Local government


Victoria County History



C R Elrington, N M Herbert, R B Pugh (Editors), Kathleen Morgan, Brian S Smith

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'Westbury-on-Severn: Local government', A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 10: Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds (1972), pp. 97-98. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=15768 Date accessed: 29 November 2014.


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Profits of court were received for Burghill manor in 1303, (fn. 24) and for Robert de Sapy's portion of Westbury manor in 1337, (fn. 25) but no court rolls and no later reference to a court on any of the divisions of Westbury manor have been found. Court rolls for Rodley manor survive for 1541, 1546, 1550-2, (fn. 26) 1716-30, and 1751-69, (fn. 27) and draft rolls and court papers for most years between 1671 and 1840. (fn. 28) View of frankpledge, pleas of vetitum namium, and assize of bread and ale were among the wide range of liberties claimed by the Earl of Lancaster on Rodley manor in the 1280s, (fn. 29) and two views of frankpledge were being held each year in the early 15th century. (fn. 30) From the late 17th century the court, combining a view of frankpledge and a court baron, met twice a year in spring and autumn, usually at one of the inns in the manor; special courts baron dealt with admissions to copyholds when required. (fn. 31) In the mid 16th century pleas of trespass and covenant were heard, assaults and bloodshed were presented, and the assize of ale was enforced in the court; (fn. 32) there was an isolated presentment of bloodshed in 1682, (fn. 33) and in 1752 a plaintiff brought an action in the court by writ of right. (fn. 34) Wrecks, which were the property of the lord of the manor, were presented in 1692 and 1717. (fn. 35) The court elected tithingmen for Elton, Rodley, and Adsett in the mid 16th century, (fn. 36) but from the late 17th to the early 19th century it elected four constables, for Rodley, for Elton, for Cleeve, Adsett, and Stantway, and for Chaxhill and Bollow; (fn. 37) c. 1775, however, officers for those tithings were called tithingmen. Of the tithings of the parish outside Rodley manor, Upper Ley and Northwood were then under one tithingman while there was one each for Lower Ley and Boseley. (fn. 38)

Churchwardens' accounts survive for various years in the period 1664-84, and for 1747-1811, (fn. 39) overseers' accounts for 1666-93, 1709-28, 1749-72, (fn. 40) and 1804-35, (fn. 41) and vestry minutes from the mid 18th century. (fn. 42) There were two churchwardens and three overseers in the mid 17th century and later; surveyors of the highways were appointed for each tithing. (fn. 43) The usual forms of poor relief were administered in the late 17th and earlier 18th centuries. (fn. 44) The parish was apprenticing children in 1673, (fn. 45) and between 1700 and 1827 usually 5 children and sometimes as many as 10 were apprenticed each year. (fn. 46) The church house on the west side of the churchyard was divided into several tenements for the use of the poor in 1675, (fn. 47) and in 1737 paupers were housed there and in several other houses adjoining. (fn. 48) In 1789-90 the parish built a workhouse, (fn. 49) and a manager was appointed for it in 1792. In 1795 a Gloucester firm of pinmakers contracted to employ the paupers in the workhouse for 7 years. (fn. 50) In 1803 the workhouse had 10 occupants, who earned £25 in that year, (fn. 51) and in 1815 39 paupers were housed there. (fn. 52) An assistant overseer was appointed from 1818, and a parish doctor was retained from 1831. (fn. 53) The cost of relief maintained a gradual increase from the late 17th century but after the mid 18th century it rose rapidly until c. 1818, after which it remained fairly stable. (fn. 54) The number of people on permanent relief remained at c. 70 during the first 35 years of the 19th century but those on occasional relief numbered 102 in 1815 compared with 20 in 1803. (fn. 55) In 1835 Westbury was included in the Westbury Union, (fn. 56) which bought the workhouse for its own use. (fn. 57) The workhouse, which stands west of Westbury village street, comprises a long three-story brick range, apparently incorporating the original parish workhouse, and a larger brick range behind, evidently built in 1874, (fn. 58) in which a chapel is included. The buildings later housed a county council welfare home, called Westbury Hall, which was closed in 1969. (fn. 59) A local board of health for Westbury was formed in 1863, (fn. 60) and in consequence the parish became an urban district under the act of 1894, (fn. 61) but it was taken into Gloucester Rural District in 1935. (fn. 62)


24 Inq. p.m. Glos. 1301-58, 13.
25 Ibid. 254.
26 D.L. 30/77/987-9.
27 Glos. R.O., D 326/M 10-11.
28 Ibid. M 12, M 16.
29 Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 253.
30 D.L. 29/595/9528.
31 Glos. R.O., D 326/M 12, M 16.
32 D.L. 30/77/987-9.
33 Glos. R.O., D 326/M 16.
34 Ibid. M 11.
35 Glos. R.O., D 326/M 10, M 16.
36 D.L. 30/77/987-9.
37 Glos. R.O., D 326/M 10-12, M 16.
38 Rudder, Glos. 793-4.
39 Glos. R.O., P 354/CW 2/1-2.
40 Ibid. OV 2/1-5.
41 Ibid. P 354A/OV 2/1-3.
42 Ibid. P 354/CW 2/2; VE 2/1-3.
43 Ibid. P 354/VE 2/1.
44 Ibid. OV 2/1-5.
45 Ibid. 1.
46 Ibid. VE 2/2.
47 Ibid. OV 2/1.
48 G.D.R. Westbury terriers, charitable gifts; L. Wilkinson, Account of the Charities of Westbury on Severn (Westbury, 1894), 6: Glos. Colln. R 328.3.
49 Glos. R.O., P 354/OV 9/1-2.
50 Ibid. CW 2/2.
51 Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 184-5.
52 Ibid. 1818, 156-7.
53 GIoc. R.O., P 354/VE 2/2.
54 Ibid. OV 2/1, 4-5; P 354A/OV 2/1-3; Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 184-5; Glos. R.O., P 354A/OV 2/1-3.
55 Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 184-5; 1818, 156-7; Glos. R.O., P 354A/OV 2/2-3.
56 Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. p. 524.
57 Glos. R.O., P 354/CW 2/2.
58 Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1889), 933.
59 The workhouse was demolished in 1970, after the completion of the account here printed.
60 Return of Districts, H.C. 80, p. 22 (1867), lix.
61 Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1897), 345.
62 Census, 1931 (pt. ii).