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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Architectural evidence shows that there was a church at Winstone by the mid 11th century, (fn. 1) and in 1101 or 1102 Henry I confirmed an earlier grant by Hugh de Lacy of the demesne tithes of Winstone to Gloucester Abbey. (fn. 2) The living was first recorded as a rectory in 1304 (fn. 3) and has remained one; it was united with Miserden in 1928 (fn. 4) but that union was dissolved in 1949 when Winstone was joined to the united benefice of Elkstone and Syde. (fn. 5)
The first recorded presentation to the living was made by Henry of Pembridge in 1298 (fn. 6) and the advowson followed the descent of the manor until 1949 when, at the reorganisation of the livings, it was exchanged by Mrs. H. M. Sinclair for Edgeworth, whose former owners, the Diocesan Board of Patronage, (fn. 7) shared the right of appointment to the united benefice with Mrs. G. M. Price in 1971. (fn. 8) In 1352 the bishop of Worcester held an inquiry into the ownership of the advowson (fn. 9) and in 1619 or 1620 there was a disputed presentation between Thomas Hungerford, the lord of the manor, and Nicholas Young, who, with Alice Haviland, was successful in claiming the right for that turn. (fn. 10)
The rectory was worth £4 13s. 4d. in 1291 (fn. 11) and £7 0s. 8½d. in 1535. (fn. 12) In 1650 the value was reckoned to be £40 and the living was thought suitable for union with Syde rectory. (fn. 13) In 1750 the living was worth £60 (fn. 14) but, helped by a grant of £200 from Queen Anne's Bounty in 1792, (fn. 15) the value had increased to £250 by 1856. (fn. 16)
The demesne tithes of Winstone granted by Hugh de Lacy to Gloucester Abbey (fn. 17) were transferred by the abbey to one of its cells, St. Guthlac's Priory (Herefs.), whose portion was assessed as 13s. 4d. in 1291. (fn. 18) The portion had declined to 10s. by 1535, (fn. 19) and after the dissolution of the monastery was granted for 60 years to John Price. (fn. 20) By 1622 it had passed into the hands of the lords of the manor (fn. 21) who from that time claimed their demesne as tithe-free land, paying 10s. in lieu to the rector. (fn. 22) In 1842 the tithe-free land extended to 347 a. (fn. 23) By 1705 the tithes of sheep, lambs, and cows had been commuted for money payments but tithes of hay and corn, eggs, calves, and pigs were still payable in kind; there was also a tithe of 1d. per garden. (fn. 24) In 1807 it was claimed that a wood, the Scrubs, was tithable. (fn. 25) The tithes were commuted for a corn rent-charge of £190 in 1842. (fn. 26)
In 1584 the glebe land extended to 92 a. almost entirely in the open fields; the rector also had 120 sheep-pastures in the fallow field, and in 1705 four cow-pastures were also claimed. (fn. 27) In 1692 the rector exchanged some land with the lord of the manor (fn. 28) and in 1782 he was allotted 66 a. by the inclosure commissioners. (fn. 29) The glebe land amounted to 80 a. in 1842 (fn. 30) as in 1906. (fn. 31) The 2 a. of land which maintained a lamp in the church until 1547 (fn. 32) possibly passed into the glebe, for the rector was the lessee of the land when it was sold by the Crown in 1549. (fn. 33)
The rectory, to the north of Croft Farm, is of rubble with a Cotswold stone-slated roof; in 1807 it was said to have been small but recently enlarged by the addition of a wing and a brewhouse (fn. 34) but in 1819 it was described as 'a mere cottage and in a dilapidated state'. (fn. 35) The house was largely rebuilt and a porch added c. 1825. After the union of the benefices in 1928 it became a private residence. (fn. 36)
Two of the rectors of Winstone in the 14th century were men from neighbouring parishes: William of Syde was rector at Winstone three years before taking full priest's orders in 1304, (fn. 37) and Thomas Stephens of Edgeworth was granted leave of absence to study in 1343. (fn. 38) Hugh Sumner, rector by 1532, (fn. 39) was found satisfactory in learning in 1551. (fn. 40) John Haviland, rector 1574-1619, of the family later prominent in the parish, (fn. 41) was conscientious (fn. 42) but neither a graduate nor a preacher. (fn. 43) He was succeeded by Francis Webb, rector 1620-48, (fn. 44) a graduate, (fn. 45) who later married one of Haviland's daughters. (fn. 46) Webb's successor, William Elbridge, remained undisturbed by the Interregnum and Restoration. (fn. 47) John Longdon was appointed rector in 1742 and remained for 66 years until 1808 but he had the assistance of curates from at least 1791. His successor, William Flamanke, suffered from epilepsy and was absent from Winstone for much of his tenure. Henry Charles Morgan was rector from 1819 but from 1820 was absent at his other benefice of Brinsop (Herefs.), Winstone being served by a curate. (fn. 48) In 1830 Sir Edwin Windsor Bayntun Sandys, son of the lord of the manor, was appointed rector, (fn. 49) but in 1831-2 and 1836 the fruits of the living were sequestered because of his indebtedness; he was succeeded in 1839 by Frederick Hohler who had served as curate since 1835. (fn. 50)
The church, dedicated to ST. BARTHOLOMEW, (fn. 51) is built of limestone rubble with a stoneslated roof and comprises chancel with north vestry, nave with south porch, and west tower. The nave dates from the later 11th century and retains its north and south doorways and chancel arch. (fn. 52) The present chancel probably conforms to the original plan but its windows, like those of the nave, date from the 13th and 14th centuries. The tower may also be of early medieval date, and the south porch was added in the 14th century. A rood stair and screen were inserted in the late 15th century, and a side altar was placed in the south of the nave. Repairs and alterations during the 16th century included reroofing and the insertion of a four-light window in the south wall of the nave, probably in 1572. (fn. 53) The church was restored in 1876 by Waller & Son when the chancel was largely rebuilt, the walls of the nave scraped and repointed, a vestry added, the entrance between the tower and nave blocked, and the church refurnished. (fn. 54)
A medieval square aumbry is inserted in the north wall of the chancel, and the font, an octagonal bowl decorated with quatrefoils resting on an octagonal base, is of the 15th century. (fn. 55) There are three bells, two of which are medieval, one being decorated with royal heads, and the other cast by Thomas Rudhall in 1771. (fn. 56) The plate includes an Elizabethan chalice and paten cover, a pewter paten, and a 19thcentury chalice and paten both bought with the surplus from the fund for the restoration of the church. (fn. 57) In the church tower is a 17th-century monument to John Haviland, printer of London (d. 1638), a considerable benefactor to his relations in the parish. (fn. 58) In the churchyard is the base and shaft of a medieval cross, possibly of the 14th century, and there are some table tombs and carved headstones of the 18th century. The registers for Winstone begin in 1540 and are continuous. (fn. 59)