A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 7. Originally published by Oxford University Press for Victoria County History, Oxford, 1981.
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The rural parish of Aldsworth lies 6.5 km. south-east of Northleach and 5 km. north-east of Cirencester. In 1976 it covered an area of 1,356 ha. (3,350 a.) (fn. 1) and was irregular in shape with the boundaries marked by field boundaries save on the west and part of the south where they followed the river Leach and a short section of the Coln St. Aldwyns road. The Leach broke its banks in 1412 (fn. 2) and 1723, (fn. 3) and in 1612 a meeting of the inhabitants of Aldsworth and Bibury was convened to determine its ancient course, (fn. 4) but it had ceased to run in that part by 1976.
The land, lying mostly between 122 m. and 152 m., but rising to 168 m. in the north-east and north-west, is on the Great Oolite which is overlaid by Forest Marble on the higher ground in the west and south-east. (fn. 5) Formerly there were several quarries. (fn. 6) Before inclosure in 1793 most of the parish lay in extensive open fields but from the 13th century the downlands have provided sheep-pastures. There is some meadow land in the Leach valley but by the 16th century estates either had meadows in or took hay from near-by parishes, suggesting a shortage of meadow land in Aldsworth.
The downlands were said c. 1775 to provide excellent hunting (fn. 7) and at about that date a racecourse was laid out for the Bibury Club, an exclusive private racing club, in the south-eastern corner. (fn. 8) A grandstand was designed by Richard Pace of Lechlade in 1800, (fn. 9) and the Prince of Wales attended the four-day summer meeting of 1802. (fn. 10) The club, which declined after 1814, also met at Burford (Oxon.) from where in 1827 it transferred its meetings to Cheltenham. (fn. 11) The Aldsworth racecourse apparently remained in use in the mid 19th century (fn. 12) and a training groom lived in the parish in the late 1830s, (fn. 13) but between 1839 and 1859 the races ceased and the stables were closed. (fn. 14) Although the site had been inclosed and the grandstand apparently removed by c. 1881 (fn. 15) some buildings remained in the early 20th century when the land was still uncultivated. (fn. 16) The village contains several buildings built or used in connexion with the racecourse; the jockey stable recorded in the southern part in 1799 (fn. 17) was probably that beside the trainer's house which had been converted as cottages by 1912. (fn. 18)
Of the land in the north-west part of the parish taken into Lodge park, created mainly in Farmington and Northleach in the mid 17th century, (fn. 19) the southern part had been planted by 1799 (fn. 20) and was later included in Larkethill wood, planted south of the Northleach road in the 19th century. (fn. 21) In the north-west, where Conygree was recorded in 1571, (fn. 22) was a warren in 1674 (fn. 23) but in 1799 only a small area adjoining Lodge park remained a warren. (fn. 24) In 1839 Lodge park was a deer-park and with other woodland was kept in hand by the lord of the manor. (fn. 25) In 1901 the parish had 77 a. of wood and plantation. (fn. 26) Allotment gardens south-east of the village between the Burford and Eastleach roads were recorded in 1836 (fn. 27) and, with allotments west of the village in the angle of the Northleach and Cocklebarrow roads, in the early 1920s. (fn. 28)
The Cirencester—Oxford road which crosses the parish from south-west to north-east was described as a highway in 1389 when it was flooded and blocked through the neglect of the villagers. (fn. 29) The bridge over the Leach, possibly that recorded in the 1260s, (fn. 30) was called Burfording bridge in 1412 (fn. 31) and was out of repair in 1434 through the neglect of the Bibury villagers. (fn. 32) The road was turnpiked in 1753. (fn. 33) The bridge was partly maintained by the county in 1836, (fn. 34) although in the same year a turnpike commissioner contracted with a Bibury mason for its repair. (fn. 35) There was a bridge on the Coln St. Aldwyns road by 1413. (fn. 36) The roads leading from the village westwards to Cocklebarrow, called Waldron way, north-eastwards to Sherborne, and north-westwards to Northleach were recorded in 1571. (fn. 37) All the above-mentioned roads with others were specified in the inclosure award of 1793 when the course of the Northleach road was aligned on the spire of Aldsworth church, (fn. 38) a notable landmark which is also the focus for sections of the Cocklebarrow, Sherborne, and Coln St. Aldwyns roads.
There are signs of early settlement including several earth-works and, in the south-east part of the parish, traces of small Iron Age inclosures. (fn. 39) The village grew up north of the Cirencester—Oxford road, apparently around two separate focal points, a larger and a smaller green at its western and eastern ends respectively. The larger green, possibly that recorded in the 1260s, (fn. 40) lies in a gap between two hills through which a stream runs and was the earlier and more important. The church occupied the hill to the south-west by the 12th century and is set apart from and overlooks the village. The sites of former buildings in the field north-east of the church were suggested by earth-works visible in 1976. In the 1790s a farm-house, Aldsworth Farm, was recorded north-west of the church. (fn. 41) East of the church stands the Manor, the rectory farm-house which dates from the 17th century. On the green was a well, probably that recorded in 1412 (fn. 42) and called Fair well in 1638, (fn. 43) and to the east in 1799 stood the village pound, (fn. 44) possibly the common park which was out of repair in 1644. (fn. 45) The parish house held from the manor in 1541 (fn. 46) may have been the church house which comprised three cottages in 1743 when the rents were applied to church repairs. (fn. 47) The building, which occupied an island on the green, (fn. 48) was repaired c. 1794 but was demolished, possibly after 1878. (fn. 49) The Barracks, on the north-west side of the green, dates from the early 18th century and Brook Cottage on the south-east side is dated 1728 and bears the name of William Mury, whose ancestors were recorded in the village from the 1260s. (fn. 50)
The village grew along two lanes leading up the spur east of the green to join the road from the turnpike to Sherborne at the smaller green. Green Farm on the north side dates from the early 18th century; east of it Harvest Barn was converted as a house c. 1970 and north of it stands a dovecot. A well recorded on the green in 1799 (fn. 51) was the chief watersupply in the early 20th century until Lord Sherborne supplied most of the village in 1920. (fn. 52) A memorial was built on the green after the First World War. (fn. 53)
Most of the farm-houses and cottages are of the 19th century. Many earlier buildings recorded around the larger green in 1799 and Aldsworth Farm and some cottages north of the lane to the church were demolished, apparently before 1824, during the construction of a private carriage-way to Sherborne Park from the turnpike. (fn. 54) Lodges were built both on the northern boundary, (fn. 55) called Allen's Lodges c. 1882, and south-west of the village. (fn. 56) The latter, unoccupied in 1836, (fn. 57) is an early-19th-century building. In the northern part of the village are two substantial farm-houses; Blackpits House was rebuilt in 1854 (fn. 58) and Tayler's Farm House to the east has a main block built or remodelled in 1851 (fn. 59) and extensive out-buildings. East of the Sherborne road are some later-19th-century estate cottages. A school was built north-east of the western green in 1853. The vicarage and a nonconformist chapel date from the early 20th century and a pair of cottages by the Cirencester road was described as new in 1919. (fn. 60) There was some new building in the village in the mid 20th century. In 1976 one cottage remained north of the lane to the church; another there had been recently demolished.
At Wall Farm, 500 m. north of the village, there was a settlement by the mid 12th century when people surnamed of Wall were mentioned. (fn. 61) Although it was styled a vill c. 1230 (fn. 62) it was probably never much more than a farmstead. (fn. 63) In 1976 it comprised a farm-house with some cottages and out-buildings. The other outlying farmsteads are post-inclosure. By 1799 there was a farm-house at Cocklebarrow where a rambling house of various dates of the 19th century stood in 1976. There was a barn at Conygree by 1799; (fn. 64) the farm-house there dates from the late 19th century (fn. 65) and has a secondary back wing dated 1899. The farm-house at Ladbarrow on the south-eastern boundary, where there were farm-buildings by 1799, (fn. 66) is a 19th-century building.
In 1086 41 tenants were recorded in Aldsworth (fn. 67) and in 1327 27 people were assessed for the subsidy. (fn. 68) The parish had 21 households in 1563 (fn. 69) and 94 communicants in 1603. (fn. 70) The population was estimated at 120 c. 1710, (fn. 71) and also c. 1775 (fn. 72) when it was certainly larger, for in 1801 it was 288. From 282 in 1811 it rose to 430 by 1861 and then dropped to 299 by 1901. After a small increase to 312 by 1911 the number of inhabitants continued to fall to 230 by 1951 and to 190 by 1971. (fn. 73)
The victualler licensed in 1755 (fn. 74) presumably occupied the inn called the Sherborne Arms in 1793; (fn. 75) owned by Lord Sherborne, it stood at the entrance to the village from the turnpike. (fn. 76) The early-19th-century building was a private residence in 1976, the inn having moved, probably by 1824, to a site on the turnpike east of the village. (fn. 77) A friendly society met at the inn in the 1840s. (fn. 78) In the mid 19th century J. W. Taylor, a brewer, lived in the parish, (fn. 79) and the Sherborne Arms was owned at the end of the century by the Taylor family's Northleach brewery. (fn. 80) It may have been the village inn which in 1912 had the names of horses carved over the doors and windows (fn. 81) but in 1891 there was also a beerhouse owned by John Waine. (fn. 82)
The Duttons of Sherborne have dominated the life of the parish at least from 1611 when they acquired the principal estate; the physical changes resulting from the creation of a route to Sherborne in the early 19th century have already been mentioned.
Manor and Other Estates
Land in Aldsworth was granted between 1002 and 1004 by Wulfric Spot to Burton Abbey (Staffs.) which exchanged it with King Ethelred for land nearer the abbey in 1008. (fn. 83) In 1086 an estate of 11 hides was held by Gloucester Abbey. (fn. 84) The abbey, which received other grants of land (fn. 85) and was granted free warren in 1354, (fn. 86) retained the manor of ALDSWORTH until the Dissolution. (fn. 87) In 1577 the Crown granted a lease of the manor to Thomas Dutton of Sherborne (d. 1581) and his sons Thomas and William, (fn. 88) and William purchased the freehold in 1611. (fn. 89) After his death in 1618 the manor passed with Sherborne manor to his son John (fn. 90) (d. 1657), and then to John's nephews William (d. 1675) and Ralph, who was created a baronet in 1678. Ralph's son Sir John Dutton, Bt., (d. 1743) was succeeded by his nephew James Lenox Naper who took the name Dutton and was succeeded in 1776 by his son James Dutton. James, created Lord Sherborne in 1784, died in 1820 and the manor then passed with the title in the direct line to John (d. 1862), James (d. 1883), and Edward. Edward (d. 1919) was succeeded by his brother Frederick (d. 1920), whose nephew James Huntley Dutton (fn. 91) sold Ladbarrow farm to Mr. M. C. Willes c. 1939. (fn. 92) After James's death in 1949 Cocklebarrow farm was sold to E. R. H. Wills, the second son of Lord Dulverton, but James's son Charles Dutton, Lord Sherborne, remained a considerable landowner in the parish in 1976. (fn. 93)
An estate of 2 hides held in 1066 by Balchi had passed by 1086 to the Crown whose tenant was Elward son of Regenbald, a king's thegn. (fn. 94) In 1133 Henry I granted the estate, later called WALL FARM, with other property formerly held by Elward's father, to Cirencester Abbey (fn. 95) which was granted free warren in 1252. (fn. 96) The abbey held the estate until the Dissolution. (fn. 97) In 1543 it was granted to Richard Andrews and Nicholas Temple, (fn. 98) and in 1547 Richard sold it to William Blomer of Cowley. (fn. 99) After William's death in 1554 the estate with the tithes of wool and lambs passed to his brother-in-law William Colley of Buscot (Berks.) (fn. 100) who died in 1557 leaving as his heir his son Giles, a minor. (fn. 101) Giles Colley (d. 1558) was succeeded by his brother Thomas. (fn. 102) After Thomas's death in 1603 the estate passed to his son Thomas (fn. 103) (d. 1616), whose son Thomas (fn. 104) sold it to John Blomer of Hatherop in 1637. (fn. 105) John died in 1638 and the estate passed to his son William (fn. 106) who released it in 1669 to his elder brother John. (fn. 107) It then passed with Hatherop manor and in 1764 was owned by Sir John Webb. (fn. 108) Wall farm, which was apparently sold by 1785, (fn. 109) was part of Lord Sherborne's estate in 1793 when he was allotted c. 240 a. for the farm and c. 65 a. for the tithes. (fn. 110) Thomas Colley's dwelling at Wall mentioned in 1634 (fn. 111) was presumably on the site of Wall Farm. The 18th-century farm-house was extended later in the century and remodelled internally in the late 19th.
Thomas Lawrence, described as a yeoman in 1608, (fn. 112) and Anthony Fettiplace granted an estate of 5½ yardlands to Thomas and Matthew Bennett in 1638. The estate, known later as GREEN FARM, was bought from Thomas Bennett's son, Thomas Bennett of Salthrop in Wroughton (Wilts.), in 1676 for John Greenwood of Brize Norton (Oxon.) by his father Thomas. Thomas, by will dated 1678, ordered a division of the estate between John's younger sons, George, Thomas, and Gregory, but in 1691 sole right was acquired by the younger Thomas, who was described in 1694 as of Rotherwas in Dinedor (Herefs.). In 1717 the estate was owned by Charles Greenwood, a papist, and in 1722 by his widow Anne, later Mrs. James, who held c. 235 a. in 1746 but had been succeeded by their son Charles Greenwood by 1748. (fn. 113) Charles sold the estate in 1766 to John Waine, (fn. 114) whose family had held a lease of it since at least 1717. (fn. 115) John (d. 1776) was succeeded by his son Thomas (fn. 116) (d. 1815), whose son Thomas (d. 1849) (fn. 117) held 205 a. in 1839. (fn. 118) After Giles Waine's death c. 1866 the estate passed to his son John Charles Waine, a minor, (fn. 119) who put Green farm, comprising 210 a., up for sale in 1897. (fn. 120) It was bought by Robert Garne but after the death of his nephew William Thomas Garne c. 1966 the estate, comprising Green and Tayler's farms, was fragmented. (fn. 121) Green Farm, which dates from the early 18th century, was described in 1762 as a substantial, well built stone messuage with a malt-house. (fn. 122)
The demesne and great tithes of the manor were granted by the bishop of Worcester to Gloucester Abbey in 1100. (fn. 123) Oseney Abbey, which in 1151 appropriated Bibury church of which Aldsworth was a chapelry, (fn. 124) agreed c. 1155 to share with Gloucester Abbey the tithes of the tenants. (fn. 125) About 1184 the abbeys agreed to share the tithes from 49 a. held by the manorial ploughmen and from the stipends of the other manorial servants, and Oseney dropped its claim to a rent of 3s. and a load of wheat. (fn. 126) Gloucester Abbey, which had a portion for its tithes valued at £2 10s. in 1291, (fn. 127) had evidently secured its title to the manorial tithes by 1535 when it received £2 13s. 4d. as a pension or portion from the appropriator for part of the great tithes. (fn. 128) That pension or portion was granted to the bishop of Gloucester in 1541 (fn. 129) and was being paid as a pension in 1713. (fn. 130) The manorial tithes, for which the Aldsworth estate was charged by 1724 with an ancient modus, (fn. 131) probably the £5 owed to the impropriator in 1771, (fn. 132) passed to Lord Sherborne and were commuted at inclosure in 1793. (fn. 133)
In 1291 Oseney Abbey held 2 yardlands in Aldsworth, (fn. 134) evidently the endowment of the chapel there which was appropriated to the abbey in 1151 with the mother church of Bibury. With the abbey's tithes the land was considered to form an appropriated rectory in the early 16th century (fn. 135) and was regranted in 1546 to the dean and chapter of Christ Church, Oxford. (fn. 136) The rectory estate, valued at 100 marks in 1603 (fn. 137) and at £60 c. 1708, (fn. 138) included c. 250 a. about 1775 (fn. 139) and the dean and chapter's lessee received 203 a. for their lands and 387 a. for their tithes at inclosure in 1793. (fn. 140) A lease of the rectory passed from the owners of the Williamstrip estate to the Waine family in 1767, (fn. 141) and in 1793 Lord Sherborne was lessee. (fn. 142) Christ Church remained one of the principal landowners in the parish (fn. 143) until c. 1970 when it sold its property there to the trustees of David Wills. (fn. 144) The rectory farmhouse, called the Manor, is a substantial 17th-century house described in 1771 as a three-storeyed house of five bays with some twelve rooms. (fn. 145) It was dilapidated in 1835 but was restored c. 1836 (fn. 146) when one of the out-buildings to the south-west served as the farm-house. (fn. 147) In the mid 19th century the Manor was used as the parsonage, being repaired in 1866, (fn. 148) but by 1900 it was a farm-house again. (fn. 149) It was sold in the mid 1970s to Capt. P. Percy (fn. 150) and extensively restored with the addition of a porch on the main east front and several windows.
In 1086 Wall farm had 1 plough and 1 servus in demesne; (fn. 151) the manorial demesne was cultivated by 6 servi with 3 ploughs. (fn. 152) In the later 12th century the manorial servants included ploughmen (fn. 153) and in the mid 13th century labour-services were used on the manorial demesne which was worked by 5 ploughs, of which 4 had 6 oxen each and the fifth 5 draught-beasts. Some of the labour-services were connected with sheepfarming. (fn. 154) A lease of the demesne arable was granted in 1514, Gloucester Abbey retaining its flocks in hand. (fn. 155) Oseney Abbey's estate, described as a grange in 1271, (fn. 156) was administered in 1280 with its property in Bibury but had its own permanent staff; (fn. 157) its demesne was let at farm in the early 16th century. (fn. 158) All three estates were let at farm in the mid 16th century. (fn. 159)
The tenants recorded on Wall farm in 1086 were 4 villani and 2 bordars with 2 ploughs. (fn. 160) The manor then supported 21 villani, 5 bordars, and 2 Frenchmen with 15 ploughs. (fn. 161) In the later 12th century the manorial ploughmen held 49 a. apparently by their service on the demesne. (fn. 162) In the 1260s 5 free tenants were recorded on the manor; 3, of whom 2 held a ½ hide (96 a.) each, owed cash rents, suit of court, and a heriot of a horse and armour, a fourth owed cash rent, and the fifth, the widow of a smith, owed cash rent and services of a customary nature, including aid, pannage, and a toll on brewing. Of the customary tenants 26 each held a yardland, which comprised 48 a., and two more shared a yardland; the lord had 2½ customary yardlands in hand. One yardlander owed a rent of 12s. a year but from the other yardlands were owed pannage, heriots, and heavy labour-services. Between Michaelmas and Lammas 4 week-works were owed and carrying service might be enforced on the fifth day once every 5 weeks; extra services were required for ploughing, haymaking, sheep-shearing, and burning pitch, used as a sheep-salve. Between Lammas and Michaelmas the yardlander owed 5 harvest-works a week, 4 bedrepes with 4 men, and carrying-service. There were also 5 mondaymen owing cash rents; three of them also owed 1 week-work between the Nativity of John the Baptist (24 June) and Lammas, a day's reaping each week and 3 bedrepes between Lammas and Michaelmas, a day's work at haymaking, and the same customary payments as a yardlander. (fn. 163) There was tension between the abbey and its unfree tenants in 1412 when eight of the latter were said to have fled and the abbey to have seized all of its bondsmen's goods and chattels. (fn. 164)
In the mid 16th century 2 yardlands of Wall farm were held by copy (fn. 165) and several large copyholds were held from the manor including holdings of 3, 3½, and 5½ yardlands. (fn. 166) In 1609 fines for customary land were said to be at the will of the lord, and widows were entitled to free bench. (fn. 167) In the same year the copyholders petitioned the Crown for the right to hold the manor in fee farm. (fn. 168) In 1617 2 free tenants and 15 copyholders held from the manor. (fn. 169) In the 1640s heriots were payable for land held by leases for lives, (fn. 170) such as were held by some of the 8 leaseholders recorded on the manor in 1661 with 2 free tenants and 14 copyholders; (fn. 171) similar leases were granted in the mid 18th century. (fn. 172)
The parish had two large open fields, an east and a west field on opposite sides of the village, first recorded in 1571 when they contained 2,815¾ a. (fn. 173) In 1688 a yardland, divided almost equally between them, contained strips of an acre or a half-acre. (fn. 174) Some land had been temporarily inclosed by 1584 when pigs were kept on it (fn. 175) and in 1718 4 hitchings covered 11 a. (fn. 176) By 1739 the fields had been adapted to a three-course rotation by a division of the east field, part of which was then known as the north field. (fn. 177)
The parish has little meadow land apart from some by the river Leach. (fn. 178) In the 1260s the lord of the manor took 2d. for each horse and 1d. for each ox over a year old pasturing in a several pasture called Haylinge; (fn. 179) free men enjoyed common rights there between Michaelmas and Whitsun and from 1271 Oseney Abbey was permitted to pasture 12 oxen during that period and 6 oxen for the rest of the year if the lord had cattle there. (fn. 180) Areas of downland, recorded in 1542 as Aldsworth Downs, (fn. 181) were used as common pastures. Three areas of downland remained uninclosed in 1799. (fn. 182) At Blackpits Downs (170 a.) in the north-east the right to cut furzes in the 18th century was reserved to manorial tenants; (fn. 183) Allen's Downs (178 a.), north of Wall Farm, was probably named after the mid-16th-century holders of Sherborne manor; (fn. 184) and East Downs (191 a.), a common pasture east of Ladbarrow Farm and recorded from 1571, (fn. 185) was the site of the racecourse. Blackpits and Allen's Downs had been inclosed by 1839. (fn. 186)
By the mid 13th century sheep-farming was of considerable importance on Gloucester Abbey's estate, (fn. 187) a shepherd being recorded in 1281 or 1282. (fn. 188) In 1514 the abbey retained in hand two flocks (fn. 189) which from 1532 it leased to a farmer; for one of 360 wethers hay was provided from Kempsford and Ampney St. Peter, and the other of 240 ewes was wintered at Maisemore. (fn. 190) At the Dissolution Cirencester Abbey, which had pasture rights for 300 sheep with Wall farm, was letting at farm with the demesne a flock, for which hay was provided from Latton (Wilts.), and the sheep-pasture rent was much the most valuable part of the estate; the farm of its tithes of wool and lambs was also valuable. (fn. 191) In the later 16th century a large flock was kept on the manor (fn. 192) which continued to include meadows in Kempsford and Ampney St. Peter. (fn. 193) In the 18th century the manor also had pasture in Sherborne. (fn. 194) Two shepherds were listed in Aldsworth in 1608 (fn. 195) and the manor court was much concerned with the regulation of sheep-pasture in the late 16th century. (fn. 196) In 1634 a half-yardland had common rights for 60 sheep, 3 horses, and 3 rother beasts (fn. 197) but by 1688 the stint for a whole yardland had been reduced to 60 sheep, 2 horses, and 3 cows. (fn. 198) On the eve of inclosure it was estimated that 600 sheep were kept in the parish. (fn. 199)
Few early inclosures were recorded. By 1739 92½ a. had been inclosed in the east and north fields and 11 a. at Conygree in the west field. (fn. 200) The parish remained largely open until 1793 when it was inclosed under a private Act. The award, which affected 3,158 a., allotted Lord Sherborne 2,228 a. for his open-field land, tithes, and common rights and he shared an allotment of 46 a. with another proprietor, who after various exchanges, took 26 a. As lessee of the dean and chapter of Christ Church Lord Sherborne was awarded 590 a. for their glebe and tithes, the curate 26 a. for his tithes, and Thomas Waine 204 a. The custom whereby the rectory estate provided a bull and boar for the tenant of Aldsworth farm for £5 a year was abolished by the award. (fn. 201) After various exchanges, by 1799 Lord Sherborne owned c. 2,417 a. and held a lease of the rectory estate comprising c. 586 a. (fn. 202)
As a result of inclosure 470 a. were added to the area under tillage and 1,640 quarters to the annual crop of wheat, barley, oats, and peas and the number of sheep kept trebled. (fn. 203) In the early 19th century a considerable proportion of the parish was meadow land and pasture (fn. 204) but in 1866 2,893 a. were returned as arable or rotated grass and only 101 a. as permanent grass. Large flocks of sheep, returned at 2,349, were kept then. (fn. 205) In 1896 at least 178 a. were lying fallow and in 1926 there were at least 740 a. of permanent grassland but sheep and corn husbandry remained dominant in the later 19th century and early 20th. (fn. 206) From the later 19th century, when the parish became noted for its shorthorn cattle through the activity of the Garne family of farmers, (fn. 207) more cattle were reared and in 1926 397 cattle, including 72 milk cows, were returned compared with 178, including 62 milk cows, in 1896. (fn. 208) The Garnes also kept a flock of pure-bred Cotswold sheep which was the last of its kind when disbanded c. 1970. (fn. 209) In 1976 the land was devoted mainly to cereal production and beef-farming. Some dairy cows and pigs were kept and one breeding flock of sheep. (fn. 210)
The post-inclosure farms were large and provided the main source of employment. In 1831 4 farmers employed 70 labourers. (fn. 211) By 1839 the Sherborne estate had been organized with 6 farms in Aldsworth; they were Cocklebarrow (807 a.), Ladbarrow (591 a.), Blackpits (575 a.), Wall (477 a.), Conygree (146 a.), and one of 226 a. Blackpits and Wall farms were farmed by William Garne. There was also a freehold farm of 205 a. (fn. 212) The rectory estate, let at farm in 1808 (fn. 213) and known later as Manor or College farm, (fn. 214) comprised 621 a. in 1919. (fn. 215) There were 10 farms in the parish in 1896 and 13 in 1926 when they provided full-time employment for 76 labourers. Three of the farms in 1926 were smallholdings with less than 20 a. each and six had over 300 a. each. (fn. 216) In 1976 there were six principal farms; Cocklebarrow, Manor, and Blackpits were farmed by Mr. G. J. Phillips, and the others, Wall, Conygree, and Ladbarrow, separately. (fn. 217)
No record has been found of a mill in Aldsworth; in the mid 13th century Gloucester Abbey had its corn milled in Coln St. Aldwyns, (fn. 218) and its unfree manorial tenants owed suit of mill there in the mid 14th. (fn. 219)
In 1811 53 families were supported by agriculture and 8 by trades; the figures in 1831 were 60 and 15 respectively. (fn. 220) Most of the usual village trades were represented in the parish. A smith lived there in the mid 13th century (fn. 221) and in the 17th. (fn. 222) Henry Collett was smith in 1799 (fn. 223) and his descendants followed the trade until the early 20th century; the village had a second smith for periods in the late 19th century. (fn. 224) In 1839 a new carpenter's shop was recorded, (fn. 225) and there were two wheelwrights in the mid 19th century. (fn. 226) In the mid 19th century a weaver lived in the parish, (fn. 227) where in 1912 linen cloth was made. (fn. 228) A butcher was recorded in 1434. (fn. 229) The village had a shop and a bakehouse in 1799, (fn. 230) and a shop and a post-office in 1976. The trades recorded in the early 20th century included those of a stonemason, shoe repairer, and hurdle-maker. (fn. 231) Members of the Howse family were carriers from the mid 19th century and C. J. Howse, a coal-dealer in the early 1930s, had established by 1939 a haulage business (fn. 232) which was still operating in 1976.
In the late 13th century the manor of Bibury exercised leet jurisdiction over most of Aldsworth but view of frankpledge for the appropriated rectory estate (fn. 233) belonged then to Bibury Oseney manor as it did in the 17th and early 18th centuries. In 1191 a joint session of Cirencester Abbey's halimotes of Cirencester and Wall was held at Cirencester dealing with tenurial matters at Wall. (fn. 234) The Aldsworth manor court was recorded in the 1260s; (fn. 235) court rolls survive for 1351, 1412–13, (fn. 236) 1542, 1609, 1617–18, 1622, 1661, and 1670 and there are court papers and estreats for the period 1561–1601. (fn. 237) The court, which dealt with tenurial and agrarian matters and, in 1412 and 1413, with the maintenance of buildings, weirs, ditches, and banks, was concerned with the purity of the water-supply in the 17th century. It elected a keeper of the fields in 1617, and in 1661 four tellers, to supervise the use of the commons, and a hayward.
Two churchwardens were recorded in Aldsworth from 1576 (fn. 238) but in the periods 1787–1842 and 1860–76 there was only one. Their accounts survive for 1764–1878. Between 1795 and 1800 an overseer of the poor paid rents for the church house to the churchwardens, suggesting that the poor were being housed there. (fn. 239) The increase in the cost of poor-relief in the late 18th century was considerable; from £52 in 1776 it rose to £268 by 1803 when occasional help was given to 12 people and permanent relief to 23, of whom 13 were maintained in a workhouse, presumably in a neighbouring parish. (fn. 240) Although the number receiving regular help dropped slightly, the cost of relief rose to £294 by 1813 before falling to £191 by 1815. The number on occasional aid rose to 29 by 1815. (fn. 241) Expenditure, which in 1825 was £212, fell in the late 1820s (fn. 242) and in 1834 was £134. (fn. 243) In 1836 the parish became part of the Northleach poor-law union (fn. 244) and remained in Northleach rural district (fn. 245) until 1974 when it was included in Cotswold district.
There was a chapel at Aldsworth c. 1184, (fn. 246) apparently one of the dependent chapels of Bibury church appropriated in 1151 by Oseney Abbey which was taking mortuaries in Aldsworth c. 1235. (fn. 247) The chapel's dependent status was recorded in 1276 (fn. 248) and again in 1563 (fn. 249) but the right of burial had been acquired by 1683. (fn. 250)
From the later 12th century the chapel was served from Bibury. The assignment c. 1195 by Oseney Abbey of a vicarage endowed with some tithes and all the offerings of the chapelry (fn. 251) was apparently not secured. Aldsworth had a chaplain in the mid 13th century, (fn. 252) and no vicars were recorded in the later Middle Ages. The chapelry was served in 1532 by a curate (fn. 253) and in 1535 by a chaplain. (fn. 254) In 1546 the advowson of the living, called a vicarage, passed with the impropriate rectory to the dean and chapter of Christ Church, Oxford. (fn. 255) By 1540 the obligation of paying the curate had been imposed on the lessee of the rectory estate. (fn. 256) The living, described as a curacy in 1576, (fn. 257) thus had the characteristics of a perpetual curacy, a status attributed to it in 1736 (fn. 258) and acquired in 1789 when it was endowed out of Queen Anne's Bounty. (fn. 259) From the later 19th century the living was usually styled a vicarage. (fn. 260) The dean and chapter of Christ Church, who appointed graduates of the college to hold the living in plurality with Turkdean vicarage between 1736 and 1837, (fn. 261) retained the advowson in 1976. (fn. 262) The living was united that year with Sherborne with Windrush and Great Barrington with Little Barrington. (fn. 263)
The Wall farm tithes, which were part of the vicarage assigned c. 1195 by Oseney Abbey, (fn. 264) were possibly taken then by Cirencester Abbey, which certainly held them by 1291 when it had a portion for tithes of 6s. 8d. in Bibury church. (fn. 265) After the Dissolution the owner of Wall farm took the tithes of wool and lambs there. (fn. 266)
In the mid 16th century the chaplain or curate received a stipend of £4 (fn. 267) which had been increased to £5 6s. 8d. by 1603 when he also received small tithes worth 53s. 4d. (fn. 268) About 1710 the curacy was valued at £6. (fn. 269) By 1736 the impropriator had granted a stipend of £20 to the curate, whose income was supplemented by some small tithes, Easter offerings, and rents from the churchyard. He also held two cottages (fn. 270) which were probably those on the plot described as the curate's messuage in 1799, north of the lane to the church. (fn. 271) The curate's small tithes were from cows and calves in 1750 and c. 1770 when he also took garden pence. (fn. 272) In 1789, when the curacy was valued at £23 10s., (fn. 273) the living received an endowment of £200 out of Queen Anne's Bounty to meet a benefaction of £200 by the impropriator. (fn. 274) When all the tithes were commuted at inclosure in 1793 the curate was allotted 26 a. and rent-charges of 2s. 2½d. for his tithes. (fn. 275) In 1843 Queen Anne's Bounty augmented the living by a grant of £200 to meet another benefaction of £200 by the impropriator. (fn. 276) The living was valued at £67 in 1856. (fn. 277) The glebe comprised 26 a. until c. 1902 (fn. 278) when much of it was sold, (fn. 279) leaving 7 a. in 1927. (fn. 280) There was no glebe in 1976. (fn. 281)
There is no early record of a parsonage house. Between 1736 and 1837 the curates probably lived at Turkdean, where a stipendiary curate was licensed to live in 1817 (fn. 282) and from where the perpetual curate served Aldsworth every other week in 1825. (fn. 283) The vicarage house said to be void in 1839 (fn. 284) was possibly the rectory farm-house, for in 1840 the perpetual curate was assigned a residence in Farmington until a glebe-house was built. (fn. 285) At times between 1849 and 1863 the rectory farm-house was occupied by the incumbent or stipendiary curates (fn. 286) but in 1866, when it was being repaired, it was declared unfit for the perpetual curate's residence. (fn. 287) It was in use as a vicarage in the early 1880s (fn. 288) after which the incumbent lived in rented accommodation in the parish. (fn. 289) Aided by a grant of £100 in 1895 out of the Warneford Diocesan Charities (fn. 290) a new vicarage was built north-west of the church c. 1905. (fn. 291) It was offered for sale in 1976. (fn. 292)
The curate serving the living in 1576 evidently did not accept fully the Elizabethan Settlement: at Easter he had worn a cope, and furthermore had worn the surplice on perambulations, had preached only one sermon in two years, and had not taught the catechism. (fn. 293) Thomas Roberts, described in 1584 as a conformist, (fn. 294) was said in 1593 to be a sufficient scholar but not a preacher. (fn. 295) In 1619 the church had neither Bible nor common prayer book but they had been provided by the following year. (fn. 296) In 1639 the curacy was disputed by Daniel Cowley and Laurence Griffith; the latter, who claimed to have been nominated first and imprisoned later, (fn. 297) recovered the living. Griffith, described in 1650 as a preaching minister, (fn. 298) had been suspended by 1671, (fn. 299) and in 1674 it was said that he was making £80 a year from performing clandestine marriages, (fn. 300) an enterprise which in 1677 attracted persons from Lydiard Tregoze (Wilts.). (fn. 301) He had been succeeded by 1682. (fn. 302) In the 18th and 19th centuries many of the curates were non-resident (fn. 303) but in 1743 Aldsworth was served once a week. (fn. 304) John Bellingham, perpetual curate 1839–65, served the living by stipendiary curates from 1851, but in 1866 his successor, Edward Hallet Todd who lived at Windrush, served in person. (fn. 305) In 1970 a priest-in-charge was appointed pending the union of benefices. (fn. 306)
The parish church of ST. BARTHOLOMEW, named before 1784 (fn. 307) but sometimes called St. Peter's from 1745, (fn. 308) comprises chancel with south vestry, nave with north aisle, north and south porches, and west tower with spire. (fn. 309) The north arcade is of the late 12th century and the aisle was laid out at that time although the nave may have been subsequently widened. The west tower and north porch were added in the 14th century and about the same time the north aisle was remodelled and enriched with carved decoration as a chapel of St. Catherine; the ornamentation on the outside includes several shields, one of which carries the arms of Oseney Abbey, (fn. 310) and on the inside are shields bearing a clawed foot and a crowned heart. The south porch was added and the south wall of the nave rebuilt in the 15th century. The spire may also belong to that period.
The church was restored between 1842 and 1843 largely at the cost of Lord Sherborne, who provided new open pews. The roof was rebuilt and a clerestory added, the south porch was converted as a vestry, and the chancel floor was relaid. A western gallery was rebuilt then; (fn. 311) it had an external entrance and was removed after 1921. (fn. 312) In 1877 the chancel and chancel arch were rebuilt to designs by J. R. Clarke and the vestry was added. (fn. 313)
The north door survives from the 14th century and that to the porch is dated 1636. In the south porch the east window contains fragments of 15th-century glass. Only two of the monuments recorded before 1784 survived in 1976. (fn. 314) There are three early-15th-century bells, probably cast by Robert Hendley of Gloucester or his assistant, (fn. 315) and repaired by subscription c. 1868, (fn. 316) and a modern sanctus bell. The plate includes a chalice of 1724 and a paten of 1727. (fn. 317) The registers survive from 1683. (fn. 318)
A house was registered as a meeting-place in 1742, (fn. 319) and another house, for use by Independents, in 1754. (fn. 320) In 1907 the Wesleyan Methodists built a chapel in the village. (fn. 321) It had a congregation of c. 8 in 1976 when it was served once a week from Fulbrook (Oxon.). (fn. 322)
In 1818 the parish had no school (fn. 323) but by 1833 three day-schools had been established in which children were educated at their parents' expense; one had 12 children, another begun in 1821 had 5, and the third begun in 1832 had six. (fn. 324) A Sunday School, attended by 61 children in 1825 (fn. 325) and by 48 in 1833, was supported by Lady Sherborne. (fn. 326) Attendance had risen to 51 by 1847 when an associated day-school with 32 children was supported by subscriptions, payments, and Lady Sherborne, but had no schoolroom. Another day-school supported by payments and with a schoolroom was attended by 20 children in 1847. (fn. 327) Aldsworth C. of E. school was built in 1853 by Lord Sherborne, (fn. 328) who supported it in 1856. (fn. 329) In 1871 when it had an average attendance of 53 it was supported by school pence and voluntary contributions; (fn. 330) it was receiving a government grant in 1879. (fn. 331) Attendance rose to 60 by 1885 (fn. 332) and 74 by 1904; (fn. 333) in 1936 the average attendance was 57. (fn. 334) There were 19 children on the roll in 1976 drawn from Aldsworth and neighbouring parishes. (fn. 335)
Charities for the Poor