The Farms and Farmers

Summary

Links to the farms:
Coneygres/Slate Farm
Dairy Farm
Court Farm
Manor Farm
Mawley Farm
Tombs Farm
Glebe Land
Smallholders

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This document lists the farms and the men and women known to have occupied them or been proprietors. It is intended to provide background to the farmers discussed here and is based on information from the study of the farmers. There is much more information on the farms themselves at Gloucestershire Archives, but the extent of this and the limitations of the sole researcher make this beyond the scope of this study.

The period covered is approximately late eighteenth to mid-twentieth century. It divides into two parts, the dividing line being the major reorganisation of farming in Quenington that took place at the end of the 1870s. Before then there were two major farms under the ownership of the local landowner Michael Hicks Beach, and a number of smaller units held by other landlords, some absent. Most of the latter were rolled up into Hicks Beach estates after the reorganisation and farmed by tenants.

Coneygres Farm
also called Slate Farm

Coneygres Farm, also called Coneygree, now Conegar, arose from a major reorganisation of farmland in the 1870s. It covered a large area to the northwest of the village, extending into Bibury, the landlord being the Hicks Beach family of Coln St Aldwyns. It incorporated much of Manor Farm, owned by the Hicks Beach family, and several previously independent farms and pieces of land, including land which had been owned by the Mawley family, the Hollisters, Jenkin Thomas and the Tombs family. There is much detailed documentation on this in the Gloucestershire Archives, but this is beyond the remit of the present study which concentrates on the farmers.

The incorporated land included some 47 acres known as the Coney Gree Ground, or the Coneygree or Coneygres; also some 75 acres in an area called The Slait (Slait Meadow, 30-acre Slait, the Lime Kiln Slait including 2 cottages, and Far Slait), all probably part of Manor Farm and owned by the Hicks Beach family. Hence the name Coneygres Farm and, in two censuses and in corruption, Slate Farm.

There were four cottages, two near the farmhouse (Slate Cottages) and two (Coneygres Cottages), together with a gamekeeper's lodge, farther away. The cottages were occupied by the families of a shepherd, carter, cowman and general labourer. More details below.

The first attempt to organise the farm appears to have been made in 1876 involving James Smith and James Robert Smith from Ledbury, of which little is known, but this seems not to have succeeded. Farmer Wiliamn Stayt Penson, who had been farming at Tombs Farm which was leased to Michael Hicks Beach, assumed responsibility for Coneygres and would remain there until his retirement in 1913. Following this the lease was taken by William's son Thomas until 1922, when it passed to Richard Frederick Cole from Ledbury, who would be there until around 1960.

Historical note: The name Coneygres, or Coney Gree(n) is not uncommon. It refers to areas of land that were set aside for the "farming" of rabbits for food.

There is good continuity of information on the Coneygres Farm cottages over the censuses of 1881 to 1911, supplemented by parish records, giving a full picture of the farm workers occupying them. In the following table the numbers (1 to 6) before the names, inserted by the editor, show the order in which the farm, cottages and gamekeeper's lodge and cottages are listed. This, and the names in 1901 and 1911 associate two cottages directly with the farm, and the other two, with the gamekeeper's lodge, separate. The latter may be the three houses situated on the present Conegar Road.

1881 1891 1901 1911
1 Joseph Mundy 3 Joseph Mundy 1 Joseph Mundy 2 Joseph Mundy
cowman cowman cowman cowman
  number 2 cottage Slate Cottage Slate Farm
 
2 John Hewer 2 John Hewer 2 John Bond 3 John Bond
carter carter carter carter
  number 1 cottage Slate Cottage Slate Farm
 
3 William Penson1 William Penson 3 William Penson 1 William Penson
farmer farmer farmer farmer
  Mr Penson's farmhouse Slate Farm Slate Farm
 
4 Henry Smith 6 John Burge 4 Thomas Stevens 4 Thomas Stevens
gamekeeper gamekeeper gamekeeper gamekeeper
  keeper's lodge Coneygree Lodge Conegres Lodge
 
5 William Banting4 William Banting 5 William F Banting 5 William F Banting
shepherd shepherd shepherd shepherd
  number 3 cottage Coneygree Cottages The Coneygres
 
6 Edmund Gardner5 Thomas Trinder 6 Thomas Trinder 6 Thomas Trinder
agr lab agr lab oxman agr lab
  number 4 cottage Coneygree cottages The Coneygres

Of note is the length of time that the men here remained in Mr Penson's employ. Perhaps Mr Penson was a good employer, a fact which might be substantiated by the fact that two of them, Joseph Mundy and William Banting appear to have followed Penson from Baunton, to work for him there. Both had arrived in Baunton in the early 1870s at about the same time, Mundy as a labourer, Banting as a shepherd. It is tempting to suggest that they may have worked for Penson in Baunton, which was a small agricultural community of 27 households and 153 souls in 1871, 31 and 135 in 1881, including two farms. They remained in Baunton when Penson took the tenancy of the Tombs farm in Quenington in 1877, but following his move to the new Coneygres Farm in the autumn of 1879 they moved to Quenington. They probably arrived together, as children of both were registered at Quenington school on the same day in April 1880 giving their previous school as Baunton.

After the second war, when William's son Thomas Henry was the tenant and the farm would fall to a new tenant Frederick Cole, it was all change. Of the five men occupying the cottages and lodge in 1911 Thomas Stevens, gamekeeper, had left. Three were still in Quenington but occupations and locations unknown - John Bond (to 1928), Joseph Mundy (to 1922) and Thomas Trinder (to at least 1939). Only William F Banting is known to have remained at Coneygres, but he and his family had left by 1923. Then, during the interwar years there are various occupants, of various lengths of time. On the only occasion that occupations are known (the 1939 register) they were the same as previously, namely a carter, a cowman, a shepherd, an agricultural labouer and a gamekeeper.

Court Farm
also called Quenington Farm

There are local records for Court Farm from the 1830s, possibly earlier. It was also known as Quenington Farm. It is located at the bottom end of the village near the church, probably owned by the Hicks Beach family of Williamstrip throughout the period. It was of some 600 to 700 acres in the nineteenth century, probably smaller more recently. This account covers the tenure of the Price family, reflections of the 1879 farming reorganisation, the association with Mawley Farm and the period of the twentieth century up to 1935; also possible back continuity towards the eighteenth century.

Tenants

From at least 1843 Court Farm was occupied by the established Price family of Quenington. They had farmed at Manor Farm since early in the century and would later also add Tombs Farm. This ended in the 1870s at a time of major reorganisation of farming in Quenington. There is a single reference to a James Smith in 1879 but he was gone by 1881 when new tenants, from outside Quenington, were establised. Nothing more is known of Smith but perhaps it is more than coincidence that a Robert Smith, gentleman, and a Robert James Smith, farmer, both from Lechlade, were in Quenington at the time in connection with the changes to Manor Farm. They seem to have failed and were also gone by 1881.

The new tenant in 1881 was a Richard Cook and he and then his son Albert Jesse farmed there until 1920, when Albert retired from farming. The Cooks were community leaders, Richard on the local council and Albert appointed as a magistrate in Fairford.

In July 1920 there were advertisements in the press to the effect that Quenington Farm, advertised for sale by Messrs Morgan, Moore and Innocent [auctioneers] had been sold by private treaty. Nothing more is yet known about this.

After the Cooks the lease was taken by Thomas Henry Penson, the son of William Stayte Penson who had developed and run successfully Coneygres Farm since its creation in about 1879. Thomas continued at Court Farm until he was declared bankrupt in 1935 and left Quenington.

The following is a list of known tenants Full details can be found in the Index of Names section (button at top left)

possibly
William Booker 1813-1824  
William Stevens 1825-1841  
 
Robert Price 1843-1847  
Elizabeth Price 1851 Robert's widow
Thomas Price 1861-1866 Robert's son
Charles Price (1871)-1876 Robert's son
James Smith 1879  
Richard Cook1881-97 
Albert Jesse Cook1894-1920Richard's son
Thomas Penson 1920-1935  

Extent

In the nineteenth century the farm was of some 500-600 acres under the Prices. The next information is in 1920 when Thomas Penson moved in and it was shown as 243 acres.

Details of the auction of stock when Charles Price left in 1876 are scanty. A fuller version is available for 1920, when Albert Cook retired. The sale included 701 Oxford Down sheep and rams, 447 shorthorn cattle, 69 cross-bred pigs and a boar, various horses and 288 head of poultry; in addition an assortment of agricultural implements and machinery.

The Farmhouse

The Price family used as the farmhouse the building near the church which would later become Quenington Court. This must be the building referred to in 1847 in a statement that Robert Price was occupying “the Manor House with large barn, sheds and 605 acres of land”. This changed when the Prices left. From 1881 the new tenants were living at or very near to Mawley Farm, the two listed together in the censuses (1891 to 1901). In 1911 they had moved again, to an unidentified address in the village. All this may be related to the 1870s farm reorganisation and a later association with Mawley Farm, see below.

Possibly earlier

The Prices are not listed in Quenington in 1841. Instead there is a William Stevens, farmer, in the building which would later be used by the Price family. Perhaps Stevens was at Court Farm. It is perhaps worth noting that a man of that name had appeared in tax records for the 1820s occupying two pieces of land belonging to the Hicks Beach family, one of them being perhaps part of the land which Hicks Beach had bought from the estate of the late Estcourt Cresswell, large landowner and former MP from Bibury. Perhaps some of this was the original Court Farm. More detailed analysis needed. See also the Land Taxpayer section of this web site.

Mawley Farm association

Court Farm may have been involved in changes over the turn of the century (1890s and 1900s). There is documentation about "land known as Quenington and Harding's Farm". Most seems to concern Mawley Farm, especially its sale by the Mawley family to Bazley of Hatherop Castle and thence to Hicks Beach of Williamstrip; or perhaps part of a land exchange. The possible connection with Court Farm lies in the name Quenington Farm and the association of the two farms by the very close relationship of the two farmhouses, see above. But as shown above Court Farm continued to operate. Again analysis of documents in Gloucestershire Archives is needed.

The Dairy Farm

From about 1885 to at least the outbreak of World War 1 there was a dairy farm in Quenington. It was located at the bottom end of the village, and at least for the second tenant included a house, land and the old papermill. The owner was Gardner Bazley, the landowner from Hatherop.

The first known tenant was Edmund Preater, son of a smallholder. He was there for about six years. He was succeeded by Ernest Maslin, a newcomer to the village, who was a blacksmith by trade, an occupation which he maintained while also serving as the dairy farmer and which was carried on by a son. He was there for over 20 years.

Manor Farm

Manor Farm was the property of Michael Hicks Beach of Williamstrip throughout. Up to the reorganisation of farming in the 1870s it was a large estate mostly, if not all, to the northwest of the village. During the greater part of the nineteenth century (1803 to 1870s) it was farmed by members of the Price family. Before that a number of tenants are known for short periods. The first four also occupied the village glebe land:

Henry Tombs 1787 
John Randall 1788-(1799) from South Cerney. Died 1799
Susana Randall 1800-1801 presumably John's widow, died 1801
William Wentworth 1802 
Robert Price 1803-c1841transferred to Court Farm c1841
Thomas Price 1860sRobert's son
Charles Price 1865-187xRobert's son
R J and R Smith 187x-1880from Lechlade
Charles Gillett 1881-1900 
The first four also occupied the parish glebe lands.

The earlier continuities, other than Randall, are based on amount of land tax paid. Those before Robert Price also occupied the village glebe lands. Much of Manor Farm was absorbed into the new Coneygres Farm in around 1880, with William Stayt Penson as tenant. It is not certain how Gillett's occupation from 1881 relates to the absorbtion of (much of) Manor Farm into the newly created Coneygres Farm.

Mawley Farm

The name dates from the acquisition of the farm by Robert Mawley in about 1796. He and his descendants would retain ownership for about a century as absentee landlords with members Quenington Wakefield family as tenants and agents. The farm was then bought by probably Bazley of Hatherop Castle, then Hicks Beach of Williamstrip. It continued in existence until at least the second half of the twentieth century.

In 1876 the farm was described "a useful stock and corn farm......consisting of 172 acres of land, of which eight acres are Pasture and the remainder arable. There is a good dwelling house and convenient farm buildings". The farmhouse, built by Robert Mawley, was located in the village, and is now a private house.

At the beginning of the period under review the farm was almost certainly part of the holding of Charles Stevens of Coln St Aldwyns. (Some earlier history can be found in British History Online at https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol7/pp121-129 ). When he died it passed to his widow Hannah (nee Wakefield), with instructions in the will for John Wakefield of Gravesend, Kent, to administer the estate in Hannah's interests; John was originally from Quenington. John Wakefield is then shown in the tax returns as occupier, with first Hannah, then her second husband William Harding as owners.

This continued until Robert Mawley bought the farm in about 1796 (he was the son-in-law of original owner Charles Stevens), a transaction presumably organised by John Wakefield. John then bowed out, though retaining an interest in Hannah's property in Coln St Aldwyns

John's brother Thomas now became the tenant under the Mawley ownership, and he and his family were there for some seven decades - after Thomas, his son Charles followed briefly by widow Ann, then Charles's son-in-law Edward Brain. Thereafter there was a succession of tenants probably not related to the Wakefields or to each other

Although the tenancy was in others' hands after 1877 the Wakefields may have conntinued as agents for the Mawleys. When Edward Brain gave up the tenancy that year a notice was placed offering the farm to be let. To "treat", prospective tenants were to contact not the Mawleys but a Mr Thomas Wakefield of Great Barrington, Oxfordshire. Later, In 1896 a Mr Wakefield, first name not given and described as agent of Mr Mawley, was dealing with a problem relating to the pipe paid for by Mr Mawley to take water to his farm. Thomas Wakefield was a Quenington man now farming in Great Barrington, Oxfordshire, just under ten miles by road from Quenington. He died in 1892 and the Wakefield referred to in 1896 was perhaps his oldest son who had farmed in nearby Eastleach Turville and was retired in Quenington in the 1890s.

A further connection with Edward Brain comes in the settlement of Thomas's estate, where Brain was named as one of the executors, the other being a son.

There are documents relating to the sale of the farm in the 1890s and 1900s. These have still to be studied (hopefully after the Covid-19 emergency) but a summary on the Gloucestershire Archives web site suggests that the farm passed into the ownership of the Bazley family of Hatherop Castle, then Hicks Beach of Williamstrip. Here, and in a local newspaper item, the holding is called Quenington and Hardings Farms. Harding might be a reference to the owner before Mawley, but the name Quenington Farm is occasionally used for Court Farm.

The new tenant, from at least 1906, was Ernest Clifford, who would remain there until his death in 1963. He was also a miller and was probably living at the corn mill rather than the farmhouse, which would become a private house.

Summary of owners and tenants (find details of each in the Persons section)
proprietordateoccupant
?Catherine Vokins?1750s-c1768 
Charles Stephens1776self and C PriceStephens nephew of Catherine Vokins
Mrs Stevens1787-1790John Wakefieldwidow of Charles
William Harding1791-1975John Wakefieldnew husband of Mrs Stevens
Robert Mawley1795-1803Thomas Wakefield
Robert R Mawley(1816)-1842Charles S Wakefield
Robert Thomas Mawley1850sAnn WakefieldAnn, Charles's widow
 1861-1876Edward Brainson-in-law of Charles and Ann
 1789-1886Francis Reason
Robert Charles Mawley1889-1891Arthur Perry
see footnote1897-1906Edward Chard
 1906-1963Ernest Clifford
footnote: initially Robert Charles Mawley, then probably Bazley, then Sir Michael Hicks Beach.

The Tombs Farm(s)

Land was owned and farmed by the Tombs (also as Tombes) family or families in Quenington from at least late in the eighteenth century and almost certainly well before then. There was land owned and farmed by a Henry Tombs in the 1780s and 1790s, then by his son James. See also the Owners and Tenants section of this web site. This passed to James's daughter Mary and then her husband the Rev Jenkin Thomas of Cheltenham who was absentee landlord in the 1830s and the 1840s. After thus there were then two farms of interest. The first was owned (1843-1853) by probably absentee landlord James Tombs of Langford, Oxfordshire, and occupied by William Clarke, himself a landowner. The second was one owned and farmed by James Thomas Tombs of Filkins, Oxfordshire. Any relationship with the Quenington Tombs has not yet been established. The patterns suggest that the second of these may be the same that previously owned by Jenkin Thomas. It would be leased to local landowner Michael Hicks Beach in 1867 when Tombs left Quenington and sold to him in 1879 as part of the reorganisation of farming in the village. It was described then as of 225 acres, farmhouse and buildings with offices in the village, with the greater part lying west of the village on the road which leads past the Red Lion to Cirencester.

There is a considerable amount of documentation on the farm(s) available at Gloucestershire Archives and still to be studied, for example at references D2455/E1/7/3, D2455/T1/2/5 and especially concerning the lease and eventual sale to Michael Hicks Beach in 1867-1879. It is described as of 225 acres with barns, sheds, cottages and the like, the greater part lying west of the village on the road which leads past the Red Lion to Cirencester.

Those associated with the Tombs farm(s) were:

proprietordatesoccupantcomment
Henry Tombs1788-1797self 
James Tombs1798-1803selfHenry's son, prob continues beyond 1803
Jenkin Thomas1836-1843John YellsThomas was James's son-in-law
Jenkin Thomas1843Eleanor YellsEleanor widow of John
Jenkin Thomas1845John Simpson 
 
James Tombs1843-1853William Clarkeabsentee landlord from Langford, Oxon
 
James Thomas Tombs1851-1867selfTombs from Filkins, Oxon
James Thomas Tombs1867-1877Charles Priceon lease to Michael Hicks Beach
James Thomas Tombs1877-1879William Stayt Pensonon lease to Michael Hicks Beach

The Glebe land

The glebe land in Quenington, which belonged to the Church under the stewardship of the rector, was leased out, presumably to be farmed. The pattern shown in the land tax records between 1787 and 1831 gives a picture which is probably valid in later years. Those leasing the glebe land also occupied land elsewhere in the village. Other documents show varying acreages, perhaps typically 75 acres.

Dates rector lessee 
1776Rev Richard PriceCharles Price 
1787-88Rev Mr PriceSamuel Ivinalso occupant of land owned by Henry Tombs junior, 1787-1792
1789-98Rev J PettattJohn Randallalso occupying Manor Farm owned by Michael Hicks Beach, 1788-1797
1801Rev J PettattSusanna Randallpresumably John's widow
1802-03Rev J PettattWilliam Wentworth 
1826-31Rev J W PetersJ C Radway paper manufacturer, also occupying the paper mill in the village, from John Raymond Barker 1787-1803, and under his own ownership 1826-1831. He also occupied another unspecified piece of land between 1805 and 1828.
1836-?Rev Lawrence LathamRobert Price Perhaps also from 1842 when the voting list shows for the Parsonage and glebe land "self [ie Rev Latham] and another". Also tenant of Manor Farm

Smallholders

Throughout there were a number of people calling themselves farmers but occupying or owning very small parcels of land and with other occupations, for example publican, baker, miller. Among these were:

nameacreageother occupations
Arnold, John 22 dealer, brewery agent
Claridge, William   publican
Clifford, Ernest   miller
Hollister, John  publican
Ivin, Richard 57 mason
Kemble, William 17 baker
Margetts, James  carpenter, tea dealer
Moss, Thomas 7.5 publican
Timbrell, George 16 miller

In addition, others occupying the mill also occupied land, presumably similar to Clifford and Timbrell, though the sources do not show them as farmers, namely Robert Avery perhaps 1780s to 1840s and his son William, 1846-50.

20th July 2021