A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1965.
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Adlestrop is a small rural parish on the eastern border of Gloucestershire, about three miles east of Stow-on-the-Wold. The ancient parish, 1,306 a. in area, (fn. 1) is roughly rectangular in shape, and its boundaries are identical with those of an estate defined in a 10th-century charter. (fn. 2) On the south-west the parish is bounded by the River Evenlode. The northeast boundary is also that between Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, and the ancient parishes of Evenlode on the north-west and Daylesford on the southeast were detached parts of Worcestershire until 1931 when they were added to Gloucestershire. The civil parish was enlarged in 1935 by the addition to it of the whole of Daylesford (670 a.), (fn. 3) which is, however, outside the scope of this article. (fn. 4)
The land rises from about 350 ft. along the river in the south-west to over 750 ft. at the top of Adlestrop Hill in the north-east. Two ridges, the more northerly known as Horn Down, (fn. 5) project towards the river from Adlestrop Hill so that the centre of the parish forms a valley through which a small brook flows. The valley was known as Harcomb, (fn. 6) and where the brook met the River Evenlode the bridge across the Evenlode was called Hart Bridge, (fn. 7) but the names Hart Brook and Harcomb appear to have been used, in recent years, only of another brook and valley on the further side of Horn Down, in Evenlode. The parish has a number of small woods, mostly deciduous: in the northern corner are Peasewell Wood (reduced in size in the middle of the 20th century) and Harcomb Wood, (fn. 8) and on the middle slopes of Adlestrop Hill are Comb Wood and three plantations made apparently in the late 18th century. (fn. 9) In the southern part of the parish the park, made in the early 19th century, contains many carefully placed trees. Some trees remain along the top of Adlestrop Hill, although the upper slopes, which in the 1930's were sufficiently covered with trees and bushes to conceal the existence of a burial mound (fn. 10) standing in a commanding position, have largely been cleared to make way for arable land. Until the 19th century the high ground was used entirely for rough pasture and as a source of firewood, and it was usually known as the Green Hill. (fn. 11) On the lower ground, which was nearly all under grass in 1960, traces of ridge and furrow show where the former common fields have apparently remained untilled since inclosure in the 18th century. The soil and subsoil is mainly strong clay; along the ridge in the south-east of the parish, there are several small quarries, apparently used for local building. (fn. 12)
Adlestrop village lies south-east of the brook that runs through the centre of the parish, half a mile from the River Evenlode. It is not far north of an ancient route, the old Cotswold Ridgeway. (fn. 13) This road was described in a Saxon charter as the regia strata from Northampton, crossing the Evenlode by Hart Bridge, (fn. 14) and it crosses the Foss Way at Stow-onthe-Wold. Leland used this road, noting 'Adelsthorp and Horse Bridge' about midway between Stow and Chipping Norton. (fn. 15) In 1643 the London trained bands quartered for a night at Adlestrop on their way into Gloucestershire. (fn. 16) The course of the modern road through the eastern half of the parish is of considerable antiquity, for there it formed the boundary of Adlestrop in the 10th century as in the 19th; (fn. 17) in the western half, however, it has been diverted to the south. The lie of the land and the fact that Leland noticed Adlestrop may indicate that until it was turnpiked in 1755 (fn. 18) the road passed through the southern end of the village, beside the church, (fn. 19) but by 1803 its course was further south, following the steepest part of the ridge about 200 yards from the church. In that year Quarter Sessions authorized the diversion of the road further south again, to its modern course, thus enabling the creation of a park of over 100 acres around the manor-house. (fn. 20) The bridge over the Evenlode, long called Adlestrop Bridge, which was a horse-bridge in 1787 and a county bridge by 1836, (fn. 21) was on the site later occupied by Adlestrop station (where the old line of the road was used for approach roads), and a new bridge was built to cross both river and railway 50 yards further south, removing from the main road the sharp bend that had been made in 1803.
The diversion of the main road in 1803 was accompanied by changes to the lesser roads. In the 18th century the village formed a semicircle, facing south-west across a village green of 3½ acres with the brook beyond, and stretching from Marsh Bridge in the north-west, where the road from Evenlode village crossed the brook, to the church, manorhouse, and parsonage in the south, where a road came in from Daylesford. (fn. 22) A hundred yards north of the church a lane (Schoolers Lane) led off eastwards, to bend north and later east and south to join the main road at Norton's Gap. In 1767 the rector inclosed the green, by agreement with his brother, the lord of the manor, and with the consent of the tenants, to provide for himself a garden, to be called Parsonage Green instead of Cross Green. In addition to giving up parts of his outlying glebe the rector undertook to build roads around the green: the eastern side became the village street, and the road between Evenlode and Daylesford was taken along the right-hand bank of the brook. The creation of the park in 1803 caused the closing of this road and it was replaced by one some way to the west, along the line of the modern road. A new stretch of road was also built along the north side of the village to shorten the route between Marsh Bridge and Schoolers Lane. These changes altered the shape of the village. Instead of lying in a semicircle it was grouped round a triangle of roads, with a road running from the southern angle to the church, the village school (closed in 1936), and the two large houses. At the north-west end the area of the village has contracted, for north and east of Marsh Bridge the mill and a group of cottages were demolished at the end of the 18th century, and the road subsequently straightened. Whereas the village was once on the road from Evenlode village to Daylesford and close to the main road it has become comparatively secluded. (fn. 23)
One other road in the ancient parish is that which runs along the top of Adlestrop Hill, from the main road to Chastleton (Oxon.). It forms the northeast boundary of the parish and was described as a 'street' in the 10th century. (fn. 24) Where this road leaves the parish boundary a lane leads off to Conygree Lane, a sunken track from Evenlode village, which also marks the boundary. In the 10th century Conygree Lane apparently ended where it meets the path between Chastleton and Adlestrop village, for between that point and the 'street' the boundary followed a dyke. (fn. 25) A number of tracks link the village with the farms and barns to the north of it. Apart from lying near the east-west route provided by the main road Adlestrop is on the main railway line from Oxford to Evesham (part of the Oxford, Worcester, & Wolverhampton Railway), which was built beside the river along the south-west side of the parish in 1853. Adlestrop station (opened in 1853) is in Oddington parish. (fn. 26) The village was provided with electricity under an Act of 1928. (fn. 27)
The population has remained fairly constant over the years. There was possibly an increase in the early Middle Ages, but in the 300 years before the mid17th century the numbers seem hardly to have changed. Sixteen people were enumerated in 1086, (fn. 28) 21 were assessed for the subsidy in 1327, (fn. 29) and 66 paid poll tax in 1381; (fn. 30) there were said to be 18 households in 1563, (fn. 31) 36 adult males in 1608, (fn. 32) and 19 families in 1650, (fn. 33) and c. 1645 22 people were assessed for tax. (fn. 34) Between 1650 and 1700 the population rose by about half: there were 29 households in 1672, (fn. 35) and 34 houses c. 1700. (fn. 36) The highest population in the 19th century was 229, in 1821, living in 43 houses, and thereafter numbers dropped to c. 150 in the first half of the 20th century. (fn. 37)
Nearly all the inhabitants live in the village. Away from the village, two farm-houses were built to the north, following inclosure in 1775. Fern Farm is built of rubble with a Cotswold stone roof, and has two stories and attics. Beside it is a barn of the same materials, having a gabled porch with pigeon holes. An outer range of cow-sheds is dated 1842. Hill Barn, 600 yards beyond the farmhouse, was apparently built in the 18th century, (fn. 38) and adjoining it are two cottages which in 1960 had been unoccupied for several years. Hillside Farm, known as Rectory Farm until 1947, (fn. 39) was built in 1824–5 (fn. 40) as the farm-house for the glebe farm created by inclosure. The foundations survive but the rest of the house, of rendered brickwork, was apparently rebuilt following a fire during the 19th century. Adjoining it are some of the original farm buildings, and 250 yards north of it is a large 18th-century stone barn. South-east of the farm-house is a modern stone cottage. The other buildings at a distance from the village are an 18th-century cottage near the station (possibly a turnpike cottage), (fn. 41) a lodge built in 1849 at an entrance to the park, (fn. 42) and two groups of barns.
The cottages in the village, which are mostly on the south-west side of the triangle formed by the roads, were built between the 17th century and the middle of the 19th, of rubble masonry with roofs of thatch, Cotswold stone, or slate. There are two farm-houses in the village. Lower Farm, at the northwest end, was built in the mid-18th century, with two stories and attics with dormers; beneath it is a vaulted cellar, and beside it is a barn which has a gabled porch with pigeon holes. Manor Farm (formerly Home Farm) (fn. 43) is apparently of the same date; it has been considerably restored and divided to make two cottages. Immediately north of the church is a single-storied schoolroom, flanked by a cottage and schoolhouse, all with doors and windows in the Tudor style of the mid-19th century. (fn. 44) Apart from a few extensions (some of them brick), the only modern building in the village in 1960 was a small house in course of construction.
Since the early 17th century the two large houses in Adlestrop, the rectory and the manor-house, have dominated the life of the village. The manor-house was for long known as Adlestrop House, but after the Second World War that name was given to the former rectory (which had not been used as a rectory since 1937) and the manor-house was renamed Adlestrop Park. Adlestrop, formerly monastic property, has been owned by members of the Leigh family since 1553, (fn. 45) and soon after he succeeded his father in 1632 (fn. 46) William Leigh (d. 1690) took up residence there. He converted a barn (fn. 47) south-east of the church to make a house of Cotswold stone. Internally, a panelled room, with a richly carved fireplace of wood, and the staircase survive from this house. In 1672 the owner was taxed on 13 hearths. (fn. 48) The classical porch on the north-west front and the gateposts carrying unicorns' heads appear to have been added c. 1700, when the north-west front itself may have been refaced. By the mid-18th century the house was in need of rebuilding. (fn. 49) One third of a new south-west front was built in 1750, (fn. 50) and between 1759 and 1762 much of the original house was pulled down (fn. 51) and built on a larger scale, a seat Extensive, large, magnificently great, (fn. 52) with the predominant feature an ornate south-west front in the 'Gothick' style. The architect for both the additions of 1750 and the later rebuilding was Sanderson Miller. (fn. 53) Behind this front the house, three stories high and of Cotswold stone with a Welsh slate roof, centred on a narrow light-well; (fn. 54) the panelled room surviving from the 17th-century building became the servants' hall. (fn. 55) The southeastern part of the house was demolished after the Second World War, when the whole building, which had been used as military quarters, was thoroughly restored. (fn. 56) Soon after the 18th-century rebuilding pleasure gardens to the west of the house, designed by Humphrey Repton, (fn. 57) replaced an older orangery, bowling green, and 'expensive shewy summer-houses'; and the large square dovecot northeast of the house, of rubble masonry and with four gables and a Welsh slate roof surmounted by a lantern, was perhaps built at the same period, to replace one of the two dovecots mentioned in the 15th and 16th centuries. (fn. 58) The diversion of the roads in 1803 enabled the setting of the house to be further enlarged: between the new main road and the village a park of over 100 acres was made, bordered at its western end by the lower of two artificial lakes. Near the lake is a cricket field which has helped the local reputation of Adlestrop for skill at the game.
Adlestrop was a chapelry of Broadwell until 1937, but in 1540 the Rector of Broadwell had a house in Adlestrop, which with its adjoining buildings amounted to 12 bays in 1584. (fn. 59) This was presumably on the same site, north-west of the church, as the house of 6 bays (fn. 60) and 8 hearths that the rector, Richard Johnson, was building in 1672. (fn. 61) Though altered at various dates, that house forms the greater part of what was known in 1960 as Adlestrop House. The 17th-century part of the house is two stories high with gabled attics and a Welsh slate roof. Thomas Leigh, rector from 1762 to 1813, repaired the house, moved the entrance from the south to the west front, and created a garden, leading down to the upper of the two artificial lakes, (fn. 62) that was large enough to be known later as the little park. (fn. 63) The entrance to the house was moved back to the south front apparently in the early 19th century at the same time as the fine interior of the ground floor was made. Presumably at the same period the two projecting bays were added and sash windows inserted. Later in the century there were further alterations and the angle between the wings of the house was filled with a kitchen block, making the ground-plan roughly rectangular. When the house ceased to be a rectory in 1937 it was bought from the Church Commissioners and became part of the Adlestrop estate, and was let as a private house except for a period after the Second World War when it was occupied by the owner, Lord Leigh. (fn. 64)
From the time that William Leigh took up residence at Adlestrop in the 1630's until the early 19th century when his descendant James Henry Leigh, M.P. (d. 1823), (fn. 65) inherited Stoneleigh Abbey (Warws.) and made it his principal seat, the lord of the manor and his family (usually a large one) lived most of the year at Adlestrop, except for five years (1727–32) when the disorder of the family's affairs persuaded William Leigh (d. 1757) to economize by living abroad. The family was of considerable local importance—William Leigh (d. 1690) was High Sheriff of Gloucestershire—and was connected by marriage with the Bridges (dukes of Chandos) and the Twisletons (lords Saye and Sele). From 1699 onwards the rectory was held by members of the family, who lived before 1763 sometimes, and thereafter permanently, in the parsonage house, and it was natural that the life of Adlestrop should revolve round the Leighs. (fn. 66) In the early 19th century the dominant role of the manor-house, which was let, was assumed by the rectory, which continued to be held by family connexions of the Leighs (fn. 67) until 1937. In the 1870's the extent to which the rectory was not accepted as the leading influence in village life was resented by at least one inhabitant of the rectory. (fn. 68)
Adlestrop has minor connexions with literature and learning: Theophilus Leigh, Master of Balliol College, Oxford (1726–85), (fn. 69) a younger son of the lord of the manor, was rector 1718–62 and lived there during vacations; (fn. 70) Jane Austen, a niece of Theophilus, visited her relations at the rectory; (fn. 71) and Chandos Leigh (1791–1850), created Lord Leigh of Stoneleigh, achieved some fame as a poet and author. (fn. 72) Adlestrop has, however, achieved wider publicity through the poem by Edward Thomas, (fn. 73) not as a place but as a name that inspired the poet when his train stopped, 'unwontedly', at Adlestrop. (fn. 74)
Coenred, King of the Mercians, is said to have granted Adlestrop to Evesham Abbey in 708. (fn. 75) Seven hides 'at Daylesford', which in fact comprised the whole ancient parish of Adlestrop, were granted or confirmed to the abbey in the 10th century. (fn. 76) The abbey continued to hold the manor of Adlestrop until the Dissolution. (fn. 77) In the 12th century Adlestrop was part of the abbot's estate, but in 1198, in an exchange of property between the monks and the abbot, Adlestrop was assigned to the monks' chamber. (fn. 78) Adlestrop was one subject of dispute between the monks and the abbot in 1203, (fn. 79) but was later administered by the chamberlain. (fn. 80) In 1251 the abbot was granted free warren in Adlestrop, (fn. 81) and in 1276 claimed the assize of bread and ale there. (fn. 82) The manor comprised the whole parish. (fn. 83)
In 1553 Adlestrop was sold by the Crown to Sir Thomas Leigh, (fn. 84) later Lord Mayor of London (d. 1571), (fn. 85) and passed without any permanent diminution to successive eldest sons: Rowland, (fn. 86) Sir William (d. 1632), (fn. 87) William (d. 1690), Theophilus (d. 1725), William (d. 1757), James (d. 1774), James Henry (d. 1823), and Chandos, created Lord Leigh (d. 1850). The manor then descended with the peerage. (fn. 88) Shortly before 1960 Lord Leigh made over most of the estate to his eldest son. (fn. 89)
Domesday Book suggests a neat division of the land in Adlestrop into various holdings: Evesham Abbey's demesne and the holding of a knight each supported two ploughs, and the 12 lesser tenants (10 villani and 2 bordars) shared 3 ploughs, each perhaps having land for ¼ plough. (fn. 90) If such a neat arrangement had ever obtained, it had broken down by the 14th century. The demesne was still reckoned as 2 carucates in 1291 (fn. 91) and may have remained intact; it was being farmed for 60s. a year in 1535. (fn. 92) The knight's and other tenants' holdings had no such continuity.
The knight's holding in 1086 was larger than any of the later estates known to have been held of the abbey in fee. The precise relationship between these later estates cannot be traced. Half a hide, or two yardlands, was held by knight service in the 12th century, but the abbey claimed that the tenant, Edgar, was entitled to only one. (fn. 93) In 1203 the abbot gave, unjustly according to the monks, 6 yardlands in Adlestrop to John and Hugh, and in 1214 6½ yardlands were granted or confirmed by the abbot and convent to John of Adlestrop. (fn. 94) It was perhaps this same John of Adlestrop who quitclaimed to the abbey at about this time a messuage from which John had made 3 cotlands; this messuage may have been the same as one held in the 12th century by the tenant Edgar, which 3 bordars had held before Edgar. (fn. 95) In 1222 Nicholas Blundell acquired 13 acres and some meadow in Adlestrop. (fn. 96) Estates held of the abbey were granted back to it in 1338 (fn. 97) and 1392, and it appears that estates formerly held in fee were added to the customary land: in 1373, though a messuage and 7½ yardlands were recorded as John Blundell's, at least part of Blundell's land was divided among customary tenants, (fn. 98) and the property granted in 1392, comprising a carucate, 3 yardlands, and a dovecot, (fn. 99) seems to have been held by customary tenants in the early 15th century. (fn. 100) In the 15th and 16th centuries parts of various customary holdings were known as 'knight's' or 'the knight's'. (fn. 101) Land called Dameagneisland, granted in 1413 by Richard Dameagneis to the Rector of Broadwell and others, (fn. 102) evidently came later into the hands of the abbey and became part of the customary tenants' land in the same way, for in 1540 Richard Fretherne held 'Dame Annes land'. (fn. 103) By the early 16th century the demesne and the customary land accounted for all the tithable and tithe-free land in the parish: there were then 30 yardlands of customary land, (fn. 104) and in 1450 tithe was paid on 27 yardlands, (fn. 105) with the demesne (because it belonged to the abbey) and 3 customary yardlands being tithe free. (fn. 106)
It is possible that the amount of land under tillage increased in the nth century or later. The value of the whole estate increased from £4 a year at the Conquest to £5 in 1086. The tenants' land was assessed at 5 plough-lands, (fn. 107) considerably less (reckoned at 4 yardlands to each plough-land) (fn. 108) than in 1373. (fn. 109) From the mid-15th century the division of the tenants' land into yardlands and cotlands remained roughly constant until inclosure in 1775: there were 30 yardlands and 6 cotlands both in the early 16th century (fn. 110) and in 1763. (fn. 111) In the early 16th century the yardlands varied a little in size, averaging 15 a. (fn. 112) In 1774 a yardland averaged a little under 20 a., (fn. 113) and a cotland in 1763 was reckoned as ⅓ yardland. (fn. 114)
In the 12th century there were 12 servile tenants, including the miller, and 3 bovarii. All owed services, all except the bovarii owed money-rents, and the bovarii and one other tenant (whose services included carrying the abbot's letters throughout England) owed rents in kind. A survey of the estate suggests that a manorial organization based on individual holdings of a yardland each had become unrealistic. The money rents varied from 1s. to 12s., and the tenant paying this highest rent had to provide 24 men for the lord's harvest. (fn. 115) By 1291 Evesham Abbey was receiving a cash payment for release of works. (fn. 116)
The division among the customary tenants of land formerly held in fee may have been partly responsible for the increasingly complex pattern of their holdings. That pattern was perhaps more complex in the late 14th century than it is superficially represented in a rental of 1373, which names 11 holdings of a messuage and a yardland at a standard rent, 15 'pennymen', 9 tenants de terra Blundell, and 10 tenants of 'farms'. The 11 holdings of a messuage and a yardland may have a direct link with the holdings of the 12 Domesday villani and bordars, but any simple pattern of holdings that may have existed was disappearing. Of the tenants who held a messuage and a yardland, one had two such holdings, two were also pennymen, nine also held de terra Blundell, and several held 'farms'. The arable land was reckoned partly in yardlands (about 30 in all) and partly in cotlands (8 in all). There were also a few holdings of between 2 a. and 8 a. The pennymen held between half and one yardland or a messuage and a cotland, and in two instances both. The terra Blundell was divided into holdings of various size, and the 'farms' were mostly a messuage and a yardland, though one was a cotland. (fn. 117) In addition to their rents the tenants paid a 'tallage' (which from 1402 was amalgamated with their rents) for pasturing their beasts. (fn. 118) By the 16th century heriots were partly in cash, (fn. 119) and they continued to be paid in the 18th century not only on copyholds but also on leaseholds for lives. (fn. 120)
In the 14th century the customary tenants held widely varying amounts of land, (fn. 121) and of the 21 taxpayers in 1327 one was assessed at 10s., eighteen at between 1s. and 4s., and three at less than 1s. (fn. 122) In 1540 there were 17 tenants with from ½ to 3 yardlands, several of them having two or three messuages, (fn. 123) and thereafter the larger holdings tended to increase in size and become fewer. In 1608 there were 13 husbandmen and 7 labourers of military age. Four of the husbandmen had servants, (fn. 124) and in 1672 five had houses with three or more fireplaces. (fn. 125) In 1748 one tenant was farming 4 yardlands, (fn. 126) and in 1763 there were eight farmers with between 1 and 6 yardlands. (fn. 127) Several of these— Shayler, Freeman, Gardiner, Tidmarsh, Hanks— came of families that had long been established in Adlestrop: a John Shayler entered a holding in 1499, (fn. 128) and a William Freeman farmed in Adlestrop in the 16th century. (fn. 129) None of them, however, achieved the same local importance as the family of Fretherne, whose members held land there, and farmed the demesne, in the 16th and early 17th century. (fn. 130)
The land by the river makes good meadow-land, and although in 1086 there was not enough meadow (fn. 131) the shortage was met apparently by ploughing higher up the hill. Nicholas Blundell's estate in 1222 included two half-yardlands of meadow, and the estates granted to Evesham Abbey in 1338 and 1392 included 2 a. and 5 a. of meadow respectively. (fn. 132) By the early 16th century there were 13 a. of meadow inclosed and held in severalty, and four common meadows, amounting in all to over 30 a. Two of the six cotlands had also been converted to meadow. (fn. 133) Whether or not the number of sheep in Adlestrop had increased it seems that minor inclosure and conversion to meadow resulted in a shortage of pasture. In 1498 the manor court ordered that the tenants were to plough and till the fields, especially in Harcomb, and recorded an agreement for the management of the fields that accepted the conversion of land called Fernditch to pasture, suggesting that the fields were being used for pasturage to the detriment of tillage. (fn. 134) In the early 16th century the sheep-commons of the tenants numbered 1,213, averaging 40 to a yardland, though the proportions for each tenant were not exact. (fn. 135) The rector's estate in Adlestrop included common for 80 sheep in 1584, (fn. 136) apparently the customary allotment for his two yardlands. This allotment was later found to be too high, and was reduced in the 17th century to 30, in 1769 to 20, (fn. 137) and in 1775 to 10 on the permanent pasture and 20 on the fields after harvest. (fn. 138) A cotland used 'as part of his ways' by the shepherd of the village flocks, mentioned in 1373, was taken into the lord's hands during the 17th century. (fn. 139) The office of village shepherd apparently did not survive: in the mid-18th century the manor court limited the number of sheep that might be in the charge of a single shepherd. (fn. 140)
In the open fields of the village the parts of any holding were widely scattered, and except in the demesne and the glebe there appears to have been no attempt at consolidation before the 18th-century inclosure. In 1222 Nicholas Blundell's 13 a. lay in lots of ½ a. (fn. 141) In 1584 the rector's two yardlands lay in 30 different lots, and in 1680 in 28 different lots. (fn. 142) The division of the open arable into two fields (fn. 143) may indicate an early two-course rotation of crops. It seems that the management of the fields had become ineffective by 1498, when it was agreed to divide them into four and follow strictly the rotation fallow, barley, pulse, and wheat. (fn. 144) This quartering of the fields was maintained, but the quarters themselves were flexible: new quarters were laid out in 1738, (fn. 145) and a piece of land could be added to or removed from a given quarter in the manor court. (fn. 146) In 1774 351 a. in the fields, described as 'common land' and not included in the reckoning of yardlands, was apparently permanent grass-land. (fn. 147) By the late 17th century the supervision of the fields was the responsibility of three fieldsmen, chosen from among the more substantial tenants, who were charged also with buying bulls for the village. In 1738 the fieldsmen were instructed to appoint a hayward, to be paid at the public expense: in 1769 the hayward was paid 3s. 6d. a week in addition to 2d. a pinlock for impounded cattle. (fn. 148) That these arrangements were not sufficient to make efficient farming possible is suggested by the increasingly strict and particular orders made by the manor court in the 18th century for keeping animals off the crops; (fn. 149) and it is likely that efficient farming could be achieved only by inclosure.
The demesne itself had been consolidated and inclosed gradually during the 17th century, by exchanges between the lord and his tenants. The process began in 1612 and was virtually completed in the 1690's, though as a prelude to general inclosure there were further exchanges in 1766–7 between the lord, the rector, and the tenants. (fn. 150) The rector, apparently in the same way, achieved the inclosure of one of his two yardlands between 1680 and 1700. (fn. 151) From the early 17th century customary holdings, and particularly the larger ones, were increasingly taken on leases for lives rather than on copyhold. (fn. 152) As a result of this the lord of the manor was able to accumulate land in his own hands as the leases fell in. (fn. 153) James Leigh prepared the way for comprehensive inclosure by reducing the number of farmers with leasehold and copyhold land in the fields from 8 in 1763 to 4 in 1767, and to 2 (each holding a yardland of 20 a.) in 1774. (fn. 154) Two members of the Leigh family holding copyholds and leaseholds surrendered them in 1766–7 in return for life rent-charges. (fn. 155) The land surrendered by these and others was presumably let on yearly tenancies. The inclosure took place after the harvest of 1775, (fn. 156) and affected the 926 a. still uninclosed, of which about 125 a. was allotted to the rector in respect of his glebe and tithes, and 22 a. to the one remaining copyholder. The rest went to the lord of the manor, (fn. 157) and out of it were created three farms of 258 a., 250 a., and 45 a., all with rights of common and fuel on the Green Hill (Adelstrop Hill) which accounted for the rest of the acreage. The two larger farms were let to John Shayler and John Freeman; the third, the Home farm, was also let. (fn. 158)
Inclosure did not immediately change what was produced from the land. The number of sheep had already been declining, and there is no evidence of rapid conversion from arable to pasture. (fn. 159) In 1801 the acreage under crops amounted to 316 a. The main crops then were wheat, barley, and peas and beans, the same as those prescribed for the fields in 1498 (fn. 160) and nearly the same as those sown on the demesne farm in the 1690's; (fn. 161) in 1801 there were also 31a. oats and 20 a. turnips. (fn. 162) During the 19th century there were four separate farms in Adlestrop, (fn. 163) but in 1960 the land of Home or Manor farm was being let to the tenant of Fern farm. (fn. 164) The higher ground had almost all been put under the plough, while sheep and cows were pastured in the valley.
In the 17th and 18th centuries there were several tradesmen and craftsmen in the village: masons in 1608, 1659, and 1722, tailors in 1608 and 1689, shoemakers in 1702 and 1724, a maltster in 1706 and two later in the century, butchers in 1708 and later, a carpenter in 1723, and weavers in 1661, 1714, and 1771. (fn. 165) It is possible that some tradesmen and craftsmen, as much as agricultural workers, became impoverished in the period after 1775: their numbers declined from 8 in 1811 to 3 in 1821. (fn. 166) Between 1775 and 1803 the amount spent on the relief of the poor rose much more steeply for Adlestrop than for its neighbours, and in 1803, when there was a total of 41 families, 20 people were relieved regularly and 9 occasionally. (fn. 167) In 1876, apart from agricultural and domestic workers, there were a mason, a dressmaker, a carpenter, and two railway-workers. (fn. 168) The smithy had by then apparently ceased to function: there had been one in 1671, (fn. 169) and in 1706 it evidently stood on the same site, in Schoolers Lane 200 yards north-north-east of Manor Farm, as in 1900. (fn. 170) In 1876 a noticeable feature of the village was the number of washerwomen. (fn. 171) Up to the Second World War Adlestrop had a village shop and a coalmerchant. (fn. 172) In 1960 the only men who worked away from the village and not on the land were a railwayworker and two men employed at Little Rissington airfield. (fn. 173)
A water-mill in Adlestrop was mentioned in a 12th-century survey as part of Evesham Abbey's estate. (fn. 174) It continued to be part of the manor, and in the early 16th century was held by a customary tenant who also had a small copyhold farm. (fn. 175) In 1743 the mill was the subject of three successive leases, (fn. 176) and in 1745 it was apparently still working. (fn. 177) In 1770, however, it was presented as being out of repair, 'the mills being fallen down', (fn. 178) and in 1774 it was referred to as the 'old mill', and was apparently demolished a little before 1799. (fn. 179) The site, northwest of Lower Farm, a little upstream from Marsh Bridge and approached by Mill Lane, (fn. 180) was still marked in 1960 by some unevenness of the ground.
The records of the manor court survive for the periods 1400–4, (fn. 181) 1498–1512, (fn. 182) and 1553–1775, (fn. 183) and show the court as a more than usually active agent of local government. In 1501 the manor court ordered a tenant to remove an expectant mother, immediately after her purification, from his household because it was of 'bad governance'; (fn. 184) in the 18th century James Leigh hoped to curb the mischievous habits of the village children through the agency of the court. (fn. 185)
The records of parochial government have not been discovered, and are thought to have been destroyed by fire. (fn. 186) By 1498 there were two separate churchwardens for Adlestrop chapelry, (fn. 187) and although in 1572 there were three churchwardens for Broadwell and Adlestrop together, (fn. 188) by 1584 Adlestrop again had two separate churchwardens. (fn. 189) A constable for Adlestrop took the oath of allegiance in 1715. (fn. 190)
Under the Act of 1834 Adlestrop became part of the Stow-on-the-Wold Poor Law Union, (fn. 191) and in 1863 was included in the Stow-on-the-Wold highway district. (fn. 192) Under the Local Government Act of 1872 it became part of the Stow-on-the-Wold Rural Sanitary District, and was transferred to the newly formed North Cotswold Rural District in 1935. (fn. 193)
Adlestrop was for ecclesiastical purposes a chapelry of Broadwell until 1937, when it was severed from Broadwell and became part of the parish of Oddington. (fn. 194) The chapel was mentioned in a 12th-century survey, when it was endowed with half a hide and 29 sheaves a year. (fn. 195) The fate of this endowment is unknown, but it is likely to have been appropriated to the rectory of Broadwell which in 1584 had two yardlands of glebe in Adlestrop. (fn. 196) The rectors of Broadwell appointed chaplains to Adlestrop, (fn. 197) and in 1535 the chaplain received £5 6s. 8d. a year from the rector. (fn. 198) In the 16th century the rector had a house in Adlestrop and may have lived there rather than at Broadwell, (fn. 199) and from 1562 other clergy serving Adlestrop, whether the rector was residing or not, were described not as chaplains but as curates. (fn. 200)
In 1572 there was apparently a curate serving Adlestrop, (fn. 201) as in 1650. (fn. 202) In the later 17th century the rectors seem to have resided at Adlestrop, (fn. 203) but in the first half of the 18th the two successive rectors lived mainly in Oxford: the curate in 1715 and 1718 was apparently a relation of the lessee of the parsonage house, (fn. 204) and Theophilus Leigh, Master of Balliol College, Oxford (who after many years as rector surprised his father, the lord of the manor, by preaching at Adlestrop), installed his curate, who also acted as domestic chaplain to the manor-house, in part of the parsonage. (fn. 205) Although from 1763 the rectors normally resided, curates continued to assist them at Adlestrop at least until 1852, (fn. 206) but thereafter the rector alone seems to have officiated, a curate being appointed for Broadwell. (fn. 207) In 1960 the rector of the united benefice of Oddington with Adlestrop was taking services not only in Adlestrop but also in the two churches at Oddington.
Before 1580 the inhabitants are said to have been buried at Broadwell, (fn. 208) but there is evidence that burials took place in Adlestrop from 1516 onwards, (fn. 209) and there is a register of burials, with baptisms and marriages, from 1538. One of the Leighs is said to have given the churchyard, in which the church stands, in 1590, (fn. 210) and it is possible that he enlarged it.
The church of ST. MARY MAGDALENE is a small cruciform building of stone, with an embattled west tower. The tower arch may be 13th-century, heavily restored, the tower is 15th-century, and the chancel arch 14th-century. For the rest, the church was rebuilt and restored several times, and its features are nearly all of the late 19th century. One rebuilding took place apparently c. 1750, but the workmanship was so bad that the work had to be done again, almost entirely at the expense of the lord of the manor, in 1765. (fn. 211) There were further alterations, to the chancel at least, in 1824, (fn. 212) and the whole church was restored in the early 1860's, (fn. 213) and it is not possible to say how far the original design of the church was followed. At the end of the 18th century the chancel had on the south two narrow round-headed windows, which were blocked, and there were two three-light windows of Early English style in the south wall of the nave. At the east end of the nave there was a small south transept for the lord of the manor's pew, with a door facing south towards the manor-house garden, and apparently opposite it on the north side of the nave there was a recess for the font. These two projections were rebuilt as larger transepts in the earlier 19th century. (fn. 214) The windows of chancel, nave, and transepts all appear to have been made or remade at various dates in the 19th century. All the interior walls are plastered.
The embattled tower, which appears to have been altered little, is of three stages, the lowest serving as a porch. On the middle stage the north and south faces each have a narrow light, and the north and east faces carry clocks to commemorate the jubilee of 1887; on the east face there was formerly a sundial. (fn. 215) The highest stage has a two-light louvred window, with quatrefoil and head-mould, on each face.
The font, at the west end of the nave, is 15thcentury. (fn. 216) The church contains a small organ in addition to two harmoniums. There are many inscriptions of the 17th century and later, on floorslabs and mural tablets, mostly to members of the Leigh family. In the south transept there is a hatchment of Leigh, and in the nave there are hatchments of Leigh impaling Twisleton, (fn. 217) Leigh impaling Willes and Williams quarterly, (fn. 218) and Leigh quarterly with Lord impaling Bridges. (fn. 219) Round the outside of the south wall of the chancel is a low railing marking the family vault of the Leighs, made by James Leigh (fn. 220) (d. 1774). On the outside of the north wall of the chancel is an inscription to Anthony Greenhill (d. 1596) and his wife Anne (d. 1594), members of a local yeoman family. (fn. 221) There are five bells, four of 1711 by Abraham Rudhall and one of 1838 by T. Mears; (fn. 222) there were two or more bells in 1516. (fn. 223) The older plate is of the late 17th century and early 18th. (fn. 224) The registers begin in 1538; there is a gap between 1673 and 1678, and the modern register of baptisms up to 1930 was destroyed by fire. (fn. 225)
In 1584 William Freeman and his son Richard were reported as occasionally performing unlicensed services, and the churchwardens had to answer for the 'superstitious ringing' of the bells. (fn. 226) In 1724 Theophilus Leigh's estate at Adlestrop was registered as a papist's estate under the Act of 1716, (fn. 227) but it seems that Theophilus was rather a philosophical eccentric than a papist. (fn. 228)
There were said to be four Protestant nonconformists in Adlestrop in 1676, (fn. 229) and in 1732 the miller was a Quaker. (fn. 230) Later in the 18th century and in the earlier 19th the parish clergy firmly denied the presence of any dissenters: (fn. 231) in 1851 'all the parishioners without exception' attended church once a week at least. (fn. 232) By 1877, however, there were at least three dissenters, two of whom had recently become so. (fn. 233)
By will dated 1763 Joanna Brandis gave £100 in reversion for putting the poor children of Adlestrop to school; the money was to be entrusted to the lord of the manor to be set out by him. (fn. 234) In 1790 there was a day school supported by private charity, (fn. 235) and in 1803 a school attended by 16 children who were taught to read and knit was described as a school of industry and said to be supported by private donations. (fn. 236) In 1818 there was a day school for 18 boys, another for 26 girls, and a Sunday school attended by 52 children. There was said to be no endowment, (fn. 237) and Mr. Leigh's distribution of the Brandis charity was apparently regarded as his private donation. A small bequest by the late rector, Thomas Leigh (d. 1813), at first invalid, was applied in part to the support of a day school in 1828, (fn. 238) and in 1833 the school for 29 girls, with a library attached, was said to be supported partly by endowment and partly by the benevolence of Mr. Leigh. The expense of teaching 9 boys and supplying their books was met by the rector. The Sunday school in 1833, with 13 boys and 23 girls, was said to be supported by endowment. (fn. 239)
The boys and girls were combined into one day school, and the numbers dropped. (fn. 240) In 1889, when the school was said to be supported by Lady Leigh, average attendance was 17. (fn. 241) It was a 'certified efficient' school in 1904, with an attendance of 48, (fn. 242) dropping to 23 in 1932. (fn. 243) The school was closed in 1936, (fn. 244) and in 1960 the children of Adlestrop went to Oddington and Evenlode. The Brandis charity, yielding £7 10s. a year, was divided between children attending secondary schools. The school building, opposite the church, was used as a church room, and the mistress's house beside it as a dwelling-house. (fn. 245)
Apart from educational charities, the poor of Adlestrop were given a rent-charge of 20s. by the will of Thomas Barker (d. 1707), £5 by a certain Fletcher (d. 1757), entrusted to the lord of the manor to pay 5s. a year for bread, and the reversion (which was effective by 1828) of £30 by the will of John Shayler, dated 1800. (fn. 246) In 1956 the accumulated capital of all three was invested in stock yielding £2 17s. 4d., which was distributed by the rector every Christmas as food-parcels. (fn. 247)