Blaisdon: 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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'Blaisdon: Economic history', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 10, Westbury and Whitstone Hundreds, (London, 1972) pp. 8-9. British History Online [accessed 13 April 2024]


Very little early evidence about husbandry at Blaisdon has been found. In 1220 4 plough-teams were recorded there. (fn. 1) In 1301 Ralph of Abenhall's moiety of the manor included a carucate (containing 60 a. of arable), 2 a. of meadow, and 58s. 1½ d. rent; (fn. 2) in 1348, however, the two divisions of the Abenhall family's estate were said to include 2 carucates, with 5 a. of meadow, 60 a. of wood, and £6 6s. rent. (fn. 3) An undated 17thcentury rental of the Ayleways' estate enumerated 8 freeholds, 14 leaseholds, 4 copyholds, and one tenement held at will; the freeholders were said to owe heriots, and some of the leaseholders and copyholders owed rents of hens or capons. (fn. 4) In 1656 Samuel Sheppard leased a tenement for 99 years or two lives with heriot payable. (fn. 5)

Three open fields were recorded in the parish in 1572: Wall field, Nether field adjoining Beech brook, and Down field (fn. 6) lying south of Nottswood Hill. (fn. 7) Pan field was mentioned in 1654 and still contained some uninclosed land in 1811. (fn. 8) In 1839 a few acres of uninclosed arable remained in Down field, Stoney Dole field - which lay between the village and Beech brook and was presumably the former Nether field - Stanley Hill north-west of Stanley, and Neach field in what was later to become the park of Blaisdon Hall. (fn. 9)

The parish was said to consist mostly of pasture and woodland in the early 18th century, (fn. 10) but at the end of the century, of arable, pasture, and wood in equal parts; (fn. 11) in 1839 there were 240 a. of arable, 360 a. of pasture, and 276 a. of wood. (fn. 12) In 1801 wheat was the main crop, being grown with smaller acreages of oats, barley, beans, peas, potatoes, and turnips. (fn. 13) The main farms in 1839 were Velthouse and Spout farms held together with 230 a., Stanley farm with 102 a., and Brickhouse farm with 76 a. (fn. 14) Six farms were recorded in 1856 (fn. 15) and three farms and a market garden in 1939. (fn. 16) In 1969 there were three farms based in the parish and a number of small-holdings which were worked on a part-time basis. The land was mainly used to support dairy cows, but some sheep were kept on Nottswood Hill and the Salesians kept a flock in the park at Blaisdon Hall. Newhouse farm (later called Stud farm) was used by Peter Stubs for breeding shire horses, and the stud, which produced a number of champion horses notably 'Blaisdon Conqueror', was carried on until the 1920s by Colin MacIver. (fn. 17) Cider-making was recorded at Blaisdon from the late 16th century; (fn. 18) in the late 18th century the parish was said to contain many fruitful orchards (fn. 19) and there were several commercial fruit-growers in 1969. The parish has given its name to a plum, the Blaisdon Red, which was developed by John Dowding of Tanhouse Farm (d. 1896). (fn. 20)

The water-mill recorded on the Abenhall's estate in the early 14th century (fn. 21) was perhaps at Blaisdon Mill on the Longhope brook at the south end of the village; there was certainly a mill there by 1652. (fn. 22) Blaisdon Mill, which was owned by the Gordons in the earlier 19th century, was driving two pairs of stones in 1864. (fn. 23) It apparently ceased working in the late 1880s. (fn. 24) The stone mill building, distinguished by its weather-boarded hatch, survived in 1969 adjoining the miller's brick house.

The only non-agricultural workers recorded in the parish in 1608 were a shoemaker, a butcher, and a sailor. (fn. 25) There was a smithy in the village in 1699 (fn. 26) and the village had a blacksmith during the 19th century and until the 1930s. (fn. 27) In 1879 the smithy was at the road junction at the north end of the village, (fn. 28) but later it was at a cottage on the east side of the main street. (fn. 29) There were two carpenters at Blaisdon c. 1818 (fn. 30) and the parish had one until the early 20th century. (fn. 31) A cooper was recorded in 1856 (fn. 32) and a wheelwright in 1863. (fn. 33) A woodcutter was mentioned in 1833 (fn. 34) and in 1849 a timber-dealer lived at the Mount in Nottswood. (fn. 35) Several shoemakers were working in the parish in the early 19th century. (fn. 36) A tannery recorded there in 1787 (fn. 37) was presumably at Tanhouse Farm which was known by that name by 1811. (fn. 38) Masons lived in the parish in 1827 and 1840. There were two butchers in 1818 and a shopkeeper in 1824. (fn. 39) In 1831 20 families were supported by agriculture and 5 by trade. (fn. 40) In 1969 most people worked in Gloucester. (fn. 41)


  • 1. Bk. of Fees, i. 306.
  • 2. Cal. Inq. p.m. iv, p. 13.
  • 3. C.P. 25(1)/77/67/292.
  • 4. Glos. R.O., D 333/M 1.
  • 5. Glos. Colln. deeds 48.4.
  • 6. G.D.R. Blaisdon terrier.
  • 7. G.D.R. Blaisdon tithe award.
  • 8. Glos. Colln. deeds 48.3; Glos. R.O., D 1332/T 1.
  • 9. G.D.R. Blaisdon tithe award.
  • 10. Atkyns, Glos. 289.
  • 11. Bigland, Glos. i. 209; Rudge, Hist. of Glos. ii. 64.
  • 12. G.D.R. Blaisdon tithe award.
  • 13. Acreage Returns, 1801.
  • 14. G.D.R. Blaisdon tithe award.
  • 15. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856), 231.
  • 16. Ibid. (1939), 48.
  • 17. Ex inf. Mr. W. H. Townley, of Westbury-on-Severn.
  • 18. Hockaday Abs. cxxvi, 1587.
  • 19. Bigland, Glos. i. 209.
  • 20. Ex inf. the rector; tombstone in Blaisdon churchyard; cf. H. V. Taylor, The Plums of England (1949), 104-5.
  • 21. Cal. Inq. p.m. iv, p. 13; C.P. 25(1)/77/67/292.
  • 22. Glos. Colln. deeds 48.1.
  • 23. G.D.R. Blaisdon tithe award; Glos. R.O., D 1348, Gordon fam., sale partics.
  • 24. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1885 and later edns.).
  • 25. Smith, Men and Armour, 49-50.
  • 26. Board in Blaisdon church tower.
  • 27. G.D.R. Blaisdon bps. transcr. 1824; Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856 and later edns.).
  • 28. O.S. Map 1/2,500, Glos. XXII. 1 (1880 edn.)
  • 29. Ex inf. Mr. Etherington.
  • 30. G.D.R. Blaisdon bps. transcr. 1817-18.
  • 31. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856 and later edns.).
  • 32. Ibid. (1856), 231.
  • 33. Ibid. (1863), 209.
  • 34. G.D.R. Blaisdon bps. transcr.
  • 35. Glos. R.O., D 1348, Gordon fam., lease.
  • 36. G.D.R. Blaisdon bps. transcr. 1814-29.
  • 37. Glouc. Jnl. 23 July 1787.
  • 38. Glos. R.O., D 192/5.
  • 39. G.D.R. Blaisdon bps. transcr.
  • 40. Census, 1831.
  • 41. Ex inf. the rector.