Saturday, June 11, 2005

Much Dewchurch - County of Hereford

dew1: "Poor Man's Wood, which runs down the side of Coles Tump above the Mynde is really 'Devil's Wood', for in Saxon times as now in Germany, Satan is often spoken of as the 'Poor Man' and preserved memories of the rights in which the ancient inhabitants offered victims to Coel the God of Heaven. Everyone in the parish knows the legend that if a tree is felled in that wood, the owner of the Mynde or his heir will die within the year. "

Anciently the area of South Herefordshire (Archenfield) was quite lawless. The breach with Rome 1534, was a new cause for disorder for in the Welsh borders Catholic feeling ran strong. In that year an Act was passed for the punishment of Welshmen attempting assault in Herefordshire. By the Act of Union 1536, the border lordships were assimilated to England. Herefordshire had been subjected to consistent intrusion by the Welsh. Even the Pye (ap Hugh) family were involved, for in 1523 Walter Apie, in Dewchurch sued out a pardon for burglary at Dewsall in the house of John A'Court, with intent to murder him, for which he was outlawed. Earlier, Thomas Barre of Dewsall had complained that John Aberhall of Archenfield had sent John and Walter ap Pee (Pye) and others numbering sixty, in war-like array to cut his hay and corn. The archives are full of such disturbances at this early period.

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