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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MANOR AND OTHER ESTATES.
Before the Conquest Brictric son of Algar held two hides in WOOLASTON within Twyford hundred. (fn. 1) Unlike other estates of the great thegn the manor of Woolaston probably never belonged to Queen Maud, (fn. 2) but was granted by William I to William FitzOsbern, Earl of Hereford (d. 1071). (fn. 3) William was succeeded by his second son Roger d'Ivry (also surnamed de Breteuil), who forfeited his estates for his rebellion in 1075. (fn. 4) They were granted to William of Eu who held the manor in 1086. He also forfeited his estates in 1096, after which they were held by the Crown until c. 1115 when Henry I gave them to William's grandson Walter de Clare (d. c. 1138). Walter founded Tintern Abbey in 1131, granting it the manor of Woolaston, an action confirmed by his nephew and heir Gilbert Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke (d. c. 1148) and between c. 1148 and 1155 by the latter's son Richard (d. 1176). (fn. 5) The manor was held by Tintern Abbey until its dissolution and in 1535 was by far the most valuable possession of the abbey, which received corn from the grange to the annual value of £22. (fn. 6)
The grange came into the king's hands in 1536, and was granted in 1537 to Henry Somerset, Earl of Worcester, together with other estates in Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire belonging to the abbey, the whole being worth £188 3s. 10d. a year, held as 1/10 knight's fee, rendering £88 3s. 10d. annually to the Crown. (fn. 7) Two-thirds of the manor were held in possession, and one third in reversion on the expiry of a lease from the abbot of Tintern to William Gough (d. 1551) and his son William (d. before 1551). (fn. 8) In 1549 the manor descended to Henry Somerset's son William (fn. 9) (d. 1589) who held it in 1574. (fn. 10) Edward Somerset (d. 1628) was seised of possessions formerly belonging to Tintern Abbey to the value of £20, which passed to his son Henry Somerset, (fn. 11) created Marquess of Worcester in 1643. With his son Edward, Lord Herbert, he was an active supporter of the king during the Civil War, and on the defeat of the royalist cause part of his lands, including the manor of Woolaston, were settled in 1647 on Oliver Cromwell and his heirs. (fn. 12)
The manor was restored to Edward Somerset, Marquess of Worcester, in 1660, (fn. 13) and passed to his son Henry (d. 1698), created Duke of Beaufort in 1682. The manor was held by successive Dukes of Beaufort. Henry's grandson Henry (d. 1714) was followed by his son Henry (d. 1745), (fn. 14) who settled the manor in 1742 on his son Charles Noel Somerset (d. 1756). By his will Charles settled it on his son Henry, subject to an annuity of £2,400 from the whole Tidenham and Woolaston estate to his wife Elizabeth. She survived until 1799, her annuity from Woolaston manor being reduced to £1,500 under the marriage settlement of Henry Somerset (d. 1803) in 1766. The manor was settled in turn on the marriages of Henry Charles Somerset (d. 1835) in 1791, his son Henry (d. 1853) in 1814, and Henry's son Henry Charles Fitzroy Somerset (d. 1899) in 1845. (fn. 15) The whole estate in the parish was sold in 1872, to Samuel Stephens Marling of King's Stanley (d. 1883), created a baronet in 1882. (fn. 16) The estate passed to his son Sir William Henry Marling (d. 1919) and the latter's son Colonel Sir Percival Scrope Marling, (fn. 17) who sold it in 1921. By 1886 the Marling estate had been enlarged to include most of the parish except property at Brookend, Netherend, and part of Woolaston Common, (fn. 18) and a large proportion of it was bought by a syndicate led by W. N. Jones of Llandybie (Carms.) which resold later in the year. (fn. 19) Woolaston Grange was bought by the tenant, J. W. Robinson, who sold it in 1940 to W. P. M. Lysaght of Tidenham. The tenant; G. Guest, bought the Grange in 1956, and in 1966 his son Mr. J. Guest sold it to Mr. B. H. Samuel, the owner in 1969, keeping c. 120 a. near the Gloucester-Chepstow road for his own use. (fn. 20) The farm-house was probably the house with 5 hearths in 1662 occupied by Charles Guillim, (fn. 21) and was described as one of the noblest seats in the county early in the 18th century. (fn. 22) It was rebuilt between c. 1775 and 1813 as a square stone and rough-cast house of three stories with a hipped slate roof and verandah, flanked by twostory wings. Among the extensive range of farm buildings, many of which also date from c. 1800, (fn. 23) is a large stone barn perhaps of the 17th century and the remains of a medieval monastic chapel. The chapel was used as a malt-house c. 1775 (fn. 24) and as a two-storied granary in 1921. (fn. 25) The chapel was still recognizable c. 1940 when it formed the east end of a range of stone outbuildings. It then retained its bellcot (added in 1874 when also the gable was raised), (fn. 26) two lancet windows in the north wall, and a two-light pointed window with cusped tracery at the east end which may have dated from about 1300. In 1861 the window had contained four lights; the outer two were then blocked and later (probably in 1874) they were completely filled in and the centre two lights lengthened. Beneath it was an entrance to the barrel-vaulted undercroft. (fn. 27) The stone slate roof started to collapse c. 1940 and fell in 1963. The building was largely demolished after 1966, a bell dated 1711 being preserved. (fn. 28) In 1969 only a portion of the west end remained standing with the partly filled vault below it. Most of the surviving features appeared to date from the conversion of the chapel to a malt-house, perhaps in the 17th century; they included a square-headed stone window, two wide arches forming part of a passage below the west end of the building, and a third arch (later blocked) giving access to a lean-to addition.
ASHWELL GRANGE also formerly belonged to Tintern Abbey, and probably formed part of Walter's grant of the manor of Woolaston in 1131. The farm may be identified with 200 a. of new assarts (of which only 150 a. were cultivated) in the chase of the Earl Marshal made by the abbey before 1282, (fn. 29) and the land inclosed from the arable called 'Hathoneshall' in 1291. (fn. 30) That is the earliest form found of the place-name which occurs as 'Harolneshalle' in 1307, (fn. 31) 'Halishall' grange in 1535 and 1537, (fn. 32) 'Hassells' in 1628, and 'Haswell' in 1769 and 1775; (fn. 33) the modern form does not appear before 1815. (fn. 34) The grange was leased by the abbey in 1535, when a rent of 9s. was paid to the lordship of Striguil, presumably for assarts or rights of common in Tidenham Chase. (fn. 35) It was included in the grant to Henry Somerset, Earl of Worcester, in 1537, (fn. 36) and descended with the estate until the sale of 1921. It was bought then by Mrs. Packer, whose son Mr. H. Packer was the owner in 1969. (fn. 37) The stone and rough-cast farm-house is of two stories with a stone slate roof, and is of late-18th- or early-19th-century date. Until 1935 the parish boundary ran through the farmyard so that some of the farm, in 1921 24 a. out of 134 a., lay in Tidenham. (fn. 38)
The Domesday manor of MADGETT forming a detached part of the parish on Tidenham Chase also belonged to Brictric before the Conquest. It consisted of three hides which in 1086 were owned by the king, William of Eu holding two hides, Roger de Lacy half a hide, and Malmesbury Abbey half a hide which it was said had been given by the king. The estate of William of Eu descended like the manor of Woolaston to Walter de Clare who granted it together with pasture rights in Tidenham Chase and the fisheries of Wall Weir, Half Weir, and Baddings Weir to Tintern Abbey in 1131. (fn. 39) Roger Bigod gave the abbey c. 1285 an additional 28 a. at Madgett extending from the Valley called 'Haselden' to the abbey's grange. (fn. 40) The half hide held by Roger de Lacy was given c. 1110 by Hugh de Lacy to Llanthony Priory, Gloucester. Richard de Clare confirmed the gift c. 1150, (fn. 41) but the land was soon afterwards granted by Llanthony to Tintern Abbey, for before 1169, as part of a composition affecting disputed parochial rights in Woolaston and Alvington, the abbot was required to restore the property to Llanthony. (fn. 42) The two monasteries evidently later made a fresh agreement, for by the Dissolution Llanthony had no property at Madgett. The half hide held in 1086 by Malmesbury Abbey continued in its possession until the Dissolution, when it was let at £1 6s. 8d. to Tintern Abbey. (fn. 43) The whole of Madgett was included in the grant to Henry Somerset in 1537, and descended with the Woolaston estate until 1921. (fn. 44) It was a single holding of 313 a. c. 1700 (fn. 45) but early in the 19th century two cottages were erected at Sheepcot to form a separate farm, (fn. 46) consisting of 282 a. in 1872, of which 118 a. lay in Tidenham. At the same date Madgett farm comprised 371 a., of which 213 a. chiefly of woodland were in Tidenham. (fn. 47) In 1921 the two farms, reduced to 157 a. at Madgett Farm and 91 a. at Sheepcot Farm, were sold as part of the Marling estate, and have since been owned by individual farmers. (fn. 48) Madgett farm-house, described as old in 1813, (fn. 49) was probably rebuilt c. 1820 at the same time as Sheepcot. It is a stone and partly rough-cast house of two stories and attics. Sheepcot, which was a single dwelling in 1969, is also stone and rough-cast, the former stone slate roof being raised in 1968-9 to make a two-storied house. (fn. 50)
In the east part of the parish there were two estates at ALUREDSTON in 1066, both in Lydney hundred. One comprised three hides held by Bondi, the other two hides held by Ulnod. In 1086 both were held by William of Eu, a claim to Bondi's manor by Henry de Ferrers being dismissed on the grounds that it had formerly been held by Ralph de Limesi, (fn. 51) whose estates were acquired by William of Eu c. 1075. (fn. 52) Aluredston did not form part of the grant of Woolaston to Tintern Abbey by Walter de Clare in 1131 (fn. 53) but remained part of the lordship of Striguil and until 1302 followed the same descent as Tidenham manor, (fn. 54) being held by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, in 1223. (fn. 55) For much of the 13th century the manor was held by members of the Derneford family as under-tenants. About 1255 Roger de Derneford was given licence for a priest to celebrate in the chapel of Aluredston, (fn. 56) and in 1282 Roger Bigod held 2 a. of new assarts in Aluredston which had been made without warrant by William de Derneford. (fn. 57) In 1302 Roger gave the manor to Tintern Abbey in exchange for the manor of 'Plateland' (Mon). (fn. 58) It was held by the abbey until the Dissolution when it was granted to Henry Somerset, (fn. 59) and descended with the Woolaston estate, (fn. 60) losing its distinct identity. Plusterwine farm, which was included in the Beaufort estate, represents part of the manor. It consisted of 344 a. in 1813, of which 61 a. were tithe-free as former abbey property, (fn. 61) but when it was sold to S. S. Marling in 1872 it had been reduced to 232 a. (fn. 62) In 1921 it was bought by W. P. M. Lysaght of Tidenham, who sold it in 1957 to the tenant, Mr. P. Guest, who owned it in 1969. The farm then comprised 204 a., (fn. 63) the farm-house being an early 19th-century house with two stories and attics built chiefly of stone with a Welsh slate roof.
The other chief farms of the Beaufort estate in 1769 were Keynsham, Edge farm and Whitewalls, Abbey Passage or Ferry farm on the east bank of the River Wye opposite Tintern Abbey, and Brockweir and Townsend farms at Brockweir. (fn. 64) All were sold in 1872 to S. S. Marling, and since the sale of the Marling estate in 1921 have been in different ownership. (fn. 65)
The estate centred on PLUSTERWINE HOUSE was evidently not part of the Tintern Abbey estate, for, unlike all the other land in the parish that had belonged to the abbey, it was subject to tithe in 1842 (fn. 66) and is not recorded as part of the Beaufort estate. The house, however, stands only a short distance east of Plusterwine Farm and, as indicated below, these was a considerable house on the site in the Middle Ages. It is therefore possible that it represents the chief house of Aluredston manor, and that the house and some land were withheld from the exchange of 1302 between Roger Bigod and Tintern Abbey or were alienated before the exchange. Plusterwine House was said, much later, to have been the residence of the Woodroffe family since the Civil War, (fn. 67) but although James Woodroffe held land in Cone House field east of Plusterwine in 1697 (fn. 68) it has not been possible to trace the ownership of Plusterwine House with any certainty before 1769. It was then owned by J. Woodroffe, (fn. 69) presumably James Woodroffe (d. 1776) who devised it to his wife Mary with reversion to his son James (d. 1822). The younger James devised it to trustees for his son Edmund, and Edmund sold the farm of 109 a. in 1842 to his son-in-law James Stevens of Tutshill in Tidenham, (fn. 70) who died in 1864 leaving a son and daughter, both reputedly insane. (fn. 71) From c. 1879 it was farmed by William Henry Woodroffe (d. 1904) and from c. 1925 successively by Martin Davis and Arthur Davis. (fn. 72) The latter sold it to Mr. G. E. Hunt in 1957, who enlarged the area in 1962 by the purchase of 34 a. from Gumstalls, and in 1969 had a farm of 166 a. (fn. 73) Plusterwine House is an L-shaped three-storied building, covered externally with modern rough-cast. The oldest part is the range running east and west which is timber-framed and probably dates from the late 16th or early 17th century. It was then of two stories and attics with a large central chimney. An original newel stair reaching to the former attic floor has survived beside the chimney. In the earlier 18th century a wing projecting southwards was added to the most westerly bay of the range; it retains paired sash windows with original wide glazing bars. At a later date the roof of the older range was raised to give a full top story and all the door and window openings were altered. In the farmyard, incorporated in the end wall of an out-building used as a pigsty in 1969, is the base of a stone chimney with, on its inner face, a late medieval fireplace. The fireplace, which has a relieving arch above it, is of moulded stone, having a shouldered arch and spandrels carved with cusped panels. As the chimney appears to be standing in situ it evidently marks the position of a dwelling-house at Plusterwine which preceded the present one. An even earlier house may have occupied the moated site to the south-west: in 1969 the site was almost level and the outline of the moat indiscernible. Within the farmyard is an early 19thcentury brick-built dovecot of two stories, with hipped slate roof and pointed Gothic doorway and windows.
At Brookend the Woodroffe family also owned Hoskins's House, later called WOOLASTON COURT. It was settled by Edmund Woodroffe on his marriage in 1729, and devised by his will to his cousin James Woodroffe in 1779. In 1803 it was owned by Edmund Woodroffe, iron-manufacturer, who was declared bankrupt and whose estates were sold in 1805. James Woodroffe of Plusterwine successfully claimed a title to a small part of the farm that year. By 1835 the estate was owned by Mrs. Mary Smith, (fn. 74) who was still in possession in 1842. (fn. 75) The neighbouring house, called Platt's House, was also part of Edmund Woodroffe's property on his bankruptcy. It had belonged in the 18th century to John Shere of Woolaston, son of Richard and Anne Shere and perhaps a descendant of Edward Shere of 1608. (fn. 76) On the death in 1771 of John's heir, Henry Shere, a London goldsmith, Platt's House was sold to John Barrow, who devised it before 1793 to Walter Harris of Walford (Herefs.). Walter died before 1802 when William Harris of Woolaston assigned a mortgage of the house to Edmund Woodroffe, who had occupied it since at least 1771, (fn. 77) and it was included in the sale of his property in 1805. (fn. 78) By 1836 Mrs. Phoebe Smith was the owner, (fn. 79) and in 1897 52 a. were attached to it. (fn. 80)
The farm of 26 a. called GREEN POOL at Plusterwine may have been the land bought in 1576 by William Morris from William son of John Marche. (fn. 81) In 1688 it passed on the death of Henry Morris to his sister Elizabeth, who married William Watkins c. 1689. Their daughter Anne married John Parry of Abergavenny in 1740, who sold Green Pool to James White of Woolaston in 1775. The latter devised it by his will in 1786 to his grandson James Hodges. (fn. 82) James Hodges was the owner in 1842 when the farm comprised 26 a., (fn. 83) and since c. 1920 it has been held by members of the Biddle family. (fn. 84) The house, built early in the 19th century, is of stone with three stories.
James Stevens, the owner of Plusterwine House in the mid 19th century, also owned an estate of 93 a. called WOOLASTON WOODSIDE. The principal farm of 67 a. was known in 1839 as Woodside Hartlands or Hentland, but in 1815 had been centred on a cottage called Gains. The tenant that year was Anne Knight, and the farm-house was usually called Knights Farm later in the 19th century. Edward Worgan owned it in 1791 having inherited part of the estate from his father John Worgan and bought part called Comyns in 1781 from John Barrow, the latter having bought it in 1771 on the death of Henry Shere of Platt's House. Edward Worgan (d. 1815) devised the estate to his son John Bannister Worgan of Bedminster (d. 1833), who left it by his will to his son Edward Powell Worgan. The latter sold it in 1839 to James Stevens, then of Hewelsfield. (fn. 85) By 1842 its size had been reduced to 71 a. with a farm-house near Woolaston Common, (fn. 86) and it was still owned by Stevens on his death in 1864. By 1886 it had become part of the Marling estate but was sold to W. Peters in 1905. (fn. 87) The farm-house was enlarged about that time, the homestead at Knights Farm also owned by W. Peters being allowed to fall into ruins. It was subsequently owned by S. and E. Peters until its purchase in 1941 by Mr. C. J. Clutterbuck, who in 1969 had a farm of 125 a. with a riding school. (fn. 88)
HIGH WOOLASTON FARM belonged to the Hammond family for much of the 18th and 19th centuries. It had been held by Anthony Shipman (d. 1666), (fn. 89) whose tombstone in the floor of a downstairs room in the farm-house was removed c. 1950. (fn. 90) His nephew was James Hammond, (fn. 91) probably the same James who in 1680 settled the farm on his marriage, (fn. 92) and in 1769 a James Hammond, grandson of James, was the principal landowner adjoining the Beaufort estate at High Woolaston. (fn. 93) By his will proved in 1794 James Hammond (d. 1780) devised his estate to his widow Hester. It then consisted of eight messuages and c. 110 a., chiefly at High Woolaston and Woolaston Woodside, which with the exception of Coney's House were settled in 1782 on James's son James Hammond (d. 1819) who devised it in 1818 to his brother Anthony (d. 1832) with reversion to his nephew James (d. 1823). (fn. 94) The latter in 1815 was lessee of Woolaston Grange, (fn. 95) which Anthony also rented at one period, (fn. 96) and in 1821 held the Duke of Beaufort's fishery from Beachley to Cone Pill. (fn. 97) By 1842 High Woolaston Farm was owned by Francis Hammond, (fn. 98) but by 1886 belonged to Sir William Marling. (fn. 99) It was bought in 1907 by F. Betteridge who sold it in 1948 to Mr. H. Nicholas, the owner in 1969. The farm-house and buildings stand round three sides of an open courtyard. The oldest part of the house, facing the road, is of two stories with attics, and dates from the late 16th century. Beams downstairs have chamfered edges with scroll stops, and fireplaces removed c. 1950 bore the date 1600. A wing projecting from the east end of the house was added in the 17th century. It is of two stories with a small loft, and the beams have plain mouldings. The main entrance is in the same wing in the angle formed with the older part of the house, and the doorway has a four-centred arch; until c. 1950 the wing was used for store rooms, like the corresponding wing on the west in 1969. The whole building is of stone with a Welsh slate and partly stone slate roof.