Fretherne and Saul: Local government

A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 10, Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1972.

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'Fretherne and Saul: Local government', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 10, Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds, (London, 1972) pp. 165. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]


No evidence of manorial courts has been found for Saul or for Fretherne before the 18th century. Until the mid 16th century Saul, as a member of Standish manor, was presumably represented at and subject to the court at Standish. At Fretherne a manorial court was introduced or revived in 1773. Although the lord of the manor's right to hold a court was apparently not challenged, local memory reaching back to c. 1670 could produce no recollection of a court held at Fretherne. (fn. 1) The revived court purported to be a court leet, and appointed a constable as well as a hayward. (fn. 2) In 1716, however, there had been a single constable for Fretherne and Saul together. (fn. 3) Draft court rolls for Fretherne survive for 1775 and 1776; (fn. 4) the court may not have been held at any later date.

Although Saul was part of the ecclesiastical parish of Standish and was joined for most secular purposes with Fretherne, for example sharing a constable and being taxed with Fretherne, (fn. 5) it had nevertheless its own organs of parish government. In 1563 there were two churchwardens for Saul chapel; (fn. 6) in 1640 there were two churchwardens and two overseers for Saul, (fn. 7) and in 1672 four churchwardens and two overseers for Fretherne and Saul together made a return of exemption from tax. (fn. 8) Record of other parish officers for Saul has not been found. For Fretherne there were two surveyors of highways in the years 1768-70, but in the period 1771-1832 there was only one surveyor each year and one man might hold the office for a succession of years, as did the rector from 1813 to 1819. (fn. 9) By 1793, when the surviving overseers' accounts for Fretherne begin, one man at a time held the office of overseer for a year or a period of years. The forms of poorrelief given by the overseer included the payment of rent and medical bills and the provision of clothes. (fn. 10) In Fretherne the cost of poor-relief was relatively low for the area in the late 18th century and early 19th; in Saul it was actually lower in 1803 than in 1776, though it doubled between 1803 and 1813. (fn. 11) A sharp rise in the cost of poor-relief in Saul in the 1830s (fn. 12) presumably resulted from the closing of the tinplate mills at Framilode. (fn. 13) Both Fretherne and Saul became part of the Wheatenhurst Union in 1835 (fn. 14) and of the Wheatenhurst highway district in 1863. (fn. 15) In 1935 the combined parish of Fretherne with Saul was transferred to the Gloucester Rural District. (fn. 16)


  • 1. Glos. Colln. RF 139.4 (4).
  • 2. Ibid. (1-3).
  • 3. Glos. R.O., Q/SO 4, at end.
  • 4. Glos. Colln. RF 139.4 (5-6).
  • 5. Atkyns, Glos. 445, 639; cf. Glos. Subsidy Roll, 1327, 51, where the entry under 'Salle' clearly applies to both places.
  • 6. Hockaday Abs. cccxxxi.
  • 7. Glos. Colln. RF 139.6.
  • 8. E 179/116/544.
  • 9. Glos. R.O., P 152/SU 2/1.
  • 10. Ibid. OV 2/1.
  • 11. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 184-5; ibid. 1818, 158-9.
  • 12. Poor Law Returns, H.C. 83, p. 72 (1830-1), xi; H.C. 444, p. 70 (1835), xlvii.
  • 13. See p. 164.
  • 14. Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. p. 524.
  • 15. Lond. Gaz. 24 Mar. 1863 (p. 1709).
  • 16. Census, 1931 (pt. ii).