Eastington: 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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'Eastington: Local government', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 10, Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds, (London, 1972) pp. 134-135. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol10/pp134-135 [accessed 13 April 2024]


Court rolls survive for the Earl of Stafford's manors of Eastington and Alkerton for the period 1377-90, (fn. 1) for Alkerton manor alone for 1424-8, (fn. 2) and for both manors for 1438-79, (fn. 3) 1504-5, 1514, (fn. 4) 1555-6, (fn. 5) and 1578; (fn. 6) there is a court book for both manors covering the period 1600-48. (fn. 7) Apart from the earlier 16th century when joint courts were held, during the period covered by the surviving records separate courts were held for each manor, although on the same day; two courts a year were generally held. View of frankpledge was originally exercised only in Alkerton manor and presentments at its court were made by a tithingman as well as by the homage; by 1555, however, the view was also being claimed for Eastington manor which had its tithingman. The Alkerton court dealt with assaults and affrays until the early 17th century, and it enforced the assizes of bread and ale, presentments being made by ale-tasters in the late 14th century. In 1451 the court ordered that stocks and a tumbrel should be provided. In the late 14th century both manor courts heard pleas of trespass, debt, and covenant; the pleas were settled by compurgation, defendants requiring variously 3, 6, or 12 compurgators. In 1441 and 1442 both courts ordered that no tenant should implead another in any other court in causes that could be decided in the manor courts, but few pleas were recorded later; an isolgted plea of trespass was heard in the Alkerton court in 1604. The joint court elected a constable and hayward in 1555-6, and the constable was appointed by the Alkerton court in the early 17th century, particular houses being liable in turn to supply the office. (fn. 8) The Alkerton court may have exercised some jurisdiction over the Amey Court manor, as well as the Earl of Stafford's manor of Alkerton, in the late Middle Ages (fn. 9) and it certainly did so after the two manors came under the same ownership in the late 16th century. (fn. 10) The right to hold both Eastington and Alkerton manor courts was sold with the manors in 1802, (fn. 11) but they have not been found recorded later.

Churchwardens' accounts for the parish survive from 1616, (fn. 12) overseers' accounts for the years 1724-1828, (fn. 13) vestry minutes from 1825, (fn. 14) and highway surveyors' accounts for 1739-1817. (fn. 15) In the 18th century separate rates were levied for the two tithings, and one of the two churchwardens, overseers, and surveyors was responsible for each. (fn. 16) In the 17th century and early 18th the office of churchwarden fell to particular houses in rotation. (fn. 17)

The usual forms of poor-relief were administered in the earlier 18th century. (fn. 18) In 1785 the parish owned five cottages: one was near Leigh Bridge on the Frocester boundary, another, to the east of Millend, was used as an isolation hospital, (fn. 19) and the others were presumably the three at Claypits sold by the parish in 1838. (fn. 20) The cost of poorrelief more than doubled in the period 1726-72, and then stayed fairly stable until 1790 when a sharp rise began, trebling the cost by 1810. (fn. 21) In 1803 a total of 80 paupers were receiving permanent relief, 104 were receiving occasional relief, and there were 19 disabled; (fn. 22) in 1815 a total of 5 were receiving permanent and 57 occasional relief. The cost of relief fell considerably between 1810 and 1815, (fn. 23) but there was another sharp rise in the late 1820's, (fn. 24) and in 1829 the rector agreed to reduce his tithes under pressure from the farmers who complained of the high poor rates; the rector blamed Henry Hicks for the distress because he had brought a numerous population into the parish and then refused to give work to any but the first-rate weavers. (fn. 25) Among the methods adopted by the parish to combat the rising poor rates was the building of a parish workhouse near Chippenham Platt in 1785; (fn. 26) in 1803 it housed 25 of the paupers whose work earned £69 in that year, (fn. 27) but there were only 4 paupers there in 1815. (fn. 28) A keeper of the workhouse was appointed in 1819. (fn. 29) Two looms bought by the parish in 1827 were presumably for use in the workhouse. (fn. 30) There was a salaried general overseer for the parish in 1807, (fn. 31) and in the early 1830's, (fn. 32) but from 1785 to 1791 and in the mid 1820's the poor were farmed. (fn. 33) A parish doctor was retained from 1817 or earlier. (fn. 34) In 1833 a select vestry was formed. (fn. 35) In 1835 the parish became part of the Wheatenhurst Union. (fn. 36) The workhouse was sold to the guardians, (fn. 37) and, rebuilt as a long three-story brick building with a central pediment, served as the union workhouse; (fn. 38) in 1968 it was a county council welfare home, the Willows Hostel. In 1935 Eastington was transferred with the rest of the Wheatenhurst Rural District to the Gloucester Rural District. (fn. 39)


  • 1. Staffs. R.O., D 641/1/4K/1.
  • 2. Ibid. 2.
  • 3. Ibid. 2-3.
  • 4. Ibid. 4.
  • 5. Ibid. 5.
  • 6. Glos. R.O., D 547A/M 13.
  • 7. Ibid. D 1228.
  • 8. Ibid. Alkerton ct. 5 Apr. 19 Jas. I.
  • 9. Cf. Staffs. R.O., D 641/1/4K/2, Alkerton ct. 31 Apr. 31 Hen. VI.
  • 10. Glos. R.O., D 1228, Alkerton cts. 5 Oct. 9 Jas. I, 9 May 9 Chas. I.
  • 11. Glos. Colln. RF 118.12.
  • 12. Glos. R.O., P 127/CW 2/1-3.
  • 13. Ibid. OV 2/1-3.
  • 14. Ibid. VE 2/1-3.
  • 15. Ibid. SU 2/1.
  • 16. Ibid. CW 2/2-3; OV 2/1-2; SU 2/1.
  • 17. Ibid. CW 2/1-2.
  • 18. Ibid. OV 2/1.
  • 19. Glos. R.O., P 127A/OV 9/1; cf. Taylor, Map. of Glos. (1777); Keys, Eastington, 90.
  • 20. Glos. R.O., P 127/VE 2/2, entries in 1836, 1838.
  • 21. Ibid. OV 2/1-2.
  • 22. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 184-5.
  • 23. Ibid. 1818, 156-7.
  • 24. Poor Law Returns, H.C. 83, p. 72 (1830-1), xi.
  • 25. Glos. Colln. RR 118.7 (6-7).
  • 26. Glos. R.O., P 127/OV 2/2.
  • 27. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 184-5.
  • 28. Ibid. 1818, 156-7.
  • 29. Glos. R.O., P 127/OV 2/2.
  • 30. Ibid. 3.
  • 31. Ibid. 2.
  • 32. Ibid. VE 2/1.
  • 33. Ibid. P 127A/OV 9/1; P 127/OV 2/2-3.
  • 34. Ibid. P 127/OV 2/3; VE 2/2.
  • 35. Ibid. VE 2/1.
  • 36. Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. 524.
  • 37. Glos. R.O., P 127/VE 2/2.
  • 38. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1889), 764; cf. above, plate facing p. 172.
  • 39. Census, 1931 (pt. ii).