Horsley: Manor and other estates

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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A P Baggs. A R J Jurica. W J Sheils, 'Horsley: Manor and other estates', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976) pp. 177-179. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol11/pp177-179 [accessed 18 May 2024].

A P Baggs. A R J Jurica. W J Sheils. "Horsley: Manor and other estates", in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976) 177-179. British History Online, accessed May 18, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol11/pp177-179.

Baggs, A P. Jurica, A R J. Sheils, W J. "Horsley: Manor and other estates", A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976). 177-179. British History Online. Web. 18 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol11/pp177-179.


An estate at Horsley, owned by Goda in 1066, was granted to Troarn Abbey (Calvados) by Roger de Montgomery, earl of Shrewsbury, before 1086. (fn. 1) The original grant was said to provide for a prior, a monk, and a parish chaplain to reside at Horsley. (fn. 2) From those provisions emerged the cell called Horsley Priory, which Troarn Abbey exchanged with Bruton Priory for lands in Normandy in 1260. The prior of Horsley apparently had the disposal of the profits of the manor of HORSLEY until the cell at Horsley ceased to exist in or shortly before 1380. (fn. 3) The manor was retained by Bruton Priory (later an abbey) until its dissolution in 1539. (fn. 4) In 1541 Horsley was granted to Thomas Seymour, (fn. 5) later Baron Seymour of Sudeley, on whose attainder in 1549 the estate reverted to the Crown. (fn. 6) In 1553 it was purchased by Sir Walter Dennis (fn. 7) who apparently conveyed it to his son Richard. In 1562 Richard conveyed part of the estate to Edward Stephens of Standish, (fn. 8) and he sold the manor to Edward in 1564. (fn. 9)

Edward, who enlarged the manor-house at Chavenage, (fn. 10) died in 1587 (fn. 11) and the estate passed to his son Richard (d. 1599). Richard's widow Anne held the manor-house at Chavenage and lands for her life, while the manor passed to his son Nathaniel, a minor, whose wardship was granted to his uncle Thomas Stephens in 1600. Nathaniel was granted livery of his estates in 1612. (fn. 12) He was a strong supporter of the cause of Parliament and at his death in 1660 his son Richard received a pardon under the Act of Indemnity and Oblivion. (fn. 13) Richard died in 1678 and was succeeded by his son Nathaniel (fn. 14) (d. 1732). The manor appears to have descended with Eastington to Nathaniel's son Richard (d. c. 1770) who was followed in succession by his brothers Nathaniel (d. 1776), the Revd. Robert (d. 1777), and Henry (d. 1795). (fn. 15) Henry's widow Anne held the estate until her death in 1801 when it passed to Henry's cousin, Henry Willis, who took the surname Stephens. (fn. 16) Henry, who was rector of Little Sodbury and vicar of Wapley, entrusted the estate, on his decision to become a Trappist monk, (fn. 17) to Robert Kingscote of Kingscote in 1814. Robert acted as trustee for Henry's nephew, Henry Richmond Shute, who was to enter the property on attaining the age of 25 years; a contingent remainder was settled on Shute's sister Alice Elizabeth. (fn. 18)

H. R. Shute died without issue in 1823 and Alice Elizabeth married in 1826 the Revd. Maurice FitzGerald Townsend (d. 1872) who took the name Stephens. (fn. 19) The Revd. Maurice and his wife exercised the manorial rights in the late 1820s but afterwards, until 1840, Robert Kingscote again held the estate as trustee. (fn. 20) From 1848 the manor was held by the Revd. Maurice's son, Henry John Townsend Stephens, later called H. J. T. S. Townsend. Henry died in 1869 and the manor was afterwards held in trust by his widow Jane, (fn. 21) possibly the Mrs. Townsend Stephens Cave said to be lady of the manor in 1885. (fn. 22) The estate was advertised for sale in 1886 when it comprised 1,728 a. (fn. 23) In 1891 the mortgagee, R. S. Holford of Westonbirt, foreclosed and the property was purchased by Col. W. W. Hoole for his son George Williams Lowsley Hoole-Lowsley-Williams. (fn. 24) George (d. 1937) was succeeded by his son John (d. 1958) from whom the estate, comprising c. 1,500 a., passed to a nephew, David LowsleyWilliams, the owner in 1972. (fn. 25)

The manor-house recorded in 1464 (fn. 26) forms the central range of Chavenage House. The house was remodelled and extended by the addition of wings and a central porch c. 1576. (fn. 27) Further improvements were made at various times in the 17th century culminating in the redecoration of the south wing c. 1684. (fn. 28) Early in the 19th century a Gothic baywindow and the present billiard room were added to the south front and the sills of the hall windows were lowered. (fn. 29) A chapel with a tall tower, first recorded in 1803, (fn. 30) was built west of the house and incorporates sculptural detail of ecclesiastical origin of the 14th to 17th centuries. (fn. 31) In the space between the house and the chapel an extensive wing, accommodating a ballroom and service rooms, was built in 1905 to designs by John Micklethwaite in a style matching the earlier house. (fn. 32) The extensive outbuildings include two barns and a stable court. For many years in the early 19th century the house was tenanted by John Delafeld Phelps. (fn. 33)

In 1561 Sir Walter Dennis sold part of the manorial estate, at BARTON END, to Rowland Hayward, George Basford, and John Whitbrook, (fn. 34) merchants of London, who conveyed the property to Matthew Smith of the Middle Temple in 1562. Between 1595 and 1622 Matthew's son Hugh, later Sir Hugh, of Long Ashton (Som.) was granting leases of property in Horsley, and he was later succeeded by his son Thomas, whose son Hugh conveyed the property to several purchasers in 1654. An estate of c. 120 a. was bought by John Hillier (fn. 35) and subsequently passed to Thomas Sandys Remington who sold it in 1764 to trustees for Thomas Pavey and his wife Mary. (fn. 36) Thomas (d. 1794 or 1795) left the property to his widow and his daughter, whose inheritance was contested but who was admitted to the property in 1798. (fn. 37) Another estate at Barton End comprising c. 130 a. was owned in 1685 by Charles Smith, of the Nibley family, (fn. 38) and may have been part of the earlier property.

An estate at NUPEND was owned by Richard Osborne at his death in 1639 when it passed to his son William. (fn. 39) The property was owned by John Osborne of Aston, Avening, a nephew of William Osborne in 1682, (fn. 40) and it later passed to Thomas Davis, a clothier, who sold it to Paul Castleman before 1735. Paul (d. 1765) acquired other lands in the parish and settled his estates on his wife Elizabeth for life with reversion to Paul, his son by an earlier marriage. The younger Paul died in 1786 and the estate passed to his widow Margaret (d. 1794) and from her to their eldest son Paul Colvill Castleman of London. In 1795 Paul was being sued by his younger brother and sisters for a cash inheritance charged on the estate. (fn. 41) A substantial part of the Castleman property was purchased by the Revd. Anthony Keck in 1801. (fn. 42) The chief house of the Nupend estate, where the elder Paul Castleman lived, (fn. 43) was apparently that called Manor House, which was rebuilt by the owner, Mrs. McMullin, in the late 19th century. (fn. 44)

The Castlemans also acquired an estate at BARTON END which the clothier Edward Webb (d. 1751) (fn. 45) owned in the earlier 18th century. Webb devised it to his nephew Edward Webb Castleman, son of his sister Elizabeth and Paul Castleman, and Edward (d. 1760) devised it to his mother, with reversion to his half-brother, the younger Paul Castleman. After her stepson's death in 1786, and to pay his debts, Elizabeth conveyed the Barton End estate to trustees for a sale, (fn. 46) and it was bought by John Remington. The chief house, where the younger Paul Castleman lived, (fn. 47) was evidently Barton End House. The original small, L-shaped, 17th-century farm-house was extended northwards in the earlier 18th century, and at the end of that century John Remington added a west block in Adam style. (fn. 48) The older part of the house was extended and remodelled in the earlier 19th century, and in 1972 the house formed two separate dwellings.

The rectory estate, comprising the great and small tithes of the parish, descended with the manor until the Dissolution. (fn. 49) Giles Bennett was granted a lease of the rectory by Bruton Priory c. 1515. He was still alive c. 1550 when the rectory was leased by the Crown for 21 years to Sir John Butler, who died a year or two later when his executors granted the remaining years of the lease to Bennett. (fn. 50) In 1563 the Crown leased the tithes to John Stockman for 21 years (fn. 51) but in 1564 the Crown granted the fee simple to Sir Walter Hungerford and Thomas Hungerford. (fn. 52) Soon afterwards Sir Walter granted his right to Thomas, who as Thomas Hungerford of the Lea (Wilts.) made it over to his son Anthony on the latter's marriage in 1575. (fn. 53) The rectory, which was worth £120 a year in 1603, (fn. 54) was sold by Anthony in 1622 to his son Thomas of Garsdon (Wilts.). Thomas, later of the Lea, left the estate for life to his wife Anne who sold her interest to her son Anthony in 1647 whereupon Anthony granted a lease to his mother. In 1657 Anthony granted a 99-year lease to trustees to meet legacies under his mother's will, and in 1670 his son Anthony and the trustees sold the remaining part of the lease to Gifford Yerbury, who made it over to a trustee for Mary, wife of Walter Ernle, in 1674. Mary and her husband sold the lease to James Willett of Cirencester in 1682, (fn. 55) and had acquired the freehold by later the same year when they sold it to Ralph Willett. Ralph settled the rectory on the marriage of his son, the Revd. Ralph Willett of Stratton, in 1686 and it passed after 1716 to the Revd. Ralph's son Ralph. The last-named Ralph conveyed it to his daughter Elizabeth and her husband John Selfe in 1754. John Selfe was succeeded by his son John before 1769 (fn. 56) and the rectory, valued at £80 yearly c. 1775, (fn. 57) was devised by the younger John (d. 1800) to his brother Richard and his sister Mary Cripps. (fn. 58) They sold to Henry Stephens the tithes of the manor estate in 1802. (fn. 59) Other landowners bought the tithes of their estates in 1797, (fn. 60) and another portion of the tithes was bought in 1810 by Robert Kingscote. (fn. 61) In 1840 tithes on 541 a. were commuted for a corn-rent charge, of which £82 went to Robert Kingscote, £20 to Thomas Shewell Bailward, and small amounts to other owners. (fn. 62) Kingscote died in 1840 (fn. 63) and his share of the tithes remained with his family until purchased in 1855 by Miss Bathurst of Barton End House who gave it for the augmentation of the benefice. (fn. 64)

In the 13th century Geoffrey de Caperun granted 7 a. of land lying by the Cotswold ridgeway at Horsley to Kingswood Abbey, but the abbey quitclaimed it c. 1265 to his son Peter, who granted it to Bruton Priory. (fn. 65)


  • 1. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 166v., where William I is said to be donor; but see Cal. Doc. France, ed. Round, p. 167, and Reg. Regum Anglo-Norm. ii, no. 524.
  • 2. Cal. Inq. Misc. iii, pp. 274-5.
  • 3. For the hist. of the priory, see V.C.H. Glos. ii. 91-3.
  • 4. Dugdale, Mon. vi (1), 335.
  • 5. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvi, p. 462.
  • 6. D.N.B.
  • 7. Cal. Pat. 1553, 103.
  • 8. Cal. Pat. 1560-3, 422.
  • 9. Glos. R.O., D 547A/T 19.
  • 10. See below.
  • 11. For the Stephens fam. see Visit. Glos. 1682-3, 174-5.
  • 12. Glos. R.O., D 547A/E 1.
  • 13. V.C.H. Glos. x. 128.
  • 14. Atkyns, Glos. 482.
  • 15. V.C.H. Glos. x. 128; Rudder, Glos. 502; Trans. B.G.A.S. xxii. 134.
  • 16. Glos. Colln. RF 167.1; cf. V.C.H. Glos. x. 128.
  • 17. Trans. B.G.A.S. xxii. 134-5.
  • 18. Glos. R.O., Q/RNc 5.
  • 19. Trans. B.G.A.S. xxii. 135.
  • 20. Glos. R.O., D 547A/M 16-17; D 2219/3/4.
  • 21. Ibid. D 547A/M 20-4; Trans. B.G.A.S. xxii. 137.
  • 22. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1885), 507.
  • 23. Glos. R.O., D 547A/E 32.
  • 24. B. Lowsley, Family of Lowsley, (priv. print. 1897), 40.
  • 25. Burke, Land. Gent. (1972), iii. 958; ex inf. Mr. D. Lowsley-Williams. The fam. had dropped Hoole from its surname.
  • 26. S.C. 6/855/34. The house is illustrated in Country Life, 15 Apr. 1911, 524-31.
  • 27. Date 1576 and inits. on porch; see plate facing p. 257.
  • 28. Date 1684 on bldg.
  • 29. Glos. R.O., A 43/8-11.
  • 30. Rudge, Hist. of Glos. i. 339.
  • 31. Fosbrooke, Glos. i. 403, says that some material came from Horsley priory.
  • 32. Verey, Glos. i. 278.
  • 33. Glos. R.O., D 471/T37; D 2219/3/4.
  • 34. Cal. Pat. 1560-3, 207.
  • 35. Glos. R.O., EL/Bristol 11(8), calendaring deeds at Bristol R.O., AC/D 5/1-25; for the Smiths see Visit. Som. 1623, 101. The Smiths retained some woodland in the par.: Glos. R.O., P 181/IN 1/5.
  • 36. Glos. R.O., D 1229, Horsley deeds 1589-1817, copy deed 1764.
  • 37. Ibid. P 181/IN 1/5.
  • 38. Ibid. D 2193, Purnell fam., Horsley deeds 1654-1713, deed 1685; for the Smith fam. see Visit. Glos. 1682-3, 171-3.
  • 39. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1625-42, ii. 93-4.
  • 40. Glos. R.O., D 2957/167. 11.
  • 41. Ibid. D 587, Castleman fam., Chancery bill 1795; and for dates of death, Rudkin, Horsley, 53.
  • 42. Glos. R.O., P 181/IN 1/5; Rudge, Hist. of Glos. i. 340.
  • 43. Glos. R.O., D 587, Castleman fam., Chancery bill 1795.
  • 44. Rudkin, Horsley, 58.
  • 45. Bigland, Glos. ii. 100-1.
  • 46. Glos. R.O., D 1347, Horsley deeds 1744-1909; and for the death of E. W. Castleman, Rudkin, Horsley, 50.
  • 47. Glos. R.O., P 181/IN 1/5.
  • 48. Fosbrooke, Glos. i. 404; see above, plate facing p. 81.
  • 49. See above.
  • 50. Glos. R.O., D 547A/L 9.
  • 51. Cal. Pat. 1560-3, 125.
  • 52. Cal. Pat. 1563-6, p. 154.
  • 53. Glos. R.O., D 79/T 1.
  • 54. B.L. Harl. MS. 594, f. 236v.
  • 55. Glos. R.O., D 79/T 1.
  • 56. Glos. Colln. RV 167. 5.
  • 57. Rudder, Glos. 302; Bigland, Glos. ii. 99, says that the Hillier fam. held a share of the tithes at one time; cf. Glos. R.O., P 181/IN 1/5. Possibly they owned a portion in some way connected to the demesne tithes.
  • 58. Glos. R.O., P 181/IN 1/5; Glos. Colln. RV 167.5.
  • 59. Glos. Colln. RV 167.8.
  • 60. Glos. R.O., P 181/IN 1/5.
  • 61. Rudkin, Horsley, 15.
  • 62. Glos. R.O., D 2219/3/4.
  • 63. Burke, Land. Gent. (1898), 844.
  • 64. Rudkin, Horsley, 15.
  • 65. Bruton and Montacute Cart. (Som. Rec. Soc. viii), p. 83.