Woodchester: Local government

Page 301

A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

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The lord of the manor had right of gallows, pillory, and tumbril in the late 13th century (fn. 1) and in the early 15th century received the profits of view of frankpledge, which was held in the manor court by Cirencester Abbey's bailiffs. (fn. 2) View of frankpledge was claimed by the lord of the manor in the early 17th century when he also exercised the assize of bread and ale. The inhabitants of the manor were presented in 1601 for not having a pillory or a tumbril. (fn. 3) The lord's right to gallows was possibly recalled by the Hanging Acre recorded in 1757. (fn. 4) Deodands were claimed by the lord of the manor in 1659 when a mill-wheel was surrendered. In the mid 17th century the manor court tried to reduce the cost of poor-relief by imposing fines on those who introduced chargeable strangers to the parish. (fn. 5)

Two churchwardens have been recorded from the 15th century (fn. 6) and accounts exist from 1730. (fn. 7) A parish house was recorded in 1735. Some overseers' accounts survive among the churchwardens' records, and expenditure on poor-relief in 1735 amounted to £58. (fn. 8) In 1763 the overseers purchased five almshouses for the parish (fn. 9) and in 1776 £103 was spent on relief. The cost rose to an average annual sum of £181 c. 1784 and to £232 in 1803. In 1813 £375 was spent on relief for 74 persons, 41 of whom were in regular receipt of help. Despite a rise in the numbers on relief the cost fell during the following years (fn. 10) and in 1825 amounted to £217. From that date expenditure rose steadily to a peak of £402 in 1832 and declined again to £335 in 1834. (fn. 11) In 1836 Woodchester became part of Stroud poor-law union, (fn. 12) and in 1972 was part of Stroud rural district.


  • 1. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 254.
  • 2. Cirencester Cart. ii, p. 624.
  • 3. Glos. R.O., D 340A/M 26; ct. rolls survive for several years between 1496 and 1565, and for 1601 and 1626-31: Glos. R.O., D 340A/M 23, M 26; D 445/M 2.
  • 4. Ibid. D 677/T 2.
  • 5. Ibid. D 340A/M 26.
  • 6. Hockaday Abs. xxii, 1498 visit. f. 28.
  • 7. Glos. R.O., P 375/CW 2/1-2.
  • 8. Ibid. 1.
  • 9. Little, Woodchester, 35, quoting doc. lost during Second World War: B. & G. Par. Recs. 297 n.
  • 10. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 180-1; 1818, 154-5.
  • 11. Poor Law Returns (1830-1), p. 70; (1835), p. 68.
  • 12. Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. p. 523.