Parishes: Wick Rissington

A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1965.

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'Parishes: Wick Rissington', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 6, (London, 1965) pp. 114-120. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

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The parish of Wick Rissington (otherwise Wyck Rissington or Rissington Wyck) (fn. 1) lies two miles south of Stow-on-the-Wold on the east bank of the River Dikler. It is 1,267 a. in area and compact in shape. The western boundary follows the Dikler and, for 500 yards north of Stow Bridge, the Foss Way; the northern boundary crosses open ground along a line described in a 10th-century charter; (fn. 2) the eastern boundary follows the ancient road that leads from Evesham to Burford; and most of the southern boundary is marked by a small stream. (fn. 3)

The land rises from 425 ft. along the river to over 800 ft. at Wick Beacon in the south-west; the western half of the parish is nearly flat, the eastern half a steep hillside. Several streams flow across the parish into the Dikler, of which the largest, called the Fulbrook in the 13th century, (fn. 4) rises beyond the northern boundary. Wick Beacon, which was so named in 1675, (fn. 5) is a round barrow and was known as Wick Barrow Beacon in 1777. (fn. 6)

The soil is stone-brash and clay; the sub-soil the successive strata of Lower, Middle, and Upper Lias; the Inferior Oolite extends into the south-west of the parish, and there is alluvium along the Dikler and the Fulbrook. (fn. 7) The name of the parish suggests that in the early Saxon period the hillside was covered with scrub. (fn. 8) In the Middle Ages the open fields extended into most parts of the parish, and traces of ridge and furrow survived in 1962 in the north-west; there was, however, a fairly large proportion of meadow and woodland. (fn. 9) Only 30 a. of woodland remained in 1834, (fn. 10) but in the next 30 years many trees were planted in the parkland around Wick Hill House in the north-east of the parish. (fn. 11)

The village is near the centre of the parish, immediately under the steep slope of the hill. Its position is unusual for a Cotswold village: it is a long way below the main spring line yet not beside a stream, and this may be explained by the fact that the site was originally chosen not for a village but only for a 'wick' or outlying farm. The nature of the original settlement is to be traced not only in the name but also in the structure of the Domesday estate of Wick Rissington, which comprised a large demesne farm worked by servile labour and a small number of tenant farms. (fn. 12) By the 12th century, however, there was a village worthy of its own parish church. (fn. 13)

The church marks the upper end of the village; the houses extend north-west of it in two widely spaced lines on either side of a broad green flanking the road through the village. In the middle of the south-west side is a large gap, where popular tradition, the line of the boundary fences, and the name Court Hayes suggest that the chief house of the village once stood. According to one account it was a moated manor-house, (fn. 14) to which a gatehouse recorded in 1338 may have belonged. (fn. 15) Opposite this empty site were the village pond and the village pound. (fn. 16) On the site of the pound Mrs. Butler, the lady of the manor, built a reading room for the village c. 1900; it was enlarged in 1913 (fn. 17) but was used as a house after 1939. (fn. 18) The pond remained in 1962.

Inclosure of the parish in the early 18th century (fn. 19) made possible the building of a farm at Heath Hill and of Wick Hill (otherwise Wyckhill) House with its own farm, extensive outbuildings, and lodgecottages. Other buildings away from the village are near the site of Wick Mill, on the Dikler, (fn. 20) two houses built in the 20th century near Wick Beacon, and a flat-roofed concrete house at Olive Hill, above the village.

Apart from a short stretch of the road from Stow to Great Barrington, which cuts across the south-east corner of the parish, the only public road is that which runs through the village, from the Foss Way to the Barrington road. This road originally joined the Foss Way opposite the road to Lower Slaughter and had a branch starting 400 yards east of the Dikler, opposite the track to Wick Mill, and leading to the Foss Way north of Stow Bridge; in 1826 the branch was closed and a new piece of road (outside the parish) was made between the Dikler and the Foss Way. (fn. 21) The Bourton-on-the Water Railway was built across the north-west corner of the parish in 1862. (fn. 22)

In population Wick Rissington has always been fairly small. Eighteen inhabitants were enumerated in 1086, and the population may have remained fairly constant before the 16th century. (fn. 23) Then there are indications of an increase, from 62 communicants in 1551 (fn. 24) and 15 households in 1563 (fn. 25) to 80 communicants in 1603 (fn. 26) and 30 families in 1650. (fn. 27) Numbers may then have fallen slightly before rising again in the 18th century: (fn. 28) the population was 182 c. 1775, (fn. 29) and 217 in 1801. Except for 1871 and 1881, when it was down to 170, the population remained fairly constant throughout the 19th century at something over 200, but from 1901 it fell away and was down to 141 in 1951. (fn. 30) The village did not undergo any expansion from new building in the years following the Second World War.

In the 19th century a few houses had water piped from the springs above the village, (fn. 31) and in the early 20th century water was piped to a fountain and a tap on the green. (fn. 32) Main water was supplied in 1954. (fn. 33) Main electricity was available by 1939, (fn. 34) and there was a small irrigation works for the disposal of sewage. (fn. 35)

Most of the houses in the village date from the 17th and 18th centuries, though there are five 19thcentury cottages at the north-east corner of the green, and a row of four, with red-tiled roofs, dated 1896, a little further south. These four stand on a site occupied in the early 19th century by some tumbledown cottages belonging to the parish. (fn. 36) All the houses in the village are built of rubble stone, and while a few of the roofs are of Welsh slate most are of Cotswold stone. Stone slates were evidently used for the roof of a kitchen in 1338, when the farm buildings were of timber and thatch. (fn. 37) Several of the houses show the features characteristic of Cotswold building, mullioned windows with dripmoulds, dormers, and stone chimneys, and two of the smaller 17th-century houses have arched doorways with keystones and imposts. One of them, Mace's Farm, refronted in the 20th century, (fn. 38) has stone copings with kneelers to the gable-ends. In the early 19th century it was an inn, (fn. 39) the only one known in the village despite the overseer's allusion in 1834 to the 'nuisance of beer shops'. (fn. 40) It ceased to be a farm-house in 1961. (fn. 41) The rectory house, then let to a farmer, was enlarged in 1836, and Porter's Farm opposite it was built about the same time. (fn. 42) The number of houses remained between 41 and 46 from 1811 to 1851. (fn. 43) In the late 19th century new cottages replaced older ones, and there was a certain amount of modernization and enlargement in the 20th century.

Much the largest house in the parish, and one of much social consequence in the parish and in a wider area, was Wick Hill House. It is of sandstone and limestone and has a Cotswold stone roof; it stands in a commanding position overlooking Bourton-on-theWater. The original house, two stories with dormered attics, was built in the early 18th century, presumably after 1722, (fn. 44) and was enlarged in the mid-18th century, before 1775, (fn. 45) with the addition of a south wing. It was extensively altered and enlarged after 1875. (fn. 46) After the Second World War the house was occupied by three successive schools, and c. 1958 the west wing, the oldest part of the house, was gutted by fire. After that the house remained for a time unoccupied, (fn. 47) but in 1962 was being put in order for residential use.

A few men of national distinction are mentioned below in connexion with the parish church.


Wick Rissington was said to have been held before the Conquest as four manors, but in 1086 it was united in the possession of Roger de Lacy, whose under-tenant was Hugh, (fn. 48) perhaps his brother. In 1225 Walter de Lacy, grandson of Roger's nephew Gilbert, (fn. 49) was disputing the right to two knights' fees in Wick with the heirs of Hugh de Cuillardeville, (fn. 50) who in 1227 sold two hides in Wick Rissington and the advowson of the church to Paulinus of Theydon, (fn. 51) lord of Little Rissington. Paulinus gave the land to his brother Henry of Theydon, who had a house in Wick Rissington in 1241 (fn. 52) and before 1264 gave it with land and rent to Eynsham Abbey (Oxon.), which in the same period and in the early 14th century acquired land in Wick Rissington from other donors. (fn. 53) The manor of WICK RISSINGTON, among other possessions of Eynsham Abbey, was granted in 1539 to Sir George Darcy, (fn. 54) and in 1543 to Sir Edward North, (fn. 55) who in the same year sold it to John Stratford of Farmcote. (fn. 56)

Walter de Lacy continued to hold another part of Wick Rissington after 1225. In 1235 he was returned as having two knights' fees there which were held of him by Henry le Fleming, (fn. 57) lord of Great Rissington, but it is possible that there was confusion between Great Rissington and Wick Rissington. In 1231 William de Lucy held one-sixth of two knights' fees in Wick. (fn. 58) This William was apparently the William de Lucy (d. 1250) that was lord of Charlecote (Warws.), whose grandson Fulk (fn. 59) held a manor of Wick in Gloucestershire c. 1266. (fn. 60) Fulk's descendants held a manor of WICK RISSINGTON of the earls of March, (fn. 61) who had inherited the overlordship through Maud de Geneville, granddaughter of Walter de Lacy and grandmother of Joan, wife of Roger Mortimer, Earl of March (d. 1330). The overlordship passed, with the earldom of March, (fn. 62) to the dukes of York. (fn. 63) Fulk de Lucy (d. 1303) appears to have given the estate during his lifetime to his son William, (fn. 64) who in 1303 was holding one-sixth of one knight's fee in Wick Rissington (fn. 65) and had been succeeded by another William by 1346. (fn. 66) The Lucys of Charlecote (fn. 67) retained the manor (fn. 68) until it was sold c. 1530; (fn. 69) in 1533 it was conveyed by Sir John Russell to John Bush, (fn. 70) and in 1539 from Bush to William Mounslow (fn. 71) of London from whom it was bought by John Stratford, purchaser of Eynsham's manor of Wick Rissington, before his death in 1553. (fn. 72)

John Stratford was succeeded by his grandson Henry Stratford, who died in 1558 holding both manors. Henry's son John, aged five at his father's death, (fn. 73) was dealing with the estate, described as a single manor, in 1586, (fn. 74) but by 1604 had been succeeded by his son George, (fn. 75) who died in 1612 leaving as his heir his son William then aged ten. (fn. 76) William Stratford of Farmcote died in 1685; his eldest son William had married Anne, daughter of Walter Overbury, (fn. 77) and Wick Rissington passed into the hands of the Overbury family. Mrs. Overbury alias Oakley was lady of the manor c. 1700. (fn. 78) Soon afterwards the estate was said to have been divided among various freeholders, (fn. 79) but the manorial estate held by Vincent Oakley, perhaps Mrs. Overbury's son, in 1705 (fn. 80) and at his death in or before 1729 amounted to rather over half the parish. (fn. 81) In 1738 the estate was bought from William Overbury Oakley by Francis Dickinson, (fn. 82) who was succeeded c. 1746 by Marsh Dickinson. (fn. 83) After the death of Marsh Dickinson, who had enlarged Wick Hill House and spent three years trying to find coal under his land, the estate was sold to a Mr. Cox, (fn. 84) who in turn sold the manor, but not the house, to Sir Charles Pole, Bt. (fn. 85) On Sir Charles's death in 1813 the estate passed to his second son, Charles Van Notten Pole, who acquired Wick Hill House and lived there until his death in 1864. (fn. 86) In 1868 the whole estate within the parish, nearly 1,200 a., (fn. 87) was sold to William Lawton, (fn. 88) and in 1875 to Paul Butler (fn. 89) (d. 1875), whose widow continued to own it, though she did not long remain at Wick Hill House, until her death in 1913. (fn. 90) The next owner, Arthur Edward Wrigley, sold the estate in 1931, when the greater part of the land was separated from Wick Hill House and the lordship of the manor. (fn. 91) The house and manor, after changing hands again, were themselves separated in 1955 when the lordship of the manor was given to the parish council. (fn. 92)

Economic History.

At the time of the Domesday survey agriculture was apparently expanding in Wick Rissington: land assessed at eight hides supported nine ploughs and had increased in value since the Conquest. (fn. 93) In 1220 there were 13 ploughs. (fn. 94) In 1323 an estate of one plough-land was said to contain four yardlands of 24 acres each (another of four yardlands contained 94 acres of arable), but both arable and meadow were valued low because the land was hilly and infertile. (fn. 95) Most of the land in the 11th century belonged to the demesne, which had seven ploughs and a labour-force of 12 servi and two ancillae. The four villani, sharing between them two ploughs, (fn. 96) may have been comparatively independent tenants, and no later reference has been found to customary rents or labour services or copyholds; (fn. 97) in the early 16th century a heriot due (but not paid because there was only one animal) was evidently for a freehold, for which the heir was distrained for relief and fealty. (fn. 98)

The manor farms (there were two manors from the 13th century to the 16th) are likely to have been the largest: in the early 18th century over half of the total number of yardlands in the parish were the lord of the manor's. (fn. 99) In the 16th century, and apparently earlier, (fn. 100) the rest of the parish was mainly if not entirely divided between substantial free tenants. (fn. 101) Their estates may have originated either from the alienation of manorial demesne or from assarts. Some of the families of free tenants persisted a long time: the Spencers, for example, are recorded from the mid-13th century (fn. 102) until 1471, (fn. 103) and the Hopes, appearing in 1518, (fn. 104) survived as freeholders until the mid-19th century. (fn. 105) Spanning an even longer period were the Minchins: in 1471 Richard and Thomas Minchin were among the trustees of a grant apparently to the chantry in the parish church; (fn. 106) in 1518 William Minchin farmed the Lucys' demesne, (fn. 107) and Richard Minchin, father of another William, was lessee of the manor in the later 16th century; (fn. 108) Sarah Minchin, her son Thomas, William Minchin, and Anthony Minchin held three yardlands between them in 1729, (fn. 109) and Hannah Minchin was farming in Wick Rissington in 1863. (fn. 110)

In the mid-13th century there were five fields, (fn. 111) in which most of the land seems to have lain in single acres and half-acres. (fn. 112) Such acres are likely to have measured considerably less than a statute acre each, for if the number of plough-lands approximated to the number of ploughs in 1222 and if each ploughland was a little under a hundred acres there were about as many field-acres of arable as there are statute acres in the parish. A fair proportion of the land was not arable: two meadows, Champions mead (fn. 113) and Fittocksham, (fn. 114) were mentioned in the 13th century, as was also the wood or grove which separated two of the fields (above the grove, and under the grove), (fn. 115) and in 1312 an extensive pasture was held in severalty by the Abbot of Eynsham, William Lucy, and two others. (fn. 116) It is possible that extensive woodland enabled the village to support a large number of pigeons: in 1323 the small value of a messuage and plough-land was attributed in part to its lack of a dovecot. (fn. 117) Sheep were kept in large numbers: a shepherd is recorded in 1359, (fn. 118) and in 1338 Eynsham Abbey's bailiff accounted for 200 sheep in Wick Rissington. (fn. 119) In 1268 the abbey had contracted for the sale to a merchant of its wool from Wick Rissington among other estates. (fn. 120) The other landowners also ran flocks: in the late 16th century 60 sheep-commons was the rate for each yardland. (fn. 121)

In the absence of other substantial evidence, a glebe terrier of 1705 and an estate terrier of 1720 show how far the agricultural arrangement of the parish had changed. The number of fields had been reduced to four, and there is no reference to any extensive area of woodland; the glebe included a dovecot, and its land lay scattered in 70 separate pieces. Some of the meadow was lot meadow, in which the rector appears to have had no share. The rate for sheep-commons was 40 or 60 for a yardland. A modus was paid for some tithes, but tithe-milk was still collected in kind. (fn. 122) By 1720 there had been some consolidation of open arable land, of which a third lay fallow each year. (fn. 123)

In 1729 an Act was obtained to confirm and ratify an agreement for inclosure. The lord of the manor's estate, 30 yardlands out of the 58, had already been consolidated, apparently in 1722, and the other 15 estates in the parish, of which seven were one yardland and only one was over three yardlands, were to be divided and inclosed before the spring of 1731. (fn. 124) The details of the inclosure are not known.

In the seventies Rudder commented on the high fertility of the soil, and noted that the parish was nearly equally divided between pasture and arable. (fn. 125) There may have been an increase in soil fertility as the result of agricultural improvements: an inhabitant invented a revolving plough for throwing all the soil one way and a draining machine, (fn. 126) and in 1834 the use of drainage in the fields was noted. (fn. 127) In 1801 less than one-sixth of the parish was returned as sown for crops, (fn. 128) and soon afterwards Rudge remarked the high proportion of pasture. (fn. 129) By 1834 the amount of arable had apparently increased, but there was still a surplus of agricultural labour in the parish. (fn. 130) At this period there were eight farms, all but two of them employing labour; (fn. 131) it is not certain how far ownership of the land had been concentrated, and some at least of the small freeholders survived. (fn. 132)

By 1868, however, all but about 100 a. of the parish belonged to the Wick Hill estate and no working farmer owned his own land. On the Wick Hill estate there were six farms, ranging from 34 a. to 224 a.; only 206 a. were arable. (fn. 133) The number of farms, seven c. 1900, did not greatly diminish: (fn. 134) in 1931 there were five, all over 150 a., (fn. 135) and in 1962 though they had changed their composition, there were still five, two of which were c. 500 a. Most of the farming was dairying, with cereals grown for feed; there were few sheep. (fn. 136)

There is little evidence of occupations other than agriculture in the village before the 19th century: there was a tailor in the mid-13th century, (fn. 137) a smith in 1338 and in 1789, (fn. 138) and a mason in 1608. (fn. 139) The absence of other references to textile and building trades may reflect only the small amount of documentary material that is available. In the early 19th century one family in five was mainly supported by trade or handicraft. (fn. 140) Later in that century the village contained an inn, (fn. 141) a smithy, (fn. 142) a shop, a mason, and a carpenter, but of these only the shop survived into the 20th century. (fn. 143) In 1962 a high proportion of the houses was occupied by people who had retired to Wick Rissington from elsewhere, and only four had not changed hands in the preceding 15 years. (fn. 144)


A mill in Wick Rissington mentioned in 1086 and 1227, when it belonged with half a yardland to the estate acquired by Paulinus of Theydon, (fn. 145) was presumably on the site of Wick Mill. This was part of the endowment of Bourton-on-the-Water chantry in the early 14th century, and in 1548 it was granted by the Crown to Sir Michael Stanhope and John Bellowe. (fn. 146) At that time it was held on lease for a term of years. (fn. 147) The freehold was sold to Thomas Dutton, later of Sherborne, in 1551, (fn. 148) and belonged to his descendant in 1650. (fn. 149) Other local landowners were dealing with a mill in 1689, (fn. 150) but the Dutton estate in Wick Rissington apparently included the mill in 1729. (fn. 151) Its subsequent ownership has not been traced. By 1868, when the mill house was used as a farm-house and milling on any significant scale may therefore have ceased, it once again belonged to the chief estate in the parish. (fn. 152) In 1962 the site of the mill could be traced on the ground, but the only buildings standing were old barns and a pair of derelict 19th-century cottages.

Local Government.

Despite an attempt in 1269 by Eynsham Abbey to resist claims of jurisdiction made by the bailiff of the hundred of Slaughter, (fn. 153) Wick Rissington owed suit to the hundred in the ordinary way. (fn. 154) The only manorial court rolls that are known to have survived are those of 1518 and 1519 for the Lucys' manor. (fn. 155) The earliest records of the parish officers begin in 1818. (fn. 156)

There appears to have been only one overseer of the poor (fn. 157) and, from 1697 to 1886, only one churchwarden. (fn. 158) In 1834 these two officers were allowed considerable freedom of action; they decided the amount of rates and of poor relief, and the vestry met only once a year. No special measures such as Speenhamland or the roundsman system were adopted (fn. 159) to deal with an expenditure on poor relief which, while it rose fairly typically in the late 18th century, appears not to have been thought oppressive by the ratepayers. (fn. 160) The financial position of the parish may have been made bearable by the possession of six or eight cottages in which old people were housed. (fn. 161) These cottages were sold in 1859, and the capital from the sale was made over to the parish meeting for general expenditure in 1930. (fn. 162)

The parish became part of the Stow-on-the-Wold Poor Law Union under the Act of 1834, (fn. 163) of the Stow-on-the-Wold highway district in 1863, (fn. 164) and of the Stow-on-the-Wold Rural Sanitary District in 1872 (being transferred to the newly formed North Cotswold Rural District in 1935). (fn. 165) A parish council was established in 1939. (fn. 166)


Architectural evidence shows that there was a church in Wick Rissington by the 12th century. In 1227 the advowson belonged to the estate held by the heirs of Hugh de Cuillardeville. (fn. 167) When Paulinus of Theydon gave the rest of the estate to his brother he evidently retained the advowson, for it later belonged to Paulinus's successors as lords of Little Rissington manor. (fn. 168) The record of the consecration by the Bishop of Worcester in 1269 of a church of Wick in honour of St. Lawrence (fn. 169) presumably refers to Wick Rissington, since there is no other likely church; Wick Rissington church, however, though rebuilt at that period, had been standing for many years by then.

The right of presentation to the rectory was exercised by the lords of Little Rissington manor up to 1529. (fn. 170) After that manor had passed in 1540 to the Crown, however, the advowson was not alienated with it, and successive rectors were presented by the Crown and the Lord Chancellor until c. 1870. (fn. 171) Then the new owner of Wick Rissington manor acquired the advowson, which descended with the manor until c. 1935 when it passed to the Diocesan Board of Patronage. (fn. 172)

The living was valued at £4 6s. 8d. a year in 1291, (fn. 173) and at £16 2s. 6d. clear in 1535. (fn. 174) In 1650 it was valued at £80, (fn. 175) and the increase was perhaps due in part to the enlargement of the glebe from 13 a. in 1535 (fn. 176) to three yardlands at the end of the 16th century. (fn. 177) The total value had risen to c. £150 (fn. 178) a dozen years after inclosure under the Act of 1729, as a result of which the endowment of the living included 76 a. of land and rent-charges of £84. (fn. 179) The value of the living rose to over £200 in the mid-19th century. (fn. 180)

In 1301, during the minority of an heir to the advowson, the Crown presented Adam de Brome, a royal clerk and one of the founders of Oriel College, Oxford. (fn. 181) The next two rectors were both licensed to be absent. (fn. 182) Adam of Witchford, rector 1323–34, served as chaplain to his patron, Aline Burnell. (fn. 183) It may have been the non-residence of successive rectors that stimulated Thomas le Spencer to grant land, in 1331, for the support of a chaplain. (fn. 184) This chantry, called Our Lady's service, survived in 1547 when its income was 36s. 6d.; there was then, however, no chaplain. (fn. 185) In the early 15th century there were frequent changes of rector, (fn. 186) but from 1436 to 1474 the rector was John Wakefield, (fn. 187) who may have made some of the alterations in the church though clearly he was not, as has been stated, (fn. 188) responsible for its building.

The rector instituted in 1529 (fn. 189) put the living to farm, (fn. 190) and left the parish in the care of a curate. (fn. 191) His successor, Henry Bassingbourne, had been Prior of Woodbridge (Suff.) (fn. 192) and in 1548 was said to have allowed the parsonage to decay, to have celebrated neither mass nor matins for a fortnight, and to pass his time in an ale-house in Bourton-on-the-Water; in 1551 he was enjoined to correct himself and to preach more often. (fn. 193) The next rector was deprived in 1553 for marrying; (fn. 194) four of the next five after him were pluralists, and two at least were non-resident. (fn. 195) The succession of not wholly satisfactory rectors culminated with Robert Knollys, rector 1614–41, who also held the livings of Hampnett and Bibury, (fn. 196) and against whom his parishioners of Wick Rissington alleged that he had neither read prayers nor prayed in their church for five years, employed the cheapest curates he could get, and was thus responsible for the lack of services, sermons, and spiritual consolation for the dying. (fn. 197) In the late 17th century and for most of the 18th and early 19th pluralist or absentee rectors appointed curates for the parish. (fn. 198) The last but one of such curates was William John Deane (1823–95), the theological writer, and the last nonresident rector was George Leigh Cooke (d. 1853), Sedleian professor of natural philosophy at Oxford. (fn. 199) From 1853 the rectors were normally resident, but unlike most other parishes Wick Rissington had no rector that remained more than 20 years. (fn. 200) From the Second World War the livings of Wick Rissington and Little Rissington were held jointly, as they were in 1962, though there was no formal union of the parishes or the benefices. (fn. 201)

The church of ST. LAWRENCE (fn. 202) is built of ashlar and rubble with a Cotswold stone roof, and comprises chancel, nave, north aisle, north porch, and west tower. The church is remarkable for its 13thcentury work, which survives with little change in the chancel and tower. Traces of a corbel-table in the north and south walls of the nave and the massiveness of the walls of the tower (nine feet thick at the bottom) indicate the 12th-century origin of the fabric. The chancel and tower were rebuilt in the mid-13th century. Later changes in the building, apart from minor changes in the chancel, cannot be traced until the 19th century. The church was described c. 1700 as 'one entire aisle', (fn. 203) which suggests that the nave and chancel roofs were continuous. The church, said to be in excellent repair in 1828, (fn. 204) was enlarged in 1822, when proprietary north and south transepts were added, (fn. 205) and in 1836. (fn. 206) The work in 1836 may have included the blocking of the 12thcentury north doorway, the removal of mullions and tracery from the south windows of the nave, (fn. 207) and the further lowering of the nave roof, for up to 1879 it was lower than that of the chancel, which had a western corbie-gable. (fn. 208) The church was extensively altered in 1879, under the direction of J. E. K. Cutts. (fn. 209) The transepts were removed; the nave was thoroughly restored, its roof-line being raised to the steep pitch of an earlier roof marked on the east wall of the tower; (fn. 210) the north aisle was built, with a lean-to roof; a new north doorway was opened; and a porch was added, with a door to the aisle through a re-used 12th-century arch that was the original north doorway. (fn. 211)

The chancel is lit by two pairs of tall lancets in the east wall and by two windows in each of the north and south walls. The north windows are lancets in deeply splayed openings; the south windows were originally similar, but have been replaced by a 14th- and a 15th-century window, each of two lights with tracery. Both internally and externally the windows, together with a small south doorway, are drawn into a coherent design by continuous string-courses, which are somewhat interrupted by the new work to the windows on the south. The treatment of the east end is particularly elaborate. Pairs of small buttresses ornament rather than support the angles, each pair of lancets is surmounted by a concave lozenge-shaped light, and near the apex of the gable is a plain lozenge-shaped light, once filled with masonry; the upper and lower string-courses are carried round these various features. Internally the upper string-course forms a sort of arcading, and the lower is connected with two piscina niches (one trefoil-headed with rich moulding and a scalloped bowl), two aumbries, and four other recesses, of which one contains a rectangular stone tank with drain. Below, stone benching survives along the south and much of the north wall. The chancel has a medieval trussed rafter roof; in the windows are a few fragments of 14th-century coloured glass. (fn. 212)

The tower is of four stages separated by stringcourses; the western angles have buttresses to the two lower stages similar in style to those of the chancel. To the first stage there is an external west door, to the second a tall single-light west window with a stringcourse around the arch and extending across the west face of the tower. The third and fourth stages are each stepped back; on each face of both, except the east face of the third stage, is a single louvred light. The parapet is pierced by trefoil openings, and the angle pinnacles repeat the style of the buttresses.

The tub-shaped font of c. 1200 was for many years buried in the churchyard. In the chancel are 12 carved wooden plaques, found c. 1890 at Wick Hill, depicting scenes from the life of Christ; they are thought to be Flemish, and of the 16th century. The altar-table stands on a stone slab that was once the top of a medieval altar and was subsequently used as a memorial floor-slab; part of a carved and coped stone coffin lid is reset in the porch. In the tower are four bells: there were four c. 1700 (fn. 213) and in 1828, (fn. 214) but in 1844 only three were recast; a fourth was added in 1888. (fn. 215) The plate includes a chalice, paten, and flagon of the 18th century. (fn. 216) The organ bears an inscription recording that Gustav Holst (d. 1934) played on it as parish organist in 1892 and 1893. The registers begin in 1739.

In or before the 17th century land that produced £2 a year c. 1700 was given for the repair of the church. (fn. 217) The land, known as Clerk's mead, was just under 3 a. and produced £7 a year in 1828, (fn. 218) and £8 10s. a year in 1962. (fn. 219)


In 1676 there were said to be three Protestant dissenters in the parish; (fn. 220) no other evidence has been found of nonconformists there before the 19th century.


In 1826 there were 25 children attending day school and 36 at Sunday school. (fn. 221) At about this time there was a dame school for 12 children at the north-west end of the village, (fn. 222) and perhaps one other dame school provided for the other day school children. In 1848 the rector built a new school on the glebe beside the church at his own expense, and the site was conveyed in trust for a National school. A certificated teacher was appointed in 1870, when attendance was 20; (fn. 223) this had risen to 41 in 1904, with the children still in one department. (fn. 224) Attendance had fallen to 15 by 1932, (fn. 225) and the school was closed in 1938 (fn. 226) after the county council had resolved to stop maintaining it. (fn. 227) Thereafter the children went to school at Bourton-on-the-Water, (fn. 228) and the school building became a cottage and Post Office.


Richard Minchin, by will proved 1619, gave a rent-charge of 10s. for distribution to the poor, and, though the gift was effective in 1705 (fn. 229) and the manorial estate was charged with 20s. a year for the poor in 1729, (fn. 230) it had evidently lapsed by 1828. (fn. 231) Some tradition of this charity lingered on in 1869. By her will dated 1879 Hannah Plumbe gave £92 stock for the distribution of coal, (fn. 232) and in 1962 the interest of £2 4s. was allowed to accumulate until a worth-while amount of coal could be distributed. (fn. 233)


  • 1. The form of the name had almost crystallized as Wick Rissington by the mid-19th century when 'Wyck Rissington' and 'Rissington Wyck' began to be used, apparently for the sake of quaintness. Although 'Wyck' has been the more frequent in the 20th century, 'Wick' is preferred for use in this history, for minor names as well as for the parish and village.
  • 2. Grundy, Saxon Charters, 166.
  • 3. O.S. Map 6", Glos. XXIX. NW. and SW. (1st edn.).
  • 4. Eynsham Cartulary, i (Oxford Hist. Soc. xlix), pp. 182– 3; its main tributary was apparently the Northbrook: ibid. p. 191.
  • 5. Ogilby, Britannia (1675), plate 85.
  • 6. Taylor, Map of Glos.
  • 7. Geol. Surv. Map (drift edn., revised), sheet 217.
  • 8. P.N. Glos. (E.P.N.S.), i. 201–3.
  • 9. Eynsham Cartulary, i (Oxford Hist. Soc. xlix), pp. 183, 200, 358; for sales of timber in the 14th century see B.M. Harl. Roll E. 27.
  • 10. Rep. Com. Poor Laws [44], p. 199a, H.C. (1834), xxx.
  • 11. Glos. R.O., D 1388, bound sale partics. 1868, no. 15.
  • 12. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 167b.
  • 13. See p. 118.
  • 14. Notebk. penes the rector, ff. 49–50; the moat theory is supported by the existence of a pond there in 1881: O.S. Map 6", Glos. XXIX. SW. (1st edn.).
  • 15. B.M. Harl. Roll E. 27.
  • 16. O.S. Map 6", Glos. XXIX. NW. and SW. (1st edn.).
  • 17. Notebk. penes the rector, f. 34.
  • 18. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1939), 389.
  • 19. Wick Rissington Incl. Act, 1729, 2 Geo. II sess. 2, c. 28.
  • 20. See p. 118.
  • 21. Glos. R.O., Q/SRh 1826 A.
  • 22. Ex inf. British Railways (Western Region).
  • 23. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 167b; Glos. Subsidy Roll, 1327, 17–18; E 179/113/31 m. 1.
  • 24. 'Bp. Hooper's Visit. 1551', E.H.R. xix. 110. The figure of 10 communicants given in Chantry Certificates, Trans. B.G.A.S. viii. 271, seems too small to be true.
  • 25. B.G.A.S. Libr., Furney MS. B, p. 85.
  • 26. B.M. Harl. MS. 594, f. 229.
  • 27. C 94/1 f. 29.
  • 28. The figures are: 28 houses in 1672: E 179/247/14 m. 22; 94 communicants and nonconformists (which seems too high) in 1676: Compton Census; c. 20 families c. 1700: Bodl. MS. Rawl. B. 323, f. 252b; 26 houses and 120 inhabitants c. 1710: Atkyns, Glos. 625; and c. 170 inhabitants in 1735: G.D.R. vol. 285B.
  • 29. Rudder, Glos. 627.
  • 30. Census, 1801–1951.
  • 31. Notebk. penes the rector.
  • 32. Inscr. on tap and fountain.
  • 33. Ex inf. the rector.
  • 34. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1939), 389.
  • 35. Payne, Glos. Survey, 237.
  • 36. Notebk. penes the rector, f. 50.
  • 37. B.M. Harl. Roll E. 27.
  • 38. Glos. R.O., SL 172.
  • 39. Notebk. penes the rector, f. 50.
  • 40. Rep. Com. Poor Laws [44], p. 199e, H.C. (1834), xxxiv.
  • 41. Ex inf. the rector.
  • 42. Notebk. penes the rector, ff. 50–51; date on bldg.
  • 43. Census, 1811–1951.
  • 44. Wick Rissington Incl. Act, 1729, 2 Geo. II sess. 2, c. 28.
  • 45. See p. 116, n. 84.
  • 46. Glos. R.O., D 1388, bound sale partics. 1868, no. 15, and 1875, no. 5; SL 172.
  • 47. Ex inf. the rector, and Mr. L. W. Hill, of Bourton-onthe-Water.
  • 48. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 167b.
  • 49. D.N.B.
  • 50. Rot. Litt. Claus. (Rec. Com.), ii. 83.
  • 51. C.P. 25(1)/73/7/96.
  • 52. Cal. Lib. 1240–5, 39.
  • 53. Eynsham Cartulary, i (Oxford Hist. Soc. xlix), pp. 182– 3, 186, 191–2, 200, 208–10, 354–60; ii (Oxford Hist. Soc. li), pp. 217–20.
  • 54. L. & P. Hen. VIII xiv (1), p. 417; xiv (2), p. 102; xviii (1), p. 446.
  • 55. Ibid. xviii (1), p. 540.
  • 56. Bodl. MS. North c. 28 (31).
  • 57. Bk. of Fees, 439.
  • 58. C.P. 25(1)/73/9/132 and 133.
  • 59. V.C.H. Warws. v. 35.
  • 60. Cal. Inq. Misc. i, p. 211.
  • 61. C 138/242/14; C 139/19/26.
  • 62. Complete Peerage, v. 629–32; viii. 433–54.
  • 63. C 140/20/30/13; C 142/43/27.
  • 64. Cal. Inq. p.m. iv, p. 78; V.C.H. Warws. v. 36; 'Hist. of manor of Coates,' Trans. B.G.A.S. l. 165.
  • 65. Feud. Aids, ii. 252.
  • 66. Ibid. 287.
  • 67. V.C.H. Warws. v. 36.
  • 68. C 138/242/14; C 140/20/30/13; Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, p. 360; C.P. 40/922 m. 332d.
  • 69. C 142/43/27.
  • 70. C.P. 25(2)/14/81/24.
  • 71. C.P. 25(2)/14/82/11.
  • 72. C 142/98/26.
  • 73. C 142/116/82.
  • 74. C.P. 25(2)/144/1865/12.
  • 75. Feet of Fines, Trans. B.G.A.S. xvii. 216; Visit. Glos. 1623 (Harl. Soc. xxi), 157.
  • 76. C 142/327/115.
  • 77. Visit. Glos. 1682–3 (priv. print. 1884), 181.
  • 78. Bodl. MS. Rawl. B. 323, f. 252b.
  • 79. Atkyns, Glos. 624.
  • 80. G.D.R. Wick Rissington terrier, 1705.
  • 81. Wick Rissington Incl. Act, 2 Geo. II sess. 2, c. 28.
  • 82. C.P. 25(2)/1128/12 Geo. II Mich./185.
  • 83. G.D.R. vols. 393, 401; Hockaday Abs. cccxxiii, 1744.
  • 84. Rudder, Glos. 627, where Dickinson is said to have built the house, though part of it is clearly earlier: see above, p. 115.
  • 85. Rudge, Hist. of Glos. i. 196.
  • 86. Burke, Peerage (1889), 1116–17.
  • 87. Glos. R.O., D 1388, bound sale partics. 1868, no. 15.
  • 88. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 622.
  • 89. Glos. R.O., D 1388, bound sale partics. 1875, no. 5.
  • 90. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1897), 273; (1923), 379.
  • 91. Ibid. (1923), 379; (1935), 382; Glos. R.O., SL 172.
  • 92. Ex inf. Capt. C. A. E. Harwich, secretary of the council.
  • 93. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 167b.
  • 94. Bk. of Fees, 310.
  • 95. Eynsham Cartulary, ii (Oxford Hist. Soc. li), pp. 217– 20; cf. ibid. i (Oxford Hist. Soc. xlix), pp. 182–3.
  • 96. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 167b.
  • 97. e.g. in B.M. Harl. Roll E. 27 the rents are all assized rents.
  • 98. S.C. 2/207/16 m. 4.
  • 99. Wick Rissington Incl. Act, 1729, 2 Geo. II sess. 2, c. 28.
  • 100. Eynsham Cartulary, i, pp. 354–61.
  • 101. S.C. 2/207/16 mm. 2, 4; cf. Glos. R.O. D 45/M 26 (1604); D 1375/119.
  • 102. Eynsham Cartulary, i, p. 295.
  • 103. Glos. R.O., D 1375/53.
  • 104. S.C. 2/207/16 m. 2.
  • 105. Notebk. penes the rector, f. 51.
  • 106. Glos. R.O., D 1375/53.
  • 107. S.C. 2/207/16 m. 2.
  • 108. C 2/James I/M. 6/62.
  • 109. Wick Rissington Incl. Act, 2 Geo. II sess. 2, c. 28.
  • 110. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1863), 331.
  • 111. Eynsham Cartulary, i (Oxford Hist. Soc. xlix), pp. 182– 3.
  • 112. Ibid. pp. 191, 200, 357.
  • 113. Ibid. p. 183.
  • 114. Ibid. p. 200.
  • 115. Ibid. pp. 182–3.
  • 116. Ibid. p. 358.
  • 117. Ibid. ii (Oxford Hist. Soc. li), p. 218.
  • 118. Cal. Pat. 1358–61, 279.
  • 119. B.M. Harl. Roll E. 27.
  • 120. Eynsham Cartulary, i, p. 251.
  • 121. G.D.R. Wick Rissington terrier, c. 1580.
  • 122. Ibid. 1705.
  • 123. Glos. R.O., D 678/Rissington/32.
  • 124. Wick Rissington Incl. Act, 2 Geo. II sess. 2, c. 28; the only other record of this inclosure that has been found is a copy of the allotments to Sir John Dutton, in Glos. R.O., D 678/Rissington/31.
  • 125. Rudder, Glos. 626.
  • 126. Rudge, Agric. of Glos. 83, 260.
  • 127. Rep. Com. Poor Laws [44], p. 199a, H.C. (1834), xxx.
  • 128. Acreage Returns, 1801, Trans. B.G.A.S. lxviii. 180.
  • 129. Rudge, Hist. of Glos. i. 195.
  • 130. Rep. Com. Poor Laws, p. 199a.
  • 131. Census, 1831.
  • 132. Notebk. penes the rector, f. 51.
  • 133. Glos. R.O., D 1388, bound sale partics. 1868, no. 15.
  • 134. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1894 and later edns.).
  • 135. Glos. R.O., SL 172.
  • 136. Ex inf. Capt. Harwich.
  • 137. Eynsham Cartulary, i (Oxford Hist. Soc. xlix), p. 200.
  • 138. B.M. Harl. Roll E. 27; Glos. R.O., D 1395/III 41.
  • 139. Smith, Men and Armour, 142.
  • 140. Census, 1811–31.
  • 141. Notebk. penes the rector, f. 50.
  • 142. Glos. R.O., D 1388, bound sale partics. 1868, no. 15.
  • 143. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856 and later edns.).
  • 144. Ex inf. the rector.
  • 145. Dom. Bk. (Rec. Com.), i. 167b; C.P. 25(1)/73/7/96.
  • 146. Cal. Pat. 1330–4, 110; 1547–8, 392.
  • 147. E 315/68 f. 358.
  • 148. Sherborne Mun. 242.
  • 149. Glos. R.O., D 678/Rissington/9; cf. C 142/378/107.
  • 150. C.P. 25(2)/831/1 Wm. & Mary Trin./5: cf. C.P. 43/474 rot. 15.
  • 151. Glos. R.O., D 678/Rissington/32.
  • 152. Ibid. D 1388, bound sale partics. 1868, no. 15.
  • 153. Eynsham Cartulary, i (Oxford Hist. Soc. xlix), p. 269.
  • 154. e.g. Sherborne Mun. 171.
  • 155. S.C. 2/207/16 mm. 2, 4.
  • 156. Overseers' accts. in church safe.
  • 157. Rep. Com. Poor Laws [44], p. 199a, H.C. (1834), xxx.
  • 158. Notebk. penes the rector, f. 36.
  • 159. Rep. Com. Poor Laws, p. 199b, xxxi.
  • 160. Ibid.; cf. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 182–3; 1818, 154–5.
  • 161. Rep. Com. Poor Laws, p. 199b, xxxi; notebk. penes the rector, f. 50.
  • 162. Char. Com. files.
  • 163. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856), 346.
  • 164. Lond. Gaz. 1863, p. 1706.
  • 165. Census, 1881, 1931.
  • 166. Glos. R.O., CL/O 1/5, nos. 243, 245.
  • 167. C.P. 25(1)/73/7/96.
  • 168. e.g. Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, p. 119; iii, p. 124.
  • 169. Reg. Giffard (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 27.
  • 170. e.g. Worc. Episc. Reg., Reg. Clifford, f. 62; Reg. Carpenter, ii, f. 50; Reg. Ghinucci, f. 39.
  • 171. e.g. Hockaday Abs. cccxxiii; Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856), 346; (1870), 622; notebk. in vestry containing list of rectors.
  • 172. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1879), 728; (1935), 383; Crockford (1959–60).
  • 173. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 222.
  • 174. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 437.
  • 175. C 94/1 f. 29.
  • 176. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 437.
  • 177. G.D.R. Wick Rissington terrier, c. 1580.
  • 178. G.D.R. vol. 401.
  • 179. G.D.R. Wick Rissington terrier, 1808.
  • 180. G.D.R. vol. 384.
  • 181. Cal. Pat. 1292–1301, 590; V.C.H. Oxon. iii. 119.
  • 182. Reg. Reynolds (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 86, 90.
  • 183. Reg. Cobham (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 239, 261, 263; Hockaday Abs. cccxxiii, 1334.
  • 184. Cal. Pat. 1330–4, 118.
  • 185. Chantry Certificates, Trans. B.G.A.S. viii. 271–2; E 301/21/33; E 301/23/54.
  • 186. Worc. Episc. Reg., Reg. Winchcombe, f. 52b; Reg. Clifford, f. 62; Reg. Polton, f. 144b; Cal. Pat. 1408–13, 305.
  • 187. Worc. Episc. Reg., Reg. Bourchier, f. 24; Cal. Pat. 1467–77, 438.
  • 188. Atkyns, Glos. 625.
  • 189. Worc. Episc. Reg., Reg. Ghinucci, f. 39.
  • 190. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 437.
  • 191. Hockaday Abs. xxv, 1532 subsidy, f. 6; xxvi, 1534 subsidy, f. 5.
  • 192. 'Dispossessed religious of Glos.', Trans. B.G.A.S. xlix. 71.
  • 193. Hist. MSS. Com. Var. Coll. VII, 51, 57.
  • 194. Hockaday Abs. cccxxiii.
  • 195. Ibid. xliv, 1572 visit. f. 26; xlvii, 1576 visit. f. 52; cccxxiii; B.G.A.S. Libr., Furney MS. B, p. 20.
  • 196. 'Peculiar jurisdiction of Bibury', Trans. B.G.A.S. lviii. 180.
  • 197. Sherborne Mun. 113; cf. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1640, 326.
  • 198. Hockaday Abs. cccxxiii.
  • 199. D.N.B.
  • 200. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1856 and later edns.).
  • 201. Ex inf. the rector.
  • 202. It was so called in 1529: Worc. Episc. Reg., Reg. Ghinucci, f. 39; and apparently in 1269 and 1471: Reg. Giffard (Worcs. Hist. Soc.), 27; Glos. R.O., D 1375/53. Later it was often called St. Peter's, perhaps through confusion with Little Rissington: e.g. Rudder, Glos. 627; Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 622.
  • 203. Bodl. MS. Rawl. B. 323, f. 252b.
  • 204. 21st Rep. Com. Char. 174.
  • 205. G.D.R. Wick Rissington terrier, 1828.
  • 206. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 622.
  • 207. Glos. Ch. Notes, 155.
  • 208. Photog. of 1879 in church porch; Glos. Colln. 18439/110 (view of church).
  • 209. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1889), 871.
  • 210. Glos. Colln. 18439/110.
  • 211. Gloucester Jnl. 15 Aug. 1908.
  • 212. See 'Stained glass in Glos. churches', Trans. B.G.A.S. xlvii. 338–9.
  • 213. Bodl. MS. Rawl. B. 323, f. 252b.
  • 214. G.D.R. Wick Rissington terrier, 1828.
  • 215. Inscr. in belfry.
  • 216. Glos. Ch. Plate, 174.
  • 217. Bodl. MS. Rawl. B. 323, f. 252b.
  • 218. 21st Rep. Com. Char. 174.
  • 219. Ex inf. the rector.
  • 220. Compton Census.
  • 221. G.D.R. vol. 383.
  • 222. Notebk. penes the rector, f. 49.
  • 223. Ed. 7/35/366.
  • 224. Public Elem. Schools, 1906 [Cd. 3182], p. 190, H.C. (1906), lxxxvi.
  • 225. Bd. of Educ. List 21, 1932 (H.M.S.O.), 119.
  • 226. Ibid. 1938, 131.
  • 227. Mins. of Glos. County Council, xlix. 260.
  • 228. Ex inf. the rector.
  • 229. G.D.R. Wick Rissington terrier, 1705; cf. Atkyns, Glos. 625.
  • 230. Wick Rissington Incl. Act, 2 Geo. II sess. 2, c. 28.
  • 231. 21st Rep. Com. Char. 174; cf. Poor Law Abstract, 1818, 155.
  • 232. Char. Com. files.
  • 233. Ex inf. the rector.