Village of Spetchley, Park Gardens and the Berkeley Family
Spetchley written in Domesday Book as "Speclea" and
in the pre-Domesday period known as "Spaecleahtun", in the 16th
century the name "Spechesley " was used, it is a parish which encompasses
White Ladies Aston and
Churchill and consists of few properties and has
a present population of around 90, in the early 1920s
it was approximately 125, it lies 3 miles east of
Worcester and can be reached via the A422
Worcester to Stratford upon Avon Road.
Once boasting a Post Office and a Blacksmiths
these facilities have now gone.
An important and popular attraction to visitors is Spetchley Park
Gardens, created in extensive grounds they have the distinction
of being one of the first three gardens opened under the national
garden scheme in 1924, they are considered to be some of the finest
examples of late Victorian times.
Visitors will see Magnolias, Hydrangeas, Crocus,
Narcissus,Tulips, Cytisus Battander, Olives, double flowering
Pomegranate as well as climbing hydrangeas, wisteria, Chinese Gooseberry,
tree paeonies , camelias, this is to name just a few of the many
fine examples to be seen in the gardens, in fact there is something
for all seasons, the love of the gardens and gardening by members
of the Berkeley family is evident and it appears to be a trait inherited from their forbears.
The elegant mansion (not open to the public)
has been home to the Berkeley families for generations and goes
back to the purchase of the estate in 1605 by Rowland Berkeley,
he was succeeded by his son Sir Robert Berkeley who was a
judge during the reign of Charles 1.
In 1641 he was impeached for expressing his support
along with other judges for the levying of a tax called Ship-money,
he was committed to the Tower of London and was only
released after he had paid a fine of £20,000.
In 1651 just before the battle of Worcester a
band of Presbyterians attacked the mansion and burned
it to the ground ,this was in spite of the fact that Sir Robert
and the Presbyterians shared loyalties to the monarchy, following
this destruction Sir Robert converted the stable buildings at Spetchley
into the main residence and it continued to be occupied as the
family home until 1811 when the present house was erected
, built in Palladian style it has one front portico adorned with
Ionic columns, attached to the house is a Roman Catholic chapel
which is dedicated to St John the Baptist.
On a rainy day in April 2006 John Berkeley of
Berkeley Castle planted a tree in the grounds of Spetchley in commemoration
of 400 years of the family’s residence.
It has been said that at one time in history that it was possible
to travel to London from Berkeley Castle without stepping off Berkeley
For information about the town of - Berkeley.
Refreshments are available in The Old Laundry
Tea Rooms where afternoon teas and light lunches are served (pre
booking is requested).
It is regretted that with the exception of guide dogs ,dogs
are not allowed.
Opening times are March until September 11am to 6pm Wednesday
to Sunday and Bank holiday Mondays, last admissions one hour
The Church - All Saints
Situated at the side of the A422 this lovely
church is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, built
in Blue Lias stone in the Decorated style it consists of a Chancel,
Nave, South chapel and a Porch, it has an embattled Western tower
which contains 4 bells (no longer rung).
Entry into the church is gained through a wooden
porch and then through the west door, upon entry visitors attention
will immediately be drawn to the elaborate monuments and
recumbent effigies in alabaster and one of which is in black and
white marble, this is a memorial to Sir Robert Berkeley.
The memorial with a canopy is to Sir Rowland
Berkeley who died in 1611 and to his wife Katherine who died in
1656 , also to be seen in this chapel are memorial windows to Robert
Berkeley died 1874 and to his wife Henrietta Sopia died 1857.
In the North side of the Chancel there is a recess
containing an altar tomb this is to John Slade of Derbyshire, also
nearby is brass to William Smythe who died in 1653, he was the
husband of Anne Berkeley, there are a number of memorials
not only to the Berkeley family but also to other parishioners.
In the Sanctuary the 17th century Altar/communion
table is of oak, this stands before oak panelled reredos.
The floor is of quarry tiles and pine pews provide sittings for
80, a damaged piscina can be seen in the nave and in the southwest
of the nave stands the font this is believed to be of 12th century
origins, the wooden cover is of a later date.
It is possible for visitors to purchase an excellent
booklet in the church which gives details of its historic
See Strange Things about the Berkeley family:-