Rodmarton: Churches

Pages 244-246

A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1976.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.



Although architectural evidence of a church in Rodmarton before the Conquest (fn. 1) is not accepted, a priest was recorded in 1086. (fn. 2) In 1291 the living was a rectory (fn. 3) which it has remained. In 1313 John Burdon, lord of Rodmarton, presented to the living but the patronage was claimed by Stephen de Clencham (fn. 4) who made a settlement of the advowson in 1315. (fn. 5) Nevertheless John Burdon was patron in 1325 (fn. 6) and the advowson descended with Rodmarton manor. (fn. 7) At the end of the 15th century several presentations were made by feoffees of Thomas Whittington. (fn. 8) In 1628 the advowson was evidently claimed without success by John Crook, (fn. 9) lord of Culkerton manor. Charles Coxe (d. 1728) by will directed trustees to use the first vacancy for his son Thomas Chamberlayne Coxe. (fn. 10) Thomas was not presented at the next vacancy in 1731, but in 1734 he himself presented. Afterwards the advowson was sold to Daniel Sanxay, who presented a relative in 1739, but by 1743 it had been acquired by Edward Smith. His presentee, Sawyer Smith, apparently acquired the advowson which then passed with the rectory, for in 1756, after his death, trustees presented Samuel Lysons (fn. 11) who became patron. (fn. 12) The rectory remained the family living of the Lysonses (fn. 13) until 1897 when the trustees of D. G. Lysons sold the advowson to Claud Biddulph, lord of the manor. (fn. 14) In 1922 it passed to the bishop of Gloucester (fn. 15) who retained it in 1974. (fn. 16)

The living was worth £13 6s. 8d. in 1291, not including portions of Kingswood and Oseney abbeys and Llanthony Priory (fn. 17) which arose from early grants of tithes. The Culkerton demesne tithes were granted in 1137 to Llanthony (fn. 18) which later received a pension of 40s. from Kingswood Abbey in composition. (fn. 19) The Hazleton demesne tithes, granted in 1074 to St. George's chapel in Oxford castle, (fn. 20) were later transferred to Oseney Abbey, (fn. 21) and in the later Middle Ages Oseney was paid a pension of 20s. in composition by Kingswood. (fn. 22) Kingswood had its own portion in the Hazleton tithes in 1291. (fn. 23) The Hazleton tithes were alienated from the estate in 1597 (fn. 24) and have not been traced after the mid 17th century. (fn. 25) In 1680 the rector received no tithes from most of that estate, (fn. 26) and in the 18th century the inhabitants of Hazleton had seats in neither Rodmarton nor Cherington parish church. (fn. 27) In Culkerton land which had been held by Kingswood Abbey was not tithable to the rectory after the Dissolution. (fn. 28) At inclosure in 1793 the tithe from 49½ a. there was disputed by the rector and Richard Kilmister, and 16 a. allotted in composition for the tithes appears to have been secured by Kilmister. (fn. 29) In Tarlton (fn. 30) and Rodmarton the rector received all the tithes. In 1680 the tithe on sheep was paid in cash but some produce and livestock, including pigs, remained tithable in kind. (fn. 31) Uncertainty about the parish boundary in Tarlton in the late 18th century led to confusion as to which land was tithable to Rodmarton rectory and which to Coates. The boundary was therefore defined in 1793 at inclosure, when the rector was allotted c. 523 a. for all his tithes. Two tenements in Tarlton were charged with a cash payment in lieu of tithes. (fn. 32)

In 1661 the rector's glebe comprised 24 a. in the Rodmarton north field and 22 a. and a close in the south field, (fn. 33) and in 1680 it was described as a yardland and the parsonage close. (fn. 34) About 1785 the glebe included a close of 4 a., and 18 a. and 17 a. in the fields, (fn. 35) and at inclosure the rector received c. 24 a. for his glebe. (fn. 36) The glebe, which was leased out in the 19th century, (fn. 37) was purchased by Claud Biddulph in 1897. (fn. 38) Irongate Farm, the former glebe farm-house, dates from the 19th century. The rectory was valued at £18 1s. 3d. in 1535, (fn. 39) £100 in 1650, (fn. 40) £130 in 1750, (fn. 41) and £476 in 1856. (fn. 42) The former rectory house, which stands west-south-west of the church, was restored in the early 1630s (fn. 43) and in 1678 contained 8 bays. (fn. 44) It was largely rebuilt in 1872 from designs by A. W. Maberly (fn. 45) but one room of the early 17th century survives at the southwest corner and there is a reset lintel dated 1632. The house was sold in 1967. (fn. 46)

The chapel at Tarlton seems, on architectural evidence, to have existed by the late 12th century. In 1291, when it belonged to the prebendal estate, it was valued at £1 16s., which possibly represented a portion assigned to a chaplain out of the profits of the estate. (fn. 47) In 1305 it was called a church and said to have a parson (fn. 48) but that was presumably a misunderstanding of its status; it is perhaps more likely to have been a chapel to the parish church as was implied in 1341. (fn. 49) In the early 17th century the inhabitants of Tarlton attended the parish church where some of them served as churchwardens. (fn. 50) In 1628 the rector, in response to demands by Giles Coxe, the lessee of the manor, that he officiate in the chapel on Sundays, agreed to provide services only for the sick. During a prolonged dispute Coxe withheld payment of tithes in 1639 but he could not prove any obligation to serve on the part of the rector, who recovered the tithes in 1641. (fn. 51) Nevertheless in 1671 the lessee still claimed that the rector should read prayers once a month, baptize children, and celebrate Easter communion, and in 1694 some tithes were still being paid to the lessee. (fn. 52) About 1703 it was said that the rector was not bound to serve there. (fn. 53) The sum of 2s. owed by the lessee to the rector in 1680 and later (fn. 54) was evidently in recognition of the rights of the parish church. In the early 18th century the chapel stood unused (fn. 55) and by 1750 it was in ruins. (fn. 56) Despite repairs before 1863 it was not used (fn. 57) until after 1875 when it was restored by Anna Gordon. Sunday services were then provided by the rector (fn. 58) but in 1889 the chapel was said to be served alternately from Rodmarton and Coates. (fn. 59) In 1974 the chapel was served from Rodmarton twice a month. (fn. 60)

Tarlton chapel has a chancel and nave and is built of ashlar. It was extensively restored and partially rebuilt in 1875 but it is not clear to what extent the Victorian features are a copy or a recutting of those in the old building. From its size and the decoration of the chancel arch the medieval chapel appears to have been built in the late 12th century and to have had a new west window in the 15th. The Norman font, which has a tub-shaped bowl recut in the early 14th century, is said to have stood in the parish church until 1859. (fn. 61) The plate includes a silver alms-dish of 1890, presented by Lord Biddulph after the First World War. (fn. 62)

In 1257 Robert Brathel, the rector of Rodmarton, was granted a dispensation to hold an additional living in plurality. (fn. 63) John of Badbury, rector in 1270, had letters of protection before embarking with the king on crusade. (fn. 64) John of Loughborough had leave in 1337 to be absent for three years in the service of the earl of Salisbury (fn. 65) and in 1340 to be absent for two years. (fn. 66) In the 16th century the living was frequently served by curates. (fn. 67) William Wye, who was presented in 1537, (fn. 68) was the brother of Robert Wye, the patron. (fn. 69) In 1551 William's doctrinal knowledge was found to be fully satisfactory but that of his curate was only moderate. (fn. 70) John Standish, rector between 1558 and 1563, was non-resident. (fn. 71) His successor George Pomfrey, a former canon of Llanthony Priory who was awarded the living as part of his pension, (fn. 72) was also non-resident (fn. 73) and was suspended in 1572 when it was found that only two sermons had been preached in as many years. (fn. 74) Edward Millichapp, rector from 1575, (fn. 75) was found in 1576 to understand reasonably both Latin and the Scriptures; (fn. 76) in 1593 he was considered a sufficient scholar though neither a graduate nor a preacher. (fn. 77) Job Yate, rector from 1628, (fn. 78) was in conflict with the parishioners in the 1630s and 1640s on various matters, including the assessment of Ship Money and the poor-rate. (fn. 79) John Coxe (d. 1731), also rector of North Cerney, (fn. 80) was presented in 1722 by his brother Charles. (fn. 81)

Between 1756 and 1893 the rectory was occupied by four generations of the Lysons family of Hempsted. (fn. 82) Samuel Lysons, rector from 1756, was presented later that year to the adjacent rectory of Cherington. (fn. 83) He served both livings but resided at Rodmarton. (fn. 84) His second son Samuel (1763-1819) was the eminent archaeologist and antiquary, who with his elder brother Daniel (1762-1834) was coauthor of Magna Britannia. (fn. 85) Daniel succeeded his father in the rectory in 1804 but was non-resident and in 1833 he resigned in favour of his son Samuel, curate since 1830. (fn. 86) Samuel, who was also an antiquary, (fn. 87) was non-resident after 1835 and the living was served by curates, the first of whom, John Sayer Haygarth, (fn. 88) was later principal of the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester. Samuel was succeeded in 1877 by his son Daniel George Lysons, curate since 1875, (fn. 89) who resigned in 1893. (fn. 90) A vacancy in the living in 1973 was left unfilled and the parish was served with Cherington pending a proposed union of benefices. (fn. 91)

The parish church of ST. PETER (fn. 92) is largely built of rubble and rough ashlar and has a chancel with north and south chapels, and nave with short north aisle, transeptal south tower and spire, and south porch. (fn. 93) By the end of the 13th century the church comprised at least a nave, a north aisle of one bay, and a narrow chancel. In the earlier 14th century the chapels, tower, broach spire, and porch were added to complete the plan as it survives today. The completion was probably marked by the dedication of the high altar in 1340. (fn. 94) Later medieval alterations were limited to inserting a rood screen, embattling the nave parapets, building a new arch into the south chapel, and adding several new windows in the nave, north aisle, south chapel, and chancel. A blocked lancet window in the south wall of the nave was formerly filled with memorial glass to Richard Wyatt, a late-14thcentury rector; the glass was destroyed in 1636. (fn. 95)

There was rebuilding in the chancel and north aisle in 1771. (fn. 96) There were two 19th-century restorations, in 1862 by Eassie & Co. of Gloucester and between 1875 and 1884 by Waller & Son of Gloucester. In 1862 new arches were made into the north aisle and the interior was refitted. In 1875 the east window, inserted in 1872, was removed to the north aisle where it was matched by a new window; a new east window with tracery in an early-14thcentury style was inserted. (fn. 97) The pulpit contains several carved panels, one of which, dating from 1554, was formerly part of the church door. (fn. 98) The font was replaced in 1859 when it was considered old and unsightly. (fn. 99) A brass depicting John Edwards, lord of the manor (d. 1462), in lawyer's dress is set in the south wall of the chancel. A memorial bearing the Wye arms was formerly in the north aisle. (fn. 100) There are monuments to members of the Coxe and Kilmister families. The plate includes a chalice and paten of 1816, a credence paten of 1816, a silver-mounted glass cruet, (fn. 101) and a silver chalice of 1918. After the First World War Lord Biddulph presented a silver alms-dish of 1890. (fn. 102) The church was probably without bells before 1491 when Thomas Whittington devised 40s. for the construction of a belfry. (fn. 103) The tower contains three bells, two of which were cast in 1626 and the treble in 1716. (fn. 104) The registers survive from 1605. (fn. 105)


  • 1. E. A. Fisher, Greater Anglo-Saxon Churches, 408.
  • 2. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 166v.
  • 3. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 221.
  • 4. Reg. Reynolds, 156.
  • 5. C.P. 25(1)/76/47 no. 136.
  • 6. Reg. Cobham, 245.
  • 7. Hockaday Abs. cccxxv; Reg. Bransford, p. 399; Reg. Sede Vacante, 423; Worc. Episc. Reg., Reg. Carpenter, i, f. 37; Reg. Polton, f. 52v.
  • 8. Hockaday Abs. cccxxv, 1498; Bigland, Glos. iii, no. 220.
  • 9. Hockaday Abs. cccxxv; P.R.O. Inst. Bks. 1628.
  • 10. Glos. R.O., D 213/T 5.
  • 11. Hockaday Abs. cccxxv.
  • 12. After his death in 1804 his trustee was patron: ibid. 1804.
  • 13. Ibid. 1833; G.D.R. vol. 384, f. 168; Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856 and later edns.).
  • 14. Glos. R.O., D 1348, Kemble est., Rodmarton rectory.
  • 15. Lond. Gaz. 1922, p. 2228.
  • 16. Glouc. Dioc. Yr. Bk. (1974), 62.
  • 17. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 221. The values of the portions of Oseney and Llanthony should be interchanged. The portion of the rector in Coates church possibly derived from parochial rights over that part of Tarlton which lay in Coates.
  • 18. Dugdale, Mon. vi (1), 136.
  • 19. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 427; C 115/A 12. L1/6688 ff. 10v., 29v., 37, 61, 94; cf. Dugdale, Mon. v. 428 where Cherington and Culkerton should be interchanged.
  • 20. Oseney Cart. iv, p. 3; Oseney Reg. (E.E.T.S. cxxxiii), p. xiii.
  • 21. Oseney Cart. iv, p. 26.
  • 22. Ibid. v, pp. 38-9; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 222.
  • 23. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 221.
  • 24. Glos. R.O., D 6/T 16.
  • 25. C 142/365 no. 153; C.P. 25(2)/422/13 Chas. I Hil. no. 12; Glos. R.O., D 340A/L 7; cf. photocopy 74; C.P. 25(2)/555/1657 East. no. 23.
  • 26. G.D.R., V 5/252T 1.
  • 27. Rudder, Glos. 633.
  • 28. G.D.R., V 5/252T 1, 4.
  • 29. Glos. R.O., Q/RI 119; G.D.R., V 5/252T 4.
  • 30. Salisbury Cath. Recs., terrier of Tarlton.
  • 31. G.D.R., V 5/252T 1.
  • 32. Glos. R.O., Q/RI 119.
  • 33. Par. reg. 1605-1833, glebe terrier.
  • 34. G.D.R., V 5/252T 1.
  • 35. Glos. R.O., D 1332/E 2.
  • 36. Ibid. Q/RI 119.
  • 37. Ibid. D 182/III/159; D 2299/117.
  • 38. Ibid. D 1348, Kemble est., Rodmarton rectory.
  • 39. Valor. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 497.
  • 40. Trans. B.G.A.S. lxxxiii. 92.
  • 41. G.D.R. vol. 381A, f. 28.
  • 42. Ibid. 384, f. 168.
  • 43. Par. reg. 1605-1833, mem. 1634.
  • 44. G.D.R., V 5/252T 1.
  • 45. Inscr. on bldg.; Verey, Glos. i. 383.
  • 46. Ex inf. Air Cdre. J. N. H. Whitworth, of the Old Rectory.
  • 47. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 221.
  • 48. Reg. Ginsborough, 186, 226.
  • 49. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 408.
  • 50. Par. reg. 1605-1833, mem. 1639.
  • 51. Par. reg. 1605-1833.
  • 52. Salisbury Cath. Recs., terrier of Tarlton.
  • 53. Bodl. MS. Rawl. B. 323, f. 205v.
  • 54. G.D.R., V 5/252T 1, 4.
  • 55. Atkyns, Glos. 629.
  • 56. G.D.R., vol. 381A, f. 28.
  • 57. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1863), 331.
  • 58. Ibid. (1885), 556.
  • 59. Ibid. (1889), 872.
  • 60. Ex inf. Mr. Simpson.
  • 61. Trans. B.G.A.S. 1. 319; card in chapel.
  • 62. Trans. B.G.A.S. lxiii. 230.
  • 63. Cal. Papal Regs. i. 342.
  • 64. Cal. Pat. 1266-72, 480.
  • 65. Worc. Episc. Reg., Reg. Hemenhale, f. 13.
  • 66. Reg. Bransford, p. 65.
  • 67. Hockaday Abs. xxv, 1532 subsidy, f. 14; xxviii, 1540 visit. f. 50; 1540 stipendiaries, f. 17; xxx, 1544 stipendiaries, f. 15; xxi, 1548 visit. f. 12; xlii, 1563 visit. f. 21; xliv, 1572 visit. f. 50.
  • 68. Ibid. cccxxv.
  • 69. Rudd, Bisley with Lypiatt, 223.
  • 70. E.H.R. xix. 115.
  • 71. Hockaday Abs. cccxxv, 1563.
  • 72. Ibid. cccxxv; Trans. B.G.A.S. xlix. 67.
  • 73. Hockaday Abs. cccxxv, 1570.
  • 74. Ibid. 1572.
  • 75. Ibid. 1575.
  • 76. Ibid. xlvii, 1576 visit. ff. 95, 146.
  • 77. Ibid. lii, state of clergy 1593, f. 9.
  • 78. Ibid. cccxxv.
  • 79. Par. reg. 1605-1833, mem. 1635, 1636, 1641, 1642, 1644.
  • 80. Bigland, Glos. iii, no. 220.
  • 81. Hockaday Abs. cccxxv; Glos. R.O., D 213/T 5.
  • 82. For the Lysonses see L. Fleming, Memoir and Select Letters of Samuel Lysons (Oxford, 1934), pedigree facing p. 1.
  • 83. Hockaday Abs. cccxxv; cli.
  • 84. G.D.R. vol. 319.
  • 85. D.N.B.
  • 86. D.N.B.; Hockaday Abs. cccxxv.
  • 87. D.N.B.
  • 88. Hockaday Abs. cccxxv.
  • 89. Glos. Colln. (H) B 9.4, 14.
  • 90. Crockford (1902).
  • 91. Ex inf. Mr. Simpson.
  • 92. Hockaday Abs. cccxxv, 1538.
  • 93. See plate facing p. 273.
  • 94. Reg. Bransford, p. 29.
  • 95. Par. reg. 1605-1833, mem. 1649; Bigland, Glos. i. 429.
  • 96. Par. reg. 1605-1833.
  • 97. Ibid.; Glos. N. & Q. iii. 481-4; Verey, Glos. i. 382.
  • 98. Glos. N. & Q. iii. 484.
  • 99. Par. reg. 1605-1833.
  • 100. Rudder, Glos. 633.
  • 101. Glos. Ch. Plate, 176.
  • 102. Trans. B.G.A.S. lxiii. 227.
  • 103. Hockaday Abs. cxxiv.
  • 104. Glos. Ch. Bells, 61.
  • 105. Penes Maj. Biddulph: the vol. for the period 1605-1833 contains mem. by Job Yate, rector 1628-68, and Samuel Lysons (d. 1877).