Haresfield: Economic history

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: Economic history', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 10, Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds, (London, 1972) pp. 194-195. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol10/pp194-195 [accessed 14 April 2024]


In 1086 there were 4 servi and 3 ploughs on the demesne of Durand of Gloucester's manor. (fn. 1) In 1460 the demesne of the chief manor included c. 140 a. of arable leased among the tenants in small parcels, c. 60 a. of meadow, and c. 35 a. of pasture. (fn. 2) The demesne of the FitzHerbert manor in 1286 comprised 109 a. of arable, 10 a. of meadow, and several pasture; it was cultivated mainly by the labour-services of the tenants, which included ploughing, mowing, and reaping. (fn. 3) The demesne of Llanthony Priory's manor comprised 2½ yardlands and 90 a. in the early 13th century. (fn. 4)

The tenants of Durand's manor in 1086 were 9 villani and 11 bordars with 9 ploughs. (fn. 5) On the FitzHerbert manor in 1286 there were 3¼ yardlands held by customary tenure, 3 bondmen, and 4 cottars. (fn. 6) The rent of the customary tenants on the chief manor amounted to c. £10 in 1460, and there were also some free tenants. (fn. 7) In the early 13th century Llanthony Priory's manor had one tenant holding 2½ yardlands, another with ½ yardland, and 6 holding fardels; (fn. 8) in 1540 the manor had 5 copyhold tenants holding houses and land, who owed herring-silver and payments instead of eggs. (fn. 9)

Eight open fields were mentioned in 1460: the largest were apparently Leigh field north-east of Haresfield village, Downhill field south-east of the village, Broad field between the village and Parkend, and Windmill field; there were also Wood field, Caldew field, Engle field, and Oak field, and there was some arable on the top of Haresfield Hill. A three-course rotation was then being followed. The main common meadow was Rodmore Meadow in the extreme west of the parish; it covered over 32 a., and other meadow land lay in the same area. (fn. 10) The main common pasture was presumably, as later, in Broadbarrow Green on Haresfield Hill; in the late 18th century the pasture, which was unstinted, covered c. 200 a. (fn. 11) Sheep were mentioned in an early-14th-century tithe agreement. (fn. 12) A new sheep-house was to be added to the farm buildings of the chief manor in 1502, (fn. 13) and was presumably the building referred to in 1590. (fn. 14) In 1713 one small farm had a flock of 87 sheep. (fn. 15)

Inclosure apparently proceeded piecemeal during the 17th and 18th centuries. Some of the glebe land in Leigh field and in North field, a field to the northeast of Parkend mentioned from 1572, (fn. 16) was inclosed between 1612 and 1705, (fn. 17) and 10 a. inclosed out of Leigh field were mentioned in 1654. (fn. 18) Exchanges of land in Downhill field and North field in 1706, and in Broad field in 1750 were presumably the preliminary to inclosures. (fn. 19) An Act for inclosure was passed in 1812 and an award had apparently been drawn up and implemented by 1815, (fn. 20) but because of the delay by some of the proprietors in paying their shares of the expenses the award did not officially take effect until 1831. (fn. 21) Under the award (which affected the whole parish including Harescombe tithing) over 50 proprietors received allotments, the re-allotted land including many old inclosures. (fn. 22)

Wheat, barley, and beans were being grown in 1713. (fn. 23) The parish was described as mainly pasture and orchard c. 1775, producing cheese and cider of the best quality. (fn. 24) Orchards had been a feature of the parish since the early 14th century when an agreement was made about the tithing of apples, pears, and cider, (fn. 25) and there were said to be many orchards in 1624. (fn. 26) In 1795 324 a. were returned as sown mainly with wheat, beans, and barley, and with some peas. (fn. 27) A small acreage of potatoes was recorded in 1801. (fn. 28)

In 1813 the Niblett estate, which included most of the parish between Broadbarrow Green and the Bristol road, had 191 a. of arable out of a total of 1,086 a. (fn. 29) In 1815 the main farms in Haresfield and Parkend tithings were Parkend Lodge (195 a.), Oakey farm (171 a.), Chestnut farm (113 a.), and Round House farm (107 a.), which were entirely or almost entirely pasture, and Mount farm (135 a.), the farm at Lower Green (173 a.), and Malthouse farm (136 a.), which each had 30-50 a. arable. (fn. 30) In 1856 there were 16 farms in the parish. (fn. 31) After 1947 only 4 of c. 13 farms on the Haresfield Court estate (which also included most of Colethrop) (fn. 32) were rented; most of the land was kept in hand and farmed from the Court. Much pasture land was ploughed up, and in 1967 the estate supported dairying and corn-growing in roughly equal parts. (fn. 33) In 1967 much of the former meadow land belonging to Oakey farm in the west of the parish was under crops.

Five potters were paying rent to Haresfield manor in 1086. (fn. 34) A carpenter and a tailor were recorded in 1327. (fn. 35) In 1608 the inhabitants included two carpenters, a smith, a tailor, 3 weavers, a thatcher, and a man described as a fish-carrier. (fn. 36) Other weavers were recorded in 1767 and 1808. (fn. 37) Masons were mentioned in 1655 and 1804, (fn. 38) and blacksmiths in 1674 and 1781. (fn. 39) In 1831 35 families were supported by trade, and 84 by agriculture. (fn. 40) In the mid 19th century the parish had a shoemaker, a cooper, and, until 1889, a blacksmith. A firm of woollen dyers was based in the parish in 1870 but was not recorded in 1879. (fn. 41) A malt-house in the parish was mentioned in 1690, (fn. 42) and in the early 19th century there was one near the Cross; (fn. 43) another presumably gave its name to Malthouse Farm.

There was a mill at Haresfield in 1275 when a third share of it, belonging to John of Ashton, was in the king's hands because of John's default in a case in the king's court. (fn. 44) No later record of a mill in the parish has been found before the early 20th century when there was a water-mill, used for grinding corn, at Haresfield Court; the single wheel of the mill survived in 1967 but had not been used for many years. (fn. 45)


  • 1. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 168v.
  • 2. S.C. 6/1117/10.
  • 3. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1236-1300, 132-4.
  • 4. C 115/K/A 1/2/50.
  • 5. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 168v.
  • 6. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1236-1300, 132-4.
  • 7. S.C. 6/1117/10.
  • 8. C 115/K/A 1/2/50.
  • 9. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/1224m. 14d.
  • 10. S.C. 6/1117/10; cf. Glos. R.O., Q/RI 74.
  • 11. Bigland, Glos. ii. 29.
  • 12. C 115/K/A 1/2/73.
  • 13. S.C. 6/Hen. VII/1075.
  • 14. Glos. R.O., D 444/T 23; cf. Trans. B.G.A.S. xix. 310- 311.
  • 15. Glos. N. & Q. iv. 467.
  • 16. G.D.R. Haresfield terrier, 1572.
  • 17. Ibid. 1705.
  • 18. Glos. R.O., D 878, deed of 1654.
  • 19. Ibid. deeds of 1706, 1750.
  • 20. Ibid. D 1297; D 878, rating valuation, 1815.
  • 21. Ibid. D 1297.
  • 22. Ibid. Q/RI 74.
  • 23. Glos. Colln. SR 9.19.
  • 24. Rudder, Glos. 474.
  • 25. Glos. N. & Q. iii. 515.
  • 26. E 134/22 Jas. I Mich./4.
  • 27. Glos. R.O., D 149/E 79.
  • 28. Acreage Returns, 1801.
  • 29. Glos. R.O., D 878, terrier of Niblett estates, 1813; Q/RI 74.
  • 30. Ibid. D 878, rating valuation 1815; cf. Q/RI 74.
  • 31. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856), 307.
  • 32. See p. 235.
  • 33. Exinf. Mr. Heywood.
  • 34. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 168v.
  • 35. Glos. Subsidy Roll, 1327, 51.
  • 36. Smith, Men and Armour, 299-300; another man listed as a harper was presumably a musician.
  • 37. Moreton Valence par. recs., misc. papers A, no. 56; Glos. R.O., P 316/OV 4/1.
  • 38. Glos. R.O., D 878, deed of 1655; E. P. Fennemore, Hist. of Randwick (Stroud 1893), 87.
  • 39. Glos. R.O., D 678/Randwick/7A; D 149/T 264-7.
  • 40. Census, 1831.
  • 41. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856 and later edns.).
  • 42. Glos. R.O., D 878, deed of 1690.
  • 43. Ibid. Q/RI 74.
  • 44. Cal. Close, 1272-9, 237.
  • 45. Ex inf. Mr. Heywood.