Winstone: Economic history

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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'Winstone: Economic history', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976) pp. 148-149. British History Online [accessed 15 April 2024]

In this section


There were three ploughs on the demesne of Winstone in 1086 and eight servi were employed. (fn. 1) The amount under plough at that time corresponds approximately to the 347 a. claimed as tithe-free in 1807, (fn. 2) presumably by virtue of a grant of the demesne tithes made to Gloucester Abbey before 1102. (fn. 3) By 1337 the demesne land had diminished to one plough-land with 20 a. of wood, 5 a. of meadow, and 2 a. of pasture, (fn. 4) and remained as such throughout the 14th century. (fn. 5) During the tenure of the Crown the demesne farm was leased at an annual rent of £3. (fn. 6)

Among the tenants of the estate in 1086 were 10 villani, 4 bordars, and a Frenchman, who between them worked 8 ploughs. (fn. 7) No further evidence of tenurial history has been found prior to 1536 when the rents of the customary tenants were worth 53s. 3d. and those of the free tenants 44s. 10d. (fn. 8) There were 5 freehold tenants at Winstone c. 1710, (fn. 9) and in 1782 there were 13 people, including the rector and the lord of the manor, owning land in the common fields of the parish. (fn. 10) After the mid 18th century much of the copyhold land was converted to leasehold on which heriots were payable; widows continued to enjoy freebench on lands held by copy (fn. 11) but copyhold tenure seems to have lapsed by 1782. (fn. 12) Of the 25 landowners recorded in 1842 14 were cottagers and 3 others had holdings of less than 10 a. (fn. 13)

There were two open fields and two commons at Winstone. Park field, south-west of the village on both sides of the Duntisbourne road, comprised c. 312 a. in 1782 and Foss field, to the north and east of the village covered c. 264 a. (fn. 14) Most of the land in the common fields in the 16th and 17th centuries seems to have been held in ridges of under 1 a., (fn. 15) but the exchange of ridges allowed for the consolidation of holdings (fn. 16) and some new inclosures were noted in the mid 18th century. (fn. 17) The fields were inclosed by Act of Parliament in 1782 together with the commons, Mill common in the southern part of the Frome valley near Bullbanks, and Foss common which covered much of the ground east of Ermin Street. (fn. 18) Sheep and beast pasture was granted in the fallow field and commons to holders of land in the open fields and in 1750 a ½ yardlander held 60 sheep-pastures, 2 beast-, and 2 horse-pastures. (fn. 19) At inclosure Mill common, which contained some marshland and some woodland, comprised c. 106 a. and Foss common, the better pasture land, amounted to c. 82 a.

Although some small areas of land had been inclosed at an earlier date, the award of 1782 dealt with the inclosure of 763 a. in the fields and commons mentioned above. Thirteen people were awarded allotments: six of them received less than 25 a., five received between c. 40 a. and 85 a., and the two largest allotments went to William Haviland, who received 158 a., and the lord of the manor, who received 222 a. Four members of the Haviland family received allotments amounting to 318 a. in all. (fn. 20)

The parish was mostly arable in the early 18th century, (fn. 21) and remained so in 1842, when 1,050 a. of arable and 220 a. of meadow and pasture were recorded, (fn. 22) despite the exposed nature of the place which retarded the crops and vegetation. (fn. 23) By 1901 the amount of arable had diminished to 826½ a. (fn. 24) In 1842 there were ten farms, including the glebe farm, in the parish: two farms were under 32 a., four were 50 a.-80 a., one farm was 131 a. and another 172 a., and there were two on the manorial estate of c. 360 a. each. All were primarily arable except for the farm of 68 a. occupied by William Blackwell at Winstone wood. (fn. 25) Blackwell held other woodland in Miserden (fn. 26) and was probably mainly interested in exploiting the wood on his holding, with the pasture as a secondary interest. For most of the late 19th century the number of farms stood at three, (fn. 27) forming the manorial estate; in 1894 Winstone farm amounted to 357 a., Townsend farm had 330 a., and Gaskill's farm 174 a. (fn. 28) In the mid 20th century almost all the land of the parish was farmed by the Miserden Park estate which had increased the amount of permanent pasture. (fn. 29)

There was a mill recorded at Winstone in 1086; (fn. 30) it was presumably on the river Frome but no later record has been found. Mill common perhaps recalls the mill but could equally refer to the near-by Miserden mill, as could a reference to the old mill near Combe hill in 1584. (fn. 31) A windmill was recorded north-east of the village in 1584. (fn. 32)

Agricultural requirements have dominated the employment pattern of the parish; all the inhabitants in 1381 (fn. 33) and in 1608 (fn. 34) were employed in agriculture. Later in the 17th century a tinker was recorded at Winstone (fn. 35) and in the 18th century the services of the farming community were provided by a carpenter, a maltster, (fn. 36) and a blacksmith. (fn. 37) Carpenters were recorded in the parish from 1856 to 1910, blacksmiths from 1863 to 1939, and shopkeepers and bakers at various times during the period. (fn. 38) Among the tradesmen with perhaps a wider market than the parish were a charcoal-burner, recorded in 1303 (fn. 39) and recalled by the name Collier's hedge; (fn. 40) a tailor, resident from 1856 to 1879; shoemakers, recorded until 1906; and haulage contractors who established themselves at Winstone in the 1930s. In 1935 a racehorse trainer was recorded at Winstone. (fn. 41) The building development after the war brought an influx of people who worked outside the parish, primarily in Cirencester. (fn. 42)

Local Government.

No medieval court rolls survive for the manor of Winstone but the profits of the court were mentioned in 1382. (fn. 43) There is a court roll of 1547 (fn. 44) and a court book for the period 1761- 1840. View of frankpledge was claimed in the 18th century (fn. 45) but Winstone had attended the view for the hundred in the mid 16th century; (fn. 46) the 18thcentury courts dealt mainly with the election of officers and estate matters. The court elected a constable, and from 1768 a constable and a tithingman, variously referred to as the tithingman for Winstone or for Miserden, which was under the same ownership; the constable elected in 1776 was also referred to as the constable for Miserden but there is no evidence of any matters relating to Miserden being dealt with by the court. The office of tithingman later lapsed but was revived in 1807, and from 1812 the court also elected a hayward. (fn. 47)

The parish had two churchwardens from the 16th century. (fn. 48) No early records of parochial government have been found. In 1776 £24 was spent on poorrelief but the sum had increased to £45 by 1803 when 6 people were on permanent relief and 12 on occasional relief. The expenditure rose to £101 in 1814 when 19 people were on permanent and 5 on occasional relief but dropped to £53 the following year, (fn. 49) and the average expenditure between 1825 and 1834 was £41. (fn. 50) In 1836 Winstone became part of the Cirencester union (fn. 51) and in 1971 remained in the Cirencester rural district.


  • 1. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 169v.
  • 2. G.D.R., V5/344T 7.
  • 3. Reg. Regum Anglo-Norm. ii, App., no. xv.
  • 4. Cal. Pat. 1334-8, 348.
  • 5. Inq.p.m. Glos. 1359-1413, 118.
  • 6. S.C. 6/850/31 rot. 4; S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/6664 rot. 9d.
  • 7. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 169v.
  • 8. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/6664 rot. 9d.
  • 9. Atkyns, Glos. 841.
  • 10. Glos. R.O., Q/RI 160.
  • 11. Ibid. D 1042, Winstone ct. bk., ct. 1761.
  • 12. Cf. ibid. Q/RI 160.
  • 13. G.D.R., T1/199.
  • 14. Glos. R.O., Q/RI 160.
  • 15. G.D.R., V5/344T 1-2, 6.
  • 16. Ibid. 4a-e.
  • 17. Glos. R.O., D 1042, Winstone ct. bk., ct. 1761.
  • 18. Ibid. Q/RI 160.
  • 19. Ibid. D 1042, Winstone ct. bk., ct. 1761.
  • 20. Ibid. Q/RI 160.
  • 21. Atkyns, Glos. 841.
  • 22. G.D.R., T1/199.
  • 23. Rudder, Glos. 832.
  • 24. Acreage Returns, 1901.
  • 25. G.D.R., T1/199.
  • 26. Ibid. 122.
  • 27. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856 and later edns.).
  • 28. Glos. R.O., D 1388, Miserden est. rentals.
  • 29. Ex inf. W/Cdr. H. M. Sinclair, of Miserden Park.
  • 30. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 169v.
  • 31. G.D.R., V5/344T 1.
  • 32. G.D.R., V5/344T 1.
  • 33. E 179/113/35A rot. 5A.
  • 34. Smith, Men and Armour, 297.
  • 35. Glos. Par. Reg. xvi. 132.
  • 36. Bigland, Glos. iii, no. 304.
  • 37. G.D.R. wills 1722/147.
  • 38. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856 and later edns.).
  • 39. Cat. Anct. D. iii, A 5904.
  • 40. Glos. R.O., Winstone ct. bk., ct. 1761.
  • 41. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856 and later edns.).
  • 42. Ex inf. the rector.
  • 43. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1359-1413, 118.
  • 44. S.C. 2/175/22 rot. 2.
  • 45. Glos. R.O., D 1042, Winstone ct. bk.
  • 46. S.C. 2/175/11 rot. 2 and d.
  • 47. Glos. R.O., D 1042, Winstone ct. bk.
  • 48. Hockaday Abs. ccccix.
  • 49. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 170-1; 1818, 144-5.
  • 50. Poor Law Returns (1830-1), p. 66; (1835), p. 64.
  • 51. Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. p. 522.