born here and married Charlotte Elsmore (great-grandmother, 1828) in the village Church (1851). A record of christening or marriage has not been found for him. Some christening records exist for his younger siblings at the Church. James Bowyer Shelley (2nd-great-grandfather, 1792) may have been born or christened (1794) here but his biographical sketches state that he was born in Chetton.

      The village of Claverley is very picturesque. We approached it by narrow winding roads bordered by tall hedges. At the center of the village is the attractive Church of England at the top of a hill. When we visited it, there were flowers along the pathway near the Church. The trees in the Churchyard were full of blossoms. The homes and businesses in the village were well kept. Many of these homes and buildings were Tudor; they had timber on the exterior walls.

  Charlotte Elsmore and Thomas Shelley (great-grandparents) were married in the All Saints Church in 1851.

  Church Window.

  The All Saints Church looks similar to when they were married.

  Thomas may have been christened in this font in the All Saints Church.

  Cemetery at the Church.

      Claverley is a village located near fertile farmland. The parish includes the hamlet of Farmcote. Claverley is a village with a rich and very old history. Roman armies, called legions, camped here in the 5th century. The Saxons lived in Claverley after the Romans and built the first Church at this site. In 1066, William the Conqueror, the King of the Normans (27th-great-grandfather, 1024), conquered England and built or rebuilt many Catholic churches. The Normans rebuilt the Claverley church around 1066 AD. There are world famous frescoes in the All Saints Church today, which were painted about 1200 AD. There are two fonts. The bowl-shaped one is Saxon or pre-Norman. The organ was installed in 1840.

  Vicarage (13th century) and Lych gate (14th century).

  Vicarage (13th century) and Lych gate (14th century).

      The Tudor building to the left of the church is the Vicarage. It is from the 13th century. The cross to the right of lych gate is from the 14th century (Bagshaw Page 464, Home, The Shropshire Village Book, Page 41, Directories of Shropshire & Herefordshire, Page 300).

Farmcote. Map

      James Bowyer Shelley (2nd-great-grandfather, 1792) and his family lived here in 1841. Many of his children were born here. They were christened in the parish church in Claverley.

      Farmcote is a hamlet within the parish of Claverley. Today, it is mainly farmland with a few buildings.

      There was �The Free School of Richard Dovey� funded with an endowment by John Dovey of Farmcote where: �The scholars are appointed by the trustees of the school from among poor children of the parish, and are taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, and are also each provided with a coat, waistcoat, and breeches (of blue cloth), and a hat (Bagshaw, 465).� Perhaps Thomas Shelley attended this school.

Where Thomas Shelley Lived. Map

  Thomas Shelley.

  Morfe Valley Nursery: it could be where Thomas Shelley (great-grandfather) lived in 1841. The building is above C. Shelley in the photograph.

      When Thomas Shelley (great-grandfather, 1822) was 19, he lived at �Valley Farm� with other farm laborers and not with his family (Great Britain. Census Office 1841). When asked if they had heard of �Valley Farm�, two nearby residents said it was MorfeValley Nursery (Preece, Older Gentleman). The owner of the MorfeValley Nursery said that a large burned structure on his property would have existed in 1841 and people previously lived within it (Morfe Valley Nursery Owner). Mr. Preece, the farmer living at the James Bowyer Shelley farm in Upper Farmcote in May 2001, said it was common to have agricultural laborers living in the loft (attic) of a building. It is possible that Thomas Shelley was living in the attic of this building as a young man in 1841.

Where James Bowyer Shelley Lived. Map

  James Bowyer Shelley.

      In 2001, when we visited England, we were able to determine exactly where James Bowyer Shelley lived in Farmcote. Throughout most of England, the land was surveyed in the late 18th or early 19th century to assess tithing better. In Claverley, this was done in 1840. These records are called the Tithe Apportionment List and Map (see Map, Shropshire Records and Research Center). This is one of the few ways that the location of an ancestor in England can be found precisely.

      The Tithe Apportionment List shows James Bowyer Shelley as living in the Claverley parish with his precise location (it actually lists James Skelley but it is clearly a transcription error on the typed list). He is living in the hamlet of Upper Farmcote, about 1 mile southwest of Claverley. He is the occupier (the owner is Thomas Wilson) of eleven properties, Arable (1538), Pasture (1544), Pasture (1545), Arable (1546), Arable (1547), Arable (1547A), Arable (1548), Arable (1552), Barn Yard and Pasture (1553), House, Buildings, Yard and Garden (1554), and Arable (1556). These are marked on the Tithe Map (see Map ). Because the House, Buildings, and Garden (1554) are not numbered, the best guess is that it is the house parcel adjacent to the Barn Yard, 1553.

  Preece farm. Mr Preece (left) and C. Shelley (right).

  Farmhouse where James Bowyer Shelley (2nd-great-grandfather) and his family lived from 1840 until 1851 (Preece Farm in May 2001).

      When we visited in May 2001, a Mr. and Mrs. Preece lived at the location of the James Bowyer Shelley farm. They told us that a house existed on the property but was torn down about 1977. They did have an aerial view of their farm that shows the older house. This, most likely, is the house that James Bowyer Shelley lived in from 1841 until his departure early in 1851. It is probably the home where Thomas Shelley was born.

      Thomas Wilson, the owner of the Shelley properties, was a saddler and harness maker. In 1841, Farmcote had 23 cottages and 125 residents (Bagshaw, 465-469).

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