A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1968.
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The parish of Elmstone Hardwicke lies mainly north-east of the Cheltenham-Tewkesbury road, about 3½ miles north-west of Cheltenham. The ancient parish is long and narrow in shape, and is 2,628 a. in area, comprising the two civil parishes of Elmstone Hardwicke (1,745 a.) and Uckington (883 a.) (fn. 1) The two elements in the name of the parish derive, it has been suggested, from two separate settlements. (fn. 2) The name Elmstone is thought to have been in use by 889 in the form 'Almundingtoun', (fn. 3) and the name Hardwicke occurs separately in 1086. (fn. 4) The two elements are not found together before 1378, (fn. 5) and not before the 16th century to describe the whole parish. (fn. 6) The name Uckington was in use by 1066. (fn. 7) Uckington may have been a distinct estate at an early date, but it seems more likely that the whole parish formed one estate belonging to the monastery at Deerhurst until that monastery's property was divided in the 11th century. (fn. 8) Uckington, including all the southern part of the parish, was part of the Deerhurst Priory estate of the Abbey of St. Denis, while Elmstone and Hardwicke passed to Westminster Abbey. The parish was divided, therefore, between the two hundreds of Deerhurst and Westminster, and as each part had its own overseers and poor law administration they were accounted separate civil parishes in the 19th century. The boundary between the civil parishes corresponded to the division between the two hundreds and between Westminster Abbey's and Deerhurst Priory's property. (fn. 9)
The parish is flat and low-lying, rising to 150 ft. at the highest point in the south-east corner. The River Swilgate forms its east boundary and a tributary of the River Chelt its south boundary; two other tributaries of the Chelt cross the south part of the parish, and form the west boundary for a short distance. (fn. 10) Almost the whole parish is on the Lower Lias, with small areas of gravel, (fn. 11) and the soil is a mixture of sand and heavy clay. (fn. 12) The land was until the 19th century used mainly for arable farming, with the open arable fields covering the greater part of the parish until 1855, when Uckington was inclosed. In the hamlet of Elmstone Hardwicke inclosure was unusually late, and there were open fields there until 1918. (fn. 13) In 1964 a striking feature of Uckington was the large number of small-holdings. These were formed after the First World War by the Gloucestershire County Council, which bought up most of the hamlet. (fn. 14) The parish has little woodland.
There was a settlement at Elmstone by c. 900 when reference was made to the peasants there, (fn. 15) and it is probable that this was the earliest settlement in the parish. The position of the church, built by the 12th century, (fn. 16) on the east side of the parish on the boundary between Elmstone Hardwicke and Uckington, suggests that that was the site of the early settlement; but no other evidence has been found that there was ever a more extensive village on that site. The church may have been built there because it was a convenient site between the two main villages of Uckington and Hardwicke presumably a reason also for building the school there in the 19th century. In 1327 and later Elmstone was not distinguished as a separate township. (fn. 17) In the late 18th century there was said to be no house at Elmstone, (fn. 18) and in the early 19th there were only a few houses near the church. (fn. 19) Some brick houses were built during the 19th century and Elmstone had c. 8 houses in 1884. (fn. 20) Other houses were built near the church in the 20th century, and some scattered houses in the neighbourhood in the 19th and 20th centuries. The name Stanborough, used by 1633 and later a field-name, may indicate an early settlement on the west side of the parish north of the Cheltenham-Tewkesbury road; no visible remains of a settlement have been noted there. (fn. 21)
The village of Hardwicke is a scattered settlement which does not seem ever to have been nucleated. The manor-house was c. ½ mile west of the village, which has no church or green to form a focal point. Perhaps the main reason for the location of the village was the proximity of the ancient ridgeway which gave the name to Ridgeway field north of the village. (fn. 22) By 1327 Hardwicke was probably the largest village in the parish, with the same number assessed for tax as Uckington but a considerably higher assessment. (fn. 23) In 1608 almost twice as many adult males were recorded in Hardwicke as in Uckington, (fn. 24) and in the early 18th century Hardwicke had more houses. (fn. 25) By the early 19th century Hardwicke and Uckington had the same number of houses, (fn. 26) but by the mid-20th century Hardwicke, which had expanded only slightly with the building of a few council houses, was the smaller village. Hardwicke House Farm is an L-shaped building of which one wing represents an altered timber-framed house, perhaps of the late 16th century; it retains a heavily beamed ceiling and an original fireplace backing onto a cross passage. Green Farm and Harrow Farm both include timber-framed parts, probably of the 17th century. A small thatched and timber-framed cottage of two bays, called the Old Meeting House, has an altered gable-end chimney and may be of the same date. In 1964, however, most of the houses were brick buildings of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The large moated site in Uckington, where the rectory house was built by the 16th century, (fn. 27) may mark the position of the earliest settlement in Uckington, south of the Cheltenham-Tewkesbury road and close to the River Chelt. Uckington Manor Farm stands slightly north-west of the moated site, and one of the oldest surviving houses in the village, Old Hall, immediately west. The pound was in the same part of the hamlet in the 19th century, (fn. 28) and several old cottages near-by were taken down in the 20th century. (fn. 29) A few timber-framed cottages survived in 1964. Old Hall is a substantial L-shaped house, having a gabled cross-wing at the west end. It is largely an early 17th-century timber-framed building, with a stone base and a later brick casing that hides the timbers on the outside. Alterations were made in the early 19th century to the interior and to the windows. In 1939 a fire destroyed one end of the house and the building was made shorter when it was rebuilt. A large timber-framed barn, probably of the same date as the house, was also destroyed by the fire. (fn. 30) A brick barn, dated 1817, has the initials J.B., perhaps indicating that Old Hall was part of the Buckle family's property at that time. The house had passed to the trustees of the Gloucester Municipal Charities by 1920 when they sold it to Mr. T. H. Brookes. (fn. 31)
Uckington village had begun to expand along the road to Elmstone Hardwicke probably by the 17th century when two farm-houses were built there, one timber-framed, the other, called Pigeon Hole Farm, having a barn with pigeon holes at one end. By the 19th century there were several houses, including the vicarage, on the main road. (fn. 32) In the 1920's Uckington grew chiefly along the main road, where the county council built several pairs of semidetached brick houses (fn. 33) as part of its scheme for promoting small-holdings. By 1931 Uckington had most of the houses in the parish, and it continued to expand after the Second World War. (fn. 34) A small private estate of bungalows was built in the 1950's off the Cheltenham road. By 1964 most of the older small houses south of the main road had been taken down and only partly replaced; the village was concentrated north of the main road and spread out along the road towards Cheltenham. Nearly all the houses in the village are of brick.
A few houses were built in the 18th and 19th centuries at the junction of the Cheltenham road and the road from Hardwicke village at the place known as Piff's Elm after a large elm tree that grew there until 1844. (fn. 35) By 1755 an inn, kept by a member of the Piff family, (fn. 36) and later known as the 'White Swan', was opened at Piff's Elm. In 1824 it was still occupied by a Piff. (fn. 37) The tree, which was on the boundary between Elmstone Hardwicke and Boddington, was claimed by the lords of both Hardwicke and Boddington manors, who shared the proceeds of the sale when the tree was cut down in 1844. (fn. 38) A few more houses were built on the same road at the west boundary of the parish. The outlying farm-houses, with the exception of Rudgeway Farm and Barn Farm, were built before 1839, (fn. 39) and are mainly early 19th-century brick buildings, or have been rebuilt in the 20th century.
Thirty-six people in the whole parish were assessed for tax in 1327. (fn. 40) In 1551 the number of communicants was 140 (fn. 41) and the number had increased to 188 by 1603. (fn. 42) The parish was said to have 60 families in 1650, (fn. 43) and 41 houses were assessed for hearth tax in 1672. (fn. 44) The population figures of 150 given c. 1712, and of 144 in 1735 and 1779, seem too low and may be for only one of the villages, (fn. 45) for by 1801 the parish had a total population of 330. The population increased steadily, apart from a slight decline in 1851, to 449 in 1871 and then decreased rapidly, mainly in the hamlet of Elmstone Hardwicke, to 308 in 1881. Between 1921 and 1931 there was an increase from 338 to 576, attributed to residential development in Uckington where the population more than doubled. The population of Uckington continued to increase and the total for the whole ancient parish was 602 in 1961. (fn. 46)
In 1378 the repair of Loudlow Lane and Loudlow Bridge, crossing the Swilgate north-east of Elmstone, was disputed between Elmstone Hardwicke and Stoke Orchard. (fn. 47) The ridgeway passing through the parish (fn. 48) may have been the main road north towards Tewkesbury (fn. 49) before the road from Cheltenham to Tewkesbury, crossing the south part of the parish, was built. That road was turnpiked under an Act of 1726 and again, after the Act had lapsed, in 1756. (fn. 50) By 1824 the road connecting Hardwicke to Piff's Elm was called Swan Lane and Long Hill Lane, and the lane passing Elmstone church and joining the main road opposite the junction with the road to Withy Bridge was called the old Gloucester road. (fn. 51) Since 1839 (fn. 52) the only major change in the course of the roads has been the straightening of the road from Elmstone village to Hardwicke in 1918. (fn. 53) Knights Bridge, crossing the Chelt at the west side of the parish, was so called in 1497. (fn. 54) The name Bar Bridge, in use by 1240 for the field in the south-east corner of Uckington, indicates the existence of the bridge over the stream there. (fn. 55) The parish is not far from the Cheltenham stations, and has been connected by 'bus services with Cheltenham and Tewkesbury since the 1920's. (fn. 56) By 1939 Uckington was supplied with gas from the Tewkesbury gasworks. (fn. 57)
Apart from the 'White Swan', mentioned above, by 1755 there was another alehouse in the parish. (fn. 58) In 1839 there was a beer-house and shop in Uckington village on the Cheltenham road, and a beer-house in Elmstone Hardwicke. (fn. 59) Both had gone by 1891 when the 'White Swan' was the only inn in the parish. (fn. 60)
An isolation hospital was opened by the Tewkesbury Rural District Council at the north boundary of the parish in 1897, and was transferred in 1910 to the joint hospital board of the rural district and Tewkesbury Borough. The hospital, which had originally 12 beds, was enlarged between 1910 and 1919; (fn. 61) in 1964, when it was called Tredington Hospital, it had 40 beds for chronic cases, and was in the Cheltenham Group. (fn. 62) Long Hill Smallpox Hospital, a small brick building on the road from Piff's Elm to Hardwicke village, was built in 1937 for 12 patients. (fn. 63) It was closed by 1964, when the building was used as an ambulance station and as a house for the district nurse. (fn. 64)
Manors and Other Estates.
Deerhurst monastery's 5 hides in Uckington were among the lands that were granted to the abbey of St. Denis, Paris, which in 1086 owned the estate. (fn. 65) The Prior of Deerhurst, as the abbey's agent, was described in 1316 as lord of Uckington, (fn. 66) which later passed to Tewkesbury Abbey, owners of Deerhurst Priory from 1467 until the Dissolution. In 1540 the manor of UCKINGTON was leased to George Throckmorton. (fn. 67) In 1606, at his death, John Baker owned the manor, subject to the life-interest of John and Richard Harris. (fn. 68) John Baker's son and heir Richard, the religious and historical writer, (fn. 69) was described as lord of Uckington in 1608, (fn. 70) and sold the manor 1626 to Paul Bayning, later Viscount Bayning (fn. 71) of Sudbury.
Bayning died holding Uckington manor in 1629 and his son and heir, also Paul, Viscount Bayning, in 1638, leaving two infant daughters as his heirs. (fn. 72) Uckington passed to Anne Bayning, who in 1647 married Aubrey de Vere, Earl of Oxford. After her death in 1659 (fn. 73) the manor was divided between four coheirs, (fn. 74) and at least one of the quarters was later divided into four parts. (fn. 75) In 1719 the coheirs of the Countess of Oxford sold the whole manor to William Rogers of Dowdeswell. (fn. 76) From William Rogers (d. 1734) Uckington passed successively to his nephew, William Rogers (d. 1738), to the second William's elder brother Richard (d. 1757), to Richard's younger son John (d. 1760), (fn. 77) and to Anne Rogers, John's daughter, who in 1782 married Joseph Berwick (d. 1798). (fn. 78) It then passed to Sir Anthony Lechmere, Bt. (d. 1849), (fn. 79) by his marriage to Mary, daughter of Anne and Joseph Berwick, (fn. 80) and then to his son, Sir Edmund Hungerford Lechmere (d. 1856), and to Sir Edmund's son, Sir Edmund Anthony Harley Lechmere, who sold it in 1858 to Benjamin Gibbons (fn. 81) (d. 1873). Benjamin Gibbons's nephew, John Skipworth Gibbons, sold his land in Uckington in 1920 to the Gloucestershire County Council, and although the sale did not apparently include any manorial rights (fn. 82) the county council was said to be lord of the manor after the sale. (fn. 83)
As none of the owners of Uckington manor seems to have lived there it is likely that the manor never had more than a farm-house. A manor-house was, however, mentioned in 1575. (fn. 84) Manor Farm, mentioned by that name in the mid-19th century, (fn. 85) was built probably in the early 18th century in Uckington village south of the main road. It is a two-storied L-shaped brick house with stonemullioned windows and later additions. It was bought with the estate by the county council, which owned it in 1964. (fn. 86)
An estate of 5 hides in Hardwicke was owned by Westminster Abbey in 1086 when it was described as belonging to Deerhurst manor. (fn. 87) In the Middle Ages the manor of HARDWICKE sometimes included Deerhurst, and the demesnes of the two manors were in the 14th century sometimes treated as a single agricultural unit. (fn. 88) Later Hardwicke formed part of Deerhurst or Plaistow manor. (fn. 89) By the late 14th century Hardwicke manor was usually held at farm. (fn. 90) At the Dissolution Hardwicke passed with the rest of Westminster Abbey's property to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. (fn. 91) It was granted to William Dowdeswell and others in 1650 (fn. 92) but later reverted to the dean and chapter. The lessees of the demesne during much of the 18th century were members of the Hancock family of Norton and Twigworth. (fn. 93) The Ecclesiastical Commissioners owned the manor and most of the hamlet of Hardwicke in 1918; (fn. 94) in 1940 most of the estate was divided and sold. (fn. 95)
The manor of Hardwicke included a manor-house by 1280, when mention was made of a hall with an entrance chamber, (fn. 96) and in 1323 there was a chapel, a chamber for the lord, and stables. (fn. 97) When the site of the manor was let at farm c. 1373 it included a ruinous grange which the farmer was to repair. (fn. 98) In 1770 the house attached to the demesne farm was said to be in a bad state of repair. (fn. 99) Hardwicke Manor Farm, a timber-framed house east of Copse Green Farm, was taken down in the early 1950's and replaced by a small bungalow near the site. (fn. 100) An 18th-century brick barn remained in 1964.
Land in 'Almundingtoun', formerly belonging to the church of Bishop's Cleeve and granted in 889 by the clergy of Worcester Cathedral to Bishop Waerfrith, has been identified as Elmstone. (fn. 101) About 900 the bishop granted the estate to his kinswoman Cyneswith for three lives with reversion to the see of Worcester. (fn. 102) The estate perhaps included Hardwicke also as it was much larger than the one hide in Elmstone which Westminster Abbey owned in 1086. Elmstone had been held of the abbey in 1066 by Brictric, and in 1086 was held by Regenbald. (fn. 103) In 1133 Henry I granted to Cirencester Abbey land formerly held by Regenbald including the hide in Elmstone, (fn. 104) which was confirmed to the Abbey in 1290. (fn. 105) No later evidence of Cirencester's possession of land in Elmstone has been found, except that in 1567 Elmstone was said to be held as of Cheltenham rectory, (fn. 106) which had belonged to Cirencester Abbey.
In 1514 William Greville died seised of the manor of ELMSTONE, held of the Abbot of Westminster. Greville left three daughters as coheirs, of whom Margaret was the wife of Richard Lygon. (fn. 107) Richard Lygon died seised of Elmstone manor in 1556, (fn. 108) which passed to his son William Lygon (d. 1567), and then in turn to William's son Richard (fn. 109) and Richard's son William, who sold the manor c. 1612 to Walter Buckle. (fn. 110) It is unlikely that there were any tenants of the manor or manorial rights at this time, and the estate was apparently quite small. The Buckle family still owned land in Elmstone in 1902 when John Buckle of Cheltenham was said to be lord of the manor. (fn. 111) By 1910 the trustees of the Gloucester Municipal Charities owned Elmstone manor and apparently sold it to the Gloucestershire County Council before 1923. (fn. 112) In 1803 it was said that there was no house at Elmstone; (fn. 113) in the late 19th century a supposed moated site near the church, (fn. 114) not visible in 1964, may have marked the site of a former manor-house. (fn. 115)
The rectory of Elmstone Hardwicke belonged to Deerhurst Priory until the Dissolution. (fn. 116) In 1580 the great tithes were granted for three lives to Robert Atwell or Wells of Leigh, with the site of the manor of Uckington. (fn. 117) The manor was presumably a RECTORY manor; it was usually associated with the rectorial estate and great tithes in the 17th century, (fn. 118) but is not mentioned as a manor later. The rectory manor was granted in 1611 to Francis Morris and Francis Phillips, (fn. 119) who granted it shortly after to Henry Browne of Hasfield. (fn. 120) Browne died in 1620 holding the manor and rectory, and his estate passed to his son William. (fn. 121) Another William Browne, son of John Browne of Tirley, granted half the site of the manor and rectory to Robert Turton in 1665, (fn. 122) and a Thomas Browne granted half the estate to Thomas Norwood in 1703. (fn. 123) The estate evidently passed to a G. Gwinnet, and in 1735 was settled on Mary Gwinnet and Thomas Chester on their marriage. (fn. 124) In the mid-18th century it was said that Jesus College, Oxford, was the impropriator, (fn. 125) but in 1779 Mrs. Chester devised the estate to her nephews William and George Catchmayd in turn. In 1810 the estate was the subject of a suit in Chancery, and in 1830 it was bought by John Buckle. (fn. 126) The tithes were commuted in 1839; Buckle then owned the great tithes of Uckington and about 12 a. of rectorial glebe. (fn. 127) The tithes of Elmstone Hardwicke were then owned by John and Benjamin Bubb. (fn. 128) At the inclosure of Uckington in 1855 John Buckle received 13 a. for the rectorial glebe. (fn. 129) The rectory house and land were sold by the Buckle family c. 1921 to S. G. Wood, and passed to his daughter Anne and her husband, Sir Ian and Lady Yeaman, the owners in 1964. (fn. 130)
There was presumably a house associated with the rectory manor in 1580 when the site of the manor included a close called Court Orchard. (fn. 131) In 1609 the house in Uckington where Richard Atwell or Wells lived, described as the rectory and chief messuage, was called Uckington Court. (fn. 132) This was probably the house with 5 hearths where Mrs. Buckle was living in 1672 (fn. 133) (the Buckle family possibly having a lease of it at that time), and the one described as a good house, belonging to Thomas Buckle, c. 1712. (fn. 134) The house was on the moated site south of Uckington village, and in 1824 it was described as the Moat or Tithe House. (fn. 135) It stands near the eastern arm of the moat with its entrance front, which has a projecting wing at each end, facing north. The surviving form of the house results largely from a reconstruction in the early 19th century, perhaps by John Buckle. At its centre, however, a two-storied hall block remains from a stone house of c. 1600. This range, which probably once extended further west and had a cross-wing to the east, retains stonemullioned windows, an original chimney, and indications of a screens passage across the west end of the hall. At some later date a kitchen was built behind the hall. The 19th-century alterations included the insertion of a new entrance hall and staircase, the complete rebuilding of the east wing in stuccocovered brick, and corresponding modifications to the west end of the house. At the same time the building was raised to three stories and given lowpitched slate roofs. The sash windows in the new wing and mullioned windows elsewhere were surmounted by plaster hood-moulds. Also within the moat is a 17th-century timber-framed barn with brick panels.
A small amount of land in Hardwicke was part of the manors of Withy Bridge and Hayden, in Boddington parish, (fn. 136) and descended with them from c. 1546. (fn. 137) Deerhurst Walton manor in Deerhurst parish also included land in Elmstone Hardwicke. (fn. 138)
About 1240 Hilary, widow of Roger the mercer of Gloucester, gave 1 a. in Elmstone to the hospital of St. Margaret and St. Sepulchre, Gloucester. John of Arle gave 12 selions in Hardwicke to the hospital also c. 1240, and in 1323 Walter of Malmesbury gave another 12 selions. Three acres in Elmstone belonging to the hospital were leased in 1552, (fn. 139) and the hospital still had land there in 1655. (fn. 140) Six acres owned by Gloucester Corporation in 1839 were probably the property of St. Margaret's Hospital. (fn. 141) In the same year the trustees of the Kimbrose Hospital, Gloucester, had 5 a. in Uckington; (fn. 142) at inclosure in 1855 they received an allotment of 31 a. and the trustees of St. Margaret's Hospital received 1 a. (fn. 143) The property of St. Margaret's Hospital may have been merged with that of the Kimbrose Hospital. By 1906 the property was managed by the trustees of the Gloucester Municipal Charities, (fn. 144) who in 1920 sold at least 80 a. and the house called Old Hall to Mr. T. H. Brookes, who in turn sold most of the land to the Gloucestershire County Council. (fn. 145)
The two principal estates in the parish comprised 5 hides each in 1086; no details were then given of the number of tenants or the amount of land in demesne. (fn. 146) The one-hide estate in Elmstone was perhaps entirely demesne, and no evidence has been found of tenants of that manor. In 1291 the Prior of Deerhurst had 3 ploughlands in demesne in Uckington. (fn. 147) Westminster Abbey's demesne in Hardwicke was farmed jointly with the abbey's land in Deerhurst in the earlier Middle Ages, and the surviving account rolls usually do not distinguish the land in each parish, (fn. 148) but the greater part of the arable appears to have been in Hardwicke. There were 32 oxen at Hardwicke in 1299. (fn. 149) In 1354 259 a. were sown apparently in Hardwicke alone. (fn. 150) When the demesne was leased c. 1373 it was said to be 2 plough-lands, (fn. 151) but in a lease of about the same time 6 plough-lands of demesne were mentioned. (fn. 152) The main crops were wheat, pulse, barley, and oats, with normally a high proportion of wheat and pulse. The produce remaining after re-sowing and paying the servants on the demesne was sold. (fn. 153) The farm servants included in 1325 a mower, a shepherd, 3 carters, 9 ploughmen, a swineherd, and a dairyman. (fn. 154) By the late 14th century less than a quarter of the demesne was harvested by the labour-services of customary tenants. (fn. 155)
The tax assessment in 1327 suggests a fairly high number of landholders; particularly in Uckington, where the number paying was one less than in Hardwicke but the assessment was little more than half that of Hardwicke, (fn. 156) they probably had small holdings. The greater part of the land seems to have been held by customary tenants. Only three references to freeholders have been found for the 13th and 14th centuries. (fn. 157) In the later 14th century there were 36 customary tenants on Westminster Abbey's manor alone. The size of customary holdings was usually ½ yardland, as at Deerhurst. (fn. 158) Some labour-services had been commuted by 1322, (fn. 159) and in 1354 25 tenants owed 275 days' work in summer, and 1,168 at harvest. (fn. 160) By 1372 11 customary tenants had commuted all their works except three weeks' work at harvest, (fn. 161) but some tenants still owed labour-services in 1542. (fn. 162)
Copyholds remained numerous in the 17th century, though there was an increase in the number of leaseholds. Twenty-eight copyholders were recorded at different dates — 14 each in Uckington (fn. 163) and Hardwicke manors (fn. 164) — and in the early 17th century the rectory manor also had some copyholders. (fn. 165) Five leaseholders held parts of Uckington manor demesne in 1631, (fn. 166) and in 1673 12 tenants in Hardwicke were either leaseholders or freeholders. (fn. 167) The number of copyholders decreased in the 18th century, and there was a corresponding increase in the number of freeholders and leaseholders, though both manors had some copyholders in the earlier 19th century. (fn. 168) Copyholds in the 17th century were held usually for two or three lives, and copyholders owed rent, paid partly in kind at Uckington, heriots, and suit of court. (fn. 169) Widows had freebench. (fn. 170) By the late 17th century several copyholders of Uckington manor did not owe heriots, (fn. 171) though some heriots were paid in 1840. (fn. 172) One of the leaseholders of the demesne owed a heriot. (fn. 173)
Copyholds in the 17th century seem to have been larger on the whole in Uckington than in Hardwicke. Most copyholders had between 1 and 3 yardlands in 1631, when 14 tenants held between them 476 a. (fn. 174) In Hardwicke, though copyholds tended to become larger, some tenants still held ½-yardlands. On the larger holdings the number of messuages often corresponded to the number of ½-yardlands. (fn. 175) In the 18th and early 19th centuries there was a tendency for land to become consolidated into several large estates, with a large number of small holdings. In 1839 3 estates were more than 150 a., 6 others were over 100 a., 4 were between 50 a. and 100 a., and there were c. 80 small holdings. (fn. 176)
The parish has been used mainly for arable farming. There were no large areas of common meadow or pasture, and sheep were presumably grazed mainly on the open fields. An estate of 27 a. in 1545 had 40 sheep-pastures, (fn. 177) and in the early 19th century the proportion was 3 sheep-pastures for each acre. (fn. 178) Apart from leys in the open fields, (fn. 179) there was common meadow called Rual meadow in the 14th century (fn. 180) — which was several meadow in 1545 (fn. 181) — and lot meadow in Great Loudlow, Stone mead, (fn. 182) and Stocks Moor. Some tenants in Hardwicke had lot meadow in Boddington Moor (fn. 183) and elsewhere in Boddington parish. (fn. 184) In the early 18th century the parish was said to consist of good arable and some pasture, (fn. 185) and in 1770 some of the pasture was said to be poor and covered with great ant hillocks. (fn. 186) In 1795 there was a four-course rotation in Uckington, and probably Hardwicke also, of wheat, barley, beans, and fallow, (fn. 187) and this had probably long been the practice. The parish was described as mainly arable in 1779, (fn. 188) but in 1801 only 808½ a. were returned as sown (fn. 189) and in 1803 the parish was said to be mainly pasture. (fn. 190) More than two-thirds of Uckington was arable in 1839, but in Elmstone Hardwicke the proportion of arable was not more than half. (fn. 191) Flax was grown in the 16th century (fn. 192) and tobacco in the 17th. (fn. 193)
Elmstone Hardwicke and Uckington seem always to have had separate open fields, the boundary between them corresponding to the boundary between the estates of Westminster Abbey and Deerhurst Priory and later to that between the two civil parishes. Open arable fields in both hamlets were recorded in the 13th and 14th centuries, (fn. 194) and the fields of both were probably sub-divided later so that by the 17th and 18th centuries each had a large number of small fields. (fn. 195) Some of the same names were used for fields in each hamlet, mainly for those on the boundary between the hamlets.
In Uckington there were 8 fields in 1631 (fn. 196) and two more in the 18th century, (fn. 197) and Hardwicke had 12 fields in 1839. (fn. 198) Both sets of fields were divided into furlongs in the 18th century, some six or eight in the larger fields and two in the smaller ones. (fn. 199) In Uckington there were evidently three selions or lands to an acre; (fn. 200) in Hardwicke the proportion was two selions to an acre in the 14th century, (fn. 201) and later the number was not consistent. (fn. 202) There had been some consolidation of strips in the fields in Uckington before inclosure in 1855, (fn. 203) but one estate at least in 1795 was still held mainly in pieces of one or two selions, (fn. 204) and in 1839 Catsbrain and Church field particularly were mostly in small strips. (fn. 205) Holdings in the open fields were divided by grass baulks in the 18th century, and merestones were used in the early 19th. (fn. 206) More land in Hardwicke was consolidated or inclosed by the 19th century, (fn. 207) though a large part remained open in small strips until inclosure in 1918. (fn. 208) Hardwicke Manor farm had perhaps been partly inclosed by 1770 when its 436 a., lying in 36 pieces, included closes of pasture of 80 a. and 30 a. About half was arable in the open fields, (fn. 209) but the whole Manor farm was inclosed before 1918. (fn. 210)
The open fields of Uckington and Hardwicke were inclosed separately, in 1855 and 1918 respectively. The Inclosure Award of Uckington dealt with the greater part of the parish, which until then lay in the open fields. Sir Edmund Hungerford Lechmere received c. 400 a., there was one allotment of 127 a., one of 31 a., and seven others of less than 15 a. Lechmere's allotment was a consolidated holding occupying nearly all the south and east parts of the hamlet. The other large allotment was mainly in one piece in the north-west. (fn. 211)
In spite of proposals for the inclosure of Elmstone Hardwicke in 1899, (fn. 212) 628 a. of land there, lying mainly in the centre of the parish, remained open until 1918. The land was divided into 15 fields held in strips of varying widths with tenants' holdings scattered in several fields. (fn. 213) Farming in the open fields was not regulated in any way, though one farmer still followed a four-course rotation; (fn. 214) adjacent strips could be sown with different crops or grass, but the right of common on the stubble and fallow persisted. Cottagers with no land in the fields claimed right of common for their animals, which was disputed by the landholders. (fn. 215) The inclosure of 1918 provided 10 a. for a recreation ground on which the cottagers were allowed to graze their animals, and another 10 a. were provided for allotments for labourers. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners received 197 a. for 205 a. in the open fields, there were 4 allotments of between 30 a. and 90 a., and 19 of c. 20 a. or less. (fn. 216)
In Uckington the pattern of landholding remained much the same after inclosure, with most of the land concentrated in four farms belonging to the manorial estate, ranging in size from 188 a. to 58 a. In 1855 there were c. 20 people holding very small estates. (fn. 217) After the county council had bought most of the land in Uckington it was divided into small-holdings. Hardwicke had 11 farms in 1923, of which two were over 150 a., and in 1939 the whole parish had five farms over 150 a.; (fn. 218) half of one in Uckington was bought by the county council in 1947. (fn. 219)
About two-thirds of the parish were permanent grass in 1901, (fn. 220) and in 1933 the greater part was meadow and pasture with orchards around the villages and some arable. (fn. 221) Since the division of Uckington into small-holdings farming there has been mixed, with a number of market gardens and nurseries. Farming in Elmstone Hardwicke hamlet also was mixed. In the early 20th century teasel growing was started in the parish, and was still carried on in the 1960's. (fn. 222)
Westminster Abbey's demesne included a mill by 1279, (fn. 223) which in the 14th century was valued at 72s. (fn. 224) In 1374 and until the Dissolution the mill was usually farmed with the demesne. (fn. 225) Mills were included in a lease of Hardwicke demesne in 1756, (fn. 226) but no other reference to the mill after the Dissolution has been found and the site of the mill has not been located.
About 1575 a lane led from the manor-house in Uckington to a mill, (fn. 227) which was perhaps on the River Chelt. A miller was recorded in Uckington in 1608. (fn. 228) A mill called Uckington Mill in 1629 belonged to Uckington manor and was leased in that year for three lives. (fn. 229) It was described as two watermills in 1631. (fn. 230) William Cook was the lessee in 1704 and 1719, (fn. 231) but later evidence of the mill has not been found.
There was a wheelwright in Uckington in 1304 (fn. 232) and a blacksmith in 1599. (fn. 233) In 1608 the hamlet had two smiths, a badger, a tanner, and a tailor, while Hardwicke had three carpenters and a tailor. (fn. 234) A blacksmith was recorded at Uckington in 1637 and 1670. (fn. 235) Both hamlets had blacksmiths' shops in 1839, (fn. 236) but they had gone by the early 20th century. (fn. 237) In Uckington four people were said to be supported mainly by trade or industry in 1801, and seven families in 1831. No one was recorded as supported by trade or industry in Elmstone Hardwicke in 1801, but six families were so supported in 1831. (fn. 238) A butcher was recorded in Uckington in 1841, (fn. 239) and a few tradesmen there and in Hardwicke in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, (fn. 240) but both hamlets had predominantly agricultural communities. In 1964 a large proportion of people still worked on the land, but an increasing number travelled outside the parish, particularly to Cheltenham, to work in factories and shops.
The Prior of Deerhurst held a court at Elmstone in 1275, (fn. 241) and in the early 16th century Tewkesbury Abbey had a threeweekly court in Uckington. (fn. 242) It was said in 1712 that the Earl of Oxford held a court leet at Uckington, (fn. 243) and in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries views of frankpledge and courts leet and baron for Uckington were held annually or, later, at different periods, every two or three years. Court rolls survive for 1649–63, 1667–1701, 1707–10, (fn. 244) 1744, 1746, (fn. 245) and 1777–1844, (fn. 246) and a book of courts and drafts for 1557–60. (fn. 247) A court was held for the rectory manor of Uckington in the early 17th century, (fn. 248) and view of frankpledge and courts leet and baron were leased with the manor in 1611. (fn. 249) Hardwicke had a constable and tithingman appointed at the court leet of Westminster Abbey's manor of Deerhurst or Plaistow. (fn. 250) Uckington and Staverton were said in the 18th century to be taxed together for some purposes, (fn. 251) and a constable for the two together, along with a bailiff of the manor and a hayward, were elected at Uckington court. (fn. 252) In 1716 there were separate constables for Elmstone Hardwicke, Uckington, and Hardwicke. (fn. 253)
Churchwardens' accounts for the late 16th century and early 17th survive, written in one of the parish registers. There were two churchwardens and two overseers for the whole parish, and two surveyors of highways each for Uckington and Elmstone Hardwicke. (fn. 254) In the 19th century, although there seem to have been still only two churchwardens for the whole parish, three overseers of the poor were appointed in one year, (fn. 255) and it was because Uckington and Elmstone Hardwicke each had its own overseers and poor rates that they became separate civil parishes. In 1783 terms were made for the admission of the poor from Elmstone Hardwicke hamlet to Winchcombe workhouse, (fn. 256) but it is not clear whether the arrangement ever took effect. In Uckington, in contrast to the general pattern in the area, expenditure on poor relief fell between 1776 and 1803, while in Elmstone Hardwicke it almost doubled. Only three people in Uckington, all disabled, received regular relief in 1803, and two occasional relief. In Elmstone Hardwicke 15 received regular relief, and 70 occasional relief. (fn. 257) In the next ten years expenditure in Uckington increased more than fourfold, from £31 to £136, while in Elmstone it increased from £84 to £179. (fn. 258) In 1835 Uckington became part of the Cheltenham Poor Law Union, and Elmstone Hardwicke part of the Tewkesbury Union. (fn. 259) Elmstone Hardwicke was transferred to the Cheltenham Rural District in 1935. (fn. 260) The parish meetings of Uckington and Elmstone Hardwicke were given the powers of parish councils in 1895. (fn. 261)
Architectural evidence indicates that there was a church at Elmstone in the 12th century, though the earliest documentary evidence is from 1283. The church was then a chapel of Deerhurst church, served by a chaplain (fn. 262) who received a pension from Deerhurst Priory. (fn. 263) By 1296 the cure was served by a vicar, (fn. 264) and the benefice remained a vicarage. In 1922 the vicarage was united with that of Swindon to form the united benefice of Elmstone Hardwicke with Uckington and Swindon. (fn. 265) Hardwicke was detached from that benefice to become part of the united benefice and parish of Tredington with Stoke Orchard and Hardwicke in 1937. (fn. 266) The advowson of Elmstone Hardwicke belonged to Deerhurst Priory (fn. 267) until the Dissolution when it passed to the Crown, (fn. 268) which retained it until 1878. In 1879 and 1923 the advowson belonged for life to Mrs. G. Bayfield Roberts. After the union with Swindon the patronage belonged alternately to Mrs. Roberts and the Bishop of Gloucester as former patron of Swindon; between 1931 and 1962 Mrs. E. M. Noblett had a life-interest in the alternate presentation, (fn. 269) but by 1964 the bishop was the sole patron. (fn. 270)
The vicar had the small tithes and 8 a. of glebe, which were valued at £7 2s. 3d. in 1535, (fn. 271) and by an agreement made in 1519 Deerhurst Priory paid him a pension of 40s. from the great tithes. (fn. 272) The impropriators continued to pay the pension after the Dissolution, and in 1612 the vicar had the 40s. pension, the small tithes, and a house and 6 a. (fn. 273) The living was valued at 40 marks in 1650, (fn. 274) and remained about the same in the 18th century. (fn. 275) The pension was still being paid in 1828. (fn. 276) In 1829 the glebe house at Uckington was said to be too small, and unfit for the vicar's residence, and the house was repaired in 1833. (fn. 277) After the union of benefices the vicar lived at Swindon; the house at Uckington was sold in 1927. (fn. 278) In 1839 the small tithes of Uckington were commuted for a corn-rent of £72, and those of Elmstone Hardwicke for £142. (fn. 279) Five acres were allotted to the vicar for glebe at the inclosure of Uckington in 1855, (fn. 280) and the living was valued at £233 in 1864. (fn. 281)
Richard Hyller who was vicar from 1532 to 1565 was apparently not resident, the cure being served by a stipendiary curate. (fn. 282) His successor, Roger Gwinnet, held the living until 1584; (fn. 283) in 1576 he was said to be a very old man. He was not a preacher, and had little knowledge of Latin and scripture. (fn. 284) In 1584 the churchwardens complained of his drunkenness and that he wore a surplice in perambulation. (fn. 285) Gwinnet was serving both Elmstone and Swindon in 1563; later he had only one benefice. (fn. 286) The 17th-century vicars may have been mainly resident, but by the mid-18th century there was only one afternoon service a week and a morning service once a month. (fn. 287) Anthony Freeman, vicar from 1773, (fn. 288) lived outside the parish but served the cure himself. (fn. 289) Henry Bond Fowler, vicar from 1792 to 1829, was not resident, and the cure was served by curates who lived sometimes in the parish and sometimes at Swindon. (fn. 290) In 1825 morning and afternoon services were held each week. (fn. 291) John Byron, vicar from 1833 to 1879, lived outside the parish in the early part of his incumbency (fn. 292) but was later resident. (fn. 293)
About 1597 half a burgage in Cheltenham was given for the repair of Elmstone church, (fn. 294) and in 1683, with land in Elmstone given for the same purpose, it yielded £2 18s. (fn. 295) At the inclosure of Uckington in 1855 the churchwardens received an allotment of 2 a. (fn. 296) In 1889 the church repair charity produced an income of £100 a year. (fn. 297) Parts of the estate were sold in 1908, 1920, and 1943. In 1964 the income was £108. (fn. 298)
The church of ST. MARY MAGDALENE (fn. 299) is a stone building, part rubble and part ashlar, with a Cotswold stone roof, incorporating chancel, nave, south aisle and porch, west tower, and north vestry. The church was built by the 12th century, and two unchamfered arches of unequal size with square piers survive from that date at the west end of the south aisle. The western arch appears to have been reduced when the tower was built, and if the arches and the east end of the church are in their original positions the early church was unusually long. The nave, south aisle, and chancel were largely rebuilt in the 14th century. The other three arches of the aisle arcade are of that date, and the four windows of the nave, the four of the south aisle, and the two on each side of the chancel, all of two lights and with similar tracery, and the three-light east window of the chancel are of 14th-century design though all the work in the nave and aisle has been heavily restored or rebuilt. The chancel has on the south side a piscina, and the aisle, which evidently had an altar at the east end at an early date, has a 14th-century piscina.
The west tower was built in the 15th century, opening to the nave with a high, narrow arch. The tower is of three stages and embattled, with an internal stair-vice and gargoyles at the angles. The west entrance of the tower is similar in design to the west entrance of Leigh church, which also belonged to Deerhurst Priory; over it is a three-light window, and a two-light window in the second stage with a defaced image in a niche above it. The third stage has a louvered window on each side, with a dripmould and stops carved with grotesque figures. The wooden screen and the pulpit apparently made from the panels of a screen survive from the 16th century or earlier. The church was thoroughly restored and re-seated between 1871 and 1878. (fn. 300) A south porch was built and corbel-heads were reset each side of the south doorway. The west window of the aisle was replaced, with reset corbel-heads on the outside. A north vestry was added with windows like those of the nave and aisle. The roof may have been replaced then, a former roof-line being visible on the east face of the tower. An elaborate stone reredos was placed behind the altar in 1886.
A sculptured stone with a Saxon spiral pattern similar to the pattern on the font at Deerhurst stands in the west end of the church. It has been suggested that it was the base of the Deerhurst font, but from its shape it is more likely to have been the base of a cross. (fn. 301) The stone, which appears to have been originally four-sided, has been cut into an octagonal shape, and the spiral pattern survives on three of its cardinal faces. A hole cut in the top of the stone may have been for the shaft of a cross or, it is suggested, may have been cut in the 14th or 15th century when the stone was used as a water-stoup. (fn. 302) The 15thcentury font has an octagonal bowl with ornamented panels. (fn. 303) Small fragments of painted glass survive in the east window of the aisle. (fn. 304) Part of a mural visible in 1928 (fn. 305) could no longer be seen in 1964.
The west end of the aisle has a large number of floor slabs to members of the Buckle family, for the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, on the aisle wall are monuments to members of the same family, 1788– 1884, and in the chancel there is a 19th-century marble monument to John Buckle (d. 1858) and his wife, Mary Surman (d. 1857). There are four bells, two undated (of which one is probably 16th-century) and the others of 1618 (by Henry Farmer) and 1775. (fn. 306) In 1964 they had not been rung for c. 50 years because of the structural weakness of the tower. (fn. 307) In 1680 the church had a silver cup and cover, a flagon, and a chalice, (fn. 308) but in 1964 the plate was all 19th-century. (fn. 309) The registers begin in 1564 and are virtually complete.
Occasional pre-Reformation references to a church or chapel of Uckington (fn. 310) may be to a chapel at Uckington which, in the 17th century, was said to have been demolished; (fn. 311) they may alternatively be to Elmstone church, which was linked by ownership with Uckington manor.
A Quaker who was living at Uckington in the 1660's apparently gave up his beliefs in 1668. (fn. 312) Three nonconformists were recorded c. 1735. (fn. 313) Of two private houses being used for nonconformist worship in 1850, (fn. 314) one was probably used by Baptists who in 1863 built with their own hands a small brick chapel in Hardwicke village. (fn. 315) The chapel and an iron schoolroom fell into disrepair, were closed c. 1941, and converted into a house. (fn. 316) A wood and iron building, formerly used as a Methodist chapel at Beckford, was moved to Uckington in 1940 for use as a Baptist chapel, (fn. 317) which had closed by 1964. The building was afterwards used by the Uckington Free Church, founded in 1946, which in 1964 held services every Sunday. (fn. 318)
The only school in the parish in 1818 was a Sunday school attended by 40 children, (fn. 319) but it had closed by 1825 when there was no school. (fn. 320) In 1833 Uckington had a day and boarding school financed by the parents. (fn. 321) A National Sunday school was opened by 1846, (fn. 322) and in 1864 a National day school, a small red brick building, was built (fn. 323) near the church on land given by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster in 1858. (fn. 324) A school board for Uckington and Elmstone Hardwicke was set up in 1875, (fn. 325) and a board school was held in the former National school building from 1877. The school had a certificated teacher in 1878. (fn. 326) The average attendance was 38 in 1906, and by 1909 the school had separate mixed and infant departments. (fn. 327) In 1964, when the older children went to schools in Bishop's Cleeve or Cheltenham, there were c. 28 children in the school. (fn. 328)
In or before 1583 one Wells, and before 1623 Richard Stroud of Cheltenham, gave the parish sums of money for loans to the poor. Accounts survive for Wells's Money for 1583 to 1654, and for Stroud's Money for 1623 to 1654. (fn. 329) Both charities had been lost by the early 19th century. (fn. 330)