A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1968.
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THE HUNDRED OF WESTMINSTER (LOWER DIVISION)
The origin, composition, and ownership of Westminster hundred are discussed in Volume VI, where the history of the parishes in the upper division is printed. The lower division, comprising the larger parts of Deerhurst, Elmstone Hardwicke, and Leigh, and part of Boddington, all east of the Severn, and beyond the Severn Corse, Hasfield, and part of Tirley, forms part of a relatively compact area. The whole area had belonged to the Saxon monastery of Deerhurst and was divided tenurially in the 11th century between Westminster Abbey and the abbey of St. Denis in Paris, a division reflected by the division, before 1303, into the hundreds of Deerhurst and Westminster. (fn. 1) The land east of the Severn, low-lying and flat, has the usual characteristics of the Vale; west of the Severn, above the meadows beside the river, the former woodland of Corse Chase has left its mark on the appearance of the landscape, in which the steep-sided, flat-topped Corse Wood Hill is prominent.
The franchises of Westminster Abbey's liberty, in the part of Deerhurst hundred that later became the lower division of Westminster hundred, were held of the abbey between c. 1150 and 1299 by members of the Derneford family, who also held the abbey's manor of Deerhurst or Plaistow. (fn. 2) Those franchises were described as half of the hundred of Deerhurst in the mid-12th century. (fn. 3) In 1248 Roger de Derneford acknowledged that he held a quarter of the hundred from the abbot, and granted that the abbot could hold view of frankpledge in his land and that Roger and his men would make suit to the two law-day hundreds. (fn. 4) Later in the 13th century both the abbot and William de Derneford had view of frankpledge, and the abbot also claimed return of writs, fugitives' and felons' goods, vetitum namium, and all the amercements of his men. (fn. 5)
In addition to the court rolls of c. 1386–1786, mentioned in Volume VI, (fn. 6) there are court books of the lower division, described as of Plaistow manor, for the period 1729–1817, when the court was held only once a year, (fn. 7) and miscellaneous papers up to 1868. (fn. 8) The jurisdiction of the Plaistow court was exercised by the lessees of Deerhurst manor estate. (fn. 9) In 1276 it was complained that the Abbot of Westminster had those who were arrested in the hundred taken to Westminster for trial, although he had no right to hold them for more than one night and was then obliged to have them taken to Gloucester Castle. (fn. 10) In 1488 the abbot had a house in Deerhurst, called the stock house, which the bailiff of the liberty or hundred used for keeping prisoners. (fn. 11)
The histories of Deerhurst, Elmstone Hardwicke, Leigh, and Tirley are given under Deerhurst hundred, that of Boddington under Tewkesbury hundred, since the respective parish churches lay in those two hundreds. The histories of Corse and Hasfield are printed below.