A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.
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The rural parish of Shipton Moyne lies 2½ miles south of Tetbury and 3 miles north-west of Malmesbury. The ancient parish contained 2,360 a. (fn. 1) and was compact in shape. Until the transfer to Gloucestershire of Long Newnton in 1930 it marched on three sides with Wiltshire, the boundary following the Tetbury branch of the Bristol Avon on the north-east, the Foss Way on the south-east, and field boundaries, including Cranmore hedge mentioned in 1677, (fn. 2) on the south-west. On the northwest Shipton was separated from Tetbury by field boundaries and a stream running into the Avon, and on the west from Westonbirt by a Roman road that branched off the Foss Way. In the mid 19th century that road was diverted to the east, and the 21 a. lying west of the new line of the road were transferred in 1935 to Westonbirt with Lasborough, (fn. 3) under which parish they are treated.
The name Shipton, recorded in 1086, indicates the early importance of sheep-farming in the parish economy; the affix Moyne, recorded from 1287, (fn. 4) was acquired when the manor was owned by the Moyne family. The land of the parish is mostly flat, rolling gently in the north-east. It lies at over 300 ft. on the Forest Marble which is overlaid with cornbrash in two small areas in the south part (fn. 5) where the soil is poor. In the north part the soil produces grassland (fn. 6) which is well suited to pastoral, especially dairy, farming, and there were open fields until inclosure in 1742. Estcourt park in the north-east had been created by 1515; (fn. 7) it contained 49 a. c. 1774, (fn. 8) and was planted with ornamental fir trees at the end of the 18th century. (fn. 9) It is adjoined on the east by Shipton wood, mentioned in 1611. (fn. 10) The woodland was exploited in the 14th century when tenants of the Beauboys family's estate were presented for felling trees and taking wood, (fn. 11) and a lease of the estate in 1399 reserved the right to take three cart-loads of firewood. (fn. 12) In the mid 17th century the Estcourt manor tenants were allowed to take hedge wood and coppice wood and in 1664 four cart-loads of coppice wood formed part of the rent for the tithes of that estate. (fn. 13) The sale of timber was always important in the estate's economy. (fn. 14) Shipton wood, which included 237 oaks and 100 elms in the late 18th century, (fn. 15) comprised 24 a. c. 1774, (fn. 16) and the estate included 43 a. of woodland in 1796. (fn. 17) In 1901 the parish had 102 a. of wood and plantation. (fn. 18) The river Avon, on reaching the northern point of the parish, opens into an elongated lake, created between 1798 and 1807 (fn. 19) as part of the pleasure grounds for the newly-built Estcourt House. (fn. 20) The lake was landscaped c. 1850 to include several small islands. (fn. 21) In 1916 the West Gloucestershire Water Co. sank several wells by the Foss Way. (fn. 22)
The north-south alignment of Shipton Moyne village street suggests that the most significant route through the parish was originally one linking Tetbury with the Foss Way by way of Cranmore lane; (fn. 23) the Foss Way by Shipton remained in use in the mid 18th century. (fn. 24) By the 17th century Cranmore lane had been superseded in importance by Malmesbury way, recorded in 1677, (fn. 25) leading south-eastwards from the village. It was turnpiked in 1798, together with the road running from the north end of the village to the Roman road on the west boundary, as part of the Gloucester-Malmesbury road. The turnpike also included the Tetbury road as far as the parish boundary at Under bridge, (fn. 26) which was rebuilt in 1818. (fn. 27) There were two tollhouses, one at the northern end of the village and the other at the cross-roads, (fn. 28) recorded in 1506, (fn. 29) where the road crossed the Tetbury-Chippenham route through Easton Grey. The latter, recorded as Chippenham way in the south part of the parish in 1677, (fn. 30) ran from Under bridge along Wormwell lane. (fn. 31)
The village grew up on the route from Tetbury to the Foss Way. The church on the east side of the street probably stands near the site of the medieval manor-house but the later manor-house was some way east. (fn. 32) The village contains several early cottages but some recorded in 1838, notably at the road junction south of the village, (fn. 33) were later demolished. During the 19th century several estate cottages were built. The village includes two farmhouses. Street Farm, at the northern end, is an L-shaped building, probably of the early 18th century, with a late-18th-century block built into the angle. Further south on the west side of the street is a farm-house of several periods. Part may date from the 17th century or earlier, but the house was remodelled in the 18th century (fn. 34) and again altered in the early 19th when it served Cranmore farm. (fn. 35) Opposite stand the alms-houses dated 1851; owned and maintained by the Estcourt family, they were occupied as four dwellings in 1922, (fn. 36) but by 1974 had become a private house. Further north, by the lane to the church, the school was built in 1843; after its closure in 1971 it became the village hall. (fn. 37) In the mid 20th century a small council estate was built at the southern end of the village on the site of an early-19th-century allotment field. (fn. 38)
The settlement at Shipton Dovel in the west part of the parish, recorded in the 1340s and apparently so called after the family of Dunville, (fn. 39) grew up on the Tetbury-Chippenham road. The hamlet, also called Upper Shipton in the 18th and 19th centuries, (fn. 40) was said to be of considerable size c. 1710. (fn. 41) In 1974 it comprised scattered cottages, including two of the mid 20th century, and two farm-houses. Westend Farm appears to be of 17thcentury origin but has been so extensively altered and enlarged that the original plan is obscured. It was owned in 1717 by John Hillier, whose family retained it until c. 1870 (fn. 42) when it became part of the Westonbirt estate. (fn. 43) Pond Farm was built in the early 18th century with a symmetrical south front. The house, which was part of the Tugwell family's estate in 1838, (fn. 44) was greatly enlarged to the east and north in the 19th century. From 1858 until the 1930s it was the glebe farm-house. (fn. 45) West of the house an 18th-century barn forms one side of a court with ranges of sheds and stables.
The parish contains several outlying farmsteads and cottages. There has been a habitation at Estcourt, north-east of the village, since the early 14th century and from its location was derived the family name of Estcourt. (fn. 46) There was possibly a dwelling at Hillcourt in the west part of the parish by 1375, (fn. 47) and north of it stands Clayfield Farm. (fn. 48) Near by are two large houses built after the break-up of the Westonbirt estate in 1927; the one called Tanners was built by Mrs. E. M. Glasier in 1929. (fn. 49) Cranmore Farm in the south part of the parish was built c. 1837. (fn. 50) In the eastern part of the parish Manor Farm, also known as Beaven's or Ivyhouse Farm, (fn. 51) is a building of the later 19th century on the site of a farm-house recorded from the 1820s. (fn. 52) Ivy Cottages further east occupy the site of Ivy House, recorded in 1824 (fn. 53) but probably of much earlier origin. South-west of Manor Farm stands Park Farm, which with its later19th-century out-buildings was in ruins in 1974.
Thirty-eight inhabitants of Shipton Moyne were recorded in 1086 (fn. 54) and 34 assessed for tax in 1327. (fn. 55) The assessment of 1381 records at least 60 names. (fn. 56) The number of communicants was estimated at 90 in 1551 (fn. 57) and the number of households at 26 in 1563 (fn. 58) The population evidently rose in the 17th century and in 1650 there were said to be 40 families. (fn. 59) About 1710 250 people in 60 houses were enumerated, (fn. 60) but the population apparently fell to 234 by c. 1775. (fn. 61) In 1801 the population was 273. By 1831 it had risen to 389 but by 1841 had fallen to 353. Over the following three decades it fluctuated markedly and in 1881 was 420. After falling to 278 by 1921 it rose to 356 by 1951. In 1961 it stood at 337. (fn. 62)
In 1661 two parishioners were keeping unlicensed alehouses (fn. 63) and in 1755 two victuallers were licensed. (fn. 64) A beerhouse on the west side of the village street was recorded in the early 19th century (fn. 65) and was presumably occupied by the beer-retailers listed in the parish later. (fn. 66) Apparently still unnamed in 1891, (fn. 67) it was called the Estcourt Arms in 1927 (fn. 68) but by 1931 the name had been changed to the Cat and Custard Pot. (fn. 69) A labourers' friendly society, planned c. 1795, (fn. 70) was apparently in existence in the early 19th century (fn. 71) but had lapsed by 1815. (fn. 72)
Since the late 18th century the chief influence on the life of the parish has been the Estcourt family, which lived in Shipton Moyne from the early 14th century and gradually acquired most of the land. Thomas Estcourt (d. 1818) devised several schemes to help the poor and to reduce the burden of the poor-rates. (fn. 73) The coal club planned by T. G. B. Estcourt in 1838 (fn. 74) was still functioning in 1876. (fn. 75) In 1869 T. H. S. Sotheron-Estcourt installed a water-supply for Estcourt House and the village. (fn. 76)
John Oldham the poet (1653-83) was born at Shipton Moyne where his grandfather was rector and his father apparently curate. (fn. 77)