Sapperton: Economic history

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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'Sapperton: Economic history', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds, (London, 1976) pp. 93-96. British History Online [accessed 23 April 2024]


There were 13 servi working seven teams on the demesne at Sapperton and Frampton in 1086. (fn. 1) No record has been found for demesne farming at Frampton during the Middle Ages after the separation of Sapperton and Frampton. (fn. 2) The demesne at Sapperton included three ploughlands c. 1262 when customary tenants holding one yardland had to plough three acres of the lord's demesne each year and also work on the demesne every weekday except Saturday in August and September. Works were also due from those tenants during the remainder of the year but could be commuted to a money payment at the lord's will. All customary tenants owed bedrips to the lord at harvest time. (fn. 3) During the 14th century the Hussey moiety of the manor had 80 a. of arable in demesne, (fn. 4) and a ploughland of poor, hilly ground was recorded on the Lisle moiety. (fn. 5)

The tenants at Sapperton and Frampton in 1086 included 17 villani and 9 bordars who shared ten ploughs. (fn. 6) Twenty-four customary tenants were recorded at Sapperton c. 1262; fifteen were yardlanders who provided the services mentioned above as well as giving the lord a 12d. aid at Michaelmas. The lesser tenants, three cottagers and six tenants holding ⅓ yardland each, owed money rents to the lord, and all customary tenants were required to provide a hen at Christmas and five eggs at Easter. (fn. 7) The four customary tenants on the Hussey moiety paid 26s. 8d. yearly in lieu of works and services in 1332. (fn. 8) In the late 16th century copyholds were granted for three lives. Tenants had rights of housebote and heybote on their own lands and, if this was not sufficient, they could request the necessary wood from the lord's lands. Heriots were owed from each messuage held by a tenant and widows enjoyed freebench. No tenant was allowed to take an under-tenant for more than one year on pain of forfeiture. (fn. 9) There was still some copyhold land at Sapperton in the early 18th century. (fn. 10)

In 1581 nine copyholders were recorded on the manor of Frampton Mansell; three had holdings of 3 yardlands or more, two had between 2 and 3 yardlands, two held 2 messuages each, and there were two cottagers. Leasehold tenure was more common than copyhold in 1668 (fn. 11) and most of the tenements on the manor became freehold by purchase in the late 17th century when the estate was fragmented. (fn. 12)

Three freeholders were recorded on Sapperton manor in the mid 13th century when their respective yearly rentals were 8d., 1 lb. of wax, and 1/6 lb. of cummin. (fn. 13) Freeholders were recorded there in 1385 (fn. 14) when their number probably included the owner of Hailey. During the 16th century two lesser freeholders were recorded at Frampton Mansell, (fn. 15) and two others were recorded in 1668. (fn. 16) The freehold tenants of Sapperton manor paid a sum equal to two years' rent to the lord of the manor when their lands changed hands. (fn. 17)

There were six open fields in the parish, two fields in each tithing. In 1730 Sapperton East field, comprising 546 a., was situated between Sapperton park and Cranhill, south-east of Emmerson Lane; West field lay in the area surrounding Ash hill and Middleton hill and comprised 357 a. The open fields at Hailey were probably contiguous to Sapperton East field: Hailey East field, comprising 95 a., was situated by Hailey, or Ellington, hill and Hailey West field, comprising 258 a., was situated at Hargrove in the southern part of the parish. (fn. 18) The two fields at Frampton Mansell in 1778 were extensive areas of land on each side of the road linking Frampton village and Emmerson Lane: Down, or West, field covered most of the area west of the road, and Beacon, or East, field stretched across the plateau to the boundary with Sapperton tithing. (fn. 19) The strips at Frampton were ½ a.–1 a. in the mid 13th century. (fn. 20) Evidence of piecemeal inclosure occurs in the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 21) In 1730 there were strips of less than ¼ a. in Sapperton and Hailey fields where three-fifths of the holdings were still of 1 a. or less. Nevertheless consolidation of strips had occurred by that time and approximately a third of the land in the fields was in holdings of more than 5 a. (fn. 22)

Sheep pasture was recorded at Frampton Mansell in the mid 13th century (fn. 23) and also at Sapperton, (fn. 24) but the two commons in the parish, Frampton, or Whitelands, (fn. 25) common and Sapperton common, covering c. 120 a. on the steep, wooded slope of the Golden Valley, would not have provided extensive pasture. Frampton common was perhaps that called Bicknell, which was the main pasture for the Frampton tenants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Animals were also turned out in Westley wood and were allowed to graze the stubble of the open fields. In 1581 the pasture at Frampton was stinted at 15 beast- and 50 sheep-pastures for every yardland but in 1655, when three sheep-tellers were appointed, the stint was reduced to 40 sheep for a yardland. (fn. 26) At Sapperton in 1685 a holding of 40 a. in the open fields had 2 cow- and 48 sheep-pastures attached to it. (fn. 27)

The open fields of Sapperton tithing were apparently inclosed by private agreement during the middle years of the 18th century; (fn. 28) exchanges, involving c. 190 a., were made between Lord Bathurst and other owners for the creation of Sapperton park from part of East field in 1743. (fn. 29) The open fields of Frampton Mansell and of Hailey were inclosed by Act of Parliament in 1778 when 1,541 a. were re-allotted, including c. 480 a. of old inclosures. All of the land at Hailey went to Charles Coxe, owner of the manor, except for 66 a. awarded to the rector for his tithes. At Frampton Mansell the allotment of 309 a. for the rector's tithes was the largest award to an individual. Fifteen other people received allotments, the largest going to Thomas Jayne who received 298 a. and John Wade who received 152 a. Five landowners received between 40 a. and 80 a., two received between 15 a. and 30 a., and there were eight smaller allotments, including one of 1½ a. to Earl Bathurst for his manorial rights, and two small quarries for the maintenance of parish roads. (fn. 30)

In 1831 there were six farms in the parish employing 94 labourers. (fn. 31) The largest farm was probably Sapperton, or Manor, farm which in 1857 comprised 661 a. equally divided between arable and grassland. (fn. 32) In 1845 Lord Bathurst retained 544 a. in hand, much of it accounted for by Hailey wood, and in addition to Manor farm there were five other farms of more than 280 a. in the parish, two farms of c. 100 a., and four farms with 40–80 a. All, with the exception of Manor farm which included Sapperton park, concentrated on arable farming almost to the exclusion of pasture. (fn. 33) In 1856 three farms were recorded at Sapperton and five at Frampton Mansell (fn. 34) and the number recorded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries remained close to those figures although the size and distribution of the farms altered. (fn. 35) There were eleven farms in the parish in 1939 but only three remained over 150 a., Manor farm and Hailey farm in Sapperton and Beacon farm in Frampton Mansell; Tyning farm in Frampton had turned to dairying. (fn. 36) The survey of 1801 recorded 973 a. of ploughed land in the parish, a quarter of which was planted with root crops. (fn. 37) In 1901 the arable land occupied 1,963 a. and there were also 699 a. of grassland and 573 a. of woods and plantations. (fn. 38)

Two mills were recorded at Sapperton and Frampton in 1086 (fn. 39) but extents of Sapperton manor do not record a mill in the 13th or 14th century. (fn. 40) Sapperton Mill, known as Dorvel Mill in the 19th century, situated on the Frome north of the village, (fn. 41) was described as a new-erected grist-mill in 1763 when Earl Bathurst granted it on a lease for lives to William Fowler. (fn. 42) Shortly after Fowler's death in 1792 his lease was acquired by an agent for the Thames and Severn Canal Co. (fn. 43) which, acting through the Revd. John Disney, took a further lease for lives in 1802. (fn. 44) Disney granted a 16-year sublease to the miller Richard Hancox in 1810; (fn. 45) Richard's son Thomas was tenant of the mill in 1837 and Thomas's brother William Walter Hancox was working it in 1846. (fn. 46) It continued in use as a corn-mill during the later 19th century (fn. 47) but had ceased working by 1901. (fn. 48) In 1971 rubble foundations and the remains of the pond survived.

A saw-mill at Daneway bridge was recorded from the mid 19th century when it was worked by members of the Gardiner family. (fn. 49) The saw-mill produced barrel staves for the Birmingham market: they were carried there by canal in the mill's own barges which went on to Staffordshire for coal to be brought back to the parish. (fn. 50) The mill ceased to function in the 1920s (fn. 51) and the site was marked by some stonework in 1971.

The pond made at Frampton Mansell by Richard de Veim in the early 13th century may have been connected with a water-mill, (fn. 52) but the first definite evidence for a water-mill at Frampton is the copy granted by the manor court in 1572 to Richard Eckley which allowed him to build a grain-mill, the later Puck Mill, (fn. 53) on Puckpilles land. Eckley was subsequently presented at the court for building a water-mill on the lord's waste. (fn. 54) The mill was later converted as a cloth-mill, and comprised a fullingmill with dye-houses and press-houses in 1708 when it was settled by the clothier Joseph Bliss on the marriage of his son John. It was then held with a house called Hattons (fn. 55) (later Little Hattons), which may have belonged to Michael Hatton, a tucker recorded in the parish in 1597. (fn. 56) In 1749 the mill was conveyed by William Bliss, dyer, and others of his family to James Bidmead of Bisley, a baker, whose son Samuel sold it to the Thames and Severn Canal Co. in 1791. In 1804 the company sold Puck Mill, then a grist-mill, to James Smith, a size-maker of Stroud. (fn. 57) Soon after that date it was being worked by Richard Wynn (fn. 58) but in 1845 it was owned by Thomas Baker and worked by William Curtis. (fn. 59) William Baker (d. 1876), who lived at Hattons, (fn. 60) later owned the mill, (fn. 61) which in 1856 was being used by the firm of Blower & Smart for silk-throwing. (fn. 62) The firm had moved from Puck Mill by 1860 when John William Jones was the tenant. (fn. 63) It fell into disuse before 1865, (fn. 64) and in 1971 the site was marked by an 18th-century stone house.

The cloth industry provided some employment at Frampton Mansell from the late 16th century to the 19th. A tucker was recorded in 1597, (fn. 65) and a broadweaver in 1662, (fn. 66) and three clothiers lived there in the earlier 18th century (fn. 67) when other allied tradesmen included a cloth-worker, a dyer, and a remnant dresser. (fn. 68) In 1821 the high proportion of families recorded at Frampton Mansell engaged in trade or manufacture probably included a number of workers in the cloth industry, but by 1831 only two families were employed outside of agriculture. (fn. 69) The Thames and Severn canal employed a watchman (fn. 70) and a mason (fn. 71) at Sapperton in the 19th century, and the coal-merchant recorded at Daneway in 1856 (fn. 72) presumably acquired his supplies by canal. Two carpenters were recorded at Sapperton in the later 19th century (fn. 73) and a blacksmith at Frampton Mansell in 1856. (fn. 74) Those crafts were revived locally by the arrival of the Barnsleys and Ernest Gimson but their staff dispersed soon after the death of Gimson in 1919. (fn. 75)

A victualler was recorded in 1743 (fn. 76) and there were shopkeepers in the parish from 1856. Three were recorded in 1879 but by the 20th century the number had declined and there was no shop at Sapperton in 1971 although Frampton Mansell had a small general store. The two publicans at Frampton in 1885 also worked as a haulier and as a butcher respectively. During the later 19th century a beer retailer usually had a store in Frampton. (fn. 77) Among the less likely trades of village life were a dealer in pigs recorded in 1744 (fn. 78) and a road contractor recorded in 1856. (fn. 79) In 1971 a considerable proportion of the population continued to work on the land but the attractive situation of the parish had also encouraged a number of professional people to live there. (fn. 80)


  • 1. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 168.
  • 2. See pp. 91–2.
  • 3. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1236–1300, 31.
  • 4. Ibid. 1302–59, 239–40.
  • 5. Ibid. 1359–1413, 142–3.
  • 6. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 168.
  • 7. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1236–1300, 31.
  • 8. Ibid. 1302–59, 239–40.
  • 9. Glos. Colln. RV 260.2, rot. 1 and d.
  • 10. Ibid. rot. 3d.
  • 11. Glos. R.O., D 1571/M 14.
  • 12. See p. 92.
  • 13. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1236–1300, 31.
  • 14. Ibid. 1359–1413, 142–3.
  • 15. Glos. R.O., D 1571/M 13.
  • 16. Ibid. M 14.
  • 17. Glos. Colln. RV 260.2, rot. 1d.
  • 18. Glos. R.O., D 2525, terrier of open fields 1730.
  • 19. Ibid. D 1388, copy of incl. award.
  • 20. Cirencester Cart. ii, pp. 351–3.
  • 21. Glos. R.O., D 1571/M 13–14.
  • 22. Ibid. D 2525, terrier of open fields 1730.
  • 23. Cirencester Cart. ii, pp. 350–1.
  • 24. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1236–1300, 31.
  • 25. Greenwood, Map of Glos. (1824).
  • 26. Glos. R.O., D 1571/M 13–14.
  • 27. Glos. Colln. RV 260.2, rot. 2.
  • 28. Glos. R.O., D 2525, terrier of open fields 1730 terrier of Sapperton 1787.
  • 29. Ibid. deeds of Sapperton and Frampton 1727–1848.
  • 30. Ibid. D 1388, copy of incl. award.
  • 31. Census, 1831.
  • 32. Glos. R.O., D 2525, terrier of Bathurst estate.
  • 33. Ibid., terrier of lands at Sapperton.
  • 34. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856), 351.
  • 35. Ibid. (1863 and later edns.).
  • 36. Ibid. (1939), 304.
  • 37. Trans. B.G.A.S. lxviii. 181.
  • 38. Acreage Returns, 1901.
  • 39. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 168.
  • 40. e.g. Inq. p.m. Glos. 1236–1300, 31; 1302–59, 239–40; 1359–1413, 142–3.
  • 41. O.S. Map 6", Glos. L. NE. (1888 edn.).
  • 42. Glos. R.O., D 182/III/206.
  • 43. Ibid. TS 212.
  • 44. Ibid. D 2525, leases of Sapperton Mill 1797–1846; cf. Household, Thames and Severn Canal, 115.
  • 45. Glos. R.O., TS 212.
  • 46. Ibid. D 2525, leases of Sapperton Mill 1797–1846.
  • 47. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870 and later edns.); cf. O.S. Map 6", Glos. L. NE. (1885 edn.).
  • 48. O.S. Map 6", Glos. L. NE. (1903 edn.).
  • 49. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856 and later edns.).
  • 50. Local information; cf. Jewson, By Chance I did Rove, 67–8.
  • 51. O.S. Map 6", Glos. L. NE. (1924 edn.).
  • 52. Cur. Reg. R. xii, pp. 207, 333.
  • 53. O.S. Map 6", Glos. L. NW. (1883 edn.).
  • 54. Glos. R.O., D 1571/M 13.
  • 55. Ibid. D 181/III/T 56.
  • 56. B. L. Harl. MS. 4131, f. 520.
  • 57. Glos. R.O., TS 211/2.
  • 58. Inscr. in the old burial ground of France Meeting, France Lynch.
  • 59. Glos. R.O., D 2525, terrier of Sapperton 1845.
  • 60. Inscr. in Oakridge churchyard.
  • 61. Glos. R.O., P 47A/OV 1/5–9.
  • 62. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856), 350.
  • 63. Glos. R.O., P 47A/OV 1/6.
  • 64. Ibid. 7–9; cf. O.S. Map 6", Glos. L. NW. (1883 edn.).
  • 65. B.L. Harl. MS. 4131, f. 520.
  • 66. Glos. R.O., D 182/III/18.
  • 67. Ibid. D 181/III/T 56; Bigland, Glos. iii, no. 226.
  • 68. Glos. R.O., D 182/III/66; TS 211/2; D 1539/4.
  • 69. Census, 1821, 1831.
  • 70. Household, Thames and Severn Canal, 80.
  • 71. Jewson, By Chance I did Rove, 69.
  • 72. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856), 351.
  • 73. Ibid. (1856 and later edns.).
  • 74. Ibid. (1856), 351.
  • 75. Jewson, By Chance I did Rove, 24–33.
  • 76. Glos. R.O., D 2525, Sapperton deeds 1662–1834.
  • 77. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856 and later edns.).
  • 78. Glos. R.O., D 1539/4.
  • 79. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856), 351.
  • 80. Ex inf. Mr. Lloyd.