A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 5, Bledisloe Hundred, St. Briavels Hundred, the Forest of Dean. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1996.
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Flaxley lies 14.5 km. WSW. of Gloucester on the north-eastern edge of the Forest of Dean. It was formerly the site of a Cistercian abbey (fn. 1) and the ancient parish, which covered 1,749 a. (707.8 ha.), (fn. 2) was formed from land given to the monks, much of it in the mid 12th century by the abbey's founder, Roger, earl of Hereford. (fn. 3) The following account of Flaxley deals with the ancient parish except for settlement north of the Littledean-Coleford road, which is treated below with Cinderford in the history of the Forest of Dean.
The parish, which was once within the Forest's jurisdiction, (fn. 4) lay in five portions. The main part was an irregular area of 1,044 a. flanked by the extraparochial Crown demesne of the Forest on the south and west. (fn. 5) It contained the abbey, which Earl Roger founded in the valley of Westbury brook in a clearing surrounded by chestnut trees, namely in 'a certain place in the valley of Castiard called Flaxley'. (fn. 6) It also contained the woods around the abbey, which Henry III granted to the monks for firewood in 1227. (fn. 7) The grant included Castiard and Timbridge wood on the north side. (fn. 8) Banks and ditches were constructed to mark the limits of the monks' lands (fn. 9) but those around Timbridge wood, presumably in the area north of Gaulet where Blaisdon parish later had a detached piece, had been destroyed by 1229, allegedly by Richard of Blaisdon. (fn. 10) The boundaries of the main part of Flaxley, most of which were specified in the grant of 1227, were marked roughly by dells, watercourses, and ancient tracks; on the northeast it was divided from Blaisdon by Longhope (or Blaisdon) brook and on the west it was bounded for a distance by the LittledeanMitcheldean road and on the south-east by a route linking Blackmore's Hale, a settlement on the boundary of the Forest below Pope's Hill, (fn. 11) and Blaisdon.
The principal detached portion of Flaxley covered 395 a., sandwiched between Littledean on the north-east and the extraparochial Forest on the south and west. It was very irregular in shape, lying in two areas joined together by a neck of land at St. White's on the Littledean- Coleford road, (fn. 12) and it evidently contained land which had belonged to Walfric and his son Geoffrey and which Earl Roger included in his endowment of Flaxley abbey. Among that land was 'Wastadene', which by 1158 was a grange of the abbey, (fn. 13) later known as the grange of Ardland or St. White's. (fn. 14) The portion's southern area, containing the principal buildings of the grange, (fn. 15) was bounded in several places by ancient tracks, including one leading eastwards from St. White's towards Littledean, and it extended eastwards almost as far as the Littledean-Newnham road. On the south it ran up against a part of the Forest that was granted to the abbey in 1258 and became known as Abbots wood. (fn. 16) The northern area, bounded on the east by the lane known later as Littledean Hill Road (fn. 17) and containing in 1591 land called Mousell and, to the north, the Meend (fn. 18) (later Packers or Flaxley Meend), (fn. 19) became part of the town of Cinderford. In 1883 the portion was transferred to East Dean township or civil parish and in 1953, when East Dean was dismembered, the areas north and south of the Coleford road were included in the new civil parishes of Cinderford and Ruspidge respectively. (fn. 20) Another detached portion of Flaxley covered 207 a. east of Littledean in a compact area bounded on the north by the Littledean-Gloucester road and on the south by a track, sunken for part of its course, known as Lumbars Lane. Above it on a bank marking the western boundary is Littledean Camp, (fn. 21) which has been identified with 'the old castle of Dean' standing above land given to the Cistercians by Earl Roger. (fn. 22) The portion, which contained at the north-eastern corner near Camp Farm a tiny detached part of Westbury-onSevern, (fn. 23) was transferred to Littledean in 1883. (fn. 24) Two smaller portions lay east of the main part of the parish. They comprised 45 a. between Blaisdon and Westbury at Wintle's Farm, north of Northwood green, and 58 a. within Westbury to the west of Walmore common, (fn. 25) and they were absorbed respectively by Blaisdon in 1883 and Westbury in 1882. The main part of Flaxley, which by the addition of the detached part of Blaisdon north of Gaulet in 1883 contained 1,066 a., (fn. 26) was united with Blaisdon in 1935. (fn. 27)
The main part of Flaxley is crossed from west to east by the Westbury brook valley, called the valley of Castiard in the 12th century, (fn. 28) and is made up mostly of hills rising to 150 m. in the north-west and to 175 m. in the south-west on Welshbury. The lower ground, in the southeast, is formed by the Keuper Marl and the higher ground by the Old Red Sandstone; alluvial soil covers the principal valley bottoms. (fn. 29) Fortifications on Welshbury, so called by 1227, (fn. 30) are thought to have formed an extensive Iron Age fort. (fn. 31) The land has remained heavily wooded and the cleared areas, which include the eastern part towards Boseley, the northern corner at Gaulet, and narrow belts of land along the floor of the central valley and below Welshbury, were by the later 18th century used principally for meadow and pasture. North-east of Flaxley Abbey, the house formed after the Dissolution from the abbey buildings, a small park was laid out and stocked with deer by the mid 18th century. (fn. 32) The woodland, which measured 521 a. in 1905, (fn. 33) was administered by the Forestry Commission from 1952. (fn. 34)
The portions of the parish near Littledean lie on more steeply sloping land, climbing to 237 m. at St. White's and 180 m. at Littledean Camp. In 1265, during the barons' war, a beacon was lit at Ardland (St. White's) as a signal to the king's party captive in Gloucester. (fn. 35) The ground is formed by sandstone and in the west, at St. White's, by limestone, a thin band of which, running NE.-SW., contains an outcrop of iron ore. (fn. 36) Although mining and quarrying have taken place at St. White's the land has been devoted mostly to pasture. A grove or coppice containing 10 a. next to the Forest west of St. White's was recorded in 1591 (fn. 37) and some woodland has survived south-east of St. White's and east of Littledean. In the late 19th century there was a rifle range south-east of Littledean Camp (fn. 38) and in the mid 20th century the Cinderford golf club had its course at St. White's. (fn. 39)
The principal road through the main part of Flaxley leads up the central valley towards Mitcheldean. Its original course evidently crossed Westbury brook to ascend a bridle path, mentioned in 1227, running along the parish boundary east of Shapridge towards Abenhall church. (fn. 40) It was later diverted (fn. 41) to join the Littledean-Mitcheldean road on the parish boundary near Gunn's Mills and was turnpiked in 1769 as part of a route from Elton, on the Gloucester-Newnham road, to Mitcheldean. (fn. 42) By 1824 a tollgate had been placed at the junction with the Blaisdon road, (fn. 43) which itself was a turnpike between 1833 and 1866. (fn. 44) The Elton- Mitcheldean turnpike was discontinued in 1880. (fn. 45) The Blaisdon road was a continuation of a way from Blackmore's Hale. That way, recorded in a Forest perambulation of 1282 (fn. 46) and known as Dirty Lane in 1833, (fn. 47) was rebuilt where it marked the Flaxley boundary southwest of the Mitcheldean-Elton road between 1925 and 1927. (fn. 48)
Several important routes crossed the part of Flaxley south of Littledean and were recorded in 1591. (fn. 49) One, descending southwards from Littledean towards Abbots wood and Soudley, was supposed to have been part of a Roman road linking Ariconium with Lydney. (fn. 50) It was crossed by two tracks, which ran westwards from the Littledean-Newnham road and have been largely abandoned. (fn. 51) The northern one formed a junction with the old route from Littledean to St. White's at a spring known by 1679 as Pennywell, (fn. 52) but owing to its steepness traffic between Newnham and St. White's took a longer route through Littledean and Callamore in the later 18th century. (fn. 53) In the late 1820s the more direct route between Littledean and St. White's was replaced by a new road to Nailbridge running north-westwards across Flaxley Meend from a point between Pennywell and St. White's. (fn. 54) The new road crossed a track known as Mousell Lane. (fn. 55)
Flaxley abbey, known also as the abbey of Dean, (fn. 56) stood by Westbury brook, the course of which has been varied to serve not only the abbey precinct and the later manor house, called Flaxley Abbey, and its grounds but also a number of ironworks. (fn. 57) The only abbey buildings to survive, notably part of the claustral ranges, have been incorporated in the manor house. (fn. 58) The grange recorded next to the abbey in 1227 (fn. 59) may have occupied the site to the north-west where several farm buildings later stood. (fn. 60)
A chapel standing before the abbey gate in 1253 (fn. 61) was probably on a different site to the later parish church, which was some way south-west of Flaxley Abbey on the Mitcheldean-Elton road. (fn. 62) In 1695 there was a church house next to Flaxley Abbey. (fn. 63) The village of Flaxley has remained very small with a few cottages, one having a timber frame, scattered along the road east of the church and along the southern end of the Blaisdon road, in which was a pound in the late 19th century and the early 20th. (fn. 64) In 1856 the church was replaced by a new building to the west. Other buildings added to the village in the 19th century included a school and a vicarage house. There are also several cottages strung out at intervals along Westbury brook, on which there was a succession of forges in the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 65)
The rest of Flaxley, which was even more sparsely populated, contained a number of ancient farmsteads. In the main part, at the head of a remote valley in the north, was Gaulet, where a family called a Fowle lived in the 1540s. (fn. 66) The house, a long range of one storey and attics with an east cross wing of two storeys, has a lobby entrance plan and early 17th-century mullioned and transomed windows. (fn. 67) Monk Hill Farm at the eastern boundary is probably of the later 16th century. (fn. 68) It has a central range of three bays with thin raised crucks and two lower cross wings, the eastern wing, originally timberframed, having stone walls. A farmstead had been established at the place known in 1565 as Tibbs Cross, (fn. 69) on the edge of the Forest below Welshbury, by the later 18th century. (fn. 70)
The earliest settlement in the portions of Flaxley near Littledean was evidently at the abbey's grange of Ardland or St. White's. (fn. 71) The grange occupied the site of St. White's Farm, west of a track leading southwards from the Coleford road to Abbots wood, (fn. 72) and included a chapel or hermitage, which was dedicated to St. White (Candida). (fn. 73) After the Dissolution a new house called the Grange, standing south-west of Littledean, became the principal residence in that part of Flaxley. (fn. 74) By 1661 settlement had also taken place further south in the area known as Sutton, (fn. 75) where two 18th-century farmhouses belonging to Flaxley have survived. (fn. 76) In 1988 one, Baynham Farm, was unoccupied, having been replaced by a bungalow nearby, and the other, Wellington's Farm, on the Soudley road, was a centre for pony trekking. By the road opposite the latter in 1872 was a pound for Abbots wood. (fn. 77) A farmstead to the east, at Maidenham, was abandoned in the mid 20th century and its house and outbuildings had been demolished by 1988. (fn. 78) The Grove, standing in a deep valley, was the principal farmstead in the part of Flaxley east of Littledean; its house, dating from the 17th or 18th century, has been much enlarged. In the later 20th century farming was centred on a new bungalow and farm buildings above the valley to the north and the Grove was a camping centre. Camp Farm on the Littledean-Gloucester road (fn. 79) incorporates part of a house of the late 16th century or early 17th with crucks. A barn on the west end has been converted as a house. At the Moors, in the south-western corner of that part of Flaxley, a farmhouse was built shortly before 1691 on a small freehold estate belonging to William Pritchard in the right of his wife Mary Bridgeman. (fn. 80) The farmhouse was rebuilt as a private residence in 1988. A dwelling had been established at Wintle's Farm, north of Northwood green, by 1699 when it was part of Walmore manor in Westbury-on-Severn; (fn. 81) possibly it was there by 1559 when a Northwood man was described as a Flaxley parishioner. (fn. 82)
The muster roll of 1539 listed 7 men for Flaxley and those of 1542 and 1546 gave 12 and 17 names respectively. (fn. 83) In 1563 there were said to be 20 households in the parish (fn. 84) and in 1603 the number of communicants was put at 100. (fn. 85) In 1650 there were said to be 30 families. (fn. 86) The population, estimated c. 1710 at 200 and c. 1775 at 196, (fn. 87) evidently fell considerably in the late 18th century, but in the early 19th century it increased steadily, rising from 135 in 1801 to 272 in 1861. (fn. 88) The rise was mostly caused by building in the part of the parish at Cinderford, (fn. 89) which quadrupled Flaxley's population in the 1860s. The boundary changes of the early 1880s left Flaxley with a rural population which declined from 127 in 1881 to 82 in 1901. It remained about the same when the parish was united with Blaisdon in 1935. (fn. 90)
In the mid 1280s a lay brother sold ale for the abbot of Flaxley. (fn. 91) A victualler may have lived in Flaxley in 1670 (fn. 92) and another parishioner's licence to sell ale was withdrawn in 1677. (fn. 93) A house called the Greyhound, which in 1693 had land in Flaxley and Westbury (fn. 94) and later was rated as part of Flaxley, (fn. 95) presumably stood at the east end of the village on the parish boundary. Flaxley had an old parish library in 1825. (fn. 96)
In the earlier Middle Ages several monarchs stayed at Flaxley abbey, probably while hunting in the Forest of Dean. John paid several visits in the early 13th century (fn. 97) and Henry III was there in 1229 and 1256. (fn. 98) In 1353 Edward III compensated the abbey for expenses incurred during his frequent visits. (fn. 99) In 1234 several followers of the rebel Richard Marshal, earl of Pembroke, took refuge in the abbey. (fn. 100) After the Dissolution Flaxley remained for four centuries essentially the possession of the owners of Flaxley Abbey. They included, from 1692, Catharina Boevey (d. 1727), (fn. 101) whose charitable work extended far beyond the parish and who was commemorated by a monument in Westminster abbey; she was reputedly the 'perverse widow' portrayed in the Spectator as being wooed by Sir Roger de Coverley. (fn. 102) After her death Flaxley Abbey passed to the Crawley-Boeveys, who dominated parish life until the mid 20th century.
MANOR AND OTHER ESTATES.
According to tradition Roger, earl of Hereford, founded Flaxley abbey to mark the spot in the valley of Castiard where his father Miles of Gloucester had been killed hunting in 1143. (fn. 103) In 1158 Henry II made a new grant to the monks of Roger's gifts and added other lands, including an assart under Castiard called Vincents Land. (fn. 104) Among the abbey's other benefactors were William de Mynors, lord of Westbury manor in the late 12th century, and William of Dean, lord of Mitcheldean and at one time Roger's tenant, who both gave land at or near Castiard, and William of Dean's son Geoffrey. (fn. 105) In 1227 Henry III granted the monks woodland around the abbey in place of a general right to take fuel throughout the Forest of Dean. (fn. 106) By such grants the abbey built up an estate which included Flaxley and land in neighbouring parishes. (fn. 107)
In 1537 Flaxley abbey and its possessions, including the manor of FLAXLEY, were granted to Sir William Kingston (fn. 108) (d. 1540), and in 1543 and 1544 they were confirmed to his son Sir Anthony (fn. 109) (d. 1556). The latter's son Edmund, who apparently was illegitimate, (fn. 110) conveyed Flaxley manor in 1565 to his brotherin-law Edward Barnard. (fn. 111) Edward, who was acting as a trustee for Edmund, devised the estate at his death in 1570 to Edmund's son Anthony. From Anthony (d. 1591) it passed to his son William (fn. 112) (d. 1614), who was succeeded by his uncle Edmund Kingston (fn. 113) (d. 1623). Edmund's Flaxley estate passed to his son William, (fn. 114) who sold it in 1648 to the merchants William and James Boeve (later Boevey), members of London's Dutch community. In 1654 James conveyed his interest to William, his half brother, and the latter assigned a moiety of the estate to his half sister Joanna, widow of Abraham Clarke. Joanna, who bought the other moiety after William's death in 1661, (fn. 115) died in 1664 leaving Flaxley to her son Abraham Clarke (d. 1683) and he left the estate to his cousin William, son of James Boevey. (fn. 116) William Boevey died in 1692 and under his will the estate passed in turn to his wife Catharina (d. 1727) and a kinsman Thomas Crawley, who assumed the name Crawley-Boevey. (fn. 117) Thomas died in 1742 (fn. 118) and his son and heir Thomas Crawley-Boevey (fn. 119) enlarged the estate in the 1760s by purchasing land in Westbury-on-Severn adjoining the main part of Flaxley. (fn. 120) Thomas (d. 1769) was succeeded by his son Thomas Crawley-Boevey, (fn. 121) heir in 1789 to a baronetcy, and from Sir Thomas (d. 1818) the estate descended with the baronetcy from father to son, through Thomas (d. 1847), Martin (d. 1862), Thomas (d. 1912), and Francis (d. 1928), to Launcelot. (fn. 122) Land in Flaxley Meend was sold off in 1839 and later (fn. 123) and the break up of the rest of the estate, under way by 1910, was completed by Sir Launcelot, (fn. 124) who sold over 500 a. of woodland at Flaxley to the Forestry Commissioners in 1952 (fn. 125) and Flaxley Abbey and just under 200 a. to F. B. Watkins in 1960. (fn. 126) Mr. Watkins, a local industrialist, (fn. 127) remained the house's owner in 1988.
The abbey, dedicated to St. Mary, was under construction by 1158 (fn. 128) and appears to have had a cruciform church with a south cloister, which was c. 30.5 m. (100 ft.) from east to west. (fn. 129) Henry III gave timber for the church and abbey buildings in 1229 and 1231. (fn. 130) The abbey, particularly its refectory, was in disrepair in 1515, (fn. 131) and in 1536, on the eve of its dissolution, the church was said to have been destroyed by fire and its bells sold to help pay for a rebuilding. (fn. 132) The buildings were presumably demolished soon after 1536, apart from the western claustral range which became a manor house known as Flaxley Abbey. The northern end of that range was destroyed by fire in 1777. (fn. 133) The surviving part includes a late 12th-century vaulted undercroft of five bays with a tall narrow archway, probably over a staircase, on its east side and a cross wing at its south end. On the ground floor the wing is divided lengthways into two compartments, the wider one, on the north, being tunnelvaulted and the other being open. In the late 12th century the wing was clearly a reredorter and the upper room in the west range was presumably the dormitory for the lay folk. In the later 14th century the upper room in the wing was reconstructed as a hall or great chamber with an open roof of high quality; it probably formed part of the abbot's lodging or the guest suite. A lower range to the east of the wing, occupied after the 1960s by a room called the Bow Room, incorporates part of the walls of the southern claustral range. (fn. 134) A short length of the south wall of the nave of the abbey church, including the lower part of its 12th-century east doorway into the cloister, survives in a late 17th-century brick orangery; the east wall of the orangery must be on the site of the west wall of the transept. The site of the chapter house, which is reported to have had an apsidal east end, was excavated in 1788 and seven coffin lids, presumably from abbots' tombs, were found. (fn. 135)
The western range was presumably retained after the abbey's dissolution because it provided domestic accommodation of some quality. Among its occupants were Edward Barnard (d. 1570) (fn. 136) and Abraham Clarke, who was assessed on 8 hearths in 1672. (fn. 137) No evidence survives for new building or conversion work before the late 17th century when William Boevey carried out extensive alterations, (fn. 138) which included a brick extension on the east side of the main range. Part of that extension is occupied by an oak staircase, which is next to the site of its late 12th-century predecessor and was aligned with the main, west entrance to the house. It leads to a corridor, along the east side of the upper floor, which served a series of newly fitted principal rooms. (fn. 139) The orangery to the north-east was also part of the improvements initiated by William Boevey. (fn. 140) Following the fire of 1777 the house was altered to designs by Anthony Keck. (fn. 141) The northern half of the main range, which had been destroyed, was replaced by a cross wing matching that on the south end. The main addition was to the south-east where a new block, built against the south side of the cross wing and the lower range to the east, provided an entrance hall flanked by principal rooms, all being decorated in Adam style. The ground-floor bay on the east front of the lower range was presumably added at the same time. By the mid 1820s the west window of the great chamber had been redesigned with Gothic tracery, (fn. 142) perhaps for Sir Thomas Crawley-Boevey (d. 1847) who later added Gothic buttresses and battlements on the west front and a south porch and battlements on the south-east block. (fn. 143) The undercroft and the great chamber were restored in 1913. (fn. 144) After 1960 extensive repairs and alterations were carried out under Oliver Messel. The Bow Room was formed from several small rooms and was linked to the orangery by an arcaded passage. (fn. 145)
Gardens laid out around the house by William Boevey and completed after his death in 1692 by his wife Catharina (fn. 146) included to the east a large formal parterre incorporating canals on the south and east sides. On the west side of the house were three enclosed forecourts, the northernmost containing a small formal garden with corner pavilions on the north side, and to the north-west was a group of outbuildings including a house and barn. (fn. 147) By the late 18th century, possibly as part of the alterations following the 1777 fire, the formal gardens and forecourts had been removed, lawns laid around the house, and a new kitchen garden created beyond the outbuildings. (fn. 148) The last were replaced by new farm buildings in the 18th and 19th centuries, and an outbuilding was erected further east in the early 19th century with a Gothic front intended as an eye-catcher from the main house. The formal gardens were restored after 1960 to a modified plan which included canals and ponds on the east side of the house. (fn. 149)
After the Dissolution the grange of Ardland or St. White's became part of a leasehold estate centred on a house called THE GRANGE and comprising most of the portion of Flaxley between Littledean and the Forest of Dean. (fn. 150) William Parker held a lease of the grange, originally granted by Flaxley abbey, in 1544 when Sir Anthony Kingston granted a lease in reversion to Hugh Huntley. The latter lease passed to Richard Copley, who sold it in 1576 to Henry Ockall. (fn. 151) A lease of the Grange and land was granted by the abbey in 1536 to Henry Brayne of London. Henry, a resident of Bristol at his death in 1558, devised it to his son Robert (d. 1570), whose widow Goodith granted it to his servant Thomas Hawkins. (fn. 152) Thomas died c. 1606 leaving the lease in turn to his wife Margaret and son James (fn. 153) but his title was contested by Robert Brayne's uncle Richard Brayne (d. 1572) of Littledean and by Richard's grandson Thomas Brayne. (fn. 154) Thomas Brayne, who in 1591 obtained from Anthony Kingston a lease for 370 years of the house, then said to be in Littledean, and land, including St. White's farm, died in 1604. His executor sold that lease to pay his debts in 1611 and James Hawkins, a lawyer, purchased it the following year. (fn. 155) James, who continued to face claims from the Braynes, died in 1637 leaving the Grange, subject to the life interest of his wife Jocamina, to his son James (d. 1678). (fn. 156) Another son John (d. 1674) acquired St. White's farm, which he left to his wife Sarah (fn. 157) (d. 1689). His son James (d. 1722) devised it with the Grange, which he had inherited from his uncle, to his kinswoman Mary Young (d. 1742). She left the estate to her nephew George Skipp (fn. 158) (d. 1783), who in 1781 agreed to sell it to his son George to free it from debt. (fn. 159) The son built up an estate of c. 300 a. in Littledean and Flaxley. (fn. 160) Among his purchases was Court farm in Littledean, which contained land, notably c. 40 a. at Mousell, included in the Grange estate under the long lease of 1591; from 1772 the Mousell land was claimed by its owners as freehold, (fn. 161) a claim which the Crawley-Boeveys denied. (fn. 162)
George Skipp died in 1804 and doubts about the authenticity of his will led to a division of the Grange and St. White's farm between his wife Frances, his children George, Catherine, and Penelope, and his grandsons Peter and John Shaw as tenants in common. A moiety of the estate, representing the interests of Frances (d. 1823) and George (d. 1837), who left his lands to his wife Hannah, was vested in 1845 in George's son Francis, and Francis's share of the Grange and of 41 a. was sold in 1861 to the ironmaster Henry Crawshay (fn. 163) (d. 1879) (fn. 164) and in 1883 to Francis Montagu Lloyd. (fn. 165) The other moiety of the estate, which Penelope Skipp, wife of Joseph Lloyd (d. 1842) of Abenhall, secured by acquiring the interests of the Shaws and of her sister Catherine, wife of Thomas Bate, was shared at her death in 1864 between her sons and was eventually acquired in full by F. M. Lloyd, her grandson. He died in 1922 leaving the Grange in turn to his wife Edith (d. 1939) and his son Leslie Skipp Lloyd. (fn. 166) The latter owned it until 1960 when the estate reverted to Sir Launcelot Crawley-Boevey, who sold it. (fn. 167)
The Grange, which stood a short distance southwest of Littledean near the Soudley road, (fn. 168) had been built by 1536. (fn. 169) In 1591 it was Thomas Hawkins's residence (fn. 170) and in 1606 it included a new room used by his son James as a study. (fn. 171) The house, which was rebuilt c. 1672, (fn. 172) was of local sandstone with limestone dressings and comprised a three-storeyed block with string courses and gables on the east and north sides and a lower south wing. (fn. 173) In the early 19th century it was let as a private residence, the occupants including Maynard Colchester in 1820, (fn. 174) John Wright Guise in 1825, (fn. 175) and the ironmaster Stephen Allaway in 1841 and 1852. (fn. 176) Later it fell into ruin (fn. 177) and by the turn of the century it had been abandoned and some fittings removed by F. M. Lloyd to a house, renamed by him the Grange, in nearby Newnham parish. (fn. 178) The shell was pulled down in 1962 (fn. 179) and the fabric used in the restoration of the gardens at Flaxley Abbey. (fn. 180)
In 1904 St. White's farm, which comprised 101 a., came into the possession of Thomas Harrison Burdess by his purchase of the moieties held by F. M. Lloyd and Eleanor Phillips. Eleanor's moiety derived from Elizabeth Bradley and in 1865 had been vested in, as trustee for sale under Elizabeth's will, her husband Thomas Adams Phillips (d. c. 1892), (fn. 181) the owner by 1870 of Mousell farm (44 a.). (fn. 182) T. H. Burdess died in 1915 and after his wife Hannah surrendered St. White's farm in 1954 Sir Launcelot Crawley-Boevey sold the freehold to the tenant farmer, Jesse Virgo. (fn. 183) The farmhouse, on the site of the medieval grange, (fn. 184) dated from a rebuilding in the 19th century. In the mid 20th century it was occupied by the Cinderford golf club (fn. 185) and in the later 1980s it contained several dwellings.
Part of Flaxley passed with the abbey's manor of Walmore in Westbury-on-Severn, which Sir Anthony Kingston alienated in 1544. (fn. 186) Thomas Crawley-Boevey (d. 1742) purchased some of the land (fn. 187) but the manor retained Camp Farm and 62 a. in Flaxley until at least 1840. (fn. 188)
The name of the parish suggests that flax was grown in a clearing in the Westbury brook valley before the place was given to the Cistercians for an abbey in the mid 12th century. (fn. 189) In 1227 the monks had a grange next to the abbey and a field to the south. Most of the surrounding land remained woodland (fn. 190) and from that time the abbot resisted claims by the lords of the neighbouring manor of Longhope to pasture rights in it. (fn. 191) Land in the east towards Boseley, in the north at Gaulet, and in the south-west below Welshbury were cleared for cultivation in closes, (fn. 192) those clearances evidently being for the monks as there is no record of the land being subject to tithes. The monks had established a grange or farm at 'Wastadene' near St. White's by 1158 and the clearance of the land east of Littledean, begun before it was given to them, had not been completed by 1158 when 100 a. were said to have been assarted. (fn. 193) The land north of the Littledean-Coleford road known as Mousell and the Meend was evidently among early clearances. (fn. 194) In 1282 the abbey estates supported at least 11 ploughteams. (fn. 195) In 1291 the estate next to the abbey included 3 ploughlands and £1 6s. 8d. rent of assize, and in Dean, presumably on its land near Littledean, the monks had 3 ploughlands, yielding 10 loads of hay, and 5s. rent of assize. (fn. 196) At that time the monks were also sheep farmers, (fn. 197) the abbey having been active in the wool trade by the early 13th century. (fn. 198) Its flocks, which were reduced in size by murrain in the late 1270s, (fn. 199) included 140 ewes and 100 wethers in 1291. It also had 35 cows that year. (fn. 200) From the time of its foundation the abbey had the right to pasture its livestock, including cattle and pigs, in the Forest of Dean. (fn. 201) Later Flaxley landholders enjoyed common rights in the extraparochial land of the Forest, (fn. 202) and in 1860 three people exercised those rights. (fn. 203) In Abbots wood, that part of the Forest acquired by the monks in 1258, (fn. 204) the owners of St. White's and Mousell farms retained pasture rights for their horses, cattle, and sheep until 1872. (fn. 205)
The farmland and woodland next to the abbey were apparently in the hands of one or more lessees in 1535, (fn. 206) by which time the grange of Ardland or St. White's was also leased from the abbey. (fn. 207) In 1797, when Sir Thomas CrawleyBoevey had 788 a., mostly woodland and the grounds of Flaxley Abbey, in hand, the largest farms in the parish were Monk Hill farm (138 a.) and Gaulet farm (96 a.) in the main part and Grove farm (122 a.) and St. White's farm (103 a.) near Littledean. Among the smaller farms were three or four at Maidenham and Sutton, one of which had been formed by the amalgamation of two holdings, and two north of the Littledean-Coleford road. (fn. 208) By the late 1840s the ironmasters Henry Crawshay and Stephen Allaway had acquired the tenancies respectively of the farms at Sutton and farmland at the Grange, and 100 a. in that area were farmed from Maidenham. (fn. 209) Several smaller farms survived in the early 20th century and the size of the principal farms remained virtually unchanged. (fn. 210) In the main part of the parish there were seven agricultural occupiers, six of them in 1896 being tenant farmers, and in 1926 three had over 100 a. and two under 20 a. (fn. 211) The home farm of Flaxley Abbey, which in 1960 with 119 a. was occupied by a tenant, (fn. 212) was among the five or six larger farms in the ancient parish in 1988.
Arable farming was of minor importance in Flaxley in the later 18th century when the land, apart from the woods, was devoted mostly to pasture. (fn. 213) Some land north of the Littledean- Coleford road remained marginal and covered with furze in the mid 19th century. (fn. 214) In 1801 only 187 a. were returned in the whole parish as under crops, wheat accounting for half of the area and barley, oats, beans, potatoes, and peas for the rest. (fn. 215) The presence of a butcher at Tibbs Cross in 1841 and 1851 indicates the importance of livestock to the local economy. (fn. 216) Arable cultivation had increased by 1866 when 287 a. were returned as arable and 359 a. as permanent grassland and the main crops in the rotation were wheat, oats, barley, turnips, and grass leys. (fn. 217) Sheep farming had continued and near Littledean a large flock was kept on Maidenham farm in the mid 19th century. (fn. 218) Herds of beef and dairy cattle had been established in the parish by 1866, when 143 cattle were returned together with 389 sheep and 64 pigs. (fn. 219) At the end of the century agriculture in the main part of the parish was dominated by the flocks and herds. Arable farming was of little significance and in 1905 the areas of permanent grassland and arable were measured at 525 a. and 16 a. respectively. In the early 20th century the flocks were increased, 685 sheep being returned in 1926 compared with 215 in 1896, and smaller numbers of cattle and pigs were kept. (fn. 220) Near Littledean Maidenham farm was used together with the adjoining part of the Forest in the 1920s as a sheep walk. (fn. 221) In 1988 the farmland in Flaxley and near Littledean remained devoted primarily to sheep rearing and dairying and some beef cattle were kept.
Fruit was grown at St. White's before 1591 (fn. 222) and there were six orchards on the Flaxley Abbey estate in 1692. (fn. 223) Other parts of the parish also contained orchards in the late 18th century (fn. 224) and at least 47 a. in the main part were covered with fruit trees in 1896. (fn. 225) In 1960 the area around Flaxley Abbey retained many orchards and included a market garden. (fn. 226) Among fruit grown was the Blaisdon Red variety of plum, developed in the neighbouring parish. Several orchards had been grubbed by the early 1980s. (fn. 227) In 1695 a garden within the grounds of Flaxley Abbey was, according to its name, devoted to the cultivation of hops. (fn. 228)
Roger, earl of Hereford, granted Flaxley abbey an iron forge at Ardland in the mid 12th century, and under Henry II's charter of 1158 the abbey was entitled to operate an itinerant forge as freely as the forges belonging to the Crown demesne. (fn. 229) The forge, which was set up in places in the Forest of Dean, (fn. 230) has not been found recorded after 1258 when the monks were given Abbots wood in the royal demesne woodland of the Forest to provide fuel for it. (fn. 231) It may have been located for a time east of St. White's at Pennywell, where a substantial hill or tump was formed on the boundary with Littledean by the tipping of cinders from early ironworks. (fn. 232) The abbot's household may have included a miller in 1221 (fn. 233) and the grange next to the abbey had both a water mill and a fulling mill in 1291. (fn. 234)
In the 17th and 18th centuries some six sites on Westbury brook in Flaxley were associated with mills or ironworks. (fn. 235) Flaxley mill, on the highest just within the parish, may have existed by 1633 (fn. 236) and have been worked by one of the millers resident in the parish in the 1660s. (fn. 237) In the late 18th century it was a grist mill attached to a small farm (fn. 238) and it was worked as such until after 1912. (fn. 239) The buildings remained the centre of a farm (fn. 240) but a stone range adjoining the farmhouse, which had housed the mill, had fallen into decay by the early 1970s. (fn. 241) In 1974 the buildings were restored for Omega Electric Ltd., which in 1984 employed 9 people making computer systems for industrial and commercial use. (fn. 242) The former farmhouse, dating from the 17th century, has a box-framed upper storey. An outbuilding to the west had been converted as a house by 1988.
In 1635 two forges were recorded at Flaxley (fn. 243) and by 1674 a furnace and two forges belonging to the Flaxley Abbey estate (fn. 244) were held by Paul Foley of Stoke Edith (Herefs.). (fn. 245) The furnace, downstream of Flaxley Abbey, (fn. 246) was worked for Foley by John Hellier in 1680. (fn. 247) Catharina Boevey may have taken the works in hand (fn. 248) but the Shropshire ironmaster Richard Knight, a partner of the Foleys, operated the furnace in 1695, when he sent pig iron to Bewdley (Worcs.), and in 1710. (fn. 249) At that time the Flaxley Abbey ironworks included three forges, one of which may have been next to the furnace. (fn. 250) A forge downstream of the Blaisdon road, at the boundary with Westbury, was in use in 1693 (fn. 251) and belonged to Walmore manor, in Westbury, until 1731 when Thomas Crawley-Boevey purchased it. (fn. 252) The Crawley-Boeveys retained the furnace in hand in the early 1740s and possibly in the later 1760s, (fn. 253) and several forges operated upstream of Flaxley Abbey until at least the early 1780s. (fn. 254) By the end of the century the ironworks, described as very large and extensive, (fn. 255) were run by John Soule (fn. 256) and the furnace was fed mainly with Lancashire ore shipped to Newnham. The forges downstream hammered the iron into bars, ploughshares, and other items. The furnace, which because of a shortage of charcoal was not in continuous use, (fn. 257) was apparently abandoned in 1818. (fn. 258) It was pulled down and ponds associated with it were drained. (fn. 259) The forges, notably that below the Blaisdon road, possibly remained in use for several years. (fn. 260) In 1827 one former forgeman was a wireworker (fn. 261) and in 1851 a blacksmith occupied a forge above the Blaisdon road. (fn. 262)
A corn mill erected by Thomas Brayne of Littledean (fn. 263) was evidently the new mill included in the lease of the Grange estate acquired by Thomas in 1591. The mill, on a stream at a place called Sandbach green near Littledean, (fn. 264) was probably owned by Abraham Astill in 1703 and was purchased by Thomas Crawley-Boevey in 1727. It evidently ceased to work long before 1847 when its site could not be identified. (fn. 265)
In 1608 a group of clothworkers including four coverlet weavers and three broadweavers lived in Flaxley. A carpenter, a tanner, a glover, a tailor, a sailor, and a fishmonger were also among parishioners in 1608, (fn. 266) as were evidently three pinmakers, two cordwainers, a butcher, a baker, and a narrow weaver in the 1660s and a blacksmith in the 1700s. (fn. 267) The village had a smithy in 1769 (fn. 268) and a blacksmith still worked at the same site in 1988. (fn. 269) In the mid 19th century the village also had a sawyer and a carpenter. (fn. 270)
Iron ore was mined at St. White's c. 1270 but the abbot of Flaxley, acting as landowner, removed the miners and filled in the workings. Despite the abbey's opposition mining was resumed some years later by Grimbald Pauncefoot, the warden of the Forest of Dean, and, although it yielded little ore, continued in 1287. (fn. 271) In the 17th century several Flaxley men worked as miners and colliers. (fn. 272) Most of the 21 families in the parish not supported by agriculture in 1831 (fn. 273) probably lived in the St. White's, Mousell Lane, and Dockham Road areas of Cinderford, where Flaxley parishioners in 1851 included several ore and coal miners and a few tradesmen. (fn. 274) The establishment of new ironworks in Cinderford in the late 1820s was followed by the opening of large mines nearby, (fn. 275) and Buckshraft (later Buckshaft) iron mine, of which William Crawshay was an owner, extended under land belonging to Flaxley by the early 1840s. (fn. 276) Those mines were closed in 1899. (fn. 277) A site east of St. White's Farm was mined for a short period after the First World War. There had been a limekiln at the same site in the mid 19th century. (fn. 278)
The main part of Flaxley may have contained a limekiln and a brickyard on separate sites before 1690. (fn. 279) A resident of Gaulet was trading in bark in 1767, (fn. 280) and among the small industries dependent on the area's extensive woodland was charcoal burning. (fn. 281) The charcoal was presumably sent to the Flaxley ironworks in the 17th and 18th centuries and its production by the traditional method, using pits and earth kilns, survived around Flaxley well into the 20th century. (fn. 282)
By his charter of 1198 Richard I granted Flaxley abbey extensive franchises in its lands, including pleas of infangthief and exemption from hundred and shire courts. (fn. 283) Court rolls for Flaxley manor in 1681 and 1751 and presentments made to the court in 1734 and 1739 survived in 1963 but their whereabouts was not known in 1988. (fn. 284)
Flaxley had two churchwardens in 1576 (fn. 285) and 1703. (fn. 286) In the late 16th century and the early 17th the principal farmers possibly filled the office in annual rotation. There were also two surveyors of the highways in 1597 (fn. 287) and two overseers of the poor in 1658. (fn. 288) By 1727 there was only one churchwarden and one overseer (fn. 289) and by 1788 those offices were held together. The overseer's accounts, which survive from 1788, incorporate his account as churchwarden until 1804 when the offices were held separately again. Later there were two overseers. The usual forms of poor relief were applied during that period, and in 1793 or 1794 the poor were inoculated at the parish's expense. In the late 1780s upwards of 7 or 8 people were receiving regular weekly pay; (fn. 290) regular help was given in 1803 to 18 people, including 6 who were disabled and 10 who did not live in the parish, and in 1813 to 12 people. The cost of relief, which rose considerably in the late 18th century, was £139 in 1803 and £205 in 1813. (fn. 291) From 1823 the poor were farmed by the governor of the Littledean workhouse, to which they were sent, (fn. 292) and the parish thereby kept down the cost of relief to £141 in 1825 and to c. £108 a year in the early 1830s. (fn. 293) Most relief went to persons living in the extraparochial Forest of Dean. (fn. 294) Flaxley was included in the Westbury-on-Severn poor-law union in 1835 (fn. 295) and in East Dean and United Parishes rural district in 1895. (fn. 296) The united parish of Blaisdon and Flaxley became part of the Forest of Dean district in 1974.
Flaxley abbey, which presumably provided a place of worship for laity from its beginning, sought a licence in 1253 to hold services in a new chapel before the abbey gate. (fn. 297) In the late 16th century Flaxley had a chapel served by a curate. (fn. 298) The chapel was in the gift of the owners of Flaxley Abbey, who paid the curate a stipend, (fn. 299) and the living, although described in 1650 as a vicarage, (fn. 300) was more correctly styled a donative in the 18th century. (fn. 301) By 1839 it was called a perpetual curacy and by 1870 more usually a vicarage. (fn. 302) In 1923 the benefice was united with Blaisdon (fn. 303) and in 1976 Westbury-on-Severn was added to the united benefice. (fn. 304) For ecclesiastical purposes Flaxley in 1880 lost land at Cinderford to the new district of Woodside (later the parish of St. Stephen, Cinderford) (fn. 305) and in 1909 gained Pope's Hill in the Forest and land in Dirty Lane from Holy Trinity parish and Westbury-on-Severn. (fn. 306) Flaxley's boundaries were revised again when the benefice was enlarged in the late 1970s. (fn. 307)
After the union with Blaisdon the CrawleyBoeveys enjoyed the right of presentation alternately with Mary Maclver and her trustees. (fn. 308) Sir Launcelot Crawley-Boevey (d. 1968) retained his interest after selling Flaxley Abbey and from the late 1970s his son Sir Thomas Crawley-Boevey, Bt., was entitled to fill every fourth vacancy in the enlarged benefice. (fn. 309)
Tithes were never taken in Flaxley, the abbey, as a Cistercian house, having been exempt from their payment from land which it had brought into cultivation. (fn. 310) Nevertheless the lay owners of Flaxley Abbey were said to hold an impropriation, (fn. 311) valued at 100 marks in 1603 (fn. 312) and at £40 c. 1710, (fn. 313) and the Grange estate acquired by Thomas Brayne in 1591 was charged with paying 13s. 4d. a year to the impropriator or the tenants of his rectory estate. (fn. 314) As a Cistercian foundation the abbey had also been exempt from episcopal visitations, (fn. 315) and later owners of Flaxley Abbey claimed peculiar jurisdiction in Flaxley parish. (fn. 316) Visitations were held from the late 16th century, (fn. 317) but in 1828 the curate denied the diocesan registry's authority to demand submission of a glebe terrier. (fn. 318)
In 1603 the curate's stipend was £5 (fn. 319) and in 1650 the living's value £10. (fn. 320) Later the curate had a stipend of £8, to which Catharina Boevey added £4 a year. In 1727 a Chancery order directed that £1,200 she had left to provide for the reading of prayers, the catechizing of children, and the visiting of the sick be used to augment the curate's living, (fn. 321) and in 1737 Bradley farm, covering 108 a. in Longhope, Mitcheldean, and Newland, was bought with the bequest. The land was placed under the same trustees as Catharina Boevey's apprenticing and book charities but later, apparently by 1760, (fn. 322) the curate managed it. (fn. 323) In 1835 the curate's income, comprising rent from the farm and the £8 stipend, was £98. (fn. 324) The living was valued at £108 in 1856 and £143 in 1870. (fn. 325) Bradley farm was sold in 1880. (fn. 326) In the absence of a glebe house the curate lived in Mitcheldean in the 1660s. (fn. 327) In 1777 he lived in Elton, in Westburyon-Severn, (fn. 328) presumably in accommodation provided by the trustees of the apprenticing and book charities, who by 1817 had built Broughtons on their estate there as a residence for the Flaxley curate. (fn. 329) William Crawley stayed at Broughtons after resigning the living in 1846 and his successors, who did not obtain use of the house until 1863, (fn. 330) lived in the village. (fn. 331) In 1886 a vicarage house was built south of the church (fn. 332) by Sir Martin Crawley-Boevey's widow Elizabeth (d. 1892), who also added £1,000 to the endowment of the living. (fn. 333) That house remained in use for the united benefice in 1988.
Edward a Fowle, the first known curate, had been appointed by 1563 and was possibly one of the family living at Gaulet. (fn. 334) In 1576 he was found to be unlicensed (fn. 335) and was censured for wearing a cope at Easter and for not preaching quarterly sermons. (fn. 336) The rector of Blaisdon served the chapel in 1584 (fn. 337) and may have been assisted later by John Harvey, a layman who was accused in 1591 of administering the chalice at Easter. (fn. 338) In 1622 the curate was reported for not reading canonical services and prayers. (fn. 339) Most curates served for a few years only before the late 17th century when longer ministries became the rule. (fn. 340) Thomas Tyrer (d. 1743), curate from 1719, was also rector of Hope Mansell (Herefs.). (fn. 341) His successor Charles Crawley, (fn. 342) brother of Thomas Crawley-Boevey (d. 1769), served the chapel for nearly 40 years. After his death in 1780 (fn. 343) the living was given to John Longdon (d. 1808), a distant relative by marriage and incumbent of Barnwood and Winstone, (fn. 344) under whom the Flaxley chapel was served by a succession of curates. (fn. 345) Between 1810 and 1846 the living was held in turn by Charles and William Crawley, sons of Sir Thomas CrawleyBoevey (d. 1818). (fn. 346) Thomas Wetherell, who was perpetual curate 1852-73, employed stipendiary curates from 1862. (fn. 347) One appointed c. 1864 without the bishop's knowledge was banned from participating in services. (fn. 348) Richard Crawley-Boevey, vicar 1883-90 by the gift of his brother, (fn. 349) took up residence in the vicarage provided by his mother. (fn. 350)
At St. White's a chapel or hermitage was surrendered to Flaxley abbey by an anchorite, who was said to have been given the site by Henry II. (fn. 351) Anchoresses lived there in 1225 and 1241 (fn. 352) and an anchorite was collecting alms to repair the building and the road leading to it in 1519, when it bore a dedication to St. White. The chapel was last recorded in 1530 when it was said to be dedicated to SS. White and Radegund. (fn. 353)
The chapel before the abbey gate (fn. 354) was probably not that used by the parishioners after the Dissolution. That building, which lacked a pulpit in 1576, (fn. 355) stood some way south-west of Flaxley Abbey by the road from Elton to Mitcheldean and was a small, low single-cell building with a wooden west bell turret. (fn. 356) The chapel, which was said c. 1708 to be dedicated to St. Laurence, (fn. 357) was rebuilt on a slightly larger scale in 1727 at the expense of Mary Pope, the executrix of Catharina Boevey who had intended to replace it. The new chapel was a plain building with a west tower and spire. (fn. 358) In 1851, when it was uncertain if it was dedicated like the medieval abbey to St. Mary the Virgin, it had 130 seats, all appropriated for the tenants and household of Sir Martin Crawley-Boevey. (fn. 359) The chapel was replaced in 1856 by a new church a few yards to the west and was pulled down. (fn. 360)
The church, which was dedicated to ST. MARY THE VIRGIN, is built of red gritstone with grey sandstone dressings and has a chancel with north organ chamber and a nave with north aisle, north-west tower and spire, and wooden south porch. It was designed by George Gilbert Scott in an early 14th-century style (fn. 361) and was paid for by William Gibbs, brother-in-law of Sir Martin Crawley-Boevey. The organ was enlarged in 1888 as a memorial to Gibbs's widow Matilda (d. 1887). (fn. 362) The church contains some fittings from the earlier chapels, notably monuments to Abraham Clarke (d. 1683), William Boevey (d. 1692), and Catharina Boevey (d. 1727), (fn. 363) and a bell cast by Abraham Rudhall in 1727. (fn. 364) The oldest surviving pieces of plate, a chalice with paten cover and a credence paten, date from 1777. (fn. 365) The east window of the organ chamber contains medieval glass portraying the arms and badge of Llanthony priory. (fn. 366) The registers begin in 1562 and contain entries for inhabitants of the adjoining parts of the extraparochial Forest of Dean from the late 1690s. (fn. 367)
Five nonconformists were recorded in Flaxley in 1676. (fn. 368) They presumably included Edward Cox, a Quaker, perhaps of Gaulet, who died in 1710. (fn. 369) Five Presbyterians were recorded in the parish in 1735. (fn. 370) No record has been found of any dissenting meeting place in the parish, (fn. 371) apart from those established at Cinderford in the mid 19th century (fn. 372) which included the Strict Baptist chapel listed under Flaxley in 1876. (fn. 373)
In the early 18th century Catharina Boevey supported a charity school in Flaxley teaching 30 children and on Sundays dined 6 of the pupils in turn and heard them say their catechism. (fn. 374) In 1819 the parish had a school teaching 20 children and was served by a Sunday school at Littledean. (fn. 375) Flaxley had its own Sunday school in 1825, (fn. 376) and in 1833 the day and the Sunday school, both supported by a lady, presumably one of the Crawley-Boeveys, taught 20 and 43 children respectively. (fn. 377) In 1840 Sir Thomas Crawley-Boevey built a school at the end of the village by the Blaisdon road, (fn. 378) and in 1846 it housed boys' and girls' schools newly united to the National Society. They were financed by subscriptions and pence and taught 71 day pupils and 83 Sunday pupils. (fn. 379) In 1871 the day school, managed by the vicar for Sir Thomas Crawley-Boevey, had an average attendance of 46 children and the building was also used for a winter evening school. (fn. 380) The day school had an average attendance of 59 in 1894, (fn. 381) including children from Pope's Hill. It closed in 1901. (fn. 382) The Sunday school continued for some years to use the building, (fn. 383) which later served as a village hall.
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR.
By will dated 1626 George Coulstance, a Gloucester pewterer, gave a rent charge of 20s. for the poor of his native Flaxley. (fn. 384) The charity, which was apparently distributed in the late 18th century, (fn. 385) had lapsed by the later 1820s. (fn. 386)
Sums of £60 and £100 left respectively by Abraham Clarke (d. 1683) for the poor and William Boevey (d. 1692) for apprenticeships (fn. 387) passed to the latter's wife Catharina. She placed children as apprentices (fn. 388) and by will proved 1727 added £240 to the capital to provide apprenticeships for children chosen by the lord of the manor. Following a suit over Catharina's bequests the money, together with £200 she had left for the distribution of religious books among the inhabitants of Flaxley and adjoining parishes, was laid out in 1734 on land in Elton. The land was vested in trustees, who applied two thirds of the income to apprenticeships and a third to books. (fn. 389) The book charity was distributed by the curate of Flaxley chiefly among his parishioners. Apprenticeship premiums, determined by the Crawley-Boeveys, were increased in 1847 to encourage masters to take children. Full distribution of the income ceased in 1872 and regular payments in 1908. They both resumed in 1928, by which time the income, derived from investments, was £145. (fn. 390) The charities, in which Blaisdon shared after 1935, (fn. 391) were placed under separate trusts by Schemes of 1961. In 1970 the apprenticeship charity's income of c. £146 was used partly for educational expenses of students. The book charity's income was c. £75. (fn. 392)
Anne Wetherell, widow of a former vicar of Flaxley, (fn. 393) founded a charity by will proved 1888. In 1970 the income of £2 was distributed in firewood to old age pensioners or was allowed to accumulate for use in emergencies. (fn. 394)