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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MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
Two manors comprising 4 hides in all were held in 1086 by Hugh d'Avranches, earl of Chester. The one with 3 hides, held in 1066 by Elnod, (fn. 1) was evidently the predecessor of the manor of WESTONBIRT, which had three-quarters of the manorial rights. (fn. 2) The manor, which was usually assessed at ⅓ fee in the 13th and 14th centuries, (fn. 3) was held from Hugh of Kilpeck in 1242 or 1243. (fn. 4) The overlordship descended with the lordship of Kilpeck (Herefs.), (fn. 5) which passed eventually to Joan Plugenet (d. 1327), wife of Henry de Bohun. (fn. 6) It evidently reverted with Henry's manor of Haresfield to the main branch of his family (fn. 7) and then passed to Eleanor, daughter of Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford (d. 1322). Eleanor's successive husbands, James Butler, earl of Ormonde, and Thomas Dagworth, (fn. 8) were overlords in 1332 (fn. 9) and 1348 (fn. 10) respectively. The overlordship was held in 1373 by Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford, (fn. 11) and was assigned in 1384 to his daughter Mary, wife of Henry of Lancaster, earl of Derby, (fn. 12) passing to the Crown on his accession. (fn. 13) The manor was said to be held from the heirs of Richard Neville, earl of Warwick, in 1488 (fn. 14) and in 1617 it was held from the manor of Willersley (fn. 15) (Herefs.).
Hugh le Bret, who granted rents to the Knights Templar, (fn. 16) was apparently a predecessor of Richard le Bret who held the manor in 1243. (fn. 17) Richard was succeeded by his son John (fn. 18) (d. by 1285). (fn. 19) The manor was held in 1292 by another John le Bret. (fn. 20) Allegedly in 1316, but apparently before 1314, the sisters Maud and Alice le Bret, together with Laurence Tresham, granted it to Margaret Giffard, widow of John Giffard of Brimpsfield. Margaret conveyed it, allegedly in 1327, to John of Willington (fn. 21) from whom, however, it escheated to the Crown during the period 1321–3. (fn. 22) John died in 1338 or 1339 (fn. 23) and the manor apparently passed to his widow Joan (fn. 24) but by 1346 it was held by his son Ralph. Thomas de Berkeley was named as joint owner of the estate with Ralph in 1346 (fn. 25) but, although he is said to have purchased the manor in 1349, (fn. 26) the only property of the Berkeleys recorded later was a free tenancy from the manor. (fn. 27) After Ralph's death in 1348 the estate passed to Henry of Willington (fn. 28) who was succeeded in 1349 by his son John, a minor. (fn. 29) After John's death in 1378 the manor passed to his son Ralph, a minor. (fn. 30) After Ralph's death his widow Joan (fn. 31) evidently married Thomas West who had an interest in the manor in the late 1380s. (fn. 32) It then passed to Ralph's brother John, a minor. John, on account of whose idiocy the manor was in royal custody, died in 1396 leaving as coheirs his sister Isabel, wife of William Beaumont, and his nephew John Wrothe. (fn. 33) The manor was assigned to Isabel (fn. 34) but was apparently retained by the Crown during the minority of John Wrothe (d. 1412). (fn. 35) Isabel died seised of the manor in 1424 when she was succeeded by her son Thomas Beaumont. (fn. 36) Thomas (d. 1450) was succeeded in turn by his sons William (fn. 37) (d. 1453) and Philip, (fn. 38) who died in 1473 leaving as coheirs his sister Alice and nephew John Basset. (fn. 39) By 1483 the estate was held by Thomas Beaumont (fn. 40) who was succeeded in 1488 by his brother Hugh. (fn. 41) Although John Basset retained an interest in the manor, (fn. 42) in 1501 Hugh settled it in trust for Giles Daubeney whose right was acknowledged in 1505. (fn. 43) Giles was succeeded in 1508 by his son Henry, created earl of Bridgewater in 1538, (fn. 44) who sold the manor in 1547 to Edward Seymour, duke of Somerset. (fn. 45)
After Seymour's attainder the Crown granted the estate in 1557 in trust for Arthur Basset, who received livery in 1563. Arthur sold the manor in 1579 to Alexander Neale, whose son and heir Samuel sold it in 1593 to Nicholas Damory. (fn. 46) In 1609 Nicholas mortgaged the manor to John Pearce (fn. 47) and, although it was held by Nicholas's widow Mary in 1614, (fn. 48) the freehold had been acquired by Pearce by 1617 when he was succeeded by his daughter Anne. (fn. 49) Anne married Edward Althorne, D.D., (fn. 50) who sold the manor, which included land in the neighbouring parishes of Shipton Moyne and Sherston, (fn. 51) to Ursula Crewe in 1632; (fn. 52) some property in Westonbirt that he retained was reunited with the manor in 1682. (fn. 53) Ursula was succeeded in 1638 by her son John (fn. 54) who died in 1654 (fn. 55) leaving as his heir his daughter Sarah, who married Sir Richard Holford in 1665. (fn. 56) Holford (fl. 1718), (fn. 57) a Chancery master, was succeeded by Robert, his son by another marriage. (fn. 58) Robert (d. 1753) was succeeded by his son Peter, (fn. 59) a governor of the New River Company, from which the fortunes of later Holfords were derived. (fn. 60) After Peter's death in 1803, the estate passed to his son George (fn. 61) who was succeeded in 1839 by his son Robert Stayner Holford, M.P. for East Gloucestershire 1854–72. Robert (d. 1892) was succeeded by his son Sir George Lindsay Holford (d. 1926). The estate then passed to Sir George's nephew Edmund Robert Parker, 4th Earl Morley, who in 1927 sold Westonbirt House and most of the estate to the Martyrs' Memorial and Church of England Trust. In 1928 the trust established in the house Westonbirt School, (fn. 62) a girls' public school, later one of the Allied Schools. The school had 318 pupils in 1974 and retained the manor. (fn. 63) Lord Morley (d. 1951) retained the arboretum (fn. 64) which was acquired by the Forestry Commission in 1956. (fn. 65)
The old manor-house had a long, presumably 17th-century, building of three storeys with mullioned windows and a projecting porch on the south front. (fn. 66) Standing east of the church, (fn. 67) it had 13 hearths in 1672 (fn. 68) and was used in the 17th and 18th centuries as a farm-house. (fn. 69) It was demolished, apparently in 1818, and replaced by a new house a little to the north in 1823. That had a symmetrical north front of two storeys, with projecting centre and end bays surmounted by gables, all in a revived Elizabethan style. (fn. 70) Ornamental gardens were laid out near the house (fn. 71) to which in 1839 ground-floor bay-windows, gabled dormers, and a loggia were added from designs by Lewis Vulliamy. (fn. 72) The house was demolished by R. S. Holford in 1863 when the present mansion, to a design by Vulliamy in the early Renaissance style of Wollaton Hall (Notts.), was built on the site. It was complete by 1870 and formal terracing and paths were laid out to the south on the site of the first house. The front pair of lodges, replacing an earlier lodge rendered obsolete by road diversions, was built in 1852 (fn. 73) in an Elizabethan style. The back lodge at Park Corner bears the date 1848.
The manor held by Lewin in 1066, which comprised 1 of the 4 hides held by Hugh d'Avranches in 1086, (fn. 74) was probably the precursor of the small estate later called MINCHINS FARM, which had a quarter of the manorial rights. (fn. 75) It was apparently held in 1307 by William le Scay (fn. 76) who by 1343 had been succeeded by his widow Margaret. (fn. 77) In 1483 it was held by William Clark and others. (fn. 78) William (d. 1493) was succeeded by his son Walter, and by 1543 the estate was held by John Clark; (fn. 79) a Walter Clark, yeoman, was mentioned in 1608. (fn. 80) In 1652 the estate, which included land in Shipton Moyne, was sold by Christopher Clark to Richard Hiller (fn. 81) (d. 1661) who devised it to his nephew Thomas Minchin. Thomas settled it in 1681 in jointure on his son Thomas's wife Margaret (fn. 82) who later married William Hiller. The estate comprising c. 108 a. (fn. 83) was purchased from William and his stepson Thomas Minchin by Sir Richard Holford in 1707. (fn. 84) It then descended with the manor. (fn. 85)
The estate of 3 hides in Westonbirt held by Bricsi in 1066, which had passed to William son of Baderon by 1086, (fn. 86) has not been traced later.
Rents totalling 62s. a year, granted to the Templars by Hugh le Bret, (fn. 87) were held from Westonbirt manor in the early 14th century. (fn. 88) After the Templars' dissolution they were treated as belonging to Temple Guiting manor. (fn. 89) Before 1285 Roger of Dunville granted to Cirencester Abbey yearly rents from Westonbirt amounting to 25s. 4d. and a pair of gloves. (fn. 90) The rents were held by the abbey until the Dissolution. (fn. 91)
The manor of LASBOROUGH, which Lewin held in 1066, passed to Gilbert, bishop of Lisieux, whose tenant in 1086 was Hugh Maminot. (fn. 92) Hugh's daughter Alice married Ralph de Keynes, (fn. 93) whose descendants held the overlordship of the manor, assessed at 1 knight's fee, (fn. 94) until the early 14th century. It then passed with Somerford Keynes manor to Hugh Despenser the elder. (fn. 95) In the early 1320s the right of wardship was claimed by Hawise, the widow of Robert de Keynes, (fn. 96) to whom the fee had been assigned in dower in 1283, (fn. 97) but Hugh's overlordship was upheld. (fn. 98)
The manor, which Simon of Lasborough held in 1166, (fn. 99) was held in the early 13th century by William of Lasborough who was succeeded in 1221 or 1222 by his son William. (fn. 100) William, sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1255, (fn. 101) was granted free warren in 1256 (fn. 102) and was succeeded in 1259 by his daughter Agatha, the wife of Henry of Dean (fn. 103) who was later sometimes styled Henry of Lasborough. (fn. 104) Henry (d. c. 1292) was succeeded by his son William of Dean (fn. 105) who died c. 1319 leaving his daughters Joan and Isabel, both minors, as his heirs. (fn. 106) The wardship of the manor was purchased by Robert of Goldhull, (fn. 107) who was assessed for tax at Lasborough in 1327 (fn. 108) and who was confirmed as guardian in the following year. (fn. 109) Reynold of Abbenhall may have been guardian in 1337 when he presented to the living. (fn. 110) The manor, which Thomas of Aston held, possibly in wardship, in 1346, (fn. 111) was evidently assigned to Isabel, since her husband John Basset, (fn. 112) who presented to the living in 1356, (fn. 113) died seised in 1362. His heirs were his daughters Alice and Margaret, both minors, (fn. 114) and the manor apparently passed to the wardship of his mother, Maud Basset of Uley. (fn. 115) Alice died in 1367 leaving Margaret as the sole heir, (fn. 116) whose husband Walter Brown (fn. 117) presented to the living in 1377. (fn. 118) Margaret's right to the manor was disputed by her uncle Edmund Basset (fn. 119) but in 1384 it was confirmed. (fn. 120)
In 1385 Walter Brown sold Lasborough manor to William Greville of Chipping Campden, whose son John (fn. 121) had succeeded him by 1425. (fn. 122) After John's death in 1444 the manor passed to his widow Joyce, who married Walter Beauchamp, and his son John, who made a lease in 1450. (fn. 123) Joyce died in 1473 (fn. 124) and John (d. 1480) made a joint lease of the manor in 1477 with his son Thomas Greville, also called Cokesey. Thomas (d. 1497) was succeeded by his nephew John Greville of Milcote. (fn. 125) In 1502 John settled the manor in fee on his cousin Giles Greville of Wick, near Pershore (Worcs.), (fn. 126) at whose death in 1528 it passed to his widow Anne (fn. 127) who subsequently married Sir Adrian Fortescue. Sir Adrian's right to hold the manor was forcibly contested in 1530 by Giles's daughter and heir Elizabeth and her husband William Neville, (fn. 128) but in 1532 they sold their reversionary right to him. (fn. 129) After Sir Adrian's attainder and execution in 1539 (fn. 130) Anne married Sir Thomas Parry, (fn. 131) later treasurer of Queen Elizabeth's household, (fn. 132) who in 1560 purchased the reversionary right of Sir Adrian's son John Fortescue. Sir Thomas's heir at his death in 1560 was his son Thomas (fn. 133) who was apparently given livery of the manor in 1565. (fn. 134) He was named as patron in 1569 but Anne presented to the living in 1579; (fn. 135) she died in 1587. (fn. 136) Thomas sold the manor in 1589 to Robert Webb of Beckington (Som.), a clothier, (fn. 137) from whom it was purchased in 1598 by Thomas Estcourt. (fn. 138)
Thomas, who later inherited Estcourt manor in Shipton Moyne and was knighted in 1607, died in 1624 and Lasborough manor passed to his widow Mary. (fn. 139) Her right was contested by Thomas's nephew and heir Thomas Estcourt (fn. 140) but Mary relinquished the manor to him only in 1645. (fn. 141) It then descended with Estcourt manor (fn. 142) until 1797 when Thomas Estcourt sold Lasborough manor to his brother Edmund. Edmund (d. 1814) devised it to his nephew, the Revd. Edmund William Estcourt, who sold it in 1826 to Thomas Reynolds Moreton, Lord Ducie. (fn. 143) Thomas, later created Earl Ducie, died in 1840 and his son Henry (fn. 144) sold the manor in 1844 to R. S. Holford. (fn. 145) It then descended with Westonbirt until 1927 when the estate was split up. (fn. 146) Lasborough park, including the old manor-house called Lasborough Farm and the house called Lasborough Park built in Newington Bagpath for Edmund Estcourt in the 1790s, (fn. 147) was purchased by Hon. Galbraith Cole and was sold in 1929 to Maj. R. A. Scott who retained it until 1950. In 1952 it passed to a firm of timber-merchants, which carried out some deforestation before selling it in 1954 to Mr. W. Curtis who later sold the old manor-house. (fn. 148) After 1927 the Bowldown property was sold separately and in 1948 was purchased by Maj. M. S. B. Vernon. (fn. 149)
The manor-house recorded in 1319 (fn. 150) was probably the home of Walter Brown and his wife in 1381. (fn. 151) In 1530 it had about 18 rooms including a first-floor hall, high and low galleries, and a chapel. (fn. 152) It was replaced in the 17th century by Lasborough Farm, which has a compact and irregular plan; some earlier walls may survive and an original design may have been altered before completion. The principal rooms are on the north front and a first-floor fireplace bears the Estcourt arms. The service rooms lie around three sides of a southern court which was partly built over in the 19th century. The Estcourts, whose ancestral property was in Shipton Moyne, used the house in the mid 17th century but Thomas Estcourt, who was assessed for 23 hearths in 1672, (fn. 153) had departed by 1676. (fn. 154) In the 18th century the family no longer used it (fn. 155) but lived at Estcourt and the house fell into decay and was occupied by poor families in 1803. (fn. 156) It was restored c. 1862 and was occupied by R. S. Holford during the building of Westonbirt House. (fn. 157) Of the park little remains but there are terraced gardens and an overgrown lake in the valley.
The property of Bradenstoke Priory (Wilts.) which was said at the Dissolution to be in Lasborough (fn. 158) was in fact in Newington Bagpath. (fn. 159) A hide of land, apparently in Lasborough, which was granted in the mid 12th century to St. Augustine's Abbey, Bristol, by Henry, duke of Normandy, (fn. 160) has not been traced later. Earl Ducie (d. 1840) granted 50 a. in Lasborough to the rector of Boxwell in lieu of tithes in Boxwell parish. (fn. 161)