Minchinhampton: 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.

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A P Baggs. A R J Jurica. W J Sheils, 'Minchinhampton: Manors and other estates', A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976), pp. 190-193. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol11/pp190-193 [accessed 13 June 2024].

A P Baggs. A R J Jurica. W J Sheils. "Minchinhampton: Manors and other estates", in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976) 190-193. British History Online, accessed June 13, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol11/pp190-193.

Baggs, A P. Jurica, A R J. Sheils, W J. "Minchinhampton: Manors and other estates", A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976). 190-193. British History Online. Web. 13 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol11/pp190-193.


The manor of MINCHINHAMPTON, comprising 8 hides and including Rodborough, was held before the Conquest by Goda (fn. 1) (or Godgifu), sister of Edward the Confessor and wife of Eustace, count of Boulogne. (fn. 2) In 1082 King William and Queen Maud granted it to the nuns of Caen Abbey in Normandy. (fn. 3) The manor, together with Avening which descended with it until the early 19th century, was apparently held at farm by Simon of Felstead for a period in the early 12th century, (fn. 4) and later it was farmed by Simon's son William, who quitclaimed his rights to the abbey in 1192. (fn. 5) For most of the 14th century the manor was forfeit because of the war with France and was held under the Crown by a succession of farmers or custodians, and it passed irrevocably to the Crown by the Act of 1414. In 1324 after a short period of forfeiture the manor was restored to Caen Abbey's proctors for a fine of £200 (fn. 6) but in 1341 it was in the custody of Maud de Burgh, countess of Ulster. (fn. 7) Later it was granted to Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester, who made a 7-year lease to Philip Rodborough and John Craft in 1390. (fn. 8) In 1397 after the expiry of the lease and Thomas's death the Crown granted the manor to Andrew Haake and his wife Blanche at a farm of £80, (fn. 9) and in 1399 it was granted at farm to Hugh Waterton and his wife Catherine. (fn. 10) Catherine, as a widow, retained possession in 1411 (fn. 11) but in 1413 the manor was granted at an increased farm to Catherine, widow of John Bromwich, who soon afterwards married Roger Leech and died in 1420. (fn. 12) It then passed, under a reversionary grant of 1414, to Alice, widow of John Phillips, (fn. 13) who married secondly Thomas Montague, earl of Salisbury (d. 1428), and thirdly William de la Pole, earl (later duke) of Suffolk (d. 1450); (fn. 14) Alice retained the manor until her death in 1475. (fn. 15) The rent paid by the farmers of the manor was settled on Queen Joan (d. 1437) in 1409, (fn. 16) and in 1424 Henry V granted the reversion of the farm rent and the reversion of the manor itself to his foundation Syon Abbey (Mdx.). (fn. 17) The abbey evidently took possession of the manor on the duchess of Suffolk's death and retained it until the Dissolution. (fn. 18)

In 1542 Henry VIII granted the manor to Andrew Windsor, Lord Windsor (d. 1543), who was compelled to surrender to the king his manor of Stanwell (Mdx.), (fn. 19) and it passed in direct line to Sir William Windsor (d. 1558), (fn. 20) Sir Edward (d. 1575), and Frederick (fn. 21) (d. 1585). Frederick was succeeded by his brother Henry (d. 1605), whose son Thomas (d. 1641) settled the manor on his nephew Thomas Windsor Hickman on condition that he took the surname Windsor. (fn. 22) The younger Thomas sold the manor in 1656 to Philip Sheppard (fn. 23) (d. 1713), (fn. 24) from whom it passed in direct line to Samuel (d. 1724), Samuel (d. by 1754), (fn. 25) and Samuel (d. 1770). The last Samuel was succeeded in the manor by his brother Edward but a considerable estate in Minchinhampton and Avening had been settled on Samuel's marriage in 1747 and was retained by his widow Jane; the four daughters of the marriage, Jane (who married Francis Boughton), Ann, Sarah, and Mary, made a partition of their reversionary right to the estate in 1784. (fn. 26) Edward Sheppard (d. 1803) was succeeded in the manor by his son Philip, whose extravagance led to the piecemeal selling of parts of the estate and some of the manorial assets. (fn. 27) Finally, in 1814, Philip sold the manor to David Ricardo, (fn. 28) the political economist. Ricardo devised it on his death in 1823 to his second son David, (fn. 29) whose estate in the parish covered 1,709 a. in 1839, by which time most of the property alienated by Philip Sheppard had been bought back. (fn. 30) The younger David was M.P. for Stroud 1832-3 and chairman of the board of guardians of the Stroud union until 1856, (fn. 31) and, like all the Ricardos, he took an active and beneficial interest in the affairs of the parish. On his death in 1864 he was succeeded by his son Henry David (d. 1873), after whose death trustees held the manor until the coming of age of his son Henry George in 1881. The younger Henry, who followed a military career, held the estate until a year or two before his death in 1940, (fn. 32) when he sold it to Samuel Courtauld (d. 1947), who was succeeded by his son-in-law, the politician R. A. Butler, later Lord Butler of Saffron Walden. Lord Butler retained the estate in 1973 when it comprised c. 530 a. of farm-land and c. 270 a. of woodland. (fn. 33)

The ancient manor-house of Minchinhampton stood west of the church with a well-wooded park on its north and west sides. At the beginning of the 14th century it had fairly extensive farm buildings including a cattleshed, dairy, wool-house, granary, and grange, (fn. 34) and in 1450 a chapel and a gatehouse with a chamber over were also mentioned. (fn. 35) In the early 18th century it was a gabled house in traditional style with a formal garden on the north side and a farmyard and buildings, including a circular dovecot, on the south. Philip Sheppard made it his residence (fn. 36) and his descendants lived there or at Avening (fn. 37) until the 1770s when a new house was built at Gatcombe Park in the south part of the parish. The old manorhouse, then known as Hampton Park but formerly called the Farm, with its park and other lands was sold by Philip Sheppard to Richard Harris in 1809. Harris, originally of Bourne but later of Wood House in Minchinhampton, built up a considerable estate in the parish at that period but he later became heavily mortgaged (fn. 38) and sold the Hampton Park estate back to the owner of the manor, David Ricardo, in 1830. Some years previously William Whitehead had contracted to buy the property and, although the transaction was uncompleted at the time of his bankruptcy in 1827, (fn. 39) he is said to have demolished the house and begun the foundations of an extensive new residence. The site was later occupied by the school. (fn. 40)

The house at Gatcombe Park, for which Francis Franklin of Chalford was the mason-in-charge and possibly the designer, was begun by Edward Sheppard in 1771 (fn. 41) and he was living there by 1774. (fn. 42) It was a simple rectangular block with a central entrance hall and staircase, to which bow-fronted wings were added by Basevi for David Ricardo c. 1820. At the same period a curved iron conservatory was added on the west, joining the house to a summer-house, and stable buildings around an oval yard were built to the east. (fn. 43)

Among several estates whose owners held from the chief manor by the service of helping to carry Caen Abbey's money to Southampton, (fn. 44) was one anciently called the manor of SEINCKLEY or SEYNTCLEY, a name later corrupted to St. Loe or St. Chloe. It was held in 1273 and 1294 by John of Seyntcley (fn. 45) but c. 1300, when it comprised 1½ yardland and 2½ a., it belonged to Miles of Rodborough. (fn. 46) Miles's son Thomas forfeited the estate by involvement in the rebellion of 1322. (fn. 47) An estate, described as a house and yardland at Seinckley, belonged to Maurice, Lord Berkeley, at his death in 1368 (fn. 48) and was held in dower by his widow Elizabeth (d. 1389), reverting to their son Thomas, (fn. 49) Lord Berkeley (d. 1417). The estate passed to Thomas's nephew James (d. 1463), whose son William, Lord Berkeley, held it in 1470. (fn. 50) Antony Wye with Guy Hill and Susan his wife were dealing with the manor of Seinckley in 1573, (fn. 51) and in 1605 it belonged to James Dunning. (fn. 52) In the later 17th century it passed to Nathaniel Ridler of Edgeworth and in 1698 the estate, comprising St. Loe's House and 44 a., was bought from him by the trustees of Nathaniel Cambridge for the purposes of a charity school. (fn. 53) The house remained a school until 1908, (fn. 54) and from then until 1940 was tenanted by H. A. Payne, a stained glass painter. (fn. 55) In 1973 it was owned and occupied by Mr. J. F. Swatton.

The medieval house at St. Loe's appears to have been built around two courtyards, separated by a range of buildings which may have included the hall but of which only one wall survives. On the lower, western court there survives a two storeyed, late14th-century range on the north, and a long range, probably 15th-century, on the west. The eastern court is surrounded by a high wall, considerably reconstructed, with a late medieval gateway in the south-east corner, but there is no surviving evidence of buildings. In the earlier 17th century a new range, incorporating some old materials, was built on the south side of the lower court, and at the end of that century the conversion of the north range for use as the schoolroom involved the removal of the upper floor, the insertion of tall windows in its north wall, the reconstruction of its roof, and the placing of a bell over the east end. Early in the 18th century the west range was remodelled with new windows and floors and a reconstructed roof, incorporating the main timbers of its medieval predecessor; at the same period a new staircase was built in the angle of the west and south ranges. Twentieth-century restoration revealed an original staircase and a probable garderobe in the north range.

Another small manor, called DELAMERES or LAMBERDES, may have represented lands in Minchinhampton in which Malmesbury Abbey claimed rights c. 1234, (fn. 56) for it carried a rent of 40s. to the abbey in 1292. (fn. 57) The estate apparently included only the house and ½ yardland which Richard Syred granted to Robert de la Mare in 1259 (fn. 58) but by the end of that century ½ hide at Hyde had been added to it. (fn. 59) It descended with the de la Mares' Cherington manor until 1410 (fn. 60) when William Roach was succeeded by her infant grandson John Baynton. (fn. 61) The estate later passed to Robert Baynton on whose attainder in 1471 it was taken by the Crown (fn. 62) which granted it to John Cheyne in 1475. (fn. 63) In 1485 Delameres was being farmed by William Gyan, rector of Minchinhampton, when George Neville had a grant of the reversion. (fn. 64) The later descent of the estate has not been traced but tradition associates it with the house called the Lammas, south-west of the main cross-roads in Minchinhampton town. (fn. 65) That house belonged in the later 18th century to Nathaniel Perks, who was succeeded before 1787 by Mary and Elizabeth Pinfold. (fn. 66) They devised it to William Cockin, rector of Minchinhampton (d. 1841), and Cockin's heir sold it in 1876 to C. R. Bayries. (fn. 67) Cockin appears to have rebuilt the house, a large villa standing in extensive pleasure grounds, soon after he came into possession of the estate.

One of the estates which owed the money-carrying service to Caen Abbey was held c. 1300 by Alan of Forwood when it comprised 3 yardlands, (fn. 68) and it later passed to William of Forwood (d. c. 1333). (fn. 69) It was apparently that estate which John Craft held in the later 14th century, passing by 1438 to the chantry of St. Mary, (fn. 70) among possessions of which in 1548 was a house called Forwood with 100 a. land. (fn. 71) It may have been either of two estates later bearing the name.

An estate, comprising FORWOOD FARM and 130 a., belonged to Thomas Elkington, a London merchant, in 1637 (fn. 72) and after his death was partitioned among his daughters, of whom Sarah and her husband William Plumley of Ratcliffe (Mdx.), mariner, held a fourth part in 1663. In 1696 Sarah, by then widowed, sold out to the mortgagee Nathaniel Owen of Sevenoaks (Kent), mercer, who appears to also have acquired the other shares in the property. Nathaniel died in 1705, leaving Forwood farm to his widow Elizabeth with reversion to his son Salem, and in 1710 Salem and Elizabeth sold the estate, then comprising the house and 113 a., to John Barnfield, clothier of Minchinhampton, (d. 1714 or 1715). John was succeeded by his son Samuel, who was in business as a clothier at Trowbridge in 1737 when he sold the equity of redemption to the mortgagee, John Purnell of Dursley. John Purnell, apparently the same man, retained the estate in 1782 but was dead by 1784, being succeeded by his son William who sold it that year to Edward Tugwell, a Tetbury wool-stapler. The estate passed to Edward's son John (d. 1790) and then to his daughter Elizabeth who with her husband, the Revd. Joseph Williams of Wickwar, owned it in 1807. In that year she contracted for its sale to Peter Playne, who took possession then although the transaction was not completed until 1815 pending the majority of her children. (fn. 73) Peter's brother George Playne (fn. 74) was occupying the house by 1808, (fn. 75) and in 1839 he owned the house with 29 a. and was working a brewery there. (fn. 76) George died in 1847 (fn. 77) and was succeeded by another George Playne (d. c. 1870). (fn. 78) Fitzarthur Henry Playne owned Forwood Farm in 1897. (fn. 79) The house, which is of the 17th century with 19thcentury additions, was in two occupations in 1973.

An estate of 101 a., including FORWOOD HOUSE and another house near by called Colthrops, was granted by the lord of Minchinhampton manor to Francis Manning, a butcher, in 1651. (fn. 80) In 1684 his son Francis Manning, clothier, (fn. 81) settled the two houses and part of the lands on his marriage to Sarah Showering, who apparently survived him. In 1724 Francis's daughter Martha and Thomas Hathway, who had married her sister Anna and held by right of his infant daughter Hester, agreed to partition the property until Hester's majority, and in 1737 Hester's moiety was settled on her marriage to James Chambers. (fn. 82) Martha later married Luke Showering of Bristol and in 1748 their daughter Sarah agreed that James and Hester should have the chief house and the bulk of the lands. (fn. 83) James died in 1787 and was succeeded by his son Thomas Chambers (fn. 84) who settled the estate on the marriage of his son James in 1802. (fn. 85) By 1839 an estate of 105 a. at Forwood belonged to Francis Chambers (fn. 86) (d. 1850). The estate passed with Thrupp House, Stroud, where the family afterwards resided, to W. C. Chambers who apparently sold it c. 1895. (fn. 87) Forwood House became detached from the estate in the early 19th century, apparently in 1827 when Francis Chambers conveyed it to James C. Chambers, (fn. 88) and subsequently it passed through various owners. In 1948 it was bought by Sir Robert Ricketts, Bt., a solicitor, who owned it in 1973. (fn. 89) The original small 17th-century house was extended to the north in the mid 18th century and provided with a central pediment and new window-surrounds to create a symmetrical eastern elevation. The symmetry was destroyed by alterations at the north end in the early 19th century, and a verandah was added to the main front in the middle of the century. Considerable alterations were made to the service quarters in the mid 20th century.

In 1438 John Hampton, senior, and John Hampton, junior, held property from Minchinhampton manor (fn. 90) and a John Hampton owned an estate comprising 20 tenements in Minchinhampton, Avening, and Frampton Mansell at his death c. 1461. Provision was made out of the estate for his widow Ellen but he was apparently succeeded by his daughter Alice (fn. 91) who was in possession of the estate in 1507 when it was claimed to be a manor. (fn. 92) At or before her death in 1516 she granted her estate to Syon Abbey, which she herself entered as a lay sister, (fn. 93) and it was absorbed in the chief manor.


  • 1. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 166v.
  • 2. Trans. B.G.A.S. xl. 57.
  • 3. Cal. Doc. France, ed. Round, p. 141.
  • 4. Glos. R.O., MF 339/5, f. 53; cf. ibid. f. 43v.
  • 5. Cal. Doc. France, ed. Round, p. 150.
  • 6. S.C. 6/1125/15.
  • 7. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 407; cf. Cal. Pat. 1345-8, 470.
  • 8. Cal. Pat. 1396-9, 464.
  • 9. Cal. Fine R. 1391-9, 246, 261.
  • 10. Ibid. 1399-1405, 14.
  • 11. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1359-1413, 262.
  • 12. Cal. Fine R. 1413-22, 43; C 138/244 no. 94.
  • 13. Cal. Pat. 1413-16, 257; C 138/244 no. 42.
  • 14. Complete Peerage, xii (1), 446-7.
  • 15. Cal. Pat. 1467-77, 65; Complete Peerage, xii (1), 448.
  • 16. Cal. Pat. 1408-13, 87; 1413-16, 166.
  • 17. Ibid. 1422-9, 205-7, which says that Cath. Bromwich still holds the man. and does not mention Alice's right; but in 1444 the abbey had another grant of the reversion from after Alice's death: ibid. 1441-6, 272.
  • 18. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/2396 rot. 142.
  • 19. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xvii, p. 167; for the Windsors, see Complete Peerage, xii (2), 792-800.
  • 20. C 142/173 no. 68.
  • 21. C 142/173 no. 62.
  • 22. C 142/499 no. 31.
  • 23. Glos. R.O., D 131/T 14, deed of 1718; cf. Atkyns, Glos. 452, who says, however, that Philip's father Samuel was the purchaser.
  • 24. For the Sheppards, see Visit. Glos. 1682-3, 167-8.
  • 25. Glos. R.O., D 131/T 14.
  • 26. Ibid. T 13.
  • 27. Playne, Minch. and Avening, 41; Glos. R.O., D 1812, Ricardo fam.
  • 28. Glos. R.O., D 131/T 14.
  • 29. For the Ricardos, see Burke, Land. Gent. (1937), 1912.
  • 30. G.D.R., T 1/120.
  • 31. Williams, Parl. Hist. of Glos. 224.
  • 32. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870 and later edns.); inscr. to H. G. Ricardo in ch.
  • 33. Ex inf. Lord Butler.
  • 34. S.C. 6/856/15, 17.
  • 35. S.C. 6/857/9.
  • 36. Atkyns, Glos. plate at pp. 452-3; Bigland, Glos. ii. 5, records a tradition that another house, at the centre of the town, had been used as a residence by the Windsors.
  • 37. Glos. R.O., D 131/T 13-14.
  • 38. Ibid. D 1812, Ricardo fam.; cf. ibid. D 182/III/143.
  • 39. Ibid. D 1812, Ricardo fam., deed of 1830.
  • 40. Playne, Minch. and Avening, 43.
  • 41. Glouc. Jnl. 22 July 1771; cf. Glos. R.O., D 131/T 14, deed of 1814.
  • 42. Glos. R.O., D 1812, Ricardo fam., records of presentations to Minch. rectory.
  • 43. Colvin, Biog. Dict. Eng. Architects, 64; Delineations of Glos., plate facing p. 42.
  • 44. Trans. B.G.A.S. liv. 220-1.
  • 45. S.C. 2/175/79, 82.
  • 46. Trans. B.G.A.S. liv. 303-4.
  • 47. S.C. 6/1145/15.
  • 48. Cal. Inq. p.m. xii, pp. 194-5.
  • 49. Berkeley MSS. i. 373-4; ii. 17.
  • 50. Burke, Peerage (1959), 207; S.C. 2/175/88.
  • 51. C.P. 25(2)/142/1814 no. 11.
  • 52. C.P. 25(2)/297/3 Jas. I Trin. no. 1; cf. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1625-42, iii. 20.
  • 53. Glos. R.O., D 2219/5/1.
  • 54. See p. 205.
  • 55. Inscr. on stained glass window at the house.
  • 56. Cur. Reg. R. xv, p. 237.
  • 57. Cal. Inq. p.m. iii, p. 30.
  • 58. C.P. 25(1)/74/24 no. 534.
  • 59. Trans. B.G.A.S. liv. 310.
  • 60. See p. 168.
  • 61. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1359-1413, 261-2.
  • 62. C 140/532 no. 43.
  • 63. Cal. Pat. 1467-77, 534.
  • 64. Ibid. 1476-85, 550.
  • 65. Playne, Minch. and Avening, 117. The identification appears to be supported by the description of Delameres manor in 1475 as by the spring of Minchinhampton, for the Lammas is not far from the old town water supply in Well Hill: Cal. Pat. 1467-77, 534.
  • 66. Taylor, Map of Glos. (1777); Glos. R.O., P 217/VE 2/1.
  • 67. Playne, Minch. and Avening, 79, 117; and inscr. to Cockin in ch.
  • 68. Trans. B.G.A.S. liv. 308-9.
  • 69. S.C. 2/175/85.
  • 70. S.C. 11/239, 241; cf. Hockaday Abs. cclxxxiii, 1548, where John is given with Wm. of Prestbury as joint founder of the chantry.
  • 71. Cal. Pat. 1548-9, 54.
  • 72. Glos. R.O., D 2957/205.8.
  • 73. Ibid. D 1265, Playne fam., deeds of Forwood Fm. 1663-1815.
  • 74. For the relationship, see ibid. Minch. and Avening deeds 1605-1845, will of Wm. Playne 1819.
  • 75. Ibid. Minch. deeds 1790-1821.
  • 76. G.D.R., T 1/120.
  • 77. Tombstone in churchyard.
  • 78. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856), 328; Glos. R.O., P 217/VE 2/4, entry for 1870.
  • 79. Glos. Colln. RX 205.3.
  • 80. Glos. R.O., D 1198/1.
  • 81. Ibid. D 1705.
  • 82. Ibid. D 1756/1.
  • 83. Ibid. D 1933.
  • 84. Glouc. Jnl. 23 Apr. 1787; Glos. R.O., D 1157, Clutterbuck fam., deeds of Forwood and Nether Lypiatt 1649-1801.
  • 85. Glos. R.O., D 1756/1.
  • 86. G.D.R., T 1/120.
  • 87. See p. 115; Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870 and later edns.).
  • 88. Sched. of deeds, penes Sir Rob. Ricketts, of Forwood House; cf. G.D.R., T 1/120.
  • 89. Ex inf. Sir Rob. Ricketts.
  • 90. S.C. 11/241.
  • 91. S.C. 11/242, a rental of John's est. drawn up in 1462 or 1463 by Wm. Hampton, alderman of London. Trans. B.G.A.S. liv. 340, states that Wm. succeeded John and was himself succeeded after 1472 by his brother, another John Hampton, who was father of Alice; but the Hampton brass in Minch. ch. shows Alice to have been the daughter of John and Ellen Hampton.
  • 92. S.C. 2/175/89.
  • 93. Playne, Minch. and Avening, 69; cf. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/1176.