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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In 1086 the demesne of Minchinhampton manor comprised 5 ploughlands and supported 10 servi; 20 a. of meadow were also recorded on the manor. (fn. 1) The five plough-teams each comprised 8 oxen in the early 12th century and they were probably still used in the later part of the century when 10 demesne ploughmen, presumably a plough-holder and a driver for each, were retained. By the later 12th century, however, some demesne land was leased to tenants and arable farming had perhaps already yielded in importance to sheep-farming. In the early years of the century a flock of 467 adult and yearling sheep were recorded on the demesne and two demesne shepherds were employed by the 1170s. The other stock on the manor early in the century included 6 dairy cows, 29 goats, and 40 pigs, (fn. 2) and much dairy produce and bacon was evidently shipped over to Caen at that period; by the beginning of the 14th century, however, the profits were mainly taken out in cash. (fn. 3)
By the early 14th century the demesne was organised principally for sheep-farming. The flock then numbered c. 1,000 (including the young animals) and the annual sale of wool and fleeces brought in c. £40, providing about a third of all the receipts of the manor and comparing with corn sales of around £17. The demesne land in tillage was then used mainly for growing oats with smaller crops of wheat, barley, rye, pulse, and dredge. The dairy herd and the herd of pigs were still maintained. A number of farm-workers were employed at wages and allowances in grain, and some also held tenements for their service; those employed were usually 2 ploughmen, 3 or more drivers of plough-teams and carts, 3 shepherds, a cowman, and a dairyman. Some at least of the customary labour-services were still used for threshing. (fn. 4) By 1381 the flock of sheep on the demesne had been reduced to 265 but the sale of wool still brought in £22, which came partly from the profits of the shearing of other sheep pastured on the associated manors of Avening and Lowesmore. A total of 108 a. were sown in that year, 51 a. with oats, 31 a. with dredge, and 26 a. with barley. The dairy herd had been dispersed. (fn. 5) By 1412 arable farming had been given up and most of the demesne land was leased, but a flock of sheep, then numbering 522, was still kept and some land retained in hand as pasture. (fn. 6) In the succeeding years the flock was gradually reduced, largely as a result of disease and kebbing, and the remainder was sold in 1417, from which time all the demesne land was leased. (fn. 7) In 1635 the demesne lands on lease with the manor-house comprised 559 a., including 198 a. in the open fields. (fn. 8)
The tenants on the manor in 1086 were 32 villani and 10 bordars with 24 ploughs between them. (fn. 9) Later evidence for the tenantry in the Middle Ages is comprised largely in two surveys of the manor, one from the period 1155-76 and the other from c. 1300; they include Rodborough as well as the part later transferred to Nailsworth and the mill-tenements at Chalford that belonged to the manor. By the later 12th century a variety of holdings had evolved, predominant among them 12 large freehold estates which owed money rents and one or two ploughing, reaping, and carrying services; they included a 5yardland estate of Reynold of Hyde, a 3¾-yardland estate of Ellis son of Avice, and a 3½-yardland estate of Hardwin son of Roger, (fn. 10) and undoubtedly some represented the various sub-manors that later evolved. At the beginning of the 14th century six of the larger freeholds were distinguished by the serjeanty service of journeying with Caen Abbey's steward to Southampton with the cash profits of the manor: Adam Spilman and Thomas of Rodborough for their Rodborough manors and Alan of Forwood for his estate were required to make the journey mounted at their own cost, while Miles of Rodborough for Seinckley manor, Richard Elyvant for a yardland, and John Mayel for a yardland with assart land, performed their service on foot. (fn. 11) Some of the other more important tenements, however, including Achards manor in Rodborough, Delameres manor, a 2½-yardland estate at Hyde held by John Bennett, and a 3¼-yardland estate of Richard Kynne, did not share in this service. (fn. 12)
The largest category of tenements in the later 12th century were 65 holdings whose occupants were known as francalani; they varied in size but included 6 full yardland estates and 24 half-yardlands. Some were held for money rents and boon-works and had possibly never borne the full servile burdens but others were former customary tenements whose occupants had been given the option of performing only the labour-services required in the busy August month and compounding for the rest of the year. (fn. 13) By the beginning of the 14th century, when the tenants held by money rents and a few days' work at particular seasons, that category of tenement had become even more diversified; in particular there were many more quarter-yardland holdings and holdings comprising a house and a piece of assart land, (fn. 14) and there were also three designated burgages. (fn. 15)
The customary tenements in the later 12th century comprised two yardlands, 10 half-yardlands, and 7 cotseldae. The service owed from the full yardland included work on each day of the week except Saturday at the usual agricultural tasks or sometimes on the carriage of cheese and bacon to Southampton, and servile dues such as pannage and toll on the sale of animals. The service of a hen at Christmas and 5 eggs at Easter charged on the customary yardland was evidently then as later given specifically for having the custom of the wood, (fn. 16) and c. 1300 many of the enfranchised tenants were also liable to it. (fn. 17) The cotseldae tenements of the later 12th century owed two days' work each week on tasks which included helping the demesne shepherds with the lambing and assisting the swineherd to drive the pigs to mast. (fn. 18) At the beginning of the 14th century the customary tenements were two yardlands, the tenants of which paid some money rent, having been quit of their work in alternate weeks between October and July, 16 half-yardlands which still owed their full services, and one fardel which owed two days a week and was thus presumably the equivalent of the earlier cotselda. In addition there were some customary tenements the tenants of which had been released from their works for life, and another which owed only half the works because it comprised poor ground. (fn. 19)
Some tenements on the manor were held for specialized services. The two demesne shepherds held a yardland by their service in the later 12th century, (fn. 20) and c. 1300 there were 5 fardels known as ploughman's land which had originally supported the demesne ploughmen, although the tenants of only two still performed the service. (fn. 21) At both periods there was a half-yardland that was quit of services while its occupant minded the lady's swine (fn. 22) and a cowherd held a half-yardland by his service in the later 12th century, as did the lady's reeve. (fn. 23) Robert the smith, who also held a grindery at money rent, was required to do shoeing service for his tenement c. 1300, while another smith held by the service of hanging doors in the manor-house, providing the ironwork for the demesne ploughs, and supplying horseshoes, hoes, and sickles. (fn. 24)
In 1635 Minchinhampton manor, excluding Rodborough, had about 35 agricultural holdings; the largest had 140 a. of arable in the open fields but most had around 30-40 a. All were held for lives but only a few of them were specified as customary tenements, the others being perhaps held on leases for lives free of all customary status. There were also 50 or 60 cottages or tenements held for lives without any land attached, (fn. 25) reflecting the growth of Minchinhampton town and, presumably, also the beginnings of the outlying weaving settlements. A considerable number of tenements was alienated from the manor at quit-rents in the 1650s but some copyholds survived into the mid 18th century (fn. 26) by which time, however, leases for 99 years determinable by lives were the most usual form of tenure on the manor estate. (fn. 27)
A crop rotation between 3 fields was apparently the practice on the manor in the later 14th century, for all the demesne land sown in 1379 lay in West field and that sown in 1381 lay mainly in East field. (fn. 28) There were 3 main open fields in the parish in the 16th century; they were West field lying between the town and the Bulwarks, South field (later called Gatcombe or Longstone field) on the south-east of the town, and East field (later called North or Long field) lying beyond South field. (fn. 29) A small open field called Haygrove field adjoined the park near the Blue Boys inn. (fn. 30) The fields covered a large area in the early 17th century when the lands held in them by the tenants of the chief manor were extended at c. 1,300 a. (fn. 31) The first inclosure from the open fields is said to have occurred at the beginning of the 18th century at Peaches Farm (fn. 32) and was probably represented by the 72-a. field called Longfield Tyning which belonged to the farm in 1823. (fn. 33) Inclosure was apparently proceeding in 1721 when numerous exchanges of land in the three big fields were made (fn. 34) but several hundred acres of open-field land still remained in 1780. (fn. 35) All the rector's glebe in West field and Long field was inclosed by 1807, (fn. 36) and by 1839 inclosure of those fields had been completed leaving only some land open in Longstone field near Crackstone Farm. (fn. 37)
In the late 18th century it was believed that the two big open fields on the east side of the town had formerly been sheep-pasture; (fn. 38) the tradition, although probably inaccurate, may reflect the scale of sheep-farming in the parish in medieval times when, besides the large demesne flock and the flock for which the rector was employing a shepherd in 1294 and 1381, (fn. 39) there were evidently sizable flocks kept by the tenantry. (fn. 40) Sheep were still sufficiently numerous to employ three shepherds in 1608. (fn. 41) The main pasture for the demesne flock in the Middle Ages was provided by the Hampton Downs and Aston Down, (fn. 42) lying beyond the common fields in the extreme eastern end of the parish. The former, comprising Great Down with 103 a. and Little Down with 36 a., were extended as part of the demesne lands in 1635 but were said to be common during the winter months while Aston Down, which presumably represented the part of the Minchinhampton downs in which the men of Aston had common rights c. 1200, was apparently common during the summer. (fn. 43) In the 18th and 19th centuries, however, the former downs were farmed as large, mainly arable, fields belonging to Aston farm. (fn. 44) Their place as the chief common pasture was taken by Minchinhampton common in the north-west of the parish. The meadow land of the demesne lay in Burymoor, evidently situated in the vicinity of the Bulwarks, and at Nailsworth in the Middle Ages (fn. 45) but whether in common or several meadows is not known.
In the 18th century arable farming continued on a considerable scale, occupying most of the land outside the woods and Minchinhampton common. (fn. 46) In 1780 the largest farms were overwhelmingly arable, although they may also have maintained flocks or herds on the common: they were a farm of 476 a. on the manorial estate, of which only 18 a. were pasture; 367 a. in the parish belonging to Aston farm in Avening, of which 154 a. were pasture; a farm of 286 a. with 13 a. of pasture; a farm owned and occupied by Nathaniel Perks with 29 a. of pasture out of 166 a.; and a farm of 139 a., belonging to Jane Sheppard's estate, which had 6 a. of pasture. (fn. 47) In 1839 there were 2,230 a. of arable to 1,340 a. of meadow and pasture in the parish (fn. 48) and arable still predominated c. 1901 when 1,644 a. were recorded compared with 1,107 a. of grassland. (fn. 49) There were 12 farms in Minchinhampton in 1856, mainly situated in the east part of the parish and on the northern slopes, (fn. 50) and there were 13 in the late 1930s, including a smallholding, a poultry-farm, and a pig-farm. (fn. 51)
Mills and the Cloth Industry.
Eight mills were recorded on Minchinhampton manor in 1086 and in the early 12th century, (fn. 52) a figure which probably included some in Rodborough. Apart from some mills at Chalford, which are dealt with under Bisley, and others in the part of the parish that was taken into Nailsworth, Minchinhampton contained six substantial cloth-mills; three of them occupied sites which can be traced back to the beginning of the 14th century, and one of them, Longfords Mill, was developed as one of the most important businesses in the region in the 19th century and still produced cloth in 1973. The movement towards mechanisation was under way in the mills of the parish by 1799 when the vestry decided that they were, as a result, much under-rated and decided to add an additional £20 to the valuation for each water-driven machine. (fn. 53)
The cloth industry was established by the later 12th century when there were four fullers among the tenants of the manor, (fn. 54) apparently the earliest record of the industry in the Stroud region. Walter le Taynturer, whose son was mentioned in 1248, (fn. 55) was probably a dyer or a tenter, and Richard le Scermon, recorded in 1273, (fn. 56) was perhaps a shearman. Alice the wife of Reynold the walker held a sluice near Wimberley Mill c. 1300. (fn. 57) Seven fullers were paying for licence to dig fuller's earth on the manor in 1307, although they included men from Woodchester and Dudbridge, and William Huckvale (fn. 58) who possibly worked a Stroud mill. The cloth-workers enumerated in 1608 were 4 clothiers, 24 tuckers, 33 weavers, and a dyer, (fn. 59) and in 1824 it was estimated that out of a population of c. 5,000 more than half were employed in the industry. (fn. 60) The service trades of the industry employed a few inhabitants, including a slay-maker recorded in 1735, (fn. 61) a shear-maker who died in 1729, (fn. 62) and millwrights recorded in 1737 and 1879. (fn. 63) A wool-stapler was trading in the town in 1820. (fn. 64)
St. Mary's Mill, on the Frome below Chalford, (fn. 65) took its name from the chantry in Minchinhampton church to which it belonged from 1338. (fn. 66) It was a fulling-mill by 1548 when it was granted with the chantry's other possessions to John Thynne and Lawrence Hyde; the tenant was then Francis Halliday (fn. 67) and in 1594 the property, comprising a messuage, 2 fulling-mills, a gig-mill, and a gristmill, was conveyed by Edward Halliday to Henry Winchcombe (or Whiting) of Upton St. Leonards, clothier. (fn. 68) Henry (d. 1617) was succeeded by his son Henry, (fn. 69) who was styled a yeoman of Upton in 1640 when the mill was occupied by Edward Arundell. The younger Henry devised the mill at his death c. 1661 to his nephew Henry Ockold of Gloucester and it passed to Richard Ockold (d. 1689 or 1690), whose trustees sold it, with an estate of over 150 a. in Minchinhampton and Nether Lypiatt, to Thomas Ridler, clothier of Stroud. (fn. 70) It belonged to Thomas's son Nathaniel Ridler of Cirencester in 1707 when he had a grant in fee from the lord of Bisley manor of the rack-grounds used by the occupiers at Skaits hill on the opposite side of the valley. The mill passed to Nathaniel's brother Robert (fn. 71) who was dead by 1711 when, at a partition between his sisters and coheirs, the mill was assigned to Mary who married Richard Cambridge of Pudhill, Woodchester. Richard sold it in 1721 to Samuel Peach of Chalford, clothier, who sold it in 1742 to Samuel Peach of Woodchester, (fn. 72) his son-in-law. The younger Samuel died in 1768 or 1769 and a sale of the mill which he had agreed with William Innell was completed by his trustees. The next four changes of ownership reflect the fluctuating fortunes of the clothiers of the period. Innell went bankrupt in 1774 and the assignees of his estate sold it in 1777 to Thomas Fry Clarke who went bankrupt in turn in 1780, his assignees selling the mill to John Bryant, merchant, in 1782. Bryant, who had failed in his mortgage repayments, had to sell the mill in 1795 to Monkhouse Tate, whose debts forced him to convey it to his chief creditors in 1812. He joined with them in the sale of the mill to Nathaniel Partridge of Bowbridge in 1816. (fn. 73) Partridge sold it almost immediately to William Cotton of Limehouse (Mdx.) who in 1819 leased it for 14 years to Samuel Clutterbuck of Bowbridge. Samuel, who took up an option to buy the freehold on the expiry of his lease, (fn. 74) worked the mill until 1833 or later (fn. 75) but by 1847 the whole or part of the site was occupied by Frederick Wiggins & Co., paper-makers, (fn. 76) who gave up business in 1850. (fn. 77) Samuel died in 1860 (fn. 78) and in 1874 his family leased St. Mary's Mill to the flock-manufacturer, William Charles Grist, (fn. 79) who worked it with the near-by Iles Mill until c. 1890. (fn. 80) It stood empty for some years until 1903 when it was taken over by the newly formed Chalford Stick Co., which employed 100 hands at the outset in making umbrellas and walking-sticks. (fn. 81) The mill and the business were bought in 1965 by the brothers G. L. and G. Reynolds who carried on stick-making on a small scale together with a small printing-works in 1973. (fn. 82)
St. Mary's Mill was one of the most complete complexes of buildings surviving in 1973. The principal mill building, a block of 4 storeys and attics with paired windows, on the west of the site, was evidently built by Samuel Clutterbuck c. 1820; (fn. 83) one of its two massive water-wheels was preserved in 1973 together with a steam-engine which formerly powered the stick-making machinery. On the south of the site is an earlier building with mullioned windows to which an engine-house was added, probably also by Clutterbuck, who had installed steam-power by 1834. (fn. 84) Another block of buildings in the centre of the site had been demolished by 1972. The central range of the fairly extensive residential buildings on the east of the mill is probably on the site of and may incorporate part of the medieval mill-house. Adjoining it on the south is a tall late-16th-century range, probably originally of two floors with the elaborately moulded roof visible from the upper floor. At the other end of the central range a more modest building was added in the 17th century and extended to the east in matching style in the 18th. In the earlier 18th century the 16th-century south range was refronted and redecorated, two upper floors inserted, and a new staircase block added behind it; and in the early 19th century the south range was lengthened by the addition of flanking blocks (fn. 85) and the staircase was remodelled. From that period the north range was used as a separate dwelling, originally as the mill manager's house, (fn. 86) and the central range was also in a separate occupation in 1973.
Wimberley Mill, near Bourne, (fn. 87) was held from Minchinhampton manor by rent and seasonal works c. 1300 when a moiety was occupied by John Gille and a moiety by Maud Gille. (fn. 88) It later passed to Robert de la Mare (fn. 89) (d. 1382) and was presumably the mill that belonged to Delameres manor in 1475. (fn. 90) No subsequent record of the mill has been found before 1625 when it was occupied by a clothier, Robert Ridler, (fn. 91) and it later passed to Nathaniel Ridler of Edgeworth (d. 1707), who devised it to his son John. (fn. 92) In 1765 it was being worked as a fullingmill by Samuel Whitmore (fn. 93) of Hyde Court, who died in 1783. (fn. 94) In 1804 it was owned and occupied by Miles Beale (fn. 95) of Hyde Court (d. 1814), (fn. 96) who devised it to his wife Charlotte (d. 1832) with reversion to his nephew Thomas Beale. (fn. 97) In 1820 two cloth-manufacturers, John Webb, senior, and Thomas Jones were the tenants, (fn. 98) and John Webb held the mill on lease from Thomas Beale in 1839; (fn. 99) in 1856 it was occupied by the dyer David Farrar, (fn. 100) and David Farrar, junior, and William Farrar had a cloth-making and dyeing business there in 1870. (fn. 101) By 1879 Wimberley Mill was occupied by Felix A. Liddiatt & Co., umbrella- and parasol-stick makers and timber-merchants, (fn. 102) but in 1883 it was taken over by Uriah and Francis E. Critchley for their newlyformed pin-making business. The firm, called Critchley Bros., extended its business to include the manufacture of wood and bone knitting-needles and crochet-hooks at the beginning of the 20th century, when they had acquired the adjoining Dark Mill in Stroud; later those articles were made in the locally-produced plastic called Erinoid. (fn. 103) After the Second World War the firm specialized in making plastic fittings for the electrical industry, (fn. 104) and they continued this branch of production, together with the manufacture of land drainage tube, in 1973, when c. 300 people were employed on the Wimberley and Dark Mill sites; the manufacture of aluminium knitting-needles was given up in that year. A single stone mill building then survived at the Wimberley Mill site among extensive factory buildings put up in the 1960s. (fn. 105)
On the Nailsworth stream, where it forms the boundary between the parish and Woodchester, two mills belonged to Minchinhampton. Dyehouse Mill, (fn. 106) formerly called Philpot's Mill, (fn. 107) was recorded from the earlier 16th century when it was an outlying tenement of Coaley manor held by copy by Thomas Barnfield. Thomas's sons John and Richard were disputing it in 1584. (fn. 108) Later it became a dye-house and was worked in turn by Samuel Yeats (d. 1680), his son Samuel (d. 1722), and Samuel, son of the younger Samuel, (d. 1729). (fn. 109) It was afterwards worked as a cloth-mill by Richard Cockle (d. 1794), (fn. 110) who was succeeded by his son Thomas, who formed a partnership with R. C. Paul of Tetbury in 1801. (fn. 111) The firm built a new five-storey mill for machinery beside the old fulling-mill before 1804, (fn. 112) but they gave up business in 1810, (fn. 113) and Cockle was forced to convey the mill for the benefit of his creditors two years later. It was bought in 1815 by Thomas Foxwell (fn. 114) and was being worked in 1820 by J. B. and P. Foxwell. (fn. 115) By 1833 Dyehouse Mill was worked by William Hunt, (fn. 116) who installed 8 power-looms in 1836, and in 1839 also had 22 handlooms. (fn. 117) W. H. Anstie was making cloth there in 1856 but a few years later the mill was turned over to the manufacture of shoddy and mattress-wool by the firm of Grist & Tabram. (fn. 118) In 1879 S. J. Newman founded an engineering business there, which in 1896 became by amalgamation Newman, Hender, & Co., brassfounders, making engine fittings, gun metal, and valves. (fn. 119) For some years in the earlier 20th century the firm was part of a consortium called United Brassfounders and Engineers Ltd. which broke up in 1923, and by 1973 it had become by amalgamation Hattersley Newman Hender Ltd., which was itself part of a larger combine. The firm then employed 750 people at the Dyehouse Mill site and made industrial valves and equipment for the oil industry. (fn. 120)
Merret's Mill, the next below Dyehouse Mill, (fn. 121) may have been worked by James Merret, recorded as a fuller at Minchinhampton in 1641. (fn. 122) Daniel Webb of Merret's Mill was mentioned in 1703. (fn. 123) In 1769 it was being worked as a cloth-mill by Mary Dudley & Son. (fn. 124) By 1804 the mill, with two stocks and a gig, was owned and occupied by Thomas Haycock (fn. 125) (d. 1828) and it passed to his son Thomas Reddall Haycock (d. 1837) and to a cousin of the younger Thomas, William Haycock of Stamford, who probably sold it before his death in 1851. The tenant in 1842 was William Hunt of Dyehouse Mill. (fn. 126) In the later 19th century Merret's Mill was one of those worked as a flock, shoddy, and mill-puff manufactory by members of the Grist family: William Grist occupied it in 1863 (fn. 127) and in 1889 Matthew Grist, whose firm, which later specialized in the production of bedding wool, remained at the site until the mid 20th century. (fn. 128) In 1963 the Grist family sold Merret's Mill to H. Cameron Gardner Ltd., who employed c. 50 people in 1973 and made hydraulic loading equipment for use on agricultural tractors. (fn. 129)
A small mill called Millard's Mill, which was apparently on the Avening stream south of Gatcombe wood, (fn. 130) was occupied before 1695 by Samuel Millard. (fn. 131) It was a grist-mill belonging to the manor estate in 1718 when it was leased to Joseph Smith. It formed part of the settlement on Jane Sheppard but in 1781 she and her daughters exchanged the site with Edward Sheppard for other lands; the mill building had apparently been demolished by then. (fn. 132)
Longfords Mill, on the Avening stream at the south-west corner of Gatcombe wood, (fn. 133) was recorded from c. 1300 when Mabel of Longford held it from the manor by rent and seasonal works. (fn. 134) William of Longford was recorded as a miller in 1333 (fn. 135) and he or a namesake held the mill until fairly late in the century. Subsequently it passed to John Hampton, senior, (fn. 136) and it belonged to the Hamptons' estate in 1463 when the tenant was John Hillier; (fn. 137) in 1507 John Reynolds took a tenancy of the mill from Alice Hampton, (fn. 138) with whose estate it passed to the lords of Minchinhampton manor. (fn. 139) William Windsor leased it c. 1543 to Thomas Davis and it passed to Thomas's wife Joan, who later married Richard Herbert. After Joan's death in 1568 her daughter by her first marriage, Mary, wife of William Weltden, claimed the mill against Richard's son Charles and the clothier Thomas Elkington, who claimed to be the sub-lessee. (fn. 140) Thomas Elkington was described as a clothman of Longfords in 1591 and William Elkington of Longfords was mentioned in 1620. (fn. 141) By 1640 the mill was occupied by the clothier Edward Pinfold, whose son Thomas bought the freehold from the lord of the manor in 1651; the property then comprised a messuage, 2 stocks, a gig-mill, and a grist-mill. (fn. 142) Another Thomas Pinfold later succeeded to it, dying c. 1738, and it passed to his nephew John Pinfold, who was living at Peers Court, Stinchcombe, at his death c. 1779 when he devised Longfords Mill to Lewis Hoskins (d. 1788). Lewis's son Edward contracted to sell it to Thomas Playne (d. 1789), the tenant under a lease of 1783, and the purchase was completed in 1790 by Thomas's widow Martha and his son Peter, a minor. By 1806 Peter and his brother William were working the mill in partnership and in that year they made the large pond called Gatcombe Water above the site, and built a new mill, powered by 3 water-wheels, called Lake Mill. By a partition of the property in 1813 Peter took Lake Mill and William the old mill buildings (fn. 143) but the brothers apparently continued in partnership until 1822 when Peter granted Lake Mill to William in exchange for Dunkirk Mill at Nailsworth. (fn. 144) As William Playne & Co. the business at Longfords became one of the most successful in the district, relying largely on the production of 'stripe' for the East India Company's China trade. (fn. 145) There were some setbacks, however: in 1829, when the business was being carried on by William Playne's son William in partnership with his cousins William Playne Wise and John Wise, the elder William had to convey the mill to the Tetbury bank as security for a debt of £12,000 owed by the partnership, (fn. 146) and in 1834 a strike of the firm's weavers led to the discontinuance of stripe production. (fn. 147) Steam-power was introduced by 1815 (fn. 148) and in 1839 there were 90 handlooms and a power-loom at the mill. (fn. 149) The elder William Playne died in 1850 and the younger William in 1884 when the business passed to his son Arthur Twisden Playne. (fn. 150) The firm became a limited company in 1920 when it formed an association with Hunt & Winterbotham of Cam and Strachan & Co. of Lodgemore Mill. (fn. 151) Playne & Co. still occupied Longfords Mill, employing 120 people, in 1973; the firm had recently begun to specialize exclusively in the manufacture of cloth for tennis balls. (fn. 152)
The buildings at the site in 1973 included Lake Mill, some structures of later in the 19th century, weaving-shops built in 1912 on the site of the old mill-pond, and a large new spinning-mill built in 1951. (fn. 153) At Longfords House, just above the mill, the original square block at the west end was built by William Playne c. 1800. (fn. 154) A wing containing larger principal rooms was added on the east about 20 or 30 years later and within the same period a further block, containing kitchens and balancing that on the west, was added beyond the dining-room. In the later 19th century a new entrance hall and staircase was built on the north side of the middle range and a conservatory and billiard room added on the south of the kitchen block. The house remained the home of the Playne family until the Second World War when it became a girls' approved school. (fn. 155)
The Iron Mill, a short way below Longfords, (fn. 156) was originally an ironworks but had ceased to operate as such by 1635. (fn. 157) The site was being used for fulling by 1673 when, comprising a messuage and two fulling-mills, it was sold by Thomas Pinfold of Longfords Mill to the lessee Thomas Pinfold of Burleigh. (fn. 158) It later passed to Edward Pinfold, clothier, who by will dated 1712 left it to his wife Mary with reversion to their son Nathaniel. Nathaniel, who appears to have acquired his mother's interest, (fn. 159) was evidently in possession of the mill by 1714 when a part was occupied by John Barnfield of Forwood Farm. (fn. 160) By his will of 1720 Nathaniel devised it to Mary with reversion to his nephew Edward Pinfold. Edward, who was working it in 1723, devised it at his death in 1740 to his brother Giles, then in business as a distiller at Bristol. (fn. 161) By 1749 the mill was occupied by John Webb (fn. 162) who was exporting cloth to Russia in 1756, the year of his death; (fn. 163) James Webb was carrying on the business at the Iron Mill in 1763. (fn. 164) Ownership of the mill apparently remained with the Pinfold family, however, for it belonged to John Pinfold Westley, a clothier of Shepton Mallet (Som.), in 1791 when he sold it to his tenant John Perrin. It was once more in the same ownership as Longfords Mill from 1812 when Perrin sold it to William Playne (fn. 165) and Playne & Co. were using it c. 1839. (fn. 166) In 1856 it was being used as a saw-mill by William Barnard (fn. 167) but Playne & Co. once more had it in hand as a cloth-mill in the late 19th century. (fn. 168) Part of the buildings survived in a derelict state in 1973. The millowner's house on the north of the site bears the date 1686 and the initials of Edward and Mary Pinfold; occupied as cottages in 1973, it is a gabled 17th-century building, extended and remodelled in the 19th century.
In 1839 there was a small ruined mill in the north of the parish just below Besbury Farm, belonging to John Hughes Warman, and another mill, also in ruins, at Forwood belonged to the manor estate; (fn. 169) no other record of either has been found. A windmill, which gave its name to Windmill Place on the main road west of Minchinhampton town, was owned and worked by William Clissold in 1804, (fn. 170) and in 1839 by Samuel Kearsey. (fn. 171) George Taylor was the miller in 1863, occupying it with Edmund Taylor, a maltster and corn-dealer. (fn. 172)
Other Trade and Industry.
Apart from those employed in the cloth industry and by the industries which later took over the mills, Minchinhampton parish appears to have always had a fairly substantial body of tradesmen and craftsmen, most of them working in its small market town. A skinner, a shoemaker, and a man described as the son of the potter were among the tenants of the manor in the later 12th century. (fn. 173) There were butchers and shoemakers in the town in the early 14th century, (fn. 174) and in 1381 the inhabitants of the parish included 3 smiths, 4 brewers, a tailor, and a baker. (fn. 175) In 1608 34 men following a variety of trades were recorded compared with 62 cloth-workers and 32 men engaged in agriculture. The clothing trades, then represented by 7 tailors, 5 shoemakers, a mercer, and a staymaker, (fn. 176) appear to have been of some importance. A glover was recorded in 1641, (fn. 177) a hosier and 3 mantuamakers in 1764, (fn. 178) a milliner and a linen-draper in 1777, (fn. 179) and 3 women straw-hat makers in 1842. (fn. 180) The Quaker family of Fowler was prominent in the town as mercers and general dealers during the late 17th and the 18th centuries, (fn. 181) and the shopkeeper recorded in 1748 (fn. 182) and the wine-merchant who lived there in 1764 (fn. 183) also emphasise the town's role as a minor retailing centre.
Among the less usual craftsmen recorded were a roper in 1750, (fn. 184) a cutler who died in 1770, (fn. 185) and a basket- and sieve-maker in 1856. (fn. 186) The making of saddle-trees, carried on in the parish from before 1740, (fn. 187) was later developed on a considerable scale by James Chambers of Forwood House (d. 1787); (fn. 188) James's son Thomas was described as a saddle-tree maker in 1797, but his main concern appears to have been the malting business which his father had also run for a period. (fn. 189) The crafts of blacksmithing, cabinet-making, and wheelwrighting were among those which survived up to the Second World War. (fn. 190)
Quarrying of the local oolite was recorded from the early 14th century when numbers of inhabitants, including Geoffrey the mason, paid rents to the manor for the privilege. (fn. 191) By the beginning of the 18th century there were quarries of freestone and weatherstone on Minchinhampton common, (fn. 192) where the quarrying rights were retained by the lords of the manor except for a period in the early 19th century when they were alienated to Richard Harris. (fn. 193) Other quarries east of the town were worked for stone tiles. (fn. 194) Some of the largest workings in the parish were at Wall's Quarry near Burleigh; 3 quarrymasters lived there in 1856 (fn. 195) and the quarries there were worked commercially until the mid 20th century. (fn. 196) One quarry at Burleigh was owned by Gloucester cathedral, providing stone for repairs to the fabric, but it was no longer used in 1973. (fn. 197) Reconstituted stone was made in the mid 20th century at a site east of the town. (fn. 198) The building trades were represented in 1608 by 3 masons and 3 tilers, (fn. 199) and remained of some importance in the 18th century when masons, (fn. 200) tilers, (fn. 201) and pargetters (fn. 202) were fairly numerous.
The malt-house of the Chambers family at Forwood House (fn. 203) was one of many in operation in the parish at the beginning of the 19th century. (fn. 204) Another was worked in 1813 by George Playne of Forwood Farm (fn. 205) who had expanded it into a brewery by 1839; (fn. 206) after his death in 1847 (fn. 207) his family carried on the business until 1897 when it was taken over by the Stroud brewery. (fn. 208)
The professions were fairly well represented at Minchinhampton during the period of its importance as a local centre. An apothecary was recorded in 1652 (fn. 209) and there were usually several surgeons living in the parish during the 18th century, (fn. 210) when the professional classes were also represented by the attorneys Edmund Clutterbuck of Hyde (fn. 211) and Richard Plummer of Burleigh (d. 1769). (fn. 212) In 1820 an attorney, a land-surveyor, and three surgeons were established in the town. (fn. 213)
Markets and Fairs.
Caen Abbey had a grant of a market on Tuesdays and a six-day fair at Trinity on its manor of Minchinhampton in 1269. (fn. 214) The main roads through the parish evidently encouraged plans for the establishment of a trading centre and it was perhaps also hoped to provide a local wool mart, although the abbey itself and other big local producers presumably dealt privately with woolmerchants, such as the one whose horse was stabled at the abbey's expense in 1307. Receipts of 8s. 10d. for stallage and 3d. for toll at the fair were apparently the sole profits in 1307 but some tradesmen had by then been encouraged to settle in the town: butchers' shops were repaired by the manor in 1307, (fn. 215) and in 1316 it received 3s. 3¼d. rent from shoemakers 'and other merchants'. (fn. 216) Six shops paid rent to the manor in 1442. (fn. 217) Apart from the record of a merchant among the inhabitants in the later 12th century (fn. 218) before the founding of the market, and of another, John Chapman, a man of considerable wealth, in 1381, (fn. 219) there is little evidence that the town was ever a trading centre of any great importance in the Middle Ages.
In 1565, when it was said that the town had much decayed in recent years, Edward Windsor secured a grant confirming the Tuesday market and two oneday fairs, on Trinity Monday and 18 October (fn. 220) (later altered by the calendar change to 29 October). In 1698 Philip Sheppard built a new market-house as part of a scheme to establish the town as a centre for the sale of wool and yarn, (fn. 221) and two older markethouses were also in use c. 1708, for the sale of white meat and corn respectively. (fn. 222) The wool- and yarnmarket attracted sufficient support initially to pose a threat to the old-established one at Tetbury (fn. 223) and it was regarded as one of the four chief wool-markets of the county in 1702; (fn. 224) the tolls were valued at £30 a year in 1718. (fn. 225) Sheppard's scheme did not have any lasting success, (fn. 226) however, and it was probably only as a formality that the wool- and yarn-market was included in the sale of the manor in 1814. The other tolls and profits of the markets and fairs were on lease from the manor at a rent of £28 in 1718 (fn. 227) compared with £12 in 1635. (fn. 228) One of the fairs specialized in traffic in horses by 1760 when its site was moved from the Blue Boys inn to West End, (fn. 229) and Minchinhampton was considered to have one of the best horse-fairs in the county in 1856. (fn. 230) The markets and fairs appear to have gone out of use c. 1880. (fn. 231)
The market was held at the north end of High Street. The shops at the gate of the manor court and at the gate of the churchyard mentioned in 1330 (fn. 232) were presumably sited to overlook the market area, and the butchers' shambles which the churchwardens repaired in 1600 (fn. 233) probably also adjoined the south side of the churchyard. The sites of the market-houses for meat and corn are not known for certain but one was probably in the Lower Island in the centre of the market area. (fn. 234) The market-house built by Philip Sheppard in 1698 stands in the northeast corner of the market area. It is supported on stone columns, arcaded on the north side, with an inner row of wooden columns, and has a large room on the first floor and an attic storey from which dormers were removed c. 1870. (fn. 235) The first-floor room was used for a school in the early 19th century, (fn. 236) when some alterations were made, and later for public and social activities, for which purpose it was refitted in the early 1950s. (fn. 237) The building was given to the town by H. G. Ricardo, the lord of the manor, in 1919. (fn. 238)