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.
In 1086 Durand of Gloucester held Moreton, which was assessed at 3 hides. Before the Conquest Auti had held it. (fn. 1) The overlordship descended with Durand's manor of Haresfield, passing to the Earls of Hereford: (fn. 2) Moreton was held of the Earl of Hereford in 1246 (fn. 3) and although the tenants in demesne were said to hold of the king in chief in the early 14th century (fn. 4) the earl's overlordship was later recorded. (fn. 5) Moreton was part of the honor of Hereford assigned to Mary, wife of Henry of Lancaster, (fn. 6) later Henry IV, and in 1413 and 1419 was said to be held as of Haresfield manor. (fn. 7) It was said to be held of the earldom of Derby in 1453, (fn. 8) of the honor of Hereford as of Haresfield manor in 1460, (fn. 9) of the honor of Hereford in 1504, (fn. 10) and of the king in chief in 1619 (fn. 11)and 1631. (fn. 12)
Successive members of the Little (parvus) family evidently held Moreton under the Earls of Hereford in the 12th century. (fn. 13) Roger Little, son of Hugh (fn. 14) gave the churches of Moreton and Whaddon to Hereford cathedral between 1148 and 1154, (fn. 15) and with his son Hugh gave land in Whaddon to Gloucester Abbey before 1155. (fn. 16) By 1163 Hugh had succeeded Roger. (fn. 17) In 1166 Hugh Little was recorded as holding 4 knights' fees in Gloucestershire which he had held in 1135 of Durand's great-nephew, Miles of Gloucester; (fn. 18) Hugh may have been confused with his grandfather. Another Roger Little had succeeded at least to the lands in Whaddon by 1205. (fn. 19)
William de Pontlarge was evidently in possession of the estate in the early 13th century: he had a mill next to land in Framilode granted by Henry and Maud de Bohun (fn. 20) and in 1224 and 1226 he and his wife Margery owed a rent of 2 cart-loads of hay from Moreton meadows to Gloucester Abbey. (fn. 21) About the same time he made an agreement with the abbey about willows by his garden in Moreton, which was witnessed by his heir Robert. (fn. 22) Robert de Pontlarge died in or before 1246 holding 2¼ knights' fees in Moreton and Whaddon; his wife Constance retained them with the king's leave, and his brother Ralph was his next heir after William de Pontlarge, who had been outlawed. (fn. 23) By 1247, (fn. 24) however, William de Pontlarge, described as brother and heir of Robert, had granted to William de Valence, Henry III's half-brother, all his right in Robert's inheritance, including the manor of MORETON, (fn. 25) later called MORETON VALENCE. William de Valence died in 1296, his widow Joan (d. 1307) (fn. 26) retaining ⅓ of Moreton and Whaddon in dower. Their son and heir, Aymer de Valence, (fn. 27) Earl of Pembroke, died holding the two manors in 1324 and leaving three coheirs. (fn. 28)
Moreton was assigned to Elizabeth Comyn, (fn. 29) whose mother Joan, wife of John Comyn, was William de Valence's sister. Elizabeth married first Richard Talbot, Lord Talbot (d. 1356), and secondly Sir John Bromwich (d. 1388). (fn. 30) Talbot, assessed for the highest amount of tax in Moreton in 1327, (fn. 31) made a settlement of the manor in 1355. (fn. 32) At Elizabeth's death in 1372 she was said to be seised of the manor in demesne as of fee, (fn. 33) but in 1373 her second husband and her son Gilbert Talbot jointly held 2 knights' fees in Moreton and Whaddon. (fn. 34) Gilbert Talbot died in 1387 and his son Richard in 1396 (fn. 35) having conveyed the manor to trustees. Richard's heir was his son Gilbert, (fn. 36) but Richard's widow Ankaret (d. 1413) (fn. 37) and her second husband Thomas Neville, Lord Furnivale, held ⅓ of Moreton and Whaddon. (fn. 38) Gilbert Talbot died in 1418, having settled the manors on trustees, (fn. 39) and his daughter and heir Ankaret died in 1421 to be succeeded by Gilbert's brother John, created Earl of Shrewsbury in 1442. (fn. 40) The earl was holding Moreton and Whaddon at his death in 1453, (fn. 41) and in 1460 his son and heir John died holding 2/3 of the manors, as 1 knight's fee, the remaining ⅓ being held by the first earl's second wife, Margaret. (fn. 42) Margaret's eldest son, called John Talbot like his eldest half-brother, was created Viscount Lisle, his mother being the eldest of three coheirs to the barony of that name. He died in 1453 leaving a son Thomas, whose wardship was granted to Margaret, (fn. 43) and somehow Moreton and Whaddon passed to Thomas, Viscount Lisle (d. 1470), whose heirs were his sisters Elizabeth and Margaret. (fn. 44)
Elizabeth married Edward Grey, created Viscount Lisle, who in 1489 settled Moreton on his second wife, Joan. Edward's son and heir John (fn. 45) settled the manor on himself and his wife Muriel in 1503, (fn. 46) and died in 1504 leaving as his heir his daughter Elizabeth. (fn. 47) Muriel, who had married Sir Thomas Knyvett, was in possession of the manor in 1506. (fn. 48) In 1513 Charles Brandon, later Duke of Suffolk, was lord of the manor by virtue of his betrothal to Elizabeth Grey, Viscountess Lisle, (fn. 49) but Elizabeth in fact married Henry Courtenay, Earl of Devon, and died childless in 1519. Her heir was her father's sister, Elizabeth, who had married Edmund Dudley (executed 1510) (fn. 50) and in 1519 claimed the lordship of Moreton with her second husband, Arthur Plantagenet, (fn. 51) later created Viscount Lisle. Elizabeth died c. 1530 and her son John Dudley (fn. 52) held Moreton in 1537. (fn. 53) In 1539 John Dudley, with his step-father and his step-father's second wife Honor, sold Moreton manor to Thomas Cromwell, who sold it in 1540 to Sir William Kingston and his wife Mary. (fn. 54)
Kingston died in 1540, and his widow Mary (d. 1548) had a life tenure of the manor. In 1543 William's son by his first wife, Sir Anthony Kingston (d. 1556), settled the reversion on himself for life and then on his niece Frances, daughter of Sir George Baynham and wife of Henry Jerningham (d. 1572). (fn. 55) Henry's son and heir Henry (d. 1619) settled the manor in 1592 on the marriage of his eldest son, a third Henry, created a baronet in 1621, (fn. 56) who sold the manor in 1630 to Sir Ralph Dutton. Associated with Jerningham in the sale was William Palmer, (fn. 57) whose father Robert had died in 1630 having settled the manor of Moreton Valence on William's marriage in 1629. (fn. 58) William Palmer had livery of ⅓ of the manor in 1632. (fn. 59) The nature of the Palmers' title, and of William Palmer's part in the sale to Dutton, is uncertain. In 1632 a small estate at Pidgemore was held of Ralph Dutton as of his manor of Moreton Valence. (fn. 60)
In 1640 Sir Ralph Dutton sold the manor to Abraham Chamberlain, a London merchant, (fn. 61) from whom it passed by will in 1641 to his grandson, also Abraham Chamberlain. (fn. 62) In 1647 Abraham Chamberlain settled the manor on the marriage of his son Abraham with Judith Delawne, (fn. 63) and either Abraham the son or his son Abraham made a settlement in 1672 on marrying Anne Lloyd. (fn. 64) Abraham and Anne Chamberlain in 1680 sold a substantial estate in Horsemarling to the occupier, Edward Fowler, a clothier, (fn. 65) another one near Stroud Green to William Pearce, clothier of Stonehouse, (fn. 66) and a third, comprising copyholds, cottages, parcels of land, the church house, and 23 chief rents, to John Hill and others. (fn. 67) In 1681 they sold to Sir Ralph Dutton of Sherborne, Bt., an estate in Moreton Valence including the house where they lived and liberties including a court leet and view of frankpledge belonging to 'the said manor of Moreton Valence' which had not, however, been already specified. (fn. 68)
Sir Ralph Dutton's estate in Moreton descended with his Sherborne estate (fn. 69) until the 20th century. It comprised 251 a. in 1823, (fn. 70) and 391 a. in 1841, including Welch's farm, which had been acquired since 1823, Manor farm, and Hill farm, all in the eastern end of the parish. (fn. 71) The Duttons (later Lords Sherborne) were named as lords of the manor from the early 18th century (fn. 72) until they sold their Standish and Moreton estates to the Gloucestershire County Council in 1921. (fn. 73)
In the early 19th century Benjamin Hyett of Painswick was named with Lord Sherborne as lord of the manor or as having a claim to the lordship. (fn. 74) In 1824, the year after the inclosure commissioners had made a small allotment of land to replace manorial rights then disputed between Lord Sherborne and Mrs. Mary Willey, (fn. 75) a lawsuit resulted in a judgement in Lord Sherborne's favour. The evidence for both parties was weak. Mrs. Willey claimed that the Chamberlains' title had passed to Edward James, who in 1734 had by his will given the reversion of it after his wife's death to his sister, Henrietta Maria Holker, widow, who later married Nicholas Hyett (d. 1777), and that Benjamin Hyett, son of Nicholas and Henrietta Maria, had sold the manor in 1807 to Daniel Willey, Mrs. Willey's late husband. Mrs. Willey relied on the collection of chief rents in 1792 (fn. 76) but did not mention the sale by Abraham and Anne Chamberlain to John Hill and others in 1680. (fn. 77)
The Willeys had long been settled in the parish: Daniel Willey lived there in 1698, and with Daniel Willey the younger was leasing land from the Duttons in 1705 and 1721; (fn. 78) he was a churchwarden in 1716, (fn. 79) and Daniel Willey the younger, of Moor Farm, was constable in 1742. (fn. 80) The younger Daniel was succeeded in 1768 by his grandson, Daniel Willey, the husband of Mary, who owned 238 a. in Moreton before his death in 1817. (fn. 81) In 1818 Mrs. Willey owned Moor and Church farms, (fn. 82) which in 1841, with Putloe House, belonged to Daniel Willey Palmer Willey (fn. 83) (d. 1860). He was the son of Daniel Palmer and his wife Hannah, (fn. 84) so Hannah was presumably the daughter and heir of Daniel and Mary Willey. D. W. P. Willey was succeeded by Daniel Leonard-Willey, (fn. 85) who died in 1913 (fn. 86) to be succeeded by D. P. O. Leonard-Willey (d. 1961). D. P. O. Leonard-Willey was regarded as lord of the manor; (fn. 87) his sisters and heirs, Mrs. E. H. Daniels (d. 1963) and Miss L. E. Leonard-Willey, sold most of the estate, (fn. 88) but Miss Leonard-Willey still owned and lived at Woodfield House in 1967.
William de Pontlarge evidently had a house at Moreton c. 1225, (fn. 89) where Robert de Pontlarge-used to provide a night's lodging for the sheriff. (fn. 90) In 1253 the king gave 10 oaks from the Forest of Dean for building the hall of William de Valence at Moreton; (fn. 91) next year William imprisoned there one of the king's bailiffs. (fn. 92) Aymer de Valence's house at Moreton was recorded in 1324; (fn. 93) in 1372 the buildings were said to be worth nothing beyond their expenses. (fn. 94) The house presumably stood on the moated site, c. 65 yards across, immediately north of the church. Though there is a low outer bank 100 yds. from the moat on the south and west sides, and some lesser earthworks north of the moat, there is no evidence for the tradition that there was a castle there. (fn. 95) The house may have gone out of use by 1372, and no later reference to it has been found. The site was deserted by 1674, when at the upper end of Shootfurrow field, which lay north-west of the church, there was a close of 1 a. with a moat, called Coldcroft. (fn. 96)
The house in which Abraham and Anne Chamberlain had lived and which they sold to Sir Ralph Dutton in 1681 was apparently Moreton Hill Farm: it adjoined a close called the Green Hill, (fn. 97) and c. 1710 Dutton had a good house with a large prospect at Gabs Hill, (fn. 98) the name recalling Richard Gabbe who had the largest copyhold in the manor in 1630. (fn. 99) Moreton Hill Farm, standing at 450 ft. in the eastern tip of the parish, was built in the mid or late 17th century; it is of ashlar, of 2 and 3 stories on an L-shaped plan, and it has continuous dripmoulds, mullioned windows, and a Cotswold stone roof with gables, in some of which are bullseye windows surrounded with carving in low relief; the grouped diagonal chimneys have moulded caps with ornamented friezes. The principal, eastern wing appears at the south end as though it may have been stopped short of its intended length. It was presumably the Hill House, where the manor court was to be held c. 1740; (fn. 100) in 1741, as Moreton Hill Farm, it was occupied by a tenant. (fn. 101) After the sale of the manor estate to the county council Moreton Hill Farm was separated from the rest, and in 1967 was owned by Mr. H. J. Haine and occupied by his son-in-law Mr. F. G. Hall. (fn. 102)
Gillian daughter of Auger claimed a yardland in Moreton Valence against Reynold son of Hugh in 1221; Reynold said that not he but his brother Walter the chaplain held the land, (fn. 103) and Gillian, having claimed it against Walter in 1223, (fn. 104) quitclaimed it to him in 1224. (fn. 105) It was possibly the same yardland that Richard le Neyr and Maud his wife quitclaimed in 1236 to John de Bosco. (fn. 106)
An estate in Horsemarling called WELCH'S may have taken its name from people called le Waleys or le Walshe. Richard le Waleys of Moreton was succeeded in the 13th century by William le Waleys of Horsemarling. (fn. 107) In 1326 Nicholas le Waleys of Horsemarling witnessed a deed, (fn. 108) and in 1327 John le Walshe had the second highest tax-assessment in Moreton Valence. (fn. 109) In 1470 the will of Thomas Bygge of Rodborough mentioned land in Horsemarling, (fn. 110) and in 1537 John Bygge of Stroud died holding Welch's and a house in Rodborough from John Payne, to be succeeded by his infant son Thomas. (fn. 111) Thomas Bygge had property in Moreton Valence in 1575, (fn. 112) but in the 17th century Welch's passed to the Selwyns. Richard Selwyn of Horsemarling, who in 1640 held a free tenement of Moreton Valence manor, (fn. 113) was succeeded in 1662 by his son Richard, (fn. 114) who owned Welch's in 1676. (fn. 115) The younger Richard was dead by 1687, and his son and heir, a third Richard, (fn. 116) had been succeeded by his brother William by 1692, when William Buckle bought the estate. (fn. 117) William Buckle settled the estate in 1719, (fn. 118) and his son Jerome was dealing with it in 1742. (fn. 119) By 1756 Welch's had passed to William Smith, son of William Buckle's daughter Sarah, (fn. 120) and in 1763 Smith sold it to Nathaniel Fowler. (fn. 121) The estate later passed to Thomas Skipp, who owned it by 1818 (fn. 122) and apparently by 1790. (fn. 123) Between 1823 and 1841 he or his trustees sold Welch's to Lord Sherborne, (fn. 124) and in 1967 the Gloucestershire County Council owned Welch's. (fn. 125) The house is of stone with a Cotswold stone roof and has an L-shaped plan, the cross-wing being lower than the main block; it was built mainly in the 17th century, presumably by one of the Selwyns, with mullioned windows and moulded caps to the chimneys. In 1967 the house was occupied by the tenants of two of the county council's small-holdings. The Selwyns' house was taxed on 5 hearths in 1672. (fn. 126)
The prebend of Moreton and Whaddon in Hereford cathedral, which originated in Roger Little's gift to the cathedral in the 12th century, (fn. 127) included the rectory estate, with land, tithes, and a house in Moreton Valence. The land amounted to 34½ a. in 1652; the house was called the Grange (fn. 128) and stood at Little Moreton (fn. 129) opposite Manor Farm, but it had been demolished by 1841. The tithes belonging to the prebend were commuted for a rent of £365 in 1841. (fn. 130) In 1291 Llanthony Priory had a portion of 6s. 8d. from the tithes. (fn. 131) Gloucester Abbey's land in Moreton (fn. 132) was presumably at Standish Moreton, in Standish parish. In the 19th century several parochial benefices were endowed with small estates in Moreton Valence. (fn. 133)
In 1086 Moreton Valence was assessed at half its value of twenty years earlier, but it supported nevertheless 4½ plough-teams, of which one was on the demesne and 3½ were shared between 10 tenants. (fn. 134) In 1220 the township was taxed on 5 plough-teams, (fn. 135) but in 1246 the demesne contained 4 plough-lands, the villein tenants had 3¼ plough-lands, and further arable lands were presumably held by free tenants, who paid 50s. and 1 1b. of pepper in rent. (fn. 136) The demesne arable was afterwards reduced in extent: it amounted in 1324 to 245 a., (fn. 137) and yielded large quantities of corn and smaller ones of beans and oats that were taken for the king's use. (fn. 138) There were 18 free tenants, paying nearly twice as much rent as in 1246, and 39 customary tenants, namely 13 half-yardlanders and 18 quarter-yardlanders, owing labour-services, and 8 cottars. (fn. 139) In 1372 the demesne arable, reckoned as 2 plough-lands, may have been as large as in 1324. The demesne pasture was then common for 5 months of the year. The demesne meadow was extensive; (fn. 140) there had been a relatively large amount of meadow in 1086, (fn. 141) and in 1640 the free tenants of the manor held 94 a. of meadow in severally. When demesne farming was abandoned is not known, but the lord of the manor apparently had no land in hand in 1640. (fn. 142)
The division of the demesne arable in 1324 into three sorts, 125 a. valued at 4d. an acre, 100 a. at 2d. and 30 a. that were sterile (fn. 143) may suggest either a two-course rotation of crops or a four-course rotation on half the land, the other half being excluded from the open fields. Names of open arable fields in Moreton have not been found before 1575, when Park field, Putloe (Podley) field, High (Hay) field, Horfield, and Linsfield were recorded, along with land lately inclosed out of a sixth, Pidgemore field. (fn. 144) Some of the fields were shared with Standish parish, (fn. 145) including Shutfurrow and High field, which together provided a large part of the arable of the parish, (fn. 146) and Charcroft. (fn. 147) Other open arable fields recorded were the Breach, Marsh field, Hill field (near the river), and Stockwell. (fn. 148) As in Standish, inclosure was gradual, beginning, at least in Pidgemore field, before 1575. In 1705 part of Park field, in the same part of the parish, was described as lately inclosed. (fn. 149) Exchanges of land in High field in 1739 (fn. 150) are likely to have been for the sake of inclosure. By 1812 the prebendal estate was consolidated and almost all inclosed. (fn. 151) The process was completed in 1823, under Acts of 1818 and 1821, when 397 a., including some old inclosures, were inclosed and allotted. Allotments were made to 31 owners: the largest were 72 a. to Mary Willey and 64 a. to Lord Sherborne, and only four others received more than 10 a. (fn. 152)
In 1823 there were said to be no copyholders and few commoners. (fn. 153) In 1608 there had been 25 or more agricultural occupiers; (fn. 154) most of them were presumably copyholders, for in 1640 there were 17 copyholders, of whom one had 88 a. and the rest between 1½ a. and 44 a. (fn. 155) Abraham Chamberlain may have reduced the number of copyholders in 1680, when he sold several parts of the manorial estate separately. (fn. 156) In 1793 21 freeholders signed an agreement about building cottages on the waste. (fn. 157) In 1831 there were 19 farmers, of whom 13 employed labour, (fn. 158) and the numbers were much the same in 1841. (fn. 159) The number of farms fell slowly from c. 12 in the late 19th century, (fn. 160) but after 1921 the county council's acquisition of much of the land in the eastern part of the parish for small-holdings increased the number of agricultural occupiers.
In the later 18th century it was said that the parish was laid out in dairy-farms, (fn. 161) and in the early 19th only a small part was arable. (fn. 162) Wheat, barley, and beans were grown in 1793, (fn. 163) but in 1801 only 145 a. were returned as sown. (fn. 164) Even in 1841 only 284 a. were arable. (fn. 165) By 1901 the arable acreage was down to 101 a., (fn. 166) and by 1933 had shrunk still further. (fn. 167) In the 1960s the land was increasingly sown with crops, but dairying remained predominant.
William de Pontlarge had a mill in Moreton between 1199 and 1220, (fn. 168) and a mill or mills were afterwards held by the lords of the manor until the later 17th century. Two mills were recorded in 1246 (fn. 169) and in the 14th century; (fn. 170) in 1247 the Crown gave oaks from the Forest of Dean to repair William de Valence's mill. (fn. 171) In the late 16th century Henry Jerningham's mills were said to be very ancient and were called- Saints Mills. (fn. 172) It is not clear whether the two water-mills of the manorial estate in 1640 (fn. 173) were Saints Mills, but the two belonging to the lord of the manor in 1676 (fn. 174) were clearly Framilode Mills. Saints Mill was recorded retrospectively in 1696, and the site of the former two mills of Moreton Valence manor, at Baldwins immediately west of Lea Court Farm (in Whitminster), was indicated in 1819 (fn. 175) and was still discernible in 1967.
In the early 19th century trade and industry employed about half as many of the inhabitants as agriculture. (fn. 176) In 1608 there was a badger, a tailor, and a smith in Moreton. (fn. 177) There was a physician in 1643 and 1674, (fn. 178) a tailor in 1670, (fn. 179) a baker in 1694, (fn. 180) and two carpenters in 1769. (fn. 181) A few tradesmen were recorded in the late 19th century and early 20th. (fn. 182) Occupations outside agriculture have fallen into three main groups, connected with cloth, with fruit and cider, and with the river.
Fishermen may be presumed to have been more numerous than the records suggest, though those who looked after the fishing weir did not necessarily live in Moreton Valence. (fn. 183) In 1608 the population included 4 sailors, (fn. 184) and a mariner lived at Epney in 1846. (fn. 185) There were barge-owners and shipowners at Epney until the 1930s, and in 1897 there were as many as six. (fn. 186)
A clothier of Moreton Valence in 1608, Anselm Fowler, had two male servants, and there were three weavers there then. (fn. 187) Broadweavers were recorded in 1613, (fn. 188) 1672, (fn. 189) and 1709, (fn. 190) and a fuller in 1662. (fn. 191) In the later 17th century and early 18th several clothiers lived at Horsemarling, which was conveniently placed in relation to the cloth-mills of Stonehouse: Samuel Beard before 1676, (fn. 192) Edward Fowler in 1680, Samuel Bower (the same name as that of the broadweaver of 1613, who lived in Horsemarling) in 1686, and Henry Bower in 1686 and 1708; other clothiers of the parish were William Mills in 1690 (fn. 193) and Daniel Partridge in 1722. (fn. 194)
Cider-making in Moreton Valence was noticed by 18th-century writers, (fn. 195) and although they remarked on it in neighbouring parishes also it seems to have been of particular importance in Moreton. In 1766, when the cider tax was removed, the church bells were rung for two days and the merry-making included the roasting of a sheep on the common. (fn. 196) In the later 19th century there was a fruit-dealer at Moreton and a cider-manufacturer at Epney. (fn. 197) In 1933 there were c. 75 a. of orchard at Epney, (fn. 198) and in 1967, when no cider was made there commercially, the acreage of orchard was about the same.