Longney: Economic history

Pages 201-203

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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Between 1066 and 1086 the Longney estate, while remaining in the possession of the same lord, declined in value from 100s. to 60s. The demesne, with 4 servi, had 2 plough-teams; (fn. 1) by 1291 it contained 3 plough-lands. (fn. 2) No later reference to demesne farming has been found. The demesne leased with the manor-house in 1514 amounted to 198 a., and a large pasture leased to six other tenants was former demesne. (fn. 3)

The tenants in 1086 comprised 6 villani and 12 bordars, sharing 9 plough-teams between them. (fn. 4) Those figures allow an average among all the tenants of ½ plough-team each. The relatively large tenant holdings were apparently reduced by an increase in the number of tenants. In the 13th and 14th centuries freeholds of 1 yardland or less are found. (fn. 5) On the Pershore Abbey estate the rent of each acre was raised in the early 13th century, and it may have been then that the number of the abbey's tenants rose from four to six. Those six held 2½ yardlands between them in 1273; four of them each held only ¼ yardland, or 9 a., (fn. 6) and it is likely that many of the tenants of Great Malvern Priory had equally small holdings. The 24 people assessed for tax in 1327 in Longney, where the average assessment was higher than in most neighbouring parishes, (fn. 7) seem to have comprised a relatively small proportion of the landholders there.

By the early 16th century, certainly, there were more than 50 holdings. Great Malvern Priory's manor had, in addition to the demesne, 8 freeholders and c. 40 copyholders. Some of the copyholders had more than one holding, suggesting that at an earlier period the land had been still further sub-divided. Eighteen of the copyholds were called ½ yardlands, usually with common of pasture for 16 sheep, 8 beasts, and 1 horse, and 10 were described as mondaylands which characteristically had common of pasture for 12 sheep, 6 beasts and 1 horse. (fn. 8) In 1608 there were 25 men in Longney described as yeomen or husbandmen, and at least another 21 men and women who are likely to have been agricultural occupiers. (fn. 9) Most of the 50 landholders in 1732 seem to have been agricultural occupiers, and most of them held by copyhold. (fn. 10)

Leases were being granted in the late 16th century of land that had formerly been copyhold. (fn. 11) Copyhold remained the most usual form of tenure until inclosure in 1815, when there were 30 or more copyholds averaging c. 20 a. Only one of 10 long leases and four of 14 other leases then in being were more than 10 a.; of 20 or more freeholds only four were more than 20 a. and 12 were under 5 a. Many people then held land by two or more different kinds of tenure. (fn. 12) Copyholds continued to be granted, apparently in decreasing numbers, up to 1906. (fn. 13)

Three open fields, Little field, Acrey, and South field, were named in the late 13th century. (fn. 14) In the 16th century the arable land lay in fields called Bunny Pool, North field, Little field, Acrohill, South field, Lynch, Wood field, Longland field, and Grassmoor. (fn. 15) In 1732 Bunny Pool, at the north end of the parish, contained 85 a., Little field, divided into north and south parts and lying between Waterend and Bowlane, contained 92 a., Acrey contained 208 a., and South field, together with the Lynch which was clearly part of it, contained 75 a. North field was only 20 a., and smaller fields called New Loond, 'Between Pool and Wall', and the Lye may represent the last three of the 16th-century fields named above. The total area of the open fields was 506 a., of which all but small pieces lay west of the road through the centre of the parish. (fn. 16)

The meadow and pasture land on the east side of the parish was extensive. In 1086 10 a. of meadow were recorded, (fn. 17) and in 1465 an estate of 66 a. in Longney included 10 a. of meadow and 10 a. of pasture, apparently held in severally. (fn. 18) The two largest areas of meadow, Smadam and Madam, with pasture called Grangers Moor between them and Grovend Moor to the north, (fn. 19) were common meadows in 1613. (fn. 20) Smadam and Madam may together have comprised Sten meadow, which was said to be tithe-free: (fn. 21) it was claimed that no tithe was payable on the common meadow. (fn. 22)

A gradual process of division and inclosure had started by the beginning of the 17th century. Already in 1514 9 a. of the 45 a. of meadow belonging to the demesne and 35 a. of the 117 a. of pasture were held in severalty. (fn. 23) In 1604 it was said that there were no sheep-commons in the manor, where in the mid 16th century there had been common of pasture for over 600 sheep, (fn. 24) and that the demesne farm had no common for any animals as the result of an agreement made when some open land was inclosed. Some copyholds had commons for cows in Grangers Moor and for yearlings in Grovend Moor. (fn. 25) In addition to the common meadow there were two smaller pieces of lot meadow, which in 1780 were allocated by an archaic method. (fn. 26) By the time of inclosure in 1815 the amount of open land had been reduced to 877 a., compared with 595 a. of old inclosures. (fn. 27) Following an unsuccessful attempt at parliamentary inclosure in 1779 some land had been exchanged and converted from arable, (fn. 28) and in the early 19th century most of the parish was in pasture; (fn. 29) the arable land, on which wheat and beans were grown, (fn. 30) amounted to 503 a., of which only c. 15 a. were inclosed. (fn. 31)

In 1815 there were 16 holdings of more than 20 a., including two of over 150 a., the Manor farm of 277 a., most of which was old inclosed land, and Philo Maddy's of 229 a. (fn. 32) In 1831 there were 14 farmers who employed labour and 6 who did not. (fn. 33) Twenty-three farmers were named in 1863, and from 19 in 1870 the number declined to 12 in 1927, when two of them farmed over 150 a. (fn. 34) Small copyholds, 23 in all amounting to 250 a., survived into the early 20th century. (fn. 35) There were 13 farms in 1968. In 1901 363 a., about a quarter of the parish, were arable, (fn. 36) and the proportion was roughly the same in 1933 (fn. 37) and 1968. The land was then used predominantly for dairying.

A mill belonged to the manor in 1291, (fn. 38) and in 1326 John the miller of Longney had a house in Framilode. (fn. 39) A mill connected with Longney was also mentioned in 1523 or 1524. (fn. 40) In none of those instances is the type of mill indicated, and in the absence of any suitable stream the mill may have been a windmill and have given the name to Windmill Hill, (fn. 41) 700 yds. east of the church. (fn. 42)

In 1608 the inhabitants of Longney included 3 weavers, 2 tailors, a glover, and a cordwainer. (fn. 43) There were incidental references to a tailor, a cordwainer, blacksmiths, and carpenters in the 17th and 18th centuries, (fn. 44) but village trades seem not to have been numerous before the 19th century. Between 1811 and 1831, while the number of families supported by agriculture fell from 73 to 65, the number supported by trade and industry rose from 6 to 35. (fn. 45) In the later 19th century the nonagricultural occupations included those of bargeowner and brickmaker. (fn. 46) The brick-works were by the river, 600 yds. west of the church. (fn. 47) The presence of a butter-dealer reflected the emphasis on dairyfarming. There was a carpenter and wheelwright in the village until 1870, and a blacksmith until 1914. (fn. 48)


  • 1. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 170v.
  • 2. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 233.
  • 3. E 164/39 ff. 199v.-201; cf. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii. 238.
  • 4. Dom. Bk. i. 170v.
  • 5. e.g. C.P. 25(1)/73/4/18; C.P. 25(1)/77/67/296; C.P. 25(1)/78/80/58; for a larger estate, in the 15th century, see Cal. Pat. 1461-7, 424.
  • 6. E 315/61 ff. 26v., 27v.
  • 7. Glos. Subsidy Roll, 1327, 51,
  • 8. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/7445 rot. 43; E 164/39 ff. 199-211.
  • 9. Smith, Men and Armour, 302-3.
  • 10. Map of Longney, 1732, penes Messrs. Warrens; cf. survey of Longney, 1777: ibid.
  • 11. E 310/14/53 f. 49; 54 f. 6.
  • 12. Glos. R.O., Q/RI 92.
  • 13. Ibid. D 177/VII/1.
  • 14. B.M. Harl. Ch. 83.A.34.
  • 15. E 164/39 ff. 199-211.
  • 16. Map of Longney, 1732, penes Messrs. Warrens; cf. Glos. R.O., D 6/E 4, no. 12.
  • 17. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 170v.
  • 18. Cal. Pat. 1461-7, 424.
  • 19. Glos. R.O., D6/E 4, no. 12.
  • 20. G.D.R. Longney terrier, 1613.
  • 21. Record of Sten meadow has not been found earlier than the reference to its being tithe-free in Atkyns, Glos. 546.
  • 22. Glos. Colln. RF 194.13-14; cf. G.D.R. Longney terrier, 1678.
  • 23. E 164/39 f. 199v.
  • 24. Ibid. ff. 202-11.
  • 25. Glos. Colln. RF 194.13.
  • 26. Glos. R.O., D 6/E 4, no. 12; cf. Finberg, Glos. 39-40; the allocation was made before the hay was mown.
  • 27. Glos. R.O., Q/RI 92.
  • 28. Collections Relating to H. Smith, 108.
  • 29. Rudge, Hist. of Glos. ii. 361; Bigland, Glos. ii. 177.
  • 30. Glos. R.O., D 149/E 79.
  • 31. Ibid. Q/RI 92.
  • 32. Ibid.
  • 33. Census, 1831.
  • 34. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1863 and later edns.).
  • 35. Terrier, 1901, penes Messrs. Warrens.
  • 36. Acreage Returns, 1901.
  • 37. Land Util. Surv. Map, sheet 92.
  • 38. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 233.
  • 39. Reg. Mon. Winch. i. 5.
  • 40. Fosbrooke, Glos. i. 295.
  • 41. Glos. Colln. RF 194.13.
  • 42. Glos. R.O., Q/RI 92.
  • 43. Smith, Men and Armour, 302-3.
  • 44. Glos. Colln. deeds 194.2, 8; RX 194.1; Glos. R.O., D 892/T 44/6; Moreton Valence par. recs., misc. vol. A, no. 27.
  • 45. Census, 1811-31.
  • 46. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1863), 305.
  • 47. O.S. Map 6", Glos. XXXII. SE. (1884 edn.).
  • 48. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 592; (1914), 246.