Churches homes of the Moilliet Family
In the 12th century St Michael's was built as a typically squat Norman building with a tower at the western end.
In the 14th century, to make a grander building, the roof was raised by 10ft, and flying buttresses were built on the north side to take the extra weight, and a shingle spire was erected on the tower.
In the 16th century the extra weight had caused the walls to bulge so the roof was lowered to the original height. Sadly the damage could not be undone and by the middle of the 18th century St Michael's was collapsing and St Mary's was built as a replacement.
In 1962, when Richard Bevan became the Rector of Abberley, a dangerous ivy covered ruin was all that remained of St Michael's. With his inspiration and leadership the chancel was closed off and restored, and the villagers reduced the remainder of the ruin to a safe height. During this work five medieval spoons were found and they are now in the British Museum as, following a lengthy case in the coroner's court at that time, the spoons were declared treasure trove.
St Mary's Abberley was built in 1850 to replace the old Norman Church of St Michael's.
The family was instrumental in the construction of St. Mary's and later contributed a significant amount toward restoring the structure after it was severely damaged by fire. John Lewis Moilliet (1836 - 1909) was Rector of the church from 1865 to 1904.
There is a clock tower that stands isolated on a knoll near Abberley Hall. This 'folly' is sitting in a gap between Abberley Hill and Woodbury Hills, and is known as 'Jones's Folly'.
In Arthur Mee's 'The Kings England' he comments,' It is a landmark where no landmark is needed and accords ill with the rural scene'. Built by John Joseph Jones, a Lancastrian cotton magnate, in the grounds of Abberley Hall, which he had bought from the Moilliets a Birmingham banking family. On 4th May 1883 Jones and his wife Sarah laid the foundation stone for the tower. Some said at the time, as a response to the grandeur of his neighbours, the Earl of Dudley, of Witley Court.
It rose to a height of 161ft and cost £12,000, including a barrel carillon of 21 bells. Several counties can be seen from the top.