A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1968.
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Forthampton lies on the west bank of the Severn, opposite Tewkesbury. Its rural character and appearance are relatively unaffected by modern developments. Until 1931 the parish comprised 2,540 a., and was elongated though regular in shape, stretching over 4 miles from east to west and little more than 1 mile across at any point. (fn. 1) The account here printed concerns the area that formed the parish up to 1931, in which year the western end, 1,086 a. in area, was transferred to Eldersfield (Worcs.). (fn. 2) The area transferred was roughly coextensive with the hamlet or township of Swinley, mentioned as a hamlet of Forthampton in 1286; (fn. 3) in 1287 Forthampton and Swinley occurred as separate townships. (fn. 4) In the 18th century Downend was also said to be a hamlet, (fn. 5) but it appears never to have been administratively distinct. The River Severn is the eastern boundary of the parish; the northern boundary for most of its length followed the Tewkesbury-Ledbury road, and at the western end the Longdon brook; the southern boundary in large part followed lanes and footpaths. (fn. 6)
The parish lies mainly on the Keuper Marl, with a broad alluvial bed along the flood-plain of the Severn. (fn. 7) The land is gently undulating, and lies between the 25 ft. and 175 ft. contours; it is drained by the Paradise brook and a tributary, flowing eastward into the Severn, and by a small stream flowing westward into the Longdon brook. (fn. 8) Although the land has long been mainly agricultural there are large numbers of elm and oak trees, and clearance of the natural woodland seems to have been comparatively late. Minor place-names, notably Swinley but also such names as Cockshay and Elmhay, indicate woodland and clearings in the woodland. (fn. 9) In the 11th century there was a large area of woodland, with a hawk's eyrie, within the inclosure of the king's wood, and the name Swinley was exemplified by the presence of four swineherds as tenants, paying a rent of 35 pigs. (fn. 10) Much of the woodland may have been cleared in the 12th century: shortly after acquiring Forthampton manor, Tewkesbury Abbey received the king's licence to assart immediately Walsgrove and 'Broces' within its hays of Swinley, (fn. 11) and in 1151 further assarts were foreseen. (fn. 12) Trees in large numbers remained a prominent feature of the landscape: in the early 17th century there were 12,000 fellable trees, (fn. 13) in 1665 the oaks and elms were valued at 1,800, (fn. 14) and in 1672 there were nearly 9,000 saplings and pollards in Forthampton manor and nearly 17,000 in Swinley. (fn. 15) A later writer deplored the tenants' habit of polling the trees so that they might afterwards take the lop, (fn. 16) and another noted that the soil produced oak and elm in great luxuriance. (fn. 17) Voulters Wood was planted, to unite older plantations, some time before 1809, (fn. 18) and windbreaks, avenues, coverts, and other small plantations surviving in 1966 apparently derived from the same period. Open fields in Forthampton and in Swinley were inclosed during the 18th century. (fn. 19)
The straggling village of Forthampton and small scattered settlements provide habitation in roughly equal proportions. The relatively late survival of woodland is likely to account for the scattered pattern of settlement, which is more marked in Swinley; in Forthampton village itself, however, the houses are so far spread out that some of them are isolated. The village forms a wide arc, on rising ground well above the flood-plain of the Severn, from Hill End on the south to Sezincote on the east. Near the crown of the arc is the greatest concentration of houses, and the church, with the old stocks and whipping post (fn. 20) by the churchyard gate, stands to the east. It was presumably the village cross-roads there that provided the surname borne by three of the taxpayers of 1327. (fn. 21) Two of the houses are farmhouses. One, Corner House Farm, is a brick farmhouse of the early 19th century and has timberframed farm buildings with thatched roofs. The other is Vine Farm, formerly Church or Upper Farm, then Fine View or Vine View House, (fn. 22) which has in the back wing indications of a cruck-framed hall; part of the two-story front wing is of closestudded framing of c. 1600, with two massive stone chimneys flanking a timber-framed gable, and the jettied eastern gable-end has carved barge-boards. Vine Farm was evidently the house assessed on 5 hearths in 1672. (fn. 23) Two of the smaller timber-framed houses retain their thatched roofs.
West of the cross-roads, in the area called the Bowling Alley in 1636 (fn. 24) and 1752, (fn. 25) are two timberframed cottages of the 17th century, and brick cottages of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. North-east from the church the houses are scattered and mostly small, including several timber-framed and thatched buildings in the area of Harbour Elm, called Harbours End in 1635 (fn. 26) and Harbour Green in 1752. (fn. 27) Two larger houses in the area are Alcock's Farm, named from a family that held land in Forthampton in 1538 (fn. 28) and later, which is timberframed of the 16th and 17th centuries, and Forthampton Cottage, an 18th-century brick building enlarged in the 19th century, where there was a girls' boarding school in 1856. (fn. 29)
The road running south-west from the village cross-roads has houses widely spaced along its southeast side; a mid-20th-century bungalow stands alone on the north-west side. The Sanctuary, near the cross-roads, is among the oldest of the village houses and was once of considerable standing. In 1540, when it was called St. Robert's, it had a chapel and a dovecot. (fn. 30) It comprises two ranges joined at an oblique angle, both being of close-studded framing. The northern range may represent the former hall. The upper floor of the southern range was apparently a solar of c. 1500, and retains a central queen-post truss with a richly moulded tiebeam; the panelled, plastered ceiling, above a crenellated wall-plate, retains carved wooden bosses, including three with shields of which two have the engrailed cross of Tewkesbury Abbey and one the arms of Clare impaling Audley. The porch and the northern gable-end of the solar range have carved barge-boards. Hill Farm, the largest of the group of five timber-framed houses of the 16th and 17th centuries at the south-west end of the village, has a nearly symmetrical front with two projecting gables. It was assessed on 5 hearths in 1662, (fn. 31) and was described as a very fair house in 1665. (fn. 32) The most southerly house, Forthampton House, (fn. 33) is a large brick house of three stories, built apparently in the 17th century and enlarged in the 18th century, with a dentil cornice, a fanlight over the door, and a contemporary staircase. Forthampton Court (fn. 34) stands a mile south-east of the church, and midway between them is Southfield House, formerly Lower House. (fn. 35) Lower House existed by 1641, (fn. 36) but was rebuilt in the early 18th century as a two-story brick house with two projecting wings and hipped roofs above a modillion cornice. The alignment of the walls shows the plan of part of the earlier house. Near-by is a square, four-gabled brick dovecot with a lantern. Forthampton Farm, a 19th-century house towards the north-east corner of the parish, stands on the site of a farm recorded in 1752; near-by was a house called the Pick's House (fn. 37) (later Pict's Cottage) (fn. 38) that had gone by 1966, and in the same part of the parish is the Round House, (fn. 39) comprising the base of Alcock's windmill, (fn. 40) a building of the local shaly stone, with a 19th-century brick cottage beside it. In the extreme north-east corner of the parish half a dozen cottages, as in 1752, (fn. 41) comprise the settlement of Cork's Hill; none of them is older than the 18th century, and their location is likely to be connected with the passage of the Severn at the Upper Lode. (fn. 42)
In the western half of the parish settlement is scattered, and many of the smaller houses were presumably first built by squatters on the waste. The names of four inhabited sites Swinley Green, Dunsmore Green, Long Green, and Neely Green suggest settlements on the waste. In 1634 3 or 4 cottages prejudicial to the lord of the manor's rights were ordered to be demolished on the death of the paupers who lived in them. (fn. 43) In 1751, 13 cottages in Forthampton and 11 in Swinley were alleged to have been built without the statutory 4 a. and without the lord's licence. (fn. 44) The isolated farm-houses include Hooze Farm and Swinley Court, where there were apparently houses in the Middle Ages, (fn. 45) Downend Farm, and Mitre Farm. Mitre Farm was built between 1751 and 1756 (fn. 46) on a new site at the east end of Swinley Green; a little north of it, however, stands a large cruck-frame barn of 5 bays, formerly thatched, and with timber-framed walls with curved braces, beside what may have been a small moated site. Downend Farm, where the buildings are of 19th-century brick, was the site of a house in 1672. (fn. 47) In 1802 the farmer of Downend also had Swinley Farm, used as a cottage, (fn. 48) which may have been the house on one of two or more sites mile south of Downend, by a small stream. (fn. 49) The house called Colchesters in 1752 was apparently there, and immediately south-east was Swinley Street, with 2 houses in 1752, (fn. 50) later called Swinley Green. Along the north side of Swinley Green were 7 houses in 1883, (fn. 51) including Woods Farm, which had been held by the tenant of Mitre Farm and occupied by a labourer in 1802. (fn. 52) By c. 1955, however, none was inhabited, and in 1965 the ground was cleared and levelled. (fn. 53)
In 1752 there were 3 houses at Dunsmore Green, 5 in two groups at Long Green, and one at Neely Green. (fn. 54) At Neely Green in 1966 there was only a house built in 1870, (fn. 55) with a pheasantry, but there were more houses in 1883, (fn. 56) and on the south side of the road further west small inclosures are suggestive of former cottages. At Dunsmore Green in 1966 there were similar small inclosures, along with 2 timber-framed 17th-century cottages, of which one had a thatched roof and was in ruins, and an 18th-century brick cottage. Long Green straggles along the main road that formed the northern boundary of Forthampton parish, and after Forthampton village it was in 1966 the largest settlement. A victualler lived there in 1752, (fn. 57) and from 1902 there was a Methodist chapel. (fn. 58) The 13 houses on the south side of Long Green are all small; the oldest are timber-framed cottages of the 17th century, the newest were built in the mid-20th.
Although the 17th-century timber framing is perhaps the most marked characteristic of the smaller houses in the parish, 15 cottages built in brick between 1858 and 1899 in the Gothic and Tudor styles by the Yorkes of Forthampton Court are also a prominent feature. In a similar style, but in ashlar, are 4 almshouses immediately east of the church built by the Yorkes in 1864. (fn. 59) Some of the cottages may have replaced earlier houses, like Poltork's Cottage (1858), on the site of which there was a house in 1635. (fn. 60) Another feature of the parish is the large number of stone gateposts, which are not of the shaly local stone used in a few buildings of the parish, notably the church and Forthampton Court, but of limestone.
The main road crossing the parish from north to south was a turnpike from 1752 to 1872; (fn. 61) the road along the north boundary was turnpiked under the Act of 1823 for building the Mythe Bridge, (fn. 62) and disturnpiked in 1872. (fn. 63) The Horse Bridge, carrying that road across the Longdon brook, appears to have given rise to a surname used in 1220. (fn. 64) Later it was called Pendock Bridge, (fn. 65) and was mentioned in a will of 1545. (fn. 66) In 1872 it was supposed to be a county bridge. (fn. 67) Near Horse Bridge, the Ross Spur motorway, opened in 1960, (fn. 68) just crosses the corner of the parish.
A road running across the parish and dividing at Forthampton village cross-roads to lead to the two ferries across the Severn at the Upper and Lower Lodes declined in importance after the opening of the Mythe Bridge in 1826. (fn. 69) The road left the main road along the north of the parish mile east of Horse Bridge where in 1712 the 'dial post at the sign of the Hand and Pen' (fn. 70) indicated an alternative route to the main road. From Dial Post, where there was a house until the mid-20th century, (fn. 71) the road ran south and east in a wide curve along Swinley Green. By 1966 that part of the road was overgrown and impassable for vehicles.
From the village cross-roads the Lower Lode road led to the ferry belonging to Tewkesbury Abbey and mentioned by implication in 1300 and 1368; (fn. 72) the William of Lode who kept a ferry in 1519 (fn. 73) is to be associated with the Lower Lode. John Butler paid a high rent for a house there in 1538, (fn. 74) and there was a stockboat there in 1545. (fn. 75) From 1653 the ownership of the ferry was united again with that of Forthampton Court, (fn. 76) and a new barge was provided in 1654. (fn. 77) Although the ferry lost much of its importance with the opening of the Mythe Bridge, it survived until c. 1920 when the barge sank and was not replaced. A ferry for foot traffic lingered on for a few years after. (fn. 78) The house in 1538 may have been an inn, and an alehouse at the Lower Lode was licensed in 1755. (fn. 79) The public house held with the ferry in 1802 (fn. 80) was the 18th-century brick house that survived in 1966 as the Lower Lode Hotel. The Upper Lode (fn. 81) road, up to the early 19th century, left the Lower Lode road at the village cross-roads and ran immediately north of Corner House Farm, and was also linked with the Lower Lode by a lane east of the churchyard. (fn. 82) About 1824 the linking lane and the west end of the Upper Lode road were replaced by a road round the north and west sides of the churchyard. (fn. 83) Near Sezincote the Upper Lode road crosses the Paradise brook by a bridge called Snetterfields Bridge in 1545, (fn. 84) but between there and Cork's Hill most of the road went out of use in the 20th century.
The roads were said to have been very bad before they were repaired c. 1770 at the expense of James Yorke. (fn. 85) In addition to the changes in the roads already mentioned there were minor closures and alterations from the late 18th century onward. A road leading south-east from the south-west end of the village was closed in 1789, and another leading south-west from there (fn. 86) went out of use later. Pole Street, linking Harbour Elm to the main road on the north boundary, had been closed by 1802. (fn. 87) In 1815 the road from the Lower Lode to Chaceley was replaced by one further from the river, which also replaced a field road from Southfield House to Chaceley. (fn. 88) In 1829, after the opening of the Mythe Bridge, a road leading north-west from Cork's Hill was closed. (fn. 89) The road running in front of Forthampton Court was replaced, as a public road, in 1889 by a road skirting south-west. (fn. 90)
In 1327 the parish contained 25 taxpayers. (fn. 91) There were c. 200 communicants in 1551, (fn. 92) and 42 households in 1563. (fn. 93) The estimate of 94 communicants in 1603 (fn. 94) may be too low or may exclude Swinley. There were said to be c. 60 families in 1650, (fn. 95) and 174 adults in 1676. (fn. 96) Only 38 houses were assessed for hearth-tax in 1662, (fn. 97) but the 45 houses listed in 1665, of which 16 were in Swinley, were not all the houses that then existed in the parish. (fn. 98) A careful list of inhabitants in 1752 returned 288 people living in 59 families and 52 houses; 14 of the houses were in Swinley. (fn. 99) The population numbered 449 in 1801, reached a maximum of 468 in 1851, and had fallen to 351 by 1901. Excluding Swinley, which in 1921 had a population of 84, there were 216 people in Forthampton in 1961. (fn. 100)
The former village school, (fn. 101) used partly as a concert hall in the 19th century, survived as a village hall in 1966, and a working men's club has a building west of the church given by Mrs. J. R. Yorke c. 1900. (fn. 102) The strongest influence on the social life of the parish, from the mid-18th century, has been that of the Yorke family of Forthampton Court. Building and road-improvements by the Yorkes are mentioned above; their ownership of the land and patronage of the church and school are discussed later. The tree-lined Bishop's Walk and the avenue near Mitre Farm are examples of their influence on the landscape, and a characteristic action was the sowing of potatoes, in 1789 and 1809, to provide cheap food for the poor in times of high prices. (fn. 103) Henry Vincent Yorke (b. 1905) is the novelist 'Henry Green'.
Manors and Other Estates.
The 10 hides west of the Severn which Denebeorht, Bishop of Worcester, gave to King Coenwulf in 814 may have comprised Forthampton but are more likely to have lain further north. (fn. 104) By 1066 the manor of FORTHAMPTON had become part of the Tewkesbury estate belonging to Brictric. After the Conquest it was granted to William FitzOsbern, Earl of Hereford, and because of the forfeiture by William's son Roger it was in the Crown's hands in 1086. (fn. 105) The Crown appears to have granted Forthampton, along with other lands that Brictric had held, to Robert FitzHamon, for in 1107, in confirming his gift of Forthampton to Tewkesbury Abbey, Henry I stated that he had made the gift after FitzHamon's death (fn. 106) in that year. (fn. 107) The abbey retained Forthampton, as part of the honor of Gloucester, (fn. 108) until the Dissolution. (fn. 109) In 1210 Robert de Berga resigned into the abbey's hands all the land which he had held in Forthampton by the gift of two of the abbots. (fn. 110) In 1236 Simon of Framilode sold to the abbey the tenement which he held in the abbey's manor of Forthampton. (fn. 111) Although the Abbot of Tewkesbury claimed in 1286 that the whole of Forthampton and Swinley was within his fee, (fn. 112) the Prior of Great Malvern in 1280 had 20s. rent in Forthampton. (fn. 113) In 1373 Tewkesbury Abbey acquired land there held of Great Malvern Priory, (fn. 114) and in 1535 owed 20s. rent for land in Forthampton to the priory. The Abbey also owed a small rent for land in Swinley to the heir (fn. 115) of John Delamare (d. 1517), lord of the neighbouring Hardwick manor in Eldersfield, where John was succeeded by his son Robert (d. 1566). (fn. 116)
In 1540 the Crown assigned the house of Forthampton with the demesne and tithes to John Wakeman, the last Abbot of Tewkesbury, (fn. 117) who, as Bishop of Gloucester, is said to have died at Forthampton in 1549. (fn. 118) In 1542 the Crown granted Forthampton in fee to George Harper, and licensed him the same year to alienate to Maurice Dennis, (fn. 119) but neither man has been otherwise found recorded as lord. The manor appears to have been held by the Crown in 1569 when Margery Blunt received a new lease of the manor on surrendering one made in 1538 to her late husband, Thomas, and William Wakeman, (fn. 120) who in 1540 had accounted for the farm of the manor. (fn. 121) Edward Blunt had the lease renewed in 1590, (fn. 122) and was said to be impropriator in 1603. (fn. 123)
The Crown granted the manor in 1607, (fn. 124) and the tithes in 1610, to Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, (fn. 125) who was recorded as lord in 1608. (fn. 126) The earl died in possession of the manor in 1612, (fn. 127) and in the same year his son and heir William sold the manor to Robert Mayell. In 1619 John Mayell mortgaged the manor to Lionel Cranfield, later Earl of Middlesex (d. 1645), to whom John's son Henry conveyed the manor in 1625. (fn. 128) In 1630 the remainder of Edward Blunt's leasehold term was conveyed to Edward Cotton, who in 1633 sold it to Lionel Cranfield's daughter Mary. (fn. 129) Cranfield's son and heir James was in possession of Forthampton in 1648, (fn. 130) and James's brother and heir, Lionel, conveyed the estate in 1668 to Richard Sackville, Earl of Dorset, (fn. 131) whose wife Frances was the daughter and eventual heir of the elder Lionel Cranfield. (fn. 132) The Sackvilles' son, Charles, Earl of Middlesex, sold land in Forthampton and Swinley in 1677 to six people; Charles Dowdeswell of Bushley, who had recently been steward of the manor, bought the manorial estate, and in 1678 made a settlement of Forthampton Court and 584 a. in Forthampton and Swinley. (fn. 133)
Charles Dowdeswell died in 1706, and his son Charles in 1713. The younger Charles had an only child, Anne, later the wife of Robert Wylde, and by his will the manor went to his brother Richard. In 1732 an Act of Parliament enabled Richard to sell part of the estate so that he could pay the sum due under the will to Anne Wylde. Richard Dowdeswell (d. 1748) made a mortgage to Samuel Clarke, (fn. 134) who in 1747 leased Forthampton Court to Joseph Dipper, (fn. 135) and brought an action arising from the mortgage against Richard Dowdeswell. In 1749 the Court of Chancery ordered that the offer of Thomas Lloyd to buy the estate should be accepted and that Lloyd should be given possession. (fn. 136) Lloyd was acting on behalf of Isaac Maddox, Bishop of Worcester, who was lord of the manor by 1751. On the bishop's death in 1759 his daughter Mary (d. 1823) inherited the manor, and in 1762 she married James Yorke, 5th son of Philip Yorke, Earl of Hardwicke. (fn. 137) James Yorke later became successively Bishop of St. David's, of Gloucester, and of Ely, and died in 1808. (fn. 138)
The Yorke family thereafter retained the Forthampton Court estate, and from Joseph Yorke (d. 1830), the son of James and Mary, the estate passed successively from father to son: Joseph Yorke (d. 1889), John Reginald Yorke (d. 1912), Vincent Wodehouse Yorke (d. 1957), and Gerald Joseph Yorke (b. 1901). (fn. 139) In the early 17th century the manorial estate appears to have comprised virtually the whole parish. In 1652 the Earl of Middlesex sold a freehold estate to Thomas Cox alias Hayward, (fn. 140) and in 1674 the Earl of Dorset sold a house and 57 a. to Thomas Pinnock. (fn. 141) In 1677 there was a more widespread dispersal of the manorial estate. (fn. 142) In 1685, however, Charles Dowdeswell bought Pinnock's estate, which Thomas Pinnock had sold to Robert Pinnock in 1677, thus re-uniting it with the manorial estate. (fn. 143) In 1771 James Yorke bought Thomas Hayward's estate, and in 1778 and 1791 three others, (fn. 144) so that in 1802 over 2,000 a. of the parish belonged to the Forthampton Court estate (fn. 145) and in 1808 James Yorke was answerable for all but 3 per cent. of the land tax assessment for the parish. (fn. 146) In 1966 Mr. G. J. Yorke owned nearly the whole parish.
Forthampton Court, less than mile from the Severn, was a residence of the abbots of Tewkesbury, and the house retains much of the fabric of a large medieval manor-house. (fn. 147) The great hall, from which later partitions and an intermediate floor were removed in the 20th century, is of rubble masonry, and has a roof of 5 bays with arch-braced collarbeams and double purlins with curved wind-braces. One fine wooden angel-corbel survives. At the northeast end the hall is flanked by two-story blocks: to the south-east is a building of coursed rubble, of which the upper floor was apparently a chapel, with stone windows with 15th-century tracery, and to the north-west is a timber-framed building of the 15th century that is likely to have contained a solar. On the east a brick wing, with projecting carved stones that were later cut off, diagonal buttresses, and a moulded string-course, may have been added in the early 16th century, and at that period or later a south-east wing was built facing the hall across a three-sided courtyard. In 1634 there was a dovecot near the court, and the gardens were said to be 'now handsome to walk in'. (fn. 148) The house, let to a Mr. Osborne in 1639, (fn. 149) underwent repairs or enlargement in 1643. (fn. 150) In 1665 it was described as a fair dwelling-house; (fn. 151) in 1662 it was still occupied by Mr. Osborne and was assessed for tax on 14 fireplaces. (fn. 152) The house was altered in or soon after 1788, to give the courtyard a regular appearance with the hall and south-east wing balancing each other and the main entrance in the centre of the third side, (fn. 153) and a two-story wing in brick was built out from the north-west side of the hall. In 1891 (fn. 154) the house was remodelled, to provide passages to the main rooms: staircases were inserted, the southeast wing was altered, and part of the hall roof was exposed. The architect was Philip Webb, and William Morris provided some of the fittings. In 1913 the whole of the hall was opened and a large oriel window built to light it; in 1938 the main entrance was moved to the north-east side of the house, and the south-east wing was remodelled. (fn. 155) Near the south corner of the house stands a tall table-tomb on three steps with the recumbent effigy of a knight of the la Zouche family. (fn. 156) The tomb, which until c. 1880 was in a meadow north-east of the court, is supposed to have come from the demolished Lady Chapel of Tewkesbury Abbey, (fn. 157) and if it did it is presumably the tomb of William la Zouche, Lord Zouche of Ashby (d. 1337). (fn. 158) The pictures in the house include a painted panel of the 14th century.
In 1454 SWINLEY manor was recorded as a member of Forthampton manor, (fn. 159) but Swinley was usually mentioned, for the next 300 years, not as a manor but simply as a part of the manor (fn. 160) that was sometimes called the manor of Forthampton and Swinley. (fn. 161) Swinley was part of the Forthampton manor estate when the site of Swinley manor was recorded in 1538 (fn. 162) and, after the dispersal of the Earl of Dorset's estate in 1677, when the manor or farm of Swinley Court was recorded in 1678. (fn. 163) In 1752, however, Swinley was said to be a distinct manor, (fn. 164) a view partly supported by the administrative arrangements of the parish at the time. (fn. 165) Swinley Court stands on a formerly moated site, and comprises a timber-framed wing built in the 17th century and a brick wing at right-angles to it built in the 18th. It was described in 1665 as a handsome farm-house; (fn. 166) some of its internal features were removed in the 20th century. The timberframed barns were formerly thatched. (fn. 167)
In the late 12th century one Alexander held a plough-land in Hooze, at the western end of the parish. In 1220 Alexander's son, Philip the chaplain, had possession, though Philip son of Simon laid claim to the land on the ground that it had passed from Alexander to his son and heir Simon. (fn. 168) The same estate may have been the freehold which Mary Throckmorton in 1538, and afterwards Thomas Throckmorton (d. 1568), (fn. 169) held in Swinley as a tenant of Forthampton manor. (fn. 170) Edward Neast had a house called Elmhay and 60 a. of land called the Hooze, which his grandson Edward Neast sold in 1616 to William Dean. In 1641 John Browning sold the same estate to Thomas Barnes and his son Anthony, to whom Thomas gave his interest in 1655. (fn. 171) Another Thomas Barnes owed suit for the Hooze at Forthampton manor court in 1716, (fn. 172) and the heirs of the late Mr. Barnes were recorded as freeholders in Swinley in 1752. (fn. 173) In 1802 (fn. 174) and 1808 the 47 a. of the Hooze farm in Forthampton parish was one of the two small estates there not belonging to the owners of Forthampton Court. (fn. 175) It later became part of the Forthampton Court estate, but was sold in 1958 to the occupier, Mr. H. E. Lewis. (fn. 176) Hooze Farm stands on a prominent tump, which gives the place its name, (fn. 177) and was perhaps the house with 3 hearths occupied by John Hatton in 1662. (fn. 178) It is a square-framed house, with at least one numbered timber, of two stories and L-shaped on plan. In the 18th or 19th century the south front was bricked, and in the 20th century was rendered.
Two separate branches of the Hayward family owned substantial estates in Forthampton in the 17th and 18th centuries. Evidently both branches descended from Thomas Hayward, recorded as a customary tenant in 1538, (fn. 179) from John Hayward (d. c. 1544), and from John's son William Cox alias Hayward (fn. 180) (d. by 1580). (fn. 181) Thomas Cox alias Hayward died in 1620, (fn. 182) and was apparently the husband of Joan and father of Thomas who in 1635 together had the highest assessment for ship-money after the lord of the manor. (fn. 183) Thomas Hayward, distinguished from others of the same name as 'of the Church', was recorded as a free tenant of the manor in 1645, (fn. 184) 1653, and 1663. (fn. 185) His chief house was evidently Church or Upper Farm, (fn. 186) later called Vine House. (fn. 187) On his death in 1668 his freehold estate passed to his eldest son William Cox alias Hayward of Woolstrop (d. 1696) and then to William's son William (d. 1709); (fn. 188) his copyhold estate went to his second son Philip, (fn. 189) who in 1678 bought its freehold from the Earl of Dorset for his son Thomas. The copyhold estate was centred on Lower Farm, later called Howes. In 1701 and 1707 Thomas Cox alias Hayward bought from his cousin William their grandfather's freehold estate in Forthampton. He was succeeded in 1742 by his son, the Revd. Thomas, whose heirs at his death c. 1757 were two of his sisters, Chrysagon, wife of Charles Hayward, and Philippa Wilmot, and the Revd. Thomas Beale, son of a third sister, Mary, and her husband Thomas. (fn. 190) In 1771 Chrysagon and her son Charles, Philippa's executors, and the Revd. Thomas Beale sold their estate of 139 a. comprising Church farm and Lower farm to trustees for the Yorke family. (fn. 191)
The other branch of the Hayward family appears to stem from Thomas Hayward of the Lower House (d. 1641). (fn. 192) In 1679 Hopewell Cox alias Hayward bought from the Earl of Dorset the estate which his father, also called Hopewell, had held by copy and which included the Lower House. (fn. 193) The younger Hopewell died in 1722, to be succeeded by his son of the same name, (fn. 194) who added to his lands an estate called the Elm which he bought in 1742 from the executors of Thomas Hatton; the Earl of Dorset had sold the estate to John Hatton, Thomas's father, in 1679. On the death of Hopewell Hayward in 1766 his lands were divided between his sons William and Hopewell, (fn. 195) who two years later agreed to an exchange by which William conveyed to Hopewell the house where Hopewell lived, called the Elm, and Hopewell conveyed to William the Lower House, where William lived, (fn. 196) and where their father had lived in 1752. (fn. 197) In 1791 James Yorke bought William's estate; (fn. 198) the house was afterwards called Southfield and was used for many years as a parsonage. (fn. 199) Hopewell sold the Elm, later Forthampton Cottage, to James Yorke in 1791. (fn. 200) By 1789 he had moved to Forthampton House, (fn. 201) which the Earl of Dorset had conveyed to Robert Newman in 1679, (fn. 202) and which Hopewell acquired under the will of his kinsman, Richard Newman, dated 1766. (fn. 203) Hopewell died soon after 1791, and his estate passed to a Miss Hayward, later the wife of the Revd. Thomas Nash. (fn. 204)
In 1086 Lire Abbey (Eure) had the tithes of Forthampton manor, with a man and one yardland. (fn. 205) Although that holding was not included in a 12th-century confirmation of the endowments by William FitzOsbern (fn. 206) it is reasonable to assume that he, as lord of Forthampton and founder of Lire, was the grantor. The tithes were the subject of a series of compositions between the abbeys of Lire and Tewkesbury: in 1151 Tewkesbury conceded them to Lire saving an interest for the priest of Forthampton, (fn. 207) and later Lire agreed that Tewkesbury should have all the tithes and pay Lire a pension of 2 marks; (fn. 208) a further composition made in 1223, by which Tewkesbury had the tithes and some land for 20s. a year, was confirmed by the Bishop of Worcester in 1284. (fn. 209) From the Dissolution all the tithes were owned by the lords of Forthampton manor. In 1730 a lapsed modus for the small tithes was recalled. (fn. 210) The ownership of nearly all the land by the tithe-owner had the effect of making the land tithe-free. In 1634 some leaseholders did not pay tithe and never had. (fn. 211) Of the estate owned by the heirs of Thomas Hayward in the late 18th century, Church farm, which was anciently freehold, was tithable and Lower farm, formerly copyhold, was tithe-free. (fn. 212) In 1802 the only tithes owed were those arising from the Hooze farm, (fn. 213) and in 1845 all the tithes were merged with the freehold estates on which they were payable. (fn. 214)
Of the 9 ploughs on the manor in 1086 2 or 3 belonged to the demesne. (fn. 215) Tewkesbury Abbey, having acquired the manor, may have enlarged the demesne of an estate lying so conveniently close to home; in 1291 the abbey had 9 plough-lands in Forthampton and Bushley. (fn. 216) In 1386 the Forthampton estate supplied the abbey kitchen with grain, calves, pigs, poultry, cheese, and eggs. (fn. 217) The rearing of pigs may be a reminder of the woodland character of much of the parish, and recalls the 4 swineherd tenants paying a rent of 35 pigs in the 11th century. (fn. 218) In 1535 part of the demesne was let at farm, but the part kept in hand by the abbot yielded crops and fleeces worth nearly half as much as the rent from all the other land of the manor. (fn. 219)
Only three freehold estates held of the manor were recorded in 1538, one in Forthampton and two, one being the Throckmortons', in Swinley. There were 48 other tenants: excluding the churchwardens, who paid 2d. rent for the farm of the churchyard, and two tenants who paid small rents for land apparently outside the parish, there were in Forthampton 29 tenants holding what was presumably customary land, of whom 7 also paid relatively small amounts for the farm of demesne land, and one tenant paying 5 13s. 4d. for the farm of demesne land; in Swinley there were 14 customary tenants and the farmer (at 4 18s. 8d.) of the site of the manor. (fn. 220)
The customary or copyhold estates might be granted in reversion, (fn. 221) and were held for terms of up to three lives; no grant might be made which would bring the total of lives, in being or reversion, to more than three. The widow's right to freebench (fn. 222) lapsed on her marrying again. (fn. 223) The customary tenant's right to use timber from his holding and to exchange lands with other copyholders, together with the right of his executors to occupy his holding for a stated period the 'dead's year' , were defined in 1620. (fn. 224)
In 1645 there were 3 free tenants, and many tenants held some of their land by indenture. (fn. 225) In 1665 the greater part of the manorial estate, 1,070 a., was still held by customary tenants, who remained the most numerous group. The customary holdings all owed heriots, some of them two or three heriots, and the rent of some included hens or capons. The land held on lease from the manor, usually for a term of lives determinable at 99 years and owing a heriot, amounted to more than 630 a., including 158 a. of demesne let to one tenant. Demesne land in hand amounted to 179 a., and 57 a. were let to tenants at will. Apart from 2 free tenants there were in all 58 tenants: 12 in Forthampton and 10 in Swinley held only customary land, 9 in Forthampton and 3 in Swinley held only by lease, 9 held at will in Forthampton, and 15 held by more than one kind of tenure, in all but two instances in Forthampton. (fn. 226) The dispersal of the manorial estate c. 1677 appears to have effected the enfranchisement of some copyholds, (fn. 227) but a few copyholds continued to be mentioned in the court rolls up to 1751. (fn. 228) In 1752 the manor court listed 5 free tenants in Forthampton and 2 in Swinley, 5 tenants from year to year in Forthampton, 22 leaseholders in Forthampton and 10 in Swinley; there were also 15 'residents' in Forthampton and 5 in Swinley, who seem to have been owners or occupiers who were thought to be not subject to the manor court. (fn. 229)
In the early 17th century the cereals grown were wheat, barley, and peas, of which barley was grown in the greatest quantity. The demesne hay was a profitable crop, though slightly less so than timber and coppice wood. (fn. 230) The lord of the manor also had a hopyard, (fn. 231) and in 1639 received an account for the purchase of 57,000 plants of 'mather' (either madder or maythe, i.e. camomile) and their cultivation over the previous 5 years. (fn. 232)
In 1751 and 1752 there were evidently separate groups of open fields for Forthampton and Swinley, which were then undergoing gradual and piecemeal inclosure. (fn. 233) No early reference to open fields in the parish has been found, but the number of ploughs in the 11th century suggests that the arable land comprised something more than small, scattered assarts of former woodland. In 1545 (fn. 234) two open fields were named as the main arable land of the parish: South field, lying immediately south-east of Forthampton village, and Road field, which was later a smaller field to the south-west. (fn. 235) It may be that the land was then cultivated on a two-course rotation, but by 1620 the arable land lay fallow every third year. (fn. 236) By 1672 the open arable land of Forthampton lay mainly in four fields, South field, Road field, Cold Elm field, and Berrow and Dunsmore field. (fn. 237) The multiplication of fields may have accompanied the beginnings of gradual inclosure, or at least the consolidation of strips, which the copyholders' right of exchanging lands, mentioned above, perhaps made easier. In 1732 Upper or Church farm contained 60 a. of inclosed land and 33 a. of land dispersed in the fields; the ridges in the fields were unusually small, ranging from 1/10 to a., but they lay in consolidated parcels. (fn. 238) In 1747 45 a. of inclosed land and 75 a. of land dispersed in the fields were leased with Forthampton Court; the land in the fields lay mainly in South field, Road field, Cold Elm field, and Berrow field, but open-field land was also mentioned in 7 other places, (fn. 239) where uninclosed land may have been separated from the main fields by inclosures, such as those of commonable lands presented in the manor court in 1751. Yew Tree (Utree) field, mentioned at the same court, appears to have been an alternative name for Berrow field, or perhaps for Berrow field and Cold Elm field together. (fn. 240) Some of the remaining open land of the Forthampton fields was inclosed soon after the enlargement of the Forthampton Court estate in 1771. (fn. 241) In 1775 uninclosed land in the Forthampton fields lay in 11 different places, including the common meadow and Three Meers, and amounted to 245 a. (fn. 242) Inclosure by Act of Parliament was being considered in 1790, (fn. 243) but an exchange of lands between James Yorke and Hopewell Hayward in 1791 (fn. 244) apparently made it unnecessary. Some ridge and furrow remained visible in pasture in 1966, for example south-west of Forthampton Court and towards the south boundary of the parish on the south-east side of the main road.
In Swinley two open fields were recorded in 1674, (fn. 245) North field, which lay west of Downend, and Nash field, to the east of Downend. In 1751 the Forthampton manor court presented that the lord of the manor had not yet 'turned up to the common' a common field called New Loons in Swinley, but two days later retracted the demand for common there. (fn. 246) New Loons lay immediately west of Cold Elm: it may have been arable recently converted from woodland or pasture. Between 1754 and 1758 North field and Nash field, together with Down field south of Horse Bridge and Hurst field north of Swinley Green, were inclosed. (fn. 247) By 1802 all the land in Forthampton and Swinley was inclosed. (fn. 248)
In 1801 only 550 a., of which over half was wheat, were returned as sown, (fn. 249) but in 1802 a survey recorded 1,044 a. of arable, compared with 721 a. of pasture. In Swinley there was about twice as much arable as pasture, while in Forthampton the proportions were nearly equal. There were also 256 a. of meadow, 23 a. of woodland, and extensive orchards. (fn. 250) A tenancy agreement of 1836 for Mitre farm (281 a.) prescribed heavy financial penalties for breaking grass-land, failing to rotate the crops, or omitting either to fallow or to sow to grass and feed off every fourth year. (fn. 251) The arable acreage fell in the late 19th century, and in 1901 was 664 a. compared with 1,418 a. of permanent grass-land. (fn. 252) The amount of arable land had been reduced still further by 1933. (fn. 253) In 1966, however, about half the land was arable; the land was used mainly for cereals, sheep, and dairying.
There were 10 farms in the parish in 1802. The 6 in Forthampton ranged from 68 a. to 379 a., and 3 were over 150 a. In Swinley, excluding Hooze farm, there were 3, of 275331 a.; two of them had formerly been more than one farm. (fn. 254) In 1831 there were 11 farmers, all of whom employed labour, (fn. 255) and there were still 11 or 12 farmers in the early 20th century. (fn. 256) There were 11 farms, of which four were in Swinley, in 1966.
No record has been found of a water-mill in the parish. Tewkesbury Abbey had two windmills there in 1291. (fn. 257) The mill mentioned in 1636 (fn. 258) may have been the windmill worked by John Alcock in 1649 (fn. 259) and 1672, (fn. 260) which survived in 1859 as Alcock's Mill mile ESE. of Alcock's Farm, (fn. 261) and the base of which was later called the Round House. Another mill had once stood on the hill south-west of Forthampton village, the Mill Hill of 1752. (fn. 262) A tenant paid rent for a windmill in Swinley in 1538, (fn. 263) and there was more than one miller there in 1545. (fn. 264) Before 1677 there had apparently been a windmill on the tump just east of Swinley Court. (fn. 265)
Of other occupations there were in 1752 a smith, 3 carpenters, a mason, a thatcher, 2 fishermen, 2 tailors, and a shoemaker. (fn. 266) Shoemakers were recorded in 1601 (fn. 267) and 1679. (fn. 268) smiths in 1608 (fn. 269) and 1717, (fn. 270) and a carpenter in 1635. (fn. 271) In the early 19th century trade and industry employed about a quarter of the number employed in agriculture. (fn. 272) The parish included a shoemaker until 1863, a carpenter until c. 1885, a wheelwright and 2 shopkeepers until c. 1930, and a blacksmith until 1939; (fn. 273) in 1883 and 1921 there were 2 smithies, (fn. 274) and in 1966 there was a blacksmith's shop at Mitre Elm. A brickworks at the Lower Lode opened before 1854 and closed before 1900. (fn. 275) In the same period shirt-making was a minor cottage industry, as had been gloving a little earlier. (fn. 276)
In 1286 the Abbot of Tewkesbury claimed view of frankpledge, waif, and infangtheof in Forthampton, (fn. 277) and in 1535 the abbey held two views of frankpledge there. (fn. 278) Rolls of the view of frankpledge and court baron survive for 15456, (fn. 279) 1632, and for many courts from 1649 to 1752. (fn. 280) In addition there are statements of the customs of the manor in 1620, 1751, and 1752, and the record of a court leet with the bounds of the manor in 1830. (fn. 281) In the 16th century the court appointed separate tithingmen for Forthampton and Swinley, (fn. 282) and the arrangement may have been echoed in the appointments of a tithingman and a constable in the 17th century. (fn. 283) In 1751 Forthampton and Swinley had a hayward each, and the surveyors of highways, who were under the orders of the court in 1751, (fn. 284) included a surveyor specifically for Swinley in 17324. (fn. 285) The manor court may have ceased to sit soon after 1752, for from 1758 the constable was chosen in the parish vestry. (fn. 286) The demise of the manor court was perhaps encouraged by the change of ownership of c. 1750 (fn. 287) or by the inclosure of the open fields of Swinley. (fn. 288)
Lists of the parish officers survive from 1683: the offices belonged in rotation to particular houses. (fn. 289) In 1765 the officers declared an intention to exert themselves in favour of the poor, and to make a new assessment. (fn. 290) Terms for the admission of Forthampton poor to the Winchcombe workhouse in 1770 (fn. 291) suggest that Forthampton was finding no easy way to relieve its poor, but already by 1751 the Church House, immediately east of the church, appears to have been serving as a sort of parish poorhouse, and one of its inmates was said to be in the infirmary there. (fn. 292) In 1793 the parish replaced the Church House with a house nearby made available by the lord of the manor, and contracted with a carpenter to run the house as a parish workhouse. The workhouse master was to provide for all the parish poor, and to receive 80 a year in addition to what he could make from the workhouse. In 1793 the workhouse contained one man, 5 women, and 8 children. (fn. 293) The arrangement does not appear to have lasted beyond 1795, and from then the overseers reverted to the practices used since 1786 or earlier: regular doles, occasional relief, the sale of coal at low prices. In 1800 the poor children on the parish were apprenticed, and in 1801 corn was bought for sale to the poor at half price. In 1815 the usual expenditure on medical attention was increased when the whole parish was inoculated at a cost of 15, towards which Mrs. Yorke gave 5. (fn. 294) The workhouse continued in use, certainly until 1803 when it comprised a cottage for the workhouse master and another cottage containing a kitchen and 4 apartments, for 2 men and 2 women; in the women's rooms were spinningwheels for flax and wool. (fn. 295) The workhouse was apparently used only to provide accommodation, for in 1803 it was officially reported that no poor were relieved in a workhouse and that the 9 spent on materials was for work outside a workhouse (fn. 296) The money was spent on flax for cottagers to spin. (fn. 297) There appears to have been a change, though of what kind is not clear, in the use of the former workhouse in 1810, (fn. 298) and it may be significant that the cost of poor relief, which had remained unusually low up to 1803, had risen steeply by 1813. (fn. 299) The parish owned two other cottages, one of which it retained until the 20th century. (fn. 300)
The parish became part of the Tewkesbury Poor Law Union in 1835; (fn. 301) it was transferred from the Tewkesbury to the Gloucester Rural District in 1935. (fn. 302) A parish council met regularly in 1966.
Although the tithes of Forthampton were recorded in 1086, (fn. 303) it appears unlikely that there was a church there then. In the early 12th century a chantry or chapel was established at Forthampton, presumably by Tewkesbury Abbey, and endowed with a third of the demesne tithes although the whole tithes belonged to the Norman abbey of Lire. In 1151 it was agreed that tithes arising from assarts made by peasants should go to the priest of Forthampton, whereas those from demesne assarts should go to Lire Abbey. (fn. 304) It is unlikely that the priest of Forthampton continued to receive a share of the tithes directly, for in 1341 Forthampton church or chapel was linked with Tewkesbury Abbey in the same way as the dependent chapels of ease, (fn. 305) and in 1535 the parishioners of Forthampton paid a pension to the sacrist of Tewkesbury. (fn. 306) Priests recorded in 1369 (fn. 307) and 1467 (fn. 308) were apparently parish priests.
Despite the dependence on the abbey, Forthampton had what was called not a chapel but a church in 1327, (fn. 309) had a burial ground by 1544, (fn. 310) and was served in 1540 by a priest called the curate of the parish church. The abbey's lessees of the manor were charged with paying the curate, (fn. 311) though in 1540 John Wakeman was said to pay the stipend. (fn. 312) In 1569 the Crown's lessee was charged with paying a yearly stipend of 5 6s. 8d. (fn. 313) Although the stipend was said to be 8 in 1603, (fn. 314) it was officially 5 8s. 4d. in 1610 (fn. 315) and 5 6s. 8d. in 1650. (fn. 316) In fact owners of Forthampton Court or their lessees paid 10 a year up to 1634, (fn. 317) and 20 a year before 1650. (fn. 318) In 1730 Richard Dowdeswell was paying the curate 13 a year; the living was then said to be a donative, (fn. 319) though it was otherwise called a perpetual curacy. From 1870 the incumbents were called vicars. (fn. 320) In 1923 the benefice was united with the vicarage of Chaceley, the two parishes remaining distinct. (fn. 321)
In 1743 Richard Dowdeswell was patron of Forthampton, (fn. 322) and presumably his predecessors charged with paying the curate had exercised the right of nomination. In 1750 Samuel Clarke, the mortgagee of the Forthampton Court estate, (fn. 323) was named as patron; thereafter the owners of Forthampton Court, as tithe-owners, were patrons, (fn. 324) and from 1923 presented alternately to the united benefice of Forthampton with Chaceley. (fn. 325)
Between 1771 and 1813 the living was augmented five times, with capital sums totalling 2,800. The first two augmentations were by lot from Queen Anne's Bounty, the other three were to meet benefactions (fn. 326) by the Yorke family. With the capital sums were bought estates in Berrow (c. 1796), Oddington (1807), and Badgeworth (1813); the estate in Oddington was exchanged in 1809 with the Rector of Sezincote for one in Forthampton. (fn. 327) From 13 a year the value of the living rose to 144 in 1851 (fn. 328) and to 220 net in 1902. (fn. 329) Before the augmentations the incumbents had no land or house in the parish; (fn. 330) in 1811, on the grounds that the parsonage house was a mere cottage, the incumbent was licensed to live in another house in the parish. (fn. 331) Since 1792 the incumbents had been living at the house later called Southfield, (fn. 332) whereas the parsonage was the small single-story house by the Paradise brook, (fn. 333) timber-framed with a thatched roof, called Sezincote (fn. 334) because until 1809 it belonged to Sezincote rectory. Later there was said to be no glebe house. (fn. 335) Southfield was the regular house of the incumbents (fn. 336) up to 1923, when Chaceley vicarage became the parsonage house of the united benefice. (fn. 337)
In the mid-16th century the curates of Forthampton retained the poor living for understandably short periods: between 1548 and 1551 the names of four curates are recorded. (fn. 338) In 1563 the curate William Kinget did duty also at Chaceley. (fn. 339) Alexander Hatton, who evidently belonged to a family numerous in the parish, was curate in 1576 and 1584. (fn. 340) Humphrey Fox, a supporter of Scottish doctrine, was suspended from the curacy c. 1630. (fn. 341) His parishioners asked in 1633 for the removal of his successor, Mr. Dutton, and the appointment of Benjamin Baxter, (fn. 342) the author and preacher, who also had Presbyterian leanings. Baxter was minister of Forthampton in 1640 and 1648. (fn. 343) In 1652 there had been no minister for several years, in one opinion because of the 'faction and curiosity' among the parishioners. A minister was then thought to have been found, the parishioners having agreed to add 30 to the stipend, (fn. 344) but in 1661 the parish had no minister. (fn. 345) A later minister, Mr. Terry, persistently refused to attend the bishop's visitation, was deprived of the key to the church on the bishop's order, and left the parish. To support his successor, Mr. Hall, the tenants asked for financial aid from the Earl of Dorset in 1676. (fn. 346)
At least two of the 18th-century incumbents held other benefices in the neighbourhood. (fn. 347) From 1811 (fn. 348) or earlier until 1923 the incumbents usually lived in the parish, (fn. 349) though Robert Bathurst Plumptre, perpetual curate 181955, was licensed to be absent on grounds of health for his last 15 years, and provided an assistant curate. (fn. 350) H. J. T. SangerDavies, who became vicar in 1918, remained until 1950. (fn. 351)
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN (fn. 352) is a building of blue Lias rubble with roofs of tiles and Cotswold stone slates, and comprises a short chancel, a long narrow nave, a north aisle and organ chamber, a south porch, and a flat-topped west tower. Eighteenth-century restorations were said to have obliterated the old features, (fn. 353) but the south doorway retains from the 12th century its semi-circular head which on the outside has a roll moulding with a monster's head at the apex and one of its two animal head-stops. The marble altar-slab, held up on four chamfered stone shafts, is thought to be 13th century; (fn. 354) the priest's door in the south wall of the chancel, blocked on the inside, and the simple piscina-head may have been provided at the same period. There is no chancel arch, and the roofs of nave and chancel are continuous; on the outside a slight break in the south wall shows that the chancel wall is a few inches thicker than the nave wall. In the 14th century the three-stage tower was built, with an arch of two chamfered orders to the nave, a west window and belfry windows of reticulated tracery, and diagonal buttresses. Eighteenth-century restoration apparently replaced all the windows outside the tower. (fn. 355) The nave, tower, and porch were restored in 1761, the north side and east end in 1789, when the church was repewed and a gallery added. (fn. 356) In 1848 the north aisle was added, (fn. 357) opening from the nave through an arcade of 5 bays. In 1869 the organ gallery was added, and the restoration of the chancel completed. (fn. 358) The south porch was added about the same time. Further restoration work was done in 1893. (fn. 359) The Church Acre, the rent from which was sometimes applied to repairing the church, (fn. 360) is discussed below. (fn. 361)
A new alabaster font was given as a monument to Mrs. Plumptre (d. 1849), the wife of the incumbent; what was thought to be the earlier font was placed in a garden in Tewkesbury. (fn. 362) Other monuments include several to members of the Dowdeswell and Yorke families, and those to John Rastell (d. 1631), Thomas Cox alias Hayward (d. 1620), and Thomas Hayward of the Lower House (d. 1641) are the earliest in the church. (fn. 363) A picture of the supper at Emmaus, made by producing scorchmarks on a wooden panel, is thought to be Flemish. (fn. 364) The royal arms in the base of the tower, on a metal sheet, are of the period 17141801. Before 1848 the church had a barrel-organ; a new organ was installed in 1869. (fn. 365) There were 6 bells in 1856; the number was soon after reduced to 5, (fn. 366) but was restored again to 6 in 1887; the two oldest are of 1764. (fn. 367) The communion plate is of the late 19th century. (fn. 368) The registers begin in 1678, and are complete. (fn. 369) In the churchyard a yew-tree of great age was blown down in 1839. (fn. 370)
Margery Blunt, named as a recusant in 1577, (fn. 371) was presented for seldom going to church in 1584. (fn. 372) In 1582 Richard Cotton of Forthampton stood bail for his brother John, in the Tower for religious nonconformity. (fn. 373) Two early 17th-century incumbents of Presbyterian leanings are mentioned above; the influence of one of them, Humphrey Fox, may be indicated partly by the fact that the forename of one of his sons, Hopewell, (fn. 374) was borne by successive generations of one branch of the Hayward family until the late 18th century. (fn. 375) In 1676 there were said to be 9 Protestant dissenters, (fn. 376) but in the mid-18th century none were recorded. (fn. 377)
A Wesleyan Methodist chapel, on the Tewkesbury circuit, was built at Long Green in 1902; (fn. 378) it is a small building of corrugated iron, and was still in use in 1966.
In 1603 the schoolmaster of Forthampton was presented for not taking his school to hear divine service. (fn. 379) In 1818 there were said to be 30 children attending a Sunday school, and between 40 and 50 attending two or three charity schools wholly supported by Mrs. Yorke. (fn. 380) In 1833 Joseph Yorke supported a day and Sunday school with c. 60 children. (fn. 381) He built a new school, which was in union with the National Society, in 1837; he retained ownership of the building, and said in 1849 that the school was wholly under his control. (fn. 382) By 1846 there were over 100 children, some of them drawn from other parishes, and part of the expenses were met from subscriptions and school pence. (fn. 383) Attendance had fallen to 40 by 1889, (fn. 384) and was the same in 1918. (fn. 385) The school, a tall, single-story building of brick, was closed in 1931, (fn. 386) and in 1966 the children went to school in Tewkesbury.
In the 16th century or earlier Thomas Palmer gave the rent of 1 a. of land, later called the Church Acre, to provide candles for the church. In 1617 John Rastell, as surviving trustee, made a settlement of the land, (fn. 387) with the result that he has been credited as the donor. (fn. 388) The rent was used for the poor in the 17th century (fn. 389) but for church repairs in 1828. By will dated 1737 Elizabeth Hayward gave 5 to buy land for distributing bread, but instead her brother and executor, Thomas Hayward, in 1740 charged Swift's Acre, which he owned, next to the Church Acre, with a rent of 5s. (fn. 390) The rent of the Church Acre and the rentcharge, 30s. together, were shared in the mid-20th century between church purposes and a distribution to the poor. From 1960, by voluntary agreements, the rent paid was raised to 3 and all of it was distributed in doles of cash. (fn. 391) Elizabeth Newman, by will dated 1784, gave a sum for the poor that yielded 5 a year in the late 18th century, (fn. 392) but no later record of the charity has been found. Anne Platt, by will proved 1892, gave 100 stock for a distribution of bread, (fn. 393) and up to 1964 the income of 2 11s. was spent on bread. (fn. 394)