Edgeworth: Introduction

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

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'Edgeworth: Introduction', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976) pp. 41-42. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol11/pp41-42 [accessed 13 April 2024]


Edgeworth, an isolated rural parish lying between the valleys of the river Frome and Holy brook, is about six miles ENE. of Stroud. The Frome, except that a small piece of land lies east of it at Edgeworth mill, and Holy brook form the eastern and western boundaries of the parish respectively, and part of the northern boundary follows the stream which runs along Ashcombe Bottom. The ancient parish, which included a detached area of 15 a. in Tunley south of the parish, comprised 1,598 a. (fn. 1) The detached portion was probably the result of lands held in the Tunley fields by Edgeworth tenants, possibly those of Cirencester Abbey at Westwood; (fn. 2) it was transferred to Sapperton parish in 1935. (fn. 3) The account which follows refers to the whole of the ancient parish.

The parish possibly derives its name from the steep wooded valley of the river Frome. (fn. 4) From the valley the land rises sharply in the east of the parish from 450 ft. to 650 ft. and then continues to climb more steadily to c. 775 ft. before sharply descending to the Holy brook valley. Most of the parish lies on the Great Oolite with exposed layers of fuller's earth and the Inferior Oolite in the valleys. (fn. 5) The soil is stone brash cultivated mainly as grassland in the north of the parish and arable in the south-west part, where one of the two open fields formerly existed. (fn. 6)

Woodland measuring 1 league by ½ league was recorded in 1086 (fn. 7) and was evidently on the valley slopes and at Westwood, part of which had been assarted by the mid 13th century. (fn. 8) There were only 102 a. of woodland recorded in 1838 (fn. 9) but the establishment of a park to the south and west of the manor-house later in the 19th century more than doubled the acreage of woodland in the parish.

The church, situated on the southern limb of an ancient trackway running due east from Bisley to a crossing of the river Frome, had been built by the end of the 11th century. (fn. 10) The settlement around the church includes the 17th-century manor-house (fn. 11) but the few other buildings mostly date from a 19th-century rebuilding in the gabled Cotswold style. One large cottage dates from the late 18th century and was probably the farm-house of Church farm, (fn. 12) one of the farms on the manor estate before the park occupied that part of the parish.

The main settlement of the parish formerly lay at the junction of the Duntisbourne road and the road to the church, about ½ mile north-west of the church. It included several cottages around the junction and the small island of green there (fn. 13) but those on the island and on the south side of the road were removed in the 19th century presumably to make way for the park. The removal of the cottages and the building of 19th-century residences gave the settlement the appearance of being strung out along the Duntisbourne road rather than being based on the road junction. Apart from a 17th-century barn and a pair of cottages with attic dormers at the west end of the village which perhaps date from the 18th century, the buildings are of the 19th century. The cottages include the former smithy at the junction, (fn. 14) converted to a private residence by 1971, and further east, the Terrace, a row of three 19thcentury stone dwellings. The village is dominated by the former rectory and the residences Edgeworth Paddock and North Farm which were built by the James family in the late 19th century. (fn. 15) Edgeworth Paddock, formerly the Closes, (fn. 16) occupies the site of the former Edgeworth Farm, and is a large, late-19th-century gabled residence typical of the Cotswold revival of the period. North Farm, at the west end of the village, also occupies the site of an earlier farm-house and is a house of similar type. Among the out-buildings of the farm is an earlier rubble-walled barn c. 90 ft. in length with a stoneslated roof. Edgeworth House, on the south side of the road and east of the junction, is a mid-20thcentury residence in stone with the upper storey faced in rough-cast. A school was built in 1872 (fn. 17) on the road linking the village to the church, and a small parish hall, which housed the parish library, was built near by later in the 19th century. (fn. 18)

An outlying settlement at Westwood, 1½ mile south-west of the village, was recorded from the mid 13th century when it was referred to as a vill. (fn. 19) The settlement probably contained a few habitations until it was incorporated into the manorial estate in the late 17th or early 18th century, (fn. 20) from which time it degenerated to the single farm-house recorded there in 1838. (fn. 21) Other outlying farms of the parish are the farm at the old mill in the Frome valley, and, further north, Valley Farm, the centre of a small freehold estate that was sold to the lord of the manor in 1837. (fn. 22) Valley Farm is a late-17thor early-18th-century one-storey house with dormer windows in a stone-slated roof and a modern two-storey north wing.

Some scattered building has taken place since 1800 along the Gloucester-Sapperton road, which runs from north to south through the central heights of the parish. A barn, called Field Barn in 1838, (fn. 23) was rebuilt as a house and further outbuildings added in the later 19th century. A small house near by, Greystones, was built at the same period, and further north are a pair of 19th-century stone cottages which were formerly gate-houses to the park. In the north part of the parish are Waverley Farm, a 19th-century farm-house occupied as two cottages in 1971, and Waverley House, a large residence built in the 1930s by Ethelbert Wheeler, the land agent on the manor estate, (fn. 24) who farmed in that part of the parish after the estate was divided. (fn. 25)

Thirteen people were assessed for tax at Edgeworth in 1327. (fn. 26) There were 45 communicants recorded in 1551, (fn. 27) and 19 households in 1563. (fn. 28) Twenty two families were recorded in 1650 (fn. 29) and c. 120 inhabitants in the early 18th century. (fn. 30) The population was said to be 106 c. 1775, (fn. 31) and in 1801 there were 116 people living at Edgeworth. The population rose during the following 20 years but had fallen back to 116 by 1831; it then increased sharply to 149 by 1841, staying near that figure for a while until another decline to 124 persons in 1871. From that date the population has fluctuated between 124 and 157 and in 1961 129 people were living in the parish. (fn. 32)


  • 1. O.S. Area Bk. (1885). The history of Edgeworth given here was written in 1971.
  • 2. Cirencester Cart. ii, p. 360; cf. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/124 rot. 50d.
  • 3. Census, 1931 (pt. ii).
  • 4. P.N. Glos (E.P.N.S.) i, 129, where it is also suggested that the name may derive from the personal name Ecgi.
  • 5. Geol. Surv. Map 1", solid, sheet 34 (1857 edn.).
  • 6. See p. 44.
  • 7. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com), i. 167v.
  • 8. Cirencester Cart. ii, p. 358.
  • 9. G.D.R., T 1/75.
  • 10. See p. 46.
  • 11. See p. 43.
  • 12. Glos. R.O., D 2525, terrier of lands in Edgeworth, mid 19th cent.
  • 13. G.D.R., T 1/75; cf. Glos. R.O., D 1801/20.
  • 14. O.S. Map 6", Glos. XLII. SE. (1884 edn.).
  • 15. Ex inf. Col. A. T. Smail, of Edgeworth Manor; cf. inscr. in ch.
  • 16. Ex inf. the rector of Edgeworth and Miserden, the Revd. A. B. Lea; cf. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1927), 171.
  • 17. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1885), 452.
  • 18. O.S. Map 6", Glos. XLII. SE. (1884, 1922 edns.).
  • 19. Cirencester Cart. ii, p. 359.
  • 20. See p. 43.
  • 21. G.D.R., T 1/75.
  • 22. Glos. R.O., D 1801/17, 21.
  • 23. G.D.R., T 1/75.
  • 24. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1935), 161.
  • 25. Ibid. (1939), 163.
  • 26. Glos. Subsidy Roll, 1327, 29.
  • 27. E.H.R.xix. 114.
  • 28. Bodl. MS. Rawl. C. 790, f. 9v.
  • 29. Trans. B.G.A.S. lxxxiii. 93.
  • 30. Atkyns, Glos. 427.
  • 31. Rudder, Glos. 437.
  • 32. Census, 1801-1961.