Upper Windrush Local History Society
    North Cotswolds

The Upper Windrush Valley

" Windrush. (r. p. & v.) on the river so-called. A.D. 779. Wenrisc. A.D. 949. Wenris, and Waenric. - Wenrich. Wanriche. Windridge. It is doubtful whether either element here is of A.S. (Anglo Saxon) origin ; though the terminal resembles A.S. Risc = Reed, rush ; and has been so rendered in later days. The spelling 'Wind ' is due to popular etymology."
- Gloucestershire - Place Names, Baddeley

The Windrush rises at Taddington a few miles north of Cutsdean and flows 40 miles to the Thames at Newbridge, the main tributories in the upper reaches are the Eye and the Dikler.

The river carves its way through the Oolitic limestone laid down in the Middle Jurassic period abot 200 million years ago.

The geology of the area underlies the agricultural prosperity that has characterised and shaped the human habitation over the millenia.


Windrush at Lower Harford  

The valley has evidence of continuous occupation from the Mesolithic (10000BCE) to the present day. Mesoliths and flint scatters are found throughout the area indicative of Mesolithic and Neolithic sttlement.

Barrows and tumulii from the Bronze and Iron age are dotted across the area along with Iron Age hill forts and Roman settlements.

With the withdrawal of the Romans the medieval period established the towns and villages we know today.

  Roman Necklace near Guiting Power

The Hundreds

The Saxons established the Shire and a smaller division of a Hundred as the basis for regional administration, justice, collecting tax and when necessary the raising of the fyrd (part time army). The hundred probably derived from an area of a hundred households (hides). The hide being the amount of land needed to support a peasant family, roughly between 40 and 140 acres.

Shortly after Domesday the Hundreds became more territorially based and they combined to larger areas. Their power however diminished as they were absorbed by the Manorial system and royal justice was put in place.

The name of the Hundred was usually taken from from the assembly place where the hundred court met. Often they include a reference to natural or man-made features such as trees, river crossings, stones, and the like, as well as the general boundaries.

In 1086 Domesday lists the majority of the Upper Windrush villages as being either in the Holeford or Salmonsbury Hundreds.




"The Cotswold Hills rise abruptly from the vales of Gloucester and Berkeley, reaching their highest elevations near the western escarpment, and slope more gradually towards the east. The hundredal boundaries follow the escarpment, the western crest-line of the Cotswolds forming a barrier between the hundreds of the Vale of Gloucester - Whitstone, Dudston, Cheltenham, Greteston, Tibaldstone, etc. - and the row of hundreds situated on their eastern flank: Longtree, Bisley, Rapsgate, Bradley, and the Domesday hd of Holeford. On the east, the boundary line of the latter row of hundreds follows the general direction of the Fosse Way, which in part actually separates them from the hundreds ranged along the eastern border of the county: Salemanesberie (Salmonsbury), Bernintun (Barrington), Begeberie (Bibury), Brictvoldesberg (part of Brightwells - barrow), and Gersdone (part of Crowthorne)."


Salmonsbury (later part of the Slaughter Hundred)

"The Domesday Hundreds of Bernintone (Barrington) and Salemanesberie (Salmonsbury) on the east side of the county were annexed to the manor of Slaughter, and granted with the manor to the abbey of Fecamp. The hundred resulting from this amalgamation is now called after the manor to which it belonged................."

"Slaughter Hundred mainly south of Stow on the Wold, on the Oxfordshire border, consisting of the pars of Donnington, Broadwell, Stow on the Wold, Lower Swell, Eyford, Naunton, Upper and Lower Slaughter, Bourton on the Water. Clapton, Sherborne, Windrush, and the pars E. of these, in two divisions, Upppr and Lower. It is in part separated by the Fosse Way from Kiftsgate and Bradley Hundreds. Widford was earlier in this hundred, but has now been transferred to Oxfordshire. Daylesford was formerly in Worcs (Oswaldslow hd).
In 1086 the hundred was divided between the Hundreds of Salemanesberie and Bernintone (Barrington), though only 4 manors, Windrush, Gt. and Lt. Barrington and Widford. are given to the latter hundred. Barrington Hundred is not mentioned after Domesday, but was amalgamated with Salmonsbury at a very early date. After Domesday the name of the hundred varies between Salmonsbury and Slaughter, the former being that of its meeting place, the latter that of the caput to which the hundred was annexed. The manor of Slaughter with the Hundred of Salmonsbulry was granted to the monks of Fecamp in 1246 (CL 1247 Ch)".............................


"Salemanesberle (passim), Salmanesberie, Salemonesberie, Salesmanesberie, Salemones (2) hd' 1086 DB, Salemanneshdr' 1169 P, Salemanebur' 1246, Salo1Jlolldresbur' 1247, Salemannebur' 1248 Cl, Salemanesbury 1247 Ch, Salmondebir' 1248 Ass 274 m 16, Salomonebir' 1251 Cl, Salemonesbury Hy 3 Mise, Salemonesbiri 1274 RH, Salemanbiry 1290 Pat, Salmanesbllry 1303, Salmonesbury 1316, Salmundesbur' Fiscampo (var. Salmanesbury in
Libertate de Fiscampo) 1346 FA, Salemanbury 1364, 1379 Cl. Salemanebury 1366, Salomonsbury 1406, Salmondesbllry 1444, 1461 Pat.

-The hundred meeting-place was at SALMONSBURY CAMP (6"), a large prehistoric earth-work in Bourton on the Water, of which traces are still left. This is Sulmonnesburg 779 BCS 230 (orig.). The first el. may be an OE *sulhman 'ploughman': v."........


"Baddeley 132, Ekwall in Hist. Ess. in Hononr of James Tait, p. 81, ODP s. v. Bonrton. Second. el. OE burh 'fortress'. The reference might be to the fortress having been used by ploughmen for keeping their oxen; cf. Studfold used in a similar way of ancient earth-works (Crawford, IPN 150f). The -a of the later forms is irregular.
-In the reign of Henry III an agreernent was entered into between the abbots of Evesham and Fecamp that the latter should be able to hold his hundred. court in the plaee called Salemanesbur(i) without hindrance (AD III. 556); in 1293 (lpm) an inquisition was made at Salemonesbyri. and, aecording to Rudder (p. 303), a court-leet was held at a gap in the rampart twice a year, when, after calling over the jury, 'they adjourn to some. other place to finish their business'".........

Scloctreshdr' 1189, Sclotrehundredum 1190. 1193 P, Hundredum de Slottr' 1220 Fees, Hundr' de Sclochtres, Slochtres 1221 Ass 271 m 11, 272m7d, hundr' de Sloustr' 1274 RH, (the abbot of Fecamp's) liberty ot Slouhtre 1277 Cl, Hundredum de Slollghtre 1327 SR 113/5, hd of Slaughter 1542 LP.

The name is taken from the manor of LOWER SLAUGHTER to which the hundred was appurtenant: Sclostre 1086 DB, Slotris 1159. Slochtra 1160, Slochtre 1173, Sclochtres 1174, 1190, Sloutres, Scloutres 1195 P, Sloytres' 1215, Slouctres, Sloctres 1219 Cl, Slohtrcs 1221 Ass 271 m 11, 1237 Cl, Sloghtres 1229, Sloutre 1235 Pat, Sloctur' 1235. Sloftres 1246. Sloghlr' 1259 Cl, Slougthre by Circestre 1335 Tpm.
A ford near Slaughter is called Slohtrantord 779, Slohterword 949 BCS 230, 882. The first el. is a derivative (OE *slohtre f.) of sloh 'slough', 'miry place' of the same meaning, a cognate of which occurs in G PNs; v. PNSx ,178, ODP s.v. sloh, Slanghter.


Holeford (later part of the Kiftsgate Hundred)

"In the north-east of the county, the present Hundred of Kiftsgate contains no less than six Domesday Hundreds; the whole of this district was at an early date annexed to the manor of Winchcombe, which accounts for the amalgamation of the hundreds contained in it. To these we should perhaps add the Hundred of Winburgetrowe, which contained Blockley, Tredington and other manors of the bishop of Worcester locally situated in Kiftsgate Hundred, but was at a very early date included in his Hundred of Oswaldslow in Worcestershire, though in reality a Gloucestershire hundred."


"The whole of the hundred (Kiftsgate), which is formed from six old hundreds, at an early date belonged to Winchcomb, and was part of a separate 'shire' with Winchcomb for its centre. Vvincelcrmbe scire is mentioned in BCS309 (birch saxon charters), and according to Heming it was added to Gloucestershire in the reign of Cnut (v. H. M. Cam, in Hist. Ess. in Honour of J. Tait 18, and Taylor 220f). According to Domesday only three of the six hundreds were annexed to Winchcomb (L 162 b) but this probably represents only a temporary arrangement, for the post-Domesday evidence shows the whole district to have been dependent on Winchcomb (manerium de Winchecumb' cum hundredis de Holefrord, Grestan' et Kiftesgate 1255 Cl, et passim)."

"The hds of Holelord and Gretestan, on the other hand, which occupied the western portion of the modern hundred survived into the 16th century, though amalgamated with one another at an earlier date. Holelord hd was E. of Winchcomb, containing Roel, Guiting (Temple and Power), Pinnock, Hawling, Farmcote in Hailes and detached Snowshill. Gretestan hd surrounded Winchcomb (occasionally referred to as a hundred in itself). consisting of Twyning (det. nr Tewkesbury), Stanton, Wormington, Childs Wickham, Aston Somerville (both now in Wo), Dumbleton, Naunton. Hailes, Frampton and Postlip in Winchcomb. Charlton Abbots, and probably Sudeley, Toddington (heading omittted in Domesday) and Stanley Pontlarge. These two hundreds were separated by the western scarp of the Cotswolds. The symmetry of Holelord hd is disturbed by the outliers of the hds of Tewkesbury (Stanway) anu Oswaldslow (Cutsdean) mentioned above, which separated Snowshill from the rest of the hundred. These pars may once have belongedd to Holelord too, at any rate their inclusion would regularize its shape and area."


"Holeford, Holiforde, Holefordes hd' 1086 DB, Holefordhdr' 1169, Holethornhdr' (sic) 1173, Holeffordhundredum 1191, Holesfordhundredum 1192 P, Oleford' 1220 Fees, Holeford' 1221 Ass 271 m 10d, 1248 Ass 274 m 16d, 1251 Cl, 1287 QW, Holeford 1223, 1230 Pat, 1265 Misc, 1274 RH, 1391 Ipm, Haleford 1274 RH, Holforde 1316 FA, Ho1ford' 1327 SR 113/5, Hollord 1392 Cl, 1395, 1547 Pat.
-Identical with Holford So, (aet) twam Holaforda 11, Holeforde DB, Holeford 1176 ODP, and with (on) Holan ford 956 BCS 945 (0). The meaning-is 'hollow ford', i. e. 'ford in a deep valley', the elements being OE hol adj. 'hollow' and ford; cf. Holborn Lo (Holeburne 959 BCS 1351) 'brook running in a deep ravine' (ODP).
The place from which the name is taken is lost, but is mentioned in 1185 (Holeforde TpR), and in 1354 (Holford Ipm), as being a hamlet of Temple Guiting. Mr. Houghton considers this to be at the FORD marked on the OS in the north of the parish, at the point where the road from Stow on the Wold to Tewkesbury crosses the upper Windrush. This is on the present hundred boundary at the junction of the pars of Temple Guiting, Cutsdean, Stanway and Pinnock, near an important cross-road. Judging by the map the name would suit this site."

The location at Ford is speculative. A more logical location would be the one from the History of the County of Gloucestershire. This location near Chapel Ash, now a bridge, would be much more central as an Hundred meeting place and consistent with the status of Guiting Power recorded in Domesday.

"Within this manor, in the midst of an arable inclosure, the foundations of a chapel are visible, supposed to have been the burying-place of the family at the Grange. It was dedicated to Holy Trinity, and the adjacent brook is now called Trinity ford, and probably gave name to the old hundred, Hole-ford. The piece of ground between the home and ruins still retains the name of the Bier-way Piece, and the immediate site of the ruins belongs to the
vicar" - History of the County of Gloucestershire 1803