A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 5, Bledisloe Hundred, St. Briavels Hundred, the Forest of Dean. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1996.
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The parish of Awre (fn. 1) lies 16 km. south-west of Gloucester between the river Severn and the Forest of Dean. The large parish contained seven manorial estates, numerous ancient farmsteads, the industrial and trading village of Blakeney which replaced Awre village as the principal centre of population, and the small but commercially significant riverside hamlet of Gatcombe. The whole of Awre parish was included within the jurisdiction of the Forest before 1228 and, apart from the hamlet of Box which was disafforested in the early 14th century, remained within it for as long as it had significance. (fn. 2)
The ancient parish covered 4,520 a. (1,831 ha), or 6,173 a. if all the foreshore and river within its boundaries were included. (fn. 3) A wide meander of the river Severn forms a long boundary on the north-east and south-east, the north-west boundary mainly follows watercourses, including Haie brook, and the south-west boundary follows Lanes brook. (fn. 4) On the west the boundary with the extraparochial Forest of Dean was an irregular one. From Ayleford in the north it followed the hillside above the valley of Soudley brook, descended close to the main Gloucester-Chepstow road near the bottom of the valley of Blackpool brook at Nibley, crossed the lower slopes of Viney hill, and climbed to take in a rectangular block of land around Hayes wood. (fn. 5) The wood was probably a late addition to the parish: it owed a rent to Flaxley manor in 1570, (fn. 6) suggesting that it was among late 13th- and early 14th-century assarts whose rents were assigned to Flaxley abbey in 1353. (fn. 7) In 1935 the block including Hayes wood, comprising 111 a., was transferred to West Dean civil parish, (fn. 8) and in 1953 850 a. of East Dean, including Blakeney Hill woods, Blakeney Hill hamlet, and part of Viney Hill hamlet, were added to Awre parish. (fn. 9) The account given here covers the parish as constituted before 1935.
Low-lying land in the east and centre of the parish is formed of the lower lias and red marl, while an extensive level at Awre Point, (fn. 10) enclosed by a loop of the Severn, and a smaller area further south, around the sinuous inlet called Brimspill (or Brimpspill), are formed of alluvium. The lower land of the parish is bounded by an area of higher ground formed of the Old Red Sandstone: (fn. 11) in the north and south are gently rolling hills at around 30-60 m., which culminate in low river cliffs at Box and around Gatcombe, while in the north-west a higher ridge rises to over 106 m. before dropping to the deep valley of Soudley brook near the west boundary. The land is drained principally by Bideford brook, which is formed at Blakeney by the confluence of Soudley (fn. 12) (or Forge) brook and Blackpool brook (fn. 13) and receives a number of small tributaries before flowing into the Severn at Brimspill. At intervals along the bank small streams reach the river by other muddy inlets, known on the lower Severn as pills.
The scattered nature of settlement, the predominance of ancient closes, and the numerous small groves all suggest that most of the parish emerged from ancient woodland. Hayes wood, extended at 40 a. in 1570 (fn. 14) and 56 a. in 1839, (fn. 15) was the most substantial piece of woodland surviving in modern times. The smaller groves included Box and Phips groves on the Box farm estate at the north end of the parish, which each covered 8 a. in the 1730s when a local tanner held them on lease, presumably as a source of bark. (fn. 16) Only in the east around Awre village was there a fully developed system of open fields and common meadows; that area was inclosed in 1796. Pastoral farming has predominated and orchards were once widespread. (fn. 17)
The eastern tip of the parish is formed mainly of land reclaimed from the river Severn. About 350 m. east of Awre village and church the ground falls to a level, which is crossed by a series of reens (drainage ditches) and was once farmed mainly as open fields. Much of the level had presumably been gained from the river before the 12th century when the bank was perhaps on the line of a continuous hedge boundary that was once apparent between a house called Hayward on the southeast and Hamstalls cliff on the north-west. (fn. 18) A sea wall, described in 1846 as the main sea wall, (fn. 19) once ran along that boundary and remains of it near the north-west end survived until the early 20th century. (fn. 20) Land called Hayward, evidently in the area adjoining the house, (fn. 21) was reclaimed by the lord of Awre manor c. 1140, (fn. 22) and probably at the same period a broad strip of land called the Old Warth (or Wharf) running across Awre Point from near Hayward towards Hamstalls cliff was won from the river. (fn. 23) The Old Warth was presumably the land described as 'le Warth ex alia parte Sabrine' belonging to Awre manor c. 1300 (fn. 24) and the pasture on 'Awre sand' mentioned in 1303. (fn. 25) It was in regular use for pasturing cattle by 1319, (fn. 26) and later remained common to the tenants of the manor. By the beginning of the 17th century a further strip of land, known as the New Warth (or Wharf), was emerging from the river beyond the Old Warth. It was evidently claimed by the tenants as an extension to the common, but in 1612 they agreed that their lord, Sir Edward Winter, could hold it in severalty, (fn. 27) and two years later his tenant Richard White inclosed and drained c. 30 a. by making numerous drainage furrows, two cribs (breakwaters), and a long reen to divide it from the Old Warth. (fn. 28)
The reclaimed land remained subject to flooding at very high tides (fn. 29) and its banks to wasting by the setting and ebbing of the tide. Cribs to turn or limit the force of the tide were maintained at critical points. At the north-west end of the warths there was one called Hamstalls crib in the early 1720s when a second one was built beside it, (fn. 30) and by 1732 Amity crib defended the south end of the point. (fn. 31) By that time a shift in the main channel of the river had removed part of the New Warth, which was extended at only 15 a. in 1731. (fn. 32) Some new ground which appeared in the mid 1740s was soon lost again, (fn. 33) but before 1796 a more sustained build-up of land enlarged the New Warth to 49 a. (fn. 34) and by the 1840s a new, outer sea wall had been built to defend it. (fn. 35) In the late 1840s much work to defend the point, including the rebuilding of the cribs and the addition of new ones, was carried out under the direction of William Clegram of Saul, engineer to the Gloucester and Berkeley canal company. (fn. 36) The Old Warth was inclosed and absorbed into the field pattern in 1796 (fn. 37) but the New Warth remained a notable feature of the landscape in 1989, extending for over a mile along the point. By then a further strip of land, beyond its 19th-century sea wall, had been reclaimed and grassed over, and the long reen built in 1614 on the warth's landward side was dry and partly silted.
South-west of Awre Point, where the main channel of the river generally ran close inshore, (fn. 38) the river bank was particularly subject to erosion. The channel may have shifted from the opposite bank shortly before 1234 when land claimed by Awre parish was awarded to Slimbridge. (fn. 39) More land was probably lost in the early 17th century, when part of the New Grounds in Slimbridge and warths in other parishes on the opposite bank were being formed, (fn. 40) and erosion of the Awre bank removed several dwellings and their home closes around Woodend Lane, south of the village, during the 18th century. (fn. 41) If that part of the bank was defended by a sea wall it had vanished between Woodend Marsh, 450 m. north-east of Woodend Lane, and Brimspill by the early 19th century. (fn. 42) During 1850 and 1851, to Clegram's plans, a new wall and a series of cribs were built to protect land north-east of Brimspill, (fn. 43) but near Woodend Lane erosion continued unchecked (fn. 44) and the bank there was still crumbling in the 1980s.
The Severn's fisheries and the river trade were sources of income and employment in the parish. (fn. 45) The river's presence was also made evident in the frequent burials of the drowned in Awre churchyard, in many cases victims of shipwreck or other accidents who were carried on to Awre Point by the currents. (fn. 46) Vessels often foundered on the dangerous Noose sandbank off the point or in the exposed waters further south. (fn. 47) One of the heaviest losses was in 1732 when 17 people drowned in the wreck of a Newnham trow. (fn. 48)
The main road through the parish, linking Gloucester and Chepstow (Mon.), probably follows for most of its course a Roman road leading from Newnham to Caerleon (Mon.); the names of Stretfield hill, north of Blakeney, and Oldstreet House, near the south boundary of the parish, presumably derive from that ancient road. (fn. 49) The Gloucester-Chepstow road was a turnpike from 1757 until 1871. (fn. 50) Improvements carried out under the trust included a new line of road built during 1809 and 1810 to avoid Gurshill in Lydney, beginning near Awre's south-west boundary, (fn. 51) and a new, curving descent into Blakeney village from the north-east, built during 1830 and 1831 to replace a steeper and more direct descent called Swan Lane. (fn. 52) A road down Viney hill, crossing the Gloucester- Chepstow turnpike at the south end of Nibley green, was by the late 18th century much used for carrying timber from the Forest woods to the riverside at Gatcombe and Purton. That usage led the Crown to pay for its upkeep for some years before 1796 when it was included in the first Forest turnpike Act, some of the funds provided by the Crown under the Act being used on the road. (fn. 53) Tollgates were sited at Nibley green and at Etloe House near where the road forked for Gatcombe and Purton. (fn. 54) In 1841 the Forest turnpike trustees built a new road down the valley of Blackpool brook to join the Gloucester-Chepstow turnpike at Nibley, (fn. 55) where a tollgate was placed on the parish boundary near the bottom of the road. (fn. 56) The two roads leading down from the Forest remained turnpikes until 1888. (fn. 57) A third route from the Forest, down the west side of the valley of Soudley brook to Blakeney, (fn. 58) was much improved by the Awre local board of health in 1889 (fn. 59) at the same time as the Crown built the adjoining part of the road within the Forest. (fn. 60)
Awre village was linked to the Gloucester-Chepstow road by the road, usually called the Newnham road, running to the north boundary of the parish and by another road which branched from the Newnham road at Cockshoot, south of Box Farm, and ran past Bledisloe Farm. (fn. 61) The latter road, which in its western part was called Chicknalls Lane, (fn. 62) survived only as a footpath between Cockshoot and Bledisloe Farm in 1989. An extensive system of footpaths called church ways or burying roads, which the local court leet jury was vigilant in preserving in the 18th and 19th centuries, linked the many scattered farmsteads to Awre church and Blakeney chapel. (fn. 63) A footpath making the circuit of the river bank was repaired and improved as part of the Severn Way long-distance path in the 1980s.
Powers for building the main South Wales railway line through Awre were obtained by an Act of 1846 under which the Gloucester and Dean Forest company was to build the line as far as Hagloe and the South Wales company to continue it southwards. In the event the whole line through the parish, opened in 1851, was built by the South Wales company, which amalgamated with the Great Western Railway in 1863. (fn. 64) The parish was served by a station at Purton in Lydney, but called Gatcombe station, until 1868 when Awre Junction station was built beside the Awre-Blakeney road at the junction with the new Forest of Dean Central railway. Awre Junction station was closed to passengers and general freight in 1959 and to coal in 1961. (fn. 65)
An attempt to build a railway from the Forest into Awre parish was made in 1832. The bill failed in parliament but parts of the line, to be worked by steam locomotives running to Purton by way of a tunnel under Old hill at Nibley, had already been built, and a bridge over the Purton road at the south end of the parish survived in 1989. (fn. 66) In 1856 an Act was acquired for the Forest of Dean Central railway, a mineral and goods line to link collieries in the centre of the Forest with the South Wales line and with the Severn at Brimspill, where docks for shipping coal and timber were to be built. The line, running to Awre Junction through Blakeney village, where there was a goods station, was not opened until 1868, by which time the G.W.R. had taken on its operation. It was never a commercial success, running trains only on three days a week at first and even less frequently later, and, although the line was continued to Brimspill, the docks were never made. Traffic ceased to run on the line west of Blakeney c. 1921 and between Blakeney and Awre Junction in 1949. (fn. 67)
Awre parish comprised six tithings, based on ancient manors. Awre tithing included the village and the area enclosed in the loop of the Severn; the large tithing of Bledisloe occupied the area north of a line drawn roughly from Blakeney village to the Severn at Hamstalls Pill, north-west of the house called Hamstalls; Hagloe, apparently coterminous with the ancient manor called Poulton, (fn. 68) occupied the centre of the parish and the banks of the Severn between Brimspill and Gatcombe; Etloe tithing extended from the Gloucester-Chepstow road, where it included the south part of Blakeney village, southwards towards Gatcombe; Etloe Duchy, once a manor of the Duchy of Lancaster, occupied the south end of the parish bounded roughly by the Purton turnpike road; and Blakeney tithing comprised the north part of Blakeney village and land lying west of the Gloucester-Chepstow road.
Awre village, in its isolated situation near the river in the east part of the parish, is a loose collection of small farmsteads. It was once larger, though probably always scattered in plan; a number of houses were lost before the late 18th century, some as a result of the amalgamation of holdings and others by coastal erosion. (fn. 69) Most of the houses stand along a low ridge which rises above the eastern level. There is a small concentration near the parish church, around the junction from which the Newnham road leads north-west, the Blakeney road west, Woodend Lane south to the river, and Marsh Road eastwards into the former open fields of the level. The part of the village at the junction, where there was a small green, was known as Churchend in 1493. (fn. 70) The Red Hart inn had opened in a building on the south-east by 1796, (fn. 71) and in the 19th century the junction was the site of the village pound and a smithy. (fn. 72) The inn dates partly from the 17th century, and a house called Bray's Court is 17th-century in origin but was remodelled and enlarged in the early 19th. There are also a few cottages of the late 18th century or early 19th. The medieval manor house called the Lypiatt once stood east of Churchend above the level. On the level the only known dwelling was Hayward, built c. 1680 at the east end of Marsh Road. (fn. 73)
South of Churchend a small hamlet called Woodend stood close to the river, around Woodend Lane. Whitescourt on the east side of the lane was recorded as a farmhouse on the manor estate from 1493. (fn. 74) It was ruinous in 1857 when it was planned to demolish it (fn. 75) and there were only farm buildings at the site in 1989. A cottage of c. 1900 on the opposite side of the lane occupies the site of a small customary tenement called Woodend Close, recorded from the late 17th century, (fn. 76) and further north a modern house had by 1989 replaced another ancient tenement called Midways, (fn. 77) probably once the home of Richard de Midwey (fl. 1327). (fn. 78) Most of the other houses of Woodend were lost as a result of erosion of the river bank. One called Guildings, possibly northeast of the end of Woodend Lane, was under threat in 1691 and another had been lost by 1707. In 1741 the court leet reported that three houses of customary tenants had been washed away and three more were threatened. (fn. 79) Just west of the end of the lane stood a freehold farmhouse called Woodend House, which was the home of the Hopkins family until c. 1800 when it was abandoned because of the crumbling of the bank. (fn. 80) A house nearby, known as the Garrison by 1721, (fn. 81) was taken down c. 1810, though its site was further inland and probably not under threat from erosion. (fn. 82) Some of the houses at Woodend were formerly served by Slough Green Lane which led from Woodend Lane round to join the Blakeney road near Hall Farm. (fn. 83)
A few small farmhouses, mostly rebuilt in brick or stone in the late 18th century, stand at intervals along the Newnham road north-west of Churchend. They include Upper House Farm, New House Farm, and Fort House, the last probably on the site of the messuage held with a close called Forthay in 1493. (fn. 84) Houses once called Howlets and Filkins and a small farmhouse called Brunches, near the north-west end of the village, (fn. 85) are all on early sites, (fn. 86) the first probably the home of Thomas Howlet in 1493. (fn. 87) At a small green, called Vertues green in 1699 and later Awre green, (fn. 88) the Newnham road is joined by Northington Lane. Guy Hall, on the west side of the lane, is the remnant of a substantial 16th- or 17th-century house, evidently owned by and named from Guy Hall (d. 1694); (fn. 89) his freehold estate, which was divided among several owners after his death, (fn. 90) probably included Guy Hall Farm, a gabled 17th-century house of rubble stone on the east side of the lane. Northington Farm, at the north end of the lane, was rebuilt in stone in the late 18th or early 19th century and extended in the late 19th. Formerly called Cades, (fn. 91) it was probably the dwelling of Thomas Cady of Northington in 1462, (fn. 92) while Seabrights, the old name of a cottage nearby, (fn. 93) recalls Thomas Seabright, a customary tenant in 1493. (fn. 94)
On the western fringes of the village, Field House and Hall Farm are substantial and long established farmsteads, (fn. 95) and the building of a small group of cottages at a place called Shepherd on the Blakeney road (fn. 96) had begun by 1728. (fn. 97) The house at Hamstalls, by the river bank north-west of the village, was recorded from 1710 (fn. 98) and was enlarged c. 1732. (fn. 99) In 1796 it was an inn, (fn. 100) serving river traffic, and it probably had the sign of the Three Doves in 1824. (fn. 101) The inn had closed by 1830. (fn. 102) Later in the 19th century Hamstalls was occupied as two dwellings (fn. 103) but in the early 20th it became a single residence under the name of the Priory. (fn. 104)
Bledisloe tithing, like Etloe and Hagloe, probably took its name from an ancient tumulus, (fn. 105) which in the case of Bledisloe was presumably the hundred meeting place. It may have been beside the Gloucester-Chepstow road at the highest point of the ridge over which the road runs. A field called Bledisloe field in 1671 lay west of the road at that point (fn. 106) and a house called Bledisloe Cottage was built nearby in the mid 19th century. A green called Gallows green, which was inclosed before the mid 17th century and a cottage built on it, lay on the main road in Bledisloe tithing, (fn. 107) perhaps further north at the junction with Chicknalls Lane or at Howell's Cross where Howell's Lane (fn. 108) branches westwards towards Ayleford. The site of Bledisloe manor was east of the main road, at Bledisloe Farm on Chicknalls Lane. (fn. 109)
Settlement in Bledisloe tithing consists of farmsteads scattered widely through the north part of the parish and a few, mostly later, houses on the Gloucester-Chepstow road. A group of closes called Pullminton or Pomerton on the eastern slopes of the valley of Soudley brook (fn. 110) apparently includes the site of a deserted medieval hamlet, for three inhabitants of Pullminton were mentioned in 1282 (fn. 111) and a tradition recorded c. 1700 tells of a 'town' at the place. (fn. 112) There is also evidence of a vanished hamlet at Box in the east part of the tithing, once the site of a manor based on Box Farm on the Awre-Newnham road. If, as suggested below, Box can be identified with an estate recorded in 1086 it already had a population of 17 bordars and their families, (fn. 113) and in the 13th century and the early 14th, when it was a separate vill, (fn. 114) considerable numbers of people were surnamed of Box or of Box cliff (Boxclive). (fn. 115) In 1669 there were some houses or cottages in a field by the road just north of Box Farm called Chapel Hay (later Chapel Hill), (fn. 116) possibly the site of a chapel. Maiden Hall, a farmhouse west of Box Farm, was called Little Box Farm in 1694 when it belonged to the James family of Stroat, in Tidenham. (fn. 117) The house had been demolished by 1989 when Box Farm, a pair of 19th-century farm cottages, and two modern houses were the only dwellings at Box. Two small farmhouses some way to the south, in Hagloe tithing, also bore the name Box (fn. 118) but do not appear to have had any tenurial or other connexion with Box manor.
A house called Cox which stood on the site of Oaklands Farm near the north-west boundary of the parish was recorded from the late 16th century. (fn. 119) Hulin's Farm, on the north boundary, (fn. 120) was named from the Hulin or Huling family which bought it, with the adjoining Hulin's wood, in 1682. The Hulins sold their farm in 1820 to the Revd. Edward Jones, (fn. 121) owner of the adjoining Hayhill estate in Newnham, (fn. 122) and by 1839 his estate also included Haiebrook Farm beside the brook on the north-west boundary. (fn. 123) In 1989, when the land of the estate was managed from a farmhouse in Newnham, (fn. 124) the two farmhouses in Awre stood empty and derelict. Hulin's Farm, originally timber-framed but later mainly walled in rubble or brick, has an early 17th-century range of one storey and attics. A large lateral stack stands close to the northeast corner, joined to the main range by a transeptal roof. A low 19th-century range adjoins on the north side. Haiebrook Farm is a very small L-shaped house of one storey and attics, also of the the early 17th century. At the beginning of the 19th century a two-storeyed block was built in the angle between the two ranges, and it was perhaps at the same time that the old north range was converted to a cider-mill house. Hickman's Court on Chicknalls Lane is another small 17th-century farmhouse, built of rubble stone and with a 19th-century addition. At Hawfield, south of Stretfield hill above Blakeney, a small 17th-century farmhouse has been enlarged to a substantial dwelling house: in the 18th century part of the house was heightened and remodelled, early in the 19th century a parallel range with a brick front was added along the south-east side, and in 1922 (fn. 125) extensive additions in Tudor style were made on the north. New House, built c. 1790 on the main road near the junction with Howell's Lane, and Oaklands Park, built near the north boundary c. 1818 and later much enlarged, were the principal residences in the north part of the parish in the 19th century. (fn. 126) A few houses added on the main road in the early 19th century included two large Regency villas called Kingscroft (later Kingsland) and Underdean. (fn. 127) In the late 19th century and the early 20th Underdean was the home of the Jones family, formerly of Nass and Hayhill. (fn. 128)
On the west boundary of the parish some houses were built near the Ayleford-Blakeney road, including Hewler's Farm, a three-storeyed farmhouse of the late 17th century, and a few mid 19th-century cottages, loosely connected to the adjoining Forest hamlet of Blakeney Hill. Higher up the road in an area once known as Woodside, lying below the wooded plateau at the edge of the Forest, is a roadside green called Brain's green, perhaps named from George Brain of Woodside who died in 1733. (fn. 129) The scatter of cottages called Brain's Green is mainly outside the parish boundary but an earlier, fairly substantial dwelling called Seamsty or Woodside (fn. 130) belonged to Awre. It was bought by John Chinn in 1675 (fn. 131) and later passed to a branch of the A Deane family. (fn. 132) Unoccupied from 1788, it fell into disrepair in the early 19th century (fn. 133) but was apparently represented later by Woodside House which stood at the north end of the green (fn. 134) until demolished in the early or mid 20th century. The settlement on Brain's green was linked to Howell's Lane at the northwest corner of the parish by an ancient lane, disused by 1989, which led from Woodside House into the deep valley of Soudley brook. At Ayleford where it crossed the brook is a stone farmhouse called Rowmedley, (fn. 135) built in the 17th century and much altered in the 19th. A house nearby, where Howell's Lane crosses the parish boundary at Haie brook, was a beerhouse called the Two Bridges in the late 19th century and the early 20th. (fn. 136)
Hagloe tithing comprised only scattered farmsteads. Poulton Court, the site of a manor from the early Middle Ages, was later absorbed with almost the whole tithing into the large Hagloe estate, centred on the early 18th-century Hagloe House. (fn. 137) The smaller farmsteads of the tithing, few of which survived in the 1980s, were probably established at an early date, most of them deriving from the five customary tenements recorded on Poulton manor in the mid 16th century. (fn. 138) At Little Hagloe (formerly Upper Hagloe) in the south part of the tithing two small farmsteads once stood on either side of a lane. (fn. 139) That on the south side was recorded from 1525 when the Driver family held it by copy from Poulton manor; (fn. 140) the Drivers bought the house and its lands from the manor in 1568 and continued to farm there for the next 200 years. (fn. 141) The farmhouse on the north side of the lane was possibly that owned by the Hyman family of Hagloe from 1568 to the 1730s. (fn. 142) Later it formed part of the Hagloe estate, which also acquired the farmhouse on the south side in 1900. (fn. 143) In the same year the Crown as owner of the estate built a pair of farm cottages (fn. 144) at Little Hagloe, and the two farmhouses and their buildings were later abandoned, only some ruins surviving in 1989. A small farmhouse called Merryway, close to the Awre-Blakeney road at the north-east end of Hagloe tithing, was recorded from 1718 (fn. 145) and demolished c. 1870; (fn. 146) another called Old Box, which in 1681 stood north-west of Bideford brook close to the house called Little Box, (fn. 147) was also demolished later, leaving only a barn at the site; and at Poulton, north-west of Little Box, (fn. 148) only some ruins of a stone farmhouse were to be seen in 1989. Little Box was recorded from the early 18th century (fn. 149) and the Ledge (or Lodge), north-east of Hagloe House, from 1656, (fn. 150) but both farmhouses were rebuilt in the late 18th century or the early 19th. A few farm cottages stand on the Awre- Blakeney road, including a pair built by the Crown in 1890. (fn. 151)
Etloe was said in 1583 to contain 10 or 12 houses, (fn. 152) figures that presumably referred only to scattered dwellings in the south part of the tithing and did not include the part of Blakeney village in Etloe. Several of those scattered dwellings had been demolished by the early 19th century, including ancient customary tenements of the manor of Awre and Etloe called Martins and Barrows on Millend Lane, running south from Blakeney, and others called Cowleys and Wafields on the cliffs south-west of Gatcombe. (fn. 153) Nether Hall, by the Awre-Blakeney road in the north-east of the tithing, was recorded from 1493. (fn. 154) Alienated from Awre and Etloe manor in 1656, (fn. 155) it later passed to a branch of the A Deanes and to their kinsmen the Bayleys of Bristol. (fn. 156) A portion of a late-medieval timber-framed house, including two cut-down base crucks, survives as part of its farm buildings. The east end of the present farmhouse is of a single storey with attics and may be part of the central range and cross wing of a 16thor 17th-century house, which was partly destroyed in the 18th century when a three-storeyed block was added on the west. The A Deane family also held Etloe House, at the junction of Millend Lane and the Purton turnpike road, and made it the centre of the principal estate of the tithing. (fn. 157)
Small groups of dwellings were formed on the Purton turnpike at Upper Etloe west of Etloe House and at Lower Etloe south of the turn to Gatcombe. Lower Etloe, which includes a small 17th-century farmhouse, probably represents some of the former tenant holdings of Etloe Duchy manor. A dwelling by Lanes brook on the south-west boundary, probably at a small green beside the old course of the Gloucester- Chepstow turnpike, (fn. 158) was recorded in 1635, (fn. 159) and in the same area a building called Chesterley, possibly on a Roman site, was mentioned in 1656. (fn. 160)
The riverside hamlet of Gatcombe, from which a busy trade was once carried on, (fn. 161) stands by a pill at the end of a long wooded coombe. There was at least one dwelling there by 1495, (fn. 162) and in 1583 it was a hamlet of six or seven houses, which size it has remained. In the 1580s its only wealthy resident was said to be a 'Mr. Borough', (fn. 163) presumably a successor of Richard Barrow who had a house there in 1547. (fn. 164) Barrow's house was possibly on the site of that on the east side of the hamlet, close to the riverside, which became known as Drake's House from a tradition, uncorroborated and recorded only from the late 19th century, that Sir Francis Drake visited Gatcombe. (fn. 165) In 1763 the house was probably the inn called the Gatcombe Boat (fn. 166) and by 1792 it was certainly an inn, known then and in the 1830s as both the Sloop and the Ship. (fn. 167) It remained open as the Sloop inn in 1879 but closed before 1901. (fn. 168) Drake's House was built c. 1600 as two floors with attics which were later raised to make a full third storey. (fn. 169) The ground floor may originally have been used for storeage, and the upper floors are reached by a newel stair next to the main doorway. The plan of the upper floors is a large central room with one or two smaller rooms at each end. All the internal walls are of well-finished plank and muntin. In the early 19th century another inn, also having the sign of the Ship, was kept at a house which stands on the west side and slightly higher up the hamlet. That inn was a copyhold under Etloe Duchy manor and was the meeting place of the manor court in 1821, becoming known as the Court House after it closed as an inn, probably in the late 1820s or soon afterwards. (fn. 170) The Court House, though largely of the 19th century, incorporates an early 17th-century range, which includes a room with moulded and chamfered beams.
Oatfield Farm, standing above Gatcombe but connected to it by an old hollow way, was apparently the home of Richard Hooper (d. 1639) of Gatcombe; (fn. 171) it was owned by the Hooper family in the early 18th century, later passing into the Hagloe estate. (fn. 172) The house is a substantial rubble-walled farmhouse of the early 17th century with a lateral stack to the central room, which is flanked by cross passages. To the east there is a two-roomed cross wing and to the west an unheated room which was probably for storeage. There are 19th- and 20th-century additions along the south side and at the north-east corner. Oatfield Farm was sold by the Hagloe estate in 1976 and was extensively restored by its new owner, who also converted a large barn as a conference centre and holiday flats. (fn. 173)
Blakeney village grew up on the Gloucester- Chepstow road around the junction of the Soudley and Blackpool brooks, which powered a number of mills in and around the settlement. The village was large enough to have a chapel of ease by the mid 16th century and in 1583 it was said to contain 20 or 30 households. (fn. 174) About 1775 Blakeney tithing, which included only the north part of the village, was said to be the most populous of the tithings, with 50 families. (fn. 175) As a fairly populous village on the main through route and a centre for trade, Blakeney rather than the isolated Awre village became the principal focus of parish life. Blakeney's chapel came to attract larger congregations than the parish church, (fn. 176) the court of the manor of Awre and Etloe was usually held at one of its inns in the 18th century, (fn. 177) and by the 1770s the parish vestry usually met in the village. The vestry meetings were held in the church house (fn. 178) adjoining the chapel until the house, which also served as an inn called the Bird in Hand, was demolished to make room for the enlargement of the chapel in 1819. (fn. 179) The oldest part of the village was presumably the most concentrated group of buildings, in the area called Church Square (actually triangular in shape) in the centre of which the chapel stands. Houses had begun to extend south-westwards along the main road into the part later known as Bridge Street by 1624 when a house by Soudley brook was described as in Blakeney Street. (fn. 180) Blackpool brook formed a principal feature of Bridge Street, flowing alongside it for its whole length and crossing at one point from the north-west to the south-east side. (fn. 181) The public bridges at Blakeney which the parish repaired in 1688 (fn. 182) were presumably that known as the town bridge across Blackpool brook and another below, across Soudley brook. In 1790 both were packhorse bridges no more than 5 ft. wide and the parish petitioned the county magistrates to meet part of the cost of rebuilding the lower one to a width of 21 ft. to take vehicles. (fn. 183) Blackpool brook was culverted in the north-east part of Bridge Street in the early 20th century. (fn. 184)
The oldest surviving house in Blakeney, the former Swan inn, stands east of Church Square at the foot of Swan Lane, which until 1831 was the course of the main road. (fn. 185) The building, which dates from the 16th century, has a main block and cross wing and is partly of exposed timber framing; it was restored c. 1985. (fn. 186) It was an inn in 1645 (fn. 187) and until the 1870s when it became a temperance hotel; it apparently closed in the early 20th century. (fn. 188) The houses around Church Square were mostly built or rebuilt in the late 18th century and comprise fairly substantial, if plain, dwellings of brick or stone, often rendered. A building opposite the Swan at the entrance to the Awre road had taken over the sign of the Bird in Hand inn from the former church house by 1825 (fn. 189) and remained an inn until the mid 20th century. (fn. 190) The Yew Tree inn west of the chapel had opened by 1817. (fn. 191) Bridge Street, which is less closely built up than Church Square, includes a small 17th-century farmhouse on the north-west side and the late 18th-century King's Head inn on the south-east side, but most of the other houses are late 19th-century buildings in the dark Forest sandstone. The most prominent is Sydenham House, south-west of the King's Head, a substantial L-shaped building. By 1876 it was the home and trading premises of Alfred Butler, a grocer, draper, and miller, (fn. 192) who had perhaps built it.
In the late 18th century and the early 19th, probably the period of Blakeney's greatest prosperity, the village was enlarged by the building of stone cottages on Awre Road leading south-east from Church Square, on Lowfield Lane (later renamed Church Way) leading north from the square, and on Millend Lane leading south from Bridge Street to Millend, where there were already a few houses grouped around a corn mill by the 1740s. (fn. 193) A small estate of council houses was built in 1949 at Highfield on the west side of the Ayleford road, and others were built in the 1950s on All Saints Road, north of Church Square, and on Awre Road. (fn. 194) A few private houses were added in various parts of the village before 1989.
South-west of Blakeney the small roadside hamlet of Nibley had been established by the early 17th century, (fn. 195) with a corn mill at the bottom of the Blackpool brook valley one of the earliest buildings. (fn. 196) Nibley Farm (in 1989 called Old Nibley Farmhouse) on the southeast side of the road was recorded from 1678 (fn. 197) but was rebuilt c. 1800. An innkeeper of Nibley who died in 1732 (fn. 198) may have kept the Cock inn. That inn had certainly opened by 1822 when it was a staging post for a South Wales coach. (fn. 199) At the south end of Nibley green, a narrow roadside green extending from Nibley to the junction with the Purton turnpike, a small cottage called Cracked Croft was built before 1741; (fn. 200) a larger new house was added to it in the early 19th century and was known as Nibley House in 1989. There was a dwelling at Viney on the road from Nibley green to Viney Hill by 1603, (fn. 201) and two small farmhouses, Upper Viney which may date from the 17th century and Lower Viney which is dated 1741, stand there. The Hayes, south of Viney Hill, was the manor house of Blakeney manor. (fn. 202)
In 1327 57 people were assessed for the subsidy under Awre 'with its members' and 5 under Blakeney. (fn. 203) There were said to be c. 420 communicants in the parish in 1551, (fn. 204) 133 households in 1563, (fn. 205) and 250 families in 1650. (fn. 206) About 1710 the population was estimated at c. 700 in 139 houses, (fn. 207) and 952 people in 191 houses were enumerated in 1801. In 1811, out of a total population of 1,035, 346 lived in Blakeney tithing, 332 in Etloe with Etloe Duchy, 194 in Awre, 99 in Bledisloe, and 64 in Hagloe; the figures for Blakeney and Etloe suggest that Blakeney village, straddling the boundary between the two, then had a population of around 550. The population of the parish rose to 1,526 by 1861 and there was then a fairly sharp fall to 1,179 by 1881, followed by a more gradual fall to 1,070 by 1911. It then remained fairly static until 1951 when it was 1,033. Following the addition of the Blakeney Hill area to the parish in 1953, the population was 1,805 in 1961, falling to 1,527 by 1981. (fn. 208)
A gas company was formed for Blakeney before 1876 with its works beside the railway at Nibley. (fn. 209) It was apparently absorbed by the Lydney gas company in the late 1930s. (fn. 210) Blakeney's street-lighting committee mentioned in 1906 (fn. 211) presumably lit the village streets with gas. Other services for Blakeney were not provided until the mid 20th century. Electricity was laid on to the village by the West Gloucestershire Power Co. in the mid 1930s. (fn. 212) Its houses remained dependent on wells for water (fn. 213) until the early 1950s when they were supplied under a scheme of the East Dean rural district from a reservoir on Blakeney hill. (fn. 214) Some drains had been built by the 1860s (fn. 215) but in 1908 some houses discharged sewage into the stream running through the village. Refuse disposal remained the responsibility of the individual householders (fn. 216) until 1937 when the rural district extended that service to Awre parish. (fn. 217)
Blakeney had a friendly society, meeting at the Swan inn, by 1791, (fn. 218) and a lodge of the Oddfellows was founded in the village c. 1824. A brass band formed in the village before 1843 (fn. 219) was in regular demand for events in the Forest area during the mid 19th century. (fn. 220) The village's old National school at the bottom of Lowfield Lane was in use as a public library in 1879. (fn. 221) In 1905 the building was vested in trustees for church purposes (fn. 222) and it remained in use as a church hall in 1989. A new village hall in Millend Lane was provided before 1927 as a memorial to the dead of the First World War. (fn. 223) It had been demolished by 1989 when a community centre, recently built beside a playing field on the north side of the village, housed most social events. In Awre village the school, closed in 1927, (fn. 224) was later used as a village hall.
Awre parish was usually without large resident landowners and its leading inhabitants were members of long-established yeoman families, including the A Deanes, Birkins, Trippetts, Hopkinses, Bayleys, Keddicks, Drivers, and a family that took its surname from the place. (fn. 225) The Awres, who as late as the 1680s sometimes used the style 'of Awre', (fn. 226) were still represented in Awre village in 1989. During the 17th and 18th centuries, presumably because of the close connexion through the river trade, a large number of Bristol men owned land in the parish and many of Awre's inhabitants had relations in that city. (fn. 227)
A note inserted in the Awre parish register, probably in the late 17th century, claimed that Thomas Sternhold and John Hopkins, who produced the first English metrical versions of the psalms, published in 1551, both lived in the parish, the former at Hawfield and the latter at Woodend. Although Sternholds and Hopkinses were both well represented in the parish in the 16th century, no contemporary connexion of the two men with the place has been discovered. (fn. 228)
MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
In 1066 Edward the Confessor held the manor of AWRE, assessed at 5 hides and contributing half a night's maintenance to the farm of the county, but Alwig the sheriff had separated from the manor three members, Purton in Lydney, Etloe, and Bledisloe, a total of 7 hides, and removed them from the farm. (fn. 229) The manor remained in royal hands until the reign of Stephen when it passed to Miles of Gloucester, earl of Hereford, (fn. 230) and Robert son of Hugh held it by knight service from Miles (d. 1143) and his son Roger, earl of Hereford. Robert became a monk of Monmouth priory (fn. 231) and the manor apparently then reverted to Earl Roger. Awre was among former royal demesne estates between the Severn and the Wye which Henry II confirmed to the earl in 1154 or 1155, (fn. 232) and following the earl's rebellion and death in 1155 it was granted to his brother Walter. (fn. 233) On Walter's death c. 1160 the manor reverted to the Crown, (fn. 234) which retained it in hand for the remainder of the century; (fn. 235) it was among the estates in which Henry de Bohun, heir to the earls of Hereford, was required to quitclaim all his rights when created earl in 1200. (fn. 236)
In 1204 the Crown granted the manor at farm for life to Walter of Awre the elder (d. c. 1221). (fn. 237) In 1230 it was granted at fee farm to William Marshal, earl of Pembroke, and his heirs. (fn. 238) On William's death in 1231 it passed to his brother Richard (fn. 239) and then in turn to his brothers Gilbert, (fn. 240) Walter, and Anselm (d. 1245). Anselm's widow Maud, who married Roger de Quincy, earl of Winchester, held the manor in dower until her death in 1252. (fn. 241) The manor was then subject to partition among the families of Anselm Marshal's sisters and coheirs. (fn. 242) An estate described as half the manor was held in 1276 by William de Valence, (fn. 243) who had married Joan, daughter of one of Anselm's sisters, and Joan (d. 1307) probably retained it after William's death in 1296. (fn. 244) Before 1316 their son Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, granted that estate to Maurice of Berkeley. (fn. 245) Another estate called half the manor was held at his death in 1262 by Richard de Clare, earl of Gloucester, who was son of Isabel, another of Anselm Marshal's sisters. (fn. 246) Richard's widow Maud (d. c. 1288) held the estate in dower in 1276. (fn. 247) In 1280 Richard's son Gilbert de Clare granted it, possibly in reversion on Maud's death, to Roger Mortimer (fn. 248) (d. 1282), (fn. 249) who had married Maud de Breuse, heir to another of Anselm Marshal's sisters. Maud Mortimer retained the estate (fn. 250) until her death in 1301 when she was succeeded by her son Edmund (fn. 251) (d. 1304). (fn. 252) Edmund's widow Margaret held the estate, then described as a third of the manor, in 1316 (fn. 253) but had perhaps surrendered it by 1320 when her son Roger Mortimer settled it on the marriage of his daughter Margaret and Thomas of Berkeley. (fn. 254)
In 1278 when William de Valence and Gilbert de Clare made an agreement about the advowson of Awre church claims were entered by John de Bohun and William Paynell. (fn. 255) The two men, who presumably claimed as other heirs of Anselm Marshal, apparently secured parts of the manor, for c. 1300 William Paynell granted lands and the rents and services of tenants at Awre, together with the reversion of lands held in dower by Joan, widow of John de Bohun of Midhurst (Suss.), to Thomas of Berkeley, Lord Berkeley (d. 1321). Thomas had a quitclaim from Joan of her rights in 1308. (fn. 256) Thomas's son Maurice of Berkeley (d. 1326), (fn. 257) who bought Aymer de Valence's share of the manor, granted an estate, apparently comprising tenants' rents in Awre and Etloe, to his own third son John for life, (fn. 258) and by 1319 Maurice had apparently transferred his manorial rights and the rest of his estate to his eldest son Thomas. In 1319 the younger Thomas also obtained a lease of his grandfather's land at Awre, (fn. 259) and the following year he added the Mortimers' share of the manor to his estate. The lands of the younger Thomas of Berkeley and his brother John were forfeited to the Crown as a result of the family's involvement in the rebellion of 1322. (fn. 260) Thomas was restored to his lands in 1327, (fn. 261) and the whole manor was united in his possession after the death of his brother in 1332 or 1333. (fn. 262)
Thomas, Lord Berkeley, died in 1361 and was succeeded by his son Maurice (fn. 263) (d. 1368). (fn. 264) The manor was held by Maurice's widow Elizabeth (fn. 265) (d. 1389), passing to his son Thomas (fn. 266) (d. 1417). It then descended to Thomas's daughter Elizabeth and her husband Richard Beauchamp (d. 1439), earl of Warwick, (fn. 267) and in 1445, like the associated Bledisloe hundred, it was presumably held jointly by their three daughters, Margaret, wife of John Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury, Eleanor, wife of Edmund Beaufort, marquess of Dorset, and Elizabeth, wife of George Neville, Lord Latimer. (fn. 268) All rights eventually passed to the Latimers, and Elizabeth, who after her husband's death in 1469 married Thomas Wake, held Awre manor at her death in 1480. She was succeeded by her grandson Richard Neville, Lord Latimer, then a minor. From Richard (fn. 269) (d. 1530) the manor presumably passed to his son John (d. 1543), (fn. 270) whose son John (d. 1577), Lord Latimer, held it in 1555. (fn. 271) The last John was succeeded by his daughter Catherine, who married Henry Percy (d. 1585), earl of Northumberland. (fn. 272) Catherine and her second husband Francis Fitton sold the manor in 1595 to Sir Edward Winter of Lydney. (fn. 273) From Sir Edward (d. 1619) it passed with Lydney to his son Sir John, who in the course of his attempts to clear his estates of the heavy financial burden imposed on them following the Civil War (fn. 274) alienated some of the tenant land in 1656. (fn. 275)
In 1668 Sir John Winter, his sons William and Charles, and his mortgagees sold Awre manor to Gloucester corporation, which acquired it in trust as the endowment of Sir Thomas Rich's school in that city. The manor, which by that time was usually called the manor of AWRE AND ETLOE, comprised the demesne farms of Lypiatt and Whitescourt, the rents and fines of numerous tenants in Awre, Etloe, Blakeney, and Bledisloe, and valuable fishing rights. Also in 1668 the corporation bought Box farm for the same purpose, and in 1749 Maiden Hall farm and in 1766 Hall farm were added to the trust estate. (fn. 276) In 1836 the manor passed from Gloucester corporation to the city's municipal charity trustees and in 1882 it passed to the governors of the Gloucester United Schools. (fn. 277) In 1921 the governors were empowered to sell Hall Farm and 364 a. of land, (fn. 278) and at the same period they sold Box farm (fn. 279) and enfranchised the small amount of copyhold surviving. Of the few remaining manorial assets, the chief rents were redeemed in 1926. (fn. 280)
There was possibly no manor house on Awre manor before 1327 when Thomas, Lord Berkeley, built one there, bringing oaks across the river from his estate at Hurst, in Slimbridge. (fn. 281) It was presumably the house later called the Lypiatt, which stood on Marsh Lane east of Awre church and was regarded as the manor house in the 17th century. (fn. 282) In 1796 the Lypiatt was a stone-built house of 10 rooms. (fn. 283) It was demolished in the mid 19th century, before 1879. (fn. 284)
The manor of ETLOE, severed from Awre manor before the Conquest, was held in 1086 by Roger of Berkeley. (fn. 285) That manor appears to have been absorbed once more into Awre manor by the the beginning of the 14th century: Maurice of Berkeley had lands at Etloe c. 1316, presumably acquired with his portion of Awre, (fn. 286) and his father Thomas acquired an estate at Etloe, described as within Awre manor, from Thomas Hatholf in 1317. (fn. 287) Maurice, Lord Berkeley, bought other lands there in 1366 or 1367. (fn. 288) Later Awre manor was thought to include the whole of Etloe tithing, which was occupied mainly by customary tenements held from the manor. (fn. 289)
A manor later called ETLOE DUCHY was perhaps represented by the ploughland at Etloe with which Walter Goscelin was dealing in 1248. (fn. 290) The manor belonged to Patrick de Chaworth who died c. 1283, leaving as his heir an infant daughter Maud, (fn. 291) and in 1305 Maud's husband Henry, earl of Lancaster, owned the manor. (fn. 292) Henry (d. 1345) was succeeded by his son Henry, who was created duke of Lancaster in 1351 and died in 1361. (fn. 293) At the partition of the duke's estates Etloe was assigned to his daughter Maud (fn. 294) and following her death in 1362 probably passed to her sister Blanche, wife of John of Gaunt, and then to their son, the future Henry IV. (fn. 295) The Crown held the manor in 1415 (fn. 296) and retained it (fn. 297) until 1609 when it was sold to George Salter and John Williams. (fn. 298) It apparently then descended with Minsterworth manor: (fn. 299) John Chamberlayne held it at his death in 1628, having devised it to his nephew Thomas Wyndham, (fn. 300) Thomas Pury of Taynton owned it in 1669, (fn. 301) William Burgess was dealing with it in 1724, (fn. 302) and by the 1770s it belonged to Charles Barrow of Highgrove, Minsterworth. (fn. 303) At his death in 1789 Barrow was succeeded by his illegitimate daughter Mary Caroline (d. 1837), who married Charles Evans (d. 1819), and their son Edmund Barrow Evans (d. 1868) (fn. 304) owned it in 1866. (fn. 305) The manor has not been found recorded later.
The manor of BLEDISLOE, severed from Awre manor before the Conquest, was held in 1086 by William son of Baderon. (fn. 306) It was presumably the estate that Roger of Bledisloe held for ¼ knight's fee from Alan Plucknett in 1285 (fn. 307) and that John Billing held in 1346. (fn. 308) Later it was held by John Greyndour (d. 1416), (fn. 309) and it then descended with Abenhall manor in the Baynham and Vaughan families (fn. 310) until 1664 when John Vaughan and Frances his wife conveyed it to Thomas Bridgeman and John Horne. (fn. 311) It apparently passed to Frances Bridgeman, whose children Thomas Bridgeman and Elizabeth Griffith sold it before 1671 to William Rowles of Cockshoot, in Newnham. Rowles settled it in 1680 on the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth and William Scudamore the younger, of Gloucester, and they sold it in 1682 to John Birkin of Hagloe. (fn. 312) It then descended with the Hagloe estate and was sold to the Crown with that estate in 1853. (fn. 313) The manor house and demesne land were possibly retained by John Vaughan when he sold the manor, for he owned an unidentified farm at Bledisloe in 1688. (fn. 314) At the beginning of the 18th century Bledisloe farm belonged to the Bellamy family, (fn. 315) which retained it until the 1790s. (fn. 316) At the beginning of the 19th century the house with c. 160 a. of land belonged to Thomas Barber, owner of the nearby Hawfield estate, (fn. 317) and in 1839 the farm was owned by Sophia Morse. (fn. 318) In the late 1950s the farm was bought by Mr. R. R. Baber, of a family that was prominent as farmers in the parish during the 20th century, and in 1989 he owned and farmed it with Hall farm, near Awre village. (fn. 319)
The manor house, at Bledisloe Farm on Chicknalls Lane, was described c. 1700 as 'now mean as to building'. (fn. 320) It was replaced by a new farmhouse c. 1800, (fn. 321) a two-storeyed building of brick on a plinth of blocks of industrial slag, with low, stone-built service ranges at the rear. Possibly associated with the site of the manor was a mound which occupied a low ridge to the south of the farmhouse. Excavation in 1964, shortly before the mound was levelled, found evidence of an early timber structure, which the mound replaced in the 12th century, possibly as the motte of a small castle which was left uncompleted; a domestic or farm building was built on the mound later in the Middle Ages. (fn. 322)
Soon after the Conquest William FitzOsbern formed a single estate of Nass and Purton, in Lydney, and a third manor called Pontune. (fn. 323) Pontune can be identified with the manor of POULTON in Awre, which later formed a separate estate, held under the earls of Warwick, overlords of the Lydney manors. (fn. 324) It was evidently held in the late 12th century by Roger son of Ralph of Poulton who granted 3 yardlands to Flaxley abbey and also made the abbey another gift for the benefit of the souls of William (d. 1184), earl of Warwick, and his countess; (fn. 325) the abbey held the land at Poulton until the Dissolution when it passed with Flaxley manor to the Kingston family. (fn. 326) In 1221 Ralph son of Ralph conveyed two ploughlands at Poulton to Ralph of Willington, (fn. 327) whose widow Olympia (fn. 328) held Poulton manor from the earl of Warwick for 1 knight's fee in 1242; (fn. 329) the overlordship of the earls was recorded until 1349. (fn. 330) Ralph of Willington, son of Ralph, held Poulton from 1260, (fn. 331) and in 1303 it was held by John de Lisle and his wife Joan. (fn. 332) John of Willington held it in 1311 (fn. 333) and was succeeded at his death c. 1338 by his son Ralph. (fn. 334) The manor then descended as Westonbirt manor until the attainder of the duke of Somerset in 1552. (fn. 335)
In 1555 the Crown sold Poulton manor to William Bridgeman of Mitcheldean and Richard Wilson of Ledbury (Herefs.), (fn. 336) but later it may have made a grant of the manor, with Westonbirt, for the benefit of Arthur Basset, who conveyed Poulton to Bridgeman and Wilson and the heirs of Bridgeman in 1567. (fn. 337) Bridgeman and Wilson apparently made a partition of the estate under which the former took the manor house, called Poulton Court, the demesne land, and the manorial rights, while the latter took the customary tenements. (fn. 338) Wilson sold at least three, and perhaps all, of the customary tenements to the tenants in 1568, (fn. 339) while Bridgeman held Poulton Court and the demesne lands at his death in 1581 (fn. 340) and his successors to that estate exercised the manorial rights in the 18th and 19th centuries. (fn. 341) William Bridgeman was succeeded by his son Thomas, and Thomas (d. 1607) by his son Charles, (fn. 342) apparently the Charles Bridgeman of Littledean who died in 1643. (fn. 343) Poulton Court descended to Charles's son Charles (d. 1647), and the second Charles's son Charles (fn. 344) (d. 1680) (fn. 345) held it in 1667. (fn. 346) John Gainsford held Poulton Court as owner or tenant in 1682 and until his death in 1688. (fn. 347) At the beginning of the 18th century, when a branch of the Birkin family occupied the house as tenants, (fn. 348) Poulton Court was owned by a Mr. Blackwell of Bristol. (fn. 349) In 1733 it was owned by Jonathan Blackwell (fn. 350) (d. c. 1754) of Northaw (Herts.), who was succeeded by his adopted heir Samuel Killican, who had changed his name to Blackwell. (fn. 351) In 1766 Samuel Blackwell, then of Williamstrip, in Coln St. Aldwyns, sold Poulton Court with the Ledge and Merryway farms to James Thomas of Oatfield. (fn. 352) It then descended as part of the Hagloe estate to the Crown (fn. 353) and remained a farm on that estate in 1989. The medieval dwelling at Poulton Court was presumably within the circular moat which survives there. The present house has a main range with a tall 17th-century, gabled stone front. At the back a wing with a two-storeyed porch has been much altered but may represent an earlier hall, with service accommodation beyond the hall.
A small estate called the manor of BLAKENEY was evidently the part of Blakeney tithing later regarded as within St. Briavels hundred: (fn. 354) in common with other manors of the hundred it was held from St. Briavels castle for an annual rent and by the service as woodward of a bailiwick in the royal demesne lands of the Forest. (fn. 355) The bailiwick of Blakeney was recorded in the custody of the lord of the manor from 1199, (fn. 356) but in 1250 it was forfeited to the Crown. (fn. 357) Before 1282 the bailiwick was granted, apparently in fee, to Walter of Aston, (fn. 358) but in the 14th century it was granted to other custodians for life or during pleasure. (fn. 359) In 1486 it was granted in free alms to Llanthony priory, Gloucester. (fn. 360) By 1565 the bailiwick had been returned to the lords of Blakeney manor, (fn. 361) who remained woodwards until the office lapsed in the mid 19th century. (fn. 362)
Blakeney manor was held by Adam of Blakeney before 1196 when his widow Basile had custody of his lands and heir. (fn. 363) She was evidently the 'lady of Blakeney' who held Blakeney bailiwick in 1199. (fn. 364) In 1201 Thomas of Blakeney owed a fine for having land of which he had been disseised, while Basile owed one for having land in dower. (fn. 365) Thomas of Blakeney died in or before 1232 when his son Thomas had seisin of his lands and the bailiwick. (fn. 366) The younger Thomas or a successor of the same name died in 1290 or 1291 holding the manor in chief for the annual rent of 19s. paid to St. Briavels castle. His son and heir Thomas was a minor and the manor was occupied until 1295 by William Hathaway, the former constable of St. Briavels. (fn. 367) In 1330 Thomas of Blakeney settled his estate on Richard of Haresfield, Richard's wife Eleanor, and their heirs, (fn. 368) and Eleanor died holding the estate in 1384 and was succeeded by her grandson John Haresfield (fn. 369) who died in 1417 or 1418. (fn. 370) Thomas Haresfield held the manor in 1437. (fn. 371) and Agnes, daughter of John Haresfield, inherited it later and married John Barrow. John Barrow, who before 1495 also inherited land in Blakeney and elsewhere in Awre parish from his father Walter, (fn. 372) was lord of Blakeney manor in 1508, (fn. 373) and the manor evidently passed, with Field Court in Hardwicke, to his son Richard (d. 1563). Richard's son Edmund (fn. 374) died in 1570, holding the manor, then called Over Hall, and lands including Hayes wood. (fn. 375) Over Hall was presumably the name of the house later called the Hayes adjoining the wood, for in the 18th century the manorial rights of Blakeney were attached to the Hayes. (fn. 376)
Edmund Barrow was succeeded in Blakeney manor by his son James (d. 1606), and James by his son Edmund, (fn. 377) who was described variously as of the Hayes (fn. 378) and of Field Court and died in 1641. Edmund's son John succeeded to the manor (fn. 379) and died in 1682 when he was living at Nibley, in Blakeney. In John's lifetime, however, the estate became divided, and was possibly in dispute, between his son George (d. 1696) and Thomas Barrow (d. 1683), a grandson of James Barrow by a second marriage. Thomas was listed as woodward of Blakeney bailiwick in 1673 and 1682 but George was so listed in 1677. (fn. 380) George was living at the Hayes in 1672 but in 1681 Thomas, styled of the Hayes, mortgaged Blakeney manor together with the Field Court estate, reserving the Hayes and lands which were stated to have lately been held by George. (fn. 381) George was again styled as of the Hayes in 1694, and his son Berea Barrow held the house in 1718. By 1720, however, Thomas Barrow, son of Thomas, held the Hayes, and after his death in 1736 the house and whole estate apparently descended to his daughter Eleanor, wife of the Revd. Thomas Savage (fn. 382) (d. 1760). Their son George Savage succeeded and died in 1793, (fn. 383) leaving his sisters as coheirs, and in 1794 Sir Thomas Crawley-Boevey of Flaxley, husband of one of them, (fn. 384) bought out the interest of the other coheirs in Blakeney manor. (fn. 385) In 1820 Blakeney manor and the Hayes were bought by William Ambrose (d. 1843), owner of the Hagloe estate. (fn. 386) The manorial rights apparently belonged to J. Mathias in 1879 and to his trustees until 1910 or later. (fn. 387) In the earlier 20th century the Hayes was the farmhouse of a small farm owned by the Hayman family. (fn. 388) In 1989, when it had been sold by the owner of the farm, the house was derelict and awaiting restoration by its new owners.
The Hayes has a north range of one storey, which has lateral walls of stone rubble but was formerly timber-framed. The gable end is still partly timber-framed and may originally have been internal. At the southern end of the onestoreyed range part of a late-medieval base cruck is buried within a 17th-century chimney stack. The stack is associated with a rebuilding of the early house. That rebuilding was probably in stone, though the internal partitions and the upper floor of the two-storeyed eastern porch are timber-framed. The new block has a cellar, two storeys, and attics, the upper floors being reached by a newel stair in a west projection. In the 19th century a low wing was added to the west side of the single-storeyed range and the roof of the 17th-century block was reconstructed. The house stands at the eastern end of a terraced area which was formerly partly walled and suggests a formal garden of the late 17th century or the early 18th.
Another estate also called the manor of BLAKENEY, probably including part of the village and land in the east end of Blakeney tithing, was recorded in the 14th century. It may have derived from an unnamed estate, comprising ½ hide and a mill, that Walter Arblaster held in Bledisloe hundred in 1086, (fn. 389) though an alternative suggestion that Walter's estate lay in the north of Bledisloe tithing adjoining his Ruddle manor, in Newnham, is equally possible. (fn. 390) An estate that John, son of Walter of Blakeney, held at Blakeney c. 1300 was probably acquired before 1306 by Thomas, Lord Berkeley. (fn. 391) The later Thomas, Lord Berkeley, had a number of tenants at Blakeney in 1333, and his successors to Awre manor were receiving the farm of a manor at Blakeney in 1368 and the farm of its site and demesne in 1457; (fn. 392) they still had tenants at Blakeney in the early 17th century. (fn. 393) The ancient farmhouse of Nether Hall, which was presumably named in distinction to Over Hall (or the Hayes) and which belonged to Awre manor in 1493, (fn. 394) may have been the site of the second Blakeney manor. From the mid 17th century, however, Nether Hall was consistently described and rated as part of Etloe tithing. (fn. 395)
A manor called BOX, in the north of the parish, was recorded from the late 12th century, and the circumstances under which in 1300 it was excluded from the perambulation of the Forest while the rest of Awre was left in suggest that it had formed a distinct manorial unit from before 1254. (fn. 396) It is possible, though no other evidence has been found for the identification, that it was the successor of an unnamed estate of 1 hide and ½ yardland in Bledisloe hundred held by William son of Norman in 1086. (fn. 397) About 1190 Box manor formed part of lands at Leighterton and at Box cliff that were held from the heirs of the earls of Hereford for ½ knight's fee. (fn. 398) William of Lasborough, who died c. 1261, held a ploughland at Box under the earl of Hereford for ¼ knight's fee. His heir was his daughter Agatha, wife of Henry of Dean, (fn. 399) but in 1285 Box was held by Grimbald Pauncefoot and John of the Box. (fn. 400) Grimbald, who was constable of St. Briavels and warden of the Forest, died in 1287 and his share was held by his widow Sibyl in 1300, passing to her son Emery Pauncefoot (fn. 401) before 1309. (fn. 402) By 1346 the two parts were united in the possession of John of the Box, (fn. 403) and in 1374 Nicholas Apperley held the estate. (fn. 404) No later record of Box has been found until 1577 when Richard Yate conveyed Box manor to Anthony Wye. (fn. 405) Anthony or a successor of the same name died in possession of the site of the manor, Box Farm, and the demesne lands in 1629, having settled them on his four daughters. (fn. 406) By 1658 Box farm had passed to John Gower of Holdfast (Worcs.), (fn. 407) who sold it in 1668 to Gloucester corporation. It remained part of the Sir Thomas Rich trust estate until the early 1920s. (fn. 408) It was bought then by F. C. Baber, whose family owned and farmed it until 1989. (fn. 409) At Box Farm the high ceilings suggest that the house was reconstructed in the 17th century, but the plan, which included a lateral main stack and stair turret, and the varied thickness of the walls indicate that parts of an earlier building have been incorporated. The interior was refitted in the early 19th century and the porch, which incorporates a staircase, was added late in that century.
In the late 1150s Walter of Hereford granted an estate in Awre to Walter Blund to hold by the serjeanty of service in the donor's chamber. Later, presumably from c. 1160 when Awre manor and Walter of Hereford's other possessions passed to the Crown, the holders of the estate owed service in the royal chamber. (fn. 410) By 1174 Walter Blund had been succeeded by his son Walter. (fn. 411) The younger Walter or a successor of the same name held the estate c. 1212. (fn. 412) The estate later passed to Walter of Awre who died c. 1278 leaving as his heir an infant son John. (fn. 413) whose attainment of full age was verified in 1302. (fn. 414) Robert of Awre later succeeded and died before 1326 when his son and heir John came of age. (fn. 415) John died in 1344 when his infant heir was Thomas of Awre, (fn. 416) who died holding the estate in 1361. The estate, extended as a messuage, 1 ploughland, 6 a. of meadow, and a mill, passed to Thomas's brother John (fn. 417) (d. 1382), who left two daughters Joan and Margaret as his heirs. (fn. 418) The two married respectively David ap Thomas (also called ap Ivor) and Richard of Awre, who held the estate jointly in 1402. (fn. 419)
The reference to a mill among the Awre family's possessions suggests that their estate was later represented by HALL FARM, west of Awre village, to which the nearby Hall Mill belonged until 1731. (fn. 420) In 1570 and 1606 Hall farm belonged to the Barrows of Blakeney who were thought to hold it by fealty from Lord Stafford (an heir of the Hereford family) as of his manor of Newnham. (fn. 421) In 1677 Hall Farm, then known as the Hall or North Hall, and 192 a. belonged to Thomas Blackall of Hackney (Mdx.), who settled the estate on the marriage of his son Thomas. The younger Thomas was presumably the Mr. Blackall of London who owned the estate c. 1700. (fn. 422) In 1731 it belonged to Thomas Blackall of Great Haseley (Oxon.). (fn. 423) In 1749 it apparently belonged to John Purnell of Dursley, passing c. 1755 to Samuel Blackwell. Blackwell sold it, probably in 1766, (fn. 424) to James Thomas of Oatfield Farm, who late in 1766 sold Hall Farm with 140 a. of land to Gloucester corporation. (fn. 425) It formed part of the Sir Thomas Rich trust estate until c. 1921. It was bought then by F. Baber, (fn. 426) whose family owned and farmed it in 1989. The rear wing of the house has been ascribed to the 17th century (fn. 427) but by 1989 recent extensive restoration had obscured any evidence for that. The front range was added or rebuilt in the early 19th century.
Land called the HAYWARD, lying at Awre Point east of Awre village, was reclaimed from the river by Robert son of Hugh, owner of Awre manor. He gave it c. 1150 to Monmouth priory (fn. 428) but either the grant was never implemented or the land returned later to the manor. In 1204 the Crown granted the Hayward, described as a yardland, with another yardland, a meadow called Honey moor (Hundemore), and 6 a. of land to Walter of Awre the elder, (fn. 429) who became farmer of the manor that year. Walter died c. 1221 when custody of his land and heir was granted to Robert de Vernay and Eleanor his wife. (fn. 430) The estate, including a messuage, was held by Philip Baderon at his death c. 1278 and descended in direct line to Philip (fn. 431) (d. c. 1303), John (fn. 432) (d. c. 1332), and Philip (fn. 433) (d. 1349). The last Philip was succeeded by his brother Robert Baderon (fn. 434) (d. 1361), who left as his heirs two infant daughters Maud and Joan; (fn. 435) Robert's widow Joan held a third of the estate in dower until her death in 1396. The younger Joan died in 1397 when her share passed to Maud and her husband John Field. (fn. 436) The Barrows, lords of Blakeney manor, owned the estate in 1570 and 1606. (fn. 437) The house and some of the land were later detached from the Hayward and Honey moor, which together comprising 50 a. belonged in 1660 to Richard Cox the younger. That small estate, on which a farmhouse was built c. 1680, was owned by the White family between 1769 (fn. 438) and 1849, later passing to the Gloucester municipal charity trustees. (fn. 439) The house at Hayward had been demolished by 1989 when a derelict barn remained at its site.
An estate called FIELD HOUSE was held by Richard Trippett (d. 1561), who devised part of the land to his wife Marian, the remainder of the estate evidently passing to his son Thomas. (fn. 440) Thomas Trippett of Field House died in 1585, and his eldest son Richard was probably the Richard Trippett of Field House who died in 1627. (fn. 441) In 1643 the estate belonged to another Richard Trippett and it passed to his son Richard (d. 1711) and to the younger Richard's son John (d. 1736). (fn. 442) John Trippett's heirs were his five daughters, who in 1742 made a partition of the family's estates in Awre and elsewhere in the county: Field House and much of its land were awarded to Elizabeth, wife of William Prestbury, while the farmhouse called Poulton, in Hagloe tithing near the centre of the parish, were awarded with other lands to Perry, wife of the Revd. Whetham Hill of Newnham. William and Elizabeth's Field House estate passed to their son Robert (d. by 1779), whose heirs were his three sisters. The third share of one of them, Perry Allen (later Terrett), passed to her son Thomas Allen, and his son William Allen sold it in 1821 to Robert Prestbury Hooper, son of Elizabeth Hooper, one of the other sisters. In 1831 R. P. Hooper partitioned the estate with Charles Cadogan, son of Robert Prestbury's third sister Joanna Cadogan: Hooper received the house and 92 a. of land for his two thirds and Cadogan received 44 a. for his third. Hooper (d. 1835) was succeeded by his son, also called Robert Prestbury Hooper, who added a small farm at Northington to his estate in 1837. R. P. Hooper died in 1877, and in 1879 his trustees sold the Field House estate to the Gloucester municipal charity trustees. (fn. 443) The oldest part of Field House is a long range on the east side which incorporates two cruck trusses and may date from the 16th century. It is linked by a much restored stone range, dated 1859 but of earlier origin, to a gabled, three-storeyed block; the latter, which has walls of exposed closestudded timber framing, may have been the parlour end of the house. There are 19th-century extensions to the north.
A large estate, usually known as the HAGLOE estate, originated in lands acquired by the Birkin family, which was recorded in Hagloe from the mid 16th century. (fn. 444) John Birkin (d. 1691) of Hagloe was succeeded by his son Richard (d. 1732) and Richard by his son John. John Birkin (d. 1740) (fn. 445) devised his lands among his three daughters: Elizabeth's share included Bledisloe manor, bought by the elder John Birkin, Susannah's included lands in Etloe, Hagloe, and Blakeney, and Mary's included Oatfield farm, which her father had inherited from his grandfather Richard Hooper (d. c. 1717). Elizabeth, who on the death of her mother Margaret Birkin in 1749 also received her father's dwelling house, evidently Hagloe House, (fn. 446) married Robert Boy and died in 1751. After her death Robert retained her land (fn. 447) and lived at Hagloe House until his death in 1800 when he devised his estate to his wife's nephew John Birkin Thomas. (fn. 448) Mary died unmarried in 1753 leaving her land to Susannah, (fn. 449) who later married James Thomas. Thomas, who took up residence at Oatfield Farm and traded as a merchant from Gatcombe, added Poulton Court to his estate in 1766. At his death in 1780 he was succeeded by his son John Birkin Thomas, who inherited Robert Boy's estate in 1800. (fn. 450)
J. B. Thomas died in 1808, leaving to his wife Elizabeth (fn. 451) his extensive estate, which comprised a block of farms lying between Gatcombe and Brimspill, including Hagloe House, Poulton Court, Oatfield, the Ledge, Merryway, and a farmhouse at Little Hagloe, together with the manorial rights of Bledisloe and Poulton and fishing rights in the Severn. In 1810 Elizabeth Thomas married William Ambrose, (fn. 452) who also acquired lands in the north of the parish and, with a total of 763 a., was the largest landowner in Awre parish in 1839. (fn. 453) Elizabeth died in 1838 (fn. 454) and William Ambrose, who traded as a timber merchant until declared bankrupt in 1839, (fn. 455) died in 1843, leaving the estate at Hagloe heavily mortgaged. One of the mortgagees, Nathaniel Morgan, eventually gained possession and in 1853 sold the Hagloe estate, comprising c. 525 a., to the Crown Commissioners of Woods, Forests, and Land Revenues, (fn. 456) whose purchase was made partly to facilitate schemes for railway building. (fn. 457) The Crown added two farms adjoining the estate on the north, Poulton farm in 1860 and Little Box farm in 1866, and in 1900 added a second farm at Little Hagloe. (fn. 458) The Crown remained owner of 702 a. in 1989. By that time most of the farmhouses had been abandoned or sold as private residences and the bulk of the land was farmed from Hagloe House, the chief house of the estate, with a smaller farm based on Poulton Court. (fn. 459) Hagloe House was evidently the dwelling house of John Birkin described as new-built in 1737. (fn. 460) It was probably built about ten years before that date and has a six-bayed front of red brick with stone dressings. Inside there survives a contemporary staircase of high quality.
An estate based on ETLOE HOUSE was built up by the A Deane family, which was recorded at Etloe from the early 16th century. (fn. 461) Customary lands of Awre and Etloe manor were held after the death of Matthew A Deane in 1658 (fn. 462) by his widow Margaret (d. c. 1700), passing according to the custom of that manor to his youngest son Robert (d. 1727). (fn. 463) Robert was succeeded by his son Matthew (fn. 464) who bought a farm at Little Hagloe from the Driver family in 1766 (fn. 465) and was said to have a large estate in Etloe tithing (fn. 466) before his death in 1791. Matthew was succeeded by his son Matthew A Deane of Alderley (fn. 467) (d. c. 1818) and the younger Matthew by his daughter Margaret. (fn. 468) Margaret A Deane (d. 1823) devised her estate to her cousin John Blanch of Bristol, (fn. 469) whose family had been customary tenants at Etloe for many years. (fn. 470) John Blanch (d. 1833) devised the estate to his nephew Richard Rosser, (fn. 471) and in 1839 Rosser owned 359 a. with Etloe House and farmhouses at Little Hagloe and Upper Etloe; the customary land, which included the site of Etloe House, was then a fairly small part of the total acreage. (fn. 472) Rosser (d. 1840) left the estate to his wife Sarah (d. 1847) and then to his son Charles, who died in 1876 having settled it on his four children as tenants in common. The Rossers sold the farm at Little Hagloe to the Crown in 1900 (fn. 473) and apparently disposed of the rest of their estate then. (fn. 474) About 1915 Etloe House and 135 a. belonged to the executors of J. Wheatley. (fn. 475) In 1989 that part of the former estate was owned and farmed by a branch of the Baber family. Etloe House, a tall and narrow farmhouse, was built in 1730 at the time of the marriage of Matthew A Deane and his wife Anne. (fn. 476)
A house called COX, later OAKLANDS FARM, at the north end of the parish (fn. 477) was the centre of a customary estate of Awre manor in 1573. (fn. 478) It was alienated from the manor in 1656 and was probably bought by the tenant Matthew White. (fn. 479) Later, possibly by 1690, (fn. 480) it passed to Eustace Hardwicke; he was living at the house, then called Hardwicke House, in 1710 and was said to have a good estate in Awre and other parishes. (fn. 481) At his death in 1718 he devised the estate to his daughter Patience (fn. 482) and in 1720 it was settled on her marriage to Robert Walter of Bristol. (fn. 483) By 1741 Cox belonged in right of his wife to John Hardwicke, (fn. 484) possibly a second husband of Patience, who died c. 1762. (fn. 485) John Hardwicke was living at Cox in 1763. (fn. 486) It was owned by John Walter in 1770 (fn. 487) and later by William Marshal (d. by 1794). (fn. 488) Cox was sold before 1799 to Thomas Ambrose, from whom the house was leased as a farmhouse at the beginning of the 19th century. (fn. 489) In 1839 the house, leased with 73 a., was part of William Ambrose's estates, (fn. 490) and c. 1850 Oaklands farm was bought by Henry Crawshay and added to his Oaklands Park estate. (fn. 491) The farmhouse was rebuilt in the early or mid 19th century.
OAKLANDS PARK, a mansion set in parkland, was built just north-east of Oaklands Farm in the early 19th century. Sir James Jelf. formerly a Gloucester banker and a partner in the nearby Bullo Pill tramroad, (fn. 492) apparently built it; he was living there in 1818 (fn. 493) and in the 1820s, when he ran a marble works at Bullo Pill. (fn. 494) In 1830 Oaklands was offered for sale together with 26 a. of wood and a farm of 100 a. (fn. 495) but Jelf still owned the house and its park in 1839. (fn. 496) About 1850 the house, park, and adjoining land, including Oaklands farm, were bought by the ironmaster Henry Crawshay, (fn. 497) who was living at Oaklands Park by 1856. (fn. 498) He died in 1879 and his widow Liza Eliza owned Oaklands Park until her death in 1895. (fn. 499) In 1899 it was sold to William Gwynne-Evans of Fordham (Essex), (fn. 500) whose family owned it until 1976. The house and park were bought then by the Camphill Village Trust, a charity for the care of mentally retarded adults; in 1989 the occupants were employed in craft work and in the large kitchen garden attached to the house. (fn. 501) The original house, built by 1818, survives as a low wing at the north end of the present house; it was refitted c. 1830. (fn. 502) Some adjacent outbuildings and the lodge on the main road at the parish boundary are contemporary with it. About 1850 Henry Crawshay built a large new house in Renaissance style. It has a main block of two tall storeys with principal fronts to the north-east and south-east and a service block, of the same height but incorporating three storeys, to the west. There were terraced gardens to the south and south-west and a winter garden, unroofed by 1989, (fn. 503) and stable block on the west.
In the late 18th century a large estate was built up by John Wade, whose family had been prominent leaseholders under Gloucester corporation since 1710. (fn. 504) Wade's estate included land in Bledisloe tithing where, before 1794, he built a residence called NEW HOUSE beside the Gloucester-Chepstow road, (fn. 505) but most of his land lay in Awre tithing. Between 1767 and 1796 he acquired many of the customary tenements of Awre and Etloe manor, (fn. 506) as well as freehold land (fn. 507) based on the farmhouse in Awre village later called New House Farm. Additional freehold and customary land, formerly belonging to the Hopkins family, was added to the estate in 1814 and c. 1827. (fn. 508) John Wade (d. 1819) (fn. 509) was succeeded in his freehold by his grandson John Wade Wait, who also received the customary land by surrender of his younger brother William. (fn. 510) In 1839 J. W. Wait owned a total of 527 a. in the parish, (fn. 511) and in 1849 he added the small Hayward estate. He died in 1865 and was succeeded by his son John Wade Wait (d. 1868). In 1870 the younger J. W. Wait's trustees sold New House Farm and most of the freehold adjoining the village to the Gloucester municipal charity trustees, as trustees of the city's almshouses, and most of the customary land to the same body, as lords of the manor and trustees of Sir Thomas Rich's school. (fn. 512) The Wait family remained owners of New House and lands in the north of the parish until 1919 or later. (fn. 513) New House, a threestoreyed late 18th-century residence, (fn. 514) was much reduced in size in the early 20th century when the two upper storeys were removed and replaced by gables. The house was called Severn Lodge in 1989, when its owner had a business there selling garden equipment and a woodworking firm occupied an adjoining part of the grounds.
The Gloucester municipal charity trustees, acting in their capacity as trustees of St. Bartholomew's hospital and the other almshouses of that city, acquired an estate adjoining Awre village by a series of purchases from 1854. (fn. 515) The principal acquisitions were made in 1870, when they bought 54 a. from themselves as trustees of Sir Thomas Rich's school and New House Farm, Hayward, and 106 a. from the Wait family, (fn. 516) and in 1879, when they bought Field House with 104 a. (fn. 517) New House Farm and some land were sold before 1989 when the Gloucester Almshouse and Pension Charities retained Field House and 160 a. (fn. 518)
A small farm based on a house in Hagloe called Old Box was bought in 1681 by the trustees of a Newland charity. (fn. 519) In 1839 the land, which comprised 41 a., was farmed with the adjoining Little Box farm and the house may by then have been demolished. (fn. 520) There was a small barn at the site in 1989 when the charity still owned the land.
Gloucester abbey acquired a meadow in Awre by gift of Adam of Bledisloe in the early 13th century, and in 1336 had a grant of a right of way to it. Known as Monk's mead, (fn. 521) the meadow lay near the centre of the parish, south of Hall grove. (fn. 522)
The rectory of Awre, belonging to Llanthony priory, Gloucester, from 1351, (fn. 523) was leased under the Crown in the late 16th century. It comprised the corn and hay tithes, two tithe barns, one in Awre and one in Poulton, and a few acres of glebe land. (fn. 524) In 1607 the Crown sold it to to Thomas James. (fn. 525) It descended with the James family's Soilwell estate, in Lydney, (fn. 526) until 1657 when it was bought by the Haberdashers' Company and used to endow the livings of Awre and Blakeney. (fn. 527)
In 1086 Awre manor had 1 ploughteam in demesne and a single servus, (fn. 528) and its demesne remained small in later centuries. The demesne belonging to the earl of Pembroke's part of the manor included 22 a. of arable and 4½ a. of meadow with some pasture in 1296; (fn. 529) the Mortimers' part of the manor was described in 1301 as 16½ a. of arable, 5 a. of meadow, and 1½ a. of pasture, with two other pastures, (fn. 530) while another survey in 1304 extended it at 21½ a. of arable, 4 a. of meadow, and 2 a. of pasture. (fn. 531) In 1329 and in the 1360s the demesne of the reunited manor was an arable enterprise. There were 60 a. of arable, c. 40 a. of which were sown each year with wheat, beans, and oats. Two ploughmen, working one team, were retained at an allowance of grain and the harvest was gathered by temporary wage-labour; the works owed by the tenants, apparently comprising only bedrips, were realized as cash. There was no permanent stock other than the plough oxen; any animals received as heriots were transferred to other manors of the Berkeley family across the river. An orchard provided fruit in 1329. (fn. 532) By 1457 the demesne land of the manor was leased, (fn. 533) and in the 17th and 18th centuries, when it probably included former customary land, it was leased with the manor house called Lypiatt or with the farmhouse called Whitescourt. (fn. 534) In 1731 the two farms together comprised 158 a. of land, including a considerable acreage in the open fields. (fn. 535)
The tenants on Awre manor in 1086 were 12 villani and 8 bordars, working 14 ploughteams between them. (fn. 536) Later there was a large tenantry, which was further increased by the addition of land in Etloe in the 14th century. In 1301 there were 26 free tenants and 23 customary tenants on the Mortimers' part of the manor. (fn. 537) The total number of holdings may have been reduced in the later Middle Ages: several were in the lord's hands in 1457 (fn. 538) and in 1493 some holdings included more than one house. In 1493 there were c. 25 tenants who held houses or tofts with holdings that ranged in size from a single close to 30 a., besides others who held only parcels of land. The acreages of the holdings were usually multiples of 6, the ancient customary yardland having probably been 24 a. By the late 15th century many of the tenements on the manor were held by 'base tenure', (fn. 539) a favourable form of copyhold by inheritance, and there were others held by the more usual form of copyhold for lives. (fn. 540) In 1573 the tenants by base tenure asserted that their tenements passed by Borough English to the youngest son, the youngest daughter, or other next of kin, that they had unrestricted right of alienation, that on succession or purchase the heriot or fine was fixed at the equivalent of a year's rent, and that widows had freebench and guardianship of an heir who was a minor. (fn. 541) In 1599 the tenants by base tenure were in dispute over the customs with their new lord Sir Edward Winter and some consulted a lawyer. (fn. 542) The dispute was settled by arbitration in 1612: among other matters it was established that tenants could grant leases for up to 12 years without the lord's consent and dispose freely of the timber on their estates. (fn. 543)
Later the identities of the customary tenements of Awre and Etloe manor were gradually obscured. They were amalgamated one with another or with lands held by other forms of tenure and most of the houses were abandoned. In 1741 a survey of the manor named 34 ancient customary tenements, held by a total of 22 tenants, in Awre, Etloe, and Bledisloe; 21 (all but one of them in Awre tithing) were base tenures and 13 were copyholds for lives, and each owed a heriot though few by then had houses. There were also various parcels of land held by base tenure but not liable to heriots, evidently lands severed from the ancient tenements. (fn. 544) The original pattern was further obscured by later amalgamations and, in Awre tithing, by inclosure in 1796. In the late 18th century a large part of the customary land was included by John Wade in his New House estate, (fn. 545) which in 1825 had 118 a. in Awre tithing and 10 a. in Bledisloe tithing and owed heriots in respect of 13 houses, of which no more than four still existed. The other main customary holdings in Awre tithing were then Cades (later Northington farm) with 38 a., which was joined soon afterwards to the New House estate, Brunches with 34 a., and the Awre family's Upper House farm with 32 a. In Etloe tithing many of the holdings passed to the Etloe House estate, which included 59 a. of customary land with the sites of 8 ancient houses in 1825. The other main customary holding in Etloe was then 44 a. based on Nibley Farm. (fn. 546) The bulk of the customary land of the New House estate was bought by the lords of the manor in 1870, (fn. 547) and most of the other base tenures and copyholds were enfranchised between 1874 and 1886, (fn. 548) the process of enfranchisement being completed in the early 1920s. (fn. 549)
By the early 17th century Awre and Etloe manor also included leaseholds for years or lives, including the demesne farms and the New Warth. (fn. 550) Fourteen of the smaller leaseholds were sold, in most cases to the existing tenants, by Sir John Winter in 1656, (fn. 551) swelling the already considerable number of freeholds on the manor. In 1741 there was a number of small leaseholds, usually for 99 years or lives, including some houses built fairly recently on waste land. (fn. 552) In the early 1740s the larger farms of the manor estate, comprising the demesne farms of Lypiatt and Whitescourt and Box farm, were held on leases for 15 or 21 years; by the end of the century those farms and Maiden Hall and Hall farms, which had been added to the estate, (fn. 553) were rack rented. (fn. 554)
In 1086 the former members of Awre manor - Etloe, Bledisloe, and Purton - had 1 team and 2 servi in demesne and the tenants were 20 villani and 3 bordars with 13 teams. (fn. 555) Poulton manor had 40 a. of arable and 5 a. of meadow in demesne in 1329. (fn. 556) In 1547 the demesne land of Poulton, held with the manor house on a long lease, covered 230 a., and there were five copyhold tenements on the manor; (fn. 557) three or more of the copyholds were enfranchised on 1,000-year leases in 1568. (fn. 558) Blakeney manor had six tenants in 1292. (fn. 559) Bledisloe manor in 1620 included demesne lands, eight tenants holding on leases for years or lives, and a number of freeholders; (fn. 560) the leaseholds were all sold before 1671. (fn. 561) The lord of Etloe Duchy enfranchised two customary tenements on his manor in 1669. (fn. 562) That manor still included a few copyhold dwellings at Gatcombe in the 1820s. (fn. 563)
Only Awre tithing had a fully-developed system of open-field agriculture. The remainder of the parish consisted almost entirely of ancient closes, which in Blakeney and the western part of Bledisloe were probably still being won from the waste of the Forest of Dean in the early Middle Ages. In 1220 Awre was assessed on 11 ploughteams, Poulton on 3½, Etloe (presumably including the Duchy manor) and Box on 2 each, and Bledisloe on 1, and no assessment was given for Blakeney. (fn. 564)
In Awre tithing in the early modern period there were six main open fields and a few smaller ones. A compact block of open-field land, occupying the level east of the village, comprised Cut (or Runch) Marsh on the north, Great Marsh in the centre, and Woodend Marsh adjoining the Severn on the south. On slightly higher ground north of the village were Lynch field and Northington field, respectively east and west of Northington Lane, and Hamstalls field, between Northington and the river. A small field called Acorn field lay west of Woodend Lane, another field called Brick Furlong lay north of the church, (fn. 565) and another called Woodley Hill lay some way west of the village, on the north side of the Newnham road. (fn. 566) The three-course rotation which was evidently followed in the Awre fields in the 14th century (fn. 567) continued during later centuries. In the early 18th century the courses were wheat and rye, beans and peas, and a fallow. (fn. 568)
The common meadows of the tithing were Rod meadow, adjoining the river west of Hamstalls, Dole (or Dow) meadow, a lot meadow lying east of Lynch field, and Honey Moor, adjoining the river east of Woodend Lane. (fn. 569) There was common pasture for sheep in the open fields, where the stint in 1728 was 1 to each acre of land owned, and for cattle in the Old Warth, the strip of reclaimed land extending across Awre Point beyond the open fields. The rights in the Old Warth were enjoyed by all inhabitants of the tithing, including landless cottagers. They were regulated periodically, and rates were levied to meet the cost of prosecuting those pasturing illegally, a hayward's wages, and any other expenses. In 1728 the total stint in the warth was 2 bulls (belonging to Lypiatt farm and the Field House estate), 101 cows, and 23 yearlings and calves. (fn. 570) The New Warth, recently formed beyond the Old Warth, was appropriated to the lord of the manor under the agreement between Sir Edward Winter and his tenants in 1612, and most of it was ploughed and cropped in 1614 after his lessee had drained it. (fn. 571) Later, usually leased with one of the demesne farms, it was pasture land. (fn. 572)
A few small private inclosures were made in Awre tithing, mainly in the fields around Northington. (fn. 573) Parliamentary inclosure of the tithing, carried out in 1796 and confirmed by an award the following year, re-allotted c. 300 a. of open field and common meadow, the 64 a. of the Old Warth, where the allotments included plots of ¾ a. for the rights of common attached to each cottage, and many of the old closes, which on some of the farms had been considerably intermixed. A total of 24 owners received allotments in respect of land and rights attached to freehold and customary estates. John Wade was awarded 65 a. for his freehold and customary holdings and added another 21 a. by purchase or exchange, the lords of the manor received 3 a. for right of soil and 37 a. for their rack-rented farmland, William Ryder, owner of a farm at Northington, received 55 a., the owners of Field House received 49 a., and five or six other owners received c. 20 a. or more. (fn. 574)
In the remainder of the parish there were only a few small open fields and common meadows and those were mostly inclosed at an early date. In 1547 one of the tenants on Poulton manor had parcels of arable in Nup field and another had a close of that name, presumably taken from the field. Most of the Poulton tenants then had parcels in a common meadow called Broad mead (fn. 575) by Bideford brook, east of Little Box Farm; it was not inclosed until after 1853. (fn. 576) Nether Lowfield in Bledisloe, mentioned in 1530, (fn. 577) was apparently a small open field in the valley of Soudley brook north of Blakeney. In the same area probably lay the meadow in which Bledisloe tenants owned parcels in 1620. (fn. 578) In Etloe c. 1300 a man owned scattered parcels of arable in a field called Brockholebeeches, near the river south-east of the Purton road, (fn. 579) but the only later evidence of communal agriculture found was the right of tenants of Awre and Etloe manor in the tithing to pasture animals on Nibley green. (fn. 580) From the 1430s or earlier the various tithings all had rights of common in the royal demesne land of the Forest of Dean in return for annual payments called herbage money, (fn. 581) but by the mid 19th century only a few parishioners still exercised the rights. (fn. 582)
In 1596 Thomas Bridgeman, owner of Poulton Court, was reported to have converted 200 a. of arable to pasture, (fn. 583) and the parish presumably shared in the general trend towards pastoral farming evident in the Severnside area in the post-medieval period. There remained, however, a good proportion of arable land, even on the inclosed farms outside Awre tithing. In 1731 Box farm had 74 a. of arable in a total acreage of 170, (fn. 584) and in 1792 Poulton Court farm had 61 a. in 212 a. and Oatfield farm had 68 a. in 219 a. (fn. 585) In 1801, when the parish was said to contain a total of just under 3,000 a. (a considerable underestimate), 727 a. were returned as under crops. All but a few acres were growing cereals and pulse; there had apparently been little or no attempt to introduce roots into the rotation. (fn. 586) Orchards, mostly for cider apples, were widespread. Cider, cider apples, and apples and pears for eating were included in tithing customs in 1699, (fn. 587) and all the main farms had cider mills and presses in the 18th century. (fn. 588) The Hagloe crab, a cider apple regarded in the late 18th century as second only to the stire in quality, was developed in Hagloe by a Mr. Bellamy c. 1710. (fn. 589)
During the 19th century and the early 20th the number of farms in the large parish was c. 35-40, and, with the smallholders and fruit growers, there was a total of 67 agricultural occupiers in 1896 and 1926. (fn. 590) In 1851 the largest farms were situated in the east and north of the parish, where the Waits' New House farm had 330 a. and Hall farm, then including most of the land once held with the old manorial demesne farms, had 300 a. The two farms each employed 10 labourers, while Box farm (260 a.), including the land of Maiden Hall and Hamstalls farms, employed 9. The other large farms were Hickman's Court (196 a.) in Bledisloe, Bledisloe farm (161 a.), and Poulton Court (180 a.). In Hagloe and Etloe tithings in the south of the parish there was a regular pattern of farms, mostly c. 100 a. and employing 2-4 labourers, while the west of the parish had mainly small farms. (fn. 591) In 1926 37 farms of over 20 a. were returned, 5 of them having more than 150 a. (fn. 592) There had been a considerable reduction in the number of farms by the 1980s, most of the smaller ones having been amalgamated with larger units and their farmhouses sold off or abandoned. In 1988 there were 23 farms of over 10 ha. (25 a.) among a total of 31 holdings returned for the parish. The farms were worked by a total of 104 people, but the smaller ones were worked only on a parttime basis. (fn. 593) The largest farms were Hagloe House, from which c. 202 ha. (c. 500 a.), the bulk of the Crown's estate, were farmed, and Hall farm, which was held with Bledisloe farm.
In 1839 Awre parish contained 966 a. of arable as against 2,870 a. of permanent grassland and orchard, (fn. 594) and in 1866 1,124 a. of arable were returned, including 401 a. under wheat, 283 a. under other cereals or pulse, and 368 a. under clover, grass leys, roots, or other fodder crops. (fn. 595) By the latter date draining had facilitated the ploughing up of some old pasture in the lower parts of the parish. A programme of draining was begun on Box and Hall farms in 1846, (fn. 596) and in 1851 three men working as drainers lived in Awre tithing. (fn. 597) Animal husbandry included sheep raising, dairying, and cattle raising in 1866 when totals of 1,550 sheep, 202 milk cows, and 727 other cattle were returned. (fn. 598) By 1896 the slump in cereals had reduced the total arable acreage to 516. The farms turned increasingly to other enterprises, particularly to dairying. In 1896 375 cows in milk or in calf were returned, (fn. 599) and among the farms then concentrating on dairying were Hall and Field House, both in the east part of the parish (fn. 600) where much of the former open-field land of Awre tithing had been converted to grassland. In 1926 579 cows in milk or in calf were returned. Other livestock enterprises were then well represented with 472 other cattle, 2,123 sheep, 390 pigs, and 4,866 chickens returned. (fn. 601) There was a stud for shire horses at Box farm in 1906, (fn. 602) and in the early 1920s E. G. Courtman, later vicar of Blakeney, kept Wessex saddleback pigs and pedigree poultry at Priory farm (formerly Hamstalls). (fn. 603) In 1896 341 a. of orchard were returned in the parish and, though the acreage had fallen by 1926, (fn. 604) a number of parishioners specialized in fruit growing and cider making in the early 20th century. A perry pear tree, known as the Blakeney Red, was widely planted, and cider orchards in Bledisloe were acquired before 1927 by Schweppes Ltd. (fn. 605)
In the late 1980s dairying remained the principal farming enterprise, with seven specialist dairy farms among the holdings returned in 1988. Several other farms concentrated mainly on cattle and sheep raising, and most also grew wheat and barley. Totals of 2,118 cattle, including 858 cows in milk, 5,329 sheep and lambs, and 373.5 ha. (923 a.) of cereals were returned. Most of the orchards had been grubbed up by 1988, leaving only 14 ha. (35 a.), mainly in the Bledisloe area, where soft fruit was also grown. (fn. 606)
Mills and Ironworks.
In the Middle Ages, when the parish was presumably more thickly wooded, ironworking was carried on by some of the small, movable forges then working in the Forest. A movable forge was allowed to operate at Etloe in 1228 (fn. 607) but was demolished c. 1248 on the orders of the king, who awarded its lessee 10 marks a year in compensation. (fn. 608) In 1267, however, he allowed it to be reinstated, (fn. 609) and an Etloe man owned a forge in 1282 and another was held by two Blakeney men. (fn. 610) The Etloe forge was presumably responsible for the large quantity of cinders that in 1749 was reported to have been dug out of the roadways in the south part of the tithing. (fn. 611) A field called Cinders near Northington (fn. 612) presumably marked another ancient ironworking site.
By the late 13th century a mill had been built on Blackpool brook above the hamlet of Nibley. (fn. 613) It belonged to the Blakeney manor estate (fn. 614) and was probably the corn mill that James Barrow rebuilt before 1600. (fn. 615) Shortly before 1656 John Barrow built an ironmaking furnace at the site, (fn. 616) and before 1692 the Barrows sold the furnace to the ironmaster Paul Foley. Foley (d. 1699) and his son Thomas operated it with partners until 1715. The furnace was not worked later, though the Foley family still owned the site in 1740. (fn. 617) Ruins of the furnace remained at the end of the 18th century. (fn. 618) By 1841 a wire mill had been established on the site (fn. 619) and it continued to operate until 1856 or later. (fn. 620)
Nibley mill, downstream of the furnace site, beside the main road, was presumably the water mill at Nibley with which in 1636 and 1648 members of the Wintle family (fn. 621) and in 1701 Richard Chinn were dealing. (fn. 622) Edward Chinn owned or occupied Nibley mill in the mid 18th century (fn. 623) and William Smith owned it in 1794. (fn. 624) In the late 19th century it was worked as a corn mill with a small farm and it apparently went out of use soon after 1906. (fn. 625) A 17th-century house, partly timber-framed, and the stone-built mill remained at the site in 1989.
A short way below Nibley mill stood another mill, having a long mill pond extending back alongside the main road as far as the junction with the Blakeney Hill road. It may have been the new-built grist mill at Blakeney offered for sale by James Partridge in 1819 when it was occupied by William Wheeldon. (fn. 626) It was in use as a corn mill in the late 19th century. (fn. 627) It ceased to work c. 1900 (fn. 628) and was later converted as a pair of houses. A small, three-storeyed stone building on the east side of Sydenham House in Bridge Street was being worked as a water-powered corn mill by the owner of the house, the shopkeeper Alfred Butler, in 1897 and 1906. The mill, which was presumably supplied by a leat from Blackpool brook, had been converted as a dwelling by 1989. (fn. 629)
The lowest of the mills at Blakeney stood at Millend on the south side of the village on a long leat running from near the point where Blackpool and Soudley brooks combine to form Bideford brook. (fn. 630) Millend was the site of a mill by 1599 (fn. 631) and two mills at Blakeney that John Buck held under Awre manor c. 1600 possibly stood there. (fn. 632) Those mills were sold by the lord of the manor in 1656, apparently to George Buck, who was then the tenant with his father John. (fn. 633) From the mid 18th century mills at Millend were owned with a nearby tannery by the Hayward family, though usually worked by lessees. In 1761 the site included a grist mill, a newly erected bolting mill, and another water wheel which was offered as convenient for a skinner. (fn. 634) One part appears to have been used for a while in the cloth industry, for in 1797 William Price held a grist mill and tuck mill under the Haywards. Another part was then occupied by the owners, (fn. 635) presumably the bark mill that was worked with their tannery in 1806. (fn. 636) The corn mill at Millend was offered for sale by the Haywards in 1813. (fn. 637) By 1830 Millend mill belonged to Richard White, (fn. 638) and Stephen Adolphus White was working it in 1889. (fn. 639) It had gone out of use by 1901, (fn. 640) and the small stone mill was occupied as two dwellings in 1989.
A steam-powered corn mill at Blakeney was also held by the White family in the 19th century and may have been near the Millend water mill. (fn. 641) Daniel White owned the steam mill in 1830, (fn. 642) and in 1856 the miller was Richard White, who was also a maltster and farmer. (fn. 643) During the 1870s Stephen Adolphus White, who was then said to have an extensive business as a corn merchant, worked the steam mill. (fn. 644)
There was a mill on Awre manor in 1086, (fn. 645) possibly the one recorded from 1278 on the estate of the Awre family, (fn. 646) an offshoot of the manor. The Awres' mill was apparently that on Bideford brook just west of Hall Farm. Known as Hall Mill by 1639 (fn. 647) it was in the same ownership as Hall Farm until 1731 when Thomas Blackall sold it to Francis Spring. Spring worked it as a corn mill in the mid 18th century, (fn. 648) and his family remained owners until 1834 (fn. 649) but let the mill from the 1770s. (fn. 650) By 1816 it had been converted as a paper mill and was worked by Joseph Lloyd. Thomas Newel was making paper there in 1832 and Benjamin Small of Mitcheldean in 1834, but by 1839 it had been converted back to a corn mill. (fn. 651) It remained in use until 1879 (fn. 652) or later. Some ruins of the mill survived in 1989.
At Gatcombe a works making blacksmiths' anvils was operated by the Foleys and their partners between 1695 and 1705 and was converted as a corn mill c. 1710; (fn. 653) no later record of a mill there has been found.
Fisheries, principally for salmon, provided an additional source of income for the owners and tenants of the manors and farms along the Severn bank. In 1300 John of Box, one of the lords of Box manor, had a fishery at the north end of the parish. (fn. 654) That manor probably owned the rights in the stretch of river between the Newnham parish boundary and Hamstalls Pill, which marked the upper limit of the rights held by Awre manor. (fn. 655) In 1301 the Mortimers' share of Awre manor included fisheries at Hamstalls and Woodend, (fn. 656) and in the 1320s and 1330s the fisheries were a valuable asset of the manor. In the year 1328-9 a fishery in hand produced 53s. 9¼d., while one at Hamstalls was leased for 13s. 4d., and in 1332-3 the lord received 100s. from his fisheries. The fishermen who worked them under Lord Berkeley also served as manorial bailiffs, and a fish court was held, presumably to deal with poachers. (fn. 657) In 1493 the manor fisheries included one called 'Pucherewe', evidently a putcher weir (wickerwork fish traps on a framework of wooden stakes), and a tenant held rights called the gale, (fn. 658) the lord's share in cash or kind of the catch of the fishermen. (fn. 659) In the 18th century the gale of fishing on Awre manor was usually leased by the lords to a consortium of tenants. (fn. 660) The lords of the manor also enjoyed the right to all royal fish, (fn. 661) which was exercised in the 1590s and c. 1802 when sturgeon were caught. (fn. 662)
In the 18th century and later the main fisheries of Awre tithing were a series of putcher weirs, most of them on the stretch of river between the Hayward and Brimspill. In the same part of the parish the long net, recorded from 1561, was also in regular use. (fn. 663) The Baderon family had owned a fishery in 1332 and later, (fn. 664) presumably attached to the Hayward estate whose later owners claimed rights. (fn. 665) Several weirs belonged to the Hopkinses' Woodend estate in 1747, (fn. 666) and in 1851 the right to one in the same area was being disputed by the lords of the manor and a Mr. Cadogan, (fn. 667) a member of a family that had been involved in the Awre fisheries since the 1740s or earlier. (fn. 668) In 1866 a special commission for fisheries confirmed the right of the lords of the manor to have three ranks of putchers near Brimspill and a single rank nearer to Woodend Lane, and in 1868 the commissioners confirmed a rank belonging to Thomas Cadogan near Woodend Lane and one belonging to the Wait family some way north-east of the lane; together the various weirs contained a total of 977 putchers. (fn. 669) The lords of the manor sold their rights to the Cadogans in the 1920s, and members of the family owned and worked the four ranks that were in use in 1989; by that time the traditional wickerwork putchers were being replaced by those made of steel wire. The lave net was also used off Awre in 1989 but the use of the long net there had been given up. (fn. 670)
In 1547 the gale of fishing between Brimspill and Gatcombe Pill belonged to Poulton manor, (fn. 671) and rights in that stretch of river descended with the manor to the Hagloe estate. (fn. 672) In 1770 and 1779 James Thomas, lord of Poulton, leased to groups of fishermen the right to use the long net, lave net, stop net, or any other kind of net, reserving the right to royal fish, which he claimed for the manor, and to putcher weirs, which were apparently attached to individual farms. Changes in the river could evidently much affect the size of the catch, and the lease of 1770 provided for the rent to be raised from £5 to £12 if a shift of the channel caused a pool to form below Brimspill. (fn. 673) In 1737 a house at Gatcombe belonging to the Oatfield Farm estate, probably the later Sloop inn, had a fishery attached, and ranks of putchers were leased with Poulton Court in 1792. (fn. 674) About 1913 the tenant of Poulton Court had c. 600 putchers in the river adjoining the farm. (fn. 675) The farmer still operated a rank there in 1989, while at Gatcombe two ranks were worked by the owners of the Court House, who had bought rights from the Hagloe estate c. 1979. (fn. 676)
A fishery belonging to Etloe Duchy manor in 1283 (fn. 677) presumably comprised rights below Gatcombe. The right to use two stop nets (large nets operated from boats held on cables broadside to the tide) was confirmed to the owner of the Duchy manor in 1866; one net was used off Purton and the other between Purton and Gatcombe. (fn. 678) From 1878 the rights belonging to Etloe Duchy, together with rights of the Bathurst family to use stop nets in Wellhouse Bay below Purton, in Lydney, were leased by Charles Morse, owner of the Court House at Gatcombe. His descendants, who later bought the rights, worked the fishery from Gatcombe for the next 100 years, and in the 1920s owned 10 stopping boats. The boats, which were built and repaired in outbuildings at the Court House, usually took up their station in Wellhouse Bay, where a building called the fish house provided accommodation for the fishermen during the season. Most of the salmon caught were sent by rail to London. Three boats were kept at Gatcombe by Mrs. Ann Bayliss (nee Morse) in 1989 but they had not been used for about three years due to difficulties in getting them repaired and renewing the nets. (fn. 679) In 1922 over 70 men from Blakeney and the surrounding area fished with lave nets off Gatcombe, selling their catch to the Morses, (fn. 680) and a few men still used lave nets there in 1989.
Other Industry and Trade.
A salt pan, producing 30 packloads of salt, was recorded among the assets of Awre manor in 1086. (fn. 681) The pan, and a salt house mentioned c. 1600, (fn. 682) were evidently near the river bank at Woodend, where they were later recalled by the name Salthouse orchard. (fn. 683)
Trade on the river Severn employed the men of Awre parish from at least 1282 when two inhabitants were accused of using their boats to carry wood stolen from the Forest to Bristol and elsewhere. (fn. 684) In 1354 the profits of Awre rectory included offerings given by merchants voyaging overseas. (fn. 685) Goods were landed or loaded at various places on the river bank, including Brimspill and Hamstalls. (fn. 686) Eight of 11 sailors listed in the parish in 1608 lived in Awre tithing, (fn. 687) suggesting that considerable trade was then carried on from that part of the parish. Possibly there was then a regular landing at Woodend, which erosion of the bank later made difficult to use. Vessels brought limestone to Woodend in the 1820s when there was a limekiln near the end of Woodend Lane, (fn. 688) and later in the century and in the early 20th Bristol and Chepstow stone for roadmaking was landed there. (fn. 689)
Most of the trade was concentrated on the small hamlet of Gatcombe, where there was a sheltered anchorage for larger vessels, as well as a pill into which smaller boats could be drawn. Much trade entering the Severn came no higher than Gatcombe, the larger vessels preferring not to encounter the dangerous sandbanks further upstream, and for several centuries Gatcombe was one of Gloucester's chief outlets for maritime trade. (fn. 690) The hamlet had the status of a creek of the port of Bristol in 1479 when a Gatcombe vessel was trading in fish from Ireland, (fn. 691) and custom dues taken at Gatcombe creek were granted to a royal servant in 1485. (fn. 692) Gatcombe figured largely in litigation between the cities of Gloucester and Bristol which followed the creation of a new port based on Gloucester in 1580. Differing views were advanced as to its value as a haven, some maintaining that at spring tides ships of up to 80 tons could lie there and others that it could safely be used only by ships of up to 40 tons, but its importance to Gloucester was made clear. Trade with Ireland in fish and other commodities was carried on, as well as some trade with the Continent. In the early 1580s a customs officer, based at Newnham by the officials of the new port, attended regularly at Gatcombe to search vessels. (fn. 693)
A reference to a mariner of Gatcombe who died in 1669 (fn. 694) is one of the few records found of the hamlet's role in the river trade in the 17th century. At the beginning of the 18th century iron from Blakeney furnace was shipped there for Bristol and for the Midlands. (fn. 695) Goods for Gloucester merchants and tradesmen continued to pass through Gatcombe throughout the 18th century with trade in copper and maltsters' coal from the South Wales ports becoming particularly important. (fn. 696) At the end of the century a Birmingham copper company used Gatcombe as a transit point, establishing a warehouse there. (fn. 697) One or two Gatcombe vessels were involved in the regular trade carried on between the Severn and Ireland, chiefly in oak bark and cider. In the 1760s and 1770s James Thomas of Oatfield Farm traded with South Wales and Ireland, his boats including the Susanna and the John Birkin named after his wife and son; (fn. 698) J. B. Thomas was dealing in bark, probably for the Irish trade, in 1789. (fn. 699) In the early and mid 18th century several generations of the Cupitt family were mariners and merchants at Gatcombe, (fn. 700) and in the late 18th and early 19th the Barretts, including Richard Barrett, owner of two sloops which were lost in a gale in 1775, were among mariners there. (fn. 701) About 1790 five sloops and a brig were based at the hamlet. (fn. 702)
In the late 18th century and the early 19th Gatcombe was a centre of the timber trade. During the Napoleonic Wars it was one of the main shipping points for the oak timber sent from the Forest to the naval dockyards. (fn. 703) A navy purveyor living at Blakeney in 1801 (fn. 704) and a timber haulier of Etloe mentioned in 1809 were among those employed in that trade. (fn. 705) At a place called Milking mead, a narrow coombe in the cliffs just upstream from Gatcombe, a timber yard belonged to the Oatfield Farm estate in the early 1790s when there was a wharf and warehouse adjoining; (fn. 706) in 1843 a small dwelling there was described as formerly a barkhouse (fn. 707) and had presumably been used by the Thomases in the Irish trade. William Ambrose, owner of Oatfield and the Hagloe estate from 1810, traded as a timber merchant (fn. 708) and had the yard in hand in the 1830s. Another, larger yard, called Gatcombe timber yard, occupied a field on the west side of the hamlet; (fn. 709) a gully in the cliffs enabled the timber to be lowered to the water's edge, where a small stone-built, high-water quay was constructed sometime during the early or mid 19th century. (fn. 710) In the early 19th century Gatcombe timber yard was occupied by a Chepstow timber company, which was succeeded as tenant by William Ambrose; in 1831 he sublet it to the Commissioners of the Navy. (fn. 711) There was another yard at the south end of the parish where timber was collected for shipping from Purton. (fn. 712) At Milking mead a ruined limekiln survived next to the former timber yard in 1989, recalling another trade once carried on. (fn. 713)
Twelve mariners and three watermen, together with a number of mariners' wives, whose husbands were evidently away at sea, were enumerated in the parish in 1851. Most lived in Etloe and Hagloe tithings (fn. 714) and were associated with the trade at Gatcombe, which was enjoying its final period of activity. The South Wales railway line, then under construction along the foreshore, obstructed access to the timber yards and cut off the mouth of the pill with a low viaduct. A few mariners and pilots still lived in Awre parish in the later 19th century and the early 20th, (fn. 715) some probably employed in vessels using the nearby Lydney and Bullo Pill harbours.
Shipbuilding was established in the parish by 1608 when shipwrights were living in Blakeney and Hagloe and a ship carpenter in Etloe; (fn. 716) a shipwright of Blakeney was mentioned in 1662. (fn. 717) All were perhaps employed at Gatcombe, where several vessels were built in the mid 17th century. (fn. 718) In 1787 J. B. Thomas and a partner owned a shipbuilding yard, probably at Milking mead, and launched a brig of over 300 tons. (fn. 719) In 1804 when Thomas offered the yard for letting he claimed that vesels of over 600 tons had been built there. (fn. 720) Snows of 198 and 129 tons built in 1803 and 1834 respectively were probably more typical of the vessels built at Gatcombe. The latter boat was built by James and Thomas Shaw, (fn. 721) who in 1839 occupied a building below Gatcombe timber yard, close to the site of the quay mentioned above. (fn. 722) Members of the Shaw family were still boatbuilders in the parish in the 1850s, (fn. 723) though the railway line presumably prevented the building of all but very small craft at Gatcombe. In 1851 there was also a boatyard at Hamstalls, where a shipwright Charles Cooper was employing 18 workers; (fn. 724) it apparently closed soon afterwards.
Apart from that connected with the river, the trade and industry of Awre parish was concentrated on Blakeney village, where the streams provided water for mills (described above) and tanneries and the main Gloucester-Chepstow road stimulated commerce. By the beginning of the 18th century - on what authority is not known - fairs were held at Blakeney on May Day and All Saints (fn. 725) (altered in 1752 to 12 May and 12 November). In the mid 18th century, (fn. 726) and until they lapsed in the early 20th, they dealt principally in livestock. (fn. 727)
Blakeney's role as a centre for crafts and trade had apparently begun by the 1270s and early 1280s when there was a smith, a weaver, and a baker in Blakeney tithing and a baker and butchers in Etloe tithing, (fn. 728) in which the south part of the village lay. In 1608 32 tradesmen were listed in Blakeney and Etloe tithings, compared to only 9 in the other parts of the parish. Apart from the usual village craftsmen, the tradesmen in Blakeney and Etloe included 2 grindstone hewers, possibly working in quarries on Blakeney hill in the adjoining extraparochial Forest, 5 nailers, 4 weavers, a mercer, and a tanner. (fn. 729) Nailmaking may have had a continuous existence at Blakeney until the mid 19th century, though only sporadic references have been found. (fn. 730) Weavers were recorded there until the early 18th century (fn. 731) and, as mentioned above, later in that century there was probably a fulling mill at Millend. (fn. 732) In 1649, at a time when much wood was being taken illegally from the royal demesne woodlands of the Forest, 5 timber dealers and 2 cardboard makers were recorded at Blakeney. (fn. 733)
Tanning, an industry associated with the Forest bark trade, was again recorded at Blakeney in 1655, 1682, and 1711. (fn. 734) A tanhouse in Etloe tithing, apparently at Millend, belonged to the Barrows of Blakeney manor in 1721. In the 1750s it was occupied by William Swayne, one of a family which owned a tannery at Underhill, in Newnham. (fn. 735) By 1763 Thomas Hayward occupied it, (fn. 736) and he or another Thomas Hayward died, a prosperous man, in 1797, leaving the business to his son John. (fn. 737) John offered the tannery for letting in 1806. (fn. 738) Tanning continued at Blakeney until 1865 or later. (fn. 739)
The numbers of tradesmen and shopkeepers increased in the early 19th century as Blakeney began to serve the growing Forest settlements on the hillsides above, as well as benefiting from the increase in traffic on the turnpike road. Blakeney acquired some of the features of a small town, though its trades and crafts were generally of a humble character. In 1851 142 tradesmen, craftsmen, and shopkeepers were enumerated in Blakeney and Etloe tithings, with over 40 different trades represented. (fn. 740) A brewery was opened before 1870 and was worked until c. 1915. (fn. 741) There was a branch bank by 1897. (fn. 742) The village derived little benefit from the mineral railway built through it to the Forest and opened in 1868, (fn. 743) but the growth of motor transport in the early 20th century helped to maintain trade and supported a garage by 1927. (fn. 744) In 1931 20 shopkeepers and 15 other tradesmen or small businessmen were listed in the village, (fn. 745) but in the mid 20th century its role declined, partly as a result of the growth of Lydney as a business and shopping centre. In 1989 business activity in Blakeney was limited to 8 shops, 2 public houses, a restaurant, a garage, and a building firm.
The parts of the parish outside Blakeney village had few rural tradesmen. In the late 19th century and the early 20th Awre village had one or two shopkeepers and a blacksmith, and the rural part of Etloe had one or two craftsmen. (fn. 746)
In 1276 the lords of Awre manor claimed the right to return of writs, pleas of vee de naam, the assize of bread and ale, and gallows. (fn. 747) The gallows belonging to the lords, who also held Bledisloe hundred, were presumably at Gallows green in Bledisloe tithing beside the Gloucester-Chepstow road. (fn. 748) In 1741 the lords of Awre and Etloe manor also claimed estrays, felons' and fugitives' goods, and wrecks; (fn. 749) a wreck was adjudged to belong to the lords in 1727 (fn. 750) and the dangerous waters off Awre Point made it a franchise that they could often exercise.
View of frankpledge was also claimed, and court rolls for the leet and court baron survive for 1588 and for the years 1594-1600; (fn. 751) there are also rolls and full sets of court papers for the years 1688-1881. In the late 17th century joint courts leet and baron were held twice a year but from c. 1700 only one a year was held, with separate courts baron when required for the surrenders and admissions of the customary tenants. The October leet continued until 1881 but the court baron was held only every other year from 1800 until 1864, after which tenures were dealt with at the offices of the Gloucester solicitors who were stewards of the manor. (fn. 752) In the 1670s one of the biannual courts met at Awre and the other at Blakeney but in the 18th century the court usually met at Blakeney. (fn. 753) In 1808, however, an inn at Awre, presumably the Red Hart, was described as the accustomed meeting place (fn. 754) and the Red Hart was the usual venue later.
In the court two homages made presentments, one for Awre and one for Etloe with the part of Bledisloe that belonged to the manor, but there was one leet jury for the whole manor. The numbers and descriptions of the manorial officers elected in the court varied but in the early 18th century they were usually two constables for Awre and a tithingman each for Awre, Etloe, and Bledisloe. The upkeep of the reens and sea walls of Awre tithing occupied much of the court's time. (fn. 755) Such matters were also the responsibility of the Commissioners of Sewers for the Upper Level of the Severn in whose jurisdiction Awre was included. In the early 18th century the commissioners' court employed a surveyor at Awre and made orders for repairs, (fn. 756) but in 1712, after distress was taken from some tenants to enforce payment of a rate, local dissatisfaction with the commissioners led the Awre and Etloe court leet to inaugurate its own system for the upkeep of the walls and appoint its own surveyors. (fn. 757)
Rolls of the court baron for Bledisloe manor survive for 1620, 1671, 1704, 1743, 1801, 1813, and 1819. (fn. 758) There is a roll of 1819 for Poulton manor court, which then claimed leet jurisdiction and elected a constable for Hagloe tithing. (fn. 759) A court baron for Etloe Duchy manor was held at the Ship inn (later the Court House) at Gatcombe in 1821. (fn. 760)
Early records of parish government surviving are churchwardens' accounts for 1670-1722, (fn. 761) overseers' accounts for 1717-75, (fn. 762) and vestry minutes from 1770. (fn. 763) The parish had two churchwardens, one chosen by the vicar and the other by the vestry, and in the 18th century the one chosen by the vestry had particular responsibility for Blakeney chapel and was sometimes called the chapelwarden. (fn. 764) The six tithings each repaired their own roads, appointing separate surveyors, (fn. 765) and there were three overseers of the poor, one for Awre, one for Hagloe and Bledisloe, and one for Blakeney and the two Etloe tithings. (fn. 766)
In 1683 the church house in Awre village was used as a poorhouse and a pauper was housed in a cottage there owned by the parish. The church house at Blakeney had also been used for the poor but by 1683 the Barrow family, owners of the manor, had appropriated it to their own use. (fn. 767) Measures for poor relief taken by the parish authorities in the later 18th century included employing women at spinning flax, (fn. 768) apprenticing pauper children, and paying a subscription to the Gloucester infirmary. A plan made in 1791 to build a workhouse to hold 50 paupers was evidently not implemented. In 1821 measures were taken for more efficient management of the poor, a building was adapted as a workhouse in 1822, and the poor were put out to farm in 1823. The measures reflected a sharp rise in the number of paupers. About 20 adults and some children were receiving regular weekly relief in the 1770s; between the late 1780s and 1810 c. 40 paupers were usually on relief and by the early 1820s the numbers had risen to over 70. (fn. 769)
In 1835 the parish was included in the Westbury-on-Severn poor-law union. (fn. 770) In 1863 a local board of health was formed for the parish, holding its meetings at Blakeney. (fn. 771) The board, which employed one officer as its surveyor and inspector of nuisances, initially a joint appointment with the Westbury and Newnham boards, and another as rate collector, was almost entirely concerned with the upkeep of the roads, even after its assumption of the powers of an urban sanitary authority. It was replaced by an urban district council under the Act of 1894. (fn. 772) The urban district, which also did little for the provision or improvement of public services, was abolished in 1935. (fn. 773) Apart from the area added to West Dean parish, Awre parish then became part of the East Dean rural district, (fn. 774) with which it was included in the Forest of Dean district in 1974.
Awre had a church, with I yardland attached to it, in 1086. (fn. 775) Robert son of Hugh, who held Awre manor in the 1140s, granted the church to Monmouth priory, and c. 1150 the gift was confirmed by his overlord Roger, earl of Hereford, and by the diocesan, the bishop of Hereford, who licensed the priory to appropriate the church on the death of the then rector. (fn. 776) The grant to Monmouth was possibly nullified on Earl Roger's rebellion or perhaps was never implemented; no later evidence of any connexion with the priory has been found, and in 1226 the church remained a rectory in the gift of the Crown, owner of the manor. (fn. 777) In 1278 the earls of Gloucester and Pembroke, owners of portions of the manor, agreed to make alternate presentations. There were then other claimants to the advowson, (fn. 778) which was evidently in dispute in the early 14th century: the bishop collated to the rectory in 1302 and the rector appointed then had a presentation from the Crown in 1307. (fn. 779) Thomas of Berkeley, lord of the manor, presented in 1349, (fn. 780) and in 1351 he gave Awre church to Llanthony priory, Gloucester, in exchange for the manor of Coaley, the priory having licence to appropriate the church. A vicarage was ordained in 1354 (fn. 781) and the living remained a vicarage. An ancient chapel at Blakeney had the status of a perpetual curacy after receiving an endowment in the mid 17th century and became the centre of a separate ecclesiastical district in 1853. (fn. 782) In 1952 the livings of Awre and Blakeney were united, (fn. 783) and in 1982 they were made a united benefice with Newnham vicarage. (fn. 784)
The advowson of Awre vicarage passed with Llanthony priory's rectory estate to the James family and to the Haberdashers' Company. (fn. 785) In 1545, however, it was exercised by William Francombe under a grant from Llanthony for one turn, (fn. 786) and in 1568 Robert Alfield of Gloucester presented under a grant from Edward Barnard of Flaxley, whose right possibly also derived from a grant by Llanthony. (fn. 787) In 1982 the Haberdashers' Company and the bishop of Gloucester were assigned alternate presentations to the united benefice. (fn. 788)
Under the ordination of the vicarage in 1354 Llanthony priory retained all the great tithes, a barn and threshing floor, and some mortuaries, while the vicar was awarded the glebe house, glebe lands, small tithes, and other profits. (fn. 789) In 1418 a disagreement between the vicar and the priory over the division of the mortuaries was resolved, (fn. 790) and in 1479 the vicar and priory secured a confirmation of the original endowment. (fn. 791) The mode of tithing the putcher weirs on the river bank was in dispute in 1625: the vicar claimed a tithe of the total catch from each, but the fishermen claimed that by custom he worked the weir on his own account one day in every ten, taking whatever was trapped then. (fn. 792) In 1699 the vicar's tithes were mostly taken in kind, with cash payments fixed only for milk, cider, garden produce, and wood. (fn. 793) In 1769 the vicar refused to accept the validity of those moduses and established his right to take the tithes in kind. (fn. 794) In 1839, when a third portion of them was on lease to the curate of Blakeney, the small tithes were commuted for a total corn rent charge of £450 7s. 2d. (fn. 795) In the 17th century the vicar's glebe comprised a few parcels in the common meadows and open fields and some small closes, (fn. 796) and following inclosure in 1796 it amounted to 8 a. (fn. 797) The vicarage house, east of Northington Lane, was rebuilt as a substantial three-storeyed dwelling in the early 19th century. The vicars of the united benefice lived at Blakeney after 1952 and at Newnham after 1982. (fn. 798)
In 1657 the Haberdashers' Company, under a bequest made to it by a Mr. Hammond for purchasing impropriate rectories and augmenting livings, bought the lay rectory of Awre and used the great tithes to augment the vicarage and endow Blakeney chapel. Under the terms of Hammond's bequest the incumbent of any living so augmented was required to hold no other benefice, to be absent from his cure no more than 40 days in a year, and to preach at least once a Sunday. (fn. 799) After 1657 the parish was divided into two roughly equal parts for the collection of the great tithes, those from one division being assigned to the vicar and those from the other to the curate of Blakeney. That arrangement, under which vicar and curate shared the cost of maintaining the chancel of the parish church, continued (fn. 800) until c. 1780. The Haberdashers then granted a lease of all the tithes to the vicar who was to pay £50 a year to the curate of Blakeney, (fn. 801) and before 1839 another arrangement was made by which the vicar held two thirds of the great tithes and the curate one third, while the vicar leased to the curate one third of his small tithes. The great tithes were commuted in 1839 for a total corn rent charge of £400. (fn. 802)
In 1291 Awre church was valued at £40. (fn. 803) The vicarage was worth £10 4s. 7d. in 1535 (fn. 804) and £48 in 1650. (fn. 805) About 1710 and in 1750 it was worth £100, about half the value being derived from the portion of the great tithes, (fn. 806) and in 1856 it was worth £572. (fn. 807)
Among early incumbents of Awre, Walter Blund and Henry of Awre, who succeeded Walter in 1226, were from local landowning families. (fn. 808) Thomas of Berkeley's steward William of Syde (fn. 809) was rector from 1349 until the grant to Llanthony in 1351. (fn. 810) John Winston, vicar in the early 1520s, was several times proceeded against by the diocesan authorities for immorality. (fn. 811) In 1548 the vicar Anthony Aldwyn had failed to read the homilies or preach quarterly sermons. (fn. 812) His curate Philip Huling (fn. 813) succeeded to the vicarage in 1553, was deprived in 1554, and was reinstated several years before his death c. 1568. (fn. 814) Huling's successsor John Williams, who failed in many of his duties and by 1576 had let the benefice to farm, (fn. 815) later lost possession of the vicarage and was claiming it at the institution of John Street in 1581. Henry James, a relation of the patron, was instituted in 1636 (fn. 816) and died in 1643 after being imprisoned by parliamentary troops. (fn. 817) Jonathan Bird held the living in 1650 and died in 1653. (fn. 818) William Marshall was admitted to the living in 1657 and subscribed in 1662, remaining vicar until his death in 1667. (fn. 819) The living was later held by two vicars of high church views, (fn. 820) James Whiting who served from 1671 to c. 1677 when he was drowned at Purton passage, and Charles Chapman who served from 1677 to 1707. (fn. 821) Jackman Morse, vicar 1721-65, held the living with Huntley rectory from 1727, (fn. 822) in spite of the terms under which the benefice had been augmented. He did, however, remain resident at Awre, as did Charles Sandiford, (fn. 823) vicar 1780-1826, who was also curate of Blakeney from 1786, vicar of Tirley from 1788, and archdeacon of Wells from 1815. His successor at Awre, Joseph Malpas, (fn. 824) remained vicar for the next 50 years. (fn. 825)
In the 18th century and the earlier 19th many parishioners worshipped at both the parish church and Blakeney chapel; in the 1790s most of the owners of farmhouses had pews at both places. (fn. 826) In 1750 full Sunday services were held at the parish church with an afternoon service at Blakeney, (fn. 827) and in 1825 one service was held at each on Sunday, morning and afternoon alternately. At the latter date Blakeney was said to attract congregations of 400-500, compared to 50-60 at Awre. (fn. 828) On the Sunday of the ecclesiastical census in 1851 Blakeney's congregations of 211 in the morning and 231 in the afternoon were more than twice those at Awre. (fn. 829) From the 1760s some inhabitants of the adjoining Forest hamlets were married and baptized in the parish, presumably at Blakeney chapel, and were buried at the parish church. It was probably from 1820, when a grant from the Crown aided rebuilding, that some free sittings in Blakeney chapel were appropriated to Forest inhabitants, but in 1835 they were said never to have made use of them. (fn. 830)
In the early 18th century there was said to have once been a chapel at Poulton Court. (fn. 831) No other record has been found and the supposition may have been suggested by the fact that the rectory was sometimes called the rectory of Awre and Poulton, the vicarage often being similarly designated. (fn. 832) That usage, at least for the rectory, may derive only from the existence of rectory tithe barns at both places. (fn. 833) There was a chantry dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Awre church by 1339; (fn. 834) its lands were sold by the Crown in 1563. (fn. 835)
The parish church of ST. ANDREW, which bore that dedication by the mid 12th century, (fn. 836) is built of coursed rubble and ashlar and comprises chancel, nave with north aisle and south porch, and west tower. The church was rebuilt in the mid 13th century as a large building with a long chancel and a nave and north aisle of six bays. The aisle is a little earlier in style than the chancel. (fn. 837) The porch was added in the 14th century and the upper part of the tower was reconstructed in the 15th. Several of the windows were added in the 15th century, though they were much restored in the 19th. The church was restored in 1875 under F. S. Waller at a cost of £2,500, all but £300 of which was provided by Henry Crawshay of Oaklands Park. The work included repewing and refitting and the removal of plaster ceilings from the nave and aisle, where the roofs were reconstructed. (fn. 838)
The octagonal font is probably of the early 15th century, (fn. 839) and there is a 15th-century oak rood screen, its lower part renewed. A niche which survives over the south door once contained a statue of the Virgin Mary, which attracted offerings in the 1350s. (fn. 840) A massive, roughly hewn dugout chest stands under the tower. A ring of six bells was cast for the church by Abraham Rudhall in 1712; the treble was recast by Thomas Rudhall in 1775 and the second and tenor by John Rudhall in 1821. (fn. 841) The plate includes a chalice and paten cover of 1576 and a tankard flagon of 1749 which was given to the church in 1827. (fn. 842) Much of the floor of the church is still paved with the tombstones of the numerous yeoman families of the parish, and the churchyard has a large and varied collection of carved headstones of the 18th century and the early 19th. The registers survive from 1538. (fn. 843)
At Blakeney the chapel of ALL SAINTS. so called by 1750 but c. 1710 said to be dedicated to SS. Philip and James, (fn. 844) was recorded from 1551 when it was a chapel of ease to the parish church. (fn. 845) After 1657, when the Haberdashers' Company endowed it with half the great tithes of the parish, (fn. 846) it came to be regarded as a perpetual curacy, and curates, often called chaplains, were nominated by the Haberdashers. (fn. 847) It was not, however, assigned a particular area to serve and was used by inhabitants of the whole parish. The chapel was being used for marriages by the 1680s and for baptisms by 1708 but did not keep separate registers until 1813; (fn. 848) a burial ground was provided in 1892. (fn. 849) The living was worth £60 a year in 1750, most of the income being supplied by the portion of the great tithes. (fn. 850) In 1856 it was worth £250. (fn. 851) In 1853 the chapel was assigned a separate ecclesiastical district, comprising the southern half of the parish, (fn. 852) and the living, later styled a vicarage, continued in the gift of the Haberdashers. (fn. 853) There was no glebe house until 1951. Moira House, north-east of the chapel, was then acquired, (fn. 854) and it served as the residence of the vicars of the united benefice of Awre and Blakeney from 1952 to 1982.
The curate of Blakeney from 1667 was Nicholas Billingsley, (fn. 855) who had been deprived of the living of Weobley (Herefs.) in 1662. His continuing lack of conformity attracted the hostility of two successive vicars of Awre and of the diocesan bishop, Robert Frampton, and he was suspended before 1690. He later declined the offer of Bishop Edward Fowler to reinstate him and ministered to nonconformists at Blakeney and elsewhere in the county. (fn. 856) From 1693 to 1727 the curate was Richard Mantle (fn. 857) who was also rector of English Bicknor from 1710, (fn. 858) and from 1744 Roynon Jones, of the family which owned the Nass estate, in Lydney, was curate. (fn. 859)
In the early 18th century Blakeney chapel was a small single-cell building with a gallery. (fn. 860) It was enlarged in 1748 when the nave was lengthened and a new aisle and chancel were added; the cost was met by subscription. (fn. 861) In 1799 the gallery was rebuilt and a new one added. (fn. 862) In 1820 the chapel was rebuilt to the designs of Samuel Hewlett as a plain single-cell building with a small west tower, a low south porch, and large galleries. The new building was planned to seat 700 and about a third of the cost was met by the Crown (fn. 863) because it was intended to serve inhabitants of the adjoining part of the Forest. Some internal refitting was carried out in 1880, (fn. 864) and in 1906-7 the chapel was restored and a small eastern apse added to the designs of Prothero and Phillott of Cheltenham. (fn. 865) The bowl of the font is a 15th-century water stoup, discovered near Gatcombe during building of the South Wales railway. (fn. 866) The single bell was cast by Abraham Rudhall in 1719. (fn. 867) The plate includes a chalice of 1669, given to the chapel in 1766. (fn. 868)
Nonconformity at Blakeney apparently originated with Nicholas Billingsley who was suspended as curate of the Anglican chapel shortly before 1690. (fn. 869) A group led by him registered a house for dissenting worship in the village in 1691 and other houses there were registered the same year. (fn. 870) In 1697 Billingsley performed the marriage of his son Richard, described as a meeting teacher, in the meeting house. (fn. 871) The meeting at Blakeney, styled Presbyterian, had 100 members c. 1715, and its minister David Thomas (fn. 872) registered his house there for worship in 1727. (fn. 873) In 1735 the meeting was supported by funds from London; the congregation was then described as very small (fn. 874) and it numbered only 12 in 1750. (fn. 875) In 1773 the meeting was described as Presbyterian or Congregationalist (fn. 876) and it was presumably represented later by the Congregationalist or Independent cause at Blakeney.
A group associated with William Bishop, minister of the Independent meeting at Gloucester, registered a house at Blakeney in 1795. A prominent member was Richard Stiff, (fn. 877) who had come to the village in 1783 and was active in preaching to nonconformists there and in the adjoining part of the extraparochial Forest until his death in 1816. (fn. 878) In 1823 a small chapel called Blakeney Tabernacle was built by the Revd. Isaac Bridgman just inside the parish boundary at Brain's Green beside the road to Ayleford. Bridgman was a former curate at Holy Trinity church, Harrow Hill, in the Forest, who had found difficulty in confining his views to established church doctrine. (fn. 879) Anglican liturgy was at first used for the services, but in 1825 the congregation joined the Independents. Bridgman, who remained minister until c. 1828, (fn. 880) also registered a house in Etloe in 1827. (fn. 881) In 1849 the congregation left the Brain's Green chapel for a new one, also called the Tabernacle, built in Blakeney village on the Ayleford road. (fn. 882) In 1851 the new chapel, then styled Independent but later Congregational, had average congregations of 265 in the morning and 205 in the evening. (fn. 883) In 1972, when it became part of the new United Reformed Church, the church at Blakeney had 20 members and two lay preachers under a settled minister who also served chapels in nearby parishes. (fn. 884) The chapel closed in 1988. (fn. 885)
From 1818 a group of Baptists met at Blakeney under the leadership of John Watkins of Lydney. The group was attached to the Baptist church at Coleford until 1821 when it became a separate church. In 1833, when the membership was c. 37, (fn. 886) a chapel was built on the south side of the main street. (fn. 887) In 1851 it had average congregations of 250 in the morning and 170 in the evening. (fn. 888) The chapel was restored in 1874. (fn. 889) In 1989 the Baptist church had c. 25 members under a minister. Shared services were then held with the congregation of Blakeney's Anglican church on two Sunday afternoons each month. (fn. 890)
A small group of Wesleyan Methodists met in a room at Blakeney from 1817, and c. 1832, when there were c. 9 members, it was served by travelling preachers or by the ministers of local chapels. (fn. 891) No later record of Wesleyans at Blakeney has been found.
Two schoolmasters were teaching at Blakeney in 1572 but one had failed to obtain a licence from the diocesan authorities and the other was declared contumacious and suspended by them. (fn. 892) Another schoolmaster was teaching in the parish in 1605 (fn. 893) and two were recorded in 1623, one at Blakeney. (fn. 894) Nicholas Billingsley, curate of Blakeney, was teaching a school in 1682, (fn. 895) and the same year another man was licensed to teach a private school in the parish. (fn. 896) Some of the masters recorded at Blakeney evidently held their school in the church house which in 1683 was said to have been used for that purpose from time immemorial. (fn. 897) William Brown, described as a baker and schoolmaster, died in 1750. (fn. 898) In 1818 the only school for the poor recorded in the parish was a Sunday school attended by 120 children. (fn. 899)
By 1833 there were two National schools in the parish, said to have been started in 1830; they were supported by subscriptions and pence and taught a total of 133 children. One was evidently at Blakeney (fn. 900) and the other in Awre village. Awre National school was provided with a new building in 1855, built on part of the green at the junction of the main village street and Northington Lane; the site was given by the lords of the manor, the Gloucester charity trustees, (fn. 901) who in 1856 agreed to give £10 a year towards running the school. (fn. 902) In 1874 the income was mainly from voluntary contributions, a shortfall being made up by the vicar. (fn. 903) The school had an average attendance in 1885 of only 36, (fn. 904) and in 1910, as Awre C. of E. school, of only 34. The average attendance was down to 24 by 1922 and the school closed in 1927. (fn. 905)
Blakeney National school was evidently one of the schools said to have opened in 1830, though it was later said to have been built in 1827 and enlarged in 1831, (fn. 906) in which year the building, north of Blakeney chapel at the entrance to Lowfield Lane, was secured by a trust deed. (fn. 907) It was again recorded in 1856, (fn. 908) and in 1827 it was teaching c. 90 children and was supported mainly by voluntary contributions and pence. (fn. 909) In 1873 the old building was replaced by a new school, built beside the main Gloucester road above the village on a piece of rectory glebe land leased by the Haberdashers' Company to the vicar of Blakeney. In 1885 it had an average attendance of 80, (fn. 910) and in 1910, as Blakeney C. of E. school, it had accommodation for 176 and an average attendance of 98 in mixed and infants' departments. The average atendance fell to 51 by 1922 and to 32 by 1932, and the school was closed in 1935. (fn. 911) The building was a private house in 1989.
By 1852 there was also a British school at Blakeney (fn. 912) but it was apparently re-established and placed under a new management committee in 1865. In 1865 it had an attendance of 60 and was supported mainly by pence, the children paying 2d., 3d., or 4d. a week depending on the number of subjects they studied. (fn. 913) The school, on the south side of Bridge Street near the west end of the village, was rebuilt in 1873. In 1885 the average attendance was 70 (fn. 914) and in 1904 it had an average attendance of 129 in mixed and infants' departments. (fn. 915) The school was renamed Blakeney Council school in 1905 when it was transferred to the county council, and the building was enlarged during 1907 and 1908 to accommodate the children from Blakeney Woodside C. of E. school, at Blakeney Hill. (fn. 916) The average attendance was 197 in 1910 (fn. 917) and rose to 250 by 1922. The school was enlarged to accommodate 380 before 1932 but in 1938 the average attendance was 232. (fn. 918) In 1989, as Blakeney County Primary school, it had 101 children on its roll. (fn. 919)
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR.
Richard Hart of Gurshill, Lydney, by will dated 1665 gave £15 to the poor of Awre parish. (fn. 920) The principal with other funds was used in 1707 to buy back the church house at Blakeney, which had been taken from the parish. Later the rent of the house, which was £4 14s. 6d. c. 1780, was distributed to the poor. (fn. 921) After the house was demolished in 1819 £5 was paid out of the church rates instead. About 1825 it was intended to replace the £15 principal (fn. 922) but the charity had been lost by 1865. (fn. 923)
James Stokes by will dated 1745 gave three bushels of wheat, to be delivered at Blakeney chapel by the tenant of Little Box farm and distributed among the poor of Blakeney and Etloe tithings. (fn. 924) In 1913 the Crown as owner of the farm gave £30 stock to replace the bequest. (fn. 925) Thomas Terret by will of 1771 gave £10, the interest to be distributed to the poor of the same two tithings, (fn. 926) and Matthew A Deane of Etloe House by will dated 1791 gave £20, the proceeds to be distributed in bread at Blakeney chapel among the poor of Blakeney, Etloe, and Etloe Duchy tithings. (fn. 927) The sums given by Terret and A Deane were lent out together on security (fn. 928) and had been lost by 1865. (fn. 929)
In 1825 the vicar Charles Sandiford bought the Bird in Hand inn, at Blakeney, for £280 and settled it on trustees; they were to use the rent, initially £18 a year, to maintain the church clock, pay the clerk £3 a year for winding it, and buy flannel and blankets for the poor. The inn was sold c. 1863 and the proceeds, apparently c. £400, were invested in stock. (fn. 930) John Blanch of Etloe House by will dated 1824 left £100, the proceeds to be distributed among the poor. (fn. 931) A Scheme of 1918 amalgamated the eleemosynary part of the Sandiford charity with the Blanch charity, authorizing a distribution in flannel and blankets or sums of up to £2 10s. to meet particular cases of need. (fn. 932)
Harriet Barber by will proved 1883 left £1,000 for the poor. Frederick Barber by will proved 1887 gave £50, the income to be distributed in bread. (fn. 933) Mrs. E. B. Wait in 1902 left £150, the income to be distributed in sheets, flannel, and serge petticoats to the poor of Awre, excluding inhabitants of Blakeney ecclesiastical parish; (fn. 934) the charity was apparently implemented but lapsed some time after 1919. (fn. 935) Mary Teesdale by will proved 1924 left a sum for the poor of Blakeney, (fn. 936) and Edward Bennett by will proved 1946 left a bequest, represented in 1948 by £700 stock, the income to be used to pay 10s. each to 30 aged inhabitants of Blakeney ecclesiastical parish. (fn. 937)
A Scheme of 1972 formed the Stokes, Teesdale, and Bennett charities into the Blakeney United Charities for the relief of old people of Blakeney ecclesiastical parish in cash or kind. A Scheme of 1974 amalgamated the eleemosynary Sandiford charity and the Blanch, Frederick Barber, and Harriet Barber charities and applied the income to the relief of cases of need in the whole of the ancient parish. (fn. 938)