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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MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
Before the Conquest the king's thegn Brictric held Wheatenhurst, and in 1086 Hardinc held it in pledge from Brictric. (fn. 1) Wheatenhurst appears to have been held in the late 11th century by Robert de Romilly, and in the 12th by William de Say. (fn. 2) It later passed to Geoffrey FitzPeter, Earl of Essex (d. 1213), (fn. 3) and he gave the manor of WHEATENHURST with his daughter Maud in marriage to Henry de Bohun, Earl of Hereford. (fn. 4) Maud appears to have retained the manor until her death in 1236. It then passed to her son, Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, (fn. 5) whom Ralph de Mortimer was suing for three plough-lands in Wheatenhurst in 1237. (fn. 6) Humphrey conveyed the manor in 1260 to his son Humphrey, (fn. 7) after whose forfeiture for his support of Simon de Montfort it was restored to his father in 1265. (fn. 8) The manor thereafter descended with the earldom of Hereford (fn. 9) until the late 14th century: it was settled on Humphrey de Bohun and his wife Elizabeth in 1302, (fn. 10) and was in the king's hands with other lands of the earl in 1322. (fn. 11) It was reckoned as 1 knight's fee in 1284, but as only ½ knight's fee in 1303 and 1316. (fn. 12) The earls had no under-tenant in Wheatenhurst, which was one of their demesne manors. (fn. 13)
In 1380, following the death of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, in 1373, his daughter and coheir Eleanor (fn. 14) had Wheatenhurst assigned to her; (fn. 15) her husband, Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, had received the keeping of the manor in 1374. (fn. 16) Eleanor and her second daughter Joan both died in 1400, and her third daughter Isabel became a nun in 1402, leaving the whole of Eleanor's inheritance to the eldest daughter Anne, wife of Edmund, Earl of Stafford. (fn. 17) By a change in the division of the de Bohun estates between Anne and Henry V, as son of Eleanor's sister Mary, Wheatenhurst passed to the Crown, and was assigned in 1422 to Henry V's widow. (fn. 18) It had by then already been merged with the estates of the Duchy of Lancaster. (fn. 19) In 1474 Edward IV included the manor among those settled on the queen; (fn. 20) Richard III's undertaking in 1483 to grant Wheatenhurst with the rest of the de Bohun estates to Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, lapsed on the duke's rebellion and execution. (fn. 21)
By 1578 the manorial estate was divided between two lessees. In that year the Crown leased the manor, without the mills, manor-house, and demesne lands of which the ownership is traced below, to Robert Hayes, who assigned his lease to John Bayly. (fn. 22) In 1604 the Crown granted Wheatenhurst manor in fee farm to Peter Vanlore and William Blake, (fn. 23) from whom John Bayly's son William (fn. 24) bought the manor in 1607. William Bayly died in 1626, and his son and heir William (fn. 25) in 1691. The Baylys were presumably descended from John Bayly, a tenant of the manor in 1479, (fn. 26) and William Bayly, churchwarden of Wheatenhurst in 1545. (fn. 27) In 1672 two men called Mr. Bayly were each assessed for tax on six hearths. (fn. 28) Neither, however, lived in the manor-house, and later lords of the manor did not live in the parish. William Bayly of Fretherne, son of the William who died in 1691, (fn. 29) sold Wheatenhurst manor to Sir Samuel Eckley, who by 1711, had been succeeded by his brother (fn. 30) and heir John. Thomas Eckley, son and heir of John, sold the manor in 1723 to Thomas Edwards, whose heirs were his daughters Mary, wife of Francis Willoughby, Lord Middleton, and Sophia, wife of Alexander Ready (later Colston). In 1777 Mary's son Thomas, Lord Middleton, and Sophia Colston sold Wheatenhurst manor to Nathaniel Peach. Peach settled the manor in 1780 on Henry Cruger, who conveyed it in 1781 to Samuel Peach. From Samuel it passed to his grandson, Samuel Peach Cruger, who later changed his surname to Peach. In 1836 Samuel Peach Peach sold the manor, comprising 469 a., to the trustees of the will of Henry Bengough (fn. 31) (d. 1818). Henry's nephew, George Bengough, (fn. 32) was lord of the manor in 1856, the year of his death, and was succeeded by his sons George Henry (d. 1865) and John Charles (d. 1913) in turn. The manor belonged in 1914 to the trustees of John Charles Bengough, whose elder son, John Crosbie Bengough, was killed in 1916 and whose younger son, Capt. Nigel James Bengough, was named as lord of the manor in 1935 (fn. 33) although the family's land in Wheatenhurst, 508 a. in 1881, had been divided and sold in 1927. (fn. 34)
The manor-house, called WHITMINSTER HOUSE, belonged from the 16th century to a separate estate, sometimes called the manor of WHEATENHURST, (fn. 35) which Richard Bird held as lessee in the late 16th century under a Crown grant of 1551 to Thomas Little; (fn. 36) in 1591 Richard Bird had the lease of two mills, the manor-house of Wheatenhurst, and demesne lands amounting to 81 a. (fn. 37) Bird, who was town clerk of Gloucester 1579-94 (fn. 38) and a man of consequence in Wheatenhurst in 1608, (fn. 39) apparently acquired the estate in fee before his death in 1612. (fn. 40) His daughter and heir Sibyl had married Thomas Lloyd, and their son Thomas (d. 1658) was succeeded in turn by his sons Thomas (d. 1668) and George (d. 1703). (fn. 41) George's son George (d. 1712) was succeeded at Wheatenhurst by his younger son John, who with his elder brother Thomas (fn. 42) and other members of the Lloyd family sold the Wheatenhurst estate in 1721 to Nathaniel Cambridge. (fn. 43)
Cambridge died in 1725 or 1726, leaving a young son, the poet Richard Owen Cambridge, after whose death in 1802 (fn. 44) his widow Mary owned Whitminster House. (fn. 45) Their son Charles Owen Cambridge died in 1847 without surviving children or nephews or nieces; he devised the property to George Pickard, his first cousin once removed, who assumed the additional surname of Cambridge. (fn. 46) The Revd. George Pickard-Cambridge offered Whitminster House, with 400 a. in Wheatenhurst and 280 a. in neighbouring parishes, for sale in 1854; (fn. 47) Henry Hooper Wilton had bought the house and c. 400 a. by 1856. (fn. 48) Wilton died in 1881; (fn. 49) his trustees were the owners of most of his estate in 1889 and 1902, but in 1884 the house had been bought by F. B. Teesdale, who became Vicar of Whitminster in that year. He was succeeded in 1919 by his wife Louisa Elizabeth, and she in 1926 by their daughter, Florence Harriet Teesdale (d. 1952), who made over the property in 1938 to her father's great-great-nephew, Mr. J. M. Teesdale. In 1968 Mr. Teesdale lived at Whitminster House and farmed 167 a. partly in Frampton on Severn. (fn. 50)
Whitminster House is a three-story building mainly of stone and partly rough-cast. The lord's court in 1288 stood above the Frome where it ran past Calfhay, (fn. 51) and was therefore on or very near the site of Whitminster House. It was recorded as a chief house with a courtyard in 1336, (fn. 52) and in 1347 Humphrey de Bohun received licence to crenellate the dwelling-place of his manor of Wheatenhurst, (fn. 53) which appears to have been occupied by a tenant by 1397. (fn. 54) Two rooms, with a stone gable-end, were added to the house in 1424, (fn. 55) and the roof of the steward's chamber and wash-room were mended in 1479. (fn. 56) The medieval house may be represented by the south-east corner of the surviving house, which is built of stone on an L-shaped plan; the range running north may mark the medieval hall and that running east the solar block. The range running north was extended apparently by Richard Bird after 1591, (fn. 57) and includes a large stone kitchen chimney with a wide segmental fireplace arch on which the date 1618 has been scratched. The extension was built as three stories; the earlier building was raised to three corresponding stories at a different date, but whether earlier or later is uncertain. The two-story porch on the east side where the extension joins the older building has features of c. 1600, but the whole of it looks as though it has been moved and the upper part blocks one of two mullioned windows also of c. 1600.
It was evidently after 1672, when George Lloyd's house was assessed for tax on 9 hearths, (fn. 58) that the house was extended to the west, providing a south elevation with three gables and a west elevation with five. (fn. 59) That was the handsome house near the church recorded c. 1710. (fn. 60) During his long ownership Richard Owen Cambridge lived at Whitminster House only between 1740 and 1750, and, although he landscaped the grounds and rebuilt the stables and other offices, (fn. 61) some 18th-century windows and the pine panelling in the library are the only certain evidence of his alterations to the house. It was described c. 1775 as a good old house entirely unoccupied for some years. (fn. 62) By 1807 it was a 'dilapidated seat', (fn. 63) said to be so old as to be not worth repair, and was divided between three tenants. (fn. 64) Charles Owen Cambridge, however, had taken up residence there by 1826, (fn. 65) and in 1845 he bought 100 tons of stone with which he may have intended to rebuild the house. (fn. 66) By 1854, before H. H. Wilton bought it, the house had much the same accommodation as in 1968, (fn. 67) though Wilton enlarged the kitchen end; in 1869 he carried out alterations (fn. 68) which are likely to have included remodelling the interior and rebuilding the west-with four gables instead of five-and south elevations, to which further modifications were made in 1964.
The rectory estate originated c. 1095 when Robert de Romilly gave the church with land and tithes to the abbey of Troarn (Calvados). (fn. 69) In 1260 the abbey exchanged its English estates, including Wheatenhurst, for the French estates of Bruton Priory (Som.). (fn. 70) The prior of the dependent cell at Horsley, which was also transferred from Troarn to Bruton, presumably administered the Wheatenhurst estate before 1260 in the same way as he appears to have done from 1276 to c. 1380. (fn. 71) From 1380 Bruton Priory enjoyed all the profits of Wheatenhurst church except for the portion of £8 paid to the vicar. (fn. 72) At the Dissolution the farmer of the rectory was paying a yearly rent of £11 6s. 8d. (fn. 73)
In 1554 the Crown granted the rectory in fee, with the advowson of the vicarage, to Thomas Reeve and George Cotton. (fn. 74) Reeve and Cotton may have been acting as trustees for Henry Clifford of Frampton, who in 1556 claimed an estate in the rectory under a Crown grant of the preceding reign (fn. 75) and held the rectory in fee at his death in 1559. Henry's son and heir James (fn. 76) sold the rectory in 1602 to Jasper Selwyn of Matson (d. 1635), who settled it on his second son, Richard Selwyn (fn. 77) of Wheatenhurst (d. 1666). It then descended from father to son, being held at times by their widows, through Jasper, of Frampton (d. 1690), Jasper, also of Frampton (d. 1733), and Jasper of Cam, evidently a younger son (d. 1777), to Jasper (d. 1787), who was perpetual curate as well as lay rector of Wheatenhurst. (fn. 78) On the death of the widow of the last Jasper in 1802 the rectory passed to Richard Aldridge, (fn. 79) who with Thomas Morse exercised the patronage in 1813. (fn. 80) In 1837, when the tithes were replaced by a rent-charge of £270, the rectory belonged to Mary, (fn. 81) widow of Jasper Selwyn Hawkins, and in 1841 she and other trustees under her husband's will conveyed the rectory and advowson to the trustees of the will of Henry Bengough, (fn. 82) who already owned the manor.
The estate that centred on the house called Parklands apparently derived from a copyhold belonging to Henry and John Sims in 1591. (fn. 83) In 1729 Matthew Hale settled on himself and his wife Bridget a farm-house called Sims and 62 a. in Wheatenhurst, which Bridget Hale sold in 1761 to Richard Martin (d. 1818). His son Richards (fn. 84) c. 1823 built for himself a two-story stone house, west of the farm-house, which was called at first the Cottage (fn. 85) and later Parkfields. He enlarged the estate, but sold it in 1857 to M. C. Trevilian, whose widow Charlotte sold it in 1869, as Parklands, to John Grey (d. 1888). Grey's son J. C. Grey sold the estate in 1898 to W. G. Robinson (d. 1934), who devised it to J. S. Best (d. 1940). Best's widow Anne sold the farm-house and most of the land in 1943 to the farmer, Robert Pockett, (fn. 86) who continued to farm the land in 1968. The house was sold in 1946 to Mrs. D. K. Davies, who opened it in 1947 as a private nursing home. The nursing home closed in 1948, (fn. 87) and the house then became a reception centre under the Gloucestershire County Council's children's department, (fn. 88) as it remained in 1968.
In 1622 John Swanley and his mother Isabel Holstead sold a house and c. 25 a. at Framilode in Wheatenhurst to Toby Cowles, who died in 1630 having devised the estate to his youngest son John. (fn. 89) The estate was evidently Lea Court farm in the north-west corner of Wheatenhurst to which another John Cowles, son of John and perhaps grandson of John son of Toby, had succeeded by 1714. He was a shipwright, and in or before 1743 was succeeded by his son John, a cordwainer. Another John Cowles, perhaps a grandson of the cordwainer, had been succeeded by 1865 by his wife Anne, on whose death in 1870, (fn. 90) when the house was occupied by J. E. Jones, architect and surveyor, (fn. 91) her daughter Anne Curtis Brewer sold the estate to Daniel Pockett. Daniel's son John Daniel (d. 1924) was followed by his son John Daniel (d. 1933), whose widow Anne died in 1960 leaving the house and 85 a. in the possession of their daughter Ena, wife of G. A. Bearman. (fn. 92) The house is a timber-framed building faced in brick before the mid 18th century, built on a T-shaped plan. The cross-wing has a central chimney, to one side of which is a cellar rising well above ground-level with a room over it; the other side may have formed an open hall. The back wing is an addition of the 17th century.