Callow End gets its name from the old Saxon word Calwe or Calwa, referring to a bare hillside, and even now the Old Hills at the edge of the village still have very few trees. There has been a settlement here since long before the Domesday Book was compiled.
Upon many modern maps Callow End is shown as Stanbrook, referring to the Benedictine monastery known as Stanbrook Abbey. The nuns took up residence in July 1838 and left in May 2009. The Tower which dominates the village was built in 1871, by Pugin the Younger, the son of the Pugin who designed the Houses of Parliament. The clock strikes not only quarters, but every 7½ minutes, and the bells which call the nuns to church ring frequently during the day, which often surprises newcomers to the area.
There are several black and white cottages of great interest: one, The Glebe, is a cruck house, and an example of the oldest type of dwelling still surviving in England.
Today, the local hostelries are two in number, but in former years it took a greater number to quench the thirst of the locals! One of them, down at Pixham Ferry, was called The Boat and provided refreshment and entertainment for over 300 years.
The Pixham ferry boat was sunk during heavy floods in 1939 and unfortunately it was never replaced. It had for years been the only means of visiting the nearest doctor, resident in the opposite village of Kempsey.
Prior’s Court is a very early manor house, famous for its ghost. She is known as the Grey Lady, and several sightings have been recorded. At one time it was difficult to keep servants in this house and one tenant actually asked for a reduction of rates for this reason. It is an interesting house, having a cockpit in the gardens for many years, and was for a time, the home of Sir Walter Monckton, friend of the Duke of Windsor.
Concerning the Old Hills, it was said that many of the cottages there were called ‘squatter’s rights’, because if a man could build a chimney during the night and have his fire lit by morning, the surrounding land, as far as he could throw a hammer, was his.
In the past, hops have been a great source of income for the village. Until 1952, when mechanisation took over, workers from the Black Country livened up the village considerably as they took their annual holiday harvesting the hops. They slept in out-buildings at The Flax House in Beauchamp Lane. One supposes that the place has never been quite the same since their departure, though some hops are still grown and harvested here.
The Pound is still standing but these days no animals are retained there except those tied to the railings whilst their owners go to fetch the papers from the Pound Stores. The village is fortunate in that it has a general store, a garage and a post office. There is still a village school, a Working Men’s Club, a good village hall, a really thriving Women’s Institute, and last, but by no means least, a chapel of ease, dedicated to St James.
Newcomers will find it a friendly and welcoming village, ready to offer help and friendship.
Text taken from “The Worcestershire Village
compiled by the Worcestershire Federation of Women’s Institutes 1988