A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1965.
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The parish of Bourton-on-the-Hill lies in the northeast part of the county on the eastern slopes of the Cotswolds overlooking Moreton-in-Marsh, from which it is a mile and a half distant. In 1086 the whole of the parish was in Deerhurst hundred (fn. 1) but by 1327, (fn. 2) and probably earlier, one of the manors had been transferred to Tewkesbury hundred, (fn. 3) the other becoming part of Westminster hundred with the rest of Westminster Abbey's property in the county. The village was apparently divided, (fn. 4) but over the rest of the parish there was no clear division between the land in each hundred until after inclosure, as the land belonging to the two manors in the parish lay intermingled in the open fields. (fn. 5) By the mid-19th century about two-thirds of the land in the parish was considered to be in Tewkesbury hundred. (fn. 6) The parish, which is 2,975 a. in area, (fn. 7) is long and narrow, stretching five miles from east to west and a mile and a half from north to south.
The whole of the parish lies on high ground, hence the suffix 'on-the-Hill', which was used from the 15th century (fn. 8) presumably to distinguish the parish from Bourton-on-the-Water. The land rises steeply from 450 ft. on the east side to c. 800 ft. above the village, drops sharply to c. 700 ft. on the Kilsden brook, (fn. 9) and rises again to 850 ft. at Bourton Downs on the west side of the parish. Two branches of the River Evenlode form the north and south boundaries of the eastern end of the parish, and several small streams intersect the eastern side. A stream in the north-east part of the parish was called Benell brook in 1584, (fn. 10) and another stream was called Comb brook in 1691. (fn. 11) The east side of the parish is on the Lower Lias, with narrow belts of the Middle and Upper Lias, and of Cotswold sandstone. West of the village the land is mainly on the Inferior Oolite. (fn. 12) Until inclosure in 1821 (fn. 13) the open fields lay in the middle of the parish, north and south of the village, with meadow on the east side and extensive sheep-pastures on Bourton Hill and Bourton Downs in the west. Bourton Wood, north-west of the village, has been a large area of woodland since the 13th century, (fn. 14) and from the 15th century the parish has had quarries (fn. 15) which, though disused, were extensive in 1962.
The village of Bourton-on-the-Hill stands on a steep hill on the spring line of the Upper and Middle Lias. The village developed along the road through the middle of the parish, and almost entirely between the sites of the two manor-houses which lie at each end of the village, with the church about half way between them. The village may have been in two physically distinct parts in the 16th century, when the east end was said to be in Tewkesbury hundred; (fn. 18) but a considerable amount of building took place during the 17th century and it may have been then that the village became a continuous settlement with houses extending along both sides of the road between the two manor-houses. By the late 17th century houses had been built south of the main street, and a road running behind them by the late 18th century (fn. 19) was called Back Street in 1821 (fn. 20) and later Rectory Road. Forty-eight houses were recorded in the parish in 1672 (fn. 21) and several houses were built or rebuilt in the 18th and 19th centuries; although in 1801 the number of houses had increased to 68, and in 1861 to 128, (fn. 22) the village had not extended significantly in any direction. A small group of houses west of the village on the north side of the road near the quarry, one of which is dated 1833, may have all been built about that time, when the quarry was in use. (fn. 23) Further building by the quarry in the mid-20th century included, on the south side of the road, a petrol station and cafe. In the 1950's the village was extended eastwards by the building of Fenhill Close, including 14 council houses, on the south side of the main street.
At a distance from the village, in the south-east part of the parish, farm buildings belonging to Upper Rye Farm (in Sezincote parish) were built by 1777, (fn. 24) and Parsonage Farm (called Keytes in 1962), off the road to Sezincote, was built by 1824. Training stables, and probably a house, had been built on Bourton Downs by 1824, (fn. 25) and in the 1890's a large house called Bourton Hill House, with extensive stabling and three cottages, was built there. (fn. 26) On the west side of the parish Bourton Far Hill Farm was built after inclosure, and Killdanes, near Bourton Hill House, was built c. 1936. (fn. 27) Several lodges belonging to the Batsford and Sezincote estates were built in the 19th century. During the Second World War a prisonerof-war camp was built in the parish beside the road from Stow to Evesham. After the war the buildings were used first as a Polish refugee camp and later as a hostel by the Gloucester Agricultural Board. (fn. 28) By 1962 the buildings had been removed.
The road between Moreton and Bourton, mentioned in the 15th century, (fn. 29) was probably the one called the King's Way in 1514, (fn. 30) and London Way by 1590, (fn. 31) when it was presumably the main road from London to Worcester. That road, on which the village stands, was turnpiked under an Act of 1731. (fn. 32) By 1584 a road ran from Bourton to Batsford. The road called Stow Way in 1590 (fn. 33) may have been either the road running from the quarries towards Stow or the road from Evesham to Stow, crossing the parish near Bourton Downs, which was turnpiked in 1756. (fn. 34) The road running from the London-Worcester road south-west across the Stow road towards Condicote was made in the early 19th century. There have been no significant changes in the roads since 1821. (fn. 35) Bourton village is two miles from the main line railway station at Moreton-in-Marsh, opened in 1853. (fn. 36)
Fourteen people were recorded as paying tax from both parts of Bourton in 1327. (fn. 37) In 1551 there were c. 100 communicants, (fn. 38) and 30 households were recorded in 1563. (fn. 39) In 1592 46 people in the parish died of plague, (fn. 40) and the record of 24 adult males in 1608 may reflect a decrease in population. (fn. 41) Another outbreak of plague in the 1640's accounted for 42 deaths. (fn. 42) In 1650 the number of families was the same as in 1563, (fn. 43) but by 1672 the population had increased considerably. (fn. 44) In 1685 there was an outbreak of small pox at Bourton, (fn. 45) and, in spite of the fact that it was said to be a healthy place, disease may have been a factor contributing to the slowness of the increase in population which was noticed in 1779. (fn. 46) By the early 19th century the population had increased to c. 350 and between 1821 and 1831 there was a rapid increase to 553. In the later 19th century and earlier 20th the population gradually decreased to 353 by 1951. (fn. 47)
Bourton village was well supplied with water from the springs surrounding it, and in 1601 the well called Kingstons Well (fn. 48) may have been the main public source of water. In the 1930's, when the village had a pump, 20 wells, and three private piped supplies, the water supply was said to be inadequate as the springs were small and shallow. (fn. 49) In 1939 main water was supplied from the reservoir at Donnington. (fn. 50) By 1945 the parish had a sewage disposal system by which sewage was discharged into a ditch linked with the River Evenlode. Main electricity was available before the Second World War. (fn. 51)
Almost all the buildings in Bourton-on-the-Hill are of stone, most of which was quarried in the parish. The houses, which include several of the 17th century, are mainly rubble with stone roofs, in the traditional Cotswold style, with dormers and mullioned windows with dripmoulds. The village also has houses of the 18th century and early 19th whose windows have segmental heads. Several houses underwent alterations in the 19th century and a notable feature is the number of houses with bay windows. The two lodges belonging to the Sezincote estate contrast with the general style of building in the parish; both are ornate single-storied houses of the early 19th century, one having a thatched roof and the other being built in the Hindu style of Sezincote House.
The largest house in the parish is Bourton House at the east end of the village, on the probable site of the manor-house in Tewkesbury hundred. A house was built on the site in the late 16th century by one of the Palmer family, and the vaulted cellars with mullioned windows and an arched doorway survived in 1962. Some of the outbuildings also survived from the 16th century, including the stone brewhouse with its sixlight window with mullions and dripmoulds and the stables with two-, three-, and four-light mullioned windows with dripmoulds, and a sundial at one end. (fn. 52) A large stone barn east of the house bears the date 1570 and the initials R. P. for Richard Palmer. The barn, which is said to be one of the largest in the county, has seven bays and a gabled porch on the north and south sides with wide arched entrances. The roof is of Cotswold stone and retains the 16thcentury timber. Bourton House, described in 1679 as 'a very fine seat', (fn. 53) was rebuilt, probably by Alexander Popham, (fn. 54) in the late 17th or early 18th century. The house is of ashlar, two-storied with dormers and a parapeted stone roof. Two wings project slightly at each side of the north and south fronts which have similar facades with Ionic pilasters supporting a central pediment. The main entrance, on the north side, is approached by a flight of steps and has a doorway surmounted by a broken segmental pediment. The sash windows have moulded stone architraves. The interior of the house has been altered very little, and some of the panelling is thought to have survived from the earlier house. (fn. 55)
The Westminster hundred manor in Bourton included a house by 1461 when a tenant was said to hold land near the gate of the manor. (fn. 56) The capital messuage of the manor was later called Bourton Farm and it was probably the house, on the north side of the road at the west end of the village, where William Bateson was living in the early 18th century. (fn. 57) The house, rebuilt in the 18th century, is two-storied, of stone with a Cotswold stone roof. The windows have sashes, with moulded stone architraves. After Lord Redesdale bought the manor in 1856 the house was divided into two farm-houses, (fn. 58) one of which was called Manor Farm in 1962. The former rectory is a large three-storied square house built c. 1810. Buildings in the main street include the school, dated 1828, and the almshouses called the Retreat, dated 1831. Both are buildings of some architectural character.
Several people associated with Bourton-on-theHill have achieved more than local importance. Sir Nicholas Overbury, who bought one of the manors in 1598, was one of the justices in Wales and later a Member of Parliament for Gloucester. His son Sir Thomas Overbury, a scholar and poet, received many favours from James I through the influence of Robert Carr, Viscount Rochester, who was also responsible for the imprisonment and murder of Overbury in the Tower in 1613. (fn. 59) The second Sir Thomas Overbury, grandson of Nicholas, wrote a number of pamphlets including the earliest account of the trial of Joan Perry and her sons for the murder of William Harrison at Campden. It is thought that Sir Thomas may have been the justice of the peace who examined the witnesses in the case. (fn. 60) Sir Thomas Overbury was a royalist and in 1659 was thought to be keeping arms at his house to supply a rebellion in support of Charles II. (fn. 61) William Bateson, the lessee of Westminster Abbey's manor, was also a royalist whose property was sequestered in 1647. (fn. 62) He complained that he had suffered great loss during the Civil War when the parliamentary army and the king's army had in turn been quartered at Bourton. (fn. 63)
From the 18th century until the Second World War Bourton-on-the-Hill was noted for its race-horse training stables on Bourton Downs, (fn. 64) which were used by several well-known trainers. (fn. 65) It is said that two Derby winners were trained there in the late 18th century. (fn. 66)
Until the middle of the 19th century there was a gibbet on Bourton Hill on which the bodies of criminals, particularly highwaymen, were hung, and a clump of trees near the site was known as Jones's Gibbet. (fn. 67)
Manors and Other Estates.
The larger of the two estates in Bourton that were held in 1086 by Westminster Abbey as part of its manor of Deerhurst (fn. 68) was by the 13th century regarded as a separate manor with the abbey's land in Moreton-inMarsh. (fn. 69) It was usually called the manor of BOURTON AND MORETON, and was retained by the abbey until the Dissolution. (fn. 70) The demesne lay mainly in Bourton, with a small part in Moreton. (fn. 71) From the late 14th century the manor was usually held by lessees. (fn. 72)
At the Dissolution the manor of Bourton and Moreton passed to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, (fn. 73) who continued to lease it. (fn. 74) In 1650 the commissioners for the sale of ecclesiastical lands sold the manor to Giles Bateson, the lessee, (fn. 75) but it later returned to the dean and chapter. Members of the Bateson family were lessees of the manor until c. 1800, (fn. 76) and by 1821 it was leased to John FreemanMitford, Lord Redesdale, (fn. 77) of Batsford Park, whose son John Thomas, later Earl of Redesdale (d. 1886), bought the manor in 1856. (fn. 78) The manor afterwards passed with the Batsford estate to Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, who was created Lord Redesdale in 1902 and died in 1916. His son David Ogilvy Freeman-Mitford, Lord Redesdale, (fn. 79) sold the estate in 1919 to Sir Gilbert Alan Hamilton Wills, later Lord Dulverton, whose son, Frederick Anthony Hamilton Wills, Lord Dulverton, was the owner in 1962. (fn. 80)
The smaller estate of Westminster Abbey in Bourton was held by a radknight, Wluvi, in 1066, and in 1086 by Girard the chamberlain. (fn. 81) No later evidence has been found of the association of this estate with Westminster Abbey. Girard is said to have placed his estate under the patronage of Queen Maud. (fn. 82) Later it was sometimes regarded as part of the honor of Gloucester, which derived from Queen Maud's estates, for in the late 14th century and early 15th it was said to be held of members of the Despenser family. (fn. 83)
Girard's land in Bourton probably passed to the Harnhill family by the 12th century for at that time William of Harnhill owned the advowson of Bourton which descended with this estate. The advowson and therefore, probably, the manor, were held by Stephen, grandson of William of Harnhill, in 1206 (fn. 84) and by Robert of Harnhill (fn. 85) (d. 1323). (fn. 86) Henry of Harnhill, Robert's son, may have settled the estate in Bourton on John of Winchester and Joan, his wife, c. 1343 when he settled his land in Hampshire on them: (fn. 87) in 1361 Joan, wife of John of Winchester, died seised of land in Bourton, said to be held in chief. Joan's heir was described as her kinsman John, son of John of Stonor. (fn. 88) In 1382 the land in Bourton was held by Edmund Stonor with his land in Condicote (fn. 89) with which it descended until after 1565. (fn. 90) This estate was often called the manor of BOURTON-ON-THEHILL AND CONDICOTE. (fn. 91)
Richard Palmer, who sold Condicote manor, was succeeded at Bourton by Thomas Palmer. (fn. 92) In 1598 John Palmer of Compton Scorpion (Warws.) sold Bourton manor to Nicholas Overbury (d. 1643). (fn. 93) The manor passed to Nicholas's son Giles and in 1653 to Giles's son Sir Thomas Overbury, (fn. 94) who sold it c. 1680 to Alexander Popham. (fn. 95) In the earlier 17th century the Dean and Chapter of Westminster disputed the claim of Sir Nicholas Overbury to a manor in Bourton. (fn. 96) Thereafter the estate was not often referred to as a manor, though c. 1700 the bailiffs of Tewkesbury were said to be lords of one of the manors in Bourton, (fn. 97) and at inclosure in 1821 the borough of Tewkesbury claimed to be lord of the manor of that part of the parish in Tewkesbury hundred; (fn. 98) the claim presumably derived from the borough's ownership of Tewkesbury hundred.
In the 18th century the estate, with Bourton House, passed from Alexander Popham to his son Edward; (fn. 99) in 1727 it was owned by Augustine Martin; and in 1728 it was sold to Thomas Fletcher. (fn. 100) Before 1765 the estate had passed to Lucy wife of John Head, (fn. 101) who held it in his wife's right until the late 18th century. (fn. 102) In 1803 the estate was bought by the Revd. Thomas Williams of Bere Regis (Dors.), from whom it had passed to Robert Allies by 1849. Bourton House was bought by Sir James Buller East in 1850, and the land, bought by Sir Charles Rushout of Sezincote in the same year, (fn. 103) was in 1962 still part of the Sezincote estate and owned by Mr. C. H. Kleinwort. Bourton House descended to Sir James Buller East's cousin, Mrs. Charlotte D'Este Macclaverty, (fn. 104) and afterwards to Miss Ada Bligh, the owner in 1940. (fn. 105) The house was afterwards owned by Mr. H. V. Hodson, who sold it to Lt.-Col. H. Nugent Head in 1958. (fn. 106)
By the Dissolution Tewkesbury Abbey had a portion of the tithes of Bourton, which was known as the board tithes. (fn. 107) The tithes were granted by the Crown in 1560; (fn. 108) William Bateson had them in the earlier 17th century and his grandson had bought them by 1719. (fn. 109) By 1704 the board tithes were considered to include the tithes of Bourton farm (which the rector had claimed unsuccessfully in 1636), (fn. 110) of Bourton Wood, and of a few yardlands in Bourton and Moreton. (fn. 111) Lord Redesdale, who had acquired these tithes by 1821, received 120 a. in Bourton for them at inclosure. (fn. 112)
The land in Bourtonon-the-Hill, assessed at 10 hides in 1086, and comprising presumably the whole parish, was divided into two estates of 8 hides and 2 hides. The smaller estate was held in 1066 by a radknight, described as a freeman who owed service of ploughing, harrowing, mowing, and reaping. (fn. 113) In the 14th century that estate had a plough-land and 20 a. of meadow in demesne. (fn. 114) Parts of the demesne were held by tenants, and the meadow was rented by all the tenants of the manor in the mid-15th century. (fn. 115)
The demesne of Westminster Abbey's manor of Bourton and Moreton included arable land in Bourton fields, a large area of several sheep-pasture called the Abbot's Flock in the north-west corner of the parish as well as pasture in Moreton, and Bourton Wood. (fn. 116) In the mid-14th century the amount of demesne arable cultivated each year varied from 120 a. to 184 a., (fn. 117) and towards the end of the century was usually slightly less. (fn. 118) The larger part of the crops in 1279 was wheat and oats; (fn. 119) in the mid-14th century about two-thirds of the land was usually sown with wheat and barley, and the rest with pulse and oats. (fn. 120) A large part of the crops was used for paying the wages of servants, including sometimes four or six ploughmen. (fn. 121) In 1323 87 customary works were used for ploughing the demesne, (fn. 122) and in 1357 84 a. were harvested by boon-works and the rest by hired labour. (fn. 123) By the mid-15th century, when the demesne arable was usually leased, small parts of demesne land were held by the tenants of the manor. (fn. 124) The pasture was used mainly for sheep, and from the 13th century the sale of wool was a large part of the abbey's profits, (fn. 125) accounting for more than half the issue of the manor in 1420. (fn. 126) About 1,730 sheep and lambs were mentioned in the account of the demesne for 1301, (fn. 127) and at certain times of the year as many as six or seven shepherds were employed. (fn. 128) For most of the 15th century the pasture was reserved by the abbot when the rest of the demesne was leased, (fn. 129) and a shepherd accounted for the sheep at Bourton and Todenham. (fn. 130) By 1490 the sheep-house at Bourton and the pasture were leased. (fn. 131) From the 13th century the servants of the demesne usually included a cowherd, a swineherd, a dairyman, and a carter. (fn. 132) In 1357 and 1358 the hay from the demesne meadow amounted to 161 and 147 cart-loads respectively. (fn. 133) In the 14th century timber from the demesne woodland was sold in small pieces of 1 a. or less. (fn. 134) Woodwards were appointed and were responsible for collecting payments (fn. 135) for cutting wood and for pannage from tenants. (fn. 136) In 1542, when Bourton Wood was leased, it formed a significant part of the value of the manor. (fn. 137) In the 13th and 14th centuries the demesne included dovehouses. (fn. 138)
In the 13th century Westminster Abbey's manor in Bourton and Moreton had 58 tenants, (fn. 139) and in 1327 although only 8 people paid tax the assessment was comparatively high. (fn. 140) The number of tenants had decreased by 1443 when there were c. 20. (fn. 141) The majority of the tenants in the 13th century probably had small holdings, paying rent of c. 1s. or less, but 11 paid rents of between 3s. 6d. and 8s. and two paid 15s. and 23s. (fn. 142) In 1443 several people were holding more than one tenement, and apart from two tenements of half a hide and four of one yardland each, all the tenements were half a yardland or less. (fn. 143)
A number of the tenants in the 13th and 14th centuries seems to have been free, (fn. 144) and in the mid16th century there were at least five free tenants. (fn. 145) The payment of reliefs and the right of hereditary succession distinguished the free tenants, (fn. 146) who in the 14th century owed labour-service, from the customary tenants. The free tenants of Bourton and Moreton owed a total of 48 days' ploughing and 19 days' carrying hay in 1323, (fn. 147) and they owed boon-works at harvest. (fn. 148)
Customary tenants in the 14th century included yardlanders, half-yardlanders, and cotmen, the last being apparently the most numerous. (fn. 149) Nine customary tenants were mentioned in the 16th century, (fn. 150) and in 1540–1 a large part of the rent of the manor was from customary tenants. (fn. 151) Rents and heriots were paid in money and in kind; (fn. 152) widows had rights of freebench. (fn. 153) In 1443 many tenants had different surnames from their predecessors in their holdings. (fn. 154) Labour-services included ploughing, winter sowing (of which 1,100 services were owed in 1323–4), (fn. 155) hay-making (owed by ten customary tenants in 1356), and work at harvest which included four days a week for one yardland. (fn. 156) By 1314 customary work was being sold, (fn. 157) in 1321 the bondmen's work on certain days was remitted, (fn. 158) and in 1396 part of the labour-service of all tenants was commuted. (fn. 159) In 1416 payment instead of labourservice was included with the rent of customary tenants, (fn. 160) but in 1443 some tenants still owed service of ploughing and boon-service. (fn. 161)
The other manor in Bourton-on-the-Hill included at least six tenants in 1327, who were together assessed for tax at only 7s. 6d. (fn. 162) The manor included one free tenant in Bourton in 1449 and 1494, holding half a yardland. Thirteen tenants at will in 1449 had holdings of half a yardland or less, several of the holdings being described as cotlands. The number of tenants at will had decreased to 10 by 1494 when holdings were larger than in 1449, (fn. 163) and by 1523 13 tenements were held by 9 tenants at will. (fn. 164) The free tenant owed labour-service which had been remitted by 1449, when some of the harvest-work of the customary tenants had also been remitted. (fn. 165) In the late 16th century five of the tenants bought the freehold of their estates, varying from ½ to 1½ yardland and amounting in all to 5 yardlands, and two other yardlands were demised as copyhold. (fn. 166)
The two manors in Bourton-on-the-Hill shared one set of open fields where the land of both manors was intermingled. In 1584 the two fields, lying on each side of the road to Moreton, were called the field next to Batsford and the field next to Sezincote. (fn. 167) In the 16th century each field was divided into quarters; (fn. 168) in 1691 the two fields together contained four quarters, (fn. 169) Sezincote quarter in the south-east, Fenhill quarter in the south-west, Batsford quarter in the north-east, and the Plash in the north-west. (fn. 170) It is probable that there had long been a four-year rotation, as in 1806. (fn. 171) The fields were divided into furlongs and holdings were made up of scattered pieces of 1 a. or less. (fn. 172) In 1590 a quartern (presumably a quarter of a yardland) was c. 7 a. (fn. 173) and in 1720 it was said that 6 ridges were less than a quarter of a yardland. (fn. 174) In 1773 on one estate 53 field-acres freehold were said to be 11/8 yardland and 74 fieldacres copyhold were described as two yardlands. (fn. 175) In 1801 it was reckoned that if the open fields were inclosed 29 statute acres would be the equivalent of a yardland. (fn. 176) Free and customary land was mixed in the fields, (fn. 177) and some yardlands included land in Moreton fields. (fn. 178)
In addition to leys of grass-land in the open fields, (fn. 179) two common meadows called Bourton Meadow and the Little Meadow lay one on each side of the road from Moreton. (fn. 180) They were divided into pieces usually of between two and four poles. (fn. 181) If the rector's glebe is typical the proportion of meadow was c. 6 a. to a yardland. (fn. 182) A meadow called 'above the town' had possibly been inclosed by the 17th century when it was divided with hedges. (fn. 183) Bourton Hill on the west side of the parish was largely common and several sheep-pasture in the Middle Ages (fn. 184) and probably later, but part of it was arable in the 17th century. (fn. 185) In 1537 it was agreed that customary tenants should not have more than 100 sheep, (fn. 186) and in 1584 the rector's glebe of two yardlands included common of pasture for 200 sheep, 12 beasts, and 6 cows. (fn. 187) In 1773 a tenant with two yardlands had 128 sheep-commons, and in 1806 it was decided to reduce the number of sheep to 30 or 25 according to which quarter of the fields was fallow. (fn. 188) In the 17th century the landholders claimed that the furze and thorns known as Kilsden, on the west side of the parish near Kilsden brook, which had presumably been common at one time, had been divided among the tenants to the exclusion of the lord of the manor. (fn. 189) At inclosure in 1821 c. 2,400 a. of land (four-fifths of the parish) were still open. (fn. 190)
The arable land in the parish was presumably used in the Middle Ages, as the demesne was, mainly for wheat, oats, and pulse. It is evident from the number of sheep-commons that sheep-farming was important, and Bourton Wood provided pannage for pigs. (fn. 191) In the 17th century tobacco was grown in Bourton, (fn. 192) and in the early 18th century there was land known as hemp land in the parish. (fn. 193) In spite of the statement in 1803 that the parish was mainly pasture, (fn. 194) farming continued to be mixed with a large proportion of arable. (fn. 195)
The demesne of Westminster Abbey's manor was called Bourton farm by the 17th century when it included five yardlands lying in scattered pieces in the four quarters of the open fields. By 1691 there had perhaps been some consolidation of the demesne land; the field south of the village where the greater part of the demesne lay included a furlong of demesne land which had been inclosed, and north of the village next to Batsford hedge 20 lands had been laid together. A large piece of arable on Bourton Hill was also inclosed by 1691. (fn. 196) In 1720 the demesne pasture called the Abbot's Flock had been leased and ploughed, (fn. 197) and in 1748 it was sown with sainfoin, clover, and rye. (fn. 198) The demesne of the other manor in Bourton comprised three and a quarter yardlands in the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 199)
In 1617 13 tenants of Westminster Abbey's manor had estates in Bourton varying in size from half to two and a half yardlands, and 12 leaseholders, copyholders, and freeholders had lands in both Bourton and Moreton. (fn. 200) In 1691 at least 15 people were holding land in the open fields, (fn. 201) and in 1720 six copyholders had estates of one yardland and a few had smaller holdings. (fn. 202) By the end of the 18th century c. 26 estates were held by 14 tenants. (fn. 203) In 1650 customary tenants still owed labour-services, and freeholders owed carriage of hay. (fn. 204) Copyholds were usually for one or two lives in the early 18th century, (fn. 205) and for three lives in the late 18th century. (fn. 206)
Of 2,949 a. allotted at inclosure in 1821 a small part was old inclosures, but most of it was open land, comprising the two fields lying on each side of the road from Moreton, Bourton meadow on the east side of the parish, and Bourton Hill and Bourton Downs on the west side. Lord Redesdale as lessee of the manor received 127 a. for manorial rights, 372 a. for Bourton farm, and eight allotments varying from 182 a. to 5 a. and totalling 576 a. for copyhold estates. He received also 174 a. for his freehold and 121 a. for the board tithes. The rector's two allotments amounted to 450 a. There were three other allotments of more than 100 a., and 4 of less than 50 a. (fn. 207)
The land of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster included 11 holdings of varying sizes in 1832, (fn. 208) and in 1855 nine copyholders whose holdings varied from 184 a. to 1 a. were enfranchised. (fn. 209) The rest of the parish comprised three large and two small freehold estates. (fn. 210) In 1888 the land in Bourton belonging to the Sezincote estate included two farms of 182 a. and 142 a., (fn. 211) and in 1935 only one farm was said to be more than 150 a. (fn. 212) The Batsford estate included 1,035 a. in Bourton in 1962, of which three farms of 204 a., 224 a., and 46 a. were held by tenant farmers, (fn. 213) and one larger farm belonged to the Sezincote estate. (fn. 214) The land formerly belonging to the training stables, which became Bourton Hill farm after the Second World War, included c. 400 a. in 1962; two other farms had c. 100 a. each, which had also been part of the stables, and there was one other farm of c. 100 a. in the parish. (fn. 215)
After inclosure there may have been an increase in pasture, although in 1880 the land belonging to the Sezincote estate included a larger proportion of arable than pasture. (fn. 216) In 1935 the land was predominantly pasture with small areas of arable, (fn. 217) and in 1962 most of the farming was mixed arable and cattle with a predominance of sheep on Bourton Hill farm and Far Hill farm. (fn. 218)
There was a quarry in Bourton by 1472, (fn. 219) belonging to Westminster Abbey's manor, and it was presumably another quarry that was mentioned in 1468 in the Tewkesbury hundred manor. (fn. 220) In 1720 Bourton farm included a quarry, (fn. 221) and in 1813 a mason in Bourton held land which included a quarry. (fn. 222) In 1824 quarries were in use on the west side of the parish on Bourton Hill, (fn. 223) and there was a mason in Bourton in 1889. (fn. 224) The quarries, which employed c. 30 people in the early 20th century, closed during the First World War. (fn. 225) There is some evidence of a woollen industry in Bourton in the 16th century. Two of the landholders in Bourton were exporting wool in the 1550's; (fn. 226) in 1570 a woolwinder was living in the parish; (fn. 227) and a weaver was recorded in 1608. (fn. 228) Bourton had a smith in the 13th century (fn. 229) and probably continuously until the mid-20th century. (fn. 230) There were three licensed victuallers in the parish in 1755, (fn. 231) and by 1773 an inn called the New Inn was opened. (fn. 232) A house on the south side of the main street was said to have been an inn at one time. The 'Horse and Groom', opened by 1870, (fn. 233) was the only inn in the parish in 1962. In 1821 the parish had a bakehouse, a malthouse, a tanyard, and a shop, (fn. 234) and by 1827 there was a carpenter's shop. (fn. 235) Some employment may have been provided by the silk-mill at Blockley, to which property in Bourton belonged in 1827. (fn. 236) In 1831 about a third of the families in the parish were said to be engaged in trade, manufacture, or industry. (fn. 237) In the late 19th century Bourton had a wheelwright, shoemakers, tailors, and shopkeepers. A children's home, opened in the parish c. 1910, had closed by 1923. In 1935 Bourton had a café and a guest-house. (fn. 238) There were two shops in the village in 1962. A small part of the population was employed in agriculture, and a large number of people worked at a distance from the parish.
A mill at 'Burton' in 1545 may have been at Bourton-on-the-Hill, (fn. 239) but no other reference has been found to a corn-mill in the parish. There was a malt-mill in Bourton in 1810, (fn. 240) and in 1824 mill machinery was sold with a tanyard and buildings. (fn. 241)
The part of Bourtonon-the-Hill in Westminster hundred attended the view of frankpledge and manor court of the Abbot of Westminster, (fn. 242) and after the Dissolution of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster or their lessees, at Moreton-in-Marsh. (fn. 243) The other estate in Bourton was taken out of Deerhurst hundred, probably by Girard, who held it in 1086 and who had already in 1086 taken his land in Kemerton out of the hundred. (fn. 244) It is said that Girard had transferred his lands in Kemerton to Tewkesbury hundred so that they would be under the protection of Queen Maud, his patroness, (fn. 245) and his estate in Bourton was therefore presumably also attracted into Tewkesbury hundred. (fn. 246) Apart from one reference in a court roll of 1545 which might be to Bourton-on-the-Hill, (fn. 247) no evidence has been found of part of Bourton attending Tewkesbury hundred court.
A court baron was held in the manor in Tewkesbury hundred during the 15th century; court rolls survive for the years 1487–9 and 1494. (fn. 248) It is unlikely that a court was held after the 16th century when most of the copyholders were enfranchised.
A constable was elected at Westminster Abbey's court, (fn. 249) and presumably there was another constable for the part of the parish in Tewkesbury hundred. Only one constable was recorded in 1715, (fn. 250) but in the late 18th century the parish had two constables, (fn. 251) one of whom was apparently elected at the vestry. (fn. 252) Each part of the parish may have had its own tithingman at one time, (fn. 253) but in 1670 two tithingmen were elected at the court of the Westminster hundred manor. (fn. 254)
Churchwardens' accounts survive from 1685, in which year the churchwardens were admonished by the chancellor of the diocese for not keeping accounts. By 1685 the parish had a paid clerk, (fn. 255) who in the 18th century received a salary from the rector. (fn. 256) Expenditure on poor relief increased eightfold between 1776 and 1803, when 30 adults received regular relief, 52 had occasional relief, and 6 nonparishioners received relief. (fn. 257) Expenditure had decreased considerably by 1813, (fn. 258) but it increased again during the next 20 years. (fn. 259) Bourton became part of the Shipston-on-Stour Poor Law Union in 1835, the Shipston-on-Stour Rural Sanitary District in 1872, and the Campden Rural District in 1894, becoming part of the new North Cotswold Rural District in 1935. (fn. 260)
The parish of Bourton-on-the-Hill may have been served originally from the church of Blockley for it was later in the peculiar of Blockley. (fn. 261) The connexion survived also in a small payment from Bourton manor to the Vicar of Blockley for Peter's Pence up to the 15th century, (fn. 262) and until 1540 the people of Bourton buried at Blockley, thereafter paying mortuary fees to the vicar. (fn. 263) In 1157 Bourton church, built presumably by Westminster Abbey, was confirmed to the abbey. (fn. 264) There was a priest at Bourton before 1206, when a dispute arose about the advowson, and the Bishop of Worcester claimed that the parson of the mother church, Blockley, was also parson of Bourton. (fn. 265) Between 1297 and 1304 the cure was served by a chaplain paid by Westminster Abbey which also appointed a bailiff to manage the parsonage. (fn. 266) From the early 14th century Bourton church was normally served by a rector. (fn. 267) The living, to which the chapel of Moreton-in-Marsh was annexed until 1887, (fn. 268) has remained a rectory.
In 1206 Stephen son of William claimed the right of presentation to Bourton church through his grandfather William of Harnhill, who had presented the last priest. (fn. 269) In 1318 Robert of Harnhill held the advowson (fn. 270) and by 1361 it had passed to the Stonor family. (fn. 271) The advowson descended with the Stonors' manor of Bourton until the late 17th century, (fn. 272) when it was owned jointly by Richard Watkins, the Rector of Bourton-on-the-Hill in 1679, (fn. 273) and Richard Bourne, who sold it in 1695 to John Goodwin. (fn. 274) In 1708 the patron was Thomas Durham, and from c. 1734 to the end of the century Thomas Kemble and then Margaret Kemble his widow were patrons of the living. (fn. 275) In 1810 Samuel Wilson Warneford became rector apparently on his own presentation (fn. 276) and in 1864 the Revd. John Jarrett was patron. (fn. 277) By 1870 Lord Redesdale was the patron and the advowson thereafter descended with the manor, (fn. 278) Lord Dulverton being the patron in 1961. (fn. 279)
In 1291 Bourton church was valued at £4 6s. 8d. (fn. 280) and in 1311 it was said to be worth 7 marks. (fn. 281) The clear annual value in 1535 was £13 15s. (fn. 282) and by 1650 the value was given as c. £120. (fn. 283) The value of the benefice continued to increase and it was said to be £280 in 1789. (fn. 284) In 1291 tithe portions were paid to the Prior of Deerhurst, the Abbot of Westminster, and Master Richard of Ware, (fn. 285) who had sold his portion by 1298 to the abbot; (fn. 286) the portion of Deerhurst Priory passed to the Abbot of Westminster in 1306. (fn. 287) By 1535 Tewkesbury Abbey had a tithe portion also. (fn. 288) In the 17th century the rector claimed the tithes of the demesne, which had been previously regarded as tithe-free, (fn. 289) but by 1704 the tithes of the demesne were considered to be part of the board tithes. (fn. 290) At inclosure in 1821 the rector received 375 a. for tithes in Bourton. (fn. 291) A toft called Churchham which belonged to the rector c. 1442 was probably part of his glebe, (fn. 292) which in 1535 comprised two yardlands of arable with meadow and pasture, (fn. 293) and in 1584 included a house and pasture for 200 sheep. (fn. 294) At inclosure the rector received c. 76 a. in Bourton for glebe, and a messuage and farm-house by exchange with the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. (fn. 295) In 1864 the rectory was valued at £675, (fn. 296) and in 1889, after the chapel of Moreton had been separated from it, it was said to be worth £500, and to include 52 a. of glebe. (fn. 297) In 1957 a new rectory house was built on part of the glebe land and the rest of the glebe with the former house was sold. (fn. 298)
The rector in 1304 was not in major orders when he was instituted (fn. 299) and five years later had not been ordained priest. (fn. 300) In the early 15th century the parish had both a rector and a chaplain, (fn. 301) the rector presumably being non-resident, and three of the 15th-century rectors who were graduates were either pluralists or held the benefice for a short time only. (fn. 302) In 1429 the rector, a bachelor of canon and civil law, was allowed to be absent for five years to study and to farm his benefice. (fn. 303)
In the mid-16th century the rectors were usually not resident and the cure was served by a curate who in 1540 was paid by the patron of the living. (fn. 304) George Nash, the rector in 1551, was ordered to desist from superstition, (fn. 305) and in 1554 he was deprived because he was married. (fn. 306) The next rector was resident, (fn. 307) but by 1566 George Nash had been re-instituted. He held two other benefices, (fn. 308) and in 1572 the living was served by a curate who was not in priest's orders; (fn. 309) George Nash was excommunicated in 1576. (fn. 310) From 1577 to 1617 the living was held by James Beck, (fn. 311) who, though not a graduate, was a preacher and lived in the parish. (fn. 312) Nicholas Oldisworth, rector from 1634 to 1645, and his brother Giles, rector from 1646 to 1678, (fn. 313) were probably resident; both were noted scholars and writers and Giles was a strong supporter of the monarchy, although he retained his living during the Interregnum. (fn. 314) The next rector was also chaplain to the Bishop of Rochester (fn. 315) and was non-resident, as were several of the 18th-century rectors. (fn. 316) In the late 18th century and in the 19th century there was often a resident rector and a curate, though the curate probably served Moreton rather than Bourton. (fn. 317) From 1810 to 1855 the rector was Samuel Wilson Warneford, the philanthropist, who carried out extensive repairs to the church and was responsible for a number of charitable endowments in Bourton and Moreton. (fn. 318) After Moreton was separated from Bourton the rector no longer had a curate. (fn. 319)
The church of ST. LAWRENCE, anciently called St. Mary's, (fn. 322) consists of chancel, clerestoried nave of three bays, north and south aisles and porches, and west tower. It is of stone with a parapeted Cotswold stone roof. It was built by 1157, (fn. 323) and the shafts and capitals of the south arcade are of the late 12th century. The arches may have been rebuilt later, and some work of about the same time is incorporated in the arch of the south door. In the 14th century a north aisle was added and the chancel rebuilt. The foreshortened arch at the eastern end of the south arcade suggests that the arcade has been shortened, possibly at the rebuilding of the chancel, (fn. 324) which may have been enlarged at the expense of the nave which is only slightly longer. The diagonal buttresses of the chancel, the blocked south doorway, the three-light east window with reticulated tracery, and the piscina reset in the jamb of the south window are of the 14th century. The embattled tower was built in the 14th century, of three stages with angle buttresses and an internal stair vice which is carried up above the roof. The narrow west door of the tower and the two-light window above it are of a later date. The second stage of the tower has a narrow one-light window on three sides and the third stage has a two-light window on each side.
In the 15th century the windows of the north and south aisles, a north window of the chancel, the south doorway, and the low-pitched roofs of the nave and chancel were rebuilt. The aisles have each an east window of three lights and two three-light windows, and the west windows of the north and south aisles are of two and three lights respectively. The east end of the south aisle has the remains of a 15th-century stone screen said to have been brought from Moreton-in-Marsh. A clerestory of four three-light windows was added in the 15th century, when also the north porch and the parapeted roofs were built. The parapet of the chancel roof is panelled and the north side of the nave roof has gargoyles. A south porch was added in the 18th century and in 1889 the chancel was repaired and its south window rebuilt. The church was reseated in 1893 and a gallery removed, (fn. 325) though there was still a gallery at the west end of the north aisle in 1962.
The east window of the north aisle retains fragments of 15th-century painted glass. Two scratch- dials can be seen east of the south porch. (fn. 326) The octagonal font is of the 15th century. An organ, which obscures the east and one south window of the south aisle, was installed before 1893 when it was renewed. (fn. 327) Three of the six bells are dated 1677, two 1792, and one 1873. (fn. 328) The plate includes a chalice and paten cover of 1576, two credence patens of 1696 and 1702, and a flagon of 1735. (fn. 329) The parish registers start in 1568, and are virtually complete.
Twenty nonconformists were recorded at Bourton and Moreton in 1676, (fn. 330) and about the same time there were two Baptists at Bourton. (fn. 331) Job Greening of Bourton was described as a preaching minister in 1715. (fn. 332) In 1735 there were said to be five Presbyterians, five Anabaptists, and two Quakers, (fn. 333) but only one Protestant nonconformist was recorded in 1743. (fn. 334) A group of dissenters registered a barn for religious worship in 1821, and houses were similarly registered in 1835 and 1840. (fn. 335) One of these may have been used by Independents, who in 1851 met in a building first used for worship c. 1838 and had a congregation of c. 20. (fn. 336) No later evidence of this meeting or of any other nonconformist place of worship has been found.
A Sunday school was endowed in 1829 by the rector, Samuel Wilson Warneford, who gave the buildings and a rent-charge of £20. (fn. 337) The large stone school, in the main street at the west end of the village, was built in 1828. (fn. 338) The Sunday school received further endowments in 1833, 1856, and 1858. (fn. 339)
A site was conveyed to trustees in 1820 for a Church of England day school, which in 1855 was supported by endowments, subscriptions, and fees. (fn. 340) From 1856 the school received a grant (fn. 341) and in 1866 the average attendance was 39. (fn. 342) By the 1880's, when attendance had increased to 56, (fn. 343) the Sunday school premises were being used by the day school. (fn. 344) The school had mixed and infants departments by 1911, (fn. 345) and junior mixed and infants departments in 1932 when the average attendance was 37. (fn. 346) In 1962, when the school had c. 16 pupils, the premises were owned by the Sunday School Trust and the Sunday school house was used as a teacher's house. The older children attended schools in Moreton-in-Marsh and Chipping Campden. (fn. 347)
In the 16th century 6s. from an obit was distributed annually to the poor, (fn. 348) and during the 17th century two sums of £10 and one of £5 were given respectively by John Rutter, Nicholas Hodkins, and another John Rutter. Nicholas Hodkins's charity had been lost by the 18th century (fn. 349) and the others had been lost before 1828. (fn. 350)
The 40 a. allotted at inclosure in 1821 for fuel for the poor (fn. 351) were rented in 1828 and the money was used to buy coal; (fn. 352) in the 1950's, when the land produced £40, the money was still used to buy coal. In 1962 the land was sold and the Help in Need Charity was set up from the proceeds of the sale. The new charity while retaining the object of providing coal was intended to have a wider application, including the upkeep of the parish almshouses. (fn. 353)
In 1831 the rector, Samuel Wilson Warneford, gave two sums of £3,024 and £227 stock and four houses for the establishment of four almshouses, called the Retreat, for two widows and two widowers. By 1959 the annual income of £86 was inadequate for the upkeep of the almshouses which received grants in that year, from the Dulverton Trust and from the Rural District Council, for modernization. (fn. 354)
William Gibbs by will proved in 1833 gave £431 stock to buy blankets for the poor; in the 1960's the annual income of £15 was so used. (fn. 355)
The Warneford Medical Trust, founded in 1853 by Samuel Wilson Warneford, who gave £1,233 stock to provide free medical attention for the poor of Bourton, was regulated by a Scheme of 1857. In 1856 Harriet Warneford gave £455 stock to the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, to provide free beds for poor people of Bourton in need of medical treatment. This charity became part of the Warneford Medical Trust under a Scheme of 1954, following the introduction of the National Health Service. The stock was transferred to trustees and the income, £50 a year in 1961, was used for such purposes as providing domestic help and transport to hospital. (fn. 356)
Bourton-on-the-Hill shared in Lord Redesdale's charity, founded by deed of 1856 for the payment of pensions to people over 60 in Batsford, Bourton, Lower Lemington, Moreton-in-Marsh, and Snowshill. The charity does not seem to have been regularly applied, and accumulated income was invested in 1907 and 1914. In 1953 the income was used for pensions for employees of the Batsford estate. (fn. 357)