King's Stanley: Economic history

Pages 250-253

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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AGRICULTURE. There were 4 servi with 2 ploughs on the demesne of King's Stanley manor in 1086; (fn. 1) the demesne arable was said in 1295 to be 2 plough-lands amounting to 196 a., or alternatively 248½ a. Seventeen acres of demesne meadow were also recorded in 1295. (fn. 2) In 1322 there were 220 a. of arable on the demesne, of which all but 14 a. lay in the open fields. (fn. 3)

In 1086 the manor supported 8 villani and 6 bordars with 10 ploughs. (fn. 4) In 1295 the rent of the free tenants made a total of £7 16s., and the works and customs of the other tenants were valued at £8 13s. About 50s. of the free rent was paid by the inhabitants of the borough, (fn. 5) indicating that there were then as in 1322 50 burgages each held at a rent of 1s. (fn. 6) In 1533 no relief was due on the death of the holder of a burgage but the heir had to do fealty in the court on taking possession. (fn. 7) In 1322 there was a fairly high proportion of free tenants on the manor, including 6 who held messuages and ½ yardlands and c. 12 who held messuages and 1-10 a.; 8 tenants held tenements of various sizes for life at cash rents, and 11 others owed rents of cash and hens and eggs and labour-services, of whom two had ½ yardlands, 5 had fardels, two had 5 a., and two had mondaylands. (fn. 8) A fardel, later said to be 10 a., (fn. 9) was a ¼ yardland, and holders of fardels owed half the services of the ½ yardlanders. Copyholds were mentioned on the manor from 1461 when a tenant's widow and son, for whose lives the tenement had been granted, were refused admission because they were too poor to find security for rent and repairs. (fn. 10) Several former copyhold tenements were leased for lives, with heriots still payable, in the later 16th century. (fn. 11) Some customary land was enfranchised by Sir George Huntley when he became lord in 1610, (fn. 12) but there was still some copyhold in 1767. (fn. 13)

In 1331 a three-course rotation was apparently being followed on the manor when the open-field arable on the demesne lay in West field, in the south-west corner of the parish, Nether field (or Lower field), north of King's Stanley village, and Halfecombe (or Hautecombe) field; (fn. 14) the wheat field was mentioned in 1461, (fn. 15) and the stubble and the Lent fields in 1522. (fn. 16) Over (or Upper) field, south of King's Stanley village, was recorded in 1533, (fn. 17) and Redhill field, east of the village, and another called Park field, in 1705. (fn. 18) Two crops and a fallow remained the practice in the west of the parish in 1776. (fn. 19) Nast field (later Stanley End Far field) (fn. 20) and Stanley End field recorded in 1759, both to the south-east of Selsley, formed another group of fields. (fn. 21) Far Redhill field, east of Redhill field, was not recorded before 1839. (fn. 22) Wheat, beans, barley, and oats were being grown in 1794, (fn. 23) and small acreages of turnips and peas and a comparatively large acreage of potatoes were recorded among a total arable of 218 a. in 1801. (fn. 24)

Ten acres of meadow were recorded in 1086. (fn. 25) Stanley Meadow, the main common meadow, recorded from 1618, (fn. 26) lay by the river north of Stanley Park, (fn. 27) and 16 a. in Stonehouse Ham belonged to tenants of King's Stanley. (fn. 28) In the early 18th century Stanley Meadow and another called Selsley Meadow were said to contain c. 50 a. each and to be common to all after the hay-harvest. (fn. 29) In 1856 all resident occupiers of land had common in c. 40 a. of meadow in the north of the parish, by then inclosed and owned by the Marling family, and compensation for loss of common was obtained from the Nailsworth Railway Company in the 1860s, and claimed from the Stroud Rural District, which had laid a sewerage pipe there, in 1905; (fn. 30) in 1967 the rights of common were in dispute between the owner of the land and the farmers of the parish. (fn. 31) The main common of the parish, however, was on Selsley Hill estimated at 150 a. in 1766. (fn. 32) In 1831 encroachments on the common were opposed and walls pulled down by order of the vestry, which stinted the common and made regulations for its use in 1836. (fn. 33) In 1852 a plan to inclose Selsley Hill was opposed by the Revd. Benjamin Parsons of Ebley on the grounds that it would cause hardship to the poor. (fn. 34) In 1967 commoning rights on the hill were still exercised by the farmers from May to October; they were regulated by a grazing committee under the. parish council, which appointed a hayward. (fn. 35)

Some land had been inclosed out of West field, Lower field, and Upper field by the early 17th century. (fn. 36) The Coombes, three closes of arable containing 13 a. under Pen Wood mentioned in 1759, probably represented part of the field called Hautecombe, (fn. 37) and uninclosed arable in the valley on the east of the wood, known as the Lots in 1839, was perhaps the remnant of the field. In 1839, however, there were still over 100 a. of uninclosed arable in the parish; West field, Upper field, and Redhill field each had about 30 a., and three of the other fields had c. 10 a. About 10 a. in Stanley Meadow remained uninclosed in 1839. (fn. 38) There was still some uninclosed arable in West field in 1855. (fn. 39)

The main farms in 1839 were Court farm (c. 140 a.), Redhill farm (c. 130 a.), lands owned and leased by William Marmont of Peckstreet (c. 100 a.), a farm at Middle Yard (c. 66 a.), and Woodside farm (c. 50 a.). (fn. 40) In 1906 there were 6 farms near King's Stanley village and 8 in the area of Selsley. (fn. 41) In 1967 there were c. 10 farms in the parish. They were still mainly pasture farms, although several had given up dairying in recent years in favour of other kinds of farming. (fn. 42)


Two mills were recorded in 1086; they were the most valuable of those mentioned in the county. (fn. 43) One or both probably occupied the site of Stanley Mill on the Frome which was perhaps the ruinous mill recorded on the manor in 1322. (fn. 44) In the later 16th century Stanley Mill was owned by the Harmer family; it may have incorporated a fulling-mill by 1533 when William Harmer was among those recorded as digging fuller's earth, (fn. 45) and John Harmer of King's Stanley was described as a clothman in 1549. (fn. 46) In 1562 a moiety of the mill, then comprising a fullingmill and corn-mill, was leased to Robert Clutterbuck by John Harmer, (fn. 47) and Richard Harmer sold the mill in 1579 to Robert's brother, Richard Clutterbuck; (fn. 48) the ownership of the mill by the Clutterbucks of Stanley House and their successors is traced above. (fn. 49) Jasper Clutterbuck (d. 1627) rebuilt part of the mill and made a new floodgate near Ebley where the southern branch of the river parts from the northern. (fn. 50) Thomas Clutterbuck and his brother Jasper (d. 1752) were apparently the only Clutterbuck owners who did not work the mill themselves, being styled gentlemen rather than clothiers; (fn. 51) William Payne, clothier, their stepfather, evidently worked it until his death in 1731, (fn. 52) and it was probably the mill with three stocks and a gig-mill advertised for letting in that year. (fn. 53) Jasper's son Jasper (d. 1782) was working the mill in 1773 and had a spinning-house at Sherston (Wilts.). (fn. 54) Part of Stanley Mill remained a corn-mill until 1783 or later. (fn. 55)

The building of a new mill on the site had perhaps been begun by 1811 when Joseph Wathen, the owner, was installing a new water-wheel, and when he sold Stanley Mill to George Harris and Donald Maclean in 1813 the old mill had been dismantled and the foundations of the new one begun; newly erected dye-houses, wool-lofts, stoves, cloth-rooms, and workshops were also mentioned. Harris and Maclean were joined by Charles Stephens by 1821, and in 1827 Harris left the partnership. (fn. 56) Maclean lived in London and acted as the buyer of wool and seller of the cloth until c. 1827; (fn. 57) he sold his share of the business to Stephens in 1839. (fn. 58) The new mill was powered by five water-wheels; (fn. 59) a steam-engine had been installed by 1827. (fn. 60) In 1833 Maclean claimed that the mill gave employment to 800-900 people, including the outdoor weavers. (fn. 61) In 1839 there were 90 handlooms at work in the mill, employing 132 workers, about half of them women and children. (fn. 62) Stanley Mill was owned by the Marlings from 1842, and, with Ebley Mill, by the Marlings of Stanley Park from 1854; (fn. 63) the family relinquished its ownership in 1920 when a public company was floated under the name of Marling & Evans Ltd. (fn. 64) In 1967 the firm employed c. 250 people, including those at Ebley Mill, and produced both woollen cloth and materials made from synthetic fibres. Water-power was used until the 1930s to drive a turbine to provide electricity. (fn. 65)

The main block of Stanley Mill, the building of 1813, (fn. 66) has five stories, the lowest of stone and the others of brick. It is an early example of a mill built with a metal frame to cut down fire risks; each floor is supported by a series of brick vaults carried by double rows of cast iron pillars. (fn. 67) The windows have metal glazing-bars, and the central window on each face is of the Venetian type with cast iron pillars dividing the lights. A rather later block on the west (fn. 68) is constructed of stone piers with brick filling. A two-story block on the east is dated 1815. New weaving-sheds were built north of the mill c. 1946. (fn. 69) A house which stood on the other side of the road, between the river and the brick cottages there, was apparently built by Thomas Clutterbuck (d. c. 1717), (fn. 70) and was described as Jasper Clutterbuck's lower house in 1773. (fn. 71) It had been converted to form part of the mill by 1813 (fn. 72) and housed weaving-shops in 1837; (fn. 73) it was pulled down in 1959. (fn. 74)

A cloth-mill north-west of King Stanley village driven by the brook which formed the boundary with Leonard Stanley was owned in 1820 by Paul Beard. (fn. 75) In 1826 Beard's machinery at the mill, which included two steam-engines, was sold under distraint for rent. (fn. 76) In 1834 the mill was owned by Walter Palmer, (fn. 77) but in 1839 it was the property of Charles Beard who was leasing it to Donald Maclean of Stanley Mill. (fn. 78) In 1882 ownership of the mill, described as a spacious building of two floors, and of the near-by mansion, Beech House, was contested among the heirs of William Fowler. (fn. 79) The mill and a cottage adjoining, formerly the home of the poet Jeptha Young, were demolished c. 1908. (fn. 80)

A mill called Cherynges Mill, in King's Stanley parish but belonging to Frocester manor, was apparently at Dudbridge, (fn. 81) and its history is reserved for inclusion with Rodborough in another volume.

By the later 16th century and probably earlier the cloth industry dominated the economic life of King's Stanley. In 1608 81 people employed in the industry were recorded as against 18 in other trades and 27 in agriculture. (fn. 82) In 1633 when tighter regulations imposed by the government caused many clothiers to cut back production it was claimed that there were 800 people in King's Stanley and Leonard Stanley whose livelihood depended on the trade. (fn. 83) In 1831 317 families in the parish were supported by trade, most, evidently, by the cloth trade, and 72 families by agriculture. (fn. 84) The cloth-makers listed in 1608 included 6 clothiers, 12 tuckers, and 63 weavers of whom 16 were distinguished as broadweavers. The number of weavers was higher than in any of the other Stroudwater clothing parishes at the time, and presumably they supplied much of the cloth for the mills in Stonehouse parish, which had relatively few weavers. Forty-five of the weavers were listed under the manor, and 18 (including all the broadweavers) under the borough, so presumably there were as many living in the smaller settlements in the east of the parish as in King's Stanley village. (fn. 85) In 1766 a scribbler and a shearman were among the inhabitants of the parish. (fn. 86) In 1820 34 houses in the parish which had 'shops' adjoining were presumably occupied by weavers, (fn. 87) although already the number of outdoor weavers was falling as weaving-factories were established at the local mills. The tithe award of 1839 distinguished only one house, at Middle Yard, as having a loom-shed adjoining. (fn. 88) Four houses with loom-sheds were mentioned at Middle Yard in 1855, (fn. 89) and there was a weaver's shop in King's Stanley village in 1852. (fn. 90)


Most of the usual village trades were regularly represented at King's Stanley. A wheelwright was recorded in 1311 (fn. 91) and a tailor in 1327. (fn. 92) In 1608 the craftsmen included 4 carpenters and a sawyer, 3 smiths, and 3 tailors; a badger and two carriers were also mentioned. (fn. 93) Carpenters were mentioned in 1641 (fn. 94) and 1665, (fn. 95) and a carpenter and a cooper in the 1760s. (fn. 96) In 1856 3 carpenters and a cooper were living in the parish, (fn. 97) and in 1906 a carpenter and a cabinet-maker. (fn. 98) Shoemakers were regularly recorded in the 18th century; (fn. 99) there were 3 in the parish in 1856 (fn. 100) and one in 1906. (fn. 101) Tailors were mentioned in 1662 (fn. 102) and 1815; (fn. 103) two were recorded in 1856 (fn. 104) and a tailor and draper in 1906. (fn. 105) There were two blacksmiths in the parish in 1856 and one in 1906. (fn. 106) Thomas Harrison, a mason who had the lease of a stonequarry on Selsley Hill from 1745, (fn. 107) was probably of the same family as the stonemasons Daniel Harrison (fl. 1794, 1813) and Thomas Harrison (fl. 1818, 1836); (fn. 108) three members of the Harrison family were among the five masons in the parish in 1856, (fn. 109) George Harrison built the masonry of Selsley church in 1862, (fn. 110) and Frederic Harrison was a stonemason at King's Stanley in 1879 and until c. 1906. (fn. 111) John Coiling recorded as doing repairs at King's Stanley church in the early 19th century (fn. 112) was probably the man who signed a number of metal inscription plates on tombstones in the locality. (fn. 113) Other plates were engraved in the 1820s by Richard Dean of King's Stanley. (fn. 114) There were cork-cutters in the parish in 1856 and until c. 1919. (fn. 115)

A butcher was recorded in the parish in 1550 (fn. 116) and there were two there in 1608. (fn. 117) Three brewers and bakers were mentioned in 1550, (fn. 118) and a baker in 1729. (fn. 119) John Wathen of Picked Elm Farm (d. 1752), his son John, and grandson Thomas, were all maltsters, but Thomas had apparently ceased to follow the trade by 1785 when he leased his malt-house to William Martin. (fn. 120) Another malt-house, described in 1761 as adjoining the Upper and Lower House at Stanley's End, (fn. 121) was probably the one owned in the early 19th century by George Wathen who owned the farm-house at Water Lane. (fn. 122) In 1820 the malt-houses of Thomas and George Wathen, and a third owned by Samuel Pegler, were out of use, (fn. 123) and none of them was recorded as working later. Various trades were followed by the Pauls of Peckstreet House: (fn. 124) Nathaniel Paul (fl. 1684) was described as a soap-boiler; (fn. 125) his son Nathaniel (d. 1737) was a-tobacconist (fn. 126) and perhaps continued the business that had employed the King's Stanley man described as a tobacco-cutter in 1691; (fn. 127) Onesiphorus Paul (d. 1770), son of the second Nathaniel, was trading as a mercer in 1753, (fn. 128) and his business was perhaps being carried on by his relations the Pierces in 1773 when a 'Mr. Pearce' had a shop in Peckstreet. (fn. 129) A surgeon of King's Stanley was licensed in 1716. (fn. 130)


In 1253 Adam le Despenser was granted a weekly market on Tuesdays and a fair on the eve, day, and morrow of St. George. (fn. 131) The market was perhaps still being held in 1497 when a fine was paid in the borough court for licence to buy and sell, (fn. 132) but no later specific mention of it or the fair has been found. Presumably they suffered from competition with those held at Leonard Stanley. (fn. 133) The market had almost certainly lapsed by 1650 when Leonard Stanley, but not King's Stanley, was designated a market town. (fn. 134)


  • 1. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 169v.
  • 2. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1236-1300, 168-9; two separate extents give different amounts of arable.
  • 3. S.C. 11/245.
  • 4. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 169v.
  • 5. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1236-1300, 168-9.
  • 6. S.C. 11/245; cf. Trans. B.G.A.S. xlvi. 121.
  • 7. Trans. B.G.A.S. xlv. 247.
  • 8. S.C. 11/245.
  • 9. Req. 2/28/58.
  • 10. Trans. B.G.A.S. xlv. 220-1.
  • 11. E 310/14/51 f. 7; E 310/14/53 ff. 51, 57; E 310/14/54 ff. 8, 16, 34.
  • 12. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 1; Glos. Colln. deeds 177.46.
  • 13. Glos. R.O., D 340A/M 8.
  • 14. S.C. 11/246; cf. G.D.R. King's Stanley tithe award.
  • 15. Trans. B.G.A.S. xlv. 220.
  • 16. Glos. R.O., D 340A/M 23.
  • 17. Trans. B.G.A.S. xlv. 248; cf. G.D.R. King's Stanley tithe award.
  • 18. G.D.R. King's Stanley terrier.
  • 19. Glos. Colln. SR 163, tithe accts. 1765-78, agreement for leasing part of glebe (loose paper).
  • 20. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 25.
  • 21. Ibid. T 52.
  • 22. G.D.R. King's Stanley tithe award.
  • 23. Glos. R.O., D 149/E 79.
  • 24. Acreage Returns, 1801.
  • 25. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 169v.
  • 26. G.D.R. King's Stanley terrier.
  • 27. Ibid. King's Stanley tithe award.
  • 28. See p. 277.
  • 29. Atkyns, Glos. 682.
  • 30. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 41.
  • 31. Ex inf. Mr. Malpass.
  • 32. Glos. R.O., D 340A/M 8.
  • 33. Ibid. D 873, vestry min. bk. 1829-39.
  • 34. Hood, The Earnest Minister, 253-5.
  • 35. Ex inf. Mr. Malpass.
  • 36. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1625-42, iii. 20,
  • 37. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 52; see above.
  • 38. G.D.R. King's Stanley tithe award.
  • 39. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 24.
  • 40. G.D.R. King's Stanley tithe award.
  • 41. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1906), 297-8.
  • 42. Ex inf. Mr. Malpass.
  • 43. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 169v.; Taylor, Dom. Glos. 180.
  • 44. S.C. 11/245.
  • 45. Trans. B.G.A.S. xlv. 247.
  • 46. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 1.
  • 47. Glos. N. & Q. v. 329.
  • 48. Ibid. 383.
  • 49. See pp. 248-9.
  • 50. Glos. Colln. RF 289.6.
  • 51. Glos. R.O., D 1347, deeds of Clutterbuck fam. 1687- 1720; Glos. N. & Q. v. 457.
  • 52. Glos. R.O., D 873, borough rental, 1749; Bigland, Glos. iii, no. 248.
  • 53. Glouc. Jnl. 30 Mar. 1731.
  • 54. Clutterbuck Diary, 6.
  • 55. Glos. R.O., P 190/OV 2/6, entry for 1755; D 873/T 51.
  • 56. Ibid. D 873/T 56.
  • 57. Ibid.; cf. Finberg, Glos. Studies, 229.
  • 58. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 57.
  • 59. Rep. Factory Com. H.C. 450, p. 256 (1834), xx.
  • 60. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 56.
  • 61. Rep. Factory Com. H.C. 167, p. 933 (1833), xx.
  • 62. Rep. Com. Handloom Weavers, 376-7.
  • 63. See pp. 249, 280.
  • 64. Historical notes issued by Marling & Evans; ex inf. Mr. D. Tod, a director of the firm. For a detailed account of the changes in partnership during the later 19th century see J. Tann, Glos. Woollen Mills (1967), 150-1, 154-5.
  • 65. Ex inf. Mr. G. Hughes, in charge of the finishing dept.
  • 66. The date appears in several places in the building.
  • 67. Cf. M. Rix, Industrial Archaeology (Hist. Assoc. pamphlet), 13-14. The mill was claimed to be fireproof in 1833: Rep. Factory Com. H.C. 450, p. 256 (1834), xx; and it survived at least one fire in 1884, although it was then, with exaggeration, said to have been 'completely destroyed': Marling, Rifleman and Hussar, 122. See also below, plate facing p. 282.
  • 68. It does not appear on a plan of 1813: Glos. R.O., D 873/T 56.
  • 69. Ex inf. Mr. Hughes.
  • 70. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 56.
  • 71. Clutterbuck Diary, 8; his upper house was presumably Stanley House.
  • 72. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 56.
  • 73. Ibid. T 57.
  • 74. Ex inf. Mr. Tod.
  • 75. Glos. R.O., D 873, rating survey; cf. D 1159, map of King's Stanley, 1817.
  • 76. Glouc. Jnl. 9 Sept. 1826.
  • 77. Glos. R.O., Q/RI 89.
  • 78. G.D.R. King's Stanley tithe award.
  • 79. Glos. Colln. RX 177. 1.
  • 80. Ex inf. Mr. Walrond; see p. 245.
  • 81. See p. 175.
  • 82. Smith, Men and Armour, 300-3.
  • 83. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1633-4, 165; cf. Willcox, Glos. 1590- 1640, 168.
  • 84. Census, 1831.
  • 85. Smith, Men and Armour, 300-3; Trans. B.G.A.S. lxvi. 83.
  • 86. Glos. R.O., D 340A/M 8.
  • 87. Glos. R.O., D 873, rating survey.
  • 88. G.D.R. King's Stanley tithe award.
  • 89. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 24.
  • 90. Ibid. D 1347, deeds of Sealey and Watts fams. 1777- 1875.
  • 91. Abbrev. Rot. Orig. (Rec. Com.), i. 181.
  • 92. Glos. Subsidy Roll, 1327, 50.
  • 93. Smith, Men and Armour, 300-3.
  • 94. Hockaday Abs. cccxlvii.
  • 95. Glos. R.O., Q/SIb 1, f. 70.
  • 96. Glos. Colln. deeds 177.37; Glos. R.O., D 340A/M 8.
  • 97. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856), 316.
  • 98. Ibid. (1906), 297.
  • 99. Glos. Colln. deeds 177.32, 36; Glos. R.O., D 340A/M 8; D 873/T 10.
  • 100. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856), 316.
  • 101. Ibid. (1906), 297.
  • 102. Hockaday Abs. cccxlvii.
  • 103. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 24.
  • 104. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856), 316.
  • 105. Ibid. (1906), 297.
  • 106. Ibid. (1856), 316; (1906), 297.
  • 107. Glos. R.O., D 340A/T 90; D 873/T 52.
  • 108. Ibid. D 873/T 45; P 190/CW 2/1.
  • 109. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856), 316.
  • 110. Stroud News and Jnl. 29 Nov. 1862.
  • 111. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1879 and later edns.).
  • 112. Glos. R.O., P 190/CW 2/1, entries for 1808-9, 1818, 1829-30.
  • 113. e.g. Leonard Stanley, 1835, 1859.
  • 114. e.g. King's Stanley, 1828, 1829.
  • 115. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856 and later edns.).
  • 116. Glos. R.O., D 340A/M 23.
  • 117. Smith, Men and Armour, 300-3.
  • 118. Glos. R.O., D 340A/M 23.
  • 119. Ibid. D 873/T 44.
  • 120. Ibid. T 9; cf. above, p. 250.
  • 121. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 46.
  • 122. G.D.R. King's Stanley tithe award.
  • 123. Glos. R.O., D 873, rating survey.
  • 124. See p. 249.
  • 125. Glos. R.O., D 873/T 1.
  • 126. Ibid.; Hockaday Abs. cccxlvii, 1726.
  • 127. Glos. R.O., D 873, deed of 1691.
  • 128. Ibid. D 182/III/123.
  • 129. Clutterbuck Diary, 7, where Peckstreet is called by its corrupt form, Pig Street; cf. Rudder, Glos. 684.
  • 130. Hockaday Abs. cccxlvii.
  • 131. Cal. Chart. R. 1226-57, 414.
  • 132. Glos. R.O., D 340A/M 23.
  • 133. See p. 263.
  • 134. Trans. B.G.A.S. lxxxiii. 93.