Parish History

Community E-Noticeboard

Parish History


The name of the village derives from the Anglo-Saxon 'hope' meaning an enclosed valley, and  'Say' from the name of Picot de Say, who was given lands in South Shropshire and elsewhere by William the Conqueror. His name is also commemorated in nearby Stokesay.   At the time of the Domesday Survey (1087), the village was recorded as "Hope", the manor being held by Picot from Roger Earl of Montgomery, who was at that time by far the most important person in Shropshire.

From the Domesday Book

'Holding of Picot (de Say) under Earl Roger.

In the Hundred of Rinelau. Picot also holds (the manor of) HOPE. Edric held it. He was a free man. Seven hides pay tax.

There is land for 14 ploughs. (i.e. the land is only partly used; one plough covered one hide, c. 120 acres.)

In lordship 2 ploughs; 6 servi (?serfs/slaves). 14 villars; residents of a vill; (not strictly a village, not strictly a villager.

These became the superior yeomen farmers) A smith. (Only 64 smiths are mentioned in D.B. in the whole of England, 8 of those in Shropshire) And a prepositus, with 6 ploughs. These are shared with the smith and the villars. (The prepositi were subordinates of the sherriff. 68 are mentioned in D.B - 31 in Herefordshire, 9 in Shropshire.

They seem all to be in marches; typically they operated a Welsh system in which groups of vilIs under a prepositus rendered not manorial services, but food rents eg honey, pigs and cows. I think this was typical of custom in the Welshry of the Hundred).

The prepositus is often rendered as a 'reeve' in Domesday translations. He seems at this time to be a local official in the manor and the vill, always named with the villars.

Only once in Shropshire do we find one with half a plough to himself and two hays; sometimes rendered 'hedged enclosures': (these were areas, usually within woods, to control the driving and capture of wild animals; there were 5 in Clunton, 3 in Kempton, two here, many more along Wenlock Edge. The nobles loved their hunting. Sometimes this was defined 'wild beasts', 'roedeer', 'whatever can be taken'.) T.R.E. In the time of King Edward (the Confessor) i.e. pre 1066.The value then, £10.  In between, probably 1070 after the devastations, down to £3.  Little land under the plough, few men to work the 8-ox plough-teams; few oxen, perhaps; shortage of food for the oxen, too. Now, value up to £7; but still a lot of land not ploughed.'

Richard Fitzalan, third Earl of Arundel

The lands of the de Says passed to the Fitzalans in 1199, when Isobel de Say, daughter and heiress of Ingram de Say and married William Fitzalan, Lord of Oswestry.  At her death William's son became Lord of Oswestry and Clun.

In the middle of the thirteenth century, the Fitzalans acquired substantial interests and lands elsewhere in England and a claim to the Earldom of Arundel. Edmund Fitzalan, Lord of Oswestry, Chirk and Clun, was made first Earl of Arundel in 1315; he was beheaded in 1326.

The second Earl, his son Richard, became earl in 1331, and took a leading part in warfare by land and sea; he was more prudent than both his father and his son, and died having amassed a vast fortune in 1376.

His son, also Richard, was born in 1346, and succeeded to the earldom on the death of his father.

"The Fitzalans towered in the Marches. Only the Mortimers could match them in wealth and power." (R.R.Davies). The Marches Lords were Lords Royal, with royal liberty and regal jurisdictions; they were universal landlords who had complete control of markets, fairs, warren, forests and tolls. They paid no taxes to the king and had power to make peace and war.

The Black Death struck England in 1348, and arrived in Shropshire the next year. Perhaps about one-third of the entire population died, including vast numbers of the clergy, and Thomas de Clone (Clun), Rector of Hopesay.

The decimation of the population led to dramatic changes in the social structure of the country, and the reign of Richard n (1377-1399) was marked by widespread discontent. A series of highly unpopular taxes culminated in the imposition of a poll tax which led to the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, and to the murder of Simon Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury. The revolt ended when the young king (only fourteen years old, and not yet of age), with great personal courage, confronted the angry rebels; he made many promises, and reneged on them all. At this point, Richard Fitzalan, third Earl of Arundel, was appointed to the Privy Council and asked by Parliament to reform the king and the royal household. Arundel objected to the king's favourites, and with the Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Warwick and others successfully impeached most of them at the Merciless Parliament of 1388; Richard II never forgot, "concealing venom in his heart"

Richard Fitzalan was first married to Elizabeth de Bohun in 1359, and she bore him seven children; of the three sons only Thomas survived, becoming later the fourth Earl. Elizabeth died in 1358 and was buried at Lewes. During the 1380s, Richard acquired the reputation of being one of the best sea captains of his time.  In 1387 he defeated a great fleet of Flemish, French and Spanish ships off Margate and captured nearly a hundred vessels carrying the Bordeaux vintage to Antwerp.

In 1390 he married Philippa Mortimer, second daughter of the Earl of March: he failed to get the consent of the king, needed then as now when marrying into the line of succession to the crown (Philippa's brother, Roger, Earl of March was heir presumptive to the throne when he was killed in battle in Ireland in 1398). Arundel was fined 500 marks for marrying Philippa without the consent of the king.

Richard's opportunity for revenge came in 1394 when his wife, Queen Anne of Bohemia died; when Arundel arrived late for the funeral in Westminster Abbey, asking if he might leave early, the king struck him with a verger's staff, throwing him to the ground and drawing blood; he was sent to the tower for a week - a warning that his power was waning?

Three years later, in 1397, the king thought himself strong enough to deal with Arundel, Gloucester and Warwick. Deceitfully, he invited them to a banquet on 10 July 1397. Warwick alone accepted.  After dinner he was arrested and confessed in a grovelling way; he saved his life, but not his liberty or his reputation. Gloucester excused himself on the ground of ill-health; he was arrested the next day and sent Calais, where he died under mysterious circumstances. Arundel also excused himself, remaining in his fortified castle at Reigate. The king then urged the Archbishop of Canterbury, Arundel's younger brother, to persuade Arundel to come to him freely, swearing that no injury should come to him. Arundel complied, against his better judgement; he was arrested on July 12, sent first to Carisbrooke Castle and then to the Tower, was impeached, condemned and beheaded on September 20.

His brother, the Archbishop, fared rather better: he was banished by Richard II, took up the cause of the exiled Henry Bolingbroke, landing in England with him in 1399, and crowning him Henry IV. He was five times Chancellor of England.  Arundel's surviving son, also Thomas, eventually became the fourth Earl of Arundel, and the Arundel estates  were returned to him by Henry IV. He made several presentations to Hopesay parish.

The fragment of medieval glass at Hopesay Church shows the arms of Fitzalan (left) and the Mortimers (right) linked in marriage.  Phillippa was grand-daughter of Edward III through his mother, so any child would be in line for the throne.  The Crest is presumed to have been placed in Hopesay Church sometime between 1390 and 1397. 

This fragment is the only artefact in existence linked to Richard Fitzalan III.

Translation and commentary by Canon Robin Howard

Hopesay parish encompasses around 4000 acres of the Welsh Marches of South West Shropshire. 

Population approximately 400 persons