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.
The rural parish of Cherington lies four miles NNE. of Tetbury. It covered an area of 2,267 a. (fn. 1) until 1935 when a detached part of Avening parish on the north boundary, comprising 1,157 a. and a population in 1931 of 47, was added to it. (fn. 2) The added area included the farms of Lowesmore and Aston, the owners of which had long been involved in the affairs of Cherington. (fn. 3) The account printed here relates to the area, roughly triangular in shape, that was included in the parish before 1935. Lowesmore hedge, mentioned in 1730, (fn. 4) and the Avening stream formed most of its northern boundary. The other boundaries were marked by old field boundaries and by roads, including part of an old Minchinhampton- Malmesbury road on the west, and parts of the Tetbury-Cirencester road and the old Tetbury- Cheltenham road (fn. 5) on the south-east.
The parish lies on a plateau at a height of c. 500 ft. and the land falls gently away to the south. The plateau is composed of Forest Marble overlying strata of the Great Oolite, which outcrop in the sides of the valley called Cherington Bottom (fn. 6) in the northwest of the parish. The valley floor is overlaid with fuller's earth, which throws out a number of springs. (fn. 7) Stone was quarried in several places in the parish, (fn. 8) in which the soil type, varying from Cotswold brash to light loam, has a high lime content. Downland predominates in the east of the parish while grassland and the better quality arable land are found in the south and west. (fn. 9) Until inclosure in 1730 the land lay mainly in open fields and in common pasture, principally Cherington Down in the south. (fn. 10) No woodland was recorded in 1086. (fn. 11) Nevertheless it was complained in 1313 that men from Kingswood Abbey had been felling trees. (fn. 12) After inclosure there were several areas of woodland in the south-east of the parish, (fn. 13) and in 1901 41 a. of plantation were recorded. (fn. 14) Part of the manor-house park, which had been created by 1730, (fn. 15) served as a deer-park in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, (fn. 16) and the manor was said to be well-timbered in 1934. (fn. 17) The sides of the valley were densely wooded in 1973. The Avening stream, the only natural watercourse in the parish, runs westwards through the valley and opens into Cherington pond which was dug in the mid 18th century, (fn. 18) presumably as part of a general improvement of the manor estate c. 1740. (fn. 19) The lake afforded facilities for boating and fishing; (fn. 20) in 1876 the activity of poachers was mentioned. (fn. 21)
The parish is traversed south of the village by an ancient route recorded c. 1230 as the great track. (fn. 22) The road, thought to have been used by the Romans, formed a route between Cirencester and Chavenage Green, from where it continued towards Bath, (fn. 23) and it was called London way in the early 17th century. (fn. 24) By the early 18th century it was in a state of disrepair. (fn. 25) Formerly a lane ran southwards from the village to join London way at Three Cornered Bit, where it apparently also met a route from Avening by way of Westrip. Another road, branching from London way at Three Cornered Bit and running through Lowesmore to Sapperton, formed part of the ancient Cotswold ridgeway (fn. 26) and was known as the Warwickshire road in the 18th century. (fn. 27) In 1805 the southernmost section was closed, diverting the route through the village. (fn. 28) The abandoned section as far as the Cherington-Lowesmore road was called Green Lane in 1816 (fn. 29) and disappeared before 1824. (fn. 30) Several lesser roads converged in the north-west part of the parish. Avening road, mentioned in 1730, (fn. 31) ascended the south side of the valley to meet first an ancient route from Hampton Fields in Minchinhampton, called Cherington way in 1584, (fn. 32) and second Tetbury way, mentioned in 1711; (fn. 33) its continuation towards Lowesmore was known as Lowesmore Lane in 1816. (fn. 34) The Tetbury-Ciren cester road, on the south-east boundary, was turnpiked in 1743. (fn. 35)
Cherington village, the principal settlement in the parish, has remained small. It grew up around the green on which the lesser roads converged and then spread eastwards along the Lowesmore road as far as the rectory. The church, from which the village probably takes its name, (fn. 36) stands at the western end of the village next to Cherington Park, the manor-house. (fn. 37) The Yew Tree public house overlooks the valley and Cherington pond, and is similar in style to a coach-house of the earlier 18th century at Cherington Park. The village has two 17th-century buildings, including on the north side of the street the Tudor House which has been largely rebuilt. Most of the buildings, the latest of which date from the early 19th century, are of rubble in the typical Cotswold style. The Drivers Charity Houses were rebuilt in 1829, (fn. 38) and Pear Tree Row cottages to the east are similar in date and style.
There was a settlement at Westrip, west of the village between the Avening and Tetbury roads, by the 13th century when several people surnamed of Westrip were recorded in the parish. (fn. 39) The hamlet was said to comprise 14 houses c. 1710, (fn. 40) and cottages in Westrip Lane were mentioned in 1747, (fn. 41) but in 1973 only a single farm-house remained. In the late 19th century a cottage belonging to the hamlet of Nag's Head stood in Cherington parish. (fn. 42) The parish contains post-inclosure farmsteads at Grove Farm and Trull. Grove Farm, which was built south of London way at the centre of the manor estate, (fn. 43) is a substantial square stone house; the date 1741, which appears on a rain-water head, is probably the year of completion. By the house, which was alternatively called Montpelier in the early 19th century, (fn. 44) are extensive barns and cattle yards of the 18th and 19th centuries. Trull House stands at the south-east edge of the parish near the Tetbury-Cirencester road; (fn. 45) its outlying cottages, Grove Cottages and Evergreen Cottages, date from the mid 19th century.
Twenty-three male inhabitants of Cherington were recorded in 1086; (fn. 46) the same number was assessed for tax in 1327. (fn. 47) Thirty-three persons were assessed in 1381. (fn. 48) The number of communicants was said to be c. 70 in 1551 (fn. 49) and the number of households in the parish in 1563 was reckoned at 21. (fn. 50) In the next century the population grew: the estimated number of families in 1650 was 30 (fn. 51) and there were said to be 120 people in 30 houses c. 1710. (fn. 52) The estimated population in the mid 18th century was slightly lower at 110, (fn. 53) but by the 1770s it had risen to 158. (fn. 54) In 1801 the population was 173 which suggests a considerable growth in the later 18th century. From 167 in 1811 it rose rapidly to a peak of 251 in 1831. It remained a little below that figure in the middle part of the century but later fell to 181 by 1901. It rose again to 210 by 1911 but once more fell back to 184 in 1931. The enlargement of the parish in 1935 increased the population which in 1951 was 222, but over the area of the new parish that was a drop from 247 in 1921. The total fell further to 184 by 1961. (fn. 55)
Of the two victuallers licensed in the parish in 1755, (fn. 56) one presumably had an inn in the village itself, although no early record of one there has been found. An unnamed inn was recorded in the parish in 1891 and 1903, (fn. 57) but later the village was without an inn until the Yew Tree opened in the mid 20th century. (fn. 58) Trouble House inn, on the TetburyCirencester turnpike at the south corner of the parish, (fn. 59) was built by a carpenter, John Reeve, shortly before 1757. (fn. 60) The inn, for which the alternative name of the Waggon and Horses was used in the early 19th century, (fn. 61) was bought in 1844 by John Leversage George (fn. 62) who apparently rebuilt it. (fn. 63) In 1843 a friendly society met there. (fn. 64) A wooden reading room was built in the village by Gertrude George in 1934; (fn. 65) it became the parish hall in 1954 (fn. 66) and remained in use in 1973.
In the 19th century the George family, which had bought up most of the estates, was the chief influence in the parish. The drinking-fountain on the village green was provided by Elizabeth Mary George in 1875 when Cherington Park and Westrip Farm were supplied with water pumped from a spring in Cherington Bottom. The scheme was designed and installed by John H. Taunton and the equipment supplied by George Waller & Co. of the Phoenix ironworks, Stroud. (fn. 67)
In November 1830 several of the rioters who had been destroying agricultural machinery in the neighbourhood of Tetbury were taken into custody at the Trouble House inn. (fn. 68)
The pamphleteer Joseph Trapp (1679-1747), who held the first endowed chair of poetry in the University of Oxford between 1708 and 1714, was born in Cherington where his father was rector. (fn. 69)