Naifeh DE-352 - History

(DE-352: dp. 1,350; 1. 306'; b. 36'8", dr. 9'5", s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 2 5", 4 40mm., 10 20mm., 3 21" tt., 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (hh.), 2 dct.; cl. John C. Butler)

Naifeh (DE-352) was laid down 29 December 1943 by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Tex.; launched 29 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Rathia Naifeh, mother of Lt. (j.g.) Naifeh; and commissioned 4 July 1944, Lt. J. S. Albert in command.

After commissioning, Naifeh trained and conducted shakedown off Burmuda, then had training ship duty out of Norfolk. The ship departed Brooklyn 6 October 1944 on the first of 2 voyages escorting convoys to Europe and North Africa. Naifeh departed New York 13 January 1945 and steamed via the Panama Canal to the Paeific, arriving Manus Island, Admiralties, 20 February.

The escort was assigned to the Philippine Sea Frontier, and was based at Leyte Gulf. She was primarily occupied in convoy duty until the end of the war, escorting tankers and other auxiliaries to New Guinea, Ulithi, Palau, Guam, Manila, and Okinawa. Naifeh performed other duties such as weather ship search and rescue work, and carrying mail. Once she displayed the three star flag of Commander Philippine Sea Frontier as Vice Admirel Kauffman was embarked on an inspection tOUI of the islands. She rescued the crew of alenne Ferry 10 October 1945 after the merchantman had grounded near Batag Island, Philippines. Naifeh stood by with a watch set on the grounded ship until a salvage crew arrived from Manila.

She was detached from the Philippine Sea Frontier 27 Novembcr 1945 and proceeded to San Diego, arriving 17 December. She decommissioned 27 June 1946 and entered the Pactfic Reserve Fleet at San Diego.

With the start of the Korean conflict, she recommissioned 26 January 1951. Naifeh left San Diego 16 April, assigned to the United Nations Escort and Blockade Force. She took station off Songjin Harbor, North Korea, 28 June. The next months were occupied in shelling Communist military and logistics facilities, along with patrol action to clear the area of floating mines, junks, and possible submarines. She then screened escort carrier Sicily (CVE-118) and HMS Glory off the west coast of Korea.

Naifeh returned to San Francisco in November 1951. From early March 1952 to July, she was engaged in training exercises off the West Coast. In early July, the destroyer escort sailed from San Diego for Korea to rejoin TF 95, Blockade and Escort Group. Naifeh was assigned to the northeast coast of Korea in the Songjin-Chongjin area. Here she fired on enemy shore positions, railroads, and industrial targets.

Once bracketed by enemy shore fire, she successfully maneuvered out of range. With other assignments, she aided Republic of Korea Navy torpedo boats in interdiction missions against enemy supply lines. In late fall, Naifeh was flagship of the Wonsan Element Commander, protecting U.S. and Korean minesweepers and firing on shore targets. When Lewzs (DE-535) was hit by artillery fire, Naifeh provided protective counterbatterv fire as she laid a smoke screen to cover her withdrawal. In addition to blockade duty, the escort fired on North Korean supply movements m the Wonsan area. She returned to San Diego in December 1952.

Naifeh again deployed to WestPac in mid-November 1953, operating ofl Japan, Okinawa, and Taiwan. May 1954 was spent with Marines conducting landing exercises off Pusan, Korea. She left Sasebo 7 June 1954, arriving San Diego 26 June for a summer in operational training off the West Coast highlighted by PACTRAEX and a visit to Seattle. Naife' left San Diego 21 November, arriving Yokosuka 9 December for patrol duty off the eastern coast of Korea and antisubmarine training. She assisted in the evacuation of the Tachen Islands in late January and February 1955, and returned to San Diego 1 June.

In early March 1956, the ship sailed for her fourth WestPac deployment. Based at Guam, the ship acted as a search and rescue ready duty ship and participated in five surveillance patrols of the Northern Marianas, Bonin, and Caroline Islands before returning to Long Beach 24 August. The remainder of 1956 and early 1957 were occupied with training operations off the California coast.

Leaving Long Beach, the destroyer escort once again deployed to the western Pactfic, arriving Guam 30 April. In the first part of May, Naifeh made a patro] in the Bonin Islands. She departed Guam 18 May and sailed for Sasebo, where she arrived 23 May. She operated out of Sasebo and Subic Bay on patrol duties for the rest of her deployment until 12 July when she departed Yokosuka and sailed to San Diego, arriving 28 July.

Naifeh then engaged in coastal operations off the West Coast until 17 June 1960, when she decommissioned at San Francisco. Berthed at Mare Island until 1 January 1966, when she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register, she was towed to San Diego in early 1966 for stripping prior to being used as a target to destruction. In July, Naifeh was sunk as a target off San Clemente Island by a combination of naval gunfire and aircraft.

Naifeh received three battle stars for Korean service.

A History of HMS

HMS REAPER was an 'Ameer' class escort carrier, her keel was laid down June 5th1943, at Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Co. Tacoma, Washington, a Maritime Commission C3 type freighter hull number 49 the hull was purchased by the US navy to become the auxiliary aircraft carrier USS WINJAH AVG-54.

On June 23rd 1943 whilst still under construction it was been decided that CVE 54 was to be transferred to the Admiralty on her completion as an aircraft carrier under the Lend Lease agreement. Her USN designation was changed to CVE-54 from July 13th 1943. She was launched on November 22nd1943.

Upon her delivery on February 18th 1944 she was accepted on behalf of the US Navy by Captain J. L. McGuigan, USN Supervisor of Shipbuilding at Tacoma and was transferred to the Royal Navy on the same day. She was accepted on behalf of the Admiralty by Captain J.F.H. Sawyer RN, as her commanding officer and commissioned into RN service as HMS REAPER (Pennant number D82) three days later.

Modification and preparation to enter service:
After completing her builder's sea trials and Admiralty acceptance tests HMS REAPER proceeded to Vancouver, Canada to be modified to meet Admiralty requirements, receive her full crew compliment, and work up ready for beginning her active service. This work was undertaken by the Burrard Dry Dock Co. Ltd., North Vancouver, British Columbia. Electrical work was sub-contracted and completed by Hume & Rumble.

REAPER was the sixteenth of nineteen escort carriers to be modified by Burrards, and she arrived at Vancouver at on February 26th and was moored in the stream. At this time sister CVEs RAJAH, SMITER, ARBITER, TROUNCER and PUNCHER were in the hands of the Burrard's yard and at various stages of modification. Work commenced to de-store and de-ammunition the ship before she was moved to number 8 berth at Lapointe Pier on March 21st in preparation for her alteration work to begin on the 31st. this work totalled 150 separate modifications and included lengthening of the flight deck, fitting redesigned flying controls and fighter direction layout, modifications to hangar, accommodation and store rooms, installing extra safety measures including major changes to the aviation fuel stowage and oiling at sea arrangements,, modifying gunnery and other internal communications, adding extra W/T and R/T sets, and improved darken ship arrangements. She also received 338 tons of pig iron as additional ballast.

As work progressed REAPER progressed through the yards various berths the yard could be working on six different ships at any time with separate aspects of the work carried out at different berths, the ships passing through like a production line, moving from one berth to another until complete. REAPER moved to No 3 on March 1st, then to No 4 on March 16th and to No. 5 on May 9th where her alterations were completed on May 23rd. She was moved to a mooring in the stream the following day,

HMS PATROLLER in no.3 berth at Burrards dockyard, Vancouver, (third week of May 1944). HMS THANE is in the left foreground occupying no. 4 berth with HMS REAPER just visible behind her in no. 5 berth. Right: A CVE (possibly REAPER) in the Burrards floating dry dock at the end of the modification process. This image shows just how 'top heavy' these merchant conversions were. Photos: Ronny Jaques / National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / Library and Archives Canada. Thanks to David Weaver for photo interpretation

On Thursday May 25th the ship was placed in Burrard's floating dry dock for the fitting of Asdic equipment and sea cocks. A member of REAPER's crew was died on this date, Able Seaman Thomas J HOLLAND, D/JX 208349, is recorded as having died of wounds.

She was un-docked on the 27th and returned to berth No.7 to store ship and began preparing for her work up and post modification shakedown. Her modifications had taken a total of 55 days to complete. She returned to her mooring in the stream on May 31st. While at this mooring REAPER received her first aircraft - a non-airworthy Blackburn Shark given to the RN on free issue for use in training the aircraft handling parties, prior to their receiving squadron or ferry aircraft. The Shark was ferried out to the ship by lighter from No. 3 Repair Depot RCAF were her floats had been substituted for wheels. This was one of five airframes to be handed over to RN escort carriers for this purpose, and they were issued to PATROLLER, PUNCHER, RANEE, REAPER and THANE. [These five ships also had a longer modification timetable than the other 14 vessels to pass through Burrard's dockyard the Admiralty decided that all of the single Oerlikon mounts on the Gallery deck and foc'sle deck, were to be changed to twin mountings, an extra ten days being allocated for this work to be completed.]

At the beginning of June REAPER moved to the Royal Canadian Naval Base at Esquimalt to prepare for her post modification shakedown and work up she also made a round trip to the US Naval Yard at Bremerton, Washington to ammunition the ship and then returned to the Straits of Georgia (between Vancouver Island and the mainland), for steaming, gunnery, radar and other trials and exercises. On her return to Esquimalt she embarked Confidential Books and more stores.

Maiden voyage: Ferry trip to Liverpool
HMS REAPER departed from Vancouver on her maiden voyage to the UK in mid June calling at San Francisco, Norfolk, and New York. On arrival at San Francisco additional communications equipment was fitted to the bridge and combat communications room and further stores were taken aboard. She sailed for Balboa on the June 22nd to pass through the Panama Canal and on to the Naval Operating Base at Norfolk Virginia, arriving there on July 9th. The Blackburn Shark airframe was jettisoned at sea at some point before she reached Norfolk to clear the ship in preparation for taking on board a full ferry load of Lend Lease planes for delivery to the UK.

Loading completed REAPER sailed for New York on the 22nd where she was to form part of convoy CU.33 which sailed from New York for Liverpool July 26th. On reaching the western approaches REAPER detached from the convoy and headed for the Clyde to unload her ferry load. On August 5th she was taken in hand for repair in a Clyde commercial shipyard and further modifications, including changes to petrol distribution system , were carried out.

Ferry voyage UK to Gibraltar
On leaving the dockyard REAPER embarked aircraft for transport to Gibraltar Joined outward Convoy KMF34 in NW Approaches for passage to Gibraltar on August 25th. On arriving at Gibraltar REAPER left the convoy. which continued to Port Said, on the 31st and began unloading. Once unloaded REAPER waited at Gibraltar for the return Convoy MKF34, which she joined on September 10th and arrived back on the Clyde on the 14th. REAPER's immediate future was to be an aircraft transport and she was allocated for service as Ferry Carrier on her arrival back in the UK.

Ferry voyage Norfolk to Gibraltar
REAPER next sailed in Convoy UC39A which depart from Liverpool on 27 September 1944 and detached off New York to proceed to Norfolk. Embarked aircraft at Norfolk Navy Yard for delivery to Gibraltar. Sailed from Hampton Roads with Naples bound Convoy UGF16 on October 16th. REAPER Detached from the convoy and proceed to disembarked aircraft at Gibraltar on October 25th.

The return leg was with the returning US bound convoy GUF15B from Naples which REAPER joined on November 1st REAPER Detached from GUF15B and made independent passage to Norfolk on November 16th.

Ferry voyage Norfolk to UK
While at Norfolk REAPEER embarked the 36 Corsair aircraft and the personnel of 1849 NAS (18 Corsair IVs) and 1850 NAS (18 Corsair IVs) for transport to UK, in addition she embarked a mixed load of airframes Including 2 Grumman Tigercats, twin engine single seat fighters, for evaluation by the Fleet Air Arm. These two aircraft were parked on the flight deck forward of the Island since they were too large to fit in the hanger even though the outboard wing sections folded for carrier operations. She sailed from Norfolk on the and proceeded to New York arriving on November 22nd to embarked more aircraft and passengers. The following day REAPER joined Convoy CU 48 for the Atlantic crossing to the UK. On reaching the Western Approaches REAPER detached and proceeded to Belfast arriving there on December 6th to disembark 1849 & 1850 squadrons. REAPER proceeded to the Clyde the next day to await orders.

HMS REAPER on the Clyde December 7th 1944 waiting to disembark her ferry load, a Grumman Tigercat can be seen forward on the flight deck.

Loaned to the USN as a ferry carrier
On December 9th the ship was involved in a collision with the 14140 ton Dutch Troopship TEGELBURG on the Clyde the damage was serious enough to warrant a short spell in the hands of a Clyde dockyard. While under repair orders were received that REAPER would be loaned to the US Navy for use as a ferry carrier in the Pacific.

On returning to active duty REAPER sailed for San Diego, California via the Panama Canal. Departing on January 5th 1945, she joined Convoy UC.51B for the crossing to New York and then detached from the convoy at 1515 hours on the 12th escorted by the USS the BRNUGH (DE-148) to proceed independently to the Canal. At 1025 hours on January 14th REAPER narrowly avoided another collision a request was made enquiring if the USS BROUGH, could drop off their mail when they made port, this was agreed and a light line followed with a heavier one was received on REAPER and the a nail sack was attached. During the course of this manoeuvre the two vessels got so close that when REAPER rolled the BROUGH was in danger of getting smashed by her sponsons - in order to avoid a collision the BROUGH, being the smaller vessel, went to flank speed to get clear. The sack of mail had not yet been secured and was promptly drenched with salt water. The crew of the BROUGH dried off what they could down in the engine room. Later that afternoon the two ships rendezvoused with the USS NAIFEH (DE-352) which relieved the USS BROUGH which broke off to rendezvous with convoy UC-51B. The USS NAIFEH escorted REAPER to Cristobal before continuing on her way to Manus.

On her arrival at San Diego on the 29th REAPEr began loading US airframes for ferrying to the USN bases, on the US east coast. She was to perform this task until being returned to RN control in late April when she sailed for New York.

Return to RN control
Once back in the Caribbean on her return journey she rendezvoused with the USS BENNER (DD-807) on May 3rd in the Windward Passage, a strait in the Caribbean between the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola, for passage to Norfolk. The USS BENNER's crew dropped 11 depth charges on a possible submarine contact later that day, they later determined it to be a false contact The USS BENNER parted company with HMS Reaper on the 7th when Reaper arrived off Norfolk. REAPER lost a second crew member on May 9th when Steward Lewis CLARKSON R1083829, died from illness It is assumed that REAPER embarked a ferry load at Norfolk before arriving at New York on May 13th. On Tuesday May 15, 1945 she departed New York in convoy CU.70 and arrived on the Clyde on May 25th.

Allocated to the British Pacific Fleet
After unloading on the REAPER took passage to the Firth of Forth and entered Rosyth Dockyard for refit on the 31st. This work was in preparation for service with the British Pacific Fleet. On July 7th 1945 Commander I.T. Clark relieved Captain Sawyer as officer commanding HMS REAPER.

On completion of her post refit trials she was allocated to participate in Operation 'Seahorse', the retrieval portion of Operation 'Livery'. the allied operation to recover top secret German aircraft and weapons from Europe. REAPER was due to make an Atlantic crossing on route to the Panama Canal on her voyage to Australia and so she was the ideal vessel to ferry the captured airframes. Sailing on July 12th she proceeded to Cherbourg to begin loading.

Operation 'Lusty' had commenced on April 22nd 1945, and involved USAAF Intelligence Service personnel scouring Europe searching for top secret German aircraft and weapons, along with other technical and scientific intelligence, to be taken back to the US for study. The Searchers, nicknamed "Watrson's Whizzers" (after their CO) located many airworthy aircraft, including nine Me 262 jet aircraft at Lechfeld, and other secret weapons and materials in total Operation 'Lusty' had acquired 16,280 items (6,200 tons) of equipment and other materials which were transported to Cherbourg for the voyage to the US under the code name operation 'Seahorse'. For this operation two vessels were loaded at Cherbourg, HMS Reaper and the liberty ship USS RICHARD J. GATLING. REAPER was to ferry the recovered German airframes, the last of which had arrived at Cherbourg on July 8, 1945 these were cocooned before being secured as deck cargo on the flight deck.

One of the pair of (Dornier Do 335As being loaded aboard REAPER at Cherbourg during Operation 'Seahorse'.

HMS REAPER embarked 40 airframes comprising of:

Ten Me 262
Five Fw 190F
Four Fw 190D
One Ta 152H
Four Ar 234B
Three He219
Three Bf 109
Two Do 335
Two Bu 181
One Helicopter WNF 342
Two Fl 282 helicopters
One Ju 88G One Ju 388
One Bf 108
and One US P-51.

The flight deck of HMS REAPER on leaving Cherbourg during Operation 'Seahorse'. The two jet aircraft nearest the camera are MesserschmittMe-262 , and there are several Arado Ar 234 jet bombers lashed on the opposite side of the deck. There are several piston engine aircraft parked further down the deck and all appear to have their props and/or engines removed for transport.

HMS REAPER also accommodated the intelligence staff and searchers as passengers.. She sailed form Cherbourg bound for New York on July 19th, 1945 and docked at pier 14, New York Harbour on July 31st. REAPER's cargo was then off- loaded by crane onto barges which were towed to a canal that bordered loaded Ford Field, an Air Material Command facility in Newark, NJ where another large crane lifted each aircraft to the hard standing.

After unloading REAPER embarked a number of passengers before sailing for Norfolk to load a ferry load of airframes for delivery to Sydney, Australia. The ship was in the Mexican Gulf on route to the Panama Canal when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan on August 6th, the second bomb dropped three days later, brought the war to a sudden end on the 15th. On the Japanese surrender almost everyone on board attended a thanksgiving service held on the flight deck.

Operations with the British Pacific Fleet
HMS REAPER arrived in Sydney on Monday September 10th 1945. Amongst the passengers on board were 18 women who embarked at New York - 16 Canadian and American brides of Australian Servicemen one Servicewoman and a Mrs Wilson Ewart whose husband is attached to the Australian Legation in Washington . There were also two babies in the party All the brides were wives of members of the RAAF and most of the husband's verse at the wharf to meet them.

Voyage to Hong Kong
After unloading her ferry load of Avengers and Corsairs REAPER undertook a short period of defect rectification before she was moved to a wharf at Pyrmont to prepare for a humanitarian mission to Honk Kong. The ship embarked food and medical supplies for delivery to the newly liberated colony. The work was hampered by industrial action by an Australian waterside workers' dispute, part of a larger pattern of strike action by transport and other workers in the months immediately following the Japanese surrender. On Tuesday, September 18th Leading Seaman Hilary COPE, P/JX 521981 was killed, the circumstances of his death are not clear.

Also embarked for passage to Hong Kong was the personnel, equipment and vehicles of M.S.R.9 (Maintenance, Storage & Reserve component of a MONAB) which was assigned to operate as part of MONAB VIII. Much of the loading was carried out by naval ratings to ensure the ship would sail on time, and she sailed on Friday September 28th

Some of the senior ratings of M.S.R.9 pose with one of 1701 squadron's Sea Otter aircraft on REAPER's flight deck. Photo courtesy Mr. Terry Rushton

HMS REAPER arrived at Manus in the Admiralty Islands at teatime on October 3rd and preceded to RNAS Ponam to embark 'B' Flt of 1701 Squadron and their four Sea Otter aircraft the following day, this unit was also destined to operate from MONAB VIII at Kai Tak airfield, Hong Kong. REAPER sailed at teatime on the 4th for passage to Manila where she was to refuel. The ship arrived in Hong Kong on October 11th and disembarked her cargo and aircraft. Once unloading was completed work began embarking former POWs and civilian internees, including some children, for passage to Australia. She sailed for Sydney via Manus on the 18th.

Repatriation voyage to New Zealand
After embarking more passengers at Manus REAPER arrived In Sydney on November 4th. After unloading she was moved to a pier at Woolloomooloo to embark her next passengers, this time her destination was to New Zealand. REAPER embarked 188 officers and ratings of the RNZN 114 officers and other ranks of the NZ Army 179 officers and other ranks of the RNZAF, and the members of the RNZAF Band which had been touring Australia. REAPER sailed from Sydney for Auckland on the 14th.

On her arrival in Auckland on November 17th she approached Prince's Wharf about 1800 hours but it was found that her sponsons which project from the sides of the ship at the level of the hangar deck would foul the wharf at low water, and she was taken back into the stream and anchored for the night. Local authorities were eager to get the returning servicemen home to their families as soon as possible so a method for bringing them ashore from the ship while she lay in the stream was sought. The solution was provided by the Deyonport Steam Ferry Company which immediately made one of its vehicular ferries available, this went alongside REAPER about 2030 hours and took on board all the soldiers and airmen and some merchant sailors. They were then taken to the ferry landing at Mechanics Bay and put ashore. Later that night at about 2200 hours the RNZN HAUITI came alongside and took the naval personnel to the RN depot ship HMS Philomel at Devonport, Auckland.

After spending the night in the stream HMS REAPER berthed at Prince's Wharf at 1120 on the 18th after wooden punts were moored alongside the wharf to gave her a clearance of about 12ft from the wharf. Once alongside REAPER began embarking passengers, about 203 British internees and prisoners of war who had been recovering in New Zealand most of them from the Army's convalescent depot at Ravensthorpe, and be a few from Papakura Camp. REAPER sailed from Auckland at 1100 hours on November 19th for Sydney where she was to embark more passengers for return to the UK via Singapore.

Details of the voyage hone to the UK are not clear but it is likely that it was a trooping voyage delivering and collecting passengers on route. From Singapore she is beloved to have crossed the Pacific and passed through the Panama Canal arriving at Bermuda in early February 1946. The visit to Bermuda was to deliver Admiral Sir Ralph Leatham to the capital Hamilton where he was to take up his new post as Governor of Bermuda on February 7th. From Bermuda it appears she sailed for Valletta, Malta before the last leg to Portsmouth where she unload her passengers in late March. HMS REAPER arrived in the Clyde on March 27th where she was allocated to Rosyth Command and taken out of operational service.

HMS REAPER arriving at Portsmouth harbour in March 1946 flying her paying off pennant from the mastheaed.

Disposal: Return to US Custody

Once all passengers had been disembarked REAPER began de-storing in preparation for her return to US custody. During April all admiralty equipment was removed and the majority of her ship's company were drafted to other billets, leaving a steaming party aboard for her final Atlantic crossing at the beginning of May.

HMS Reaper arrived at Norfolk, Va., on May 13th 1946 and was decommissioned. CVE 54 was returned to US Navy custody on May20th. No longer required for military service her disposal was authorized on June14th, CVE 54 was struck from the US Navy list on July 8th 1946. She was sold to the Blue Star Line Ltd. on February 12th 1947 and moved to Gulf Shipbuilding Corp., Mobile, Alabama, USA for conversion into a cargo liner. On completion she entered service as the SS SOUTH AFRICA STAR in 1948 she was scrapped at Milhara in 1967.

Ralph Lewis Kleeschulte Obituary

Sympathy Flowers

Ralph Lewis Kleeschulte , 84 of Citrus Heights, California, formerly of Osceola, Missouri, went home to be with the Lord on June 8, 2015, after a difficult battle to regain his health from a stroke he suffered in December 2010. Born May 18, 1931, in Corder, Missouri. he was the son of the late Amel F. Kleeschulte and the late Sadie Mae (Richardson) Kleeschulte Medley.

Mr. Kleeschulte graduated from Corder High School and joined the Navy in 1950. He became a Radioman and served on the U.S. Naifeh - DE 352 during the Korean War. He married Dorothy D. Hall of Lexington, Missouri (1955-1973). December 1982 in Kansas City, Missouri, he married M. Joyce Swigart until her death in 1999.

After serving four years in the U.S. Navy, he returned home and became an Amateur Radio Operator (call sign KOUNR). Ralph worked at the Bendix Corporation in Kansas City, Missouri. He attended and received a diploma from the Radio Engineering Institute of Electronics and was the hired by Trans World Airlines (TWA), Kansas City, Missouri as an Instrument mechanic. He later worked for TWA in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for three years.

When Ralph retired from TWA in 1992 it permitted him to pursue his favorite sport - fishing near his home in Osceola, Missouri. He, his brother Bill and nephew Carey spent many a day fishing the Missouri lakes and strip pits. Ralph attended the Osceola Community Church and enjoyed his afternoon at the V.F.W. Local #4197 visiting with neighbors and friends.

Due to serious complications from his stroke, Ralph's children moved him to northern California January 2011 to help care for him. After two years rehabilitation he moved to Sun Oak Assisted Living where he enjoyed sharing God's word, attending Sunday sermons, dinner outings and the many activities offered to the residents. Everyone he met knew his love for the Lord.

He is survived by his daughter Eva M. Hall of Lincoln, California and a son Jeffrey C. Kleeschulte and wife Julie of Orangevale, California. Grandchildren are Megan M. Brantley and Amelia R. Brantley, Los Angeles, California, J. Casey Kleeschulte and Cody Conrad, Orangevale, California. He also leaves a step-daughter, Shelly Stockwell of Wisconsin, and step-sons Jimmy , Mike and Mark Swigart of Missouri. A brother William N. Kleeschulte and wife, Judy of Raytown, Missouri many nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews. Ralph is predeceased by a niece, Denise Atkinsen, a great nephew, Jason Atkinsen and a grandson, Jake Tanner Conrad.


Fledanburg, Fledanbyrig (vii cent.) Fladbyrig (viii cent.) Fledanburh (ix cent.) Fledebirie (xi cent.) Fladdebir (xiii cent.).

The parish of Fladbury lies in the south-east of the county between Evesham and Pershore and was described in the 17th century as 'a paryshe very large, richly seated in the vale of Evesham.' (fn. 1) The area of the parish with its hamlets and chapelries is 6,879 acres, (fn. 2) of which 1,573 acres lie in Fladbury, 1,368 in Hill and Moor, 1,522 in Throckmorton, 381 in Wyre Piddle, 1,151 in Stock and Bradley, and 884 acres in Ab Lench. (fn. 3) In Fladbury, including Hill and Moor, 1,070 acres are arable land, 1,234 acres are permanent grass and 93 acres are woodland. (fn. 4) Throckmorton includes 1,017 acres of arable land and 492 acres of permanent grass Wyre Piddle, 270 acres of arable and 161 acres of permanent grass Stock and Bradley, 90 acres of arable land and 945 acres of permanent grass. (fn. 5) The soil is chiefly light clay with a little sand the subsoil is Lower Lias, producing crops of wheat, beans, barley, hops, market garden produce and fruit. Vines were formerly grown at Fladbury, for in the register of Worcester Priory occurs the statement that the sacrist received two parts of the tithes of the land where vines once grew at Fladbury, Ripple and Westbury. (fn. 6) At the end of the 18th century about 2 acres of land called the Vineyard belonged to the rector of Fladbury. (fn. 7)

The Avon forms the southern boundary of the parish, and from the valley of the river the land rises slightly to the north. The highest point in the parish is Craycombe Hill to the north-east of the village of Fladbury, about 300 ft. above the ordnance datum.

The main road from Worcester to Evesham runs through the parish from west to east. On a branch from this road on the right bank of the River Avon is the village of Fladbury. A bridge over the Avon to the south of the village, erected in commemoration of the 1897 Jubilee, connects it with Cropthorne. In the open space between the Anchor Inn and the church a market is said to have been held in former times on Wednesdays. (fn. 8) The rectory was built by the son of Bishop Lloyd in 1710. (fn. 9) There are several half-timber and brick houses dating mostly from the 17th century one opposite the church, the front of which has been covered with rough-cast, has a good oak stairway with moulded handrails and turned balusters of about 1700 another near the junction of the roads has an early 18th-century brick front with original window frames and leaded lights in small squares. A half-timber barn on the roadside north of the village has been much repaired and modernized, but probably dates from the 15th century.

The hamlet of Wyre Piddle in the west of the parish contains some good half-timber houses. The Avon bounds it on the south, PiddleBrook, a tributary of that river, forming its western boundary. In the centre of this hamlet is the shaft and base of an old stone cross. It was restored in 1844, and is now surmounted by an iron cross.

Of the hamlet of Hill and Moor the most populous portion is Lower Moor, which lies near the railway to the south of the Worcester road. It contains one or two interesting old house. At Hill, in the north of this hamlet, is Court Farm, which bears the date 1681 on the weather vane.

The chapelry of Throckmorton is to the north of the parish of Fladbury. To the north-east of the church is a moated inclosure, and to the south of Court Farm are the remains of another moat.

The village of Ab or Abbots Lench, formerly a hamlet and chaperly of Fladbury, but since 1865 (fn. 10) ecclesiastically part of Church Lench, is completely isolated from Fladbury, part of the parish of Bishampton lying between them. It is divided from Bishopton by Whitsun Brook, over which there is a bridge called Stakamford Bridge. The village consists of a few houses on a branch road from that leading from Rous Lench to Fladbury.

The now separate parish of Stock and Bradley is also completely cut off from Fladbury, of which it was formerly a part, and lies to the west of the parish of Feckenham. The Salt Way, now the high road from Droitwich to Alcester, runs through it from west to east, and from it a road runs south along the eastern border of the parish to the village of Bradley. A stream forms part of the western boundary of Stock and Bradley, and another brook flows through the parish from east to west, being crossed south of the village of Bradley by Priest Bridge. In 1680 this bridge was first built of stone, and an agreement was made between the inhabitants of Bradley and the lord of Fladbury Manor by which the latter found the materials and the former supplied the labour. The lord of Fladbury was relieved of liability to further contributions in consideration of his payment of a lump sum. (fn. 11) Bradley Green is to the north of the parish, and Stock Green lies to the south on the Inkberrow boundary.

The disafforestation of the forest of Horewell, which formerly covered part of the parish of Fladbury, took place in 1229 (fn. 12) the parish is still, however, well wooded.

An Inclosure Act was passed for Fladbury in 1788, and the award is dated 23 May 1789 (fn. 13) for Stock and Bradley in 1825, (fn. 14) for Hill and Moor in 1832, (fn. 15) for Throckmorton in 1772, (fn. 16) and for Wyre Piddle in 1836 and 1840, the award being dated 5 August 1841. (fn. 17)


There was a monastery at FLADBURY in early times. It was given, together with 44 cassati of land at Fladbury, to Bishop Oftfor in 691–2 by King Ethelred, (fn. 18) for the welfare of his soul and that of his wife Osthryth. (fn. 19) In the early part of the 8th century Bishop Æcgwine, Oftfor's successor, exchanged the monastery and its lands with a noble named Æthelheard for 20 cassati at Stratfordon-Avon. (fn. 20) He explained the apparently unprofitable nature of the exchange by pointing out that he and the king had agreed that both places should revert to the church after the death of the noble. (fn. 21) In the Annals of Evesham, however, we are told that Bishop Æcgwine, who was the founder of Evesham, gave up Fladbury to Æthelheard in order to secure Stratford, both vills being claimed by Æthelheard as heir of Queen Osthryth. (fn. 22) The monks of Evesham further stated that Fladbury had been given by Ethelred to Æcgwine and the abbey of Evesham in 703, and attributed their inability to recover it to the superior strength of the Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 23) About 780 Bishop Tilhere consented and subscribed to a deed by which Aldred, subregulus of the Hwiccas and a descendant of Æthelheard, granted the monastery of Fladbury to his kinswoman Æthelburh for her life, with reversion to the church of Worcester. (fn. 24) At about this time Bishop Tilhere made a great feast for King Offa and his chieftains at Fladbury, where the king granted to the church the royal vill of Cropthorne with land amounting to 50 mansae and a very choice Bible with two clasps of pure gold. (fn. 25) After Æthelburh's death the monastery reverted to the church of Worcester and was confirmed in the early part of the 9th century to Bishop Deneberht by Coenwulf, King of Mercia, in an undated charter, (fn. 26) by which he also granted to the bishop the reversion after his death of the land of thirty tributaries at Fladbury. (fn. 27) The see of Worcester continued to hold the manor until the date of the Domesday Survey, when it paid geld for 40 hides. (fn. 28) In the 12th century the bishop still held these 40 hides at Fladbury. (fn. 29) Richard I freed 13½ acres from essartum, (fn. 30) and King John confirmed this grant. (fn. 31) On 15 March 1214 he gave leave to the bishop to plough up 29½ acres of his wood. (fn. 32) In 1254 the bishop received a grant of free warren at Fladbury. (fn. 33) The manor was confirmed to the church by Pope Gregory in 1275, (fn. 34) and in 1291 was worth £29 6s. a year. (fn. 35) It remained in the possession of successive Bishops of Worcester, (fn. 36) and was in 1535 worth £53 1s. 2d. yearly. (fn. 37) In 1632 the bishop granted a lease of it to William Sandys for his life and that of his brother Thomas, and of William's wife Cicely daughter of Sir John Steed. (fn. 38) During the Civil War the manor was seized by Parliament, and a survey was taken in 1648. (fn. 39) In the same year the manor was sold to Robert Henley and Edward Smith for £1,082 9s. 6d. (fn. 40) After the Restoration the Bishop of Worcester recovered the manor, which he then seems to have leased to the Henleys and afterwards to the Hales. (fn. 41) The lease was purchased by Nicholas Lechmere in 1681, (fn. 42) and four years later he sold to Thomas Earl of Plymouth, the lease then running for the lives of Robert Henley of the Grange (co. Hants), of George brother of Sir John Hales deceased, and of William Peck. (fn. 43) In 1699 the lease was held by Other Windsor Earl of Plymouth, grandson and successor of Thomas. (fn. 44) His daughters sold the remainder of the lease to George Perrott, one of the barons of the Exchequer, who died 28 January 1780. (fn. 45)

Old House at Lower Moor, Fladbury

The manor remained with the successive Bishops of Worcester until it was taken over by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners under the Act of 1860, (fn. 46) and they are still lords of the manor, (fn. 47) but the lease remained in the Perrott family until 1861, when it passed by exchange to the Commissioners. (fn. 48)

There was a mill at Fladbury in 1086 which was worth 10s. and 20 stiches (fn. 49) of eels a year. (fn. 50) Bishop William of Blois purchased a mill there from Adam de Evesham in the early part of the 13th century. (fn. 51) In 1302 there were two mills at Fladbury farmed at £3 19s. 6d., and the fishery in the Avon brought in a rent of 19s. 6d. (fn. 52) Two water corn-mills were included in the sale to Robert Henley and Edward Smith. (fn. 53) There is now a corn-mill in Fladbury, to the south of the village on the Avon, and Wyre Mill is a corn-mill on the Avon in the south of Wyre Piddle.

AB LENCH or ABBOT'S LENCH (Abeleng, xi cent. Habbelenche, xiii cent. Hob Lench, xvi and xvii cent. Abs Lench, xviii cent. Abbot's Lench, (fn. 54) xviii and xix cent.) seems to have belonged to the church of Worcester from an early date, and was probably comprised in the 5 mansae at Lench which Oswald gave to Gardulf for three lives in 983. (fn. 55) It appears in the Domesday Survey as the property of the bishop, of whom it had been held by Godric. It is said that he did 'service for it to the bishop (on such terms) as he could obtain.' (fn. 56) At the actual time of the Survey Urse D'Abitot, the Sheriff of Worcestershire, held it of the bishop as of his manor of Fladbury. (fn. 57) It appears to have afterwards passed to Urse's descendants, the Beauchamps, and may possibly have been included in the 22 hides which Walter de Beauchamp held of the bishop in Fladbury early in the 12th century. (fn. 58)

The overlordship of Ab Lench descended in the Beauchamp family until the 16th century, (fn. 59) but the superior lordship of the Bishops of Worcester seems to have lapsed in the 13th century. (fn. 60)

The manor of Ab Lench was held towards the end of the 12th century under William de Beauchamp by Stephen de Beauchamp. (fn. 61) It must shortly afterwards have passed to William de Belne, who was said in a survey of Fladbury taken at about that time to be holding these 5 hides, which gelded at only 1 hide and had formerly been pasture for kine. (fn. 62)

It was afterwards held by Roger de Lench, who, according to the Testa de Nevill, held one knight's fee and 2 hides of William de Beauchamp, who held of the Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 63) The entry probably refers to Ab Lench and Rous Lench, both of which the Lay Subsidy Roll of 1346 conclusively proves to have been held by Roger de Lench. (fn. 64)

Possibly it was this Roger who with Stephen de Lench successfully resisted the encroachment of the Abbot of Halesowen on the common pasture of Ab Lench in 1230. (fn. 65) Ankaretta de Beauchamp paid a subsidy of 20s. at Ab Lench in 1280. (fn. 66)

In 1299–1300 Ab Lench had passed into the hands of Simon le Bruyn, (fn. 67) to whom the Belnes' land at Belbroughton also passed. He was still in possession of it in 1315, according to the inquisition taken on the death of Guy de Beauchamp Earl of Warwick, which states that he held half a knight's fee there. (fn. 68) John le Bruyn paid a subsidy at Ab Lench in 1327, (fn. 69) and in 1346 he or a descendant of the same name paid 20s. for half a knight's fee in Ab Lench which Roger de Lench had formerly held. (fn. 70)

Henry Bruyn of Brians Bell held land in Ab Lench in 1405–6, (fn. 71) and it passed by the marriage of his 'cousin' and heir Joan to Sir Nicholas Burdett, (fn. 72) Great Butler of Normandy, who was slain in 1440. (fn. 73) His son Thomas Burdett (fn. 74) was a servant or follower of George Duke of Clarence on 20 April 1474 he was attainted of high treason (fn. 75) and executed in the early part of 1477. (fn. 76) One of the charges brought against the Duke of Clarence on his attainder in the same year was that he sent his servants 'into diverse parties of this Royaulme to assemble the King's subjects to Feste theym and chere theym and by theise policies and reasonyng enduce them to beleve that the said Burdett was wrongfull excuted and so to putte it in noyse and herts of the People.' (fn. 77) Burdett's lands were forfeited, but the attainder seems to have been afterwards reversed, as on 17 June 1478 the custody of his son and heir Nicholas, a minor, and of all his possessions was granted to Sir Simon Mountfort. (fn. 78) Nicholas died without issue and was succeeded by his brother John Burdett, (fn. 79) who in 1483–4 released to his half-brother Richard Burdett and others all his right in the manor of Ab Lench. (fn. 80)

Burdett. Azure two bars or with three martlets gules upon each bar.

On 1 October 1487 the manor was settled upon this Richard Burdett and Joyce his wife and his heirs. (fn. 81) Richard died in 1492, leaving his son Thomas, aged fourteen years and more, as his heir. Joyce survived her husband, (fn. 82) and held the manor until her death under the terms of the deed referred to.

Thomas Burdett, who was in possession of the manor in 1534, (fn. 83) died without issue, and it passed to his sister Anne, (fn. 84) who became the wife of Edward Conway. (fn. 85) She predeceased her husband, who held the manor by courtesy until his death in 1546. John Conway, their son and heir, was stated to be then thirty-five years of age. (fn. 86) He was knighted in 1560, (fn. 87) and sold the manor in 1565 to John Rous (fn. 88) of Rous Lench, with which manor Ab Lench has since descended, (fn. 89) Dr. William Kyle Westwood Chafy, D.D., of Rous Lench Court, being the present lord of the manor.

In 1227 Warin son of William de Upton granted jointly with his wife Hawisia 40 acres of land in AB LENCH to the Abbot and convent of Halesowen, with common of pasture, (fn. 90) and his grant was confirmed by William Marshal Earl of Pembroke for the souls of himself and Eleanor his wife on condition that a rent of 4s. should be paid yearly at his manor of Inkberrow. (fn. 91) He afterwards relinquished his claim to this rent in favour of the abbey. (fn. 92)

The Abbot and convent of Halesowen were in possession of property in Ab Lench in 1228–9, when they were fined 20s. (fn. 93) The abbot is stated to have afterwards erected houses for the storage of grain on the common pasture of Ab Lench, and an action was brought against him by Roger and Stephen de Lench, perhaps on behalf of the inhabitants they recovered seisin of the pasture, and the houses were ordered to be removed, but on 18 September 1230, on the petition of the abbot, leave was granted for the houses to remain standing until 2 February in the next year. (fn. 94) On 20 September 1233 the abbot paid 2s. for assarts made at Lench, (fn. 95) from which it would appear that his land included a part of the woodland mentioned in Domesday. In 1272–3 the abbot conveyed to Ralph de Hengham a messuage and land in Church Lench and Ab Lench. (fn. 96) Though land at Ab Lench is not mentioned among the possessions of the abbey in 1291 (fn. 97) or in 1535, it is possible that they retained some estate there, which passed in the same way as their manor of Church Lench to the Scudamores, for John Scudamore held in 1596 a manor called Hob Lench, (fn. 98) which passed with the manor of Church Lench until 1627, when it is mentioned for the last time. (fn. 99)

In a catalogue of the charters of the monastery of Worcester there is mentioned one by Wulfstan called the Archbishop, who was Bishop of Worcester from 1062 to 1095, relating to three mansae at THROCKMORTON (fn. 100) (Throcmortune, xi cent. Trokemardtune, xii cent. Trockmerton, Trochmerton, xiii cent. Throkmarton, xiv cent.), but the nature of this charter is not known. Throckmorton is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, being then probably included in Fladbury, of which it was part until the 15th century. (fn. 101) After 1415 the manor was held of the Bishops of Worcester at a fee-farm rent of £12. (fn. 102)

Throckmorton gives its name to the family of Throckmorton, who were tenants of the Bishop of Worcester at an early date, Reoland Throckmorton appearing as a juror for the hundred of Oswaldslow in the middle of the 12th century. (fn. 103) Raulyn, who held 2½ hides in Throckmorton about 1182, may have been a member of this family, possibly identical with Reoland. (fn. 104) Adam de Throckmorton apparently owned land in Worcestershire in 1174–5, (fn. 105) and John and Joscelin de Throckmorton appear in 1175–6 and 1176–7, (fn. 106) but it is not known that they held land in Throckmorton. Henry son of John de Throckmorton at the beginning of the 13th century obtained from Mauger Bishop of Worcester (1199–1212) half a hide of land in Fladbury, (fn. 107) and he is probably the Henry son of John who is mentioned in the Testa de Nevill as holding a virgate of land in Throckmorton. (fn. 108)

Throckmorton. Gules a cheveron argent with three gimel bars sable thereon.

Adam son of Robert, who also held at that time a virgate of land in Throckmorton, (fn. 109) was possibly the Adam de Throckmorton who was dealing with a third of a fee in Upton and Throckmorton in 1232–3. (fn. 110) According to a pedigree of the family given by Nash, Adam died before 1248, and was succeeded by his son Robert, who was alive in 1252. (fn. 111) Robert appears to have been succeeded before 1266 by a son Simon. (fn. 112) Robert de Throckmorton, who obtained a dispensation from the Bishop of Worcester in 1275, (fn. 113) was son of Simon. (fn. 114) He was living in 1315–16, (fn. 115) and is perhaps identical with the Robert de Throckmorton who in 1333–4 settled four messuages and land in Throckmorton upon his son John and Maud his wife, with remainder to his other children, Nicholas, Sybil, Alice and Joan. (fn. 116) The manor of Throckmorton seems, however, to have passed to Robert's son Giles, for a messuage and 2 carucates of land in Throckmorton were settled in 1341–2 upon Giles and his wife Agnes, and upon their sons Robert, John, Thomas and Richard in tail-male. (fn. 117)

Thomas Throckmorton, who, according to the pedigree of the family given in the Visitation of Warwickshire, (fn. 118) was a son of John Throckmorton, was of the retinue of Thomas Beauchamp Earl of Warwick in 1396, was escheator for the county of Worcester in 1402, and Constable of Elmley Castle in 1404–5. (fn. 119) He seems to have made a lease of the manor in 1410–11, (fn. 120) and was succeeded by his son Sir John Throckmorton, (fn. 121) who was also of the retinue of the Earl of Warwick. (fn. 122) In 1415 the Bishop of Worcester obtained licence to grant fourteen messuages and 2 carucates of land in Throckmorton to Sir John de Throckmorton, to be held of the bishop at a feefarm rent. (fn. 123) This was probably the estate which the bishop had held in demesne in the 12th century. (fn. 124) Habington evidently refers to this transaction when he says that John Carpenter, who succeeded as Bishop of Worcester in 1444, so much disliked the alienation of Throckmorton that he threatened to excommunicate the Prior and monks of Worcester on account of it, whereupon they sued to the Archbishop of Canterbury to send for Thomas son of John Throckmorton (fn. 125) and command him to give satisfaction to the Bishop of Worcester. But 'thys lounge contention beeinge in the end utterly extinguished, thys good Bishopp entred into such a leauge of fryndshyp with Thomas Throckmorton as in Testimony of his charitye he enterteyned him to be Stuarde of all hys Castelles, Mannors etc. with a fee of 10 li. per annum.' (fn. 126) In 1440 Sir John was styled chamberlain of the Exchequer and under-treasurer of England. He died in 1445, and was buried in the church of Fladbury, where there is an inscription to his memory. (fn. 127) Sir John Throckmorton was succeeded by a son Thomas, (fn. 128) who in 1467 obtained a general pardon for all offences committed by him before 23 June. (fn. 129) He died in 1472, (fn. 130) and his son Sir Robert was in possession of the manor in 1500. (fn. 131) Sir Robert died in 1518, and was succeeded by his son George, (fn. 132) who settled the manor of Throckmorton on his son Robert on his marriage with Elizabeth Hungerford. (fn. 133) Robert succeeded his father in 1552, (fn. 134) and died in 1581, leaving a son Thomas. (fn. 135) Thomas Throckmorton was involved in difficulties owing to his religious opinions, his estate being frequently sequestrated and his person imprisoned. (fn. 136) He died in 1615, and was succeeded by his grandson Sir Robert Throckmorton, (fn. 137) who was created a baronet in 1642, (fn. 138) and suffered severely at the hands of the Parliamentary forces during the Civil War. (fn. 139) He died 16 January 1650, and was followed by his son Sir Francis Throckmorton, (fn. 140) who died 7 November 1680. (fn. 141) His eldest surviving son Sir Robert, (fn. 142) who was one of the 'Catholic non-jurors,' died 8 March 1720–1, (fn. 143) and was succeeded by his only surviving son Sir Robert, (fn. 144) on whose death on 8 December 1791 the manor probably passed to his grandson and successor to the title Sir John Courtenay Throckmorton. (fn. 145) He died without issue in 1819, and his brother and successor Sir George also died issueless in 1826. (fn. 146) The manor of Throckmorton then seems to have passed to his nephew Robert George Throckmorton, who was dealing with it in that year. (fn. 147) He succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of his uncle Sir Charles in 1840, (fn. 148) and in 1862 the manor passed from him to his eldest surviving son Sir Nicholas William George Throckmorton, ninth baronet, who is now lord of the manor of Throckmorton. (fn. 149)

At the date of the Domesday Survey HILL (Hulla, xiii cent. Hulle near Fladbury, xiv cent.) and MOOR was part of the 5 hides formerly belonging to Keneward held by Robert le Despenser of the Bishop of Worcester's manor of Fladbury. (fn. 150) Hill and Moor has apparently always been part of the manor of Fladbury. (fn. 151)

At the beginning of the 13th century an agreement was made between Henry son of John Throckmorton and Mauger Bishop of Worcester by which half a hide of land at Hill passed into the possession of Henry, who was to hold it of the bishop. (fn. 152) Henry afterwards granted a virgate of this land to William Heye for life, and in 1237–8 Richard and Adam Roland were in controversy as to the ownership of this estate, which Richard claimed as grandson of Henry Throckmorton. The suit was terminated in favour of Richard. (fn. 153) He died in 1254, (fn. 154) and his widow agreed with Richard Cristot in 1254–5 that a third of a tenement in Throckmorton and Hill which Emma held for life should revert to him on her death. (fn. 155) In the previous year Richard had agreed with the Bishop of Worcester that he should hold a carucate of land in Hill and elsewhere by suit at the bishop's court of Worcester, the bishop giving a warranty against the claims of Emma wife of Richard Roland for dower if she survived Richard. (fn. 156) The whole or part of the Rolands' estate at Hill afterwards passed to Simon Chamberlain, who had it in frank marriage by gift of Henry Roland. (fn. 157) The Chamberlains also held land in Hill and Fladbury under the Poers of Wichenford, (fn. 158) and it was probably this estate which Richard Poer held in Hill of the bishop's manor of Wick early in the 13th century. (fn. 159) Simon le Chamberlain was holding a virgate of land in Fladbury in 1221–2, (fn. 160) and Nicholas le Chamberlain held a so-called manor at Fladbury in 1291–2. (fn. 161) In 1299 Sir Simon le Chamberlain, brother and successor of Nicholas, (fn. 162) held 3 virgates of land in Fladbury and 1 in Hill of Sir John Poer, besides the halfhide which came to his family through the Rolands. (fn. 163) Sir Simon le Chamberlain still held an estate at Fladbury in 1301–2, (fn. 164) but the Chamberlains afterwards exchanged this land for that of John de Haseley in Wichenford. (fn. 165) Possibly this name should be Basely, for that family was already in possession of land at Fladbury. In 1278–9 Henry Basely was successful in proving his right to an estate there which he had inherited from his father Roger against Maud la Turre, (fn. 166) and in 1280 he paid a subsidy of half a mark at Fladbury. (fn. 167) This seems to have been the same estate which afterwards passed to the Sodingtons. (fn. 168) According to Habington, Richard de Sodington was at one time the owner. (fn. 169) In 1327 Isabel de Sodington paid a subsidy of 3s. 4d. in Fladbury, (fn. 170) and about 1337–8 William de Sodington and his wife Elizabeth bought an estate at Fladbury of the Bishop of Worcester. (fn. 171) Elizabeth died in 1371 holding a cottage called Baselond in Fladbury of the king for the service of a seventh part of a knight's fee, her heir being her daughter Isabel wife of Robert Aleyn. (fn. 172) Before this time, however, part of the estate held by the service of a tenth of a knight's fee had passed to Alexander de Besford. (fn. 173)

A parcel of land in Hill was forfeited in 1396 by Thomas Earl of Warwick. (fn. 174) The earl had granted it for life to his bastard brother John de Athereston, and the king granted the reversion in 1397 to Sir John Russell. (fn. 175)

An estate at Hill consisting of 2 hides was given by Bishop Samson (1096–1112) to Frederick or Freri de Bishopsdon. (fn. 176) William de Bishopsdon held the estate early in the 13th century, (fn. 177) and it followed the same descent as the manor of Waresley in Hartlebury (q.v.), passing with it to the Catesbys. (fn. 178) The estate at Hill and Moor was sold in 1501 by George Catesby to Robert Throckmorton. (fn. 179) The Throckmortons were dealing with land in Moor in 1558, (fn. 180) and the estate seems to have remained with them until about the middle of the 19th century, for Sir Charles Throckmorton was said to be lord of the so-called manor of Hill and Moor in 1832. (fn. 181) The manor-house is a 17th-century half-timber building with good panelled rooms. Cromwell is said to have slept here in 1651. It was acquired by Benjamin Johnson, town clerk of Worcester, before 1832. He died in 1835 and left it by his will to Thomas Henry Bund, whose grandson Mr. John Willis-Bund now holds it.

WYRE PIDDLE (Pidele, xi and xiii cent. Wyre Pydele, xiv cent. Wirepedill, Werpedell, xv cent. Werepedyll, Wyre Pydle, xvi cent. Wire Puddell, Warpdale, xvii cent.). At the date of the Domesday Survey Robert le Despenser held 5 hides at Wyre Piddle and Hill and Moor of the Bishop of Worcester's manor of Fladbury. (fn. 182) The overlordship of the bishop was still recognized at the end of the 13th century, but it afterwards seems to have lapsed. (fn. 183)

The manor followed the same descent as Elmley Castle until 1487–8, when it passed into the hands of Henry VII. (fn. 184) It remained in the Crown (fn. 185) until 1550, when it was granted by Edward VI to Ralph Sadleir and Lawrence Wenington. (fn. 186) They seem to have conveyed it to Bartholomew Hales, who sold it to John and Thomas Folliott in 1571. (fn. 187) John Folliott died on 7 March 1578 seised of the manor of Wyre Piddle, (fn. 188) which then passed with the manor of Stone in Halfshire Hundred (q.v.) in the Folliott family, and subsequently to the Courteens and Rushouts. (fn. 189) On the death of Sir James Rushout in 1711 this manor, instead of passing with Stone to his sister Elizabeth St. John, passed with the baronetcy to his uncle Sir John Rushout, and from that time followed the same descent (fn. 190) as Northwick Park in Blockley (q.v.). Lady Northwick, widow of George third Lord Northwick, held the manor until her death in 1912, when it passed by will to her grandson Mr. George Spencer Churchill.

Folliott. Argent a lion purpure with a forked rail and a golden crown.

Courteen. Or a talbot passant sable.

The rent of £5 reserved from the manor of Wyre Piddle in the grant of 1550 was vested in trustees for sale in 1070–1. (fn. 191) It was sold by them in 1672 to John Jones of Whitehall, (fn. 192) and in 1807 it belonged to Frances Hearne Bettesworth. (fn. 193)

BRADLEY (Bradanleah, Bradanlege, viii cent. Bradelege, xi cent. Bradeleghe, xiii cent.), afterwards STOCK and BRADLEY. In the pontificate of Wilfrid (717–43) Ethelbald, King of Mercia, gave 6 cassates of land in Bradley to Cyneburh. (fn. 194) As this grant is included among the charters of the monastery of Worcester, (fn. 195) and Ethelbald is said to have given Bradley to the church, (fn. 196) it may be supposed that after Cyneburh's death these 6 cassates at Bradley passed to the see of Worcester.

At the famous Council of Celchyth in 789 Heathored, Bishop of Worcester, proceeded against Wulfheard, son of Cussa, who had endeavoured to deprive the church of land at Bradley which had been bequeathed to it by Hemele and Duda. The bishop proved his right to the lands, but agreed that Wulfheard should hold them for life, and that at his death they should be restored to the church where the bodies of Hemele and Duda were buried. (fn. 197)

In 962 Bishop Oswald granted to his servant Eadmaer the wood from Bradley necessary for the preparation of salt in four vats at Droitwich which belonged to certain land in Bentley which the bishop had granted to Eadmaer. (fn. 198) At the date of the Domesday Survey Aelfric the Archdeacon held a hide at Bradley of the bishop's manor of Fladbury. (fn. 199) The manor seems to have remained with the see of Worcester (fn. 200) until the reign of Edward VI, when by some means it passed to the Crown. Edward VI granted it in 1553 to John Earl of Bedford and Edmund Downing. (fn. 201) On 1 February 1554 Edmund sold it to Roger and Robert Taverner of London. (fn. 202)

The date at which the manor returned to the possession of the Bishops of Worcester is not known. It was perhaps before 1628, when an agreement was made by which the bishop and Sir William Sandys conveyed to the king 110 acres of the waste of Bradley in Feckenham Forest on condition that they should hold the remainder on certain terms. (fn. 203) In 1825 the Bishop of Worcester claimed the hamlet of Stock and Bradley as a member of his manor of Fladbury. (fn. 204) The Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who took over the estates of the see of Worcester in 1860, (fn. 205) are now the principal landowners in Stock and Bradley.

In the time of Henry II, Randolph son of Roger (of Rous Lench) held a hide of land at Bradley. (fn. 206) Roger son of Ralph de Lench gave the tithes of Bradley which belonged to the chapel of Chadwick to the hospital of St. Wulfstan, Worcester, his grant being confirmed in 1232 by the king. (fn. 207)

In the time of Bishop Baldwin (1180–90) Alured Levet claimed to hold of his nephew (nepos), the son of Ralph de Levet, a hide of land at Fladbury. (fn. 208) It was probably this estate which was held at the time of the Testa de Nevill by William of Bradley as a hide at Bradley. (fn. 209) An estate at Bradley belonged about the middle of the 13th century to the Walton or Wauton family. Master Simon de Walton purchased half a carucate of land in Bradley of Richard le Archer in 1244–5, (fn. 210) and in 1248–9 he acquired land there from John Copty, Stephen Alewy, Hugh de Seler, (fn. 211) Ralph de Eccleshal (fn. 212) and Ralph Marsh. (fn. 213)

In 1253 Master Simon obtained from Henry III a grant that his garden with the grove therein which he had caused to be inclosed in the circuit of his house at Bradley in the forest of Feckenham should remain inclosed, bounded by a hedge without a deer leap like a park, with the 'beasts of the wood' in the park if he liked. (fn. 214) Simon de Wauton appears to have been succeeded by John, who was dealing with land at Bradley in 1274–5, (fn. 215) and paid a subsidy of 8s. in 1280 at Bradley. (fn. 216) John de Wauton, who in 1294 obtained licence from Simon Bishop of Norwich to do homage to the chief lords for land in Bradley and elsewhere, (fn. 217) was perhaps son of John above mentioned. John Knight held a hide of land in Bradley in 1299, (fn. 218) and Robert Knight paid a subsidy of 1s. there in 1327. (fn. 219) In 1346 William Knight of Bradley was in possession of the land at Bradley which William de Bradley had held, (fn. 220) but it is not certain that this was the same estate as that held by the Wautons, and its further descent has not been traced.

In 1086 the priest at Fladbury held half a hide of land. (fn. 221) In 1772 the rector of Fladbury received an allotment in consideration of 70 acres which he held in Throckmorton as part of the RECTORY MANOR. (fn. 222) In 1788, when Fladbury was inclosed, he obtained a further allotment in consideration of his right of common in Fladbury belonging to the rectory manor. (fn. 223) Nash in his History of Worcestershire mentions that it was a custom of the rectory manor for the rector to grant for three lives and the widow to have her free bench. (fn. 224) The manorial rights have now apparently lapsed.


The church of ST. JOHN BAPTIST consists of a chancel 38½ ft. by 19½ ft., a modern north vestry and south organ chamber, nave 57 ft. by 20 ft., north aisle 9 ft. and south aisle 8½ ft. in width, south porch and a western tower 12½ ft. wide and 13½ ft. deep all the measurements are internal.

A church stood here in the 12th century, but of this building only the tower remains, the three lower stages dating from that period it was probably attached to an aisleless nave and chancel. About the year 1340 the whole of the pre-existing structure (except the tower) was swept away to make room for the new work. The present nave with both its aisles, and the chancel with a vestry to the north-east of it (which has now disappeared), were then erected, the clearstory being added immediately afterwards. The south porch was built with the south aisle, but it was refaced some time in the 17th century, and since that period has undergone restoration. A board in the ringing-chamber records that the steeple (fn. 225) was taken down and the parapet to the tower built in 1752, and that galleries were added in 1783 and 1824. Much restoration work has been carried out in modern times, chiefly in 1865 and 1871. The east and south walls of the chancel, the vestry and the organ chamber are all of recent date, as are also several of the windows and doorways and other parts specifically mentioned below. The present four-light east window replaced a seven-light one, probably itself of no great age the gable wall over is pierced by a small quatrefoil opening. In the south wall is a modern double piscina in 14th-century style and a sedile formed by the window-ledge the two windows in this wall, both modern, have each two lights with cusped piercings over in a pointed arch. There is also a small priest's doorway with a pointed head. On the north side is a 14th-century window of two lights with a cusped opening over in a pointed head. The doorway into the vestry appears to be of 14th-century workmanship, but has probably been reset, and has two continuous moulded orders. To the east of the vestry, outside, in the north wall of the chancel is an original 14th-century piscina, the basin of which has been removed. The chancel arch and the arch opening into the organ chamber are both modern.

Fladbury Church Tower from the North-west

The 14th-century nave arcades consist of four bays, the first three of each being of equal span and the fourth pair narrower. The arches are of two pointed chamfered orders, and the columns are octagonal with moulded bases and bell capitals there are no respond shafts, the inner order springing from moulded corbels except at the north-west, where it dies on to the wall of the tower stair turret. The two eastern corbels are modern. The original doorway into the tower stair turret opens towards the east into the nave, but a modern one has been inserted in the west aisle wall outside. The tower arch has three continuous chamfered orders, and over it is a wide opening into the ringing chamber with a pointed segmental arch, which is evidently modern, as above it a similar arch is visible, now filled in. The clearstory has four windows on either side, of two lights each, with square heads the westernmost pair are modern, the others original.

The three-light east and west windows of the north aisle are modern, as is the westernmost of the four two-light north windows, the other three being of late 14th-century date.

In the south wall of the south aisle next the arch opening into the modern organ chamber is a small locker with rebated edges, and west of it are the remains of a piscina with a concave back and pointed head. The two south windows of the aisle are both in part old, each with two lights in a square head. The south doorway has been completely modernized, and to the east of it is a small square blocked doorway, which evidently once opened to a stair leading to a room over the porch. The jambs only of the west window are old, and above it externally is a string-course, all modern except the piece at the south-west corner, carved with the head and shoulders of an angel. Above the string-course are remains of a blocked opening, probably connected with an 18th-century gallery. The south porch, although much repaired, is of the same date as the aisle and has a ribbed vault, springing from corner shafts with moulded bases and capitals. In the east wall is a window of two small lancets and in the west a quatrefoil window, both partly renewed. The outer archway appears to be an 18th-century rebuilding, and this again has been repaired in modern times. Over the doorway is a circular traceried piercing with a square moulded label. The front wall of the porch is finished with a curved pediment, capped by a pedestal sundial.

The tower is of four stages, the lowest being strengthened by shallow clasping and intermediate buttresses, the latter pierced by small round-headed lights, surrounded internally by large shallow recesses with pointed arches. The next two stages are both pierced by narrow rectangular lights, and on the west face of the third stage is a clock. Here the outlines of the former belfry windows can still be traced these were evidently filled in when the tower was heightened. The top stage or bell-chamber is lit by a two-light window in each wall with a plain spandrel in a pointed arch. The parapet is embattled with a continuous coping, the lower part being panelled and the merlons pierced with trefoiled openings. At the angles are square panelled pinnacles with smaller ones in the centre of each face. The walling of the church is mainly of rubble, but the tower is ashlar faced and the clearstories, above the windows, are built of red brick.

The buttresses of the north aisle wall are original, but most of the others are modern. The roofs are also modern, the chancel and nave having low-pitched gables the roof of the latter is ceiled. The aisle roofs are flat, lead covered, and plastered internally. All the roofs have eaves with stone cornices.

The altar table, marble reredos, stone pulpit and font are all of recent date.

Under the tower is a large altar tomb of grey marble to John Throckmorton, who died in 1445, Eleanor his wife, and Thomas his son. It was moved from its former position in the chancel at the last restoration of the church. The sides of the tomb are panelled and the moulded plinth contains a band of quatrefoils. In the slab are the brass figures of a man in armour and a lady with five shields, one of which is missing the other four have the arms of Throckmorton impaling Azure a fesse or with three pheons thereon. In the chancel floor is a slab with the half figure of a coped priest in brass and an inscription below to Thomas Mordon, Bachelor of Law and Treasurer of St. Paul's, London, a former rector of this church, who died in 1458. The arms in the shields over are a cheveron between two molets in the chief and a lion in the foot.

A second brass has a Latin inscription to William Plewine, M.A., rector, who died in 1504, whose figure is represented in mass vestments and a brass inscription commemorates Olive wife successively of Edward Harris and John Talbot, who died in 1647.

At the west end of the nave is a brass to Edward Peyton, in armour, the figures of the wife and children with three shields being missing. Another undated Latin inscription is to Godytha (Bosom) wife of Robert Olney (her daughter Margaret married Thomas Throckmorton) surrounded by three reversed shields. The other monuments include one, in the vestry, to Bishop William Lloyd, 1707, and another in the south aisle to John Darby, 1609.

In the north-west window of the chancel are six shields of 14th-century glass, of the arms of Beauchamp, Mountford, Moigne, Mortimer, Montfort, and Despenser. They were removed from the east window to make way for the present stained-glass window, and are said to have come from the abbey of Evesham at the Dissolution. They are mentioned in Symond's Diary in 1644. (fn. 226)

There were a number of encaustic tiles about the church most of them have been collected and placed in the north doorway, now blocked.

In the churchyard is a fine row of yew trees with a pathway between it and the old brick boundary wall.

There is a ring of six bells, all cast by Mears in 1807, and in addition a small sanctus bell hung in the south window with a black letter inscription, 'Sancta Katerina Ora pro me Edwardo Gregion.'

The old communion plate was in 1801 removed to the chapels of Throckmorton and Wyre Piddle. (fn. 227)

Throckmorton Church from the South-west

The registers are as follows: (i) baptisms and marriages from 1560 to 1630, burials 1560 to 1629 (ii) baptisms and burials from 1630 to 1713, marriages 1630 to 1712, with gaps from 1640 to 1660 in this book (iii) baptisms and burials from 1713 to 1803, marriages 1713 to 1753 (iv) marriages from 1754 to 1812 (v) baptisms and burials from 1804 to 1812.

The church of THROCKMORTON consists of a chancel 12½ ft. by 16 ft., a central tower 11½ ft. by 13½ ft., a nave about 45 ft. by 17½ ft., and a small south aisle 4½ ft. in width. These measurements are all internal.

The chancel is of the 13th century, but the tracery of the windows is all modern, the eastern being of three lights, with one of two lights in each side wall. The trefoiled piscina at the east end of the south wall has a square head with pierced spandrels and a half-octagonal bowl. The eastern arch of the contemporary central tower which is included within the chancel is of two chamfered orders, the outer order dying upon the walls and the inner springing from plain corbels. The western arch is similar, with the exception that the inner order also dies upon the face of the responds, and a little above its springing it is interrupted on both sides by large plain corbels which must have originally supported the rood-beam. In the south wall of the tower is a window of two trefoiled lights with modern tracery. The projecting chamfered course on the north and south walls evidently supported a floor below the level of the crowns of the arches.

In the north wall of the nave is a window of similar form to the east window of the chancel. The north doorway is of the 14th century and is of two chamfered orders. The south arcade of the nave is of five bays with two-centred arches of two plain chamfered orders and dates from the 13th century. The centre bay is considerably narrower than the rest. Above the columns where the labels, had they existed, would have intersected, are face-corbels. These have been recently placed in this position for their better preservation. They were formerly lying loose in the building, and had probably been detached from the fabric at some repair or restoration. The columns are quatrefoil on plan with moulded capitals and water-holding bases. The three-light west window dates from early in the 14th century.

Both aisle windows are modern. The south doorway is reset 14th-century work and has a chamfered two-centred head and jambs. The embattled tower is three stages high, with good gargoyles at the angles. The belfry is lighted by two-light windows, and the stage below by two small square-headed lights in the south wall.

Externally the chancel is built of coursed rubble with an intermixture of brick and tile. The walls of both chancel and nave have been heightened in brick. The nave and tower are both covered with rough-cast, and the south aisle is modern.

The cylindrical font with its thick tapering stem is perhaps of 14th-century date.

The tower contains four bells: the first is uninscribed, the second has fallen from its frame and is broken at the crown, the third is dated 1622 with the churchwardens' names, the fourth is cracked and inscribed,

'Be it known to all that shall us see
That Henrie Farmer made we 4 of 3.'

The plate consists of an Elizabethan cup with cover paten without hall mark, a small paten of plain beaten silver, also without hall mark, and an almsdish of brass.

The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms from 1546 to 1717, marriages 1545 to 1717, and burials 1661 to 1717 (ii) baptisms from 1717 to 1812, burials 1721 to 1750, and marriages from 1718 to 1754.

The church at WYRE consists of a chancel 14½ ft. by 15½ ft., nave 41½ ft. by 18 ft., and a north porch.

The walls appear to follow the plan of a 12th-century building, but the whole structure has been rebuilt in modern times. The three-light east window is in 14th-century style with modern tracery and original jambs. In the north wall is a modern two-light window. The first window on the south side is of three lights in the style of the 14th century and the second is modern. In the same wall is set half of a 13th-century capital, used as a credence table, and a typical 12th-century pillar piscina, with square bowl. The chancel arch is round-headed, of one plain order, with a chamfered label, and springs from square chamfered impost mouldings. On each side of it is a square squint.

All the nave windows are modern restorations, there being three in the north wall and four in the south. The western pair are modern lancets the remaining windows are each of two lights, the eastern pair having quatrefoil tracery. The north door is the only entrance to the nave, and is covered by a modern porch. The 15th-century west window is of two lights and contains some fine pieces of contemporary stained glass. The font is circular, with a moulded rim and cheveron ornament below. The stem and base are also circular, and beneath the bowl are fluted scallops. In a recess in the north wall are preserved some fragments of early work, with the boss of a shield and a light spearhead, discovered in the churchyard. There is also one of a pair of 14th-century candlesticks in the churchwarden's house. The chancel floor is largely paved with mediaeval tiles, the better preserved being within the altar rails.

The church has a bellcote above the chancel, with spaces for two bells. The work is contemporary with the chancel, but has been restored. It contains one 18th-century bell by Rudhall.

The plate includes a reconstructed cup, the old stem Elizabethan, the cup itself comparatively modern, a plain plate hall-marked 1673 and a large flagon of 1651.

The registers before 1812 are as follows: in one book, baptisms 1670 to 1709, burials 1680 to 1713, marriages 1684 to 1709. (fn. 228)

The church of ST. JOHN BAPTIST, Bradley, consists of a chancel, nave, north porch and north-east tower. The church was erected in 1864–5 on the site of a former building, which is stated by Nash to have been of timber with a wooden tower. (fn. 229) The materials are Inkberrow stone, and the design is in the style of the early 14th century. The east window of the chancel is of three lights with tracery over, and the nave is lighted from the west by a large rose-window. The tower is surmounted by a broach spire of stone. The north porch contains portions of two mediaeval tomb slabs. The earliest of these has a double cross with a wheel head, and probably dates from about 1300. The later and more elaborate slab has a cross approximating to the Maltese shape, and upon its stem a shield charged with three crosslets upon a bend. In the church is a monument from the former building to Joseph James, who died in 1776.

There is one bell of 1865, replacing three cast in 1771.

The plate consists of a chalice and cover of Reformation pattern, the cover (usable as a patern) bearing the date 1571, a paten dated 1865, and a modern metal flagon, never used.

The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) mixed entries 1562 to 1644 (ii) 1645 to 1718 (iii) 1719 to 1812.

ST. THOMAS'S Church at Lower Moor was opened on 21 December 1869. It was built on a site given by Robert Wagstaff, and service is held there every Sunday afternoon by the rector and curates of Fladbury. Parish rooms at Fladbury, Moor and Wyre Piddle are used for meetings.


There was possibly a church at Fladbury in 1086, as there was then a priest there. (fn. 230) The advowson has always belonged to the see of Worcester. (fn. 231) In 1291 the church was valued at £26 13s. 4d. (fn. 232) In 1317 the Crown presented owing to the vacancy of the see of Worcester, (fn. 233) and in 1535 the presentation was granted to Thomas Cromwell and others on the petition of Thomas Bagard, LL.D., vicar-general of Worcester. (fn. 234) In 1535 the rectory of Fladbury, with the chapels attached to it, (fn. 235) was worth £81 0s. 8d. yearly. (fn. 236) In 1543 Christopher Hales, the rector, received a licence to travel abroad for seven years, and take with him one servant and two horses. (fn. 237)

On 14 May 1448 (fn. 238) Eleanor wife of John Throckmorton and her son Thomas obtained licence to found in the parish church of Fladbury a chantry of one chaplain to celebrate divine service daily at the altar of St. Mary. The chantry was to be called 'Throkmerton Chaunterie,' and Eleanor and Thomas were to endow it with rents to the value of £10 a year. (fn. 239) The advowson belonged to the lords of the manor of Throckmorton. (fn. 240) In 1535 the chantry was valued at £9 3s. 4d. (fn. 241) William Lane, the chantry priest, obtained licence in 1547 to grant all the lands belonging to the chantry to George Throckmorton. (fn. 242) Two years later the chantry was dissolved, and the chantry-house seems to have been granted to Stephen Hales, for he and his wife Joan conveyed a messuage called the Chantry House in 1553 to John Ayland, (fn. 243) and in 1588 the chantry of Fladbury was granted by the queen, at the request of Edward Dyer, to Edward Wymarke. (fn. 244) In 1601 it was granted to Robert Stanford or Stamford. (fn. 245)

There was an obit in the church in connexion with this chantry supported by a sum of 5s. from the endowment of the chantry. (fn. 246) There was also a rent of 4d. from an acre of land in Fladbury given for the maintenance of a lamp in the church. (fn. 247)

A chapel, to which the rectors of Fladbury presented, was in existence at Ab Lench as early as 1269, when the first presentation of which we have any record took place. (fn. 248) Presentations were made to this vicarage until 1419. (fn. 249) The remains of the chapel were visible in 1812, (fn. 250) and are still remembered by some of the inhabitants. Carlisle, writing in 1808, mentioned a demolished chapel. (fn. 251) Ab Lench was annexed to Church Lench for ecclesiastical purposes in 1865. (fn. 252)

The chapels of Throckmorton, Bradley and Wyre Piddle were mentioned in the Valor of 1535. (fn. 253) The chapels of Throckmorton and Wyre Piddle are still annexed to Fladbury. Bradley was separated from Fladbury in July 1862, (fn. 254) and the living was declared a rectory in 1866. (fn. 255) It is in the gift of the Bishop of Worcester.


The amalgamated charities are administered by the rector and churchwardens, comprising

1. The charity known as Holt's charity, consisting of £49 13s. 6d. consols, representing donations mentioned on the church table of £5 each by Miss Martin, Nicholas Perks and Mrs. Hester Jones, improved by offertories to £50.

2. The charity of Richard Bourne Charlett, will 1821, also mentioned on the church table, trust fund, £100 consols.

3. The charity of Mrs.Joyce Evans, will proved at Worcester 15 July 1848, trust fund, £44 14s. consols.

4. The charity of Robert Wagstaff, will proved at Worcester 26 July 1880, trust fund, £500 consols.

The several sums of stock are held by the official trustees, the annual dividends of which, amounting to £17 7s., were in 1908–9 applied in gifts of 4s. to 8s. among twenty-eight widows, 10s. each to two poor residents and other money gifts.

In 1825 the Rev. Martin Stafford Smith by deed gave a sum of £1,125 1s. consols with the official trustees, the annual dividends, amounting to £28 2s. 4d., to be distributed in coals, bread and meat, and religious books to the poorest inhabitants of Fladbury, Hill and Moor, Wyre Piddle and Throckmorton on or about 23 December. Contributions to the income are made by residents, the distributions being made chiefly in coal by the rector and churchwardens, and Bibles, Prayer books and hymn books by the rector.

In 1865 the Rev. Frederick Gauntlett by deed gave £100 consols (with the official trustees), the annual dividend of £2 10s. to be applied towards the support of the parochial schools.

The Church Lands—referred to on the church table as the gift in 1403 of Thomas Wilcox and Grysels his wife, and devise by will of John Hopkins, 1710—now consist of 11 acres let in allotments, acquired by exchange on the inclosure in 1787 for other lands called the Cherry Orchard and Rick Ground also 2 acres in the hamlet of Hill and Moor. The net rental of about £18 yearly is carried to the churchwardens' accounts.

Hamlet of Hill and Moor.

—In 1681 William White of London, vintner—as appeared from the church table—gave £5 for the use of the poor, subsequently augmented to £17.

In 1841 William George, by will proved in the P.C.C., left £50 for the poor. These gifts are now represented by £72 8s. 8d. consols.

In 1885 Miss Mary Wagstaff, by will proved at Worcester, left £200, which was invested in £198 10s. 2d. consols.

In 1888 Miss Ann Wagstaff, by a codicil to her will proved at Worcester, left £200, invested in £206 9s. consols.

The several sums of stock are held by the official trustees, the annual dividends of which, amounting to £11 18s., are applied proportionately in pursuance of the trusts of the respective charities. The distribution is made in bread and money in the month of January in each year, a preference being given to widows. In 1909 sixteen needy families benefited under Miss Ann Wagstaff's charity.

This hamlet also participates in the benefit of the charity of the Rev. Martin Stafford Smith. (See under parish of Fladbury.)

Chapelry of Stock and Bradley.

— The Poor's Land—referred to on the church table as the gift in 1621 of William Jones and in 1653 of Henry Collier—now consists of 2½ acres, known as the Parish Close, and two plots of garden land, containing together 1 acre, or thereabouts, of the annual rental value of £8 10s., which is applied in the distribution of bread, beef and coal.

The Church Lands.

—The chapelry has been in possession from time immemorial of about 5½ acres of land, now let at £19 a year, which is carried to the chapel-wardens' account.

Hamlet of Wyre Piddle.

—The Chapel Lands consist of a garden plantation containing 1 a. 2 r. 8 p. let at £8 a year, which is applied towards the repair of the chapel, the sum of 10s. being paid to the rector as tithe.

This hamlet also participates in the benefits of the charity of the Rev. Martin Stafford Smith. (See under the parish of Fladbury.)

Charles D. Rollins

Charles D. Rollins of 1677 Maine Street, Quincy, Illinois died on Friday, March 29, 2013 at 1:12 am in Good Samaritan Home.

A son of the late Franklin Cleatus Rollins and Sarah Alice Ethridge Rollins, Charles was born in rural Hollis, Oklahoma on April 29, 1934. He graduated from Dumas High School, Dumas, Texas in 1952, and from the University of Texas at Austin in 1961.

During the years between high school and college, Charles served proudly in the United States Navy. After training in San Diego, California, he was assigned to the Algiers Naval Station in New Orleans, Louisiana for a year, and then for the remainder of his 4-year enlistment, served in the Pacific Fleet aboard the USS Naifeh (DE 352) and the USS John R. Craig (DD 885). Charles was awarded the Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

After college, Charles accepted a position with the Social Security Administration, working for the first three years in a district office in El Paso, Texas. He then transferred to the agency's headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland where he worked primarily in the areas of policy, regulations and administration, serving as the agency's Regulations Officer for the last several years of his career.

Charles had a strong interest in historical and architectural preservation, and in his spare time enjoyed working with his good friend, Riddell L. Noble, restoring vintage homes and shopping for antiques and other collectibles. Charles also had a keen interst in genealogical and historical research, and in his retirement years spent many happy hours (and miles) pursuing these endeavors. Charles was an active participant in community organizations while living in Baltimore and was supportive of various nonprofit organizations in Quincy.

Charles is survived by his long-time friend, Riddell L. Noble of Quincy a brother-in-law, Thomas R. Lipscomb of Austin, TX a niece, Barbara Lipscomb of Austin, TX two nephews, James T. (Robin) Lipscomb of Lake Jackson, TX, and Richard C. Lipscomb of Clear Lake, TX a grand-nephew, Nicholas Lipscomb of Houston, TX a grand-niece, Katelyn Lipscomb of San Marcos, TX and a special cousin, Eva Nelson Beckner of Moody, TX.

In addition to his parents, Charles was preceded in death by Melba June Rollins Lipscomb, his only sibling.

Graveside Service: Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 10:00 am in Woodland Cemetery with Rev. Judith Taylor officiating.

NCIS: Provence: The Van Gogh Mystery

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WHODUNIT? Van Gogh’s 1889 self-portrait.

By DeAgostini/Getty Images.

A lone figure tramps toward a field of golden wheat. He carries a canvas, an easel, a bag of paints, and a pained grimace. He sets up his kit and begins to paint furiously, rushing to capture the scene of the swirling wheat as a storm approaches. Murderous crows attack him. He flails them away. As the wind whips the wheat into a frenzy, he races to add the ominous clouds to his canvas. Then the threatening crows. When he looks up, his eyes bug out with madness. He goes to a tree and scribbles a note: “I am desperate. I see no way out.” Gritting his teeth in torment, he reaches into his pocket. Cut to a long shot of the wheat field churning in the storm. The sudden report of a gun startles a passing cart driver. The music swells. “The End” appears against a mosaic of famous paintings and a climactic crash of cymbals.

It’s a great scene, the stuff of legend: the death of the world’s most beloved artist, the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. Lust for Life was conceived in 1934 by the popular pseudo-biographer Irving Stone and captured on film in 1956 by the Oscar-winning director Vincente Minnelli, with the charismatic Kirk Douglas in the principal role.

There’s only one problem. It’s all bunk. Though eagerly embraced by a public in love with a handful of memorable images and spellbound by the thought of an artist who would cut off his own ear, Stone’s suicide yarn was based on bad history, bad psychology, and, as a definitive new expert analysis makes clear, bad forensics.

In 2001, when we visited the Van Gogh Foundation archives, in Amsterdam, for the first time, we had no inkling of the surprise that lay at the end of our 10-year effort to write the definitive biography of Vincent van Gogh. The only bias we brought with us that day was “Please, God, let him be straight!”

Our 1998 biography of Jackson Pollock had drawn a lot of flak for its conclusion that the legendarily macho painter had homosexual yearnings (on which he occasionally acted). The evidence was overwhelmingly convincing how could we not address it? Nevertheless, some critics denounced “the accusation” as an outrageous slur. They even argued that we had brought out the pink in Pollock because we were gay, on some sort of posthumous recruitment drive. Preposterous as this was, we didn’t want to go through the gauntlet again. (Spoiler alert: Vincent was most definitively straight.)

The archives occupy an old town house next door to the Van Gogh Museum. We had been warned to expect a chilly reception. Van Gogh is a national hero. Who were we? For starters, Pulitzer Prize or no, we spoke not a word of Dutch. Nevertheless, the two archivists, Fieke Pabst and Monique Hageman, welcomed us warmly. Before long, they were bringing us stacks of folders, offered with a smile and a few encouraging words, such as “We thought you might find these interesting, too.” We spent weeks copying file after file, many of which contained documents only in Dutch, which we would later have to have translated.

It took about five years of such efforts before the museum conferred on us the rare privilege of a visit to “the Vault.” Somewhere in the bowels of the Van Gogh Museum (the location has since changed) there was a large, windowless room with concrete walls and cruel warehouse lighting. Against the walls were stacks of the high-tech aluminum “crates” used to transport the museum’s treasures to exhibitions around the world.

The senior curator for drawings, Sjraar van Heugten, unlocked the Vault door and took us inside. He slid a Solander box onto a tabletop and opened it to reveal a stack of drawings that Van Gogh had made early in his career. The letters were there, too. The actual letters. We held them in our (gloved) hands. On the top of a filing cabinet stood a copper bowl featured in one of his most famous still lifes. Over there, the plaster nude figure that appeared in dozens of drawings and paintings. Suddenly, we realized we were surrounded not just by the products of his imagination but by the objects of his daily life, and we felt the almost religious spell attached to him. But, meanwhile, our digging in the archives was beginning to undermine one of the pillars of that faith: the story of how the artist died.

Van Gogh himself wrote not a word about his final days. The film got it wrong: he left no suicide note—odd for a man who churned out letters so profligately. A piece of writing allegedly found in his clothes after he died turned out to be an early draft of his final letter to his brother Theo, which he posted the day of the shooting, July 27, 1890. That letter was upbeat—even ebullient—about the future. He had placed a large order for more paints only a few days before a bullet put a hole in his abdomen. Because the missile missed his vital organs, it took 29 agonizing hours to kill him.

None of the earliest accounts of the shooting—those written in the days immediately after the event—mentioned suicide. They said only that Van Gogh had “wounded himself.” Strangely, the townspeople of Auvers, the picturesque community near Paris where he stayed in the last months of his life, maintained a studied silence about the incident. At first, no one admitted having seen Van Gogh on his last, fateful outing, despite the summer crowding in the streets. No one knew where he would have gotten a gun no one admitted to finding the gun afterward, or any of the other items he had taken with him (canvas, easel, paints, etc.). His deathbed doctors, an obstetrician and a homeopathist, could make no sense of his wounds.

And, anyway, what kind of a person, no matter how unbalanced, tries to kill himself with a shot to the midsection? And then, rather than finish himself off with a second shot, staggers a mile back to his room in agonizing pain from a bullet in his belly?

The chief purveyor of the suicide narrative was Van Gogh’s fellow artist Émile Bernard, who wrote the earliest version of artistic self-martyrdom in a letter to a critic whose favor he was currying. Two years earlier, he had tried the same trick when Van Gogh cut off part of his ear. Bernard spun a completely invented account of the event that thrust himself into the sensational tale. “My best friend, my dear Vincent, is mad,” he gushed to the same critic. “Since I have found out, I am almost mad myself.” Bernard was not present at the time of Vincent’s fatal shooting, but he did attend the funeral.

If later accounts are to be believed—and they often are not—the police briefly investigated the shooting. (No records survive.) The local gendarme who interviewed Vincent on his deathbed had to prompt him with the open question “Did you intend to commit suicide?” To which he answered (again, according to later accounts) with a puzzled equivocation: “I think so.”

That account, like almost all the other “early accounts” of Van Gogh’s botched suicide, rested mainly on the testimony of one person: Adeline Ravoux, the daughter of the owner of the Ravoux Inn, where Van Gogh was staying in Auvers, and where he died. Adeline was 13 at the time. She did not speak for the record until 1953. When she did, she mostly channeled the stories her father, Gustave, had told her half a century earlier. Her story changed constantly, developing dramatic shape, and even dialogue, with each telling.

Around the same time, another witness stepped forward. He was the son of Paul Gachet, the homeopathic doctor who had sat for a famous portrait by Van Gogh. Paul junior was 17 at the time of the shooting. He spent most of the rest of his life inflating his own and his father’s importance to the artist—and, not incidentally, the value of the paintings father and son had stripped from Vincent’s studio in the days after his death. It was Paul junior who introduced the idea that the shooting had taken place in the wheat fields outside Auvers. Even Theo’s son, Vincent (the painter’s namesake and godson), who founded the museum, dismissed Gachet Jr. as “highly unreliable.”

By the time these belated reports appeared, of course, Bernard’s suicide story had been mainlined into Van Gogh biography through the illicit back channel of Stone’s fictionalized page-turner.

So how did the legend of suicide survive with so little to support it? It helped that Van Gogh died at the right time. The art world was finally turning his way. In fact, an apoplectically laudatory review of his work had appeared in a prominent Paris magazine just months before his death. The timing didn’t quite fit the narrative of despairing suicide, but that genie had left the bottle. Boosted by the gripping tale of his final act of martyrdom, Van Gogh’s celebrity took off like a rocket. Lust for Life just filled in the trajectory. The movie received a banquet of rave reviews, a bouquet of Oscar nominations, and one win (for Anthony Quinn, as a stoic, supportive, truth-defying Paul Gauguin).

Eventually, we worked up the courage to share our skepticism about the suicide legend with friends at the museum. To our surprise, their reaction was muted: reserving judgment but definitely intrigued. One senior scholar even ventured some support for our doubts. “Your case is very strong,” he mused. “There are several things that puzzle one if you want to explain suicide… He showed no intention of ‘stepping out.’ ” We found out later that another museum researcher had already expressed his own suspicions about the suicide story. In 2006 he brought them to the attention of a senior official, who advised him to abandon that line of inquiry as “too controversial.”

If Van Gogh didn’t shoot himself, who did shoot him?

In 1890, René Secrétan was the 16-year-old son of a Paris pharmacist whose family summered in Auvers. In Paris, René’s lycée education admitted him to bourgeois society. In Auvers, it gave him license to bully. He said he modeled his behavior on his hero, Wild Bill Cody, whose Wild West Show René had seen in Paris the year before. He bought a souvenir costume (fringed buckskin, cowboy hat, chaps) and accessorized it with an old, small-caliber pistol that looked menacing but often misfired.

He found an easy target in the strange Dutchman named Vincent. By the time René arrived for the summer, Van Gogh was already the object of rumor and ridicule. He trudged through town with his mangled ear and awkward load, setting himself up to paint anywhere he pleased. He drank. He argued fiercely in an unintelligible tumble of Dutch and French.

Unlike René, whose father was a powerful figure in the summer community, Vincent had no friends. Using his brother Gaston, an aesthete, as his front man, René artfully slipped into the vacuum. He cozied up to the lonely painter at his café conversations with Gaston about art. He paid for another round of drinks. Afterward, René would mock the strange Dutchman to amuse his merry band of mischief-minded summer boys.

René let Vincent eavesdrop on him and his friends when they imported “dancing girls” from Paris. He shared his pornography collection. He even posed for some paintings and a drawing. Meanwhile, he conspired with his followers to play elaborate pranks on the friendless tramp they called Toto. They put hot pepper on his brushes (which he often sucked when deep in thought), salted his tea, and sneaked a snake into his paint box.


THE AMERICAN left has an unexamined past. Like the French conservatives, who went into deep denial about their collaboration with the Nazis a half century ago, American leftists and some of their liberal allies have refused to sort out their own intimate connections with Marxist-Leninism in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

In a footnote on page 725 of "Witness," his 1952 classic of American confessional literature, Whittaker Chambers explained how this came to pass. He observed, "It is not the communists, but the ex-communists who have cooperated with the government, who have chiefly suffered. " Writing at the height of the controversy about communists in the U.S. government, Chambers explained, "It is worth noting that not one communist was moved to break with communism under the pressures of the Hiss case. Let those who wonder about communism and the power of its faith ponder that fact."

For decades after Chambers wrote those words, liberals and leftists held the high ground in the dispute over whether a communist conspiracy actually existed in the United States or was simply a by-product of "the paranoid style in American politics." They came to accept that there was a foreign communist menace but never a domestic one. There were rancorous divisions on the liberal-left in the 1950s over who was a spy and who was an accused innocent, who was a secret communist political operative and who was a straightforward fighter for social justice. While anti-communist liberals and leftists ranging from Sen. Hubert Humphrey to writer Dwight McDonald condemned the communists, there was a formulaic, transparent insincerity about much of left-liberal anti-communism.

In the upmarket universities and other places where the dominant form of polite liberalism thrived, the accusers, who had named names and had pointed out the communist spies, were scorned as despicable vermin. Among more mainstream scholars, like Richard Hofstadter, the forces of do mestic anti-communism were described largely as manifestations of social underdevelopment and popular irrationality, not legitimate concern.

As the 1960s wore on, the savagery and futility of the Vietnam War discredited the anti-communist cause. By the end of the 1960s, the demonization of the anti-communists had gained currency, and not just on the far left. Everyone from Richard Nixon to Whittaker Chambers to Elizabeth Bentley, a former espionage agent who in the early 1950s had given scores of names to the House Un-American Activities Committee, were dismissed as adventurers, opportunists, cats paws of reaction, psychos, creeps, blackmailers and junior Joe McCarthys.

As playwright Lillian Hellman recalled, "The McCarthy group -- a loose term for all the boys, lobbyists, congressmen, State Department bureaucrats, CIA operators -- chose the anti-Red scare with perhaps more cynicism than Hitler picked antisemitism."

But in the last year as though from a buried, toxic waste dump, poisons, moving with the slow capillary action of history long hidden, are hiccuping up a different truth. The materials that first made their way to the surface in the early 1990s -- records from Moscow's Russian Center for the Preservation and Study of Documents of Recent History -- provided proof past peradventure that the Communist Party of the United States was subsidized by the Soviet government and used as a base for extensive espionage.

So now liberals must face the question: Was Joe McCarthy right? Could all the defiant politicians, the martyrs to civil liberties, the blacklisted teachers and entertainers, the earnest professors and sincere foundation executives have been wrong? The answer is, no and yes.

It has long been known that the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) had been paid for by the Soviet Union. But acknowledgment of even this truth has been hard to come by. In liberal and leftist circles the term "Moscow gold" was accompanied most often by derisive laughter and the riposte that it was not Moscow gold but the paid dues of FBI informants that kept the CPUSA afloat. Actually, it was both.

Now comes more from vaults of the National Security Agency. In the 1940s, the NSA had a top-secret program called Venona which intercepted (and much later decoded) messages between Moscow and its American agents. The recent publication of a batch of Venona transcripts gives evidence that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were rife with communist spies and political operatives who reported, directly or indirectly, to the Soviet government, much as their anti-communist opponents charged. The Age of McCarthyism, it turns out, was not the simple witch hunt of the innocent by the malevolent as two generations of high school and college students have been taught.

The sum and substance of this growing body of material is that: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, executed in June 1953 for atomic espionage, were guilty Alger Hiss, a darling of the establishment was guilty and that dozens of lesser known persons such as Victor Perlo, Judith Coplon and Harry Gold, whose innocence of the accusations made against them had been a tenet of leftist faith for decades, were traitors or, at the least, the ideological vassals of a foreign power.

Even moderate politicians who insisted upon the fact -- and argued that these people might have influenced U.S. foreign policy -- were scorned. Sen. Robert Taft of Ohio said, "The greatest Kremlin asset in our history has been the pro-communist group in the State Department who surrendered to every demand of Russia at Yalta and Potsdam, and promoted at every opportunity the communist cause in China until today communism threatens to take over all of Asia." Secretary of State Dean Acheson, a pillar of the establishment, concluded that Taft had joined "the primitives."

The part played by Klaus Fuchs, a high-level physicist, who had worked at Los Alamos, has been known for many years, as has the treason of the Rosenbergs. Nevertheless, for as long as the subject was a hotly-disputed controversy, it was the practice in leftist circles to scoff at the rustic notion that the "secret" of the bomb could be stolen at all. Now we know, thanks to the latest Venona transcripts, that a Harvard-trained physicist named Theodore Alvin Hall was passing secrets about the instrument which changed world politics in the last half of the 20th century.

The disaster brought on by the end of the American atomic monopoly was not lost on the more perspicacious thinkers of the time. In 1947 Bertrand Russell, the British scientist, philosopher and pacifist leader, saw the monopoly as the world's only opportunity for preventing the Soviets from working their will on much of the globe. Noting the nature of "Asiatic communism" (which American liberals were often unable to see in its fullest dimensions), he argued for forcing Moscow into a humane capitulation, even if it took a military ultimatum to do it. But, as the right eye of American politics was blind to fascism in the 1930s, the left eye could not comprehend the nature of communism -- then or later.

And where was Harry Truman? His hagiographers today present him as the plucky, courageous, little guy who stood up to world communism and led America into a new age of cosmopolitan internationalism. It is a description that millions of his adult contemporaries would have found unrecognizable. In fact, the public conduct of the Truman administration became the affirmation of people who said Truman was soft on communism. When Winston Churchill delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech at Fulton, Mo. in March 1946, Truman immediately disavowed the former British prime minister. Astonishing as it may seem to those who get their history from movies and TV, the American president invited Joseph Stalin to come to Fulton and give a speech presenting his side of the story. Truman actually offered to send the battleship Missouri to fetch the Soviet tyrant.

Truman soon changed directions giving us the Truman Doctrine (calling for resistance to communism everywhere), the Marshall Plan (to rebuild Western Europe) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (to defend it from Soviet attack). Truman instituted so-called loyalty boards in all government agencies. But he also called the investigation of Alger Hiss "a red herring," encouraging the suspicion that the government was not really addressing the communist threat.

Inevitably came Sen. Joe McCarthy to exploit this suspicion. He came to fame on Feb. 9, 1950, when he gave a speech at McClure Hotel, in Wheeling, West Va. The exact text was not preserved but reporters on the scene quoted McCarthy as saying, "While I cannot take the time to name all of the men in the State Department who have been named as members of the Communist Party and members of a spy ring, I have here in my hand a list of 205 that were known to the secretary of state as being members of the Communist Party and who, nevertheless, are still working and shaping the policy in the State Department."

McCarthy, as his subsequent history would show, knew little about communism, on this side of the ocean or the other. This loutish, duplicitous bully, who carried, not the names of Reds but bottles of hootch in his briefcase died in disgrace and of alcoholism. Yet, in a global sense McCarthy was on to something. McCarthy may have exaggerated the scope of the problem but not by much. The government was the workplace of perhaps 100 communist agents in 1943-45. He just didn't know their names.

In response to McCarthy's attack John E. Peurifoy, deputy undersecretary of state, said that in the previous three years the government had investigated over 16,000 of its employees and had failed to find a communist. "If I can find a single one, he will be fired by sundown," Peurifoy declared. The Venona transcripts contain the code names of about 200 persons, although some of these were clearly persons who had unwitting contact with Soviet agents. The Venona documents indicate that there were perhaps a dozen Soviet agents in the State Department alone. It is now clear that the Truman administration wasn't looking very hard.

The political terror of the early 1950s, in which McCarthy was to play the role of a bush league Robespierre, was set off by wider forces and conflicts than a quarrel over whether or not the Roosevelt and Truman administrations had been penetrated by foreign agents.

The cellulose to which McCarthy applied his match was the Truman administration's acquiescence to the imposition of communist dictatorships across the eastern third of Europe. While Washington policymakers argued that only another world war could stop Stalin, millions of voters of Polish, Hungarian, Estonian, Czech, German, Lithuanian, Latvian and Ukrainian extraction saw nations to which they had the closest emotional ties come under Soviet thrall, sometimes by actual arrangement with the American government or in the face of a murmured pro forma opposition by Washington.

Starting in Wisconsin, whence McCarthy hailed, the political fire storm he ignited burned brightest where these emigre populations were most concentrated. In the eyes of celebrity liberalism, those up in arms about the government's acceptance of communist ambition were the unappetizing people of the dull world of the lower middle class. They were the piano-legged babushkas of American politics, stolid Slavs and such, thick of finger and numb of mind.

In the ongoing kulturkampf dividing the society, the elites of Hollywood, Cambridge and liberal think-tankery had little sympathy for bow-legged men with their American Legion caps and their fat wives, their yapping about Yalta and the Katyn Forest. Catholic and kitsch, looking out of their picture windows at their flocks of pink plastic flamingos, the lower middles and their foreign policy anguish were too infra dig to be taken seriously.

Once a year these people would hold huge Captive Nation Day rallies in cities across the country, which Democratic politicians of taste and sensibility avoided. The only Democrats in evidence at these rallies of unstylish anti-communists were often dismissed by their social superiors as smarmy, corrupt, machine pols. Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belsen, all the Nazi concentration camps were dismantled, but the Gulag grew and left-liberals like California congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas and the editors at the New Republic magazine seemed not to care. Working class anti-communist voters did not fail to notice the disdain with which some of the liberal intelligentsia regarded them. The early 1950s, not coincidentally, marked the beginning of the great outmigration of the blue-collar workers from the Democratic Party.

When McCarthy and his congressional allies began to demand testimony from alleged communists about the infiltration that was real but undocumented (the Venona program then being the most sensitive of state secrets), liberals denounced them for "star chamber" tactics.

This term was apt, perhaps more so than some of the righteous liberals knew. The "star chamber" was an innovation of 16th century England when the British monarchy faced a challenge very much like that of the United States in the early Cold War. In both cases, there was a clandestine ideology, loose in the land, supported with money and military power by a foreign government. In both cases, the practitioners were secretly engaged, not just in espionage but in ordinary politics. In England, suspected Spanish agents were grilled in secret chambers about their beliefs. The grilling of suspected communists four centuries later in America was quite similar. But the many abuses committed in the star chambers in no way change the fact that the clandestine methods of the foreign power were real and dangerous.

This is the essential truth that the left end of the American political spectrum has evaded. The consequences for liberal causes have been devastating. The communists' clandestine method poisoned the politics of civil rights in the 1950s. Many people were scared off of supporting the movement because of the common allegation that it was communist-inspired. The charge could not be effectively refuted because nobody knew who the hell a communist was.

Communist underground politics also fostered the notion that domestic communism had to be fought by secret means. The CIA adopted this notion by illegally sponsoring the National Student Association. This intervention in domestic politics was, of course, a violation of the CIA charter and a menace to the integrity of American democracy. But it was accepted, wittingly by some young liberal leaders of the National Student Association. A popular phrase time at the time was "fighting fire with fire." Communist secrecy had legitimated the idea.

The communist penetration contributed to the decline of American unions. When the Truman administration imposed "loyalty oaths" to get communists out of the government, union leaders were trapped. John L. Lewis, the president of the coal miners union and a (literally) violent foe of communists in his own rank and file, resisted loyalty oaths because he understood that they would lead to a kind of political regularity that would curb the labor movement's ability to challenge its business adversaries. He proved to be right. With the reality of domestic communism downplayed, old political prejudices were passed on and unthinkingly accepted.

In our own era liberals found Ronald Reagan's characterization of international communism as an "evil empire," gauche, tasteless and embarrassing. Would they have preferred, a very, very bad empire, a wicked one or merely naughty?

As yet unexplored is the possibility that certain features in the political culture of the American left are hand-me-downs from this period. The "elitism" and didacticism that so gall its opponents may be a morphed version of the communist doctrine of vanguard leadership. The liberal penchant for government giganticism, complex bureaucracy and central planning may also have taken root in the liberal admiration of the Soviet system in the 1930s.

Jackson Pollock: An American Saga

Jackson Pollock was more than a great artist, he was a creative force of nature. He changed not only the course of Western art, but our very definition of “art.” He was the quintessential tortured genius, an American Vincent van Gogh, cut from the same unconforming cloth as his contemporaries Ernest Hemingway and James Dean–and tormented by the same demons a “cowboy artist” who rose from obscurity to take his place among the titans of modern art, and whose paintings now command millions of dollars.

Naifeh and Smith portray the life behind that extraordinary achievement–the disjointed childhood, the sibling rivalry, the sexual ambiguity, and the artistic frustration out of which both artist and art developed. The biography won the Pulitzer Prize in 1991. It was a finalist for the National Book Award, the basis of the Academy Award-winning film “Pollock,” an inspiration for John Updike’s Seek My Face, and a New York Times bestseller. It was translated into French and Spanish.

Gene Davis

[Gene Davis was] a major figure in 20 th -century American painting whose contribution was invaluable in establishing Washington, D.C., as a center of contemporary art. Davis also played a significant national and international role in the color abstraction movement that first achieved prominence in the 1960 s.

Born in Washington, D.C., Davis attended local schools and later worked as a sportswriter and White House correspondent before pursuing a career in art. Although never formally trained, Davis educated himself through assiduous visits to New York’s museums and galleries as well as to Washington’s art institutions, especially the Phillips Collection. He also benefited from the guidance of his friend Jacob Kainen, an artist and art curator.

Davis considered his nonacademic background a blessing that freed him from the limitations of a traditional art school orientation. His early paintings and drawings—though they show the influence of such artists as the Swiss painter Paul Klee and the American abstractionist Arshile Gorky—display a distinct improvisational quality. This same preference for spontaneity characterizes Davis’s selection of color in his later stripe paintings. Despite their calculated appearance, Davis’s stripe works were not based on conscious use of theories or formulas. Davis often compared himself to a jazz musician who plays by ear, describing his approach to painting as ​ ‘ playing by eye.’

In the 1960 s, art critics identified Davis as a leader of the Washington Color School, a loosely connected group of Washington painters who created abstract compositions in acrylic colors on unprimed canvas. Their work exemplified what the critic Barbara Rose defined as the ​ ‘ primacy of color’ in abstract painting.

Although Davis’s work from the 1960 s—mostly hard-edged, equal-width stripe paintings—is generally viewed in the context of the Washington Color School, his goal differed significantly from the other Color School practitioners. Artists like Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland generally preferred what Noland called ​ ‘ oneshot’ compositions, mostly symmetrical images that could be comprehended at a glance.

In contrast, Davis experimented with complex schemes that lend themselves to sustained periods of viewing. Davis suggested that ​ “ instead of simply glancing at the work, select a specific color—and take the time to see how it operates across the painting.—Enter the painting through the door of a single color, and then you can understand what my painting is all about.” In discussing his stripe work, Davis spoke not simply about the importance of color, but about ​ ‘ color interval:’ the rhythmic, almost musical, effects caused by the irregular appearance of colors or shades within a composition.

Davis is known primarily for the stripe works that span twenty-seven years, but he was a versatile artist who worked in a variety of formats and media: modular compositions consisting of discrete, but related, pieces that together form one composition collages combining cutout fragments of images and text with painted and drawn elements Klee-inspired images that resemble musical scores and silhouette self-portraits. His works range in scale from miniscule micro-paintings to mammoth outdoor street paintings. Works in other media include printed conceptual pieces, video tapes, and abstract compositions in neon.

In keeping with his unorthodox attitudes, Davis’s works do not follow in an orderly sequence. Davis described his method as ​ “ a tendency to raid my past without guilt [by] going back and picking up on some idea that I flirted with briefly, say fifteen or twenty years ago. I will then take this idea and explore it more in depth, almost as if no time had elapsed between the present and the time of its original conception.” As a result, similar works may be separated by years or even decades. Davis’s works, which resonate with his romantic, free-wheeling approach to art-making, reveal a seriousness balanced by whimsy and an unpredictability that is always a source of joy.

Jacquelyn D. Serwer Gene Davis: A Memorial Exhibition (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1987 )

Gene Davis was a journalist before beginning to paint, and worked for a short time as a White House correspondent. He created his first painting when he was twenty-nine, and spent several years experimenting with abstract expressionism. But he later turned away from the lively, expressive style of this movement because he felt it was becoming a cliché. Davis developed his hard-edge stripe paintings in the late 1950 s to minimize the effects of brushwork and composition, allowing him to experiment purely with color. He later said that he couldn’t see why ​ “ anyone would want to put colors together in any other way.” He created micropaintings, some of which are only a quarter of an inch square, as well as huge installations, including an enormous painting on the road in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art that required more than four hundred gallons of paint. (Naifeh, Gene Davis, 1982 )

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Watch the video: Sacrifice and Freedom: The story of a WWII Sailor (January 2022).