A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1968.
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Tredington lies 2 miles south of Tewkesbury, on the right-hand or eastern bank of the River Swilgate. In the Middle Ages it was part of the manor and parish of Tewkesbury, and in that respect was no different from Southwick and the Mythe, which remained hamlets of Tewkesbury parish. The existence, however, of a substantial church and a clearly defined village gave Tredington, from the 16th century, the character and status of a parish. (fn. 1) The parish amounted to 1,020 a., elongated in shape and stretching 2½ miles across, but broadening out at the western end, where the Swilgate formed the boundary. The short eastern boundary and part of the northern boundary (fn. 2) followed an old lane leading between Bishop's Cleeve and Tewkesbury. (fn. 3) The southern boundary for part of its length followed the Moor brook (fn. 4) and then ran west and south-west to the Swilgate. (fn. 5) In 1935 the civil parish of Tredington was extinguished: except for 5 a., which were added to Tewkesbury, it was added to the civil parish of Stoke Orchard. (fn. 6)
The land is flat, lying mainly between the 50 ft. and 75 ft. contours, and is drained by the Swilgate and the Moor brook. (fn. 7) The soil, lying on the Lower Lias, is a deep clay; (fn. 8) until inclosure by parliamentary award in 1806 (fn. 9) the greater part of the parish was open-field arable land, but there was meadow along the banks of the Swilgate and furze-covered pasture at the eastern end of the parish. (fn. 10) There appears to have been a significant quantity of woodland in 1539, (fn. 11) and the purchaser of the manor in 1621 complained that, after he had made the agreement to buy, the trees had been felled and carried away, 'the which I do not take well'. (fn. 12)
Tredington village, at the west end of the parish near the river, has been said to be a primary settlement, (fn. 13) but on what grounds is not clear. The site is not a particularly favourable one, and was once subject to flooding. (fn. 14) The village comprises a single street, along which the houses are widely spaced over a length of ½ mile from the bridge across the river. The disposition of the houses does not indicate that a crossing on the site of the bridge encouraged the establishment of the village. It is noticeable that most of the houses lie on the south-west side of the street; that characteristic was once more marked, for some of the houses on the south-west side were demolished in the 19th century, (fn. 15) and the houses on the north-east side are mostly the small ones, including only two of the 12 farm-houses or homesteads in the village in 1806. (fn. 16) Until inclosure the open fields came up to the north-east side of the road in places, where the remains of ridge and furrow in the grass-land could still be seen in 1965. It may be that the north-east side of the street was used for building at a later period than the southwest side, and that the one-sided tendency of the village indicates a stunting of its growth. The church, which lies towards the end of the village away from the bridge and contains 12th-century fabric, (fn. 17) is on the north-east side of the street, and its siting suggests that by the time it was built most of the frontage of the south-west side was occupied with houses and farm-buildings. It is conceivable that the development of Tewkesbury as a market town in the late 11th century (fn. 18) discouraged the further growth of Tredington on a readily available site.
Another noticeable feature of the village is the number of large farm-houses along the village street. Among them are Tredington Court, Mill Farm, Home Farm, Manor Farm, and Tredington House, which are mentioned below, (fn. 19) all timber-framed buildings of the 16th and 17th centuries. They presumably reflect the prosperity of the freeholders of Tredington at the period, but some of the customary tenants may also have had comparatively large houses. In the late 15th century, when several other tenants were fined for not repairing their houses, John Humphrey was fined for not rebuilding his hall and chamber. (fn. 20) In 1491 the destruction of a house by wind was recorded. (fn. 21) Corn Mill Cottage, beside the site of the mill, was built in the 16th century, rectangular on plan; its timber-framing includes double-curved braces in the panels of three sides, the upper story overhangs only slightly above a moulded bressummer, the attic has similar bressummers at the gable-ends and overhangs rather more, and the ceiling beams have carved grooves and elaborately stopped chamfers. There are a few other timber-framed cottages, but most of the cottages, including a timber-framed group near Corn Mill Cottage, were demolished or replaced in the 19th century. (fn. 22)
Until some years after inclosure all the houses were confined to the village. In the mid-19th century Gothic Cottage Farm and Tredington Field Cottage were built in the eastern part of the parish; (fn. 23) the only other isolated building is the school, on the road to Stoke Orchard, opened in 1880. (fn. 24)
The road through the village once provided a main route from Gloucester to Tewkesbury, and it was this road that Ogilby took in the mid-17th century. It was carried over the Swilgate by a bridge (fn. 25) called Tredington Bridge in 1553 (fn. 26) and 1702. (fn. 27) A bridge called the Furzen Bridge in 1684 (fn. 28) presumably carried the Furzen road to Woolstone (fn. 29) across the Moor brook. The Moorway to Fiddington and the Ridgeway running from it to Walton Cardiff were recorded in 1631. (fn. 30) There has been no significant change in the roads since inclosure, and none carries more than local traffic.
Twenty people in Tredington were assessed for tax in 1327. (fn. 31) In 1528 there were 23 houses recorded; (fn. 32) that figure compares with the 49 communicants of 1551, (fn. 33) but in 1563 there were said to be only 15 households. (fn. 34) The number of communicants was returned as 48 in 1603, (fn. 35) which was low compared with the 30 adult males listed in 1608. (fn. 36) In the winter of 1610–11 a plague struck the village, and 25 people died of it. (fn. 37) The population may not have picked up again for some time: there were only 16 families in 1650, (fn. 38) and 19 houses assessed for hearth tax in 1662. (fn. 39) In 1676, however, there were said to be 75 adults, (fn. 40) and it looks as though the figure of 100 given as the number of inhabitants in the early 18th century (fn. 41) was considerably below the true figure. An exact list of 1777 gave the number of families as 30 and of inhabitants as 169; (fn. 42) almost exactly the same figures were returned in 1811, after which there was an intermittent decline to 102 persons in 23 families in 1901. After 1921 there was a further decline, and in 1931 (the last year for which there are official figures) the population was 92. (fn. 43)
References to the common tavern of Tredington, the keepers of which were presented for breaking the assize in 1541 and 1543, (fn. 44) are the only records found of any sort of inn in the parish, although, as noted above, the village street was once a main road.
The belief that Edward IV stayed in Tredington the night before the Battle of Tewkesbury (fn. 45) appears to rest entirely on the statement that in coming from Cheltenham he lodged himself and all his host within three miles of the opposing army, then at Tewkesbury. (fn. 46)
Manors and Other Estates.
In 1066 an estate of 6 hides in Tredington was part of Brictric's manor of Tewkesbury, (fn. 47) and the chief estate in Tredington belonged to the lords of Tewkesbury throughout the Middle Ages. (fn. 48) It was among the estates surrendered to the Crown by Anne, Countess of Warwick, in 1487 (fn. 49) and granted back to Anne for her lifetime in 1489. (fn. 50) When part of the demesne land of Tredington was leased in 1539 the estate was described as the manor of TREDINGTON, (fn. 51) and in 1557 the Crown granted the manor as parcel of WARWICK'S LANDS to Anne, late wife of Sir Adrian Fortescue and then wife of Thomas Parry. (fn. 52) With other manors, (fn. 53) Tredington passed to Anne's son Sir John Fortescue (d. 1607), (fn. 54) and to Sir John's son, Sir Francis, who in 1621 sold it to Elizabeth Craven and her son William. (fn. 55) From William, who, as Earl of Craven, died in 1697, Tredington descended with the barony of Craven to William, Lord Craven (d. 1791); Lord Craven settled it on one of his younger sons, Henry Augustus Berkeley Craven (d. 1836), whose brother, Keppel Craven, appears to have owned the estate in 1840 but whose nephew, William, Earl of Craven (d. 1866) was later said to be lord of the manor. (fn. 56) In 1806, at inclosure, the estate extended to over 400 a. (fn. 57) By 1856, however, the Cravens' estate had been sold and divided, so that it was no longer the chief estate in the parish. (fn. 58) The largest part of the estate was apparently the 160 a. that was put up for sale with the house called Home Farm in 1918, following the death of the owner, M. L. Browne. (fn. 59) It was later owned and occupied by Francis Harris, whose father Hubert was the tenant in 1897; in 1949 it was bought by Messrs. R. & R. H. Juckes, and in 1965 formed part of their 520 a. estate in Tredington and Fiddington. (fn. 60) The house, apparently that recorded as being of 5 bays in 1631, (fn. 61) includes a timber-framed building, rectangular on plan, of the 17th century. The other substantial house on the Cravens' estate was Manor Farm, (fn. 62) which was put up for sale with 123 a. by Lawrence Wedgwood, of Barlaston (Staffs.), in 1909. (fn. 63) It was presumably the house mentioned as a 'great house' in 1675, (fn. 64) and in the 18th century and early 19th it was leased to members of the Surman family. (fn. 65) It is perhaps the house recorded as being of 6 bays in 1631. (fn. 66) It is a timber-framed building of two stories and attics, built in the 16th or 17th century on an H plan. In 1965 it belonged to Mr. C. H. Chatham.
An estate described as a manor in the early 16th century (fn. 67) and called TREDINGTON FARM in 1597 (fn. 68) had belonged to Tewkesbury Abbey. The abbey had owned land in Tredington in 1257, (fn. 69) and appears to have acquired more in 1400. (fn. 70) In 1535 the abbey was receiving various small rents from Tredington, and the sacrist received 5 marks a year from the farm of the site of the manor and demesne lands. (fn. 71) In 1553 the Crown granted the estate, with many others, to Daniel and Alexander Peart of Tewkesbury, and in the same year licensed them to sell the Tredington estate to John Neast. (fn. 72) Thomas Neast (d. c. 1568), father of John, (fn. 73) had in 1541 bought another freehold estate in Tredington, including the Over House, from Henry, son of John Taundy, (fn. 74) whose forebears presumably included one of two John Taundys assessed for tax in Tredington in 1327, (fn. 75) the William Taundy who held freehold land there in 1367, (fn. 76) the John Taundy who was acting as a trustee in 1435, (fn. 77) and John's son Robert Taundy, who held a freehold estate called Taundy's Place, parcel of Warwick's land, in 1488 (fn. 78) and 1529. (fn. 79)
John Neast died in 1597 holding both Tredington farm and Taundy's Place, and his son and heir Thomas, (fn. 80) who in the same year received a royal pardon for burglary, (fn. 81) had some difficulty in establishing his title to the Taundy estate. (fn. 82) In 1608 Thomas Neast sold his property in Tredington to George Dowdeswell, the occupier of the chief house on it, (fn. 83) and in 1612 George Dowdeswell sold land in Tredington to Thomas Mayde (fn. 84) and to Thomas Surman, (fn. 85) and the manor to James Cartwright. (fn. 86) James was a younger son of William Cartwright (d. 1581) of Great Washbourne, (fn. 87) who surrendered a copyhold in Tredington in 1567 and may have been the William Cartwright who was bailiff there in 1569. (fn. 88) James died in 1614 and was succeeded by his son Charles. (fn. 89) The estate then apparently passed to successive sons, Thomas (fl. 1683), Thomas (d. 1706), and another Thomas (d. 1728). Mary, the only known child of the last Thomas, died before him. (fn. 90) The estate may afterwards have been occupied by William Cartwright and have become merged in the Cravens' manor: such an estate, called Cartwright's farm, was leased to William Packer Surman in 1759. (fn. 91)
It is not clear which house was the chief house of the abbey's manor; in 1532 that house was evidently a timber-framed building, containing great timbers and tiled with stone. (fn. 92) The Over House was occupied by Thomas Surman in the late 16th century, (fn. 93) and may have become the Cartwrights' chief house. The homestead called Cartwright's that Thomas Surman held on lease from the Craven estate in 1806 stood at the upper end of the village, (fn. 94) a position that fits with its having been called the Over House. That house, on the south-west side of the village street, was pulled down in the mid-19th century. (fn. 95) In 1672 Thomas Cartwright's house had 3 hearths. (fn. 96)
Apart from the Taundys', other medieval freeholds within the honor of Gloucester's manor are recorded. In 1185, when the honor was in the Crown's hand, the heir of Guy of Tredington was in the king's custody and his land produced 37s. 8d. (fn. 97) In 1195 Luke son of Ellis owed 2 marks for being put in possession of a hide of land in Tredington, (fn. 98) and although the estate has not been traced later it is possible that Luke's successors included the Stephen Lucas who was assessed for the highest amount of tax in Tredington in 1327. (fn. 99) In the 15th century an estate called Stephen's Place was used to provide a rent-free home for a servant of the lord's household: in 1425 it was occupied by John Boyce, (fn. 100) who in 1438 had it with an annuity, (fn. 101) as did John Sheldon in 1460. (fn. 102) Some time before 1528, however, it appears to have become a customary holding. (fn. 103)
The large estate of the Surman family, centred on TREDINGTON COURT, appears to have derived from two medieval freeholds. In 1476 Ralph Seymour and his wife Isabel conveyed lands in Tredington to Sir Richard Croft; (fn. 104) in 1488 Sir Richard had a freehold called Winslow's Place, which had once belonged to Hugh Mortimer. (fn. 105) Sir Richard was replaced as a freeholder between 1508 and 1517 by Margery Croft, widow, and from 1520 to 1543 Sir Edward Croft was one of the freeholders. (fn. 106) Croft's estate appears to have passed to Richard Carrick, who in 1585 sold freehold estates in Tredington to Thomas Surman and others. (fn. 107) Thomas was a son of Richard Surman who lived in Tredington in 1543 and died in or before 1563. (fn. 108) Thomas, described as a husbandman in 1608, (fn. 109) was succeeded by his son Thomas Surman, (fn. 110) yeoman, (fn. 111) who enlarged his family's estates and whose son John Surman, gentleman, disclaimed arms in 1682 (fn. 112) and died in 1687. (fn. 113)
The younger Thomas evidently acquired an estate (fn. 114) that had grown from a small freehold belonging in 1322 to Robert Alstone, (fn. 115) one of the wealthier inhabitants of Tredington in 1327. (fn. 116) The estate was sold to Robert Lucy in 1367, and settled on another Robert Lucy and his wife Agnes in 1402. Joan atte Hall may have been the daughter of Robert and Agnes; in 1435 her son John Thorndon conveyed the estate, including the house called Hall Place, to John Chapman and John Taundy. (fn. 117) In 1469 what was called the manor of HALL PLACE belonged to John Cassey of Wightfield, whose son and heir John in 1484 quitclaimed all his lands in Tredington to his brother William. (fn. 118) In 1528 the estate belonged to another John Cassey; (fn. 119) later it may have been held by William Bridges, who in the mid-16th century had the largest freehold estate within Tredington manor, (fn. 120) but in 1575 Henry Cassey of Wightfield, who had leased the Hall Place and land in Tredington to Robert Jeynes in 1555, (fn. 121) was said to have sold a freehold estate, of the same extent as that which Bridges had held, to David Jeynes. (fn. 122) In 1577 Thomas Jeynes replaced David Jeynes as a suitor at the manor court, and in 1579 David Jeynes's heir was said to be his son Robert, aged 8. (fn. 123) In 1625 Robert Jeynes leased Hall Place to Thomas Surman, who appears to have bought the freehold soon after. (fn. 124)
Thomas Surman's son John was succeeded by his son William Surman, who married Anne, daughter and heir of William Packer, (fn. 125) was ranked as esquire in 1727, (fn. 126) and died in 1742. (fn. 127) William's son, William Packer Surman (d. 1764), had a son, also William Packer Surman, who died young and was succeeded by his brother John. (fn. 128) John, who died in 1816, (fn. 129) appears to have been the father of the John Surman who owned the estate in 1856 (fn. 130) and the grandfather of the Major John Surman who died in 1889. On the death of Major John Surman's widow, Elizabeth, in 1892, the estate passed to his nephew, William Surman Mansell, Vicar of Radstone (Northants.), who lived there in 1914. (fn. 131) Tredington Court was sold in 1914, (fn. 132) belonged for a time to Temple Thurston, the author, (fn. 133) and from 1919 or earlier was owned by William Herbert Faun (fn. 134) (d. 1943) and his wife, Elsie Gertrude. After Mrs. Faun's death in 1953 it was bought by the tenant of the farm-land, Mr. C. L. Troughton, the owner in 1965. (fn. 135)
Tredington Court, which was for a long time the seat of the Surman family, is to be identified with the house called Hall Place, which apparently existed, as the Hall, in 1367. (fn. 136) It was presumably the house, the largest in the village, where Thomas Surman lived in 1662 (fn. 137) and 'Mr. Surman' in 1672. (fn. 138) In 1625 it included a hall with a room over and a parlour with a room over; the surviving house appears to have been built by then. (fn. 139) It is of two-stories, timberframed in regular, square panels, and built on an H plan. The house was modified in the late 17th century, when the central part was refronted in brick, a stone porch with the Surman crest was added, and dormer windows were inserted in the Cotswold stone roof. Later alterations included filling and casing the timber frame with brick, giving a flush front to the formerly oversailing gables.
More than one branch of the Surman family lived in Tredington in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. In 1672, for example, there were in addition to 'Mr. Surman', two John Surmans and a William Surman, each with a substantial house. (fn. 140) In 1700 the names of three members of the family were inscribed on the new church bells. (fn. 141) John Surman (d. 1725), David Surman (d. 1736), (fn. 142) and William Surman (d. c. 1798) (fn. 143) were possibly forebears of the John Surman, gentleman — so described to distinguish him from his contemporary John Surman, esquire — who held a comparatively small estate, centred on Tredington House, at inclosure in 1806. (fn. 144) The estate may have passed to Susannah or Mary Surman, each of whom owned land in Tredington in 1825: (fn. 145) later John Surman's daughter and heir was said to have devised his estate to her niece, who married John Buckle. (fn. 146) Tredington House, belonging in 1965 to Mr. W. Clegg, stands back from the street at the south-east end of the village, and is a 17th-century timber-framed building with an Lshaped plan; beside it is a four-gabled brick dovecot apparently of the late 17th century.
Members of the Bick family held land in Tredington over a period of 500 years. In 1367 Walter Bick had a freehold estate there. (fn. 147) In the late 15th century and early 16th no freehold belonging to the Bicks is recorded, but several of them had leasehold and copyhold estates. (fn. 148) By 1585 Charles Bick had bought part of Richard Carrick's freehold; (fn. 149) he was described as a yeoman in 1608 (fn. 150) and was succeeded in 1610 by his son Charles. (fn. 151) Charles's widow, Katherine, and Thomas Bick, perhaps her stepson, lived in the second largest house in the village in 1662. (fn. 152) Charles Bick, gentleman, (fn. 153) held some copyhold land from Tredington manor in 1700, (fn. 154) and it was presumably another man of the same name and rank who was recorded in 1760. (fn. 155) John Bick, who held some land on lease in 1775, (fn. 156) had a freehold estate of nearly 100 a. in 1806, (fn. 157) but he had become bankrupt before his death c. 1822. (fn. 158) Joseph Bick was a farmer and miller in Tredington in 1856 and 1870. (fn. 159) The Bick's house, called Lower Farm and later Mill Farm, had in 1965 been owned and occupied for many years by members of the Spiers family; (fn. 160) it incorporates an L-shaped, timberframed building, with small curved braces ornamenting the gables that light the upper floor.
Up to the late 14th century the evidence for the agrarian history of Tredington is mostly indistinguishable from that of Tewkesbury. (fn. 161) By 1425 the demesne of Tredington was let in various parcels, (fn. 162) and by 1488 the demesne was known as pennyland, (fn. 163) suggesting that the parcels were small and the rents low. Twenty landholders were recorded in Tredington in 1367, (fn. 164) exactly the same number as that of the people assessed for tax in 1327. (fn. 165) In 1367 four of the landholders were distinguished as free tenants, and six as bondmen. (fn. 166) Whereas the rents of the customary tenants had been reduced by 1425, (fn. 167) the number of free tenants increased: there were 7 by 1488, (fn. 168) c. 10 in 1528, (fn. 169) 11 in 1569, and 17 in 1582. (fn. 170) The increase in the later years was probably the result of the breaking up of large free holdings.
In 1425 there were 11 customary tenants holding estates of a house and yardland, or a house and halfyardland. (fn. 171) Over the next two centuries the size of holding tended to grow, and the number of customary or copyhold tenants tended to fall, though not sufficiently to account for the increased size of holding. In 1488 (fn. 172) and 1528 (fn. 173) there were 16 customary yardlands held by 10 tenants in holdings of from ½-yardland to 2 yardlands. In 1573 the customary holdings ranged in size from 1½ to 2½ yardlands; (fn. 174) in 1621 there were 8 copyholds, (fn. 175) varying in size — in 1631 — from 1 to 2½ yardlands. The yardland at that period comprised c. 25 a. of arable land, and could be as small as 20 a. or as large as 30 a. Each yardland had about half as much land again in the form of closes, pasture, and meadow; much of the meadow lay in the Tewkesbury hams, (fn. 176) recalling the fact that Tredington was originally part of Tewkesbury manor. (fn. 177)
The copyholds were subject to the widow's right of freebench, (fn. 178) which she appears to have forfeited on remarriage, (fn. 179) and to heriots which were paid in kind in the 16th century (fn. 180) and up to 1673; (fn. 181) cash heriots were recorded in 1668. (fn. 182) The copyholds were not heritable, and were sometimes granted in reversion; (fn. 183) the tenants were sometimes licensed to sublet their holdings. (fn. 184) From c. 1674 leaseholds for lives came to replace the copyholds, (fn. 185) but the manor court continued to treat such leaseholds almost exactly as though they were copyholds, (fn. 186) and a heriot was payable on such a leasehold in 1759. (fn. 187)
The greater part of the parish was comprised in the open fields: in 1631 the copyholders, who are unlikely to have had much more than half of the open field land, had 332½ a. in the four fields. The acreage was made up of over 1,000 separate lands, ridges, buts, and headlands. (fn. 188) In 1367 an estate included pieces of 1 a., ½ a., and ¼ a., (fn. 189) and in the early 16th century some of the selions or ridges were less than ¼ a. (fn. 190) The fragmentation of the fields justified the manor court's recurrent attention to merestones. (fn. 191) The four fields in 1619 were Church field, north of the village, Ham and Garston field, south-east of the village, Broadmead (later Banworth) field, ¾ mile north-east from the church, and Furzen field east again beyond Broadmead field. Ham and Garston field, as the name implies, was in two distinct pieces, but was a single field for agricultural purposes. (fn. 192) A four-year rotation of crops appears to have been followed in the late 16th century, when there were wheat, pulse, and barley fields, (fn. 193) and there was a four-year rotation in the late 17th century. (fn. 194) Three crops and a fallow remained the practice in 1801, (fn. 195) when 348 a. were sown with wheat, barley, and peas and beans, in nearly even amounts. (fn. 196)
There was some piecemeal inclosure of open arable land before the parliamentary inclosure of 1806. In 1539 part of the demesne was said to have been lately inclosed. (fn. 197) An order of the manor court in 1572 provided for the possible inclosure of commonable land by the tenants before the next session of the court. (fn. 198) There appears to have been some pressure at the time to use arable land for pasture: in 1579 the court ordered that no land was to be left unsown in the barley, wheat, and pulse fields. (fn. 199) More often recorded were efforts to prevent the rough pasture-land from being stripped of all its furze: in 1535 and 1543 the court prohibited foreigners from cutting the furze, and later in the century there were periodic bans on furze-cutting by the tenants. (fn. 200) The number of animals commoned was not particularly high: in 1572 the court allowed 8 horses or cows for each yardland, (fn. 201) and 20 sheep for each yardland in 1686. (fn. 202) In the early 18th century the amount of good pasture was noted; (fn. 203) much of it was presumably inclosed pieces of the open fields, for by 1775 a third of the acreage of field lands held by the tenants was inclosed. (fn. 204) In 1801 it was said that more land would be under cultivation but for the quantity occupied by apples and pears. (fn. 205)
The inclosure award of 1806 affected 917 a., but that figure included not only newly inclosed land but also exchanges that were comprehended in the award. The award allotted or recorded the land of 17 freehold estates, of which 8 were over 20 a.; three people — the Vicar of Tewkesbury in place of his tithes, H. A. B. Craven, and John Surman esquire — received allotments of over 100 a. Particularly since some of the freehold estates were very small, the number of landowners recorded in the inclosure award (fn. 206) is unlikely to bear any comparison with the 19 husbandmen and yeomen recorded in 1608. (fn. 207) In the two intervening centuries the farms appear to have become larger and fewer: the number of houses of any size in the village in the later 17th century gives corroboration, (fn. 208) and most of the 8 farms held as copyholds of the manor in 1631 were held on lease in the early 18th century by people who also had freehold land. (fn. 209) In 1831 there were altogether only 5 agricultural occupiers in the parish, one of whom employed no labour. (fn. 210) The number of farms remained at 5 or 6 up to 1939, (fn. 211) and was 7 in 1965. Whereas in 1803 the land was said to be generally arable, (fn. 212) in 1845 it was divided between arable, pasture, and orchard. (fn. 213) In the early 20th century little more than a quarter of the total farm acreage was arable, (fn. 214) and one of the larger estates contained no arable land at all. (fn. 215) In 1935 less than 100 a. was under the plough, (fn. 216) and in 1939 the land was mainly permanent pasture. (fn. 217) In 1965, though dairying remained predominant, c. ⅓ of the land had for a few years been growing corn. (fn. 218)
The mill at Tredington on the Swilgate is first recorded on a map of 1824. (fn. 219) In the seventies and eighties the mill was run by a farmer, and for a short period it was powered partly by steam. The mill went out of use in the early 20th century. (fn. 220) Nonagrarian occupations have provided little employment in the parish. A rise in the number of families dependent on trade or handicraft from one in 1811 to 6 in 1831 (fn. 221) is not explained. In 1608 there were two blacksmiths, (fn. 222) and there were references to blacksmiths in 1698, when the smith was to build a house near the bridge, (fn. 223) and 1773. (fn. 224) In the early 20th century the smithy was by the churchyard; (fn. 225) it went out of use c. 1933. (fn. 226) In the mid-19th century a family followed the trade of sawyers; (fn. 227) in 1906 there was a laundry in the parish. (fn. 228) In 1965 agriculture remained the chief occupation of the inhabitants, while about one family in three was supported by industrial work outside the parish. (fn. 229)
In the early 16th century the hundred court of Tewkesbury performed the business of both a court leet and a court baron for Tredington. Thus in addition to presentments, orders, and election of officers the court dealt with copyholds and other tenurial business. Up to 1541 the rolls record the election of a tithingman only for Tredington, but in 1543 and later both a tithingman and a constable were chosen. (fn. 230) The manor of Tredington was granted by the Crown in 1557 with view of frankpledge, and in 1559 begins a broken series of rolls of a separate court for Tredington. The court was held sometimes in the spring, more often in the autumn, but only in 1569 and 1582 is there a record of the court's being held more than once in a year. The business of the court was similar in nature to that of the business concerning Tredington in the hundred court, even to the extent, in 1570 and 1580, of pleas of trespass. In addition to the regular appointment of a constable and a tithingman, the court in 1575 appointed two surveyors of roads and sheep. There are rolls of the court for 1559, (fn. 231) 1560, 1569–75, 1577–87, and 1596–7. (fn. 232) The rolls begin again in 1660, and there is one for each year except 1666 until 1702. In that period the court was held always in the autumn; a constable was regularly appointed, but there is no record of a tithingman; the duty of finding a constable belonged to particular houses in rotation. In 1700 the presentments in court included one that the inhabitants kept no nets for catching crows. (fn. 233)
Although Tredington achieved parochial status only after the Dissolution, (fn. 234) and was described in the manor court in 1585 as being in the parish of Tewkesbury, (fn. 235) it had the full complement of two churchwardens by 1540 (fn. 236) and continued to do so. (fn. 237) There is no evidence that Tredington had, like Walton Cardiff, (fn. 238) to resist a claim that it should contribute to Tewkesbury's poor-rate. Tredington's expenditure on poor-relief rose proportionately less than its neighbours' in the late 18th century, but the rate was unusually high; expenditure doubled between 1803 and 1813 but had fallen back by 1825 to the level of 1803. An unusually high number of people received occasional relief, particularly in 1803. (fn. 239) In 1835 the parish became part of the Tewkesbury Poor Law Union. (fn. 240) On being merged with Stoke Orchard parish in 1935 Tredington became part of the Cheltenham Rural District. (fn. 241)
Whereas it is clear from architectural evidence that Tredington church had been built by the 12th century, (fn. 242) the church remained a chapel of ease to Tewkesbury to the end of the Middle Ages. The belief that Tredington had once had a vicarage, of which the patronage belonged to Llanthony Priory, (fn. 243) appears to stem from confusion with Tytherington. (fn. 244) In 1341 Tredington was included among the chapelries of Tewkesbury; (fn. 245) in 1535 the sacrist of Tewkesbury Abbey paid a salary to the curate celebrating in Tredington chapel, which was annexed to Tewkesbury church. (fn. 246) It is therefore likely that Tredington church was founded in the 12th century as an offshoot from Tewkesbury.
In 1540 Tredington was served by a priest called the secondary of Tewkesbury, who had a salary of £8, and lived in rooms near the church in Tewkesbury where he appears to have done some duty. (fn. 247) The last recorded secondary became minister of Tewkesbury c. 1555, (fn. 248) and although the office of secondary was referred to in 1569 (fn. 249) the priest serving Tredington was by then known as the minister (fn. 250) or reader. (fn. 251) The church was called a parish church as early as 1572, (fn. 252) and a chapel of ease to Tewkesbury as late as 1603. (fn. 253) The priest described as curate of Tredington in 1572 (fn. 254) was apparently quite independent of Tewkesbury: his stipend was charged on a portion of the tithes of Tredington, (fn. 255) all of which had belonged to Tewkesbury Abbey's rectory of Tewkesbury until the Dissolution. (fn. 256) The living came to be regarded as a perpetual curacy, with the rectory impropriated to the Crown. (fn. 257) The method by which the incumbents were appointed is not clear; they were perhaps merely licensed by the bishop as though they were assistant or stipendiary curates. (fn. 258) From the mid-18th century it was said that the bishop presented by sequestration, (fn. 259) but this notion was connected with the muddled idea about the earlier nature of the benefice. From c. 1870 the benefice was called a vicarage, perhaps because a glebe house had been built. (fn. 260) The benefice became part of the united benefice of Tredington with Stoke Orchard and Hardwicke in 1937, Tredington church becoming the parish church of a single enlarged parish. (fn. 261) A short-lived union with Stoke Orchard had earlier been made in 1659. (fn. 262)
The £8 stipend of the 16th century remained the only income of the benefice (fn. 263) until Edwin Skrymsher charged the tithes which he gave for the minister of Tewkesbury (fn. 264) with an additional £12 for the curate of Tredington. (fn. 265) The living was thus worth £20 in 1750. (fn. 266) Augmentations by lot from Queen Anne's Bounty in 1780, 1793, 1824, and 1827 (fn. 267) raised the value to c. £50 in the mid-19th century. (fn. 268) The living had no house until c. 1860 when one was newly built. (fn. 269) In 1965 the house was the temporary home of the Vicar of Tewkesbury, who since 1963 had been priest in charge of Tredington with Stoke Orchard and Hardwicke.
The absence of a house and the poverty of the living made it inevitable that Tredington should receive less than the exclusive attention of its incumbents before the late 19th century. Richard Wilkes, perpetual curate in 1650 and 1661, was also master of the grammar school at Tewkesbury and had the cure of Stoke Orchard and Walton Cardiff. In the mid-18th century three successive vicars of Tewkesbury held the living and employed assistant curates who looked after other parishes in addition to Tredington. Henry Bond Fowler, perpetual curate 1802–29, and Robert Hepworth, perpetual curate 1829–56, lived elsewhere and served Tredington through assistant curates, of whom one was master of Tewkesbury grammar school. (fn. 270) From c. 1860 the parish clergy lived in Tredington, and in 1883 began the unusually long incumbency of George Edward Webster, (fn. 271) who was not succeeded until 1937. (fn. 272) From 1963 the living was held jointly with that of Tewkesbury. (fn. 273)
The church of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST (fn. 274) is a building of ashlar and coursed rubble, comprising chancel, nave, and south porch, with a timberframed tower rising above the west end of the nave. The north and south doorways of the nave, the chancel arch, one window in the chancel, and perhaps the flat buttresses on the east wall of chancel were built in the 12th century, and suggest that the plan of the church has not been changed essentially since then. The south doorway, plain on the inside, has on the outside two recessed orders carved with zig-zag and nail-head ornament on alternate voussoirs of light and dark stone, a pelleted hoodmould with one animal head-stop, and ornamented detached shafts with scalloped capitals. The smaller north doorway, which has long been blocked, has a grooved hoodmould with animal head-stops, a massive chamfered abacus, and plain jambs. The carved tympanum, which has suffered from weathering, depicts a seated figure holding a staff and another object and flanked by a pair of kneeling figures holding books. (fn. 275) The depressed semicircular chancel arch is of two squarecut orders on the nave side, with an ornamented hoodmould, and a single order on the chancel side with a plain chamfered hoodmould. On each side the chamfered imposts are carried back along the walls as string-courses. The narrow, deeply splayed, round-headed light in the middle of the south wall of the chancel presumably represents the pattern of the 12th-century fenestration.
Several of the other windows in the church, including the east window, are 14th-century. There is a cusped lancet in the north wall of the chancel, and one window retains in its tracery a fragment of medieval glass showing a crowned and bearded head. (fn. 276) Two of the windows have Perpendicular tracery, and some of the older tracery was restored in the 19th century. The medieval work in the chancel included the provision of stone benching against the north wall and of an aumbry in the east wall. The apex of the east gable has a 14th-century finial cross. The part of the wall in the gable is much thinner than the walls below, which may represent part of a medieval rebuilding. A rood beam runs across the east wall of the nave above the chancel arch, and the masonry above is slotted to take a cross. The porch, which has an outer door, bears the date 1624 and the initials C.B., perhaps those of Charles Bick; a square-headed window in the nave may be of the same period. In the floor of the porch are laid the fossil remains of an ichthyosaurus. (fn. 277) The timber roofs of nave and chancel were given plaster ceilings apparently in the 17th century; the ceiling in the nave has plaster ornaments of rather crude design.
The west tower is thought to have been raised in 1700 to replace an ancient bellcot. (fn. 278) In 1882 the tower was weather-boarded where it rose above the roof of the nave, and had a low roof. (fn. 279) In 1883, however, the tower was rebuilt at the expense of John and Elizabeth Surman, (fn. 280) as a timber-framed structure with close studding and braces, and with a pyramidal roof and a clock. (fn. 281) The curved and diagonal bracing was removed presumably at the restoration of the church in 1935. (fn. 282) The tower stands on timber supports within the body of the nave. The church was restored, at the suggestion of John Surman, in 1845. (fn. 283) A gallery was removed, (fn. 284) and perhaps at the same time the chancel was given its east window of two simple lights.
The walls of the church are bare of plaster and paint. In 1563 the curate was said to find fault with a wall-painting in the church because it included a representation of the cross. (fn. 285) The church contains altar-rails of the early 17th century, and an ancient oak chest. The pulpit and bench-ends have carved panels of Jacobean design. The monumental inscriptions include several for 17th- and 18thcentury members of the Surman, Cartwright, and Bick families. (fn. 286) The font is of c. 1700. (fn. 287) There were at least two bells in the church in 1545; (fn. 288) three bells by Abraham Rudhall were provided in 1700, two more from his foundry in 1760, (fn. 289) and the tenor bell was recast in 1883. (fn. 290) The chalice of a chalice and paten-cover hallmarked for 1576 (fn. 291) was recorded in 1681, but the flagon and silver bowl that the church then had (fn. 292) did not remain in 1965. The registers begin in 1541 but are far from complete. (fn. 293)
In 1683 there was a small amount of land that had been given for the repair of the church. It produced £2 14s. a year in 1704 (fn. 294) and £8 in 1879. (fn. 295) In the churchyard are the steps, socket, and shaft of a 14th-century cross, with a modern finial. The monolithic shaft is 12 ft. 8 in. tall, octagonal in section but squared by broaches at the base. (fn. 296)
There were said to be five Protestant nonconformists in Tredington in 1676, (fn. 297) but none was recorded in diocesan surveys of the mid-18th century. (fn. 298) Buildings were registered for Protestant dissenting worship in 1809 and 1822, (fn. 299) but in 1825 there was said to be no dissenters' meeting. (fn. 300) In 1828 another building was registered by Daniel Trotman, (fn. 301) the Baptist minister of Tewkesbury; (fn. 302) it has not been traced later, and was evidently out of use by 1851. (fn. 303)
In 1818 the village had a day school with 15–20 children, but the poor were said to lack the means of education. (fn. 304) In 1825 there was no school; some of the children went to school in Tewkesbury. (fn. 305) By 1846 there was a Sunday school in Tredington for 22 children, who went to the National day school at Stoke Orchard. (fn. 306) The poor facilities led to the formation in 1877 of the Stoke Orchard United School District, comprising Stoke Orchard and Tredington, (fn. 307) and that in turn may have stimulated the establishment in 1878 of a Church of England school in a new building — used as a church hall in 1965 — facing the church across the village street. No record has been found of the church school after 1886, when it had 21 boys and girls and was maintained out of fees of 1d. and 2d. and voluntary contributions. (fn. 308) It may have been unable to compete with the board school that was opened in 1880 in a new building, with a teacher's house, (fn. 309) just on the Tredington side of the boundary with Stoke Orchard. (fn. 310) The board school had an attendance of c. 40 in the early 20th century, (fn. 311) and in 1965, when an additional room was added, there were c. 50 children up to 11 years old, under two teachers; the older children went to Bishop's Cleeve. (fn. 312)
In 1549 it was said that the whole of 4s. 6d. a year arising from land given to maintain lights in the church had, since the lights were taken down, been distributed to the poor. (fn. 313) The land was sold by the Crown the same year. (fn. 314) William Surman by his will dated 1798 gave £60 for the poor of Tredington, who received the interest until c. 1822 when the endowment was lost through the bankruptcy of John Bick who had held the capital as executor and as churchwarden. (fn. 315) The charity was recovered after 1828, and in 1965 the income of c. £7 a year from stock was distributed in cash. (fn. 316)