Place:Welsh Bicknor, Herefordshire, England

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NameWelsh Bicknor
Alt namesLlangystennin Garth Brennisource: Wikipedia
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish
Located inHerefordshire, England
See alsoWormelow Hundred, Herefordshire, Englandhundred of which it was a part
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Welsh Bicknor is an area of Herefordshire, England. Despite its name, it is not now in Wales, but it was historically a detached parish (exclave) of the county of Monmouthshire.

Courtfield, the manor house of Welsh Bicknor was originally known as Greyfield or Greenfield, the name altered after King Henry V of England had lived there as a young child of eight, following the death of his mother Mary de Bohun, under the care of Lady Margaret Montacute, wife of Sir John Montacute, 3rd Earl of Salisbury long before his father, King Henry IV was to usurp the throne of King Richard II. An effigy of Lady Margaret Montacute can be seen in Welsh Bicknor church and her plain tomb is beside the altar in Goodrich church.

As its name suggests, Welsh Bicknor has close ties with Wales, having been a detached parish of Monmouthshire, although adjacent to English Bicknor and Lydbrook, which are part of Gloucestershire. The manor house and surrounding land of Welsh Bicknor belonged to the Vaughan family. However, in 1651 Richard Vaughan, who was a Catholic, had his land sequestered and given to Phillip Nicholas of Llansoy, in Monmouthshire. This is how the rather unusual situation of the exclave occurred. It has been deemed to be part of Herefordshire since the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844.

Religious dissension within the Vaughan families continued for several generations. In 1715, a John Vaughan (presumably one of Richard's descendants) refused the oath of allegiance to George I. He had estates in the several counties of Monmouthshire, Radnorshire, Herefordshire, and Gloucestershire valued at £1,000 per annum. In 1719 he was fined for not attending church.

A later generation, in the person of Richard Vaughan, joined Prince Charles Edward Stuart's army in 1745. Vaughan took part in the Battle of Culloden and followed the Prince into exile. He and his brother William Vaughan were outlawed and their property seized, while they themselves fled to Spain and became officers in the army of that country. Both married Spanish Ladies and some of their descendants settled in the home of their adoption and became grandees of Spain.

Richard Vaughan died in Barcelona in 1795 but his son William eventually returned to Wales and obtained a restoration of the main portion of his estates, as heir to his uncle. Later, John Vaughan of Courtfield, elder brother of William took the oath of allegiance to King George III at Monmouth in 1778. Louisa Eliza Rolls, who married John Vaughan of Courtfield in 1830, prayed that her children might have vocations to priesthood or the religious life, and six of her sons became priests (including the later Cardinal Vaughan) and four of her daughters became nuns.

Welsh Bicknor parish records are now held by Hereford Records Office.

There is a Youth Hostel at Welsh Bicknor***, adjacent to the church. The building had served as the Rectory to the local Church until it was leased to YHA in 1936 - see full details below from YHA Archives held by Univ of Birmingham, United Kingdom - Cadbury Research Library - Special Collections

Property tenure: leasehold (to YHA Trust 30/9/1936). Later a freehold purchase (Ministry of Education grant-aided) (to YHA Trust 4/6/1948). The Old Billiard Hall, Old Laundry Cottage and a garage were leased (eg) for 20 years from 29/10/1980 (to YHA Trust) [YHAPB]. The sale and leaseback of YHA Welsh Bicknor and the associated cottages was completed on 28 February 2006 [YHA info]. Currently (2011) leasehold. The Old Billiard Cottage is currently (2011) leasehold. Property profile: former rectory, set at the disposal of YHA by the Ediswan Cables Company for a nominal rent [YHAar36].

***Youth Hostel was called 'Welsh Bicknor' for many, many years and is now known as 'YHA Wye Valley' (YHA renamed it in March 2013). The original hostel replaced the old Kerne Bridge hostel in 1936. (source material: YHA Archives, Univ of Birmingham, United Kingdom - Cadbury Research LIbrary - Special Collections)

Research Tips

  • Herefordshire Archive and Records Centre, Fir Tree Lane, Rotherwas, Hereford HR2 6LA is where paper and microfilm copies of all records for Herefordshire are stored. The Archives Centre has a website where the index to the archives (and also the wills catalog) can be searched. One item in the catalog is List of all Herefordshire parish register and bishops transcripts holdings which is a PDF file with information provided in an old version of Excel.

Online sources which may also be helpful:

  • GENUKI gives pointers to other archive sources as well as providing some details on each parish in the county. The emphasis here is on ecclesiastical parishes (useful before 1837)
  • A listing of all the Registration Districts in England and Wales since their introduction in 1837 and tables of the parishes that were part of each district and the time period covered with detailed notes on changes of parish name, mergers, etc. Do respect the copyright on this material.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki for Herefordshire provides a similar but not identical series of webpages to that provided by GENUKI
  • A Vision of Britain through Time has a group of pages of statistical facts for almost every parish in the county
  • Unfortunately, only one volume on Herefordshire has been published in the Victoria County History series. British History Online have produced a series of Ordnance Survey first edition maps for the county which may be helpful for mid-nineteenth century inquiries
  • Ancestry.co.uk lists its collections of Herefordshire genealogical material.
  • FindMyPast collections of historical records can be searched for Herefordshire. They have collections of parish records for the pre-1837 period.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Welsh Bicknor. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.