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 earliest record of the name of the parish suggests that Cherington had a church by the time of the Norman Conquest. (fn. 1) Robert Doyley granted two-thirds of the demesne tithes of Cherington to St. George's chapel in Oxford castle, which he founded in 1074. (fn. 2) The living was a rectory in 1291 (fn. 3) and has remained one. The advowson, which in the 16th and 18th centuries was sometimes granted away for one turn, (fn. 4) followed the descent of the manor (fn. 5) until 1954 when it passed to Mr. E. M. M. Tarlton. (fn. 6)
In 1623 the rector's glebe included two yardlands of arable and pasture for sheep and cattle in the open fields and commons. He received all the tithes but the lands in the parish forming part of the Hazleton estate were tithe-free. (fn. 7) The latter represented the land from which Robert Doyley had alienated the tithes, for during the later Middle Ages Oseney Abbey, which had succeeded to the endowments of St. George's chapel in 1149, (fn. 8) received a pension of 20s. in place of tithes from Cherington and Hazleton from Kingswood Abbey; (fn. 9) c. 1520 the farmer of Cherington rectory was claiming tithes from Kingswood. (fn. 10) By the late 17th century the rector was taking a modus for the tithes of milk and garden produce. (fn. 11) The tithes were commuted at the inclosure of 1730 when the rector was awarded 325 a. for his tithes, glebe, and common rights. (fn. 12) In 1800 43 a. of glebe were sold for redemption of land tax, (fn. 13) and the remainder, for which there was no separate farm-house, was afterwards usually rented by neighbouring farmers. (fn. 14) In 1973 102 a. were rented by the owner of Coxe's farm and the other 168 a. were farmed with Westrip farm. (fn. 15)
The rectory house was in disrepair in 1563, (fn. 16) but had apparently been rebuilt by 1623 when it was said to be in good repair; (fn. 17) it comprised 6 bays in the early 18th century. (fn. 18) With the non-residence of successive rectors in the late 18th and early 19th centuries (fn. 19) the house fell into decay and in 1855 was considered unsuitable as a dwelling for a curate. (fn. 20) The house, which stands at the eastern end of the village, was rebuilt c. 1870.
The rectory was worth £8 in 1291 (fn. 21) and £10 17s. 3d. in 1535. (fn. 22) It was valued at £65 in 1650, (fn. 23) £100 in 1750, (fn. 24) and £176 in 1856. (fn. 25) A pension of 10s. owed to the rector of Avening in 1535 (fn. 26) possibly derived from some agreement about parochial rights over Aston. The transference of Aston to Cherington parish was recommended in 1650, (fn. 27) and inhabitants of Aston later attended Cherington church (fn. 28) and were buried in its churchyard.
The rector William of Yetminster had leave of absence in 1314 for one year while in the king's service (fn. 29) and again in 1319 for three years. (fn. 30) In 1337 Leonard de Lucy was licensed to study for one year. (fn. 31) William Pynnok incurred royal displeasure in 1366 by travelling abroad contrary to royal proclamation. (fn. 32) John Gobbys was assisted by a chaplain in 1498, (fn. 33) and Thomas Sheriff by a curate in 1548. (fn. 34) Richard Bramborough, rector from 1548, (fn. 35) who in 1551 was found to be learned and able to answer all the articles, (fn. 36) was deprived in 1563 because of his unwillingness to accept the Elizabethan Settlement. (fn. 37) The neglect of the parsonage and chancel attributed to him (fn. 38) probably resulted from non-residence; in 1553 the living was served by a curate who farmed the benefice. (fn. 39) John Rogers, rector from 1563, was deprived in 1574 (fn. 40) but he retained the living in 1576 when he was found to understand Latin and to be reasonably well versed in the Scriptures. (fn. 41) His successor Thomas Whitesey, presented in 1574, was not instituted until 1578 because of a dispute over the patronage. (fn. 42) Whitesey, described as a preacher and a conformist in 1584, (fn. 43) was said to be a non-graduate in 1593 when he also held the living of Dodington. (fn. 44) Brian Harris, rector 1593-1610, (fn. 45) was presented in 1597 for not wearing the surplice and in 1605 for failing to wear the square cap. (fn. 46) Daniel Parker, rector 1611-50, (fn. 47) was described in 1650 as a preaching minister. (fn. 48) During his incumbency there was apparently some growth of Puritan feeling in the parish; in the 1630s the payment of church-rates was resisted by several parishioners including Thomas Jelfe, (fn. 49) a baker, (fn. 50) who later supported the parliamentary cause and died in gaol after his capture at the siege of Cirencester in 1643. (fn. 51) After Parker's death the parish register was kept irregularly until the Restoration. (fn. 52)
Joseph Trapp, rector 1662-98, (fn. 53) was probably the father of John Trapp who was curate from 1698 and rector from 1700. There were two long incumbencies covering much of the 18th century. Nathaniel Hackham, rector from 1716, was succeeded in 1756 by Samuel Lysons, who held the living until 1804 in plurality with Rodmarton, (fn. 54) where he resided, although serving Cherington in person. (fn. 55) His successor, William Cockin, who remained rector until 1841, held the living from 1806 with Minchinhampton, where he lived, appointing stipendiary curates to serve Cherington. William George of Cherington Park, appointed curate in 1829, became rector by his own presentation in 1841; he had resigned by 1862. (fn. 56) Between 1850 and 1855, when he was suspended for immorality, the living was served by curates. (fn. 57) A vacancy in 1973 was left unfilled and the parish served with Rodmarton pending a proposed union of the livings. (fn. 58)
The church of ST. NICHOLAS (fn. 59) is built of rubble and ashlar and has a chancel, nave with north porch and south transept, and west tower. The nave retains the proportions of the 12th-century church and a carved tympanum and a window head remain in the north wall. A second more elaborate tympanum, said to have come from the south wall, is at Cherington Park. The font and a capital inverted and inset in a chancel-arch respond are additional remnants of the 12th-century church. The chancel was rebuilt in the mid 13th century and is of uniform design, with string-courses inside and out and broad rear arches to the lancet windows. There were substantial alterations in the earlier 14th century and their completion was possibly marked by the consecration of the church in 1315: (fn. 60) the westernmost window in the south wall of the chancel was enlarged and the sill altered, the chancel arch was widened, the transept and tower were added, and all the nave windows were inserted. The nave roof was rebuilt to a lower pitch in the later 15th century. Restoration work was carried out in 1816 (fn. 61) and 1881. (fn. 62) The porch, north doorway, and nave north windows and south wall were rebuilt using new stonework and it is not certain that the features always copied their medieval predecessors.
Traces of medieval wall-painting including the figure of a bishop survive in the splays of the east and south lights in the transept. (fn. 63) There are several monuments of the 17th and 18th centuries, chiefly to rectors and members of the Coxe family. The memorial to Daniel Parker (d. 1650) is set in a 13th-century double piscina in the chancel. There are monuments to lords of the manor, including John George, in the south transept.
The communion rails date from the 18th century. There were four bells c. 1703. (fn. 64) Two were cast in 1663 and 1670 by Edward Neale of Burford. The others were recast, one in 1744 by Abel Rudhall and the other in 1870 by I. W. Gardiner of Tetbury. (fn. 65) The 'theft' of the treble c. 1830, when it hung temporarily in Avening church, became the subject of some doggerel. (fn. 66) The plate includes a chalice and paten-cover of 1676 and an alms-dish of 1693. The silver communion set is dated 1859. (fn. 67) The registers begin in 1567 (fn. 68) but were irregularly kept in the mid 17th century. (fn. 69)