Haresfield: Introduction

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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'Haresfield: Introduction', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 10, Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds, (London, 1972) pp. 188-190. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol10/pp188-190 [accessed 24 April 2024]


HARESFIELD, a rural parish, lies 5 miles south of Gloucester. The ancient parish, long and narrow in shape, lay in three parts: Parkend tithing included the hamlet of that name and 851 a. in the west of the parish, Haresfield tithing comprised the central area with 1,294 a., and Harescombe tithing was a geographically distinct area of 725 a. east of Haresfield Hill, including Stockend and part of Harescombe village. (fn. 1) In 1885 Harescombe tithing, with a population of 152 in 37 houses, was transferred to Harescombe parish, and Colethrop, a tithing of Standish with 79 people in 18 houses, was transferred to Haresfield. Haresfield also received small areas of Brookthorpe and Randwick, and lost small areas to Brookthorpe, Hardwicke, Quedgeley, and Standish. (fn. 2) After the changes Haresfield parish covered 2,948 a. (fn. 3) The account here printed relates to the area of Haresfield and Parkend tithings; the history of Harescombe tithing is reserved, with that of Harescombe parish, for a later volume, and Colethrop is dealt with below as part of Standish.

The greater part of the parish, which extends to within ½ mile of the Severn, lies on the Lower Lias at c. 50 ft. To the east the land, formed by successive layers of the Middle and Upper Lias and the Inferior Oolite, (fn. 4) rises steeply to Haresfield Beacon (fn. 5) at c. 700 ft. and beyond it to the ridge of the Cotswolds at over 800 ft. Two streams, the northern called Puddingworth brook, the southern Budge brook, (fn. 6) rise on the hill and flow westward through the parish. Stone was being quarried on the hill in the mid 15th century, (fn. 7) and there has been fairly extensive working on its summit. The fortifications on the hill are thought to have formed a single early Iron Age camp, out of which the smaller camp at the western end was made during occupation in the Roman period; in 1837 a crock of 3rd-century Roman coins was found in the western part of the camp. (fn. 8) The fortifications were formerly known as Evesbury. (fn. 9) In 1931 the western area was acquired by the National Trust. (fn. 10) The Highwood mentioned in 1460 was presumably on the hill, (fn. 11) and there was a beech wood there in the 16th century. (fn. 12) In 1967 there was a small wood below the summit on the northwest and another wood lower down the hill. In 1543 120 oaks were mentioned in the lower part of the parish. (fn. 13) A park had been made west of the Gloucester-Bristol road by the mid 12th century; (fn. 14) Humphrey de Bohun was given 16 deer to stock it in 1251, (fn. 15) and there were deer in it in the 16th century. (fn. 16) In the early 17th century the park, then divided into several fields, covered 220 a. (fn. 17) The area west of the park, which was liable to flooding by the Severn, (fn. 18) was formerly all meadow land; the central area of the parish contained some open fields, inclosed by 1831, and a larger acreage of pasture and orchard, and the hill was used for grazing. (fn. 19) An airfield built in the Second World War east of Parkend was used later, until c. 1965, as a testingground by the Gloucester Aircraft Co. (fn. 20) North of the airfield is an outlying camp of R.A.F. Quedgeley. A wartime military camp in the former park had been dismantled by 1967.

The Mount, a moated mound on Puddingworth brook, perhaps marks the earliest settlement in Haresfield village. The church had been built near it by the mid 12th century. (fn. 21) Budge brook was also apparently exploited for a moat at Haresfield Court. (fn. 22) The main village developed along the road east of those two sites; the road was apparently the main route from Gloucester to Standish and Stonehouse before the mid 13th century when the road from Little Haresfield to the Gloucester-Bristol road at Hardwicke was built by Gloucester Abbey. (fn. 23) A few houses lay scattered near the Cross, the roadjunction east of the church, where there was a village green until inclosure. (fn. 24) A medieval stone cross stood at the junction; its remains were used for road-mending in the early 19th century. (fn. 25) Starsmead, a 19th-century brick house to the west, occupies the site of a house mentioned in the late 17th century, (fn. 26) and two timber-framed cottages to the south of it were built by then. The Vales to the north and another house to the east, which stand at the limits of the former green, were also probably built in the 17th century; both are in Cotswold style, of rubble with stone-mullioned windows with dripmoulds. Teekles, some way to the east, is a larger house of similar type and date. A quarter of a mile to the south of the Cross a more concentrated group of houses formed a small village street east of Haresfield Court. A few earlier rubble cottages survive there, but most of the cottages in the street were rebuilt in stone in Cotswold style in the 19th century; they were probably, like the Beacon Hotel built c. 1855 in the same style but in brick, designed by Francis Niblett. (fn. 27) In the 19th century and early 20th a few brick cottages were built in the village, and in the mid 20th century a small council estate was built east of the Cross.

At Lower Green, where there was a green until inclosure, (fn. 28) there is a gabled farm-house of rubble; a cruck-framed barn stood beside it until the mid 20th century. Malthouse Farm, on the road leading up the hill, replaced a timber-framed house in the 1950s. (fn. 29) Several houses had been built higher up the road by the 17th century. The College, called by that name in 1793 when it comprised 4 tenements, (fn. 30) is a 16th- or early 17th-century house of coursed rubble, which had a timber-framed portion destroyed in the mid 20th century. (fn. 31) Opposite there is a timberframed cottage, and on the same road, below the camp, a small group of houses includes a rubble cottage with mullioned windows with dripmoulds, partly faced in rough-cast, and a later cottage and farm-house in rubble. There are three farm-houses on the north of the village. Chestnut Farm and Mount Farm are described below. (fn. 32) Round House Farm appears to be basically a house of c. 1500 and has a west wing of close-studded timber-framing with a jettied end and moulded bressummer. The house was remodelled in 1688 by John Rogers, (fn. 33) who gave it a south wing, possibly timber-framed but rough-cast and tile-hung in 1967, and a hipped roof of Cotswold stone tiles. A timber-framed barn was added by Rogers in 1692. (fn. 34)

Parkend, a hamlet partly of timber-framed, partly of early-19th-century cottages on the Gloucester- Bristol road, is likely to have been a fairly early settlement, although the name has not been found recorded before 1588. (fn. 35) The George Inn in Haresfield, said to have belonged to Llanthony Priory and to have been granted to William Partridge c. 1563, (fn. 36) was apparently at Parkend. (fn. 37) Parkend was described as a village and had an inn in 1675, (fn. 38) and had 16 houses c. 1710. (fn. 39) Hiltmead Farm east of Parkend is a 17th-century timber-framed farmhouse. West of Parkend, Oakey Farm was a medieval house, and Parkend Lodge occupies a medieval site; both are discussed below. (fn. 40)

The Gloucester-Bristol road, the chief thoroughfare in the parish, was mentioned in the mid 12th century; (fn. 41) it was called Hoskareslo in 1363 when the lords of the manors and the township of Haresfield were responsible for repairing it. (fn. 42) The road and that running to it from Little Haresfield were turnpikes from 1726 to 1877. (fn. 43) The road running north from Haresfield village past Green Street Cottages was evidently the Green Street mentioned in 1475. (fn. 44) The Gloucester and Berkeley Canal crossing the west of the parish was opened in 1827; (fn. 45) the Haresfield- Epney road, called Park Lane from the 15th century, (fn. 46) is carried over it on a swing bridge where there is one of the small Doric canal lodges. The Bristol and Gloucester railway with a station in Haresfield village was opened in 1844; (fn. 47) the station was closed in 1965. (fn. 48)

Seventeen inhabitants of Haresfield were assessed for tax in 1327. (fn. 49) There were c. 244 communicants in 1551, (fn. 50) and 47 households in 1563. (fn. 51) In 1650 there were 130 families. (fn. 52) In 1678 592 people were enumerated in the parish; (fn. 53) only a small proportion of them lived in Harescombe tithing which had 13 houses in 1672 compared with 80 in Haresfield and Parkend tithings. (fn. 54) About 1710, however, the population of the parish was estimated at c. 500, (fn. 55) and it was said to have remained at that figure c. 1775. (fn. 56) In 1783 there were 73 families in Haresfield and Parkend tithings, and 37 in Harescombe tithing. (fn. 57) In 1801 553 people were enumerated and the population remained at c. 600 until 1881; the boundary changes of 1885 caused a reduction to 458. There was no great variation from that figure until 1931; but between 1931 and 1951 there was a considerable rise to 718, resulting presumably from the presence of military installations, but by 1961 the population had fallen to 432. (fn. 58)

Alehouses at Haresfield were mentioned in 1662 and 1665; (fn. 59) both references may have been to the inn at Parkend. There was a victualler in the parish in 1755. (fn. 60) In 1891 there were three public houses, the Beacon Hotel, the 'Merry Fellow', and another; (fn. 61) in 1967 there was only the Beacon Hotel. A Benefit and Assurance Club was started in the parish c. 1845. (fn. 62) In the 17th and 18th century there were several leading families in the community, but from the early 19th century the enlargement of the Haresfield Court estate gave the function of squire to the Nibletts and their successors. (fn. 63)


  • 1. Glos. R. O., D 878, rating valuation 1841; Q/RI 74.
  • 2. Census, 1891.
  • 3. O.S. Area Bk. (1886).
  • 4. Geol. Surv. Map (solid edn.), sheet 43.
  • 5. See frontispiece.
  • 6. Glos. R.O., D 878, deeds of 1649, 1691.
  • 7. S.C. 6/1117/10.
  • 8. G. B. Witts, Arch. Handbk. of Glos. 23-24.
  • 9. Hist. & Cart. Mon. Glouc. (Rolls Ser.), i. 111; J. H. Melland Hall, 'Haresfield: Manors and Church': Trans. B.G.A.S. xix. 310-11, an article which quotes many documents.
  • 10. Glos. Colln. RQ 149.2.
  • 11. S.C. 6/1117/10.
  • 12. Hockaday Abs. clxxxix, 1542.
  • 13. Ibid. ccxxxiii.
  • 14. Hist. & Cart. Mon. Glouc. (Rolls Ser.), i. 88-89; cf. Glos. R.O., D 547A/T 17; Q/RI 74.
  • 15. Close R. 1251-3, 12.
  • 16. E 134/28 Eliz. Hil./14.
  • 17. Glos. R.O., D 547A/T 17.
  • 18. S.C. 6/1117/10.
  • 19. See pp. 194-5.
  • 20. Ex inf. Mr. G. B. Heywood, of Haresfield Court.
  • 21. See p. 195.
  • 22. See p. 193.
  • 23. Glouc. Cath. Libr., Reg. Abb. Frocester B, p. 115.
  • 24. Glos. R.O., Q/RI 74.
  • 25. C. Pooley, Old Crosses of Glos. (1868), 22-23.
  • 26. W.I. hist. of Haresfield (TS. in Glos. Colln. 1959), 4-5; See below p. 197.
  • 27. Glos. R.O., D 878, architect's plans.
  • 28. Ibid. Q/RI 74.
  • 29. Ex inf. Mr. Heywood; W.I. hist. of Haresfield, photog. on p. 12.
  • 30. Glos. R.O., D 878, bundle of deeds marked 'The College'; tradition connects the name with Llanthony Priory: local information.
  • 31. Ex inf. Mr. Heywood. A stone carving of a heraldic beast removed from the house is preserved at the estate office, Haresfield Court.
  • 32. See pp. 193, 191.
  • 33. Inscr. in house and date on sundial on S. wall; see p. 193.
  • 34. Date and inits. on barn.
  • 35. Hockaday Abs. ccxxxiii.
  • 36. Atkyns, Glos. 456; no supporting evidence has been found.
  • 37. William Partridge of Parkend was recorded in 1588: Hockaday Abs. ccxxxiii.
  • 38. Ogilby, Britannia (1675), p. 118.
  • 39. Atkyns, Glos. 457.
  • 40. See pp. 192-3.
  • 41. Hist. & Cart. Mon. Glouc. (Rolls Ser.), i. 331.
  • 42. Public Works in Med. Law, i (Selden Soc. xxxii), 126.
  • 43. Glos. Roads Acts, 12 Geo. I, c. 24; 19 Geo. III, c. 118; 39 & 40 Geo. III, c. 76 (local and personal act).
  • 44. William Salt Libr., Stafford, M 538/11.
  • 45. C. Hadfield, Canals of S. England, 187.
  • 46. William Salt Libr., Stafford, M 538/11; cf. Bryant, Map of Glos. (1824).
  • 47. MacDermot, Hist. G.W.R. i. 453.
  • 48. Ex inf. Brit. Rlys. Bd. Hist. Recs. Dept.
  • 49. Glos. Subsidy Roll, 1327, 51.
  • 50. E.H.R. xix. 103.
  • 51. Bodl. MS. Rawl. C. 790, f. 8.
  • 52. Trans. B.G.A.S. lxxxiii. 93.
  • 53. Ibid. xix. 350.
  • 54. E 179/247/14 rot. 14d.
  • 55. Atkyns, Glos. 457.
  • 56. Rudder, Glos. 476.
  • 57. Trans. B.G.A.S. xix. 357.
  • 58. Census, 1801-1961.
  • 59. Glos. R.O., Q/SIb 1, ff. 102v., 137v.
  • 60. Ibid. Q/AV 2, rot. 11.
  • 61. Licensed Houses in Glos. 1891, 230.
  • 62. Glos. R.O., Q/RZ 1.
  • 63. See below.