A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1965.
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The parish of Clifford Chambers lies a mile and a half south of Stratford-upon-Avon, mainly to the south-west of the River Stour which forms part of its boundary. The parish was on the extreme north edge of the county; it was surrounded by Warwickshire on three sides, and in 1931 was transferred to Warwickshire. (fn. 1) The area of the parish, which is very irregular in shape, is 1,725 a. (fn. 2) In 1086 the parish was called simply Clifford, (fn. 3) from the ford where the road to Stratford crosses the River Stour; (fn. 4) the name Chambers was added by the 14th century (fn. 5) after the manor had become attached to the office of chamberlain of Gloucester Abbey. The hamlet of Ailstone, which formed part of Clifford manor, (fn. 6) was from the 16th century usually described as partly in Clifford and partly in Atherstone (Warws.). (fn. 7) There is no earlier evidence of Ailstone as a hamlet of Clifford, but in 1677 the tithes from about two yardlands in Ailstone fields and from part of Ailstone meadow belonged to the Rector of Clifford. (fn. 8) The narrow part of the parish projecting east across the river for about two miles along the north side of Atherstone parish presumably represents the part of Ailstone in Clifford parish. In the southern corner of the parish the hamlet of Wincot lies partly in Clifford, the parish boundary running through the buildings at Wincot. Neither of the hamlets has ever included more than a few houses, (fn. 9) and the hamlet of Willicote (in Quinton parish) which extends into the south part of Clifford probably did not include any houses in Clifford parish until the 18th century. (fn. 10)
The parish lies on flat and gently rolling ground reaching 280 ft. at the highest point, on the south-east. The short north boundary is formed by the River Avon, and the River Stour runs along the east boundary for a short distance and then crosses the parish and forms part of the west boundary. The river has been diverted to form a moat near the manorhouse. The southern part of the parish is crossed by a stream, the Marchfont brook, that runs into the Avon at Weston-on-Avon.
The parish lies mainly on the Lower Lias, with gravel and sand beside the River Stour. (fn. 11) Before inclosure in 1781 most of the land lay in the open fields and was used for arable farming, with meadowland beside the rivers and, in the south part of the parish, sheep-pastures which gave rise to the farm names Sheep Leys and Willicote Pastures. (fn. 12) The parish includes only one small piece of woodland. The south-west corner of the parish formed part of Long Marston airfield from 1940 until it was closed in 1958. (fn. 13)
Clifford village, on the gravel beside the River Stour, was probably formed by the 10th century. (fn. 14) The earliest settlement was perhaps concentrated at what was later the south-east end of the village around the church and manor-house, where the wide village street suggests that the houses were grouped around a green. Several houses in that part of the village were built in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 18th century several cottages were taken down, (fn. 15) and extensive rebuilding took place along the street running west to meet the road to Stratford. Groups of uniform brick cottages were built at that time along the north side of the village street and in the area beside the churchyard later known as the square. By 1777 the village had extended almost as far as the junction with the Stratford road. (fn. 16) In the early 20th century the village began to extend along the main road towards Chipping Campden. Along the lane called the Nashes running east from the Campden road cottages were built at the same period and a building used as a village hall was converted into cottages. In 1927 two groups of houses were built on the north side of the main village street (fn. 17) where there had previously been no buildings. (fn. 18) Ten council houses were built at the junction of the village street and the Campden road in the 1950's and several private houses were built about that time on the village street and on the Campden road.
No evidence has been found of houses in the part of Ailstone in Clifford before c. 1700, when there were said to be two or three houses there. (fn. 19) Monk's Barn, where a farm-house was built probably in the 17th century, (fn. 20) may have been part of Ailstone, and Hines House (also called Heath Farm) on the east side of the parish was built by the mid-18th century. (fn. 21) In 1779, however, there were said to be no houses in the hamlet. (fn. 22) On the road to Shipston, close to Monk's Barn, two bungalows were built before the Second World War and another six were added in the 1950's.
Five cottages held by William of Wincot in 1266 as part of Clifford manor (fn. 23) may have been in the hamlet of Wincot, but by the early 17th century the Wincot estate apparently included only one cottage. (fn. 24) A large farm-house was built there by 1672 (fn. 25) and in the 19th century a few cottages were added which, however, were in Quinton parish. Willicote House, in Clifford parish, was built in the mid-18th century. (fn. 26) In the 19th century a large farm-house was built close to Willicote House, which in 1962 was also a farm-house.
Apart from the hamlets, Sheep Leys Farm off the Campden road and Clifford Hill Farm south of the road to Weston-on-Avon were built by 1777. (fn. 27) In the early 19th century Leys Farm was built west of the Campden road and Cold Comfort Farm was built east of the same road near the parish boundary; later in the 19th century two more farm-houses were built, Aaron Leys on the road to Weston, and Clifford Bank at the edge of the parish on the Stratford road. In the late 19th century and early 20th a few small groups of cottages were built on the Chipping Campden road and near Leys Farm, but some of these cottages were no longer in use in 1962. A large house near Aaron Leys Farm was being built in 1962.
The road from Campden to Stratford passing through the middle of the parish existed at an early date, crossing the Stour by the ford from which the parish took its name. The road, called Campden Way in the 16th century, (fn. 28) was turnpiked under an Act of 1818. (fn. 29) The bridge over the Stour at the parish boundary had been built by 1266 when one of the tenants of the manor owed the service of repairing the bridge; (fn. 30) by the 17th century it was called Clifford Bridge, and although it was on a main road and on the parish boundary the tenants of Clifford were apparently responsible for its repair. (fn. 31) The hump-backed stone bridge of three arches noted by Ogilby (fn. 32) remained until 1927. Its repair was a frequent source of dispute in the 19th century, (fn. 33) and in 1881 at the request of the people of Clifford the bridge (then called Forge Bridge) became a county bridge. (fn. 34) Because of frequent flooding the bridge was rebuilt and the road raised in 1927. (fn. 35) The road on the east side of the parish called the King's Way in 1332, (fn. 36) passing through Ailstone, may have been the road to Shipston. Changes in the roads since inclosure in 1781 (fn. 37) include the enlargement, in the early 20th century, of the footpath linking the Campden road and the Weston-on-Avon road by way of Leys Farm, (fn. 38) and, in the 1950's, the straightening of the Campden road at the north-west end of Clifford Chambers village. The Moreton to Stratford tramway, opened in 1826, (fn. 39) crossed the east part of the parish. Milcote Halt on the branch railway line from Honeybourne to Stratford is about 1 mile from the village, and Stratford-upon-Avon main-line station is about two miles from the village. In the mid-20th century a regular 'bus service connected Clifford with Stratford and Campden.
Thirty-one people were recorded in 1086 in Clifford including Wincot, (fn. 40) and in 1266 Gloucester Abbey had 34 tenants there. (fn. 41) Eleven people paid tax in 1327, at a comparatively low rate, (fn. 42) and there may have been a decrease in population by 1551 when 60 communicants were recorded. (fn. 43) There were 80 communicants in 1603, (fn. 44) and in 1608 the parish included 33 adult males. (fn. 45) There were said to be 32 families in 1650, (fn. 46) and the number had increased to c. 42 by 1700. (fn. 47) The population probably increased during the 18th century, although the number of families was given as c. 32 in 1750, (fn. 48) and by 1821 the population was 305. It continued to increase until 1881 when it reached 378 and thereafter, with some fluctuations, decreased to 325 in 1951. (fn. 49)
Wells sunk into the gravel and sand on which the village is built provided an adequate water supply for Clifford. (fn. 50) By 1930 some houses were connected to the Stratford water supply, (fn. 51) and before the Second World War the whole village was so connected, though some wells were still in use in 1955. In the 1920's the manor-house had its own electricity supply produced at the mill and about 60 houses mostly belonging to the manor estate were supplied. Main electricity was made available in 1933. (fn. 52) Clifford Chambers was partially sewered by 1888, (fn. 53) but in 1962 it did not have a main drainage system.
A village hall, belonging to the owner of the manor and known as the New Room, was opened on the Campden road in 1910. It was later converted into cottages and a new hall, a large brick building called the Jubilee Hall, was built on the village street and opened in 1939. The hall and a recreation ground which had been the property of Mrs. Rees-Mogg were given to the parish when the manor was sold in 1950. (fn. 54) A working men's club opened in 1919 in a converted stable belonging to the mill had by the 1950's established permanent premises. The Clifford Cricket Club was started by the mid-19th century. (fn. 55)
Nearly all the buildings in the parish are of brick, some of the older ones being timber-framed or incorporating timber-framed parts. In the village the small houses are mostly late 18th-century brick cottages built in groups, two-storied with tiled roofs and segmental-headed windows.
In 1928 the village was said to have a number of heavily thatched cottages (fn. 56) but in 1962 only Manor Cottages, a 17th-century black and white building, had a thatched roof. Four other houses (apart from the rectory) showed some timber framing, one of them, the 'Hollies', opposite the church, being a 17th-century brick and timber house of one story with dormers. The Close may have been timberframed at one time; the walls have evidently been rebuilt in brick, but retain a moulded wall-plate and coved eaves cornice. Of the larger houses, the Lodge, built in the 18th century of brick, was given a roughcast surface in the 20th century when the windows also were altered, giving the house the appearance of a late 19th- or a 20th-century building. The houses built in the mid-20th century are of various styles and materials, several of them being bungalows.
Outside the village most of the houses are 19thcentury brick buildings. Wincot House has a 17thcentury central portion which is two-storied, of brick and partly timber-framed. Extensions were built at each side in the 18th and 19th centuries in the same style as the earlier part. The windows have heavy stone mullions and one has a wooden frame and mullion. A bell-turret on the roof was removed when the house was repaired in 1887. (fn. 57) Monk's Barn Farm, a brick and timber house with a thatched roof, probably built in the 17th century, was destroyed by fire in 1935, (fn. 58) but a large timber-framed brick barn of the same date survived.
The Manor House, at the south-east end of the village, was built in the 15th century, beside a moated site. It was a simple house of four bays built of close timbers filled with brick. Perhaps at a later stage it was divided into two stories, with an attic and a central stone staircase. A single central beam ran through the house at floor level and the Cotswold stone roof was supported on heavy timbers. (fn. 59) The house was enlarged by the Rainsford family, and in 1649 reference was made to the new buildings. (fn. 60) About 1700 a new house was built by the Dighton family adjoining the older building and perhaps on the site of an earlier extension. The house is H-shaped consisting of a central hall the full height of the building and two projecting two-storied wings. There is a string-course at floor level, and the house is of brick with a hipped roof of Cotswold stone. The front entrance has a keystone and a moulded architrave with a pediment, and above the door is a small arched niche with an oval window each side of it. The central portion with the entrance projects slightly. The windows have keystones and moulded architraves at the front of the house and bay windows have been added at each side. The stone gateposts, with ball finials, are also of c. 1700. In 1918 the timberframed part of the house was destroyed by fire. A copy of the timber building, larger and more elaborate, was built to the designs of Sir Edwin Lutyens, (fn. 61) but in the early 1950's was taken down, (fn. 62) leaving only the house of c. 1700, which though damaged in the fire of 1918 was restored with little alteration, and some stable blocks with timber framing of an earlier date.
The rectory, set back from the village street southeast of the church, is a timber-framed 'black and white' house on a stone foundation built in the 15th or 16th century. It consists of a central portion, originally a great hall with a screens passage across its southern end, and two wings each with a jettied and gabled upper story, which also project at the back. In the 18th century the west front of the lower story of the south wing was built out in brick. The rest of the west front is of close-set studding with a small part of the lower story of square framing. The upper floor in the central part was perhaps inserted in the 17th century. Later alterations to the house have been mostly to the windows. Some old four-light windows with mullions survive, but a wide two-storied bay window in the north half of the central part of the house has been replaced by narrower windows, and the remains of a blocked window with moulded mullions can be seen. The cambered doorheads at back and front have been reset at a higher level. The house was re-tiled in the early part of the 20th century. (fn. 63)
The proximity of Clifford Chambers to Stratford has given rise to several unsubstantiated traditions connecting Shakespeare with the parish, (fn. 64) but it is possible that the Wincot referred to in The Taming of the Shrew (fn. 65) is the Wincot in Clifford. Michael Drayton was closely associated with Clifford, to which reference is made in the Polyolbion. (fn. 66) He was a friend of Sir Henry Rainsford whose wife, the daughter of Sir Henry Goodier (in whose household Drayton was a page), is thought to have inspired the collection of sonnets called Ideas Mirror and many other poems of Drayton. (fn. 67) One of the rooms in the Manor House was called after Drayton, and two others after Ben Jonson and Sir Philip Sydney, who are also said to have stayed in Clifford. (fn. 68)
Manors and Other Estates.
Land at Clifford between the rivers Avon and Stour, granted in 922 by Bishop Wilfrith II of Worcester to the monks of Worcester, was presumably at Clifford Chambers, (fn. 69) and in 966 Bishop Oswald of Worcester granted land at Clifford to his thegn Wihtelm. (fn. 70) By 1066 Clifford Chambers was part of the manor of Tewkesbury, held by Brictric, and was given with the rest of his land to Queen Maud, who by 1083 had given Clifford Chambers to Roger de Busli, the tenant in 1086. (fn. 71) The manor of CLIFFORD, or CLIFFORD CHAMBERS, (fn. 72) was regarded as part of the honor of Gloucester (fn. 73) with the other estates formerly held by Brictric, but after the early 13th century no reference to the overlordship has been found. (fn. 74)
In 1099, or perhaps earlier, Roger de Busli gave Clifford manor to Gloucester Abbey, (fn. 75) which retained it until the Dissolution. (fn. 76) By 1266 the manor, including the hamlet of Ailstone (partly in Atherstone parish) which had been given to Gloucester Abbey in 1095 and was later treated as part of Clifford manor, (fn. 77) had been given to the office of chamberlain of the abbey. (fn. 78) In the 16th century the manor was leased, the rent being paid to the chamberlain. (fn. 79)
At the Dissolution the manor passed to the Crown and in 1562 was granted to Charles Rainsford, (fn. 80) whose father William had a lease of the manor in 1526. (fn. 81) From Charles Rainsford (d. 1578) the manor passed successively to his son Hercules Rainsford (d. 1583), (fn. 82) to Hercules's son Henry (d. 1622), (fn. 83) to Henry's son Henry (d. 1641), and to the second Henry's son, another Henry. (fn. 84) The third Henry Rainsford, who as a Royalist had to pay a heavy fine for his estate in 1646, (fn. 85) first leased and then in 1649 sold the manor to Job Dighton, who was already living in the manor-house at that date. (fn. 86) In the same year Ailstone was sold separately and thereafter descended with Atherstone manor. (fn. 87)
Job Dighton died in 1659, (fn. 88) and the manor descended in turn to his second son Henry (d. 1687) by 1663, (fn. 89) to Henry's son Richard (d. 1738), to Richard's son Francis Keyt Dighton (fn. 90) (d. 1769), (fn. 91) and to Francis's son Lister, who died without issue in 1807. The manor then passed to Arthur Annesley, Lister Dighton's nephew (fn. 92) and Rector of Clifford Chambers, who died in 1845 leaving the manor to be divided between his children, who sold it in 1869 to James Roberts West of Alscot Park. In 1890 the Revd. Francis Annesley, grandson of Arthur Annesley, bought the manor-house, and in 1903 it was bought by John Gratrix, who sold it in 1909 to Kathleen Wills, daughter of Sir Frederick Wills. She married, first, Edward Douty and, secondly, Lt.Col. G. B. Rees-Mogg. In 1911 she bought the land previously belonging to the manor-house from James Roberts West. (fn. 93) After Mrs. Rees-Mogg's death in 1949 the estate was sold by her nephew, Mr. R. Wills; most of the land was sold off, and the manor-house and part of the land were bought by Mr. C. Bradshaw. About two years later the manor-house and home farm were sold to Major J. P. P. Taylor, the owner in 1962. (fn. 94)
Land in Wincot held by Brictric as part of the manor of Tewkesbury in 1066 is thought to have been the part of the hamlet of Wincot in Clifford Chambers. (fn. 95) The estate, which was held by a thegn in 1066, was given by Queen Maud to Rainald the chaplain, who held it in 1086. (fn. 96) The manor of WINCOT was said to be held of the Countess of Warwick in the early 16th century, (fn. 97) but no other evidence of the overlordship has been found. From the late 12th century the manor seems to have been held by a family called Wincot, members of which appear as witnesses to charters from that time. (fn. 98) The manor was held by Thomas Wincot in 1361, (fn. 99) by William Wincot in 1415 and 1439, (fn. 100) and by Richard Wincot in 1473 and 1493. (fn. 101) In 1507 Christopher Wincot died seised of the manor, which passed to his son Thomas, but in 1513 it was successfully claimed that Christopher had held only for life with reversion to John Wincot, (fn. 102) son of Richard Wincot. (fn. 103)
The manor was sold by a Thomas Wincot in 1531 to George Throckmorton, (fn. 104) and in 1565 John Throckmorton sold a moiety of the manor (the descent of the other moiety is unknown) to William Barnes, (fn. 105) whose father was said to have held half the manor at his death in 1562. (fn. 106) From William Barnes (d. 1622), who married Elizabeth the widow of Hercules Rainsford, (fn. 107) lord of Clifford Chambers manor, the moiety of Wincot manor, including land in Clifford and Quinton, passed to Henry Rainsford, whose son Henry sold it in 1628 to William Loggin of Swalcliffe (Oxon.). At that time the estate included only one cottage; (fn. 108) the house that was there in 1672 (fn. 109) and was later called Wincot Farm was presumably built by William Loggin or his son Robert, who succeeded to the estate in 1635. (fn. 110) A member of the Loggin family owned the estate c. 1700, (fn. 111) and by 1775 it had passed to Robert Burton (fn. 112) of Radbrook in Quinton, (fn. 113) whose family owned it until 1842 or later. (fn. 114) It was afterwards sold to James Roberts West of Alscot Park. (fn. 115) Wincot remained part of the West estate until the 1950's when it was bought by Mr. A. Cook, the owner in 1962. (fn. 116)
The manor of Willicote, lying mainly in Quinton parish, (fn. 117) included land in Clifford Chambers by 1677 when the owner of the manor paid a rent-charge for tithes to the Rector of Clifford for land called Willicote. (fn. 118) By the late 18th century Willicote farm, with its mid-18th-century farm-house, (fn. 119) was one of the largest in the parish. It was owned by the Bartlett family until the 1790's, then successively by Peter Rowe in 1795, (fn. 120) by Mrs. Rowe in 1808, (fn. 121) by Charles Rowe in 1828, (fn. 122) and in trust for Mary Ann Rowe, a minor, in 1842, when the farm was 188 a. (fn. 123) About 1900 the farm was owned by William Holland, and was later divided into two farms which were separately owned. (fn. 124)
The seven-hide estate in Clifford in 1066 had three ploughs on the demesne with 13 servi and ancillae, 14 villani sharing five ploughs, and a priest with one plough. The estate, which included a mill and 2 a. meadow, had decreased in value from 8 to 6. The three hides in Wincot in Clifford parish were presumably mostly demesne as three villani had only half a plough between them. (fn. 125)
In 1220 the honor of Gloucester was charged with carucage on five ploughs in Clifford, (fn. 126) which may have included Wincot also. Gloucester Abbey's demesne in 1266 had four and a half plough-teams, (fn. 127) and in 1291 the abbey had four plough-lands in demesne. (fn. 128) In the 13th century one of the tenants acted as steward, paying the rents to the chamberlain of the abbey, (fn. 129) and later, when the demesne was leased, the lessee was responsible for appointing a rent-collector. (fn. 130) The demesne included meadow and sheep-pasture as well as arable land in 1266, and a large part of the sowing and harvesting on the demesne was apparently done by customary service. Part of the produce was taken to Gloucester. (fn. 131)
In the late 12th century Gloucester Abbey's estate in Clifford included at least one free tenant holding a hide, (fn. 132) and in 1266, in addition to the one-hide holding, four tenants with a yardland each may have been free. (fn. 133) There had evidently been four freemen in Clifford before 1292, when attendance at the hundred court by four freemen from Clifford was remitted. (fn. 134) During the mid-14th century at least one family seems to have had a substantial freehold estate. (fn. 135) The estate of one hide in 1266 was charged with a money rent, relief, and wardship. On the tenant's death the lord took his horse and arms. Of the other four tenants two paid no rent and no specified service apart from suit of court, and the other two paid 7s. rent each. All four owed heriots and wardship. (fn. 136)
The Gloucester Abbey estate had 28 customary tenants in 1266, including William of Wincot whose holding may have been in Wincot. Ten of them held only a messuage and a small piece of land each, for which they paid rent in cash and owed heriots. Eight of them owed three bedrips and four days' hay-making. They were not allowed to sell animals without licence or to sell ale without paying the lord. One tenant held a messuage, garden, and pasture by service of maintaining the bridge. William of Wincot paid rent for five cottages but did not apparently owe any labour service. (fn. 137)
Seventeen of the customary tenants were yardlanders and paid no rent, but all owed the same labour service, which consisted of ploughing half an acre three times a year, four days' manual work with one man every week except in August and September, carriage to Gloucester or elsewhere for five or six days, washing and shearing sheep for two days, mowing for four days, hay-making for three days, and carrying hay and wood for one day each. In addition, at harvest the yardlanders owed ten bedrips with two men, five days' work a week during August and September with one man, and carriage of the lord's grain. The yardlanders owed heriots in kind, and were not allowed to sell ale or animals without licence. All the customary tenants owed the service of carrying millstones to the lord's mill. (fn. 138) By 1291 some customary work had been commuted for money payment. (fn. 139)
It has been suggested that there is evidence of open-field agriculture in Clifford as early as 966. (fn. 140) Clifford field was mentioned in 1221, (fn. 141) and it is probable that at that time nearly all the arable land in the parish lay in the open fields. In 1584 there were said to be two fields, (fn. 142) which by the mid-17th century were divided into four fields called Home or Hither field, probably lying north of the village, Redhill field, on the west side, Further field or Stanwell, in the south-west part of the parish, and Old field to the south. The fields were divided into furlongs; (fn. 143) the arable strips were called variously lands, ridges, or selions. (fn. 144) In the 16th century the strips were separated by baulks or furrows two feet wide. (fn. 145) Most yardlands were 36 a. but four were 48 a. in 1266, so that there were nearly 1,300 field-acres in the open fields in the 13th century, (fn. 146) not counting Wincot, Ailstone, or the glebe.
Clifford included no large area of common pasture and most of the pasture was in leys in the open fields. In 1266 the tenants rented a pasture which may have been part of the demesne. (fn. 147) The furrows between the ridges provided pasture, and tenants were forbidden to plough them for this reason. (fn. 148) In 1633 it was ordered that the heads of several furlongs should be kept for pasture. The sheep-pasture on Herring's Leys could not be ploughed without the consent of all the landholders. (fn. 149) Several meadow lay in Stanwell Ham and Nether Ham, (fn. 150) and the proportion in 1266 was half an acre to a yardland. (fn. 151) In 1593 tenants were allowed 16 ewes and 16 lambs on the commons for each yardland. (fn. 152)
The hamlet of Ailstone had its own open fields, (fn. 153) and from the amount of tithe paid to the Rector of Clifford it seems that about two yardlands in Ailstone field were in Clifford parish. A part of Ailstone meadow also belonged to Clifford parish. (fn. 154)
Agriculture in Clifford during the Middle Ages was mainly arable with some sheep and cattle. Crops included wheat, drage, and pulse. (fn. 155) In 1526 the demesne arable produced wheat, barley, pulse, and oats, (fn. 156) and in 1633 there were wheat and barley fields. (fn. 157) Nearly all the tenants in 1266 kept pigs for which they paid 1d. or d. for pannage. (fn. 158) There may have been some increase in pasture during the 17th and 18th centuries, and in 1779 it was said that the parish was mostly pasture; (fn. 159) a few years later (after parliamentary inclosure) it was described as mainly arable. (fn. 160)
In 1564 parts of the demesne were leased to tenants. At that time the demesne still lay partly in the open fields, (fn. 161) but before 1601 the lord of the manor had inclosed some land in the open fields (fn. 162) and in 1616 he was licensed to impark his land. (fn. 163) After that time the demesne may have become wholly inclosed. In 1649 the demesne included a large number of closes which seem to have been mostly meadow and pasture. (fn. 164) Land outside the demesne is likely to have been inclosed piecemeal during the 17th and 18th centuries. An inclosed estate of c. 300 a. in 1620 included some land that had been open. (fn. 165) By the 18th century c. 260 a. of arable remained open, divided evenly between four fields. In addition, 70 a. of cow-pasture, two lots of meadow of c. 10 a. (one of which belonged to the lord of the manor but was common at certain times), and 30 a. on Herring's Leys also remained open. (fn. 166) At inclosure in 1781 about half the open land was pasture. (fn. 167)
Clifford manor had in 1583 two free tenants, 11 copyholders, two other 'conventionary' or customary tenants, and 12 tenants at will. (fn. 168) There seems to have been only one free tenant in 1589. (fn. 169) Eighteen husbandmen and yeomen recorded in 1608 (fn. 170) were presumably all tenants of the manor, and in 1650 at least 18 people were holding land as leaseholders. (fn. 171) The number of leaseholders had been reduced to 12 by 1722, (fn. 172) and in 1775 15 people were holding land in Clifford, including the manor estate, Wincot, and Willicote. (fn. 173)
Customary tenants in the 16th and early 17th centuries owed heriots and labour service. The latter included carrying the demesne corn and hay for four days, ploughing, fallowing, and sowing for one day each, carriage of two loads of wood to the manor, and riding with the lord of the manor when he required. (fn. 174) In 1587 it was said that customary tenants must pay their rent twice a year, could hold for one, two, or three lives, and that widows had freebench. (fn. 175) The leaseholders in 1650 held for 99 years with the right to sub-lease their estates, (fn. 176) and in 1722 some of the 12 leaseholders held for two or three lives. (fn. 177)
Most of the estates were probably small in the 16th century in view of the comparatively high number of tenants. In 1650 seven estates ranging from half a yardland to two yardlands were held by 18 tenants, most being held jointly by two or three people. (fn. 178) Of the freehold estates Willicote and Wincot were both large farms, (fn. 179) and by 1767 the farm known as Heath or Hines farm was c. 160 a. (fn. 180) Another inclosed estate included three yardlands in 1677. (fn. 181) In 1775 there were 21 estates assessed for land tax; the assessments of the manor estate, Wincot, Willicote, and six rather smaller holdings accounted for over three-quarters of the total. (fn. 182)
In 1781 396 a. of arable and meadow were inclosed. Apart from the rector, six people received allotments. Lister Dighton had a meadow, which had previously been common at certain times of the year, for his manorial rights and 21 a. for half a yardland and cowcommons belonging to ancient cottages. Five other landowners received allotments varying from 146 a. to 15 a. (fn. 183)
In 1795 the number and size of holdings had changed little since 1775. The manor, Wincot, and Willicote were still the largest, with about eight other substantial holdings. (fn. 184) In the 19th century Wincot seems to have become smaller, being 82 a. in 1842; (fn. 185) at least three farms were more than 150 a., (fn. 186) and a few more were probably c. 100 a. or more. (fn. 187) In 1856 there were said to be seven farmers in Clifford, (fn. 188) and the number had decreased to five by the early 20th century. (fn. 189) In 1936 two farms were said to be 150 a. (fn. 190) or more. In the mid-20th century there was a tendency for farms to be split up into smaller units, and in 1962 farms averaged 100 a. or less; (fn. 191) the parish then included some ten farms.
Arable farming may have increased in the early 19th century; in a lease of a farm in 1804 reference was made to the ploughing of meadow and pasture. (fn. 192) Among the crops grown at that time were flax and hemp. (fn. 193) At least two farms in the later 19th century included more arable than pasture. (fn. 194) By 1933, however, there was a predominance of meadow and pasture, with arable mainly in the north and west of the parish. (fn. 195) Farming was mixed in 1962 with an emphasis on cattle (fn. 196) and, in the south part of the parish, sheep. The Clifford Chicken Co. established a large poultry farm in the southern part of the parish c. 1960.
Only two of the men recorded in 1608 were not directly connected with agriculture. One was a cooper; a cook was mentioned in 1608 (fn. 197) and 1634. (fn. 198) There were smiths in the parish from the 17th century, and probably earlier, until the first half of the 20th century, (fn. 199) and wheelwrights, carpenters, a collar maker, and a saddler in the 19th century. (fn. 200) In 1656, 1733, and 1856 tailors were working in the parish, (fn. 201) and there was a shoemaker in 1764 and two in 1856. (fn. 202) In the early 19th century brickmaking in the parish probably gave employment to a few people, (fn. 203) and in the mid-19th century several people were employed in the two mills. (fn. 204) In 1831 nearly half the families in the parish were engaged mainly in manufacture, trade, and industry, (fn. 205) mainly perhaps in retail trade. Retail traders in the 19th century included butchers, bakers, a grocer, and by 1856 a post office. (fn. 206) A laundry operated for a short time in the 19th century and in the 1860's there was a steam sawmill. (fn. 207) Two licensed victuallers were recorded in Clifford in 1755, (fn. 208) and the New Inn, at the junction of the village street and the road to Stratford, was built by 1781. (fn. 209) A house in the main village street is said to have been an inn at one time, and the large brick house in the square was an inn, known as Spilsbury's, in the late 19th century. (fn. 210) The New Inn was the only inn in the parish in 1963, when there was also a general shop and post office. A few people from Clifford worked at Tibor Mill in the mid-20th century, and about half the working population worked at a distance from the parish, in Stratford, at Long Marston camp, and even as far away as Birmingham. Clifford had a small proportion of retired and professional residents.
Mills and Fishery.
The mill in Clifford in 1086 (fn. 211) was probably the one east of the village on the Stour standing close to the manor-house. From the 13th century the demesne included two mills, perhaps both on the same site. The miller at that time held 12 a. of land; the mill was apparently used by the tenants of Clifford and Ailstone since both were responsible for carrying stones to the mill. (fn. 212) By 1302 the demesne also included a fishery on the Stour. (fn. 213) The mills were leased with the manor in 1526. (fn. 214) By 1652 they were called Clifford mills and included land called the Hammes and a house. (fn. 215) In the 18th century the mills were usually leased. (fn. 216) The buildings were extended or rebuilt in the 18th century and by the end of the century were usually referred to as only one mill. (fn. 217) The mill was no longer in use in the late 19th century when the large 18th-century brick building was for a time used as a laundry for the manor. It was sold in 1903 and became a flour-mill and bakery until c. 1926 when it was bought back again by the owner of the manor. (fn. 218) In 1962 the mill was used as a farm building.
A mill on the Stour at the parish boundary by Clifford Bridge was by 1862 partly in Clifford Chambers, although the mill buildings were in the parish of Old Stratford (Warws.). The mill was known as Clifford Mill, (fn. 219) or Clifford Forge Mill, (fn. 220) for it had been used as an iron-forge in the 18th century. (fn. 221) It was rebuilt as a flour-mill in 1853 and was later acquired by the owner of the other mill in Clifford Chambers, who ran the two jointly for milling and baking. Clifford Forge Mill was bought by the owner of Clifford manor in the 1920's, and in 1946 the Tibor Furnishing Fabric Mill was set up there. (fn. 222) The business, started by Tibor Reich with one handloom, employed c. 70 people in 1962 and was a centre of research in the design and manufacture of furnishing fabrics.
In 1292 the Abbot of Gloucester claimed that his men of Clifford, except four villeins and four freemen, were exempt from attending the hundred court at Tewkesbury. It was decided at that time that the view of frankpledge should be attended by only four villeins from Clifford who would pay 10s. annually from all the tenants. (fn. 223) In the late 15th century and early 16th some of the people of Clifford apparently owed suit at Tewkesbury hundred court, (fn. 224) and leet money was still paid by the owner or lessee of the manor. (fn. 225) In 1266 at least one tenant of land in Clifford owed suit at Kington hundred court (Warws.), as did the people of the hamlet of Ailstone, (fn. 226) and until the 16th century an annual payment was made by the owner of Clifford manor to the bailiff of Kington hundred. (fn. 227)
Court rolls of Clifford manor survive for 1564 and for nine years between 1584 and 1611. The court, held apparently once a year, was for Clifford and Ailstone. Two tithingmen elected at the court were presumably one each for Clifford and Ailstone. (fn. 228)
Overseers' and churchwardens' accounts survive from the late 18th century. In the early 19th century the overseers paid a yearly salary to a doctor at Stratford to attend the poor. (fn. 229) Expenditure on poor relief increased only slightly between 1776 and 1803 when 15 people received relief regularly and nine occasionally. (fn. 230) In the next ten years expenditure doubled although the number receiving relief did not increase proportionately. (fn. 231) Expenditure fluctuated during the next 20 years and was at its highest, 250, in 1833. (fn. 232) Clifford became part of the Stratford-uponAvon Poor Law Union in 1835 and the Stratford Rural Sanitary District in 1872. In 1894 it formed part of the Marston Sicca Rural District, and in 1931 (when it became part of Warwickshire) was transferred to the Stratford Rural District. (fn. 233) A parish council was not formed until 1919. (fn. 234)
There was a priest at Clifford Chambers in 1086, (fn. 235) and the parish church was presumably included in Roger de Busli's gift to Gloucester Abbey, for the abbey received a papal confirmation of the church of Clifford in 1200. (fn. 236) The parish priest was described as rector in the 13th century, (fn. 237) and the benefice remained a rectory in 1962. In 1928 the ecclesiastical parish of Clifford Chambers was enlarged by the addition of Upper Milcote (fn. 238) (Warws.).
The advowson was held by Gloucester Abbey from the time it acquired the church until the Dissolution. (fn. 239) The Crown retained the patronage in 1562 when the manor was granted away, (fn. 240) but in 1575 Charles Rainsford claimed the advowson (fn. 241) and devised it to his son Anthony in his will of 1578. (fn. 242) Anthony Rainsford tried to establish his claim in 1579, (fn. 243) but in 1584 the queen was said to be the patron. (fn. 244) The advowson was granted in 1591 to Henry Best and John Wells, (fn. 245) who sold it in 1598 to John Woodward. (fn. 246) Woodward owned it when he died in 1601 (fn. 247) but by 1610 it had apparently been bought back by John Wells and others, who sold it to Henry Rainsford in 1616. (fn. 248) The Crown, meanwhile, had claimed the advowson, and presented in 1609. After 1616 the advowson descended with the manor (fn. 249) until 1872 when it was bought by Francis Annesley, (fn. 250) then Rector of Clifford Chambers. Shortly after 1910 it passed from Francis Hanbury Annesley to the lady of the manor, (fn. 251) and the Board of Patronage presented from 1952. (fn. 252)
In 1291 the rectory was valued at 6 a year clear, (fn. 253) and in 1535 at 18 5s. 6d. clear. (fn. 254) The value had increased to 27 by 1603, (fn. 255) and continued to increase to 86 in 1650, (fn. 256) remaining about the same during the 18th century. (fn. 257) In the 12th century Gloucester Abbey apparently received the profits of the church, (fn. 258) and in 1291 a tithe portion of 30s. was paid to the abbey. (fn. 259) In 1535 Gloucester Abbey's tithe portion was only 3s. 4d. (fn. 260) By 1677 the manorial demesne and four other estates were tithe-free and four estates paid a rent instead of tithes. The rector had the great and small tithes from the rest of the parish, including about two yardlands in Ailstone. (fn. 261) The priest in 1086 had one plough, (fn. 262) and later the glebe amounted to two yardlands. (fn. 263) About 1602 one yardland of glebe was inclosed by the lord of the manor and another yardland was given in exchange. (fn. 264) The glebe included a cottage and close in 1677 as well as the glebe house, (fn. 265) an acre of meadow, and the two yardlands with meadow and pasture. (fn. 266) At inclosure in 1781 the rector received 63 a. for tithe and glebe. (fn. 267) In 1842 the tithes of 373 a. which had not been exonerated by the inclosure award were commuted for a corn-rent. (fn. 268) The rectory was valued at 174 in 1856 (fn. 269) and c. 100 in the early 20th century. (fn. 270) In 1908 the glebe land was let as allotments, (fn. 271) and by 1948 it had been sold. (fn. 272)
The rector presented in 1324 was given leave to study the following year and was not ordained priest until 1326. (fn. 273) Three rectors in the later 15th century and one in the early 16th were graduates, (fn. 274) two of them having a second benefice. (fn. 275) In 1529 two rival presentees disputed possession of the benefice; (fn. 276) the successful one, a graduate, retained the benefice until the 1550's. (fn. 277) He was a non-resident pluralist, the cure being served by a stipendiary curate. (fn. 278)
The rector presented in 1558 (fn. 279) was not resident in 1572; (fn. 280) his successor, a graduate but not a preacher, was excommunicated in 1576 but later re-instituted. (fn. 281) Edward Vernon, instituted in 1578 (fn. 282) and also Rector of Welford, was a graduate, (fn. 283) but in 1584 it was complained that he did not read the homilies or give instruction. (fn. 284) He retained the living until 1609 although two other people claimed to have been presented in 1586 and 1602. (fn. 285) The Rector of Clifford was among those who signed the Gloucester Ministers' Testimony in 1648. (fn. 286) John Martin, who held the living for 40 years in the 18th century, had another benefice. (fn. 287) The rector in 1776 was also Vicar of Stratford, where he lived; (fn. 288) in 1790 the rector lived at Bath. (fn. 289) During the 18th century there was usually a curate. (fn. 290) Arthur Annesley (fn. 291) lived in the parish but not in the glebe house. (fn. 292) From 1811 the rectors usually lived in the parish, and several of them held the benefice for long periods. (fn. 293) From the 1930's the congregation was considerably augmented by people from Stratford, from which a special 'bus brought people to the evening service. (fn. 294)
The church of ST. HELEN (fn. 295) is a small building of rubble with a Cotswold stone roof, heavily restored in 1886, comprising nave, chancel with north vestry and organ chamber, west tower, and south porch. The church was rebuilt in the mid-12th century with chancel and nave. The north doorway of that date, later blocked, is of two square orders, with doublechamfered hoodmould and plain tympanum. The south doorway, also built in the 12th century, has a chamfered hoodmould with unusual beaded ornamentation, shafts with scalloped capitals, and a plain tympanum, on which a scratch-dial can be seen. A small plain 12th-century chancel arch was removed in 1886. (fn. 296) In the 13th century a north transeptal chapel was added to the nave. Part of a blocked 13th-century arch opening to the chapel can be seen in the north wall of the nave, where a singlelight window has been reset, with a 13th-century attached shaft with moulded capital in the eastern splay. A small lancet, probably from the chancel, has been reset in the west wall of the organ chamber, and on the south side of the chancel a pillar piscina with octagonal shaft and plain capital and base is also of the 13th century.
A west tower was probably added in the late 14th century, of two stages with a moulded string-course and buttresses at the west angles of the lower stage. The battlements, pinnacles, and gargoyles, and the west window of the lower stage, of three trefoilheaded lights with quatrefoil tracery, were added later. The second stage has on three sides windows of two lights with blind tracery.
One of the south windows of the chancel was replaced in the 14th century with two trefoiled ogeeheaded lights. In the 15th century some of the windows of the chancel and nave were replaced and it was probably then that the chapel was removed. The south porch was built of timber in the 15th century, and the south doorway retains an apparently contemporary door. About 1600 the roof was rebuilt. (fn. 297) A west gallery and pews were added c. 1650. (fn. 298) By 1886 the building was thought unsafe and extensive rebuilding took place to the design of J. Cotton of Birmingham. The chancel was rebuilt and lengthened, the 12th-century chancel arch being replaced by a much larger one in a Victorian Gothic style, the south porch rebuilt, and the vestry and organ chamber were added. The roofs were renewed, buttresses added, a window inserted in the north wall of the nave at the west end, and other windows restored. The gallery was removed and the church reseated. (fn. 299)
The font, with no pedestal, is thought to be of the 12th century, and to have been cut into a septagonal shape in the 15th century. (fn. 300) The communion table, the communion rails, and the wooden pulpit are of the 17th century. In the vestry is a 16th-century chest. A large mural monument in alabaster and marble to Sir Henry Rainsford (d. 1622) and Anne his wife was removed from the west end of the chancel to its original position on the north side of the chancel at the rebuilding of 1886. (fn. 301) A floor slab placed upright in the north wall of the chancel (perhaps the one said to be on the south side of the chancel c. 1700), (fn. 302) has small brass effigies of Hercules Rainsford (d. 1583) and Elizabeth his wife, and another has a brass effigy of their daughter Elizabeth (d. 1601). Fragments of old painted glass were reset in the window of the vestry. In the 17th century the church had four bells, (fn. 303) which were replaced or recast in 1771, and a fifth bell was added in 1773. (fn. 304) The organ was installed in 1931, replacing an earlier one. (fn. 305) The church plate includes a chalice and paten dated 1494 which are among the oldest known examples of church plate in the country. The chalice, which bears traces of enamel, has a representation of the Crucifixion; the paten does not appear to have been enamelled. They have the same hall-mark and date. (fn. 306) A 16th-century German almsdish was presented to the church in 1935, (fn. 307) and a flagon and two cups are of the early 18th century. (fn. 308) A red velvet embroidered altar cloth and two cushions are probably of the early 16th century. (fn. 309) The parish registers begin in 1538, and are virtually complete.
Two Protestant nonconformists were recorded in Clifford Chambers in 1676, (fn. 310) but by 1735 there were said to be no nonconformists in the parish. (fn. 311) A Primitive Methodist chapel built in 1912 (fn. 312) on the Campden road was served from Stratford. During the Second World War the chapel closed, and in 1952 the brick building was sold and converted into a private house. (fn. 313)
By will proved in 1649 Thomas Jackson of Clifford Chambers gave 100 for a free school (fn. 314) and 50, to which his executors added another 50, for the poor. The money was laid out in land, and the income, 10 in 1683, (fn. 315) was used in the 18th century mainly to pay the schoolmaster. (fn. 316) The master was chosen by the freeholders, (fn. 317) and the school was held in the house built by the parish for the poor. After 1817 the school was discontinued because a master could not be found; a small allowance from the charity was made to the Sunday school teacher, the rest being allowed to accumulate so that it could be used to provide an adequate salary for a teacher. (fn. 318) After 1874 Jackson's charity was used to support the National school, two-thirds of the income being used for education and the rest for the poor. In 1914 the Board of Education agreed to a Scheme whereby Jackson's charity was transferred from the school and used for further education. (fn. 319) Part of the 43 a. belonging to the charity was sold in 1958, (fn. 320) and in 1962 a considerable surplus from income had accumulated. (fn. 321)
In 1874 a National school was opened in the house where the earlier school had been held, which had been enlarged in 1871. (fn. 322) From 1879 the school received a grant (fn. 323) which, however, was partly withheld in 1882 because of the inadequacy of the teaching. The schoolmaster was replaced in that year by a certificated mistress, and a new school, a small brick building standing back from the village street opposite the square, was opened in 1883. (fn. 324) The average attendance was 64 in 1892, (fn. 325) and by 1911 the school had a separate infants' department. (fn. 326) It became an infant and junior school in 1939, (fn. 327) the older children going to schools in Stratford. In 1962 the number of pupils was c. 40, and land had been bought for a new school to be built. (fn. 328)
A house, known as the Church House, was built in the churchyard (fn. 329) before 1548 by the parishioners for the poor of the parish. (fn. 330) In the 1670's Henry Dighton wrongfully took possession of the house, (fn. 331) which he was made to restore to the churchwardens and overseers in 1683, (fn. 332) and in the 18th century the house was used for the school. (fn. 333)
About 1490 Hugh Casnell, (fn. 334) Rector of Clifford, gave four houses in Stratford for the benefit of the poor of Clifford and to help to pay taxes imposed on the parish; (fn. 335) 16 from the charity misappropriated by Henry Dighton in 1666 (fn. 336) was later recovered, and in 1786 the annual income was 12. (fn. 337) In 1829 the rent from the houses amounted to 25 14s., which was used to buy bread. (fn. 338) The charity was regulated by a Scheme of 1884, and in 1895 was united with a charity called the Stratford Bridge Charity. At that time the income from Casnell's charity was used for coal, and in 1884 several people complained that the rector had combined the charity with a coal club and only members of the club could benefit from the charity. A complaint was also made that only part of the income was distributed by the trustees. The houses belonging to Casnell's charity were sold in 1920, (fn. 339) and in 1962 the accumulated income of 100 was used to buy coal for c. 30 old age pensioners and widows. (fn. 340)
Clifford Chambers shared in John Loggin's charity, of which Swalcliffe (Oxon.) was the main beneficiary, and in 1829 Clifford's share of 5 was used for cloth to make shirts. (fn. 345) The charity, regulated by a Scheme of 1889, provided 5 a year for Clifford Chambers in the 1950's. (fn. 346)