A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1968.
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The parish of Deerhurst lies almost entirely between the River Severn and the main Gloucester Tewkesbury road, 8 miles north of Gloucester and 3 miles south of Tewkesbury. The parish had by a.d. 804 a monastery which became a Benedictine priory, and then a cell first of the Abbey of St. Denis, Paris, and later of Tewkesbury Abbey. (fn. 1) The priory buildings survived in part in 1964 as a private house. (fn. 2) The parish is unusual in having two Saxon churches; the parish church, formerly the priory church, is one of the largest and finest Saxon churches in the country, and Odda's chapel is one of the few Saxon buildings that are dated. (fn. 3)
The parish is roughly rectangular in shape and 3,137 a. in area. (fn. 4) Its west boundary is the River Severn, which is crossed between Deerhurst and Tirley by Haw Bridge; its south boundary follows the Coombe Hill Canal, and was undefined before the canal was built in 1792. The parish includes three hamlets, Deerhurst in the north-west, Deerhurst Walton in the east, and Apperley in the south. The name Deerhurst, signifying a wooded area frequented by deer, (fn. 5) was in 1086 used of only one of the two estates in the parish, the other being called Walton; (fn. 6) the application of the names then appears to have differed from their application in the 13th century and later. (fn. 7) The name Apperley does not appear until the 13th century. (fn. 8)
The parish is low lying, with a small ridge alongside the river rising to 100 ft. at Grey Hill in the south-west and at the north boundary. (fn. 9) The land beside the river and canal and reaching into the centre of the parish is alluvial; (fn. 10) it provides good pasture but is subject to severe flooding. The south part of the parish is intersected by a number of streams and large pools, and drainage has long been a problem. (fn. 11) The greater part of the west of the parish is on the Keuper Marl, (fn. 12) and a small part east of the main road is on the Lower Lias. The arable land lay mainly in the eastern half of the parish at c. 50 ft., and extensive meadow and pasture lay in the south beside the river and where the Coombe Hill Canal was made. (fn. 13) A prominent feature was the number of orchards around the villages, but these were being cleared in 1964.
Deerhurst village in the north-west corner of the parish probably grew around the priory, built on rising ground near the river. In 1327 Deerhurst was much the smallest of the three hamlets, (fn. 14) and the village was perhaps always small. By the 1530's, when it was described as a poor village, Deerhurst had apparently contracted and there were said to be several streets whose names survived though the buildings had gone. The village was subject to flooding, (fn. 15) and it was possibly this that contributed to its decline. Apart from the manor-houses, both built partly in the 16th century, a few timber-framed and brick houses, one with a thatched roof, were built in the 16th and 17th centuries, and more cottages were built of brick in the 18th century and early 19th. In 1811 Deerhurst had 26 houses, and though the number doubled during the 19th century it remained only a quarter of the total for the parish. (fn. 16) The village declined during the 20th century and several cottages were pulled down after severe flooding in 1947 because, in view of the frequent flooding, it was considered uneconomic to keep them in repair. (fn. 17) In 1964 the village had about 15 houses.
Apperley village, away from the river and about 100 ft. above it, was probably formed by 1210. (fn. 18) By 1327 Apperley, including Wightfield, had a much higher population than the other hamlets. (fn. 19) Apperley may have originated as a group of separate settlements rather than a nucleated village. The older houses survive in two loose clusters, one at Upper Apperley and the other mile south at Lower Apperley. At Upper Apperley near the road junction several small farm-houses were built in the 16th and 17th centuries, and at least one house was built on the road to Wightfield Manor. The houses are timber-framed with plaster or brick filling and a few retain their thatched roofs. One of the oldest houses in the parish, off the road to Wightfield, is a timber-framed and thatched house which although it has been much altered and restored retains a large cruck truss. In Lower Apperley, Apperley Hall on the road to Wightfield was built in the 16th century. (fn. 20) Cook's Green Farm, a large timber-framed farmhouse on the same road, may be connected with Cook's Place, a house mentioned in 1434. (fn. 21) A few of the cottages on the road between Upper and Lower Apperley were built in the 16th or 17th centuries, linking what may have been until then two separate settlements. Apperley had 50 out of 100 houses in the parish in 1712 (fn. 22) and continued to have at least half the houses in the parish. (fn. 23) The village expanded in the 18th and 19th centuries when cottages and small farm-houses, almost all of brick with slate or tile roofs, were built in Lower Apperley in Wick Lane, on the road from Haw Bridge, where two farm-houses were built by 1815, (fn. 24) and around Apperley Court which may have been an ancient site of habitation. At the southern end of Upper Apperley houses were built round the small area of grass known as Apperley Green by 1829. (fn. 25) After the First World War council houses were built in Apperley on the road from Apperley to Deerhurst, and more council houses and old peoples' bungalows were built after the Second World War. (fn. 26) Some private houses also were built in Apperley in the mid-20th century when the village, for a long time the main village in the parish, was still expanding.
At Wightfield evidence of an early settlement may be suggested by the remains of Saxon walling and pieces of 12th-century masonry found around Wightfield Manor. (fn. 27) From the 14th century Wightfield and Apperley were not usually distinguished as settlements. (fn. 28) In the 18th century the houses belonging to the manor were partly in Apperley and the other villages, (fn. 29) and Wightfield itself may not have included more than the manor-house and a few cottages, as in 1964.
By 1327 the population of Deerhurst Walton was probably as big as, or bigger than, Deerhurst itself, (fn. 30) but it may have been in scattered farms rather than a village. Walton Farm and Walton Hill Farm were built by the 17th century, (fn. 31) perhaps earlier, and the population probably centred on the two farms. The number of hearths recorded in 1672 suggests that Deerhurst Walton was then about the same size as Deerhurst village. (fn. 32) A few houses were built in the 17th and 18th centuries on the road leading northwest from Walton Farm, and by 1815 the houses along that road formed the main part of the village. (fn. 33) Some private houses at Deerhurst Walton were built in the mid-20th century.
The parish has a number of outlying farms, most of which existed before inclosure in 1815. Notcliffe House, between Deerhurst village and Deerhurst Walton, was built by 1777, (fn. 34) and perhaps much earlier. Redhouse Farm, on the Notcliffe estate, was built by 1815, (fn. 35) and Highfield Farm on the main road by 1824. (fn. 36) Grey Hill Farm, south of Apperley Court, was built by 1815. (fn. 37) Houses were built in the 19th century in the north-east corner of the parish near the main road, (fn. 38) and by Haw Bridge.
Forty-seven people were recorded in the parish in 1327, and the assessment for subsidy in that year suggests a comparatively large total population. (fn. 39) In 1551 there were 320 communicants, (fn. 40) and the number of families was given as 87 in 1563. (fn. 41) The number of adult males recorded in 1608 was 106, suggesting perhaps an increase in population, (fn. 42) and in 1650 the number of families had risen to 130. (fn. 43) About 1700 the population was 620, (fn. 44) and although in 1735 and 1750 it was said to be only 300 (fn. 45) the population figures for the earlier 19th century show a steady increase. Between 1811 and 1841 the population increased from 741 to 937, in spite of the emigration of 76 people. The figure for 1841 included 30 people in barges. From 1861 the population steadily declined and, after a slight increase in 1951, had decreased to 592 by 1961. (fn. 46)
At one time the Gloucester-Tewkesbury road passed through Deerhurst village, close to the river, and it was perhaps the road called Fisherslake in 1378 when the Prior of Deerhurst and the Abbot of Westminster were said to be responsible for repairing it. (fn. 47) In 1544 the riverside road was called the king's highway, going through the parish to Wainlode Hill. (fn. 48) The road became known as the lower road when, before 1675, the road near the east boundary of the parish, known as the upper road, was made. (fn. 49) Both roads were turnpiked under an Act of 1726; the lower road was then said to be wide enough only for a single horse and to be frequently flooded. (fn. 50) After a lapse the turnpike was renewed in 1756, (fn. 51) but the lower road was apparently no longer turnpiked in 1824, (fn. 52) and by the end of the 19th century was for most of its length only a footpath. (fn. 53) The course of the upper road, north of Walton Hill at least, once lay west of and below the ridge, to which it was moved under an Act of 1794. (fn. 54) The road from the Haw Passage through Deerhurst Walton to the upper road was mentioned in 1664. (fn. 55) The road between Deerhurst village and Apperley was called Pudding Lane in 1748; (fn. 56) by 1815 several other small roads connected the villages. (fn. 57) Although there were proposals for new roads, (fn. 58) after 1815 few significant changes were made. (fn. 59) The road from the Haw Passage was raised and straightened when the bridge was opened in 1825; (fn. 60) the road from the Haw Bridge road to Apperley, running west and north of Apperley Court, was stopped up in 1863. (fn. 61)
Haw Bridge is described below. (fn. 62) The bridge over the Leigh brook at the south-west corner of the parish was called Wainlode Bridge in 1378. (fn. 63) It was repaired by the people of Deerhurst and Norton jointly. (fn. 64) The foot-bridge called Deerhurst Bridge in 1378, (fn. 65) may have been the one, later called the Gildable Bridge, over the Naight brook south of Deerhurst village on the lower road to Tewkesbury. It was said c. 1710 to have derived its name from the fact that tolls were taken there. (fn. 66) A foot-bridge crossed the stream at that point in 1964. A bridge in Deerhurst Walton called King's Bridge in 1548 (fn. 67) probably crossed the Morris brook, as did Staines Bridge in the 18th century. (fn. 68)
The Coombe Hill Canal, built 17925, was closed in 1876. (fn. 69) The River Severn had long been used for transport, and in the 19th century the parish had a large number of bargemen. (fn. 70) In the early 20th century and until c. 1923 steamers called regularly at Haw Bridge, and continued to call occasionally for some time after that date. (fn. 71)
There were alehouses and a victualling house in Deerhurst in 1571 and 1572, (fn. 72) and in 1755 the parish had one licensed alehouse-keeper (fn. 73) who perhaps kept the inn, opened by 1824, beside the river, called the 'Coal-house' and later the 'White Lion'. (fn. 74) It was in use as an inn in 1964. A small timber-framed house in Deerhurst village was at one time the 'Red Lion'. (fn. 75) The 'Farmer's Arms' on the road from Lower Apperley to Wightfield Manor was a beer-house, but perhaps not under that name, by 1884. (fn. 76)
Several legends and traditions are associated with Deerhurst, including the story of the dragon of Deerhurst which was said to have ravaged the area until it was killed by John Smith. In 1712 the axe supposedly used to kill the dragon could be seen in the parish. (fn. 77) Of historical events of more than local significance associated with Deerhurst the best known is the meeting of Cnut and Edmund Ironside in 1016 at Olney near Deerhurst. (fn. 78) The site of the meeting is thought to have been an island formed by the Severn and the Naight brook. (fn. 79) The importance of Deerhurst has been closely associated with that of the priory, and since the decline of the priory few people or events of more than local significance have been connected with it. About 970 St. Alphege, later Archbishop of Canterbury, was a monk at Deerhurst. (fn. 80) The parish has a number of families that have held land there for a long time. The Fluck family was associated with Deerhurst in 1419, (fn. 81) and the Margrett family by the 18th century; (fn. 82) members of both families were living there in 1964.
Manors and Other Estates.
The whole of Deerhurst parish presumably belonged to the monastery of Deerhurst before Edward the Confessor divided the monastery's property c. 1060 between Westminster Abbey and the abbey of St. Denis, Paris. (fn. 83) In 1086 the only land in Deerhurst recorded as belonging to St. Denis was one hide in Walton. (fn. 84) Deerhurst Priory, as a cell of St. Denis, had one hide in 1211 in Deerhurst; (fn. 85) by 1327 Walton was in Westminster hundred (fn. 86) while the priory's manor of DEERHURST was in Deerhurst hundred. (fn. 87)
In 1250 the Abbot of St. Denis sold the whole of Deerhurst Priory to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, (fn. 88) but it evidently soon reverted to the abbey, and in 1316 the Prior of Deerhurst was returned as lord of Deerhurst. (fn. 89) In the 13th century the prior had no demesne land in Deerhurst, (fn. 90) but by 1419 a house and land there were apparently in demesne. (fn. 91) The manor was confiscated by the Crown as the property of an alien priory during the wars with France. (fn. 92) In 1419 Henry V recognized the Prior of Deerhurst as a perpetual and conventual prior who could hold the priory's property independently of St. Denis Abbey, (fn. 93) but in 1448 the priory and its property were granted to Eton College and in 1467 passed to Tewkesbury Abbey. (fn. 94) The demesne land comprising c. 84 a. remained in the hands of the Prior of Deerhurst. (fn. 95)
In 1540 the manor and site of the priory were leased to George Throckmorton, a younger son of Christopher Throckmorton; (fn. 96) he was apparently already living in Deerhurst, (fn. 97) and in 1542 he received a grant in fee. (fn. 98) He died seised of the manor in 1548, when it passed to his nephew Sir Thomas Throckmorton, son of his brother William. (fn. 99) Sir Thomas Throckmorton's son Thomas sold the manor in 1604 to Thomas Cassey of Wightfield; (fn. 100) Cassey sold it in 1615 to Thomas Coventry (fn. 101) who became the first Lord Coventry in 1628. (fn. 102)
Since 1615 Deerhurst manor has descended with the barony and later the earldom of Coventry. Thomas, first Lord Coventry (d. 1640), was succeeded by his son Thomas (d. 1661) and then in turn by Thomas's son George (d. 1680) and George's son John who died without issue in 1687. The title then passed to Thomas Coventry (d. 1699), John's uncle, who became Earl of Coventry and Viscount Deerhurst in 1697, and then in turn to Thomas's son, Thomas (d. 1710), the second Thomas's son, Thomas (d. 1712 aged 10), to a second son, Gilbert (d. 1719), and to William (d. 1751), grandson of the brother of the first Lord Coventry. The title then descended in the direct male line through George William (d. 1809), George William (d. 1831), George William (d. 1843), (fn. 103) George William (grandson of the last, d. 1930), and George William Reginald Victor (grandson of the last, d. 1940), to George William Coventry, Earl of Coventry, on whose behalf the manor, amounting to 294 a., was held by trustees in 1964. (fn. 104) No evidence has been found that the Earls of Coventry ever lived at Deerhurst, and the land and former priory buildings, which became a farm-house after the Dissolution, have usually been leased. (fn. 105)
The house, known as Priory Farm, was built adjacent to the south-east end of the church about the late 14th century. It presumably replaced earlier conventual buildings, from which a 12th-century pillar re-set in the cellar may survive. William of Malmesbury described the buildings as an 'empty monument of antiquity'. (fn. 106) The Earl of Cornwall apparently destroyed the priory when he bought it in 1250. (fn. 107) In 1389 the priory included a house called the New Hall with a chamber above it, a kitchen, brewery, bakehouse, and great grange; (fn. 108) in 1419 there was a chapter-house, a refectory, and a dormitory. (fn. 109) The house consists mainly of a large building running south from the east end of the church, built of rubble with a Cotswold stone roof. (fn. 110) It incorporates an open hall of the 14th or 15th century, divided, re-roofed, and given a chimney probably when it became a farm-house in the 16th century. One window contains reticulated tracery and another has a 15th-century head similar to windows in the church. The stone corbel-heads of the hall survive. A solar at the north end of the hall, giving direct access to the church, has ceiling-beams of the late 15th or early 16th century. On the west side of the house there were cloisters, and the corbels that supported them can be seen on the south wall of the church and the west front of the house.
It is suggested that there was formerly an outer quadrangle, with the main entrance to the priory, on the east side of the surviving building. (fn. 111) In 1791 it was said that old people could remember a spacious hall and other buildings which formed a quadrangle. (fn. 112) A drawing of 1803 shows buildings on the north and east sides of the existing 14th-century part. (fn. 113) The house was altered considerably c. 1840, (fn. 114) and a north-east wing was built, probably replacing an earlier one. The building on the east was replaced by farm buildings. The house has not been altered much since, though some of the farm buildings were removed when the apse of the church was excavated in 1927. (fn. 115)
In 1254 Robert de Mucegros held land in Notcliffe of the Prior of Deerhurst, (fn. 116) and in 1285 Bevis de Knoville was granted free warren in his demesne land there. (fn. 117) In 1547 William and Edmund Twinhoe held the manor of NOTCLIFFE. (fn. 118) The heirs of Giles Twinhoe were said to have a plough-land in Notcliffe in 1552. (fn. 119) A William Twinhoe held Notcliffe in 1606, (fn. 120) and then it apparently changed hands several times during the 17th century. (fn. 121) In 1775 Notcliffe was either owned or occupied by a Mr. Kemmett, (fn. 122) and by 1808 it had passed to Nathaniel Hartland of Tewkesbury, who claimed manorial rights. (fn. 123) Notcliffe was settled on John Allis Hartland, Nathaniel's younger son, on his marriage in 1831, (fn. 124) and in his will of 1834 John Allis Hartland left the estate to his brother, Nathaniel. (fn. 125) By 1872 Joseph Barnard was living at Notcliffe (fn. 126) and presumably owned it, and in 1881 William Frederick Barnard, Joseph's son, died leaving his estates to his wife. (fn. 127) In 1891 Notcliffe was for sale, (fn. 128) and in 1915 and 1925 was owned by R. Newman. (fn. 129) Notcliffe was bought c. 1954 by Mr. T. H. Brookes, who had leased it since c. 1941, and in 1957 by Col. C. D. Consett, who sold it in 1960 to Capt. C. P. D. Berrill, the owner in 1964. (fn. 130)
Notcliffe House was built mainly at the end of the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th, but it incorporates an older building which was probably a small farm-house. The house has three stories, the roof having been raised at some time in the 19th century. It is of brick with a stucco front, and has a cornice and parapet with pilasters each side and a flat string-course. The sash windows have moulded architraves and the main entrance has a Tuscan portico. Some of the windows in the older part at the back of the house have segmental heads, and others have been replaced. The farm buildings include one with timber framing.
It is suggested that the part of Deerhurst where the ealdorman Odda built a chapel in 1056 was taken from Deerhurst priory by Alfhere, Odda's grandfather, who is known to have despoiled Pershore Abbey, (fn. 131) and was the part given c. 1060 by Edward the Confessor to Westminster Abbey. (fn. 132) In 1086 the abbey held the manor of DEERHURST and its members. (fn. 133) The manor was alternatively called PLAISTOW from the 15th century to the 19th, (fn. 134) after the place in Deerhurst where, by the 14th century, the abbey held its court leet for Deerhurst and its members. (fn. 135)
Between 1140 and 1158 the Abbot of Westminster granted the manor of Deerhurst in fee farm to William de Derneford, (fn. 136) and in 1192 his successor granted a house in Deerhurst, where the abbot had formerly lodged each year, to another William de Derneford. (fn. 137) The younger William was apparently alive in 1221, (fn. 138) and Roger de Derneford (fl. 1236) (fn. 139) held land in Deerhurst in 1248. (fn. 140) Roger was father of Richard (fn. 141) and apparently also of William, who in 1284 granted property in Corse, Tirley, and Wickridge, which had belonged to his brothers Roger and Richard, to his son John. (fn. 142) William, who had held Deerhurst manor under the abbot and convent in perpetuity, in 1299 granted it back to Westminster Abbey; in 1319 his son William failed in a claim that he should inherit the manor from his mother Clemence, to whom his father had given it. (fn. 143) In 1307 the abbot granted the manor to the prior and convent on condition that a monk was appointed as custodian and rendered an annual account. (fn. 144) In 1385 and during the 15th century the demesne land was farmed by the Prior of Deerhurst, (fn. 145) and in the earlier 16th century by William Cassey and later by his widow. (fn. 146) At the Dissolution Plaistow manor passed to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. (fn. 147)
The manor continued to be leased, (fn. 148) and from 1641 until the early 19th century the dean and chapter's lessees were usually members of the Dowdeswell family of Pull Court (Worcs.). (fn. 149) The manor-house, called Abbot's Court, (fn. 150) and the demesne were leased separately from the manor. (fn. 151) In 1869 the property of the dean and chapter was transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. (fn. 152) About 1885 the manor-house was separated from the land, (fn. 153) which became attached to a large 19thcentury brick farm-house called Abbot's Court Farm. (fn. 154) The farm was sold in 1957 to Mr. J. Houlbrooke (fn. 155) and Abbot's Court to Mr. V. Margrett c. 1958. (fn. 156) Manorial rights were not associated with the land or the house in 1964.
The earliest manor-house of Westminster Abbey's manor may have been contemporary with the chapel built by Odda in 1056. (fn. 157) The manor evidently included a house in 1192. (fn. 158) In 1365 the site of the manor included a dovecot. (fn. 159) The manor-house was rebuilt about the early 16th century, and c. 1700 it was said that foundations could be seen which showed that it had at one time been larger. (fn. 160) The house, which adjoins the east end of Odda's chapel, is an early 16th-century timber-framed structure with plaster filling and a jettied and gabled upper story. Perhaps when it was built, or shortly after, the chapel was incorporated into it. By c. 1700 the house was called Abbot's Court. (fn. 161) In 1774 it was described as a large old house with several farm buildings and a dovecot. All the buildings except the dovecot were then in a bad state of repair. (fn. 162) While repairs were being carried out in 1885 the chapel, which formed about half the farm-house, was discovered. (fn. 163)
The first reference to Apperley manor seems to be in 1212 when it was held by Westminster Abbey with other lands for the service of 3 knights. (fn. 164) The manor of APPERLEY was granted to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster in 1542 as a member of the abbey's manor of Deerhurst. (fn. 165) In 1328 Osbert d'Abitot granted Apperley manor to Robert of Apperley and Margaret his wife, from whom it descended to their son Nicholas, to Nicholas's daughter Elizabeth, and then to Elizabeth's son Edmund Bridges, (fn. 166) who held the manor jointly with his wife Blanche at his death in 1408. Edmund's heir was his son Thomas, an infant in 1408; (fn. 167) in 1437, when Blanche was still holding the manor, Edmund was said to have died without issue. Apperley passed to Elizabeth the daughter of Edward Bridges, Edmund's brother, (fn. 168) and her husband John Throckmorton (d. 1472). (fn. 169) It then descended in turn to John Throckmorton's son Christopher (d. 1513), (fn. 170) to Christopher's son William (d. 1536), (fn. 171) to William's son Sir Thomas (d. 1568), (fn. 172) to Thomas's son, also Sir Thomas (d. 1608), and to Thomas's son Sir William. (fn. 173) William Throckmorton sold Apperley manor in 1613 to John King, (fn. 174) who apparently sold it to Walter King in 1617. (fn. 175) A Walter King was still holding land in Deerhurst in 1658. (fn. 176) No reference to the manor of Apperley has been found later than 1699 when William Sloper and Thomas White were dealing with it. (fn. 177)
It was said that the estate was bought by Sir John Powell and descended in turn to John Snell, Powell Snell (d. 1767), and Powell's son, Powell Snell. (fn. 178) In 1756 Powell Snell held an estate, said to be in Wightfield, described as formerly Sloper's. (fn. 179) It may have been Apperley manor that Powell Snell sold to William Newman in 1799, (fn. 180) and that passed to William Newman's daughter, Mary, wife of Thomas Dowle. The estate, which included a farm called Apperley Court, was sold in 1816 to the Misses Juliana and Charlotte Strickland (fn. 181) and became the nucleus of the Apperley Court estate. The Strickland family bought various property in Deerhurst from 1816 and by the end of the 19th century had acquired an estate of nearly 1,000 a. (fn. 182) Charlotte Strickland died in 1833 leaving her share of the estate to her sister and then to their brother Henry Eustachius Strickland. Juliana died in 1849 and the estate descended in turn to Henry Eustachius, (fn. 183) to his daughter Frances, to Frances's cousin, Algernon de Lille Strickland (fn. 184) (d. 1914), to Algernon de Lille's son, Algernon Henry Strickland (d. 1928), to Algernon Henry's son, Algernon Walter Strickland (d. 1938), (fn. 185) and then to Algernon Walter's son, Algernon Guy Strickland, on whose death in 1942 the estate went to his mother, Lady Mary Strickland who later married Major J. G. Lyon. By 1964 she had made it over to her daughter Mrs. H. B. Van der Gucht. (fn. 186)
The house called the Court c. 1210 (fn. 187) may have been Apperley manor-house, and the early owners of the manor, called of Apperley, probably lived there, but no specific reference to a manor-house at Apperley has been found. The estate sold to William Newman in 1799 included a house (fn. 188) which was perhaps the farm-house called Apperley Court in 1816. (fn. 189) That house was built of brick in the 18th century, and was enlarged by the addition of a wing at each side, in the same style as the earlier house, c. 1850. (fn. 190) The house, which is stuccoed and is situated on rising ground above Lower Apperley, is two-storied with dormers and a parapeted roof. The main entrance has a porch with Tuscan pilasters. A wrought-iron verandah runs along the front of the house.
Although the only land in Walton in Deerhurst mentioned in 1086 belonged to the Abbey of St. Denis, by 1327, when Walton was said to be in Westminster hundred, (fn. 191) it seems that part of Westminster Abbey's property in Deerhurst was called Walton. The manor of WALTON, or DEERHURST WALTON, was among the property of Westminster Abbey granted to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster in 1540, (fn. 192) and was usually regarded as a member of the Westminster manor of Deerhurst, (fn. 193) although in 1506 Agnes Chamber was said to have held the manor in chief.
The Chamber family was holding Walton manor by 1490 when Agnes, wife of John Chamber, died seised of it. Her heir was her son Henry Chamber, who held the manor in 1506. (fn. 194) Thomas Chamber owned the manor at his death in 1548, when a lease was held by George Throckmorton. His heir was Richard Davies, then a minor, (fn. 195) son of Thomas Davies and Joan, Thomas Chamber's daughter. (fn. 196) In 1571 Richard Davies sold Walton to Edmund Harris. (fn. 197) Richard Harris, Edmund's son, was living in Walton in 1608, (fn. 198) and the manor descended successively to Richard's son, grandson, and greatgrandson, who were all called Edmund Harris. (fn. 199) The last Edmund Harris had a son, who died in 1713, presumably before his father whose coheirs were his daughters Priscilla, wife of Charles Badger, Sarah, wife of Richard Haynes, and Catherine, wife of Samuel Higgs. (fn. 200) In 1795 the estate belonged to Anne Badger, daughter of Charles and Priscilla. In 1803 and 1824 John Bower owned it, by the name of Walton farm. C. Lovsey was the owner in 1832 (fn. 201) and Edward Jones in 1849, (fn. 202) and by 1895 it was owned by a Mr. Bowers. (fn. 203) In 1918 Mr. G. Smith, whose family had for some time farmed Walton farm, bought the estate and in 1964 he was the owner. (fn. 204)
In 1490 Agnes Chamber's estate included a messuage in Walton, (fn. 205) described as a capital messuage in 1548. (fn. 206) It was said in 1712 that Mr. Harris had a good estate and house in Walton, (fn. 207) and the number of hearths recorded in 1672 suggest that it was one of the largest houses in the parish. (fn. 208) The house, which became known as Walton Farm, (fn. 209) and as Manor Farm from the beginning of the 20th century, (fn. 210) was evidently rebuilt, in brick, in the 18th century. It stands east of the main group of houses in Deerhurst Walton, and may be on the site of the earlier house; some of the farm buildings are older than the house.
Westminster Abbey's manor of Deerhurst included in 1066 one hide in Wightfield held by the radknight Edwi, and in 1086 it may have been held by Walter Poncherius with Edwi's land in Todenham. (fn. 211) Westminster Abbey, and after the Dissolution the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, remained the tenants-in-chief. (fn. 212) WIGHTFIELD manor was usually regarded as a member of the manor of Deerhurst or Plaistow and attended the court baron of that manor. (fn. 213) A room called the court room in Wightfield Manor is traditionally said to have been used for the manorial court, (fn. 214) but no documentary evidence of the court has been found.
In 1284 Wightfield was held by Nicholas of Hodnet of William Power who held of Westminster Abbey, (fn. 215) and in 1303 Richard de Beer held it as knight's fee; (fn. 216) by 1346 it had passed to Fulk of Birmingham, (fn. 217) from whom land in Wightfield was bought by Gilbert Despenser and John of Leigh before 1357, in which year Gilbert Despenser sold his rights in the land to John of Leigh. (fn. 218) In 1382 John Cassey bought land in Wightfield from Thomas of Leigh. (fn. 219) John Cassey, who was Chief Baron of the Exchequer from 1389, (fn. 220) died in 1400 and was buried at Deerhurst. (fn. 221) Wightfield presumably passed to John's son William (fn. 222) and then to William's son John, described as of Wightfield in 1436. (fn. 223) It was perhaps the same John who was alive in 1469 and had been succeeded by his son John by 1484. (fn. 224) The Abbot of Westminster between 1474 and 1498 complained that John Cassey's son William had deprived the abbot of the profits of Wightfield manor which should have come to him through the outlawry of John Cassey, (fn. 225) probably the John Cassey who died in 1508 and whose son William Cassey died in 1509. (fn. 226) The manor passed to William's son, Robert (d. 1547). Wightfield then passed in turn to Robert's son Henry (fn. 227) (d. 1595), to Henry's son Thomas (fn. 228) (d.1634), and to Thomas's son, Henry. (fn. 229) Henry Cassey and his son Thomas had their property sequestrated between 1647 and 1654 as Roman Catholics and royalists. (fn. 230) They both died c. 1660 when Wightfield passed to a cousin, John Cassey. (fn. 231) Before his death in 1676 John Cassey sold the manor to Peter Fermor of Tusmore and Somerton (Oxon.). (fn. 232)
On Fermor's death in 1691 (fn. 233) his lands passed to his daughter Margaret and her husband John More, (fn. 234) who in 1720 sold the manor to John Snell of Gloucester (fn. 235) (d. 1747). From John Snell the manor passed to his son Powell Snell (d. 1767) and then to Powell's son, Powell. (fn. 236) Before 1803 Powell Snell had sold the estate to Joseph Barnard, from whom it passed in 1803 to his son William (fn. 237) (d. 1846). (fn. 238) William Barnard left his estates between his sons William and Joseph; (fn. 239) Wightfield went to Joseph (fn. 240) who held it until his death in 1874, and whose son Christopher Barnard held it for a time. (fn. 241) It was for sale in 1881 (fn. 242) and was held by mortgagees in 1915. (fn. 243) Mr. A. Ludlow-Hewitt, the owner in 1964, bought it in 1919. (fn. 244)
There was a manor-house at Wightfield from 1385, when the Cassey family was living there. (fn. 245) Wightfield Manor, on a moated site, was rebuilt mainly in the earlier 16th century; it is of two stories, built of rubble with a tiled roof and has stepped verges to the gables. Although the interior has been altered the plan of the 16th-century house, and perhaps of the medieval house before it, can be recognized. It consists of a ground floor and crosspassage, flanked by a kitchen on the west and a solar wing on the east.
The main south entrance to the cross-passage is through a gabled porch with a 16th-century arched doorway with shields in the spandrels showing the griffin of the Cassey arms. Two small square turrets containing winding staircases, one to the east of the solar and the other at the north end of the passage, appear to be slightly later additions. Those and other alterations may have taken place c. 1550 as Elizabeth Cassey, relict of Robert, in her will of that date referred to her freestone slates and timber lying at Wightfield. (fn. 246) A window with Flemish painted glass was put up c. 1556 to commemorate the marriage of Henry Cassey and Dorothy Fettiplace. (fn. 247) Some of the windows have been replaced or enlarged, but several are of the 16th century with stone mullions and small segmental-headed lights. One room retains 16thcentury panelling. Farm buildings and cottages near the house were built in the early 19th century (fn. 248) but the house itself has been altered little since the 18th century. In the mid-20th century a porch was added at the back of the house with a doorway incorporating fragments of 12th-century masonry found near the site. (fn. 249) The doorway has an ornamented arch and columns with carved capitals.
In 1382 Gilbert Despenser held a house, 8 a. land, and 3 a. meadow in Apperley. (fn. 250) It was probably this estate which in 1545, when it was granted to James Gunter and William Lewis, was called Warwick's and Spencer's. (fn. 251) No later evidence of the estate under that name has been found, but a house in Lower Apperley on the road to Wightfield which has the crest of the Earl of Warwick on one of the gables may be connected with the estate. It is a large 16th-century timber-framed and brick house with a tiled (but once Cotswold stone) roof and 2 attic gables on the south side. The house, called Birch Place, was owned by members of the Bannister family between 1685 and 1765, (fn. 252) and of the Healing family until c. 1850 when the Hanby family bought it. Mr. J. Hanby was the owner in 1964, when the house was called Apperley Hall. (fn. 253)
There is a tradition that an estate in Deerhurst Walton was given to John Smith as a reward for killing the Deerhurst dragon. (fn. 254) In 1608 a John Smith was living in Deerhurst Walton, (fn. 255) and his son William (d. c. 1660) had land in Deerhurst called the Hill. (fn. 256) William's son Edward had land in Deerhurst Walton in 1704, (fn. 257) but by 1712 the estate had passed to William Lane, apparently through marriage with the widow of one of the Smith family. (fn. 258) William Lane by his will of 1755 left his property to Capel Payne of Gloucester, (fn. 259) at whose death in 1764 Hill Farm in Deerhurst Walton descended to his son George Payne. (fn. 260) In 1800 Hill Farm was sold to William Newman of Lassington who had land in Apperley also, (fn. 261) and although in 1832 James Edwards apparently owned Hill Farm, (fn. 262) a William Newman had land in Deerhurst Walton in 1849. (fn. 263) Walton Hill Farm was for sale in 1874 and again in 1925. (fn. 264)
Four acres in Apperley were granted c. 1210 to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, Gloucester, (fn. 265) and in 1251 the hospital had 4 a. in Wightfield and Deerhurst Walton. (fn. 266) No later evidence of the land has been found, but in 1424 St. Margaret's Hospital, Gloucester, had land in Apperley, (fn. 267) amounting to 2 a. in 1655. (fn. 268) At inclosure in 1815 the mayor and burgesses of the city, as the trustees of the hospital, received 1 a., (fn. 269) which they sold in 1878. (fn. 270)
The rectory, including all the tithes, was granted with Tewkesbury Abbey's manor of Deerhurst in 1542 to George Throckmorton. (fn. 271) In 1604 Thomas Throckmorton sold it to Thomas Cassey, (fn. 272) and it has since descended with Wightfield manor. At inclosure in 1815 William Barnard received an allotment of c. 360 a. for tithes, and Lord Coventry received 15 a. (fn. 273)
Gloucester Abbey had a small amount of land in Deerhurst Walton which in 1541 was granted to the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester. (fn. 274) Little Malvern Priory had 9s. rent from land in Deerhurst in 1535. (fn. 275)
Although Deerhurst had a fair from the 14th century until c. 1700 and has usually had a number of craftsmen and tradesmen, the parish has always been predominantly agricultural.
Agriculture. In 1086 Westminster Abbey's chief manor of 5 hides in Deerhurst had 3 ploughs and 6 servi on the demesne. (fn. 276) No details were given of the demesne of the other two manors Deerhurst Priory's and Wightfield manor mentioned in 1086. Deerhurst Priory's was said to have no demesne in the 13th century, (fn. 277) although at the same period 5 a. of demesne meadow at Haw Meadow were recorded, and stock was worth 1 2s. 3d. (fn. 278) In 1419 the demesne comprised 12 a. arable, 10 a. meadow, and pasture. (fn. 279) The demesne had evidently increased by 1535 when there were 70 a. arable, 9 a. pasture, and 5 a. meadow. (fn. 280) Reynold Child was holding demesne land in Wightfield in 1230. (fn. 281) The land there bought by Gilbert Despenser and John Leigh included 110 a. meadow, 40 a. arable, and 20 a. wood. (fn. 282) There were 6 bovates in demesne in Notcliffe in 1254. (fn. 283)
In the mid-14th century the demesne arable of Westminster Abbey's manor, including the demesne in Hardwicke, was 406 a.; (fn. 284) the two manors were at that time managed jointly as one estate. They probably had one bailiff and accounts do not always distinguish between them. (fn. 285) In 1343 the crops grown on the demesne were wheat, pulse, barley, and oats. The greater part of the arable was in Hardwicke, (fn. 286) and demesne meadow in Deerhurst was in Broadmeed, Smithsmead, and Cornham. (fn. 287) The whole of Westminster's demesne in Deerhurst was inclosed in 1365, (fn. 288) and in 1530 the arable, although it was in the open fields, was in consolidated pieces comprising c. 57 selions in three furlongs. The demesne meadow leased in that year was in Smithsmead and Cornham, (fn. 289) Broadmead being apparently leased separately. (fn. 290)
After the Dissolution the proportion of pasture and meadow to arable on the demesne of the Deerhurst Priory manor seems to have increased. The 47 a. arable, 21 a. meadow, and 16 a. pasture mentioned in 1565, however, may not represent the whole of the demesne, (fn. 291) which in 1615 was 108 a. The land was then said to be in Deerhurst, Walton, Apperley, Wightfield, and Leigh. (fn. 292) A dovecot and a fishery in the Naight brook were part of the demesne in 1565. (fn. 293) Wightfield manor when sold in 1720 had 60 a. demesne divided into c. 17 pieces, and it was the same in 1771. (fn. 294) Abbot's Court farm, the demesne of Westminster Abbey's manor, comprised in 1774 142 a. in 20 pieces varying in size from 18 a. to 2 a. Only 7 a. were arable. (fn. 295) Notcliffe manor included a farm of 46 a. in 1808, (fn. 296) and in 1811 Priory farm was 234 a., Wightfield farm 269 a., and Abbot's Court farm 155 a. (fn. 297)
A free tenement in Deerhurst in 1225 apparently belonged to Deerhurst Priory's manor, (fn. 298) and in 1291 assized rents of free tenants were recorded. (fn. 299) William and John the freeman, living in Deerhurst Walton in 1248 and 1287 respectively, were presumably free tenants. (fn. 300) In 1329, when a tenement formerly held in villeinage of Westminster Abbey's manor became a free tenement, the manor had other free tenants. (fn. 301) The number in 1496 was at least three. (fn. 302) In 1419 a tenant held by military service of Deerhurst Priory. (fn. 303) Both manors had free tenants in the mid-16th century. (fn. 304) There is little evidence of the size of free tenements; the one held by military service in 1419 was 8 a., (fn. 305) and in 1540 a free tenant in Deerhurst Walton had 3 yardlands. (fn. 306)
In 1086 20 villani and 8 bordars had 10 ploughs between them in Westminster Abbey's manor. (fn. 307) Copyhold tenures existed on Deerhurst Priory's manor in the 13th century when the rents of rustici and villeins were distinguished. (fn. 308) The number of people assessed for tax at a low rate in Apperley and Wightfield in 1327 (fn. 309) suggests a large number of small holdings. There were two neifs in Wightfield manor in 1397, (fn. 310) and the rent of tenants there amounted to 6 in 1357. (fn. 311) The 19 customary tenants of Westminster Abbey mentioned in 1365 do not represent all the customary tenants of the manor at that time. (fn. 312)
In the 14th century the usual holding of customary tenants of Westminster Abbey's manor was yardland. (fn. 313) Fourteen people held yardland in 1365, and 5 others including a cottar probably held smaller estates. All owed labour-services which included 5 days' work a week for 8 weeks during harvest, except for the cottar who did 2 days. The half-yardlanders owed 3 boon-works also. Other tenants had commuted some of their service by 1365 and did only 2 days' work at harvest. (fn. 314) Five tenants had commuted their labour-service by 1374, (fn. 315) and from the 15th century the profits of the manor included a standard amount for commutation of service. (fn. 316) No direct reference to labour-services owed by the tenants of Deerhurst Priory's manor has been found, but such services are to be inferred from the statement in 1419 that part of the demesne was sown by the tenants. (fn. 317)
In the 17th and 18th centuries copyhold continued to be the commonest form of tenure. Twenty-five copyhold tenants in Deerhurst Priory manor were recorded in 1615, (fn. 318) and Westminster Abbey's manor had 34 copyholders in 1711. (fn. 319) Holdings were small and a yardland remained the normal unit on Westminster Abbey's manor. Tenants with a whole yardland usually had 2 messuages. (fn. 320) A large number of tenants of Wightfield manor in 1712 had only a few acres each, (fn. 321) and in 1771 the manor had about 50 tenements of which several were only cottages and a few acres. (fn. 322) In 1811 the parish included c. 120 separate holdings of which 7 were 100 a. or more and many were less than 10 a. Several estates at that period were freehold or leasehold, (fn. 323) but many of them were apparently held as copyhold of Westminster Abbey's manor. (fn. 324) Copyholds were held usually for three lives, and it was said that the lord could grant estates in reversion for 1, 2, or 3 lives. Widows held by freebench. (fn. 325) In 1756 most tenants still owed heriots as well as rent, but they were usually paid in cash. (fn. 326)
There may have been separate open fields at one time for Deerhurst and for Apperley and Wightfield, but later, although the name Apperley field occurs occasionally, (fn. 327) the parish seems to have had only one set of open fields (fn. 328) in which the lands of each manor lay scattered. By 1565 one of the fields was called Redfield; (fn. 329) it covered a large part of the centre of the parish and included most of the arable land. (fn. 330) Walton Hill field covered the area around Deerhurst Walton, and the other fields Hartley field, Order field, West field, and the Shipping field in Wightfield, and Hoo field in the north west of the parish (fn. 331) seem to have been comparatively small. In 1815 the open arable land was in Redfield, Walton Hill field, and Hoo field. By that time much of the parish had been inclosed piecemeal, including possibly the whole of Apperley field. (fn. 332)
The open fields were divided into furlongs and lands or selions, and in 1530 one furlong included 29 selions. (fn. 333) The selions averaged a. in the 16th century, (fn. 334) but by 1812 the average size had grown, by consolidation, to c. a. (fn. 335) Land in the open fields, perhaps originally held in scattered pieces, had been consolidated to some extent by the 16th century, and Westminster Abbey's demesne land was held in pieces of 14 selions or more. (fn. 336) The open fields, during the 18th century at least, were sown every year without any fallow. (fn. 337) In the 18th century Apperley had an overseer of the fields, and Apperley and Walton had each a hayward. (fn. 338)
A considerable proportion of the parish was meadow and pasture, and landholders had several and common meadow in Haw Meadow, (fn. 339) Cobney Meadow, and Wickham Meadow, (fn. 340) and dole meadow in Oak dole. (fn. 341) The proportion of meadow to arable varied, some tenants having apparently nearly all meadow. (fn. 342) An estate of 43 a. in the 18th century included 9 cow-pastures (fn. 343) and in 1808 an estate of 155 a. had 11 pastures. (fn. 344) A stretch of common land between Deerhurst and Leigh, called Deerhurst or Apperley Common, provided common pasture for both parishes. (fn. 345) It was said to be c. 4 miles long in 1779, (fn. 346) and in 1803 the part in Apperley was 200 a. (fn. 347)
Pasture was already important in 1086 when Westminster Abbey's manor included 60 a., (fn. 348) and it seems likely that the parish has for a long time been divided fairly evenly, with pasture and meadow on the low land and arable on the higher land. In addition to the usual crops in the Middle Ages, there was a reference to vineyards in 1419, (fn. 349) and to fruitgrowing in the 14th century. (fn. 350) There was perhaps an increase in meadow and pasture following piecemeal inclosure: in 1596 four people were presented at Quarter Sessions for inclosing arable land and converting it to pasture. (fn. 351) In the 18th century the land beside the river was mostly cowpasture, and Apperley common was used for sheep and geese. (fn. 352) In 1803 it was said that the common could be made productive if it was inclosed. At that time the rotation of crops, which were said to be strong and abundant, was wheat, beans, barley, and beans, peas, or vetches. Broadcast husbandry was practised, and peas and beans were dibbled. It was noticed in 1803 that the arable and pasture were very rich. (fn. 353) Tobacco was grown in the parish in 1627. (fn. 354)
At inclosure in 1815 about 85 people received allotments. Much the largest allotment was that of William Barnard who received 360 a. for tithes, 135 a. for his freehold, and 76 a. for his leasehold under the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. Thomas Dowle received 206 a. for his freehold and copyhold, the Earl of Coventry 148 a., and John Bower 91 a. One other landholder received an allotment of more than 50 a. About 80 people received less than 50 a., of whom 50 had allotments of only a few acres or less. The award provided for exchange of land, and the large holdings lay mainly in compact estates. (fn. 355)
During the 19th century much of the land and many cottages in Deerhurst were acquired by the owners of Wightfield Manor and Apperley Court, but a large number of small estates survived. (fn. 356) Copyhold tenure survived in Plaistow manor until the 1870's. (fn. 357) In 1849 227 holdings, mostly of cottages and gardens or a few acres, were recorded in Deerhurst, occupied mainly by tenants. The Wightfield Manor and Apperley Court estates comprised 437 a. and 354 a. respectively, Priory farm was 232 a. and three other farms, Abbots Court, Walton farm, and Notcliffe, were over 100 a. (fn. 358) By 1964 many of the smaller farms had been absorbed by the larger ones, although some small farms survived. Wightfield manor formed a single farm of c. 500 a., (fn. 359) and the Apperley Court estate, which was about the same size, was divided into two farms. (fn. 360) Priory farm was c. 250 a., (fn. 361) and three other farms were each nearly 200 a. (fn. 362)
After inclosure the main crops on the Apperley Court estate were oats, beans, wheat, barley, and turnips. (fn. 363) Inclosure was perhaps followed by an increase in arable if Apperley Common was brought into cultivation as suggested in 1803, (fn. 364) but during the 19th century several of the larger farms were predominantly pasture and orchard. In 1881 Wightfield manor included only 82 a. arable out of 434 a. (fn. 365) In the earlier 19th century the Apperley Court estate had a high reputation for cattle-breeding, (fn. 366) and Mr. Ludlow-Hewitt, who owned Wightfield manor in the 20th century, was the author of works on the breeding of Friesians. Many of the orchards had been ploughed up or were in decay in 1964. Farming was mixed, with an emphasis on cattle, either for milk or beef. (fn. 367)
Fairs. In 1318 the Prior of Deerhurst was granted two fairs annually for three days in May and September. (fn. 368) In 1419 the profits of the fairs were 2s. (fn. 369) They were apparently still held in the 16th century, (fn. 370) but they were probably very small as there was no reference to the profits of the fairs at the Dissolution. Deerhurst fair was mentioned in 1655, (fn. 371) but c. 1700 was said to be almost decayed. (fn. 372) By 1779 the fairs had lapsed, (fn. 373) although in 1887 it was said that until recently there was a place called Fairplace Green at the entrance to the village and that the traditional sites of the horse, cow, and butter markets were remembered. (fn. 374)
Industry and trade. Smiths are recorded in the parish from the 14th century, (fn. 375) and in 1608 there were four between the three hamlets. (fn. 376) A blacksmith was working in Apperley up to 1939, (fn. 377) but by 1964 there was no smith. Deerhurst usually had carpenters, (fn. 378) and in the 18th and 19th centuries masons, bricklayers, and thatchers were recorded. (fn. 379) A brick-kiln was working by 1715 (fn. 380) beside the river where there were large clay-pits. The brick-works were still in use in 1853 (fn. 381) but had closed by 1884, (fn. 382) and a limekiln and quarry were also disused in 1884. (fn. 383) A basket-maker was living in the parish in 1799, (fn. 384) and the industry had probably started by 1754 when osiers were being grown. (fn. 385) In the late 19th century and early 20th the parish had several basketmakers, (fn. 386) but by 1964 the industry had almost died out and only one basket-maker remained. Other occupations which arose from the proximity of the river were those of lock-keeper and boatman. (fn. 387) The name Fisher occurred in the 15th century, (fn. 388) and fishing has for a long time provided an occupation. (fn. 389) In the 16th century there was a street called Fisher Street in Deerhurst village; (fn. 390) but by 1964 when fishing was restricted by law there was no professional fisherman in the parish.
In 1608 the parish had a weaver, 5 tailors, and a glover. (fn. 391) A tailor was living in the parish in 1776, his son was a tailor in 1843, (fn. 392) and tailors were recorded in the parish in the late 19th century. (fn. 393) During the 18th century there were several cordwainers in Deerhurst, (fn. 394) and at the end of the 19th century the parish had several shoemakers. (fn. 395) A maltster was living in the parish in 1739. (fn. 396) Unusual occupations mentioned in 1608 were those of musician and badger. Three badgers were recorded in 1608, (fn. 397) and in 1909 it was said that badging was still a common occupation in Deerhurst. (fn. 398) Apperley had a shopkeeper and a grocer by 1870, and Deerhurst Walton had a shop in 1885. Deerhurst village still had a shop in 1939, and Deerhurst Walton had a motor service station, (fn. 399) but in 1964 the only shop in the parish was at Apperley. In 1831 143 families were supported by agriculture compared with 38 supported by trade and manufacture. (fn. 400) In 1964 less than half the working population worked on the land, and many people travelled to factories at Cheltenham and Gloucester.
The tithings of Apperley, Walton, and Deerhurst attending Westminster Abbey's view of frankpledge in the 16th century had each a constable and tithingman. (fn. 401) In the 18th century two constables and two tithingmen were usually appointed at the court but the tithings which they were said to represent were not consistent and do not seem to correspond to the communities in the parish. (fn. 402) In 1830 Apperley and Wightfield, Deerhurst Walton, and Lower Deerhurst presumably the part of Deerhurst village in Westminster hundred had each a constable. (fn. 403) It seems that tenants held office in turn and that women were responsible for providing a suitable person to hold office instead of serving themselves. (fn. 404)
A court baron for Westminster Abbey's manor of Deerhurst and for Apperley, Wightfield, and Deerhurst Walton was normally included in the frankpledge court, (fn. 405) although in the 18th century the court baron was held more frequently. (fn. 406) In addition to the court rolls of the hundred court (fn. 407) which include the court baron, a court roll without view for 1348 (fn. 408) and many extracts from court rolls relating to tenancies of land for the 18th and 19th centuries survive. (fn. 409)
Deerhurst Priory's manor presumably attended the prior's court at Deerhurst, (fn. 410) but no court rolls have been found for that court and the latest reference to a court for that manor seems to be in 1540. (fn. 411)
Churchwardens' accounts from 1606 existed in the late 19th century, (fn. 412) but in 1964 the earliest accounts were from 1645. Churchwardens' and overseers' accounts and papers including a number of removal orders and apprenticeship indentures survive for the period from 1645 to the 19th century. In the 16th century and in the early 18th the parish sometimes had four churchwardens, presumably two for Deerhurst and two for Apperley, (fn. 413) but the more usual number was two. (fn. 414) Officers elected in 1625 included 2 churchwardens, 2 collectors for the poor, 4 overseers of highways, and 2 vermin spoilers; (fn. 415) there were sometimes 4 overseers of the poor, (fn. 416) and by 1832 Apperley had its own overseers. (fn. 417) In 1771 an agreement was made with the overseers of Winchcombe for the poor of Deerhurst to be sent to Winchcombe workhouse, (fn. 418) but by 1789 Deerhurst had its own workhouse. It was probably very small, and although it was still in use in 1813 (fn. 419) most relief was received outside the workhouse. Expenditure on the poor almost doubled between 1776 and 1803, when 351 was spent and 51 people had regular relief and 140 occasional relief. (fn. 420) Expenditure continued to rise to 1814 although fewer people were receiving relief. (fn. 421) Between 1825 and 1832 expenditure on relief rose again, from 421 to 751. (fn. 422) In 1835 Deerhurst became part of the Tewkesbury Poor Law Union, (fn. 423) and, with the greater part of the Tewkesbury Rural District, was transferred to the Cheltenham Rural District in 1935. (fn. 424) The parish council has met regularly since 1894. (fn. 425)
The parish church was the church of Deerhurst priory, which existed by 804, (fn. 426) and the older parts of the church survive from that period. (fn. 427) In 1315 it was said that the parish church had been annexed to the priory from its foundation, (fn. 428) and the same building probably always served as both priory church and parish church. By the 13th century, when Deerhurst Priory belonged to the Abbey of St. Denis, the prior, appointed by the Abbot of St. Denis, acted as chaplain in Deerhurst parish; (fn. 429) an agreement was made between the abbot and the Bishop of Worcester that the monk appointed as prior should be presented to the bishop because he had the cure of souls. (fn. 430) In 1320 the chaplain was not the prior, (fn. 431) and perhaps by that time it was usual for the prior to appoint a chaplain. When the priory was in the king's hands during the wars with France the lessees were responsible for providing a chaplain, and in 1394 the lessee gave the prior 46 marks to provide a chaplain for the parish. (fn. 432) After the Dissolution the impropriator was responsible for providing the chaplain, who was usually called a curate. (fn. 433) When the living was augmented in 1745 it became a perpetual curacy, (fn. 434) and by 1856 was called a vicarage. (fn. 435) The Bishop of Gloucester, who had appointed the chaplain for some time before 1745, (fn. 436) became the patron of the perpetual curacy. (fn. 437)
In the 13th and 14th centuries it was customary for the churches of Deerhurst, Tirley, Hasfield, the Leigh, Forthampton, Corse, Staverton, and Boddington to be visited at Deerhurst although they were in Winchcombe deanery, (fn. 438) and by the 16th century they constituted what was called the peculiar of Deerhurst. (fn. 439) It does not seem that the peculiar was ever exempt from the ordinary jurisdiction, (fn. 440) and it is doubtful whether it meant any more than the right to be visited at Deerhurst, which was claimed in 1750, (fn. 441) and apparently still recognized in 1845. (fn. 442) After the 18th century Deerhurst was not often referred to as a peculiar. (fn. 443)
The clear value of Deerhurst church in 1291 was 35 6s. 8d. and Tewkesbury Abbey had a small tithe portion; (fn. 444) apart from the portion the whole profit of the church belonged to Deerhurst Priory, passing to Tewkesbury Abbey (fn. 445) and, after the Dissolution, to the lay impropriator. (fn. 446) The impropriator paid a salary of 6 to the curate. (fn. 447) In 1745 the living was augmented from Queen Anne's Bounty and the parishioners agreed to make the curate's salary up to 20. (fn. 448) The living was again augmented in 1770, 1786, 1810, and 1815. (fn. 449) Eight acres of glebe were bought, (fn. 450) for which the curate received a small allotment at inclosure. (fn. 451) By 1822 there were 16 a. of glebe, (fn. 452) and a further 6 a. were bought in 1877. (fn. 453) A large vicarage had been built by 1856, (fn. 454) and the living was then valued at 102. (fn. 455) In 1964 a small part of the glebe remained in the vicar's possession. (fn. 456)
In 1385 the bishop appointed an administrator because the parish church was vacant and 'manifestly neglected'. (fn. 457) By 1389 it was apparently customary for the church to have two chaplains as well as the prior to perform the services. (fn. 458) After 1468 the monks of Tewkesbury were obliged to provide a secular priest to serve the parish. (fn. 459)
The curate in 1551 was found to be satisfactory. (fn. 460) The next curate, Richard Edwards, though a scholar, was not a preacher, (fn. 461) and in 1584 the churchwardens complained that there had been only one sermon in two years. (fn. 462) Edwards remained curate for 30 years, (fn. 463) but it is unlikely that he lived in the parish. During that period and during the 17th century there were frequent presentments for not attending church and for frequenting alehouses during services. (fn. 464) From 1611 to 1613 there was no minister, (fn. 465) and on two occasions in 1611 the churchwardens paid for a preacher. (fn. 466) In 1634 two curates, Robert Huntington and Humphrey Fox, were admonished, one for baptizing without the sign of the cross and the other for not wearing a surplice. (fn. 467) William Troughton, the curate in 1648, was an Independent. (fn. 468) In 1650 there was no minister, (fn. 469) and from 1652 the parish was again served by an Independent, (fn. 470) Francis Harris. The strong Low Church element in Deerhurst is perhaps indicated by the arrangement of furniture in the choir. (fn. 471) Deerhurst had curates throughout the later 17th century and through the 18th, (fn. 472) but the small salary and the lack of a glebe house probably meant that they were often not resident; in the 18th century the cure of souls was evidently neglected. The parishioners met in 1752 to consider what means to use to provide a service every Sunday and to prosecute the curate for neglecting his duty. (fn. 473) When the parishioners offered to raise the salary to 20 c. 1750 it was on condition that services should be performed regularly, either in the morning or evening. (fn. 474) In 1779, when the perpetual curate lived at Llandaff and the stipendiary curate at Tewkesbury, (fn. 475) services were held once in 5 or 6 weeks and it was said that a large number of the parishioners frequented the alehouses instead of the church on Sundays. (fn. 476) In 1825 the curate was also curate of Tewkesbury where he lived; two services were held on Sundays in the summer and one in winter. (fn. 477) After the vicarage was built the vicar lived in the parish. (fn. 478)
In 1855 a chapel of ease was built by Henry Eustachius Strickland at Apperley, (fn. 479) and from 1856 services were held there. (fn. 480) In 1964 two services were held each Sunday at Apperley and one or two at Deerhurst church. (fn. 481)
In 1527 John Bell and Edward Hawker gave land and a house for the repair of the church, and other charitable purposes. (fn. 482) The income from the land, 12 a., was 5 12s. in 1750. (fn. 483) At inclosure the churchwardens received 6 a. for the land, (fn. 484) which in 1826 was let for 28, and a. in Tirley was let for 4. The income was then used mainly for the repair of the church, (fn. 485) and was still so used in 1964.
The church of ST. MARY (fn. 486) consists of nave, choir, north and south aisles, and west tower. The greater part of the building survives from the AngloSaxon priory church, although it has undergone many alterations. It is built mainly of coursed rubble, and extensive herring-bone work survives. For long it was thought that the surviving Anglo-Saxon building belonged mainly to the end of the 10th century, (fn. 487) which would agree with the tradition that the church was destroyed by the Danes. (fn. 488) More recently it has been suggested that the main building survives from the period before the Danish incursions. Such a suggestion makes more sense of alterations to the church within the Anglo-Saxon period, of the exceptional height of the narrow nave, and of the great variety of door- and windowopenings. There are 17 doorways and 14 windows of Anglo-Saxon workmanship, in an assortment of styles. (fn. 489)
The earliest church was apparently a simple building comprising the tall and narrow nave and a chancel with a semi-circular apsidal end. It had no adjuncts: neither the west porch or tower nor any of the chapels that have been converted into the aisles is in bond with the main fabric. The moulded string-course that once ran completely round the nave is of the first period of building, as are some of the simple megalithic openings. The next stage of building comprised the addition of a west porch, of two bays and two stories high, and of double chapels flanking the west end of the chancel and east end of the nave; the chapels were also two stories high, with access to a room or gallery over the east end of the nave. The third stage of building, still in the late 8th or early 9th century, included extending the side chapels by a third, westward bay, building a division across the nave to form a choir, and raising the western porch by a third story, which had an outside gallery on the west and looked into the nave through an unusual window of two triangular-headed lights with fluted jambs.
The fourth stage in building the Anglo-Saxon church was partly an enlargement and partly a restoration. The range of chapels flanking the nave was shortened at the east end but extended westwards by the addition of three more bays on each side, and the porch was given two more stories, making it into a tower. The chancel was rebuilt on a polygonal plan with seven sides, but on the earlier semi-circular foundations, the outside walls being treated with arcading and pilaster-strips. Most of the chancel has disappeared, but the foundations, incorporated in farm buildings, were discovered c. 1890 (fn. 490) and excavated in 1926. (fn. 491) A section which survives includes the figure of an angel carved in relief, one of several pieces of Anglo-Saxon architectural sculpture in the church. In the same period several of the arches were rebuilt in an enlarged and more sophisticated form, and have hood-moulds with animal head-stops, while three openings have boldly projecting animal heads above them. Over the archway between the two bays of the porch is a relief of the Madonna and Child.
The font, standing at the west of the nave, is thought to belong to the Saxon church although it was restored to Deerhurst only c. 1880. It was found on a farm before 1846 and given to Longdon church (Worcs.), where it remained until the stem of a font with similar ornamentation was found at Deerhurst. The font was brought back and placed with the stem in Deerhurst church, (fn. 492) but the stem, which is partly octagonal, may not belong to the bowl, which is circular. (fn. 493) Both are decorated with carved spiral ornamentation which is thought to show Celtic influence. (fn. 494)
The first major alteration in the post-Conquest period was the rebuilding of the side chapels as north and south aisles, in the late 12th or early 13th century. The aisle arcades, of three bays, were made in the existing walls of the nave, and in each aisle fragments remain of the early string-course of the Anglo-Saxon nave. The columns of the aisle arcades have carved capitals each with a different design. At the west end of the aisles arches were pierced or enlarged in the north and south walls of the tower. In the 14th century the west doorway and some of the aisle windows were rebuilt. The top of the tower was altered and small two-light windows inserted in each side also in the 14th century; it was perhaps then that the spire blown down in 1661 (fn. 495) was added. The east end of the north aisle was probably used as a chapel by the 14th century; (fn. 496) it contains monumental brasses and tablets of the Cassey family.
The windows of the clerestory were added in the 15th century, and the nave and aisles were given parapeted roofs; the east face of the tower shows the pitch of the former nave roof. An east window was inserted in the chancel in the 15th century above the archway opening to the apse; the archway was opening to the apse; the archway was presumably already blocked and the apse decayed. It may have been about that time that the dividing wall between the choir and nave was removed, the choir becoming more like a chancel. The south windows of the south aisle were replaced in the 16th century.
The church was apparently neglected in the 18th century (fn. 497) and was in a bad state of repair before restoration was undertaken in 1861. (fn. 498) The work carried out then was largely a restoration of the old church, (fn. 499) although some of the Saxon features were removed and reset in other parts of the church. The choir roof was replaced by one of a lower pitch, and some of the windows of the clerestory were replaced. (fn. 500) The west window of the north aisle was put up in memory of Hugh Edwin Strickland, the geologist. (fn. 501)
A stone coffin in the north chapel is thought to be of the 14th century; (fn. 502) the surviving piece of the lid has the top part of a foliated cross. In the floor of the north chapel is a memorial brass to Sir John Cassey (d. 1400) and his wife, (fn. 503) from which the figure of St. John the Baptist was removed in the 19th century. (fn. 504) Another brass in the north aisle is for Elizabeth (d. 1525), wife of William Cassey and then of Walter Rowden. The inscription has been lost since 1791. A brass effigy found during the 19thcentury restoration of the church (fn. 505) may be of Elizabeth, wife of John Cassey (d. 1494), or of the wife of John Cassey, junior. Seventeenth-century monuments include those to Edward Guy (d. 1612), another Edward Guy (d. 1639), and Peter Fermor (d. 1691) who as impropriator was buried in the choir. (fn. 506)
The west window of the south aisle has some ancient painted glass, including inscriptions and the figures of St. Catherine and St. Alphege, of the 14th and 15th centuries respectively. Some of the pews in the south aisle are of the 15th century, the rest having been replaced in 1861. (fn. 507) In the choir the early 17th-century communicants' seats, arranged on the north, south, and east sides of the altar-table, are unusual. Until 1846 the altar-table faced north, (fn. 508) an arrangement surviving from before the Laudian reforms. (fn. 509)
Five of the bells were cast in 1736 and 1737, and one is of 1872. (fn. 510) The church plate included an ancient silver chalice and paten-cover which were stolen in 1842. Apart from a pewter tankard of 1694, the rest of the plate is of the 19th century. (fn. 511)
The chapel of ease at Apperley is a red brick building with a tiled roof, built in the Byzantine style in 1856. (fn. 512) It consists of a wide nave, with apse, west tower, and north vestry. The nave has choir stalls at the east end and is separated from the small five-sided apse or sanctuary by a rounded arch. The lower part of the tower forms the west porch.
In 1885 Abbot's Court was discovered to incorporate a Saxon chapel. The walls of the chapel had been plastered, covering the windows; the east end had been given a jettied timber-framed upper story, and the west end, used as a kitchen, a large fireplace. When the restoration was complete the chapel was found to consist of a nave and chancel of a total length of 46 ft., divided by an 11th-century horseshoe-shaped chancel arch. The building is of blue lias stone with arches, imposts, and jambs in dressed stone. The chapel had north and south opposed entrances which only partly survived and were rebuilt in the 19th century. (fn. 513) The nave has double-splayed round-headed windows. The original east wall of the chapel has been replaced, and there is no evidence of a west window. The roof was rebuilt in the 19th century. (fn. 514)
The chapel has been identified as the 'royal hall' of which the foundation was recorded on a tablet found in the orchard of Abbot's Court in 1675. (fn. 515) According to the inscription the chapel was built by Earl Odda for the soul of his brother Alfric in honour of the Holy Trinity and was dedicated in 1056. Another inscribed stone was found in the wall of Abbot's Court in 1885 (fn. 516) recording the dedication of an altar; it is mutilated, but the remaining letters are consistent with a dedication to the Holy Trinity. It was recorded in the 15th or 16th century that a small chapel had stood opposite the entrance to the priory with an inscription over the doorway. The inscription as recorded is unreliable and may be an ill-remembered version of the one found in 1675. (fn. 517) No documentary evidence has been found of the use of Odda's chapel as a chapel. It may have been used by the tenants of Westminster Abbey's manor, though this seems unlikely in view of its proximity to the large parish church. It was perhaps the chapel of William of Derneford, lessee of Westminster Abbey's manor, that was mentioned in 1287. (fn. 518) Benches were put in the chapel before 1928 (fn. 519) but had been removed by 1964, when the building, which had been recently acquired by the Ministry of Public Building and Works, was not used for services.
From the later 16th century until 1720 the owners of Wightfield manor were Roman Catholics and there was at least one other Roman Catholic in the parish in 1715. (fn. 520)
The curates during the Interregnum were described as Congregationalists, (fn. 521) and in 1672 a Congregationalist meeting in Deerhurst was licensed. (fn. 522) Forty-one nonconformists were recorded in 1676, (fn. 523) but the number had decreased by 1735 when there were 6 Presbyterians and one Quaker. (fn. 524) A community of Moravians at Apperley had, before 1757, a chapel built by John Evenis. (fn. 525) The chapel, a small brick building with a tiled roof in Apperley, on the road to Apperley Court, had a vestry and a burial ground. By 1792 it was no longer used by Moravians, and in 1799, when it was apparently in use as a chapel, (fn. 526) it was probably used by Methodists.
A small community of Methodists existed at Apperley from the mid-18th century, (fn. 527) and it was this community that was using the chapel at Apperley in 1802. (fn. 528) In 1845 the chapel and burial ground were conveyed to trustees for use by Wesleyan Methodists, (fn. 529) and later a small house for the minister was added to the chapel. The congregation was c. 60 in 1851. (fn. 530) A larger chapel, of brick with a gabled porch, was built close to the old one in 1904 and the old chapel was used as a schoolroom. (fn. 531) In 1964 the chapel, which had 10 members, was served from Tewkesbury and services were held every Sunday. (fn. 532) The burial ground was no longer used; gravestones dating from the late 18th century could be seen against the outside walls of the new chapel.
Apart from the Methodist community, between 1822 and 1841 six private houses were used by nonconformist communities. (fn. 533) A Baptist society held a small amount of land in the parish in 1815. (fn. 534)
In 1818 Deerhurst had only a Sunday school, but the children attended two schools in Tewkesbury. (fn. 535) A private school at Apperley was supported by the Strickland family until 1879. (fn. 536) A National school was built in 1856 in Deerhurst village, (fn. 537) a red brick building near the church, and in 1858 a National school was opened in Apperley, (fn. 538) opposite the Methodist chapel.
The Deerhurst school had an attendance of 60 in 1885 and 68 in 1906; the Apperley school, which was enlarged in 1905, of 38 in 1885 and 50 in 1906. (fn. 539)
By 1923 the number of pupils did not justify two schools, and the one at Apperley, being the smaller building, was closed; (fn. 540) most of the children, however, lived in Apperley. In 1964 the number of pupils at the Deerhurst school was c. 50. The children over eleven attended schools in Tewkesbury. (fn. 541)
Before 1700 the interest from 35 stock given by Thomas Hawkins, William Reeve, Joan Pixley, and John Hampden, was distributed to the poor on St. Thomas's day. (fn. 542) By 1704 another 2 had been given by John Fluck and 5 by Benjamin Huntington, (fn. 543) and before 1786 Sarah Roberts left land from which 2 a year was used for bread. (fn. 544) All except the Sarah Roberts charity had been lost by 1826, when 2 from that charity was distributed in cash. (fn. 545) In 1894, when it was called the St. Thomas's charity, it produced 2 10s.; (fn. 546) the amount was the same in 1964, when it was distributed in doles of 2s. (fn. 547)
Robert Huntington, Bishop of Raphoe (Ireland) (d. 1701), (fn. 548) left 2 annually for apprenticing poor boys of Deerhurst and Leigh. (fn. 549) During the 20th century the money was allowed to accumulate because there was only occasional demand for it, (fn. 550) and in 1964 it was used to provide educational holidays for children. (fn. 551)
By deed of 1909 William Phillips gave four cottages in Deerhurst village as almshouses and 507 for their maintenance. A Scheme was drawn up in 1955 for administering the almshouses, but in 1959 the houses were unfit for habitation and were pulled down. (fn. 552) In 1964 the income of c. 43 a year from the Phillips charity was distributed in cash and goods. (fn. 553) Two sums of 50 stock given in the earlier 19th century by Charlotte and Juliana Strickland (fn. 554) for the poor were in 1964 administered by the owner of the Apperley Court estate. (fn. 555)