A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 7. Originally published by Oxford University Press for Victoria County History, Oxford, 1981.
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Eastleach Martin, often called Botherop, was a small and sparsely populated parish lying on the Oxfordshire boundary 18.5 km. ENE. of Cirencester. The ancient parish contained 1,966 a. (796 ha.) and was elongated in shape, its boundaries formed mainly by field divisions but with the river Leach as the central part of the west boundary. The south part of the parish extended across the Leach and was divided from Southrop on the south by an irregular boundary and from Eastleach Turville on the north-west by a straight track running from Hammersmith Bottom to the south side of Eastleach Turville village; beyond that area lay a detached part of the parish, comprising Homeleaze Farm and 90 a. (36 ha.). (fn. 1) The land west of the Leach and the detached part evidently represented two ancient estates called Coate farm and Prior's Coate which, being intermingled with land belonging to Southrop, were inclosed with that parish in 1621. (fn. 2) In 1883 the detached part was given to Southrop (fn. 3) and in 1935 Eastleach Martin was joined to Eastleach Turville to form the new civil parish of Eastleach with 4,506 a. (1,824 ha.). (fn. 4)
Eastleach Martin was called Leach in 1086 (fn. 5) and was one of four places so named after the river on which they stood; two of them later became known as Eastleach and the others Northleach and Southrop. To distinguish it from its neighbour Eastleach Martin came to be called after one of the patron saints of its church, (fn. 6) but the name Botherop, recorded as 'Burythrop' in 1351, (fn. 7) has been used almost as frequently for the name of the parish. Botherop had, however, a local significance within the parish, being used to distinguish the area near the Leach, where the church and Botherop Farm stood, from the other areas of the parish called Fyfield and Coate. Presumably there was once some kind of earthwork there, built to guard the crossing of the Leach and matched by another at Greenbury on the high ground of Eastleach Turville village opposite.
The land of the parish lies mainly at c. 100 m. but in the north it rises from the Leach valley to c. 140 m. The Leach valley is formed by the Great Oolite which in most of the rest of the parish is overlaid by Forest Marble. (fn. 8) Until inclosure in 1753 much of the north part of the parish consisted of downland sheep-pastures and much of the south open-field land. (fn. 9) The Roman road called Akeman Street crosses the north part of the parish but is no longer in use there, and apart from the Fairford-Burford road, crossing further north, there is no thoroughfare of any significance.
The settlement by the Leach opposite Eastleach Turville village remained undeveloped, comprising only the church and Botherop Farm, the old site of the manor. The rectory stands on its own some way further up the Leach and a school was built above it in the mid 19th century. Near by the lessees of the Botherop farm estate built a substantial Cotswoldstyle house, called Ravenshill, in the earlier 19th century, before 1841. (fn. 10) Further down the Leach there seems once to have been a small hamlet at Coate, judging from the number of inhabitants surnamed of Coate in the 13th and 14th centuries. (fn. 11) Later only Coate Mill on the river and Coate Farm to the west remained. Probably from medieval times the bulk of the inhabitants of the parish have lived in the hamlet of Fyfield, anciently called Fifhide, in the south part. The hamlet was settled by the early 13th century (fn. 12) and was presumably fairly populous by 1327 when the parish was called Eastleach cum Fifhide. (fn. 13) The hamlet had about 17 cottages in 1823 and most of them date from the 18th century, as does the one small farm-house. One of the cottages was a public house in 1823 (fn. 14) and had perhaps been kept by the innholder recorded in 1755. (fn. 15)
In the south-west part of the parish close to Southrop village a new house, later called Fyfield House, was built by Joseph Small, the lord farmer of the manor, in the early 18th century. (fn. 16) After the inclosure two small farm-houses, Sheephouse Farm and Warren Farm (later called Tom Jolly's), (fn. 17) were built on the former downland in the north.
Twenty-eight inhabitants of Eastleach Martin were recorded in 1086. (fn. 18) Seventeen people were assessed for the subsidy in 1327 (fn. 19) and 34 for the poll tax in 1381. (fn. 20) There were said to be c. 54 communicants in 1551 (fn. 21) and 14 households in 1563. (fn. 22) Thirty-eight families were enumerated in 1650 (fn. 23) and c. 120 inhabitants in 30 houses about 1710. (fn. 24) About 1775 the population was estimated to have risen to 313 (fn. 25) but it stood only at 210 in 1801. During the first half of the 19th century the population fluctuated but after 1861, when it stood at 216, it declined fairly steadily and there were only 131 people in 1931. The new parish of Eastleach formed in 1935 started with a population of over 400, which fell to 367 by 1951. After some recovery in the following decade it fell again to 320 by 1971. (fn. 26)
Manor and other Estates
The manor of EASTLEACH MARTIN or BOTHEROP was apparently represented by the estate called Leach held by Drew son of Pons in 1086. (fn. 27) It passed to Drew's brother Richard who c. 1127 settled it on his wife Maud. Richard's son Walter, (fn. 28) sometimes called Walter de Clifford, granted the manor in 1144 to Gloucester Abbey in exchange for the manor of Glasbury (Brec.). (fn. 29) The abbey later received other lands in Eastleach Martin, including an estate at Coate granted by the brothers William and Walter Heyrun before 1179 (fn. 30) and land in Fyfield granted by Felice, daughter of Osbert of Hailes, in the early 13th century. (fn. 31)
The manor was among the former abbey estates settled on the dean and chapter of Gloucester in 1541 (fn. 32) and until the late 18th century it was held by lords farmers on leases for 3 lives; the dean and chapter's profits from the estate arose from the fines, assessed at 1½ years' valuation in the 18th century, paid for the insertion of new lives into the leases. (fn. 33) In 1641 a lease was granted to Charles Trinder of Holwell (Oxon.) and William Blomer, the latter's right passing by 1649 to William Hancock of London and his son William. The whole of the estate was then included in the lease (fn. 34) but later one of the demesne farms, called Botherop farm, was leased separately while the lords farmers held the manorial rights and the other demesne farm, called Coate farm. Jane Trinder, widow, had a lease of the manor and Coate farm in 1681 (fn. 35) and the estate remained in her family until 1717 when John Trinder of Westwell (Oxon.) sold it to Joseph Small. For one moiety of the estate Small was acting on behalf of Richard Cambridge of Pudhill, Woodchester, who sold his interest to Small in 1747. (fn. 36) Small (d. 1750) was succeeded by his son Viner Small (fn. 37) who in 1765 had to grant the estate to trustees for his creditors, from whom it was bought by Slade Nash of Martley (Worcs.) in 1767. The manor was held for Nash by two trustees, (fn. 38) from whom he himself took grants of the two large copyhold estates created after inclosure, Fyfield farm and Downs farm, and the reversion of the other copyholds. (fn. 39) Between 1768 and 1789 leases of the manor were made to John Baker and his son John, both of whom were evidently acting for Nash; (fn. 40) but those leases were for terms of years only and before 1798 the dean and chapter took the manorial rights into their own hands. (fn. 41)
Slade Nash remained in possession of his large copyhold estates and also of the lease of Coate farm. (fn. 42) He was succeeded at his death c. 1811 by his son William (fn. 43) who died before 1814 holding 1,012 a. in the parish. (fn. 44) The Nashes' leasehold and copyhold estates were eventually acquired by Michael Hicks Beach of Williamstrip (d. 1830). In 1858 his greatgrandson Sir Michael Edward Hicks Beach sold his rights to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 45) who had succeeded the dean and chapter as lords of the manor in 1855. (fn. 46) Eastleach was among the estates returned to the dean and chapter at their reendowment in 1866 but in 1894 it passed once more to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 47) whose successors the Church Commissioners sold the bulk of the estate to G. W. White in 1953. That land, comprising 844 a. based on Baxter's Farm (the former Fyfield Farm), (fn. 48) was sold by the White family in 1962 to Mr. H. E. Kinch, the owner in 1976. (fn. 49)
Coate Farm, standing west of the Leach, was recorded as one of the demesne farm-houses from 1518 (fn. 50) and it may be on the site of the capital messuage belonging to the Heyrun family's estate in the 12th century. (fn. 51) In 1649 it was a stone-built house containing hall, parlour, and kitchen, with chambers above and various out-buildings, (fn. 52) and it was presumably the house with 7 hearths occupied by William Trinder in 1672. (fn. 53) In 1831 the old farmhouse was in decay and used as labourers' cottages (fn. 54) and it was described as semi-derelict in 1962; (fn. 55) it had been restored by 1976. One wing appears to date from the 17th century. The place of Coate Farm as the chief house on the lord farmer's estate was taken by the New House (later called Fyfield House or Fyfield Manor) built c. 1720 by Joseph Small at the south of the Coate farm land, near to Southrop village. Both Small and his son lived at the New House (fn. 56) and it acquired the status of the manorhouse. (fn. 57) It is a house of modest size, having a south front with a projecting centre of 3 bays with a gabled parapet; alterations made in the mid 20th century gave the front more symmetry.
The ancient site of the manor was by the church at BOTHEROP FARM, also called BLOMERS FARM from the family that had a lease of it with the demesne lands belonging in 1521. (fn. 58) In 1681 the dean and chapter leased the farm for 3 lives to William Dowdeswell of Pull Court, Bushley (Worcs.) and it remained in his family until after the death of his great-grandson William Dowdeswell in 1775, (fn. 59) when it included 739 a. (fn. 60) Later it was held by members of the Kimber family, (fn. 61) and in 1824 a lease was granted to Thomas Bendry who sold it to Thomas Clarke in 1830. In 1882 the estate was put up for sale after the death of H. J. Clarke (fn. 62) and by the early 20th century it was part of the Hatherop estate, (fn. 63) which retained the land in 1976. In 1649 Botherop Farm was stone-built with a hall, parlour, buttery, milk-house, wool-house, kitchen, and brewhouse on the ground floor, 4 chambers above, and extensive farm buildings. (fn. 64) It was evidently the house at Eastleach with 6 hearths in 1672. (fn. 65) The north part of the house apparently dates from a rebuilding in the 18th century and a large classicalstyle block was added in the early 19th.
A hide of land in Eastleach Martin was owned by Great Malvern Priory and evidently represented 4 of the 5 yardlands granted to it with the church by Richard son of Pons c. 1120, (fn. 66) and probably the hide that the priory confirmed to the church c. 1144. (fn. 67) In 1200, however, the parson of Eastleach, having originally claimed the hide in right of his church in free alms, confirmed it as the lay fee of the priory. (fn. 68) The estate, which became known as PRIOR'S COATE, was described as 4 yardlands in 1560 when it was granted to John Dodington and John Jackson; it descended with their manor in Eastleach Turville to become part of the Hatherop estate. (fn. 69) During the 16th and early 17th centuries, however, Prior's Coate was held by lessees who were also lessees of the Coate farm estate. That arrangement and the fact that the land of the two estates lay intermixed caused confusion, which was not satisfactorily resolved by the inclosure of that part of the parish, completed with Southrop in 1621. In 1633 the owner of Prior's Coate, John Blomer, complained that his land was indistinguishable from Coate farm and that the lessee had deliberately obscured his rights. (fn. 70) It seems, however, that a compact block of land north of the Coate farm land had been allotted for Prior's Coate. That land belonged to the Hatherop estate until 1773 when, under the Eastleach Turville inclosure, Sir John Webb exchanged it with the Revd. Benjamin Boyes for land in Eastleach Turville. Benjamin (d. 1814) was succeeded by his son Richard Edmund Boyes, who sold the estate, then comprising 102 a. farmed from a house called the Jostle (later Troutbeck Farm) in Eastleach Turville village, to Sir Michael Hicks Beach of Williamstrip in 1843. (fn. 71) Sir Michael Edward Hicks Beach sold it with his other land in the parish to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1858. (fn. 72)
In 1086 there were 4 plough-teams and 9 servi on the demesne of the estate of Drew son of Pons. (fn. 73) Gloucester Abbey's demesne estate comprised 3 plough-lands in 1291. (fn. 74) By the early 16th century the demesne was leased as two farms, Coate farm and Botherop farm. (fn. 75) In 1649 Coate farm comprised 261 a. of inclosed land and rights in certain meadows shared with Southrop manor, and Botherop farm comprised 875 a. (including 250 a. in the open fields) with pasture rights and rights in meadow land in Kempsford. (fn. 76) Sheep were naturally an important element in demesne farming. Gloucester Abbey's shepherd was mentioned in 1221 (fn. 77) and the abbey still had its own flock in 1521 when a lease of Botherop farm reserved a sheephouse and part of the pasture land for the use of its shepherd. (fn. 78) In 1531, however, pasture for a demesne flock of 400 together with the sheep-house and the shepherd's house was leased to William Blomer, tenant of Botherop farm. (fn. 79) In 1649 a 300-acre sheepwalk for pasturing a flock of that size belonged to the farm in severalty and it had another 150 a. of downland for a flock of 200 ewes; the farm's buildings included a wool-house and a sheephouse. (fn. 80) The Prior's Coate estate of Malvern Priory also had its sheep-house in the 16th century. (fn. 81)
The tenants on the estate of Drew son of Pons in 1086 were 15 villani and 4 bordars working 9 teams. (fn. 82) About 1267 the manor included 3 considerable freehold estates, one of a hide belonging to Hugh of Coate, one of 3 yardlands belonging to Sywat of Fifhide, and one of ½ hide belonging to the Heyrun family. There were also 6 yardland estates and 5 12-acre estates which were held for lives and though free of weekly labour-services still owed the other customary burdens. The customary tenants were 13 yardlanders, who owed 5 days' work each week, 20 bedrepes in the harvest, and the usual servile dues, 8 holders of 12-acre estates who owed 3 days' work each week in the harvest and 2 days each week during the rest of the year, and a holder of a messuage and curtilage who owed 1 day a week. The labour-services of the yardlanders included carrying to Gloucester 15 times in the year, and those of the lesser tenants sheep-washing and sheep-shearing. The yardland at Eastleach contained 32 a. in the 13th century (fn. 83) but was accounted as 34 a. in the 17th. In 1649 the tenants of the manor were 17 copyholders, the largest holding comprising 4 yardlands; the copies, for which arbitrary fines were levied, could be granted for 3 lives in possession and 3 in reversion. (fn. 84)
Two open fields, a north and south field, were recorded at Fyfield in the 13th century (fn. 85) and there were presumably then also the Upper and Lower (or North and South) Botherop fields mentioned in 1649. In 1753 Fyfield's two fields covered 470 a. in the south-east part of the parish and were larger than the two Botherop fields which lay in the centre of the parish. The north part of the parish was occupied by downland, a large part of it appropriated in severalty to Botherop farm while c. 150 a. were common, (fn. 86) stinted at 30 sheep to the yardland; there were also rights of common in the open fields but those too were limited by the right of the Botherop farm flock to be folded there overnight. (fn. 87) Another common of 56 a. lay in the southern tip of the parish and between it and the Leach was the main area of meadow land, a lot meadow containing 17 a. (fn. 88)
The land of Eastleach Martin lying west of the Leach and belonging to the Coate farm and Prior's Coate estates was inclosed with Southrop in the early 17th century. (fn. 89) The remainder of the parish was inclosed in 1753 at the instigation of the lord farmer Viner Small, who shared the expense with William Dowdeswell, the lessee of Botherop farm. Small had acquired by purchase, or had allowed to fall in to the manor, 13 of the copyhold estates, for which he was awarded 451 a. including most of the common downland. Dowdeswell was allotted a considerable acreage, including the whole of Botherop Upper field, while the 5 surviving copyholders received a total of 241 a. and the Greenwood family received 122 a. for a freehold estate. (fn. 90) Small, whose estate was said to be doubled in value by the inclosure, (fn. 91) formed his allotments into two farms, the Downs farm with 110 a. and Fyfield farm with 359 a. (fn. 92) Dowdeswell's estate was also much increased in value and he complained when the fine for renewing his lease was increased proportionately by the dean and chapter and no allowance made for his trouble and expense in improving the estate. (fn. 93) Additional buildings for his estate were provided at Sheephouse Farm, probably the site of the ancient sheep-house of the estate.
Much of the former downland was evidently ploughed up after the inclosure (fn. 94) and three-quarters of the parish were said to be under the plough c. 1780. (fn. 95) Following the inclosure the usual sheep-and-corn husbandry of the Cotswolds was the practice in the parish. In 1866, when 1,693 a. were returned as arable and 247 a. as permanent grass, the main constituents in the rotation were wheat, barley, oats, beans, turnips, and grass-seeds. (fn. 96) In the early 1820s at least three parishioners worked as shepherds (fn. 97) and the flocks returned in 1866 totalled 1,313. (fn. 98) Arable farming was not apparently eroded to any significant extent in the later 19th century: in the returns for 1896 only wheat was much reduced in acreage compared with 1866 and oats and roots showed a considerable increase. The number of sheep returned was up to 2,176 in 1896 and more cattle, including dairy cows, were then kept. (fn. 99)
In spite of the reorganization at inclosure the tenant land remained copyhold, including the two new farms which Slade Nash, the tenant from 1767, let out on 21-year leases; the houses that had belonged to the estates dismembered to make the new farms were granted on separate copies. (fn. 100) In 1814 William Nash's estate included, besides the demesne farm of Coate with 207 a., Fyfield farm with 423 a. based on the farm-house on the north side of Fyfield hamlet, Warren farm (the former Downs farm) with 109 a. farmed from the house later called Tom Jolly's, Homeleaze farm with 80 a. in the detached part of the parish, two other farms of 90 a. and 55 a., and most of the cottages of the parish. (fn. 101) Copyhold tenure was apparently extinguished by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners when they bought in the estate in 1858. (fn. 102) Subsequently most of the estate was let as two farms: Fyfield farm which included the former Warren farm land had 931 a. in 1867, and the Jostle farm, which comprised most of the land west of the river and was based on a farm-house in Eastleach Turville village, had 229 a. (fn. 103) The other farms in the late 19th century were Botherop farm, still held on leases for lives and containing 644 a. in 1882, (fn. 104) and Homeleaze farm, which had been sold to Lord de Mauley, owner of the Hatherop estate, in 1854 and had 172 a. in 1862, lying partly in Southrop and Eastleach Turville. (fn. 105) Fyfield farm (later called Baxter's farm) and Botherop farm, which was farmed with Manor farm in Eastleach Turville from c. 1930, remained the principal farms in the 20th century. (fn. 106) In 1976 the former covered 341 ha. (843 a.), used mainly for dairying and growing cereals. (fn. 107)
The mill recorded on the estate of Drew son of Pons in 1086 (fn. 108) was apparently Coate mill on the Leach north-east of Coate Farm. It was evidently worked by Richard the miller whose pond on the river was mentioned in the early 13th century. (fn. 109) In 1529, when it was known as Hacker's mill, the mill was leased by Gloucester Abbey to the tenant of Coate farm (fn. 110) and it remained part of that estate in the time of the lords farmers. The buildings included a malt-house by 1730 when the mill was leased to a maltster. (fn. 111) The limited local trade of Coate mill was emphasized in a valuation of 1831, when it was a small building with 2 pairs of stones, (fn. 112) but it continued working for many years afterwards and was apparently rebuilt in the late 19th or early 20th century. From 1920 it was occupied by Robert Hinton who used it to make animal feed and built up a successful business, which was made a limited company in 1934. The water-wheel was replaced by diesel power before 1940, and the firm continued to use the mill until 1965 when it concentrated its operations at Southrop. (fn. 113) The buildings at Coate mill were used as cottages in 1976.
The parish has numbered few tradesmen among its inhabitants. In 1608 a weaver was the only tradesman recorded in Eastleach Martin (fn. 114) and in 1831 only 2 families in the parish were supported by trade. (fn. 115) One of the earliest tradesmen mentioned was Richard the slater c. 1267 (fn. 116) and of the few recorded later slaters and masons were a high proportion. The parish had a mason, carpenter, and bootmaker in the mid 19th century but from about 1860 it appears to have been almost entirely devoid of tradesmen. (fn. 117)
A single roll for the court baron of Eastleach Martin manor survives for 1351 (fn. 118) and there is also a court book for the period 1764–1824. After inclosure the court's business was almost exclusively concerned with the granting of copyholds, although it appointed a hayward in 1798. (fn. 119)
The accounts of the churchwardens survive from 1744 (fn. 120) and there are also vestry minutes from 1843. (fn. 121) In the late 18th century and the beginning of the 19th expenditure on the poor was generally lower than for any other parish in the hundred; 16 people received permanent relief in 1803 and 15 in 1813. (fn. 122) In the 1820s and 1830s, however, expenditure rose above that of several of the other small parishes in the neighbourhood. (fn. 123) Eastleach Martin was one of the places where agricultural machinery was broken in the riots of 1830 (fn. 124) and there was still unemployment among the labourers in 1844 when one farmer's plan to bring more of his land under the plough was welcomed. (fn. 125) Eastleach Martin became part of the Northleach union in 1836 (fn. 126) and later formed a part of Northleach rural district. (fn. 127) In 1974 the combined parish of Eastleach was included in the new Cotswold district.
The church of Eastleach Martin was granted by the lord of the manor, Richard son of Pons, to Great Malvern Priory about 1120, and it was dedicated by the bishop of Worcester soon after Gloucester Abbey acquired the manor in 1144, full tithes and parochial rights being confirmed to it. (fn. 128) Licence to Great Malvern to appropriate the church was granted in 1346 (fn. 129) but never acted upon and the living, for which a parson was recorded in 1200, (fn. 130) has remained a rectory. In 1385, however, and until the Dissolution an annual pension of 26s. 8d. was owed to the priory out of the rectory. (fn. 131) The advowson was exercised by the priory, (fn. 132) though in 1304 the bishop collated, claiming negligence on the part of the priory, and the clerk presented by the priory later that year was forced to withdraw his claim in return for an annual pension. (fn. 133) In 1554 Sir John Russell presented under a grant from Malvern but later the advowson was exercised by the Crown. (fn. 134) The living was united with Eastleach Turville in 1871 (fn. 135) and Southrop was added to the united benefice in 1930. (fn. 136)
The rector of Eastleach Martin apparently retained only one of the five yardlands that Richard son of Pons granted with the church c. 1120 but his glebe probably also included a yardland in Fyfield given to the church by Gloucester Abbey c. 1144. (fn. 137) In 1535 he had 48 a. of arable and a small close and he owned all the great and small tithes of the parish. (fn. 138) At inclosure in 1753 the rector was awarded 16 a. for his glebe and the tithes were commuted for an annual charge of £133 6s. 8d. apportioned among the occupiers of land in the parish. (fn. 139) The rectory house, standing by the Leach some way above the church, was rebuilt by Henry Smith, rector 1688–1702, (fn. 140) as a tall building, square on plan, with a hipped roof; various alterations and additions were made later, mainly in the early 19th century. It remained the residence of the incumbent after the formation of the united benefice. The living of Eastleach Martin was valued at £12 in 1291 (fn. 141) and at a clear value of £9 7s. 2d. in 1535. (fn. 142) It was valued at £60 in 1650, (fn. 143) at about £80 c. 1710, (fn. 144) at about £140 in 1777, (fn. 145) and at £191 in 1856. (fn. 146)
In 1277 Henry, rector of Eastleach Martin, had leave of absence for 3 years' study (fn. 147) and in 1310 John Caleys had leave to be absent in the service of the bishop of Ely. (fn. 148) Baldwin Hyde, instituted in 1458, (fn. 149) also held a prebend at St. Mary's college in Hastings castle. (fn. 150) Richard Hill, who held the living by 1532, (fn. 151) was deprived in 1554 for being married. Rowland Searchfield, instituted rector in 1601, (fn. 152) was later bishop of Bristol. (fn. 153) John Wall, D.D., held the living from 1622 (fn. 154) until the 1640s but was presumably deprived after the Civil War, part of which he had spent at the king's headquarters at Oxford. (fn. 155) In 1650 the cure was being served by John Soane. (fn. 156) Edward Beer was instituted in 1651 and, subscribing at the Restoration, (fn. 157) remained rector until his death in 1688. (fn. 158) William Asplin, author of theological works, (fn. 159) was rector 1733–58, holding the living with the vicarage of Horley and Hornton (Oxon.). (fn. 160)
James Parsons, rector 1758–85, was also rector of Brimpsfield from 1777 (fn. 161) and lived at Cirencester. (fn. 162) His successor the Hon. Francis Knollys was living on his other benefice at Burford in 1786 (fn. 163) and the next rector, Hugh Pollard Willoughby, 1827–58, was non-resident for part of his incumbency on the grounds of illness. (fn. 164) The parish was thus left in the charge of curates for many years. Benjamin Boyes, owner of an estate in the parish and Eastleach Turville, (fn. 165) was the curate in the 1770s and 1780s and also served Eastleach Turville, (fn. 166) as did the Tractarian leader John Keble between 1815 and 1825 (fn. 167) and Rowland Helme Cooper, licensed in 1832. In 1851 Cooper held morning and evening services alternately in each church. He became rector of Eastleach Martin in 1858 (fn. 168) and remained incumbent of the united benefice after 1871. (fn. 169) Joseph Henry Hodges, instituted in 1880, incurred debts which led to the sequestration of the living between 1885 and 1895; in 1894 he was living in London as chaplain to a refuge for the destitute while a curate-in-charge served Eastleach. (fn. 170)
The church at Eastleach Martin, recorded from c. 1120, was dedicated to SS. MICHAEL AND MARTIN c. 1144. (fn. 171) It is built of limestone rubble, partly rendered, with ashlar dressings, and comprises chancel, nave with north transept and south porch, and west tower. The nave of the 12th-century church survives and retains its original doorways, that on the north (now blocked) being plain in design and that on the south having two orders. The chancel was rebuilt in the early 13th century, when the chancel arch was renewed on the old responds. In the early 14th century the chancel was lengthened and the north transept, porch, and tower were added. The carving of the tracery and reveals of the transept windows is of high quality and the same craftsmen were probably responsible for the east window and for a new south window in the nave. Some minor alterations were made in the 15th century and included a new west window and possibly the tower buttresses and the innermost order to the south doorway.
In 1753 Viner Small was given licence to put up a seat in the north transept and the transept was appropriated to him and successive occupants of the manor estate. (fn. 172) A gallery at the west end of the nave was removed in 1864 when some slight restoration was carried out. (fn. 173) A more thorough restoration was done in 1886 when the nave was re-roofed. (fn. 174)
The nave retains some 16th- and 17th-century pews and the parish chest is dated 1662. The font has an octagonal bowl of the 15th century. In some of the windows are fragments of medieval glass. (fn. 175) Two of the three bells are of early date, one possibly of the late 14th century and another by the early-16th-century founder John White of Reading; (fn. 176) the other bell was recast by Abel Rudhall in 1739. There is also a sanctus bell of 1616. (fn. 177) The plate includes a chalice and paten cover given by the rector Henry Smith in 1689. (fn. 178) The base and part of the shaft of a medieval cross stand in the churchyard. The parish registers survive from 1538. (fn. 179)
Baptists registered William Eyles's house at Eastleach Martin in 1775 and their meetings, later held in William's barn, continued until at least 1811. (fn. 180) In 1825 it was said that there were no dissenting meetings in the parish (fn. 181) and none were recorded later.
By 1818 day and Sunday schools had been started for teaching the children of Eastleach Martin and Eastleach Turville together.
The schools were in union with the National Society and were probably supported by the curate John Keble. (fn. 182) In 1826 a new day-school was started at Eastleach Martin, apparently for that parish alone; in 1833 it was supported by subscriptions and weekly pence and taught 31 children. (fn. 183) There was no secured schoolroom, (fn. 184) however, until 1863 when a National school to serve both Eastleaches was built in Eastleach Martin east of the church. It had an attendance of c. 75 at the outset, (fn. 185) rising to 90 by 1885. (fn. 186) In the early 20th century the attendance was c. 70 (fn. 187) and in 1936 it was 59. (fn. 188) In 1974, when the number on the roll had fallen to 9, the school was closed and the children transferred to Southrop. (fn. 189)
Charities for the Poor
Henry Smith, rector of Eastleach Martin, left £50 in 1702, the profits to be given to 5 poor people on St. Thomas's day. (fn. 190) The principal was lent out to private individuals and the interest was apparently regularly distributed later. (fn. 191) In 1970 the charity was amalgamated with the Eastleach Turville charity of Thomas Howes and the joint income of c. £4 a year was allowed to accumulate to await particular cases of need. (fn. 192)