Fretherne and Saul: Manors and other estates

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: Manors and other estates', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 10, Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds, (London, 1972) pp. 160-162. British History Online [accessed 11 April 2024]


Before the Conquest Auti held 3 hides in Fretherne, which Thurstan son of Rolf held in 1086. (fn. 1) Like other lands held by Thurstan, Fretherne apparently passed to Winebaud de Ballon, whose daughter was the mother of Henry of Newmarch. (fn. 2) In 1166 Henry of Newmarch had 2 knights' fees in Gloucestershire that were held of him by William of Fretherne. (fn. 3) Hawise, daughter of James of Newmarch, married Nicholas de Moels, who had 1 knight's fee in Fretherne in 1235. (fn. 4) Their great-grandson, Nicholas de Moels, Lord Moels, was succeeded in 1316 as lord of Fretherne by his brothers Roger (fn. 5) (d. 1316), and John de Moels, Lord Moels (d. 1337). One of John's two daughters, Isabel, carried the lordship of Fretherne (fn. 6) to her husband William de Botreaux, whose heir was lord in 1353. (fn. 7) The lordship of the Botreaux family was recorded in 1485, (fn. 8) but in 1545 the manor was said to be held of the Bishop of Winchester, (fn. 9) whose predecessor had been undertenant of the manor in the 14th century. (fn. 10)

William of Fretherne, the undertenant in 1166, was succeeded by his son William. John of Fretherne, apparently the king's falconer, (fn. 11) was in 1235 the undertenant of the 1 knight's fee in Fretherne, (fn. 12) which was described as his manor of FRETHERNE in 1243. (fn. 13) Walter of Fretherne was lord of the manor in 1269. (fn. 14) He may have been dead by 1281, when Hugh son of Otto made the first known presentation to Fretherne church, for the subsequent presentations up to the 18th century were all made by the lords of the manor. (fn. 15) Geoffrey of Fretherne, who presented in 1307, (fn. 16) held Fretherne under Nicholas de Moels in 1316, (fn. 17) when he was described as one of the lords of Saul. (fn. 18) Geoffrey was succeeded in 1320 by his son Geoffrey, (fn. 19) whose tax assessment was much the highest in Fretherne and Saul in 1327, (fn. 20) and who was recorded as holding Fretherne in 1337. (fn. 21) John of Fretherne settled the manor and advowson on himself and his wife Elizabeth in 1349 (fn. 22) and died holding the manor in 1353, when his heir was his brother Walter. (fn. 23) Elizabeth, with her later husband, William Motoun, had a life interest in the manor in 1356 when Walter of Fretherne conveyed the reversion to William of Edington, Bishop of Winchester. (fn. 24) Before his death in 1366 (fn. 25) the bishop conveyed the manor and advowson of Fretherne to trustees, (fn. 26) but the mention in 1368 of the 'Rector of Edington' as lord of Fretherne (fn. 27) probably indicated the bishop rather than his monastic foundation at Edington (Wilts.). (fn. 28)

James Clifford of Frampton on Severn bought the manor, perhaps from the bishop's trustees, and he was in possession c. 1380. (fn. 29) Fretherne manor thereafter descended for almost three centuries with the Cliffords' estate in Frampton; (fn. 30) in 1424 it was held by Joan, widow of James Clifford, (fn. 31) and in the late 15th century it was the subject of lawsuits between Margaret Hyde, the former wife of James Clifford (d. 1468), and James's grandson, also James Clifford (fn. 32) (d. 1544). The younger James's wife Anne, who afterwards married Nicholas Wicks, held Fretherne manor until her death in 1565. (fn. 33)

In 1655 Richard Clifford sold Fretherne manor and advowson to William Bayly (fn. 34) of Wheatenhurst. Bayly died in 1691, and his son William in 1726 leaving as his heirs his sisters, (fn. 35) named in 1683 as Elizabeth, wife of George Lloyd of Wheatenhurst, Dorothy, Radegund, Jane, and Mary. (fn. 36) Radegund died in 1690, (fn. 37) and Dorothy, unmarried, in 1728; (fn. 38) in 1743 John Lloyd conveyed his interest in the manor to William Hayward, (fn. 39) Mary's husband or son, and in 1744 and 1745 the trustees of Walter Yate bought ¾ of the manor from William Hayward and ¼ from John Pritchard, apparently Jane's son. (fn. 40) Two or more of the sisters survived, however, in 1750 when they retained a life interest in the manor and advowson. (fn. 41)

Robert Gorges Dobyns Yate, the great grandson of Walter Yate's sister, in 1772 made a settlement of the estate, comprising Fretherne Lodge and 135 a. in Fretherne and Saul, and in 1778 he sold it to Henry Stephens. Under Stephens's will the estate passed after his widow's death in 1801 to Henry Willis, his cousin's son, who assumed the name of Stephens. (fn. 42) In 1804 or 1805 Samuel White bought the estate, (fn. 43) and he owned 144 a. in 1842 (fn. 44) and was lord of the manor in 1843. (fn. 45) On his death in 1848 the manor passed to his wife Jane, who by 1849 had married the Revd. Henry Robinson. Mrs. Robinson died in 1881 and her husband, who held the manor for life, in 1886; in that year Mrs. Robinson's nephew, W. C. Tripp, sold the manor to Sir Lionel Edward Darell, Bt. (fn. 46) Sir Lionel's father, Sir William Lionel Darell (d. 1883), Rector of Fretherne 1844–78, had already built up a considerable estate centred on Fretherne Court. Most of the estate, amounting to 676 a. and extending into Arlingham, was sold in 1919, following the death of Sir L. E. Darell. (fn. 47) The purchaser, Alfred Daniels, afterwards sold off the farms. A smaller part of the estate was retained by Sir Lionel's son, Sir Lionel E. H. M. Darell (d. 1954). (fn. 48)

The medieval manor house of Fretherne may have been on the site of Fretherne Lodge; the tradition that 'Fair Rosamund' was born there ignores the fact that the Cliffords were not lords of Fretherne in the 12th century. (fn. 49) Fretherne Lodge was built or rebuilt by James Clifford, apparently in 1598 and reputedly for the reception of Queen Elizabeth; it was described as a pleasant large stone house, with turrets, a noble staircase of freestone, and two very fine chimney pieces carved in stone. (fn. 50) In 1672 it was assessed for tax on 14 hearths. (fn. 51) The house, which had been occupied by the lords of the manor, John Cage and Anthony Clifford successively, in the earlier 17th century and by the Baylys in the 18th, (fn. 52) was largely demolished c. 1755. (fn. 53) Some of its ornamental features were removed to Arlingham Court, (fn. 54) which was itself afterwards demolished. Part of Fretherne Lodge survived as a two story house which was remodelled in the early 19th century, with a horseshoe staircase of that period. The lower story of the south-east front is of ashlar, and the windows there have dripmoulds with pentagonal label stops that may survive from before the rebuilding of 1598. There is also some ancient stonework in the north-west wall, and the moulded ceiling beams of the drawing room are presumably part of the house of 1598. About 1850 W. L. Darell built for himself Fretherne Court, 150 yds. northeast of the church on the site of the former rectory. It was a large and ornate house of stone in the Venetian style, three stories high and with a tower, and it was sold with the greater part of the estate in 1919. Most of the house was demolished in 1924, the tower and ballroom in 1966. (fn. 55) In 1967 only out buildings remained.

Saul is thought to have been included in the Domesday survey under Standish, (fn. 56) and the chief estate in Saul was not an independent manor but part of Gloucester Abbey's manor of Standish. (fn. 57) The Abbot of Gloucester's manor of SAUL was referred to by that name in 1243, (fn. 58) and in 1316 the abbot was named, with Geoffrey of Fretherne, as one of the lords of Saul. (fn. 59) The abbot's manor of FRAMILODE, mentioned in 1376, (fn. 60) was evidently the same estate. The grant of Standish manor in 1547 to the Duke of Somerset included the abbey's possessions in Saul and Framilode, (fn. 61) and in 1558 Thomas Winston, who then had part of Standish manor, was licensed to grant Saul manor and c. 200 a. to Giles Codrington. (fn. 62) Giles died in 1580 and his second son Richard, (fn. 63) who made a settlement of the manor in 1596, (fn. 64) sold it in 1599 to Richard Bird and his three grandchildren Thomas, Sibyl, and Anne Lloyd or Floyd. (fn. 65)

Saul was thereafter linked with the Lloyds' estate in Wheatenhurst. (fn. 66) In 1607 Richard Bird assured ¼ of Saul manor to Thomas Hinson, prospective father-in-law of his grandson Thomas Lloyd, (fn. 67) and in 1608 Richard Bird, Thomas Lloyd, and a third person unnamed were said to be lords of Saul manor. (fn. 68) The manor may for a time have been fragmented: in 1619 Thomas Fogge and his wife Sibyl, granddaughter of Richard Bird, conveyed ⅓ of the manor to Thomas Lloyd, (fn. 69) and in 1624 John Lloyd of Wheatenhurst, apparently a younger son, granted a lease of a customary holding in Saul. (fn. 70) In 1721 Nathaniel Cambridge acquired Saul manor along with the Wheatenhurst estate, (fn. 71) and the two remained in the same ownership until 1854 when George Pickard-Cambridge sold Wheatenhurst but retained Saul. (fn. 72) George was succeeded in 1868 by his son Henry (d. 1884) (fn. 73) whose trustees were lords of Saul up to 1939. (fn. 74) The Pickard-Cambridge family sold the manor c. 1950 to S. Gardner & Son Ltd., who dug the gravel in Sand field but sold most of the land in 1962 to R. G. H. M. Kirkwood, the owner in 1967. (fn. 75) The chief house of the manor in 1841 was Saul Farm, (fn. 76) rebuilt in the 18th century as a large brick farm house with a cornice of angled bricks.

In 1221 Henry of Bayeux quitclaimed to Walter of Bayeux one yardland in Saul; (fn. 77) in 1367 Robert Walsh, Rector of Fretherne, acquired a small estate in Fretherne and Saul; (fn. 78) and in 1383 Robert Forstall quitclaimed 80 a. in Fretherne to Thomas Cadul of Framilode. (fn. 79) One or more of those estates may have been the forerunner of that which Robert Twissell held in Framilode and Saul at his death in 1500 or 1501. (fn. 80) John Cowles, perhaps a successor of Toby Cowles who died in 1630 holding an estate at Framilode in Wheatenhurst, (fn. 81) conveyed an estate in Fretherne or Saul in 1691 to Thomas Blanch, a clothier of Alkerton, whose representatives sold it in 1776 to John Skinner Stock (d. 1793). (fn. 82) Between 1796 and 1803 William Purnell of Dursley bought three estates in Fretherne and Saul, including Stock's. (fn. 83) Purnell was dead by 1805, when his heir was the son of his daughter Anne and her husband Robert Bransby Cooper, M.P. for Gloucester. The grandson, Purnell Bransby Cooper, changed his surname to Purnell, (fn. 84) and he and his father owned 220 a. in Fretherne in 1814. (fn. 85) By 1843 about half of the combined estate had been sold. (fn. 86) P. B. Purnell was succeeded in 1866 by his son W. P. Purnell (d. 1869), who was succeeded by his sister Frances Mary Purnell (d. 1897), and then by his daughter, Emily Anne, wife of the Revd. David Edwards (later Purnell-Edwards). Mrs. Purnell-Edwards owned land in Saul until 1931. (fn. 87) R. B. Cooper's own estate had passed by 1843 (fn. 88) to another of his sons, the Revd. R. J. Cooper, on whose death in 1872 at least part of the property was bought by the Rector of Fretherne, Sir W. L. Darell. (fn. 89)

Darell also acquired an estate that had belonged to the Morse family, a member of which, George, had held land in Fretherne and Saul in 1652. (fn. 90) In the early 18th century Nicholas Morse owned land that had been bought, apparently in 1682, from Joseph Morwent, Benjamin Hyett, and his wife Elizabeth. (fn. 91) Thomas Morse had an estate in Fretherne c. 1790, when another there belonged to the Saunders family, (fn. 92) John Saunders having had one of the larger estates in Fretherne in 1732, (fn. 93) which he or another John Saunders sold to Thomas Morse. By 1815 Morse had sold that estate to Edward Bloxsome, (fn. 94) the owner of the advowson of Fretherne, and the estate presumably passed with the advowson to Darell. (fn. 95) Morse retained, however, the land that he had inherited, and in 1843 he or another Thomas Morse had 170 a. in Fretherne and Saul and an 'old homestead', opposite Saul Farm, (fn. 96) which had been demolished by 1880. (fn. 97) Between 1856 and 1863 that estate also was acquired by Darell. (fn. 98)

The great tithes of Saul formed part of the rectorial estate of Standish, which was appropriated by Gloucester Abbey and later passed to the bishops of Gloucester. (fn. 99) In 1838 the bishop and his lessee were awarded a tithe rent charge of £115 in place of the great tithes of Saul. (fn. 100)


  • 1. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 169v.
  • 2. Round, Peerage and Family Hist. 194–5.
  • 3. Red. Bk. Exch. (Rolls Ser.), 296.
  • 4. Cf. V.C.H. Berks. iv. 273; Bk. of Fees, i. 439, 442.
  • 5. Cal. Inq. p.m. v, p. 386; Complete Peerage, ix. 2–8.
  • 6. Cal. Inq. p.m. viii, p. 84.
  • 7. Cal. Close, 1349–54, 545.
  • 8. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, ii, p. 443.
  • 9. C 142/73/80.
  • 10. See below.
  • 11. Red. Bk. Exch. 296; V.C.H. Berks. iv. 273; see also Pipe R. 1195 (P.R.S. n.s. vi), 181.
  • 12. Bk. of Fees, i. 439.
  • 13. K.B. 26/126 m. 6d.
  • 14. Glouc. Cath. Libr., Reg. Abb. Frocester B, p. 96.
  • 15. See p. 166.
  • 16. Reg. Sede Vacante, 85.
  • 17. Cal. Inq. p.m. v, p. 386.
  • 18. Feud. Aids, ii. 266.
  • 19. Cal. Inq. p.m. vi, p. 151.
  • 20. Glos. Subsidy Roll, 1327, 51.
  • 21. Cal. Inq. p.m. viii, p. 84.
  • 22. C.P. 25(1)/77/67/293.
  • 23. Cal. Inq. p.m. x, p. 73.
  • 24. C.P. 25(1)/78/72/404.
  • 25. D.N.B.
  • 26. C.P. 40/554 rot. 441.
  • 27. Public Works in Med. Law, i (Selden Soc. xxxii), 123; ibid. 125 says that Edington is 'almost certainly' the house of Bonhommes of Edington (Wilts.).
  • 28. Fretherne is not named among the possessions of the house: V.C.H. Wilts. iii. 320.
  • 29. Rot. Parl. (Rec. Com.), iii. 514.
  • 30. See p. 145.
  • 31. G. B. Michell, 'Fretherne' (1952), 11 (TS. in Glos. R.O. and Glos. Colln.).
  • 32. C 1/70/183; C 1/97/45; C 1/196/4.
  • 33. Michell, 'Fretherne', 13.
  • 34. Glos. R.O., D 619, p. 300 (abstract of Glos. foot of fine, Hil. 1655). Bigland, Glos. i. 602, says John Cage sold to William Bayly, but that is apparently untrue.
  • 35. Michell, 'Fretherne', 19.
  • 36. Visit. Glos. 1682–3, 15.
  • 37. Bodl. MS. Rawl. B. 323, f. 137.
  • 38. Glos. N. & Q. i. 328.
  • 39. P.R.O., Round Rm. 14.61 (Index of Fines), f. 56.
  • 40. Bigland, Glos. i. 602.
  • 41. G.D.R. vol. 381A, f. 35.
  • 42. Glos. Colln. deeds 139.68; Rudge, Hist. of Glos. i. 358.
  • 43. Glos. R.O., Q/REl 1; Glos. Colln. JF 1.5; cf. Glos. Colln. deeds 139.68.
  • 44. G.D.R. Fretherne tithe award.
  • 45. Glos. R.O., Q/RI 69.
  • 46. Michell, 'Fretherne', 23; mon. in Fretherne church.
  • 47. Visit. of Eng. and Wales, xvi. 65–68; Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856 and later edns.); Glos. R.O., D 2299/1828.
  • 48. Darell, Ratcatcher Baronet, 170; Burke, Peerage (1956), 588.
  • 49. Atkyns, Glos. 444; cf. above, p. 160.
  • 50. Bodl. MS. Rawl. B. 323, f. 137; Atkyns, Glos. 444.
  • 51. E 179/247/14 rot. 13.
  • 52. Glos. Colln. deeds 139.7–8, 33.
  • 53. Rudder, Glos. 456.
  • 54. Bigland, Glos. i. 602.
  • 55. Local information; cf. plate facing p. 207; Glos. R.O., D 2299/1828.
  • 56. Taylor, Dom. Glos. 293.
  • 57. See p. 233; Glouc. Cath. Libr., Reg. Abb. Frocester B, p. 96; S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/1248 m. 13; S.C. 12/2/46. The association with Standish may explain why Sir Ralph Dutton was named as lord of Saul manor c. 1708: Bodl. MS. Top. Glouc. C. 3, f. 218v.
  • 58. K. B. 26/126 m. 6d.
  • 59. Feud. Aids, ii. 266.
  • 60. Cal. Pat. 1374–7, 416.
  • 61. Ibid. 1547–8, 121–3.
  • 62. Ibid. 1557–8, 331.
  • 63. Visit. Glos. 1623, 41.
  • 64. C.P. 43/55 rot. 146.
  • 65. Glos. R.O., D 1229, Fretherne with Saul, Moreton Valence, and Arlingham deeds, 1646–1753; cf. Visit Glos. 1623, 105.
  • 66. See p. 292.
  • 67. Glos. Colln. deeds 139.2.
  • 68. Smith, Men and Armour, 315.
  • 69. C.P. 25(2)/386/17 Jas. 1 East./3; cf. Visit Glos. 1623, 105.
  • 70. Glos. R.O., D 149/T 1152.
  • 71. C.P. 25(2)/1016/7 Geo. 1 Hil./28.
  • 72. Bigland, Glos. iii, no. ccxci.
  • 73. Burke, Land. Gent. (1937), 319.
  • 74. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1939), 305; R. D. Attick, Richard Owen Cambridge: Belated Augustan (Philadelphia, 1941), 13.
  • 75. Ex inf. Mrs. Kirkwood, of Kidnam's Farm, Whitminster.
  • 76. G.D.R. Saul tithe award.
  • 77. C.P. 25(1)/73/4/23.
  • 78. C.P. 25(1)/78/74/454.
  • 79. C.P. 25(1)/78/79/45; for Cadul cf. Staffs. R.O., D 641/1/4K/1 (16 Feb. 1 Ric. II).
  • 80. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, ii, p. 318; cf. below, p. 235.
  • 81. See p. 294.
  • 82. Glos. R.O., D 2193 (Purnell), Framilode deeds, 1691– 1796.
  • 83. Bigland, Glos. iii, no. ccxxxii.
  • 84. Glos. R.O., D 2193 (Purnell), Framilode deeds, 1795– 1817.
  • 85. Glos. Colln. RR 139.3.
  • 86. Glos. R.O., Q/RI 69.
  • 87. Burke, Land. Gent. (1898), 1223; Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 629; (1906), 287; (1931), 299.
  • 88. Glos. R.O., Q/RI 69.
  • 89. Ibid. D 2193 (R. J. Cooper), drafts, sale partics. &c.
  • 90. Ibid. D 1229, Fretherne &c. deeds, 1646–1753.
  • 91. Glos. Colln. SR 163.
  • 92. Bigland, Glos. i. 602.
  • 93. Glos. Colln. RF 139.5 (3).
  • 94. Glos. R.O., D 1229, Fretherne &c. deeds, 1646–1753.
  • 95. See p. 166.
  • 96. Glos. R.O., Q/RI 69.
  • 97. O.S. Map 6", Glos. XL. NE. (1886 edn.).
  • 98. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856), 351; (1863), 335.
  • 99. See p. 236.
  • 100. G.D.R. Saul tithe award.