Miserden: 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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'Miserden: Manors and other estates', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976) pp. 49-52. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol11/pp49-52 [accessed 18 April 2024]


In 1066 one hide of land at Greenhampstead was held by Ernesi; it had passed into the possession of Hasculf Musard by 1086 when it had increased in value. (fn. 1) During the Middle Ages the manor was variously described as being held of the barony of Staveley, (fn. 2) which was the caput of the Musards' lands in Derbyshire, (fn. 3) and of the king by knight service. (fn. 4)

The manor of MISERDEN apparently passed to Robert Musard (fl. 1146) (fn. 5) and was later held by Hasculf Musard. Hasculf, who granted part of the manor to the Knights Hospitaller, (fn. 6) was dead by 1186, (fn. 7) and the manor passed to his son Ralph who paid a fine for his father's estates and his own marriage in 1190. (fn. 8) Ralph died in 1230 and the manor was apparently inherited in turn by his sons Robert (d. c. 1247), and Ralph (fn. 9) who died seised c. 1264. The manor then passed to Ralph's son Ralph (fn. 10) (d. c. 1271), (fn. 11) and during the minority of John, son of the younger Ralph, the profits of the manor were enjoyed at first by Grimbald Pauncefoot (fn. 12) and then by Amice Derneford, lately the nurse of the king's son Henry. (fn. 13) John entered his estates in 1287 (fn. 14) and was succeeded in 1289 by his uncle, Nicholas Musard. (fn. 15) Nicholas conveyed the manor to his son Malcolm who granted it to Hugh Despenser the elder in 1297 with the reversion of that part settled in dower on Christine, his mother. (fn. 16)

Hugh Despenser held the manor until his forfeiture (fn. 17) when it passed to the Crown which granted it to Edmund, earl of Kent, in 1326. (fn. 18) Edmund was executed and his estates forfeited in 1330, (fn. 19) and later that year the Crown granted the manor to John Mautravers for life, (fn. 20) with the reversion to Geoffrey Mortimer. (fn. 21) Mautravers also suffered forfeiture in 1330 (fn. 22) and in the following year the manor was restored to the heirs of Edmund, earl of Kent. (fn. 23) Edmund's eldest son, also Edmund, died a minor in the king's ward in 1331 (fn. 24) so that the estate passed to his younger brother John, during whose minority it was committed to Margaret, his mother. (fn. 25) In 1338 John Musard, son of Malcolm, tried to restore his family to the manor by force (fn. 26) and later brought a writ of novel disseisin against Margaret. (fn. 27) Nevertheless John, earl of Kent, took livery of his father's lands in 1349 (fn. 28) and died seised in 1352. (fn. 29) At John's death his heir was his sister Joan, wife of Thomas Holland, (fn. 30) but she agreed that it should be held by John's widow Elizabeth. (fn. 31) Elizabeth held the estate until her death in 1411 when the next heir was Edmund Mortimer, earl of March, her great-great-nephew. (fn. 32) Edmund took livery of his estates in 1413 (fn. 33) and died seised of Miserden in 1425 (fn. 34) when the manor passed to his half-sister Joan, wife of John Grey and heir to those lands which had come to Edmund through the earldom of Kent. (fn. 35) Joan also died in 1425 (fn. 36) when the manor passed to Richard, earl of March and later duke of York, a nephew of Edmund. (fn. 37) Richard suffered forfeiture in 1459 (fn. 38) and the Crown granted the manor to trustees for the benefit of Cecily, his widow, during her life. (fn. 39) After the accession of her son as Edward IV Cecily received Miserden in dower (fn. 40) and held it until her death in 1495 (fn. 41) when the manor was granted to Elizabeth, queen consort of Henry VII. (fn. 42)

Miserden remained in Crown hands against the claims of other heirs of Edward IV (fn. 43) and formed part of the marriage portions of each of the wives of Henry VIII. (fn. 44) On the death of Catherine Parr in 1548 (fn. 45) the manor passed to Sir Anthony Kingston who had received a reversionary grant in 1544. (fn. 46) Anthony died in 1556 (fn. 47) and the succession to Miserden became confused, his niece Frances Jerningham, who was his legal heir, and his illegitimate sons having claims to the manor. (fn. 48) The fine levied on the manor by Frances and her husband and Edmund Kingston, Anthony's illegitimate son, appears to have settled the manor on the Kingstons for three lives. (fn. 49) Edmund was succeeded by his son Anthony who presented to the rectory in 1566. (fn. 50) Anthony died in 1591 when no mention was made of Miserden, (fn. 51) but his son William, who styled himself 'of Miserden', (fn. 52) was recorded as lord of the manor in 1608 (fn. 53) and after his death in 1614 had a monument erected in Miserden church. (fn. 54) Nevertheless Henry Jerningham, son of Frances, (fn. 55) levied fines on the manor in 1585 and 1592, (fn. 56) possibly to alleviate the penalties of his recusancy. (fn. 57) After the death of William Kingston in 1614 the Crown reaffirmed the rights of the Jerningham family to Miserden, (fn. 58) and in 1616 Henry Jerningham sold the manor to Sir William Sandys, retaining life-interests for himself, his wife, and his son, Henry. (fn. 59) After Henry's death the younger Henry sold the manor outright to Sir William in 1620 when Sandys apparently insisted on protecting himself against the possibility of subsequent claims to the manor by the Kingstons. (fn. 60)

Sir William Sandys died in 1641 and was succeeded by his grandson William, but his wife Margaret (d. 1644) retained the house and park-land as part of her jointure. (fn. 61) The younger William died in 1649 and was succeeded by his son Miles (d. 1697), whose widow Mary held Miserden Park during the lifetime of her son William (d. 1712). Barbara, the widow of William, held the manor in dower until her death in 1745 (fn. 62) when it passed to Windsor Sandys of Brimpsfield, a cousin. Windsor died in 1754 and was succeeded by his son Browne who died unmarried in 1761. The manor then passed to Browne's brother, Samuel Sandys, (fn. 63) who was declared a lunatic in 1793 and committed with his estate to George Richards, his solicitor, to whom he had mortgaged part of his property. (fn. 64) Samuel died in 1806 and his heirs were his sisters Anne (d. 1810) and Mary (d. 1816), who were both also lunatics. Custody of the sisters and their estates was granted to their kinsman Sir Edwin Bayntun Sandys, Bt., who established his claim as heir to the manor. (fn. 65) Sir Edwin, who was high sheriff of Gloucestershire in 1820, (fn. 66) embarked on a series of financial transactions which ended in 1832 when the estate was sold by order in Chancery for the benefit of his creditors. The manor was bought at auction by Thomas Legg who did not take possession, for in 1833 he was replaced as buyer by the Revd. Edward Reed (fn. 67) who had married Barbara, Sir Edwin's daughter. (fn. 68)

Reed sold the estate to James Wittit Lyon in 1839. (fn. 69) Lyon's mortgagees later gained possession of the estate and sold it to John Rolt in 1862. (fn. 70) Rolt, who was M.P. for West Gloucestershire from 1857 to 1867 and became Attorney General and received a knighthood in 1866, died in 1871, (fn. 71) and his trustees sold the estate in 1875 to E. A. Leatham. (fn. 72) Leatham (d. 1900) (fn. 73) was succeeded by his son A. W. Leatham who sold the estate in 1915 to Capt. F. N. H. Wills. (fn. 74) Wills died in 1927, (fn. 75) and his widow Margery married W/Cdr. H. M. Sinclair in 1942. They, as directors of the Miserden Park estate, owned the manor in 1970. (fn. 76)

There was a castle at Miserden by the mid 12th century, (fn. 77) standing on a site dominating a crossing of the river Frome. The castle ceased to be inhabited some time between 1266 (fn. 78) and 1289, and by the early years of the next century had been replaced by a manor-house on a new site. (fn. 79) The site of the castle, a motte and bailey of considerable proportions, was covered with firs in 1970. Excavation in 1915 uncovered masonry of the 13th century and ridgecrest tiles decorated with faitage and crockets; on the tiles were small sculpted collared bears standing processionally. (fn. 80) More recent work has revealed the remains of a 13th-century gateway. (fn. 81)

The house at Miserden Park, probably on the site of the medieval manor-house, dates from the earlier 17th century, probably from soon after the arrival of the Sandys family at Miserden. External features which survive from that period are part of the ground floor and first floor of the south front and the stonemullioned and transomed windows and the gabled porch and entrance on the north front. The hall retains a 17th-century carved stone fire-place, resting on columns and decorated with the arms of Sandys. The 17th-century house was of two storeys with attics and had gables and five bays on the south, and probably also the north, front. There was a gateway with a room above to the west c. 1710 and the outbuildings formed a two-storey block arranged round the four sides of a courtyard north of the house. (fn. 82) The house wore the 'aspect of desertion and decay' c. 1775 (fn. 83) but by 1874 had undergone extensive alteration, probably dating from the earlier 19th century. The work comprised the removal of the gables, except those over the entrances, and the attic floor and the substitution of a crenellated parapet. A two-storey east wing, lower than the main building, set back from the south front and projecting northwards was also added. A quatrefoil light was added on the south entrance bay and a bellcot over the north entrance. (fn. 84)

In 1875 extensive alterations were undertaken by the new owner, E.A. Leatham, who employed Alfred Waterhouse as architect. The work was probably a conscious restoration of the 17th-century house. The parapet and bellcot were removed and gables restored to the south and north fronts. The east wing was brought up to the same height as the main building by the addition of another storey and a gable, and the windows on the south wall were brought into line with those on the south front. The arrangement of the windows on the north front, which had been uniform with the south front, was altered. The present windows, with stone mullions and transoms, are irregularly placed and of varying sizes with a large window east of the porch to light a new staircase. (fn. 85) A further east wing was added in 1914 but burnt down in 1919. In 1920-1 it was rebuilt in the Cotswold style by Sir Edwin Lutyens. (fn. 86) It extends to the line of the south front of the house and is joined to the main building by a covered arcade of five bays, behind which remains the old east wing rebuilt in 1875. (fn. 87)

That part of his estate which Hasculf Musard granted to the Knights Hospitaller before 1186, later known as the manor of WISHANGER, (fn. 88) became an adjunct of the preceptory of Quenington. (fn. 89) The prior, William de Tothale, leased the manor in 1312 or 1313 to Hugh Despenser the elder for life, and in 1337 it was temporarily in Crown hands on the grounds that Hugh had acquired it without licence. (fn. 90) At the Hospitallers' surrender in 1540, (fn. 91) Sir William Kingston held a lease of the manor, which passed to his son Anthony (fn. 92) but must have ceased by 1552 when the Crown granted the manor in fee to Sir Thomas Palmer. (fn. 93) After Palmer's attainder for his support of Lady Jane Grey, (fn. 94) the Crown granted the manor in 1554 to Sir William Howard, Lord Howard, and Henry Peckham in consideration of the former's services at the time of Wyatt's rising. (fn. 95) In 1555 Peckham had a licence to alienate the manor to Christopher Bumpstead, a London mercer, (fn. 96) who conveyed it to Thomas Browne in 1557. (fn. 97) Browne sold the manor in 1563 or 1564 to William Partridge (fn. 98) in whose family it remained until the 19th century.

William Partridge died in 1578 (fn. 99) and Wishanger passed to his son Robert (d. 1600), and to Robert's son John. (fn. 100) John's brother Anthony held the manor by 1608 (fn. 101) and it passed at Anthony's death in 1625 to his son Henry (fn. 102) (d. 1653), whose son, also Henry, succeeded. The younger Henry died in 1696 and, having disinherited his son by his first wife, was succeeded by Thomas, his eldest son by his second wife. (fn. 103) Thomas (d. 1750) was succeeded by his nephew Joseph who died in 1769 when the manor passed to his cousin, John Partridge (d. 1785), who was succeeded by his son Harry. By that time the estate was heavily mortgaged and in 1796 Harry's brother, John Partridge of Bowbridge, Stroud, contracted to buy the manor. (fn. 104) Harry and John sold the manor-house with 283½ a. of land to William Somers in 1802, and Harry sold a further 138 a. to Paul Wathen of Lypiatt Park in 1807, who immediately sold to Edward Hogg. (fn. 105) Somer's estate passed at his death in 1821 to his daughter and heir, Mary, the wife of Isaac White, alias Berry, who sold it in 1824 to James and Henry Hogg, silk-merchants of Randwick and Congleton (Ches.). (fn. 106) James (d. 1826) devised his share of the manor to his wife Mary Ann for life with the reversion to his daughter Martha Sophia. Mary Ann married the Revd. Richard Morris in 1828, and by an agreement of 1838 they received Henry Hogg's share of the manor. (fn. 107) They may also have acquired that part of the estate belonging to Edward Hogg (d. 1836). (fn. 108) In 1849 the Morrises and Martha Sophia Hogg conveyed the manor to trustees for sale, and it was bought by Julius Partridge, a kinsman of the earlier owners, who sold it to Sir John Rolt in 1867 (fn. 109) since when it has descended with Miserden manor. (fn. 110)

The present house, Wishanger Manor, may date from the marriage of Robert Partridge in 1566 when the Partridge arms were placed over the entrance. (fn. 111) It is a two-storey stone house with a stone-slated roof. The gabled entrance porch of three storeys is later, and the entrance has a moulded stone surround and classical pilasters on each side rising to a string course. A sundial above the entrance is dated 1721. During the 17th century a west wing was added with a higher roof level than that of the original house. In the mid 19th century Julius Partridge restored the property and built a stone barn with a window in its gable end, decorated with his initials, but by 1903 the house was no longer considered to be suitable for a gentleman's residence. (fn. 112) It was carefully restored in 1968.

In 1706 William Sandys sold part of the manorial estate at Sudgrove to John Durston, (fn. 113) rector of Miserden, who built a house there and established the SUDGROVE estate. Durston sold his estate to John Temple, who augmented the estate before selling to William Trye (fn. 114) (d. 1769). (fn. 115) In 1772 William's son Thomas conveyed the estate, then called Pinings, to John Selfe of Cirencester, (fn. 116) who purchased an adjoining estate from William Yarnton Mills in 1791. John's devisees, his brother Richard Selfe and sister Mary Cripps, sold the whole property in 1802 to Joseph Pitt of Cirencester, who conveyed it the following year to Richard Estcourt Cresswell. Cresswell sold the estate in 1806 to Mrs. Sarah Yarnton who settled it on the marriage of her nephew Daniel Mills and his wife Hester in 1808. (fn. 117) Mills died in 1838 (fn. 118) and his wife retained the 234-a. estate. (fn. 119) It passed to their son Daniel Yarnton Mills (d. 1872), whose eldest son, also Daniel Yarnton, conveyed it c. 1890 to his brother Henry Hamilton Mills (d. 1932). Henry devised it to his nephew Daniel Yarnton Mills, who sold it to Gerald Godwin in 1952. The estate was divided into two almost equal parts in 1962 when Godwin sold part to the tenant, Mr. Ratcliffe, and another part with Sudgrove House to Miss Pat Smythe, (fn. 120) a distinguished international horsewoman, who, as Mrs. P. Koechlin-Smythe, lived at Sudgrove House in 1970. The 18th-century house was refronted in Cotswold style during the 19th century.


  • 1. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 169v.
  • 2. Cal. Inq. p.m. i, p. 191; x, p. 42.
  • 3. Trans. B.G.A.S. iv. 185.
  • 4. Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, p. 437; x, p. 60.
  • 5. Chrons. Stephen, Henry II, Richard I (Rolls Ser.), iii. 118-19.
  • 6. See below
  • 7. Pipe R. 1186 (P.R.S. xxxvi), 109, 121.
  • 8. Trans. B.G.A.S. lix. 192.
  • 9. V.C.H. Oxon. v. 179.
  • 10. Cal. Inq. p.m. i, p. 191.
  • 11. Ibid. p. 260.
  • 12. Cal. Fine R. 1272-1307, I.
  • 13. Cal. Close, 1279-88, 520.
  • 14. Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, p. 401.
  • 15. Ibid. p. 437.
  • 16. Cat. Anct. D. i, A 927, A 934; Cal. Pat. 1292-1301, 536.
  • 17. D.N.B.
  • 18. Cal. Close, 1323-7, 622.
  • 19. Complete Peerage, vii. 146-7.
  • 20. Cal. Pat. 1327-30, 517.
  • 21. Ibid. 535.
  • 22. D.N.B. s.v. Maltravers.
  • 23. Cal. Close, 1330-33, 205.
  • 24. Complete Peerage, vii. 148.
  • 25. Cal. Fine R. 1327-37, 279.
  • 26. Cal. Pat. 1338-40, 133.
  • 27. Cal. Close, 1346-9, 557.
  • 28. Ibid. 1349-54, 39.
  • 29. Cal. Inq. p.m. x, p. 42.
  • 30. Cal. Close, 1349-54, 531.
  • 31. Ibid. 594.
  • 32. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1359-1413, 260. During the life of Elizabeth the reversion of the manor had passed from Joan Holland to her son Thomas, earl of Kent (d. 1397), to his sons Thomas (d. 1400) and Edmund (d. 1408), then to Edmund Mortimer, earl of March, nephew of Thomas and Edmund through his mother Eleanor: cf. Complete Peerage, vii. 150-63.
  • 33. Cal. Pat. 1413-16, 45.
  • 34. C 139/19/32 no. 27.
  • 35. Complete Peerage, viii. 453 n.
  • 36. C 139/24/36 no. 24.
  • 37. Complete Peerage, xii (2), 906.
  • 38. Ibid. 908.
  • 39. Cal. Pat. 1452-61, 542.
  • 40. Ibid. 1461-7, 131.
  • 41. Complete Peerage, xii (2), 909.
  • 42. Rot. Parl. vi. 462.
  • 43. Cat. Anct. D. iv, A 7551.
  • 44. L. & P. Hen. VIII, i, p. 49; vii, p. 176; xv, p. 52; xvi, p. 240; xix, p. 82; S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/6664.
  • 45. D.N.B.
  • 46. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xxi (2), p. 36.
  • 47. D.N.B.
  • 48. Trans. B.G.A.S. vi. 292-3.
  • 49. C.P. 25 (2)/83/712 no. 8, which is mutilated.
  • 50. Hockaday Abs. cclxxxvi.
  • 51. C 142/231 no. 94.
  • 52. P.R.O. List and Index, ix, p. 51.
  • 53. Smith, Men and Armour, 296.
  • 54. Trans. B.G.A.S. vi. 292-3.
  • 55. Burke, Peerage (1935), 1337.
  • 56. C.P. 25 (2)/144/1861 no. 1; C.P. 25 (2)/145/1889 no. 2.
  • 57. Cf. Trans. B.G.A.S. lxxxiii. 99-118.
  • 58. Cal. S.P.Dom. 1611-18, 241.
  • 59. C.P. 25 (2)/298/14 Jas. I Mich. no. 68.
  • 60. C.P. 25 (2)/299/18 Jas. I Mich. no. 36.
  • 61. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1625-42, ii. 170-2; for the Sandys family, see Visit. Glos. 1682-3, 154-6; ibid. 1623, 144.
  • 62. Glos. R.O., D 2440, Miserden, Cranham, and Brimpsfield papers 1605-1722.
  • 63. Rudder, Glos. 554 n.
  • 64. Glos. R.O., D 1042, Miserden and Winstone deeds 1774-99.
  • 65. Ibid. legal papers.
  • 66. P.R.O. List and Index, ix, p. 53.
  • 67. Glos. R.O., D 1042, Chancery suit papers.
  • 68. Debrett, Baronetage (1836), 349.
  • 69. Glos. R.O., D 2483/T 6.
  • 70. Ibid. D 1042, Miserden deeds 1833-62.
  • 71. Williams, Parl. Hist. of Glos. 77-8.
  • 72. Glos. R.O., D 1388, Miserden est.
  • 73. Inscr. in ch.
  • 74. Ex inf. Mrs. H. M. Sinclair, of Miserden Park.
  • 75. Inscr. in ch.
  • 76. Ex inf. W/Cdr. Sinclair.
  • 77. Chrons. Steph., Hen. II, Ric. I (Rolls Ser.), iii. 118-19.
  • 78. Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, p. 401.
  • 79. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1236-1300, 150; 1301-58, 230.
  • 80. Proc. C.N.F.C. xx. 56. There was an example at Miserden Park in 1970.
  • 81. Ex inf. W/Cdr. Sinclair.
  • 82. Atkyns, Glos., plate at pp. 560-2, reproduced above, plate facing p. 32.
  • 83. Rudder, Glos. 555.
  • 84. Glos. R.O., D 1388, plate in Miserden sale partics. 1874.
  • 85. Ibid., plans and accts. of rebuilding.
  • 86. Verey, Glos., i. 322.
  • 87. See plate facing p. 80.
  • 88. Dugdale, Mon. vi. 836; the record of the grant is slightly ambiguous and was taken by Atkyns, Glos. 562, to be a grant to the Templars, but cf. a reference to 'Hospitallers' Wishanger' in 1221: Pleas of the Crown for Glos., ed. Maitland, p. 84.
  • 89. V.C.H. Glos. ii. 113.
  • 90. Cal. Close, 1337-9, 87.
  • 91. V.C.H. Glos. ii. 113.
  • 92. Hockaday Abs. cccix, 1541.
  • 93. Cal. Pat. 1550-53, 236.
  • 94. D.N.B.
  • 95. Cal. Pat. 1553-4, 9.
  • 96. Ibid. 1554-5, 141.
  • 97. C.P. 25(2)/71/588 no. 66.
  • 98. P.R.O. Index 17221 f. 170.
  • 99. See C. H. Partridge, Pedigree and Notes of Partridge Fam. (Edgbaston, 1903), end-piece, for the family.
  • 100. C 142/268 no. 146.
  • 101. Smith, Men and Armour, 296.
  • 102. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1625-42, i. 9-11.
  • 103. Partridge Fam. end-piece.
  • 104. Glos. R.O., D 1347, Miserden deeds 1802-37, copy of deed 1802; cf. Partridge Fam. end-piece, where John is wrongly given as the elder brother and heir to the estate.
  • 105. Glos. R.O., D 1347, Miserden deeds 1802-37.
  • 106. Ibid. D 1042, Wishanger deeds 1737-1865.
  • 107. Ibid. Wishanger deeds 1736-1838.
  • 108. V.C.H. Glos. x. 226; cf. E. P. Fennemore, Hist. of Randwick (Stroud, 1893), 95.
  • 109. Glos. R.O., D 1042, Wishanger deeds 1737-1865; cf. Partridge Fam., end-piece.
  • 110. See above.
  • 111. Partridge Fam. 19. It was not possible to obtain access when this parish history was being written.
  • 112. Ibid. 4.
  • 113. C.P. 25(2)/925/5 Anne East. no. 19.
  • 114. Rudder, Glos. 555; cf. Glos. R.O., D 1405, Pinings deeds 1767-72.
  • 115. Glos. R.O., D 1089/F 1/11.
  • 116. Glos. R.O., D 1405, Pinings deeds 1767-72.
  • 117. Ibid. Sudgrove est. deeds 1703-1847.
  • 118. Inscr. in ch.
  • 119. G.D.R., T 1/122.
  • 120. TS. notes penes Mrs. P. Koechlin-Smythe, Sudgrove House.