Moreton Valence: Local government

Page 213

A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 10, Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1972.

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In 1252 it was said that Robert de Pontlarge and all his free and customary tenants used to go to the Whitstone hundred court twice a year, that Robert and his free tenants used to be on juries and assizes, but that those suits had been withdrawn by William de Valence. (fn. 1) In 1276 it was said that the suit at the hundred twice a year by all the free tenants and by 4 men and the reeve of Moreton had been withdrawn since 1252, (fn. 2) suggesting that a compromise about suit at the hundred had been reached in the interval. In 1287 William de Valence claimed view of frankpledge in Moreton and quittance of the shire and hundred; asked whether he claimed gallows in Moreton, William said that he had all judgements. (fn. 3) In 1276 he had claimed wreck. (fn. 4)

The court leet was recorded in 1613, (fn. 5) and the liberties that were conveyed with the manor in 1640 included view of frankpledge and the right to payments called Moorsilver and the common fine, collected by the tithingman of Moreton Valence. (fn. 6) The right to hold a court leet and view of frankpledge was part of the estate that Abraham Chamberlain sold to Sir Ralph Dutton in 1681. (fn. 7) The only court rolls found are drafts for 1730 and 1742; the court then appointed a tithingman, a constable, and a hayward, but little other business seems to have been done. (fn. 8)

Incomplete series of accounts of the overseers of the poor begin in 1651, of the churchwardens in 1719, and of the surveyors in 1737. (fn. 9) By 1653 the parish owned a building called the church house, (fn. 10) apparently built on the waste of the manor. (fn. 11) It may have been once used, or intended to be used, as a poorhouse (fn. 12) but c. 1775 it was let for a rent of 50s, used for the benefit of the poor. (fn. 13) The church house is likely to have been the house on the south-east edge of the churchyard, which was formerly two cottages. It is a rectangular building of two stories, timber-framed under rough-cast; one gable-end is of stone and the other has a large stone chimney with a moulded cap.

In the mid 17th century methods of relieving the poor included paying for rent, medical attention, and house-repairs. In 1653 the overseers bought a loom, (fn. 14) and in 1709 a broadweaver raised money temporarily by mortgaging his loom to the churchwardens and overseers. (fn. 15) In the 1660s and 1670s each of the two overseers accounted separately and was responsible for one division of the parish, from which, apparently, he collected the rate. (fn. 16) In the mid 18th century there were separate rate assessments for the upper and lower divisions, each with its own overseer. Items of expenditure included doctors' fees, rent, clothes, apprenticing, and a subscription to the Gloucester Infirmary. Total expenditure fell from £105 in 1756 (fn. 17) to c. £70 a year in the late 18th century, but was nearly £200 in the first decade of the 19th. (fn. 18) In 1823 the parish farmed its poor for £106 a year, but the arrangement seems to have come to an end in 1826. In that year 2 overseers were appointed for each division of the parish, and from 1827 to 1836 there were three for each. (fn. 19) Upkeep of the roads of the parish was apparently divided between three surveyors, for in the 18th century there was a surveyor for the middle division. (fn. 20) A waywarden continued to be appointed by the vestry until 1886 or later. (fn. 21)

The parish became part of the Wheatenhurst Poor Law Union in 1835, (fn. 22) and of the Wheatenhurst highway district in 1863. (fn. 23) With the rest of the Wheatenhurst Rural District it was transferred to the Gloucester Rural District in 1935. (fn. 24)


  • 1. Cal. Inq. Misc. i, p. 49.
  • 2. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), i. 180.
  • 3. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 255.
  • 4. Rot. Hund. i. 180.
  • 5. Par. rec., misc. papers B, no. 4.
  • 6. Glos. R.O., D 678/Moreton Valence/7.
  • 7. Ibid. 47.
  • 8. Ibid. 258, 260; cf. also 259, 263.
  • 9. B. & G. Par. Recs. 198.
  • 10. Par. rec., misc. papers B, no. 5.
  • 11. Glos. R.O., D 1828/6.
  • 12. G.D.R. Moreton Valence terriers, charitable gifts, 1683.
  • 13. Rudder, Glos. 559.
  • 14. Par. rec., overseers' acct. bk. 1651-86.
  • 15. Ibid. misc. papers B, no. 8.
  • 16. Ibid. overseers' acct. bk. 1651-86.
  • 17. Ibid. 1756-85.
  • 18. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 184-5.
  • 19. Par. rec., vestry min. bk. 1826-86.
  • 20. Ibid. surveyors' acct. bk. 1737-81.
  • 21. Ibid. vestry min. bk. 1826-86.
  • 22. Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. p. 524.
  • 23. Lond. Gaz. 24 Mar. 1863 (p. 1709).
  • 24. Census, 1931 (pt. ii).