Glebe Cottage

The Old Rectory

Glebe Cottage 2017-12-04T17:37:16+00:00
Rectory Cottage 1942 poss Nat Mon copyright

Rectory Cottage (now Glebe Cottage) in 1942

This photograph shows the interesting building that is opposite the church in Thornbury.   The photograph was taken in 1942 which explains the tape on the windows which was put there to reduce injury from bomb blast.  It has been called by many names including the Old Rectory and Rectory Cottage but is now called Glebe Cottage.

It has been a complicated matter to determine the history of the property.  We have been greatly assisted in our search for information by a fellow member of Thornbury Museum’s Research Group Tina Kelly who has also helped with photographing and recording information.

The Rectory of Thornbury was part of the extensive estates owned by Christ Church College in Oxford and records are still held there concerning the many transactions from that time until the twentieth century.  We are deeply indebted for the help of the archivist at Christ Church, Judith Curthoys MSt, DAA, who allowed us to examine the indentures held by the College and the Calendar of Correspondence which dates back to 1535.  From these we have established that King Henry VIII granted Christ Church the Rectory of Thornbury (amongst other properties) at the foundation of the College in 1546.  The documents give us a fairly detailed list of the various people who leased the Rectory from the College and we have shown them below with a brief account of what we know about them.  However it should be borne in mind that this does NOT imply that these people lived in the property.

One of the interesting aspects of the Old Rectory is that we expected to find evidence of a rector or cleric of some sort living in the building.  So far (that is, from 1546 onwards) this has not been the case.  We have explained on the page about the Vicarage of Thornbury that the parish of Thornbury was once in the gift of the Abbey of Tewkesbury.  The Abbey was then dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540.  In these early times the Abbey Of Tewkesbury, in return for receiving tithes from the people of Thornbury, was liable to send a clerk to preach at the church on Sundays.  Christ Church took over these responsibilities by appointing a Vicar to the parish.  The Vicar lived so far as we can tell in a vicarage on the site of the Old Vicarage and not in the Rectory.  Tithes, consisting of a percentage of the crops or money in lieu of these, were payable by the owners or tenants of certain properties either to the Vicar or to the Rectory.  It was the right to collect these ‘rectorial’ tithes and to keep part of them that was being leased out by Christ Church along with with the Rectory buildings and the glebe (the land adjoining the Rectory which also belonged to the College).

We have records such as the Tithe Terrier of 1696 that specify what tithes were payable by the various landowners and tenants and whether the tithe was payable to the Vicar or to the Rectory.  In addition to the payments connected to the crops on particular pieces of land there were other tithes, most of which were payable to the Vicar.  These included 4d from each woman who has been delivered “from the peril of childbirth” and a tithe on the “silvur cider”.  Click here to read about those tithes.

The indentures held in Christ Church usually described the property as the Parsonage or Rectory and it was a small cluster of buildings and barns surrounded by its own glebe.  The College leased out the Rectory and its buildings and the tithes associated with it, including the corn and hay growing on a field called Innlands or Tiltfields.   The leases were long (usually for three lives) at rents of about £27 5s 4d (although the actual amount varied from time to time).  This was to be paid to Christ Church by the lessees partly in money and the rest in tithes of wheat and malt.  The lessees then often sublet the property and they were themselves paid in tithes.

The lessees of the rectory had responsibilities for keeping the church in good repair.  Although the tenants of the Rectory were entitled to the tithes due to it they had no right to choose the incumbent of the parish.  This right was kept by the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church College who to this day appoint the vicar of Thornbury.

The house itself was considered of much less importance than the land that was attached to it (unlike today when the house itself is very valuable) and it is rarely clear who actually lived there. Often the property seems empty and near derelict.

Plan of the Glebe drawn up in 1840

On the right we have a copy of a plan of the Rectory which shows in green and yellow the extent of the glebe as it was in 1840 at the time of the Tithe Apportionment. The area in blue is the glebe attached to the vicarage, although the vicarage held other property as well.  It should be noted that at this time (1840) the National School was next to the church and not on its present site.  It was only later, in 1859, that the National School (now St Mary’s) was built on part of the Rectory glebe (the area shown in yellow on the map). It is also noticeable that the Rectory consisted of two separate premises occupied by two different households. They were later combined to make one house and, as can be seen in the photograph below on the left, it has been much modernised and is now an expensive and desirable property.

In the censuses, directories and other documents, especially in Victorian times, the house was referred to as the Old Rectory Cottage or Old Rectory House.  We have also found documents that appear to call it the parsonage.  The present owners call it Glebe Cottage.  It is possible that there are instances where we have wrongly assumed that the property referred to is this one rather than than the vicarage that occupied the site next to the entrance to Thornbury Castle.  If this is the case we apologise and as always we would welcome further information or corrections.

Glebe Cottage is now fenced off from the rest of The Glebe

The English Heritage website describes the building as late sixteenth century, although it has been much altered.  The outside is rendered and the roof has double roman tiles.  The chimneys are brick and diagonal but two of them are on rubble stacks.  It has two storeys and a mixture of window styles including two four-light casements with chamfered mullions.  There is a projecting gabled porch and a plank studded door with strap hinges.  It has a cross passage and one room has a spice cupboard with an arch-headed door.

The indentures at Christ Church make frequent mention of the pigeon house that was one of the buildings.  As far as we know it is no longer visible and all we know of it was that it was made of stone.  A pigeon house could be a sizeable property and it is noteworthy that a letter from the Vicar Guy Lawrence in 1690 says that a man wishing to build a property in Thornbury is asking to buy the stones of the pigeon house.  There are many pigeon houses still existing in country and we have visited a well known one in Dunster, which is shown here.  In the case of Dunster the pigeons were to provide a luxury meat for a priory, but they could also be kept for their eggs or their dung.  There was at least one other large pigeon house in Thornbury (near the present site of the Baptist Church) and pigeon dung may have been associated with the saltpetre manufacture that took place in in Thornbury in the seventeenth century.

Until comparatively recent times the cottage was only accessible through the glebe field. The house now has an access drive way and car parking space.

Glebe1

Glebe Cottage in 1970s

During the late twentieth century the building was extended and has been very much renovated.   In the photograph at the top of the page from the 1940s there is a chimney on each end of the house and one towards the middle.  The image on the left is from a photograph we took in 2009. It is just possible to see that the building has been extended beyond the chimney and a further lower extension has been added.  This photograph also gives a clearer indication of the driveway added in recent times.  The lower image on the right was probably taken in the late 1970s or early 1980s and shows the house before the driveway was introduced.

We have described a little of the early history of the parish of Thornbury on the page about the vicarage.  Please click here for further details

Using the records held by Christ Church and other information found in Gloucester Archives we have managed to find the names of some of the people who have leased the Rectory.  It is not clear whether any of these people ever lived in the property.  In most cases they appear to have farmed the land and collected the tithes.  In fact some of these people are known to have sublet the tenancy to others.

John, Thomas and William Pichare.  A letter dated March 1750 held by Christ Church College and concerning an appeal about the tithes payable to the Rectory refers to the fact that John Thomas and William Pichare leased the Rectory from the Abbot and Convent of Tewkesbury.  The lease was dated 16th June in the 22nd year of the reign of Edward IV.  The cartullary for Christ Church College Oxford refers to an indenture dated 16th June 1482 by which Richard abbot of Tewkesbury

The Pigeon House at Dunster dates back to the 1500s and is probably older, but similar to the one in Thornbury

“leases to master Thomas With, vicar of the church of Thornbury, John Pichare of the same, and Thomas and William his sons, and John Payne lately of Morton in the parish of Thornbury, the site of the rectory and all tithes etc for 40 years, if they live as long.

John Kedy.  An article in the February 1955 issue of the publication by the Society of Thornbury Folk says that the rental and survey of 1501 shows that John Kedy held a messuage in “le Rectonrew”.  However the earliest documents we have seen to date are held by Christ Church College Oxford.

Thomas Pychear and Thomas Pychear junior. In a document of lease dated 26th November 1535 the Abbot of Tewkesbury referred to an even earlier lease dated 1st January 1529/30 to Thomas Pychear the elder and Thomas Pychear his son.  Even at this early stage of the history of the Rectory we have a brief description of the rectory “with dovehouse and all outbuildings and also all tithes of corn and hay belonging thereto.

Nicholas and Robert Pychear.  The lease of 26th November 1535 let the property to Nicholas and Robert Pychear, sons of Thomas junior and included “all tithes of a field called Inlandes or Tylteffelde.”  The rent was to be £27 3s 4d payable at the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul and the Invention of the Cross in equal portions; namely £26 13s 4d for the rectory and tithes and 10s for the field called Inlandes.

It is interesting to note that the lease of 1535 includes the stipulation that the lessees were to provide food drink and materials for workmen doing repairs, this was presumably to the church.  The lessees also had to provide food and drink for the cellarer and Senechal of the Abbey and their servants when they visited the estate.

In a survey of the rectory of Thornbury dated about 1550 the lessees were still Nicholas and Robert Pycher.

William Banks. In 1551 on 4th November William Banks a joiner of Hatfield Broad Oak in Essex acquired the lease for a term of 60 years after the expiration of a former term granted in a lease dated 26th November 1535 to Nicholas Pyccher and Robert Pycher of Thornbury.   We note that there was a Dissertation submitted by Jeffery Hankins to the Graduate Faculty of Louisiana State University tells us that in the late 1590s William Banks of Hadstock in Essex was named to the Bishop of Colchester as not having been to church for five years.  As the name is not uncommon it is very possible that this may be another William Banks.

Richard Pritchard.  On 9th December 1561 Richard Pritchard a yeoman of Thornbury leased the right to some portions of the tithes of corn and grain.  This seems to relate to the New Park, Marlwood and Eastwood and is an indication that at this time the “glebe” was much more than just the land around the rectory, as it was in the 1840 plan.

Richard Griffin.  A deed of confirmation dated 17th December 1562 awards the lease to Richard Griffin of Wotton under Edge yeoman who was the assignee of Nicholas and Robert Pichare.

William Gwatkins.  The archives of Christ Church include a letter dated 18th May 1613 from a Thomas Tyndale to Dr Thornton of Oxford University.  These say that Tyndale forced Gwatkln to give up “some writings gotten detayned and denied” by him.  It is not clear what kind of writings these were but they were two compositions concerned with the Rectory of Thornbury.  Holding these papers was seen by Tyndale as a serious business and his letter days that Gwatkins’s “malice and shifting” and “trifling shiftings …will bring more damage and danger than he hath yet forseen.

The writings are seen to be in contempt of the Chancellor.  It is significant that the letter makes reference to the then vicar John Sprinte and advises that the College “carefully provide that nothing bee taught in doctrine or acted in discipline contrarie to the Lawes of thice realm.”  John Sprinte had attached himself to the Puritan party and was called to account for this by Christ Church College for his criticisms of the rites of the Anglican Church.  He was even imprisoned for his teachings.  It would seem that William Gwatkins “writings” were evidence.  We cannot be sure whether the fact that he was holding the papers was indicative of Gwatkins’s own religious beliefs.

William Gwatkins was mayor of Thornbury twice, in 1613/14 and 1620/1.  We know from the will that William Gwatkins made in 1626 that at that time he was still the lessee of the rectory of Thornbury.

His will indicates more of the extent of the glebe belonging to the Rectory as it shows that he held “severall parcells” of tithe corn and hay in the Rangeworthy area that belonged to the rectory of Thornbury for the remainder of his lease, which was then 31 years to his daughter Dorothy and her husband Moore Hill.  It is interesting to note that he was dividing up what he had leased from Christ Church as he left his other daughter Judith Thurston, the use and occupation and profits of the ” rectory of the Parsonage of Thornebury, together with all the tithe of Corne and hay now or late in my owne possession and occupation” in the tything of Kington and borough of Thornebury, that he had not specifically left to anyone else together with the tithe corn and hay in Marlwood Eltwood and New Park for the term of 21 years

William Gwatkins died in 1626 aged 80 years and was buried in St Mary’s Church in Thornbury on 21st December 1626.  The bodies of his son in law Moore Hill and his daughter Dorothy Hill were later buried in the same grave.

John Jones.  An enfeoffment of 1629 refers to John Jones of the Parsonage, Mayor of the Borough of Thornbury.  We are still trying to disentangle the references to the various generations of John Jones in Thornbury.  Click here to read more

Edward Thurston and Richard Giles.  On 16th July 1635 a deed of confirmation in which Edward Thurston of Kington near Thornbury who was a lessee of the Rectory and its tithes covenanted to pay to Christ Church College a further rent of £5 for the tithes in the Park.  The will of William Gwatkins dated 1626 refers to Edward Thurston as his son in law and names him as executor of the will.  The same will also refers to William’s daughter Judith Thurston and from this we assume that Edward Thurston’s first wife was Judith Gwatkins.  The IGI has a record that Edward Thurston married Judith Gwatkins in Bristol on 29th July 1619.

A letter dated 3rd August 1640 to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church from Edward Thurston and Richard Giles the then tenants described the property in Thornbury saying that there was what even at that date was described as “an ancient house“.  The full description of the property says “there is an ancient house and dovehouse and two barnes, one oxen house called a stable and one kitchen att the ende of the lesser barn. One garden one burgage and a backside conteyninge one acre or thereaboute And one Acre of glebelands or thereaboute adjoining to the lesser barne.”

The document makes it clear that at this time the property itself is not all that is being leased.  The term “Rectory” includes all the tithes that are due to it.  This includes “all sortes of Tithes of corn and grain“. The tithes of hay of the freeholders also belong to the Rectory (except a few which have anciently paid money to the Vicar).

Edward Thurston was mayor of Thornbury, perhaps three times as we have entries on the list of mayors of Thornbury for the names Edward Thurston in 1629/30, 1639/40 and 1646/47.  There was another entry for the year 1652/53 which is the year that Edward died.  Read about Edward Thurston

We know from the will of Edward Thurston of 10th April 1652 (proved at London on 24th May 1652) that his wife at that time was Anne.  He had three daughters; Jane Bridges the wife of Humphrey Bridges and two unmarried girls called Anne and Alice.  One of his sons was also called Edward and another, the executor of his will, was called Thomas.  We know that Edward Thurston bought the Green House and closes from Nicholas Parnell in 1628.  Read more about the Green House

The documents held by Christ Church show that there were problems with the rents during the tenure of Edward Thurston.  A letter dated 30th June 1651 shows that “by virtue of a Commission granted to him by the trustees of Parliament for the maintenance of of ministers for receiving rents and other duties” John Cox was authorised to collect from the farmer of the Rectory of Thornbury the sum of 53s 4d in respect of the arrears for 1646-1650 and that due for 1651.  On 5th November 1651 John Cox wrote to Edward Thurston a letter which sounded vaguely threatening, saying that my friend will have to visit Thornbury himself if the money is not paid at once.  Cox asks for £15 to be sent to the White Hart at Tetbury.  Edward Thurston’s response was that he had been told that rent heretofore had been paid to the the late Kings of England and was now being paid to the Parliament.  Thurston said that he had been a tenant for 20 years and does not know of any rent due.  He now finds that his barns have been seized and his doors locked against him until he pays this money.

We do not at present know how this issue was resolved.

We know little about Richard Giles or Gyles.  We know that he had died by 1652.  His wife described as Elizabeth Addams and mother of four children was a beneficiary of the will of Edward Thurston.

Jane Bridges  Jane Bridges was the daughter of Edward Thurston who previously leased the Rectory.  Her husband was Humphrey Bridges of Woodchester and his will of 1658 makes it clear that he bought the lease from his brother in law Thomas Thurston.  Humphrey Bridges died in 1658/9.  Click here to read about Humphrey and Jane

Humphrey Bridge’s will appears to indicate that some much needed restoration work had taken place at the Old Rectory.  The will left to his “son Edward and to his heirs that new house garden backside and …paddock .adjoining to the parsonage being my land lately also purchased of my said brother”, Thomas Thurston.

A lease and counterpart dated April 9th 1668 described her as Jane Bridges of Woodchester, widow and confirmed that she agreed to pay a further £3 6s 8d for the tithes in the park.

By 1677 there are signs that Jane Bridges was not complying with the terms of the lease.  Accounts dated 19th April for that year show that there are arrears in payment.

It seems that non payment was not the only problem.  A letter dated 22nd March 1685/6 from the vicar Guy Lawrence (vicar of Thornbury 1657 to 1701) to the Bishop of Oxford describes the whole situation of the Rectory in Thornbury in very depressing terms.

It says that

I suppose your Lordship is not ignorant that the present lessee Mrs Bridges is not in the state that she was heretofore; and it is visible that the house and buildings belonging to the Parsonage of Thornbury are in a far worse condition than ever they were; the outhouse & one barn are quite fallen down, the other barn is in a ruinous condition, the dwelling house is partly dilapidated & what remains is exposed to the rapine of the unruly beggars who as they make it a place of lodging soe they burn & destroy the boards.

On 28th March 1686 Guy Lawrence indicated that Mr Bridges was to make the necessary repairs, or at least that “his brother Hicks should give satisfaction to the College.”  We believe that this may have been a reference to the son of Jane and Humphrey Bridges, Edward Bridges, who had been left the property in his father’s will.

We have no information about what improvements were actually made to the parsonage as a result of this correspondence.

Later in 1686 Mr Bridges renounced his interest in the lease.  This must have been a great relief to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church and the vicar Guy Lawrence as the correspondence makes the Bridges appear to be a most untrustworthy family.  A transliteration of a letter of 19th June 1686 found in the Calendar held by Christ Church says

The parishioners are ready to pay the tithes to the college if they are indemnified against liability to pay them again owing to any bargain with Bridges, as they were due before the college made entry. Bridges would defraud the college if he could, and has told Lawrence that several creditors, some of them poor have lost £200 by his mother and uncle, though he possesses the estate. He advises the college to make the best use possible of the rectory for the rest of the lease.”

John Brooks.  On June 4th 1686 we have a letter from Guy Lawrence saying that he has heard from “Mr Brooks” concerning the tithes and the collection of the arrears of tithes in Thornbury.  Mr Brooks’s letter also included a bond from Anthony Powell who was to lease the Rectory.  We know from a later indenture of 27th September 1698 that John Brooks was “of Oxford University”.  We assume therefore that although the document of 1698 appears to be a lease of the Rectory it is merely a device to enable John Brooks to oversee the problematic situation at Thornbury and to ensure that Anthony Powell collects the tithes and the arrears.  Certainly in the case of the 1698 documents on 27th September John Brooks leased Thornbury Rectory from the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church.  This is merely followed by a document of the next day’s date whereby John Brooks leases the same Rectory to Anthony Powell for six years at a rent of £60 for the first year and £55 for the following years. After 1704 it was let for £45 per year.

Anthony Powell.  Anthony Powell may not have been a much more reliable tenant than the Bridges family.  The correspondence from 1686 to 1689 shows that full accounts (and presumably the actual payment) were submitted for each of those years.  On June 2nd 1687 however a letter from Guy Lawrence to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church suggests that these accounts may not have been very accurate.  The letter shows that Guy Lawrence has compared the accounts that Anthony Powell submitted with the receipts for the tithes that he actually gave to the parishioners. There were many discrepancies.  Rev Lawrence was planning at that time to meet with Anthony Powell and “acquaint” him with his mistakes.  The implication could be of course that Powell was embezzling some of the money that he was collecting.

We know that The Mermaid (a tavern at what later became 59 High Street was also in the tenure of Anthony Powell.  It seems possible that this connection to the licensed trade led to a problem with the collection of tithes.  It was certainly the subject of a complaint from the next tenant of the parsonage, John Morse (see below) who complained that the Powells did not collect the arrears for fear of upsetting their customers.

The IGI shows a record of Anthony Powell marrying Alice Lang in Thornbury on 19th June 1682.  Anthony was shown in the account books of the Overseers of the Poor as being the licensee of The Tavern from 1683 to 1685.

We suspect that Anthony was the same person referred to on a grave in St Mary’s church.  This shows that Anthony’s daughter Sarah died May 1683, that another daughter, Alice, died 19 September 1690 and his wife, Alice, died 12th September 1714.  There is a will of Anthony Powell of Kington which shows that he was leaving his property in Falfield and Thornbury to his sons, Nicholas and Richard Powell.  In the details of the will it mentions that Anthony’s daughter Catherine had married Joseph Viner and they had a daughter, Elizabeth Viner, and other Powells listed as living (or having lived) in the properties were Thomas, Christopher and Mary deceased.  

In 1689 a terrier of Thornbury rectory gives a full description of the building that Anthony Powell was leasing. It had

“two rooms and a little buttery below, and three rooms above. The whole is exceedingly decayed. There is an old kitchen without any room over it adjoining the parsonage house and it is ready to fall down. There is also a cellar the roof of which has fallen down. There is a barn with a bakehouse attached both being ruinous. Another barn is also out of repair and a stable and oxhouse of which the foundations only remain. The pigeon house fell down many years ago. Most of the trees in the orchard are cut down and the walls ruinous. There are four pieces of land measuring 3 1/4 acres.

Clearly it is still very much the land and the tithes due to the Rectory that is being leased.  The building seems to still be empty.

In 1690 Guy Lawrence submitted accounts to Christ Church Oxford that detailed the tithes collected and the disbursements made.  The disbursements included expenditure on renovating the parsonage.  These included the following workmen their repairs; John Gayner who received 8s 6d for “iron work about the parsonage“, “Guy Withers carpenter for his work about the repayr of the grate barne and the parsonage house” received £2, Robert Thurston got £1 18s 4d for timber to “repayr the porch of the grate barn” Mr Reeve got 5s for mowing the ground at the parsonage, Edward Ockford mason received £1 10s for repayring the bound walls and repayring the parsonage house, William Crosse for “picking upp the tiles to tile the porch of the barne & to mend the parsonage house

Guy’s letter to Oxford dated October 8th 1690 reports this work and makes a further suggestion.  It seems a gentleman is gong to be building in the town and wants the stones of the old pigeon house belonging to the rectory, which was still lying in ruins.  Guy Lawrence is proposing to sell these stones and use the money to make further repairs on the house.  With regard to the Rectory buildings he says; ” I have soe far repayred them as to keep them from falling quite down, especially the grate barn & the dwelling house”. If the College permits him to use the money in this way he will spend it to make “the dwelling house, which since Mrs Bridge’s time hath been exceedingly abused, habitable.” Sadly this plan was not put into operation as in the following January Guy Lawrence reports that the “gentleman’s mind is altered” and he no longer wanted the stone.

In the same letter of October 1690 Guy explains some of the problems in collecting tithes.  This time the difficulty is not Anthony Powell but “the grate drought” which prevented the planting of much of the seed corn in the Park.

In 1708 on 23rd August Anthony Powell submitted accounts for more repairs carried out on the rectory.  They amounted to £64 4s 10d for erecting a barn.  Further accounts were submitted in 1709.  Anthony Powell died in 1720.

John Morse.  On 25th May 1728 John Morse of “Stone in the parish of Barkly” signed a lease of parsonage at Thornbury covenanting to pay £3 6s 8d for the tithes in the park.

A letter dated 5 November 1728 from John Morse to John Brooks of Christ Church shows that John Morse felt that the collection of tithes was in terrible disorder and this was due to the previous tenant Anthony Powell and his family who kept public houses and so never collected tithes for fear of upsetting their customers.

The lease included tithes from a field called Innlands or Tiltfield.  John Morse’s letter said that this field was formerly arable land.  However over a period of 30 or 40 years it had been gradually enclosed and converted into pasture.  The owners of the enclosures claimed that they had never paid tithe hay, and so this tithe could be lost, unless something was done.  He had another lease granted to him at the same time, allowing him tithes of all lands enclosed in Thornbury park which were converted into tillage.  For many years part of the park had been mowed for hay and part was arable, but no tithe hay had been paid.  About 6 or 7 years ago the vicar claimed tithe hay and obtained a decree in the Exchequer.  The Dean and Chapter of Christ Church knew nothing of this, and probably the vicar would not have got the said tithe, because the park was freehold, and such tithes belonged to the rector.

The vicar was very poor and took what he could get.  So that when a tenant seeks his rights he is called ‘an oppressive fellow.’  He requested the college to take the matter into consideration.

The Poor Law accounts show that John Morse was liable to pay a rate of 1s 10 1/2 d for the parsonage.  The name John Morse continues every year in these records until 1752.

Documents held in the archives of Christ College Oxford dated 9th March 1750/51 say that on 24th March 1738 John Hooper Morse had been granted a lease of 21 years for the Parsonage (Rectory).  These documents were part of an appeal by the Vicar of Thornbury claiming that some tithes which had by long custom had been payable to the vicarage were now being claimed for the Rectory.  The dispute about the tithes continued for many years.  On 9th June 1759 John Hooper Morse of Stone wrote to appeal against a large “fine asked where none has been asked before“.

The appeal was made against the assessment of titheable land by James Jones in 1758.  It is remarkable that John Hooper Morse says that the acreage of wheat is now half that when Jones looked at the estate only the year before.  He also says that the 81 acres valued at 6s per acre were in some years worth no more than 6d per acre.  We do not how to account for what appears to be a sizeable depreciation in the value of the tithes.

Thornbury parish records show that John Hooper Morse a gentleman of Stone in Berkeley married Joanna Skey of Thornbury on 17th November 1757.  We have been told by a researcher, Peter Yardley that John was born John Morse and was the son of Thomas Hooper but that he had to change his name to inherit from his uncle, John Morse.  We believe that John may have married twice.  If this is the case, his first marriage may have been to Mary Somers of Berkeley.  This appears to have been recorded under his original name of John Hooper and the wedding took place in Berkeley on 28th July 1733.

The parish records of Thornbury also have an entry showing that Joanna Skey was baptised 2nd June 1708 at Thornbury the daughter of William Skey which means that she was not a young bride nor was it a long marriage.  Joanna Morse died 5th April 1760 at Stone.

John Hooper Morse was buried at Stone on 31st January 1766.

John Pick.  Assessments for the Relief of the Poor for at least the years 1769 and 1770 show that John Pick was paying rates of 1s 10 1/2d for the parsonage.  A document held by Christ Church College dated 18th May 1778 shows that not only is John Pick still the tenant but that he has been given a five year lease.  So far we are unable to trace any more information about John Pick.  There seems to be no mention of him in the papers held by Christ Church College and it is possible that he was a subtenant.

Esther Phelps.  On the 2nd of December 1778 Esther Phelps a widow of Dursley signed the lease to Thornbury Rectory, its glebe and tithes.  Nothing much is known of Esther’s connection to Thornbury if any.  However there are many websites on the internet concerning the Phelps family.  A website dedicated to the history of Frenchay Park Mansion suggests that Mrs Phelps’s properties, and indeed her income, were considerable as it shows that Esther Phelps of Dursley paid a William Perry £1,200 for the messuage formerly in the occupation of Ann Wraxall on 4th July, 1778.

Richard Slade.  In 1806 the Rev Richard Slade wrote to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church to the effect that the lease was coming to an end at Michaelmas.  The Rev Slade suggested that it would be an advantage for the incumbent of the parish (that is, himself) to hold the rectorial tithes.  A letter dated 12th July 1806 seems to suggest that William Cullimore and Robert Carter being “considerable occupiers in the parish” were requesting the lease of the rectory.  Richard Slade let the great and small tithes together for three years at £733 6s 8d and spent “much money improving the house“.  In a letter dated December 1806 Richard Slade wrote to the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church asking how he should go about about formally accepting the “liberal and beneficent” terms of the lease of the Rectory.  This letter also refers to the fact that some of the glebe land of the Rectory is continuous to the Vicarial property and he asks if may take possession of it.  Click here to read more about Richard Slade

From the time of Richard Slade the lease to the Rectory of Thornbury was held by the vicars who collected the tithes and sublet the rectory and glebe to tenants.  Click here to read about the Vicars of Thornbury

see the later history of Glebe Cottage

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