Avening: Manors and other estates

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Avening: Manors and other estates', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976) pp. 157-160. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol11/pp157-160 [accessed 24 April 2024]


An estate at Avening formerly belonging to the Saxon thegn Brictric was held by the Crown in 1086, (fn. 1) and by 1135 had been granted to the convent of Holy Trinity at Caen in Normandy (fn. 2) which also held Minchinhampton. The manor of AVENING descended with Minchinhampton until 1813 (fn. 3) when Philip Sheppard sold it to William Playne of Longfords, (fn. 4) whose estates in Avening amounted to over 1,000 a. in 1838. (fn. 5) William (d. 1850) was succeeded by his son, also William (d. 1884), whose heir was his granddaughter Mary Viner Playne. Later in 1884 Mary married Robert Erskine Pollock (fn. 6) who subsequently owned the estate. (fn. 7) Robert died in 1914 and was succeeded by his son Martin Viner Pollock who was killed in action in 1915. Martin's heir was a cousin, Capt. Hamilton Rivers Pollock, who sold his estate at Avening c. 1920 (fn. 8) when the manor-house, manorial rights, and some land were apparently purchased by Edith, the wife of Col. Francis Lewis. (fn. 9) By 1927 the manor was in the possession of F. C. Minoprio who offered the house and 127 a., together with Peaches farm in Minchinhampton, for sale in 1929. (fn. 10) Minoprio was lord of the manor in 1935 (fn. 11) but the estate, comprising c. 100 a., was later bought by Mr. F. Trimnell (d. 1972) whose widow sold the property to Mrs. M. Glass later that year. (fn. 12)

Tetbury Area c. 1974

In 1784 a deed of partition among the four daughters and coheirs of Samuel Sheppard (d. 1770) settled c. 200 a. and the manor-house of Avening on Jane and her husband Francis Boughton subject to the life-interest of her mother, Jane Sheppard. The elder Jane later acquired an unrestricted title to the estate and sold it in 1798 to Richard Browne, M.D. (fn. 13) (d. by 1809), whose devisees sold the estate to Theodore Gwinnett in 1809. Later that year Gwinnett conveyed the estate to Edward (d. 1816) and Thomas Davies. Thomas was imprisoned for debt in 1817, and in 1819 he and his mortgagees sold the estate to William Playne, thereby uniting it with the main portion of the manorial estate. (fn. 14)

The oldest part of the manor-house, Avening Court, is a long range with rooms on two floors and may have been the residence of Henry Bridges (d. 1615), (fn. 15) a privateer. (fn. 16) In the late 17th century, perhaps during the occupancy of Samuel Sheppard (d. 1724) before he succeeded to the manor, (fn. 17) a gabled addition was made at the east end of the house. Early in the 19th century the building was enlarged to the south and west, and c. 1906 an additional block in Jacobean style was added to the west and a billiard room was created. (fn. 18) At that date a new staircase was put in and a number of architectural fittings, including panelling and fire-places of the 16th and 17th centuries, were brought into the house. Additions, including a terraced stair to the south, were also made to the gardens at that date when the old stable block, dating from the early 19th century, was extended round a courtyard. A gabled dower-house, dated 1704, stands in the grounds.

The manor of LOWESMORE (fn. 19) or Lowsmoor, comprising the detached part of the parish, descended with the manor of Avening until sold by Lord Windsor in 1651 to John Driver, (fn. 20) a member of a family who were tenants at Aston from the 15th century. (fn. 21) John (d. 1681) was succeeded by his son, also John (d. 1687), whose heir was his brother Nathaniel (d. 1695). (fn. 22) The estate passed from Nathaniel to his son John (d. 1725), whose brother Charles succeeded and sold the estate to John Beresford in 1740. John died without issue in 1742, having devised the estate to his half-brother Richard Beresford, who, following a Chancery suit brought by John's creditors, sold the estate in 1754 to Matthew Sloper. (fn. 23) Sloper was succeeded by his son George, from whom the estate descended to Henry Hall Sloper (fn. 24) (d. by 1832). The estate was put up for sale in 1832 (fn. 25) and in 1838 belonged to Joseph Hort, (fn. 26) who was perhaps acting as trustee for Harriett and Mary Lowsley of Aston Farm. (fn. 27) In 1858 the estate was owned jointly by Harriett Lowsley and the Revd. George Williams, and it descended with Aston Farm (fn. 28) until c. 1919. (fn. 29) In 1972 the estate was owned by Lowsmoor Farm Ltd. (fn. 30) The small twostorey farm-house dates from the 18th century but has later additions at the east end.

An extensive farm called ASTON FARM or Aston House farm, of which the chief house was long the home of the Driver family, descended with Lowesmore until 1754 when Matthew Sloper sold it, comprising 987 a, in Avening and Minchinhampton, to Edmund Estcourt. It then passed with Estcourt manor in Shipton Moyne until 1790 when trustees were appointed for the sale of part of Thomas Estcourt's property, including Aston farm. (fn. 31) It was apparently conveyed to Joseph Lowsley before 1796. (fn. 32) Joseph (d. 1810) left his estate to his son John for life with reversion to his heirs male, but John barred the entail and at his death in 1822 was succeeded by his daughters Mary and Harriett as tenants in common. (fn. 33) Mary married the Revd. George Williams and at her death in 1871 left her property to her husband. George died in 1874 leaving his property to his grandson George Williams Lowsley Hoole who inherited the other moiety of the estate from his great-aunt Harriett (d. 1880). (fn. 34) George took the additional surnames LowsleyWilliams in 1891 (fn. 35) and his estates at Aston and Lowsmore were sold in 1919. The estate at Aston was requisitioned by the Air Ministry at the beginning of the Second World War, and in 1942 was sold to Mr. H. J. V. Davis who farmed 700 a. in 1972. (fn. 36) The extensive farm buildings date from the 17th century, but the farm-house was rebuilt in the Cotswold gabled style in the mid 19th century and probably incorporates an earlier house at its northeast corner.

An estate in Avening based on SANDFORD HOUSE was possibly owned by a Mr. Sandford c. 1710. (fn. 37) The estate, comprising c. 160 a. was sold by William Sandford of Stonehouse to his brother Thomas Sandford of London in 1731. Thomas (d. by 1753) devised his lands to be sold, (fn. 38) and the estate was later owned, possibly from 1796, (fn. 39) by William Smith (d. 1823). He was succeeded by George Smith of Cirencester (d. 1836) (fn. 40) and the estate, comprising Linton farm and New Barn farm, was owned by Louisa Smith, possibly George's widow, in 1838. (fn. 41) The estate apparently passed in succession to three sons of George Smith by an earlier marriage, Edmund Adams Smith (d. 1877), William (d. 1880), and Thomas who was in possession when the estate was advertised for sale in 1886. (fn. 42) The house and 30 a. of land were advertised for sale by the owner G. Fowles in 1922. (fn. 43) The house, in the village, dates from the late 17th century but was greatly enlarged to the east during the 19th century and much remodelled in the earlier 20th.

An estate, possibly alienated from the manor earlier in the 18th century, (fn. 44) was owned in 1781 by Thomas Clutterbuck (fn. 45) (d. 1805). (fn. 46) The estate, based on AVENING LODGE, also called Avening Park, passed from Thomas to his son Daniel of Bradford Leigh (Wilts.) who conveyed it to trustees for his brother Edmund of Holcombe in 1806. Edmund, who enlarged the estate, (fn. 47) died without issue in 1839 when the property appears to have passed to a nephew, Thomas Clutterbuck (d. 1852) of Hardenhuish Park (Wilts.), who was succeeded by his second son Daniel Hugh, (fn. 48) the owner in 1858. (fn. 49) The estate, which comprised 267 a. in 1857, (fn. 50) was later owned by Robert Calcutt (d. 1908), and in 1972 the house and some land were owned by Col. Stuart Carter. (fn. 51) The small house dating from the late 17th or early 18th century was enlarged by the addition of a kitchen wing to the south and east in the 18th century. In the earlier 19th century the main east front was lengthened to the north and given a new central front door with classical porch and near symmetrical elevation. At that date more rooms were added to the west of the main range and much of the interior remodelled. A new staircase was put in c. 1900, and later in the 20th century much of the kitchen wing was demolished.

An estate of 64 a. at the south-east corner of the parish was alienated from the manor in 1651 to William Adams, the former copyhold tenant. The estate, later known as SUMMERWELLS, passed from William to his son Nathaniel who sold it to Thomas Croome of Beverstone in 1710. Croome augmented the estate by purchase and in 1741 devised it to his wife Elizabeth for life with remainders to the sons of his sister Rebecca Banbury. Elizabeth remarried and in 1744 sold her interest to Rebecca, who with her son James conveyed the estate in 1754 to Joseph Wickes of Tetbury. Wickes settled it on the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth to Richard Collibee Banbury, who with the other heirs of Thomas Croome conveyed it to Nathaniel Cripps in 1764. (fn. 52) It then descended with Upton House, Tetbury, until 1819 when William Playne bought it, (fn. 53) thus reuniting it to the manorial estate. A small 19th-century farm-house stood at Summerwells in 1972.


  • 1. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 163v.
  • 2. Cal. Doc. France, ed. Round, p. 143.
  • 3. See p. 190.
  • 4. Glos. R.O., D 131/T 11.
  • 5. Ibid. P 29A/SD 2/1.
  • 6. Burke, Land. Gent. (1898), 1188; Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856-85 edns.).
  • 7. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1914), 33.
  • 8. Burke, Land. Gent. (1937), 1826; cf. Glos. R.O., D 2299/2076, 2394.
  • 9. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1923), 33; Who Was Who, 1916-28, 627.
  • 10. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1927), 34; Glos. R.O., D 2299/3671.
  • 11. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1935), 31.
  • 12. Ex inf. Mr. M. Knight, of Avening.
  • 13. Glos. R.O., D 131/T 13; Visit. Glos. 1682-3, 168.
  • 14. Glos. R.O., D 131/T 12; Glouc. Jnl. 19 Feb. 1816.
  • 15. Mon. in ch.
  • 16. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1611-18, 15.
  • 17. Glos. R.O., D 131/T 14; Atkyns, Glos. 234, where it is suggested that some land at Avening had been settled on Sam. before his father's death.
  • 18. Glos. R.O., D 2299/2076.
  • 19. S.C. 6/856/26 and later medieval rolls treat it as a separate manor but its status was in doubt in the 18th century: Bigland, Glos. i. 92.
  • 20. Glos. R.O., D 1198/1.
  • 21. S.C. 11/242; Smith, Men and Armour, 281; Rudder, Glos. 245.
  • 22. Visit. Glos. 1682-3, 59; Bigland, Glos. i. 96-7.
  • 23. Glos. R.O., D 1571/E 522.
  • 24. Rudge, Hist. of Glos. i. 332-3.
  • 25. Glos. R.O., D 1388/SL 3, no. 37.
  • 26. Ibid. P 29A/SD 2/1.
  • 27. B. Lowsley, Family of Lowsley (priv. print. 1897), 192.
  • 28. Glos. R.O., D 1197/2; see below.
  • 29. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1919), 31; ex inf. Mr. H. J. V. Davis, of Aston House Farm.
  • 30. Ex inf. Mr. W. J. Clark, of Lowsmoor Farm.
  • 31. Glos. R.O., D 1571/E 522; see below, p. 251.
  • 32. Glos. R.O., Q/REl 1.
  • 33. Lowsley, Fam. of Lowsley, 26-32.
  • 34. Ibid. 35-7.
  • 35. Ibid. 40.
  • 36. Ex inf. Mr. Davis.
  • 37. Atkyns, Glos. 234.
  • 38. Glos. R.O., D 445/T 13.
  • 39. Ibid. Q/REl 1.
  • 40. Ibid. D 131/T 27.
  • 41. Ibid. P 29A/SD 2/1.
  • 42. Ibid. D 131/T 27; but see ibid. D 1197/2 where Edmund Kimber, the tenant of the chief house in 1886, was said to own the estate in 1858.
  • 43. Glos. R.O., D 2299/2764.
  • 44. Ibid. D 1265, Minch., Avening, and Rodborough deeds 1716-1842, where Thos. Clutterbuck was leasing a messuage and 100 a. in Avening from the lord of the manor in 1749.
  • 45. Ibid. Q/REl 1.
  • 46. M. E. N. Witchell and C. R. Hudleston, Family of Clutterbuck (priv. print. Glouc. 1924), 51.
  • 47. Glos. R. O., D 131/T 6.
  • 48. Witchell and Hudleston, Clutterbuck Fam. 52-4.
  • 49. Glos. R.O., D 1197/2.
  • 50. Ibid. D 1388/SL 4, no. 43.
  • 51. Morris, Avening, 11; ex inf. Col. S. Carter, of Avening Park.
  • 52. Glos. R.O., D 131/T 19.
  • 53. Ibid. T 20; see below, p. 268.