Minchinhampton: Introduction

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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'Minchinhampton: Introduction', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976) pp. 184-190. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol11/pp184-190 [accessed 24 April 2024]


The parish and former market town of Minchinhampton lies 3 miles south-east of Stroud. Called Hampton at Domesday, it was afterwards usually known as Minchinhampton, or in the Latin form Hampton Monialum, from its ownership by the nuns of Caen. The form Mitchel Hampton is also occasionally recorded, (fn. 1) and during the 17th and 18th centuries the parish was often called Hampton Road. (fn. 2) Minchinhampton, which lay on important local routes of communication, had a market from 1269 and had acquired some urban characteristics by the beginning of the next century, but in the Middle Ages the town appears to have been important chiefly as a centre of sheep-farming. The development of the town occurred mainly in the 17th century and it remained a market and shopping centre of local importance until the early 19th century. The parish also supported a considerable cloth industry; it had some large mills on its boundary streams and some of the cottage weaving settlements characteristic of the locality were established on the borders of its large common. From the late 19th century the preservation of the common, the survival of the traditional, stone-built Cotswold town, and its high and reputedly healthy situation, all contributed to the development of the parish as a residential area.

The ancient parish covered 4,942 a. and was regular in shape, (fn. 3) occupying a high plateau which rises to over 600 ft. and is bounded on the north by the river Frome, on the west by the Nailsworth stream, and on the south by the Avening stream. The north-west boundary with Rodborough parish, formerly a part of Minchinhampton, and the east boundary cross the high upland area. The valleys lie on the Upper Lias with overlying bands of the Inferior Oolite and fuller's earth, and the high ground is formed by the Great Oolite or Forest Marble. (fn. 4) The south-west corner of the parish, including the hamlet of Watledge and some clothmills, was included in the new Nailsworth civil parish in 1892, (fn. 5) and 50 a. in the north-west part was transferred to Chalford civil parish in 1959. (fn. 6) The part included in Nailsworth is treated below under that parish. The northern boundary of the ancient parish of Minchinhampton is also not entirely respected in this account: Chalford, which included a few houses and mills in Minchinhampton parish, is included wholly under Bisley; and the settlement on the valley floor around Brimscombe Port is included under Stroud while the higher part of Brimscombe, including the church and school, is treated under Minchinhampton.

The parish anciently had considerable woodland, a wood measuring 2 leagues by ½ league being recorded in 1086. (fn. 7) In the late 12th century the tenants of the manor complained that sales of timber and the work of charcoal-burners had so reduced the woods that, whereas they had once provided pasture for 2,000 swine, under half that number could now be supported; (fn. 8) there was still extensive woodland, however, at the beginning of the 14th century when the pannage of the pigs pastured by the tenants added as much as £7 to the annual profits of the manor. (fn. 9) The chief woodland in the late 12th century lay in Gatcombe wood in the south part of the parish, in Cowcombe wood in the Chalford valley, and in the area which later became Minchinhampton common in the west part of the parish. (fn. 10) Gatcombe wood, extended at 100 a., and Cowcombe, extended at 40 a., were entirely set with beech in 1542; (fn. 11) Cowcombe was later reduced in size but Gatcombe, which covered 182 a. in 1839, (fn. 12) was preserved as an amenity for Gatcombe Park, the house built on its eastern side in the 1770s as the new residence of the lords of the manor. (fn. 13) The two woods came to be regarded by the lord of the manor as his demesne but the tenants claimed pasture for their animals in them, a claim which is supported by their description as common woods in 1542. The question led to a Chancery suit between the lord and the tenants in 1620 (fn. 14) and was apparently still not forgotten in the 1730s when entrants to copyholds on the manor were required to renounce all claim to pasture in the several woods. (fn. 15)

The woodland in the west part of the parish, lying beyond the ancient linear earthwork called the Bulwarks, (fn. 16) was known as the custom wood. (fn. 17) The chief distinction between the custom wood and the other woods, as it emerged in the course of the dispute of 1620, was apparently the tenants' right to take wood for fuel and house-repair there. (fn. 18) The extensive common that was left as the woodland was cleared was later claimed to have been given to the inhabitants by Alice Hampton (fn. 19) (d. 1515); she did not, however, possess the chief manor of Minchinhampton (fn. 20) and the story appears to be a fiction, fostered in order to give title to the rights enjoyed in the common. (fn. 21) The common, which covered over 500 a., (fn. 22) survived the inclosure movement to be zealously guarded against encroachments in the late 19th century, although neighbouring landowners were sometimes allowed to take in small areas in exchange for unwanted land thrown out. (fn. 23) In 1913, after increased quarrying had caused alarm, the lord of the manor, H. G. Ricardo, sold his rights in the common to the National Trust. (fn. 24)

Immediately north-west of Minchinhampton town and the ancient manor-house, the lords of the manor inclosed a park before 1176. (fn. 25) It was well wooded with beech in 1542, (fn. 26) and in 1815, when it was in three divisions, it covered 61 a. (fn. 27) It survived until the early 20th century when it was bought by the Minchinhampton golf club and thrown into the common in recompense for land taken for the golfcourse. (fn. 28) East of the town there were formerly extensive open fields and sheep-pastures. (fn. 29) In the First World War an airfield was laid out at Aston Down on the eastern boundary and used by the Royal Australian Flying Corps; it was reopened in 1937 as an R.A.F. maintenance unit and during the Second World War it was in intensive use for the storage of aircraft and for training. It was transferred to the Ministry of Aviation in 1963 and remained an aviation stores depot of the Ministry of Defence in 1973. (fn. 30)

The most important route through the parish was the road which is said to have been a link between south-east England and the Severn passages below Gloucester (fn. 31) but which was later the main road from London and Cirencester to Stroud. That it was already of some importance in the Middle Ages is indicated by the highway robberies perpetrated against two merchants at Hampton Down in the east part of the parish in 1371. (fn. 32) It was turnpiked in 1752 (fn. 33) and by 1769 Minchinhampton was linked to London by a stagecoach-service through Cirencester. (fn. 34) The road lost much of its importance in 1814 when the new Stroud-Cirencester road was built along the Frome valley to meet the old road at the top of Cowcombe hill; (fn. 35) the old road was later severed by the building of Aston Down airfield. Another important route, turnpiked in 1758, was the Tetbury-Stroud road which ran through the town to meet the Cirencester road and a number of minor roads on Minchinhampton common (fn. 36) at a place called Tom Long's Post, reputedly named from the burial of a suicide. (fn. 37) The road from the Tetbury road at Hampton Fields down to Chalford and a branch from Hyde down to Bourne were also included in the Act of 1758.

The road out of the south of the town through Forwood and along the hillside above Longfords and Holcombe mills was turnpiked in 1780 as the chief route between the town and Nailsworth, (fn. 38) although the Nailsworth way mentioned in 1584 was probably that leading south-west out of the town by way of Box. (fn. 39) The crossing at Longfords on the Avening stream, recorded from 1248, (fn. 40) probably provided a link between the town and a track through Hazel wood which was apparently an ancient route to Bristol. (fn. 41) Among a number of minor roads in the south-east part of the parish recorded in 1584 was Cherington way leading from the Tetbury road at Hampton Fields. (fn. 42) Other minor roads led from the Cirencester turnpike down to the Brimscombe and Chalford valley, including one built from Tom Long's Post to Brimscombe Port by the Thames and Severn Canal Co. in 1785. (fn. 43)

The town of Minchinhampton developed on a simple cross plan, formed by the Tetbury-Stroud road and the road from the south part of the parish up to the Stroud-Cirencester road. The former is called Tetbury Street east of the cross-roads and West End west of it; the latter is called Well Hill south of the cross-roads, after the old town watersupply, and runs north of the cross-roads as High Street to the church and market-place, from which it continues on a different alignment as Butt Street. The only other street of any importance is Friday Street, so called by 1568, (fn. 44) which runs eastwards from the market-place and turns southwards to join Tetbury Street. The lines of the old market-place are still evident in the broadening of the roadway at the north end of High Street and the south end of Butt Street. The market-place apparently had originally a more regular shape which was blurred by later infilling, in particular by the building of a new market-house in the south-east part in 1698 and the erection of some cottages in the north part adjoining the churchyard, possibly on the site of earlier shops. (fn. 45) Further irregularities in the shape of the marketplace were caused by two groups of buildings which stood in the centre of the roadways, (fn. 46) also probably on the site of shops and stalls: the Upper Island, in the south end of Butt Street, was pulled down in 1858, (fn. 47) and the Lower Island, in the north end of High Street, was demolished in 1919 to be replaced by a war memorial. (fn. 48)

Expansion of the town beyond the medieval nucleus around the market-place apparently occurred mainly during the 17th century. Land belonging to the rectory, in the area of Friday Street and Tetbury Street, had 7 tenements built on it by 1635, 19 by 1677, and 40 by 1704. (fn. 49) A row of 1½-storey cottages on the south side of Friday Street is probably typical of the development at that period, but many of the 17th-century houses were apparently rebuilt in the next century. West End in particular, the longest street, presents a predominantly 18th-century appearance.

The more substantial houses of the town are concentrated in High Street where several were inns. (fn. 50) A house on the west side, incorporating Arden House and Arden Cottage, has a late-16th-century range fronting the street; in the earlier 18th century a new range, housing living-rooms and staircase, was built running back from the south end and fronting on a small courtyard. Alterations in the 19th century included new sashed windows towards the street and some subdivision of the interior. The former White Hart inn on the corner with Tetbury Street is a large, gabled 17th-century house which had some remodelling in the earlier 18th century; later subdivision and alteration concealed many of the early features. The Crown inn, on the north-west corner of High Street, has an 18th-century front with 9 bays of sashed windows, and Greylands, further down on the west side, is a tall, modestly decorative 18thcentury house. On the south side of Tetbury Street, the front of a house, dated 1682, (fn. 51) has been given an unusual appearance by the insertion of pieces of a 16th-century carved stone fire-place, of which another larger part is set in a bedroom.

Some new houses were added to the town in the early part of the 19th century, notably a long terrace of estate cottages built at the end of West End by David Ricardo in 1833, (fn. 52) but the later years of the century saw little rebuilding or new housing. In the 20th century, however, the town was considerably enlarged by council and private development. Council housing was built particularly on the Tetbury road east of the town and on the road towards Box; by 1957 there were 6 estates with a total of 171 houses. (fn. 53) Private development began early in the century with some large houses north of the town on the old Cirencester road and continued in the 1950s and 1960s when many bungalows and detached Cotswold-style houses in reconstituted stone were built on the west side of the town.

The earliest settlements outside the town were established in the north part of the parish on the slopes of the Brimscombe and Chalford valley. There were already dwellings at Cowcombe, Hyde, Besbury, Burleigh, and Brimscombe by the later 12th century. The settlement at Hyde was apparently then the largest, (fn. 54) and it probably remained so until the 18th century; it was said to contain 20 houses c. 1710. (fn. 55) It remained, however, a fairly scattered settlement of larger houses with little cottage development. Hyde House, on the west side of the settlement, was the home of Edmund Clutterbuck (d. 1778), an attorney and agent to the Sheppard family, into which he married; (fn. 56) the house apparently passed to his brother Thomas Clutterbuck of Avening (d. 1805), whose son James, of Holcombe Mill, was the owner of it and a 158-a. estate in 1839. (fn. 57) The oldest part of the house is a tall range of the late 17th century, aligned east and west. In the mid 18th century short wings were added at both ends of the north side, and soon after 1800 the small courtyard thus created was filled in, the east, west, and south fronts of the building were refaced in a late Georgian style, and the interior was remodelled and redecorated. A kitchen wing on the north-east was probably added in the mid 19th century, and late-18thcentury stables survive north-west of the house. Hyde Grange, near by, incorporates a small building in the late-17th-century vernacular style, but in the late 18th century the house was rebuilt as a substantial square block, and in the later 19th century an extension was made on the south. Hyde Court, in the centre of the hamlet, was occupied by Richard Pinfold (d. 1668) (fn. 58) and from the late 18th to the early 20th century was the home of the Beale family. (fn. 59) The house, a long multi-gabled range, was built in the early 18th century, and in the late 19th, when it was the home of the family of the educationalist Dorothea Beale, substantial additions were made on the north-east to house a private school. (fn. 60)

Burleigh also has some large houses, including two of c. 1800, Burleigh Court, which was an hotel in 1973, and Burleigh House. The hamlet was much enlarged from the late 18th century by cottage development on the edge of Minchinhampton common and, stimulated by the new road of 1785, down the hill in the Wall's Quarry and Beechknapp area. That development joined Burleigh to the settlement at Brimscombe at the bottom of the hill, where a church and school for the area were built in 1840. (fn. 61) Brimscombe has a few older houses, including the 17th-century Manor Cottage, which bears the date 1652 and the initials JP, probably for John Phillips, a Brimscombe clothier who died in 1690. (fn. 62) There is also some 20th-century council housing.

Immediately south of the town, the establishment of a group of farm-houses at Forwood had begun by the late 13th century, (fn. 63) and two of the principal houses there are mentioned below. (fn. 64) East of the town in the area occupied by the open fields there was no ancient development; one or two farmsteads were established there at a late date, including Peaches Farm, a small farm-house built in connection with an inclosure at the beginning of the 18th century (fn. 65) and considerably altered at subsequent dates.

In the west part of the parish there was some ancient settlement, notably at Box (usually called the Box) where there was at least one habitation by the beginning of the 14th century, (fn. 66) and where 20 families were recorded c. 1710. (fn. 67) One of the earliest surviving houses in the village is Beehive House, dated 1692, (fn. 68) which is in the usual vernacular style with near contemporary extensions on the north-east. The western area of the parish was developed mainly, however, in the later 18th and early 19th centuries when the building of cottages on the hillsides at the edge of Minchinhampton common greatly enlarged Box and produced another sizeable village at Littleworth and smaller settlements at St. Chloe, Amberley, Theescombe, and Pinfarthings. Most of the 70 cottages built on former common land that paid rent to the lord of the manor in 1809 were in those places. (fn. 69) The name Amberley used for a small hamlet south of Littleworth became the general name of the area after 1836 when a church and school were built there, (fn. 70) and the same group of buildings includes the Amberley inn and the parish hall, erected as a memorial to the Revd. R. E. Blackwell, who served Amberley from 1836 to 1872. (fn. 71) From the end of the 19th century considerable residential development, in the form of large detached houses in traditional styles, occurred in the western part of the parish, encouraged chiefly by the existence of the common and its golf-course; examples are Whitemoor, opposite Amberley church, which was designed by Sidney Gambier Parry, (fn. 72) and a substantial Tudor-style residence adjoining the Halfway House inn at Box.

Among the older large houses in the west part of the parish was Mugmore House, north of Littleworth, which belonged to the manor estate in 1747 when it was among property settled on the marriage of Samuel Sheppard the younger; it passed from his widow Jane to their daughter Mary (fn. 73) who sold it in 1802. (fn. 74) Joseph Hort was later the owner and occupier but it was acquired from him after 1839 (fn. 75) by Mary Lowsley who married the Revd. G. Williams. (fn. 76) Williams was living there in 1863 (fn. 77) and the house, which was renamed Moor Court, was acquired before 1879 by Lord Charles Pelham-Clinton (fn. 78) who lived there until his death in 1894. (fn. 79) The house, which was an hotel in 1973, was rebuilt on a fairly grandiose scale in 1864. (fn. 80) Box House, at the eastern end of Box village, was apparently that called the Great House (fn. 81) which John Driver of Aston sold in 1684 to Nathaniel Young (d. 1689), who built an inn called the Royal Oak on part of the premises. In 1747 the Great House was bought by Benjamin Hayward, an apothecary, who sold it in 1779 to a surgeon, Richard Browne, who lived there until 1800. (fn. 82) By 1808 Box House was owned and occupied by the clothier Peter Playne (d. 1851), (fn. 83) who built up a considerable estate adjoining it. (fn. 84) Its core is a small 17th-century farm-house (fn. 85) which was extended at both ends during the 18th century; soon after 1800, probably on its purchase by Playne, the old house was partly remodelled and extended to the southeast with a new block of principal rooms. A kitchen wing, removed in the mid 20th century, was probably also a 19th-century addition.

A few larger houses, including the medieval St. Loe's House, (fn. 86) were built on the western slopes of the parish overlooking the Woodchester valley. The earliest part of the Culver House, standing below Littleworth, forms its south-west corner and is probably of the earlier 17th century. It was extended eastwards, probably to provide a kitchen, in the same century, and further extensions in the 18th century included an entrance hall and staircase in the angle of the two earlier ranges. In the 19th century the house was again enlarged, some rooms, including the former kitchens, were remodelled, and bay-windows were added to the south and west fronts. In 1973 a range of former outhouses was being converted into additional living quarters. Giddynap, further south, is a symmetrically planned multi-gabled house, bearing the date 1710 and the initials of the clothier John Webb (d. 1754) and his wife Anne. (fn. 87)

A large house called the Highlands, west of Box, became the principal residence in the area in the later 19th century. It was built originally c. 1850 on the site of two cottages (fn. 88) as a large stone house in Tudor style, but in 1861 it was sold by Charles Baring, bishop of Gloucester, to John Griffith Frith (d. 1868), a London banker and former India merchant, (fn. 89) who apparently began the building of a new house, on a slightly higher site, before his death. The new house, completed in 1873, was designed by Ewan Christian (fn. 90) and is a substantial residence in mock-Tudor timberframing with landscaped gardens. Frith's widow Caroline retained the house until her death in 1897 and was succeeded by her daughter Caroline (d. 1909), the widow of the Revd. R. E. Blackwell; from Mrs. Blackwell the house passed to her nephew Robert Eaton White, (fn. 91) and from 1918 it housed a boys' preparatory school, called Beaudesert Park, which had c. 120 pupils in 1973. (fn. 92)

Forty-eight inhabitants of Minchinhampton were assessed for tax in 1327. (fn. 93) There were said to be about 500 communicants in the parish in 1551 (fn. 94) and 134 households in 1563, (fn. 95) and in 1650 the population was estimated at 400 families. (fn. 96) There were said to be about 1,800 inhabitants in 377 houses c. 1710 (fn. 97) and the mid 18th century evidently saw a considerable rise in population, for it was believed that there were as many as 4,000 inhabitants c. 1775. (fn. 98) The latter figure was evidently an over-estimate, however, for in 1801 3,419 people in 692 houses were enumerated. The population then rose rapidly to 5,114 people in 1,116 houses by 1831 but the trend was halted in the 1830s, (fn. 99) partly by emigration, (fn. 100) and there was later a gradual falling off to 3,702 people in 1911, to which the loss of 635 inhabitants to Nailsworth in 1892 contributed. The 20th century, with new residential development, saw a recovery to 4,318 by 1961. (fn. 101)

The earliest initiative to provide public services for Minchinhampton town was apparently the purchase of a fire-engine by public subscription in 1755 and the building of a house for it. (fn. 102) The vestry appointed a committee to maintain the engine in 1819, (fn. 103) and in 1831 it was decided to build a new engine-house together with a new lock-up. (fn. 104) A fire brigade was formed in 1864 (fn. 105) but disbanded in the mid 20th century. (fn. 106) A dispensary, supported by subscription, was established in 1815 under the presidency of David Ricardo. (fn. 107) In 1824 the vestry built a drain in Well Hill (fn. 108) and the system was extended to other streets in the late 1860s. (fn. 109) A new sewerage system for the town was built by the Stroud R.D.C. in 1934-5. (fn. 110) Water was laid on to the houses of the town in the 1880s by the Stroud Water Co. which built a reservoir on Minchinhampton common, filled from springs in the Chalford valley. (fn. 111) In 1857 the town was lit by naphtha, (fn. 112) and gas was laid on in 1872. Electricity did not come until 1947. (fn. 113) In 1858 David Ricardo paid for paving the streets to mark his son's marriage. (fn. 114)

An innkeeper was recorded in the parish in 1608 (fn. 115) and two inns were mentioned in 1635. (fn. 116) Twenty victuallers were licensed in the parish in 1755, (fn. 117) and in 1838 it had 20 public houses and 38 beershops. (fn. 118) The comparatively high number of inns in the town in the 18th century reflected its status as a market town and its position on two busy turnpike roads. The principal inn was the Crown on the west side of High Street; it had opened by 1718 (fn. 119) and in the late 18th century and early 19th was used for public meetings and assemblies (fn. 120) and was the terminus for the London coaches. (fn. 121) Also open by 1718 was the Ram, sometimes called the Hand and Pen, adjoining the new market-house. (fn. 122) An inn called the White Lion by 1732, but formerly known as the King's Head, (fn. 123) stood in Butt Street. On the east side of High Street were the King's Head, recorded in 1840, the George, (fn. 124) which had opened by 1780 (fn. 125) and had closed by 1865, (fn. 126) and the White Hart on the corner with Tetbury Street, which was recorded from 1704 and closed c. 1924. (fn. 127) West End had the Trumpet and the Glazier's Arms by 1793 (fn. 128) and the Greyhound and the Swan by 1804, (fn. 129) the latter probably not the inn with that sign recorded in 1635. (fn. 130) In Tetbury Street was the Salutation inn, open by 1775 and until the 1950s, (fn. 131) and in 1804 Butt Street had the Boot, (fn. 132) which had become the Cooper's Arms by 1835. (fn. 133) The Bell, recorded from 1663, (fn. 134) was presumably in the lane south of the churchyard which was called Bell Lane in the 19th century. (fn. 135) The sites of the Unicorn, mentioned in 1651, (fn. 136) and of the Maidenhead, Talbot, and Royal Oak, recorded in 1804, (fn. 137) are not known. In 1973 the Crown, Ram, Swan, and Trumpet remained open.

North of the town the Blue Boys inn on the Cirencester turnpike had opened by 1718 (fn. 138) and was a meeting-place of some importance; the fair was held near by for a period in the 18th century (fn. 139) and the pound was moved there in 1796. (fn. 140) The inn, in a small earlier-17th-century house which has early19th-century extensions on the east, became a farmhouse c. 1865 (fn. 141) and was a dairy in 1973. Further east on the same road the Ragged Cot at Burnt Ash had opened by 1882, (fn. 142) and on the Tetbury turnpike at Woefuldane Bottom there was an inn called the Horse and Groom in 1816. (fn. 143) The oldest inn in the west part of the parish was the Lodge, which originated as a lodge built by the lords of the manor on a piece of several wood in the middle of the common. The building, which dates in part from the 17th century, had become an inn by the beginning of the 18th and was known for its fine bowling-green. (fn. 144) By 1843 it was called the Old Lodge inn to distinguish it from the New Lodge which had opened near by; (fn. 145) c. 1895 the Old Lodge became the golf clubhouse. (fn. 146) The positions of the public houses called the Boot and the Trap, recorded in the west part of the parish in 1804, (fn. 147) are not known, but the Amberley inn, recorded from 1855, (fn. 148) and the Halfway House north of Box, recorded from 1779 under its former sign of the Crown and Crescent, (fn. 149) remained open in 1973. In the north part of the parish the Nelson at Brimscombe and the Yew Tree, higher up the road at Wall's Quarry, had opened by 1840. (fn. 150)

A friendly society for cloth-workers was formed at Minchinhampton in 1744, (fn. 151) and another society was formed in 1776; (fn. 152) in 1786 a branch of the Society of Clothworkers was meeting at the White Lion inn; and friendly societies meeting in other inns had their rules enrolled in 1801, 1821, and 1829. (fn. 153) A Mutual Improvement Society formed in the 1830s organised lectures and meetings in the market-house, which became the centre of social activities after 1919 when it was given to the town. (fn. 154) The Minchinhampton Institute, built in 1907 under the auspices of the Tetbury Street Baptist chapel and on an adjoining site, had a reading-room, library, and recreation room; (fn. 155) in 1973 it housed a branch of the county library. In 1887 there was also a reading-room at a building on the Lower Island in the market-place. (fn. 156) A new youth centre was built on Friday Street in the early 1960s. (fn. 157)

The formation of the Minchinhampton golf club in 1889 marked the beginning of the residential development of the parish, which became increasingly attractive to professional and retired people, (fn. 158) including in the period between the wars many highranking army officers. (fn. 159) An earlier recreational use of the common was horse-racing, which was stopped in the early 19th century by the elder David Ricardo. (fn. 160) The Minchinhampton races held in 1740, however, were run on Hampton Down in the east part of the parish. (fn. 161) The Brimscombe church cricket club had permission to roll a pitch at the south of the common in 1912. (fn. 162)

No events of great note are connected with Minchinhampton; the tradition that a battle between Saxons and Danes occurred in the parish resulted merely from a misunderstanding of the derivation of the name Woefuldane Bottom. (fn. 163) A severe typhoid epidemic occurred in the town in 1846 and caused some controversy when a local doctor attributed it to careless exhumations at the recent rebuilding of the church. (fn. 164) Some of the action of Mrs. Craik's John Halifax Gentleman is set at Amberley, disguised as Enderley. (fn. 165)

James Bradley, the astronomer, (1693-1762), who married Susannah, daughter of Samuel Peach of Chalford, was buried at Minchinhampton. Sir Lewis Pelly (1825-92), a notable Indian civil servant, was born at Hyde House. (fn. 166)


  • 1. P. N. Glos. (E.P.N.S.), i. 95. The history of Minchinhampton given here was written in 1973.
  • 2. e.g. Glos. R.O., photocopy 959, frontispiece. Rudder, Glos. 467, connects the name with the important main road through the parish, but for another possibility, see below, p. 218 n. 5.
  • 3. O.S. Area Bk. (1884).
  • 4. Geol. Surv. Map 1", solid, sheet 34 (1857 edn.).
  • 5. Census, 1901.
  • 6. Ibid. 1961.
  • 7. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 166v.
  • 8. Glos. R.O., MF 339/5, f. 53. The source is a microfilm of a survey and custumal of the estates of Caen Abbey which dates from 1155 × 1176; the original appears in the abbey cart. in Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, MS. Latin 5650. A shorter survey, of 1106 × 31, also appears in the cart. (at ff. 27v.-29v.), and a survey of c. 1200, from which most of the Minchinhampton section is lost, is in Worcs. R.O., 705: 128 [BA 1188/11 (iv)]. The approx. dating is by Mrs. M. Chibnall, who is preparing an edition of the surveys.
  • 9. S.C. 6/856/15.
  • 10. Glos. R.O., MF 339/5, f. 52v.; S.C. 6/856/19.
  • 11. Glos. R.O., D 2019, inspeximus 1605.
  • 12. G.D.R., T 1/120.
  • 13. See p. 191.
  • 14. Glos. R.O., D 2019, inspeximus 1605; Trans. B.G.A.S. liv. 364-5, in an article on the early hist. of the man. by C. E. Watson, which includes a translation of a survey and custumal of c. 1300 (in S.C. 11/238).
  • 15. Glos. R.O., D 1198/1.
  • 16. For the Bulwarks, see Trans. B.G.A.S. lix. 287-307.
  • 17. Cf. the bounds of West field given in G.D.R., V 5/205T 1.
  • 18. Trans. B.G.A.S. liv. 364-5.
  • 19. MS. Top. Glouc. c. 3, f. 166.
  • 20. See p. 192.
  • 21. Cf. the Bisley commons which had a similar history and a similar tradition: pp. 4-5.
  • 22. G.D.R., T 1/120.
  • 23. C. Playne, Minch. Common (1874), 5-7: copy in Glos. Colln. R 205.5; Glos. R.O., D 2219/1/6.
  • 24. Glos. Colln. (H) F 7.7(39); Glos. R.O., D 2219/1/9.
  • 25. Glos. R.O., MF 339/5, f. 52v.; cf. Bryant, Map of Glos. (1824).
  • 26. Glos. R.O., D 1265, Playne fam., Minch. and Avening deeds 1605-1845, inspeximus 1605.
  • 27. Ibid. D 1812, Ricardo fam., deed 1815.
  • 28. W.I. hist. of Minchinhampton (1957, copy in Glos. Colln.), 22.
  • 29. See p. 194.
  • 30. Ex inf. the superintendent, Aston Down.
  • 31. Rudder, Glos. 467.
  • 32. Cal. Pat. 1370-4, 378.
  • 33. Stroud and Cirencester Roads Act, 25 Geo. II, c. 13.
  • 34. Glouc. Jnl. 15 May 1769.
  • 35. Stroud and Chalford Roads Act, 54 Geo. III, c. 80 (Local and Personal).
  • 36. Tetbury Roads Act, 31 Geo. II, c. 65.
  • 37. Playne, Minch. Common, 33.
  • 38. Tiltups Inn to Dudbridge Roads Act, 20 Geo. III, c. 84.
  • 39. G.D.R., V 5/205T 1.
  • 40. J.I. 1/274 rot. 3.
  • 41. Playne, Minch. and Avening, 171-2.
  • 42. G.D.R., V 5/205T 1.
  • 43. Glos. R.O., TS 196/9.
  • 44. Glos. R.O., D 2957/205.5.
  • 45. See p. 200.
  • 46. Shown in Atkyns, Glos., plate at pp. 452-3, and on the map in G.D.R., T 1/120.
  • 47. Glos. R.O., P 217/CW 4/7-8.
  • 48. W.I. hist. of Minch. 7.
  • 49. G.D.R., V 5/205T 2-3, 5; cf. Glos. R.O., P 217/IN 3/1.
  • 50. See below.
  • 51. The date appears with the inits. DF and MF, possibly for members of the Fowler fam.
  • 52. Date and crest on bldg.
  • 53. W.I. hist. of Minch. 5.
  • 54. Glos. R.O., MF 339/5, ff. 53 and v., 54v.; cf. also ibid. f. 56 which makes a distinction between the tenements at Hyde and those 'on the hill'.
  • 55. Atkyns, Glos. 453.
  • 56. Glos. R.O., D 1265, misc. papers; Playne, Minch. and Avening, 118, who gives his house wrongly as Hyde Court; cf. Taylor, Map of Glos. (1777).
  • 57. Glos. N. & Q. v. 390-1; G.D.R., T 1/120.
  • 58. Bigland, Glos. ii. 12.
  • 59. Glos. R.O., D 1815, Clutterbuck fam., abs. of title to Longcroft; G.D.R., T 1/120; memorial window in ch.
  • 60. Ex inf. Mr. F. T. Hammond, of Chalford.
  • 61. Hockaday Abs. cxxxiii; Ed. 7/35/218.
  • 62. Bigland, Glos. ii. 11.
  • 63. Trans. B.G.A.S. liv. 308.
  • 64. See. p. 192.
  • 65. Bigland, Glos. ii. 6; it was called New Farm in 1777: Taylor, Map of Glos.
  • 66. Trans. B.G.A.S. liv. 307-8.
  • 67. Atkyns, Glos. 453.
  • 68. The date appears with the inits. JB on a fireplace in an upper room.
  • 69. Glos. R.O., D 1812, Ricardo fam., deeds of 1809, 1827.
  • 70. Smith, Eccl. Edifices.
  • 71. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1889), 659; inscr. in Amberley ch.
  • 72. Verey, Glos. i. 84.
  • 73. Glos. R.O., D 131/T 13.
  • 74. Ibid. D 1812, Ricardo fam.
  • 75. Glouc. Jnl. 18 Mar. 1816; G.D.R., T 1/120.
  • 76. B. Lowsley, Fam. of Lowsley (priv. print. 1897), 35.
  • 77. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1863), 331.
  • 78. Ibid. (1879), 556.
  • 79. Ibid. (1894), 21; Burke, Peerage (1959), 1663.
  • 80. Verey, Glos. i. 85.
  • 81. The identification is based on an advert. by Messrs. Hayward and Browne offering innoculations at 'the Box House' in 1768, and a reference to Ric. Browne as the owner of 'the Box House' in 1799: Glouc. Jnl. 2 May 1768; Glos. R.O., D 1265, Playne fam., Minch. deeds 1700- 1842, deed 1799.
  • 82. Glos. R.O., D 1265, Playne fam., Minch. deeds 1700- 1842, deed 1800; G.D.R. wills 1689/113.
  • 83. Glos. R.O., D 1265, Playne fam., Minch. deeds 1790- 1821; inscr. in churchyard.
  • 84. G.D.R., T 1/120.
  • 85. A stone reset internally has the date 1682.
  • 86. See p. 191.
  • 87. Cf. Bigland, Glos. ii. 15.
  • 88. Glos. R.O., D 1388/SL 4, no. 61. It stood just within the later Nailsworth par.
  • 89. Plan of property and notes on Frith, penes Mr. J. C. P. Keyte, of Beaudesert Park Sch.
  • 90. Date on fireplace; Architect, 7 Nov. 1874.
  • 91. Glos. R.O., D 1253, Frith fam., Minch. and Amberley deeds 1836-1910; and for White's ownership, ibid. SL 39.
  • 92. Ex inf. Mr. Keyte.
  • 93. Glos. Subsidy Roll, 1327, 16-17.
  • 94. E.H.R. xix. 115.
  • 95. Bodl. MS. Rawl. C.790, f. 9v.
  • 96. Trans. B.G.A.S. lxxxiii. 92.
  • 97. Atkyns, Glos. 454.
  • 98. Rudder, Glos. 471.
  • 99. Census, 1801-41.
  • 100. Rep. Com. Handloom Weavers, p. 427.
  • 101. Census, 1841-1961.
  • 102. Glos. R.O., P 217/CW 2/2.
  • 103. Ibid. VE 2/2.
  • 104. Ibid. 3.
  • 105. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1902), 243.
  • 106. Minch. Official Guide (1970), 4.
  • 107. Glos. R.O., P 217/CH 6/1.
  • 108. Ibid. VE 2/3.
  • 109. Ibid. MI 1/3.
  • 110. W.I. hist. of Minch. 48.
  • 111. Glos. R.O., Q/RUm 442; Stroud Water Act, 45 & 46 Vic. c. 81.
  • 112. Glos. R.O., P 217/CL 1, p. 47.
  • 113. W.I. hist. of Minch. 48.
  • 114. Glos. R.O., P 217/CL 1, p. 47.
  • 115. Smith, Men and Armour, 274.
  • 116. Glos. R.O., photocopy 959, f. 3.
  • 117. Ibid. Q/AV 2, rot. 4.
  • 118. Rep. Com. Handloom Weavers, p. 471.
  • 119. Glos. R.O., D 131/T 14.
  • 120. Ibid. P 217/CH 6/1; Glouc. Jnl. 13 Jan. 1772.
  • 121. Glouc. Jnl. 7 Mar. 1774.
  • 122. Glos. R.O., D 131/T 13-14.
  • 123. Ibid. D 217.
  • 124. Ibid. P 217A/VE 1/2.
  • 125. Ibid. P 217/IN 3/1.
  • 126. Ibid. D 1812, Ricardo fam., sale partics. 1865.
  • 127. Ibid. P 217/CH 1/1; local information.
  • 128. Ibid. D 1812, Ricardo fam., deed 1793.
  • 129. Ibid. P 217A/VE 1/1; cf. ibid. 2.
  • 130. Ibid. photocopy 959, f. 3.
  • 131. Glouc. Jnl. 4 Dec. 1775; W.I. hist. of Minch. 51.
  • 132. Glos. R.O., P 217A/VE 1/1; cf. Gell and Bradshaw, Glos. Dir. (1820), 212.
  • 133. G.D.R., V 5/205T 9.
  • 134. Glos. R.O., P 217/CW 2/1.
  • 135. O.S. Map 1/2,500, Glos. XLIX. 12 (1885 edn.).
  • 136. Glos. R.O., P 217/CH 1/1.
  • 137. Ibid. P 217A/VE 1/1.
  • 138. Ibid. D 131/T 14.
  • 139. Glouc. Jnl. 27 May 1760.
  • 140. Glos. R.O., P 217/VE 2/1.
  • 141. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1863), 311; (1870), 600.
  • 142. O.S. Map 6", Glos. L. SW. (1884 edn.).
  • 143. Glos. R.O., D 1812, Ricardo fam., deed 1816.
  • 144. Ibid. D 1265, Playne fam., Minch. and Avening deeds 1605-1845; Bodl. MS. Top. Glouc. c. 3, f. 166.
  • 145. Glos. R.O., D 2219/1/4.
  • 146. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1894), 237; (1897), 240.
  • 147. Glos. R.O., P 217A/VE 1/1.
  • 148. Ibid. D 25/1/2.
  • 149. Glouc. Jnl. 29 Nov. 1779.
  • 150. Glos. R.O., P 217A/VE 1/2.
  • 151. Glouc. Jnl. 21 Feb. 1744.
  • 152. Ibid. 5 Feb. 1776.
  • 153. Glos. R.O., Q/RSf 2; P.R.O., Ind. 25526 nos. 137, 215.
  • 154. W.I. hist. of Minch. 10-11.
  • 155. Ibid. 17; date on bldg.
  • 156. Glos. R.O., P 217/CW 4/7.
  • 157. Ex inf. Mr. R. T. Walker, chairman of par. council.
  • 158. Playne, Minch. and Avening, 126.
  • 159. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1931), 27, 54, 256-7.
  • 160. Playne, Minch. Common, 33.
  • 161. Glouc. Jnl. 20 May 1740.
  • 162. Glos. R.O., D 2219/1/9.
  • 163. Bodl. MS. Top. Glouc. c. 3, f. 166; Rudder, Glos. 468; cf. P. N. Glos. (E.P.N.S.), i. 99-100.
  • 164. Playne, Minch. and Avening, 58-9.
  • 165. Eng. Illustrated Mag. July 1901, 342-7.
  • 166. D.N.B.