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Gloucestershire:

The Stratfords
By Gerald H. Stratford.

Chapter 6. Farmcote, The House, Manor, and Chapel.

Tradition relates that Thomas Cromwell stayed with John Stratford at Farmcote Manor House, when Hailes Abbey was in the process of being dissolved, but I have no evidence to substantiate this fact, although there is a curious stone chair surrounded by trees about a quarter of a mile from the house in the direction of the Abbey ruins called Cromwell's Clump, Tradition also has it that Sir Walter Raleigh stayed there on several occasions, which of course, is very possible with John Stratford's wife and Sir Walter's being first cousins, and the growing of tobacco being on going at that period of time. Old Farmcote inhabitants can remember that there were some old hut remains in the 1920's which were left over from that era where labourers used to reside during the growing season of the tobacco. What is certain is that Prince Rupert's Cavalry were stationed on the Farmcote Estate prior to the Battle of Edgehill, and that Prince Rupert stayed the night there on the eve of the said Battle. At the West end of North Farmcote House is an earth mound which indicates foundations and remains of a former house. Farmcote Manor House was certainly in being and inhabited by the Stratford Family prior to 1580, when William Stratford and Anne Waiwyn, his wife were in residence, and their Arms are displayed above the old front door.

In the year 1608, when a Survey of Men in Armour for Gloucestershire was taken the following entry was recorded for Farmcote.

Farmcote.

Farmcote

Farmcote Chapel etc.

Inside Farmcote Chapel

Alwin held Farmcote in the Holeford Hundred during the Reign of King Edward and William Gozenboder held it the time of the Domesday Survey of 1086, when it was then taxed at three Hides, there were 6 Plough Tillages, which 2 were in Demean. During King Edward's Reign it paid 10 Pounds, but only 3 in the Reign of King William.

Farmcote Manor was held under Gozenboder by Goisfred, and John Bonne died seized of the same Manor when it went to the Corbett Family, and Sir Robert Corbett left it to Joan, his wife in dower. Lewis Grevil levied a Fine on the Manor for the use of John Grevil and his wife, Sybel, with the remainder to Guy Corbett. At the death of John Grevil he was seized thereof the Manor, and in 1314 Sir John Linaker died seized of the same.

Whether John Stratford, Archbishop of Canterbury, or Robert his brother, were the next Lords of Farmcote is not proven, but Robert's Arms were displayed on the Manor House of Guiting Power, now the mother Parish of the Chapel of Farmcote, although Rudder attributes these Arms to be those of George Stratford, which were certainly there in 1547.

It is recorded that the Manor came to the Stratford Family soon after the death of Sir John Linaker, and that William Stratford, a Major in the Royalist Cause, was sequested for 763. 14s for Compositer during the Great Rebellion, and that one of the heiresses of the Family who married Sir James Howe, namely Dame Elizabeth Stratford was seized of the Manor of Farmcote, and hath a good seat and large estates in her own right. the deeds of Farmcote, do not substantiate this Statement, as will be shown

There is a Bill of complaint against William Stratford by the Parish Constables regarding the Poor Laws, and William states that Farmcote was a Parish in it's own right, and he was correct for at one time it was in the County of Worcester, and came under the Bishop of Worcester.

Part of Farmcote Manor belonged to the Monastery of Quinnington, and lands here were granted to Richard Andrews and Leonard Chamberlain, with other lands belonging to Hailes Abbey. It would appear, and it is only my opinion from evidence I have accumulated, that the Family may have been in possession of part of the Lordship of the Manor of Farmcote before 1534, but only became resident with a further Grant at the Dissolution of Hailes Abbey, which John Stratford and Richard Tracy were responsible for on behalf of the authorities.

Farmcote was certainly inhabited at a very early stage of history as nearby are the remains of a Roman Camp, and evidence is note regarding Saxon Settlements. the Chapel of Farmcote, St. Faith's was certainly Saxon Architecture in it's structure, and Farmcote belonged to Queen Matilda for a short time. On reaching the Chapel entrance one can see the remains of a Consecration Cross and Mass Dial on either side of the doorway.

The Priest desk, altar rails and pews are dated 1601, with the altar table 1550, and was made for the old stone Mensa., complete with five crosses. Until 1800 the floor was paved with mediaeval tiles and some remains were still exhibited at the Chapel until 1940. I am not aware of where they are now. The Font and West window are believed to date 1050, along with some of the original roof rafters, with an Early English window on the North side with very old glass. Until about 1900 the oak door was also of 16th century and the Bell is 17th Century. Most of the 16th Century woodwork and the Bell were given by the Stratford Family.

Hawling

Tradition also has it that to the east of the Chapel the remains of a windmill are visible, with the original being erected by Queen Matilda, but again I have not seen it, and have no further evidence to substantiate the statement.

In the Chapel Yard to the east is a large Vault of the Stratford Family, some ten yards by five, and nearby is a Memorial with the following inscription:

Charles Frederick Dickens Stratford, elder son of Charles Alfred Stratford, R.N. Died 15th June 1920 aged 65 years.'

A Memorial on the wall of the Chapel is to Francis Paul Stratford, of Thorpe Lubenham in the County of Northampton and of Bedford Square, London, and late of the Masters of Chancery who died December 1841 aged 89 years. He is actually buried in the Family Vault at Lubenham Parish Church.

A brass cross on the Alter bears the inscription, ' Given by John Farmcote Stratford, R.N.'

There are in the Chapel of St Faith's Farmcote two stone effigies with a notice on the top stating that the recumbent figures are Henry and Mary Stratford, but this again is incorrect. An Inquisition by the College of Arms as to these figures and Arms displayed in Farmcote Chapel took place which is transcribed following, and this also is not correct in it's entirety, which is surprising as they had all the evidence to hand.

Arms as to those figures and Arms displayed in Farmcote Chapel was as follows.

Farmcote Chapel, dedicated to St. Michael and the Angels, ( this should be St. Faith, St Michael is the Parish Church of Guiting.) attached to Lower Guiting.

  1. William Stratford and Wife.
  2. Civilian and Lady.
  3. Recumbent.
  4. Freestone.
  5. Lifesize. Man 5ft 6ins. Lady 5ft 4 ins.
  6. The man wears a peasiod doublet, closely buttoned at the waist, and its short skirt appears below a narrow belt, hooked in the front. The sleeves are full, ending in small ruffles, and above the high collar is worn a small ruff of single fold. Over the shoulders is thrown a civilian's long gown turned back to show a plain lining, but brought across the legs below the knees to cover the right trunk hose. The sleeves are short and loose with a long false one, hanging from behind the shoulders with a decorative slit at the wrist. The hair is worn short and curly. The beard shortly cropped, and a moustache long and drooping. The feet are in round toed shoes with thin soles. The hands are broken off, but from the position of the arms they would not have been raised in prayer, and may have held a book.
    The Lady wears a full gown from the waist downwards to show a kirtle of rich material, elaborately embroided with arabesques, and similar decoration is also used on the tight fitting stamacker, high in the neck, with a flat one fold muff beneath the chin. The bodice has a turned back collar to the waist which is girdled by a folded scarf, knotted in the front and the sleeves are very full and end in deep cuffs. Tight around the throat is a jewelled collar of Medallions, from which two cords pass down the centre of the stomaker, and under the girdle to the knees. attached to them is a thick book of devotion with decorative corners and clasps, and upon the cover is a shield of Arms, a bend engrailed, a crescent for difference. Walwyn. The hair brushed off the forehead and confined by a large Paris Hood with the latter behind. The feet are in thick pointed shoes and the hands are raised in prayer. A plain ring is carved on the third finger of the right hand.
  7. The head of each figure rests on a flat rectangular cushion.
  8. The man's feet are on a small rough haired hunting dog, and the Lady's on a Talbot Hound. Both hands are partially broken off.
  9. The effigies rest on a plain table tomb, 3ft high beneath a massive rectangular canopy, placed in the corner against a wall. The front has three plain columns with a moulded capitas to support the frieze decorated with a row of plain columns with a moulded capitas to support the frieze decorated with a row of plain shields alternating with fluted bilosters, and the pediment bearing the escutcheon hung by a loop to a hook and above and on each side of the pediment are rounded pinnacles. The vault is plain and against the wall is a rectangular stone panel on which is fastened a brass plate with inscription on a tablet of stone.
    Arms of the escutcheon, barry of ten ar and az, overall a lion rampant gules, Stratford. Impaling a bend engrailed, ermin, a crescent for difference. Walwyn.
  10. Modern inscription. Henry and Mary Stratford, Nave, Chancel, Stratford Crossgate, and Eastwards rest the Stratford's 1315 - 1755. John Stratford, Lord Regent of England, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Chancellor, lies in Canterbury Cathedral, Robert Lord Chancellor, Bishop of Chichester, Lord Great Seal in Chichester., Ralph Bishop of London in Westminster Abbey, Henry Baron by Writ, obviator Parl Edward 3rd ante sed. The identity is unknown if the middle tablet on the monument be correct. henry Stratford and his wife Mary lived temp Elizabeth 1538 - 1603. the only date in the Pedigree shows that his grandson George died in 1623, his eldest son being 21 years old in that year. If George was born in 1579, his grandfather henry, must have been born quite 40 years earlier, viz about 1538. The costumes of the effigies show them dated 1580 -1590. which would imply that Henry died about 50 years of age. when the Heraldry is examined, doubt arises as to the Henry Stratford being this man represented. The Arms of the Lady are given as a bend engrailed with a crescent for difference, and this is emphasised by the repetition on the cover of the book hanging from the girdle, and the smooth haired hound, a Talbot, at her feet, such a dog being an additional part of the escutcheon of the Walwyns of Markhyll, Gloucestershire. The Arms of Mary Stratford, the wife of Henry Stratford were ar, a ship sable, so these on the tomb are not hers. a nephew of Henry Stratford, married as his second wife Anne Walwyn, daughter of Edward Walwyn, and she is on the Markhyll Branch ( this is wrong, it was the Longford Branch), and would have brought him the Arms of the bend and the Crescent. This William Stratford was the son of Richard Stratford, ( wrong he was the son of John Stratford and Christine Howell ) and the next brother to Henry, ( wrong he was not brother to Henry ), and therefore if the date of the birth was about 1539, William could be born about 1560, and therefore 30 years of age in 1590, he probably died young, as he left no children by his two marriages. ( wrong, he left children by both marriages.) the costume and the Heraldry therefore suggest that the effigies represent William Stratford
  11. C. 1590 aged about 30 years, and Anne Walwyn his wife.
  12. There is no painting and the tinctures are not indicated.
  13. The man's hands, the Lady's thumbs and the heads of the dogs are broken off. The lower part of the Lady's effigy is broken in two.
  14. Place against the North Wall of the Eastern portion of the Nave, which now serves as the Sanctuary. The original Chancel, being in disrepair, was demolished in the 19th
  15. Century, and the monument originally stood on the North side of it.
  16. The original condition is good.
  17. The monument is mentioned by Bigland in 1613.

Tradition has it that there is or was, a passage which led from under the altar of Farmcote Chapel, down to Hailes Abbey, but, again, I have no documentary evidence to support this statement.

Stratfords who lived at Farmcote.

Richard Stratford living in 1484, was described in 1543, as of Farmcote and Hawling.
John Stratford, son of the above and his wife Christiana Howell were described as of Farmcote.
John Stratford, an his wife Margaret Tracy resided at Farmcote and died about 1587.
William Stratford, son of the above, with his two wives, Joyce De La Motte, and Anne Walwyn.
Henry, son of John Stratford and Margaret Tracy.
George Stratford, son of John Stratford and Margaret Tracy. lord of Farmcote in 1608.
John Stratford son of John and Mary Throgmorton,
George Stratford and Elizabeth Hobby.
William Stratford, son of the above George and his wife Anne Moore.
William Stratford son of the above and his wife Anne Overbury.
Walter Stratford son of the above and his two wives.
The sons of the above Walter, until 1756 when the Estate was sold.

An Abstract of the Title of the Manor and the Moiety of Farmcote Estate, is shown here in parts, relative to interest.

20th January 1664. Indenture between William Stratford of Barton on the Heath and Magdaline his wife, William Stratford the younger and heir apparent, and Anne Overbury, youngest daughter of Magdaline Overbury etc. relating to the intended marriage between William Stratford the younger and Anne Overbury, and an annuity of 300 and 350 for settling the Manors, and 2000. the marriage settlement and portion of Anne Overbury to William Stratford the elder.

18th February 1700. Indenture between Walter Stratford, the son and heir apparent of William Stratford who was there in described to be late of Farmcote and others that witnessed a marriage then intended between Walter Stratford and Anne Gwillium, the daughter of Charles Gwillium and 200 paid to Walter Stratford by Charles Gwillium as payment for his daughter's portion, made certain articles of agreement,

20th October 1710. Indenture between Walter Stratford, Stephen Husband, Gent, and De La Pole Corbett, Mercer, dealing with selling Farmcote Estate to Stephen Husband, but allowing recovery of the same whilst remaining tenant.

9th December 1710. Common recovery by De La Pole Corbett.

20th May 1712. Indenture between Walter Stratford, Compton Hanford Esquire, Joanna his wife and Frances Baptist, alias Draghay, the daughter of Anne Charmont, deceased who was sister of the said Joanna, regarding intended marriage between Frances Baptist and Waiter Stratford.

14th January 1715. Deed Poll to allow Walter Stratford to take divers sums of money from the estate to meet his commitments and responsibilities.

15th February 1715. Indenture between Wafter Stratford and Elizabeth Lambert lending to Wafter Stratford 800 and Farmcote as security of such.

8th February 1716. Indenture between Wafter Stratford and Bridget Corpson, widow, lending Walter Stratford 500 and Farmcote as security for such.

9th January 1716. Indenture between Walter Stratford and Isaac Baylis lending Walter Stratford 1557. 10s and parts of the Estate,

23rd July 1717. Decree in Chancery between Walter Stratford, Plaintiff and William Stratford his father, the suit being incited in 1694 by Walter Stratford against his father to recover immediate possession of the Farmcote Estate.

9th May 1726. Indenture between Elizabeth Lambert widow, and others, regarding money lent to Walter Stratford but not repaid.

18th and 19th May 1732. Indenture by Lease and Release made before Walter Stratford and his wife Frances. In consideration of 4500, sold Farmcote to Elizabeth Northey, who was in possession of the same, naming fields etc. with the option of redemption by Walter Stratford and Frances his wife,

27th May 1732. Deed Poll with Walter Stratford borrowing 1051 to pay debts to Elizabeth Northey.

20th February 1735. Deed poll whereby Walter Stratford repaid all Mortgages and interest to Elizabeth Northey and redeemed the Estate.

18th and 19th November 1740. Indenture of Lease made between Elizabeth Northey and Walter Stratford, William Stratford, eldest son and heir of Walter and the Earl of Shelburne, whereby the said Earl was to pay Elizabeth Northey 6521. 4s and lend Walter and William 478. 16s with Farmcote as security.

30th December 1742. Indenture between Walter Stratford, the elder and Frances, his wife, William, Walter the younger, Thomas, Edward, Ferdinando, Anthony, Francis and George Stratford, and Charles Barrow of Gloucester who lent them 3000 with Farmcote as security.

31st December 1742. Indenture whereby Henry, Earl of Shelburne, brought a Bill of Complaint in the High Court for non payment of loan and interest.

29th and 30th July 1744. Indenture between Walter Stratford and Frances his wife, William, eldest son and heir, Walter, Edward, Ferdinando, Thomas and Anthony, insomuch 6583 17s was due to Henry Earl of Shelburne, with in December the amount of 7665. 5s 8d was due and with other monies due amounted to 8000 and remortgaged the Estate to John Pratt, heir to the Estate of Robert Tracy by his Will, with the proviso that the said Walter remain Tenant.

14th August 1744. Indenture between John Pratt, William, Walter, Thomas, Edward, Ferdinando, and Anthony, whereby the Estate was redeemed for 8200.

31st October 1747. William, Walter, Thomas, Edward, and Ferdinando Stratford in consideration of 12000 did sell the Estate to John Pratt with the consideration that they could redeem the same within 6 months,

13th and 14th November 1749. Conveyed and assure unto John Pratt and Henry Barnes the Manor, Hereditaments and Premises of the Manor of Farmcote.

28th April 1756. Indenture between John Pratt and Henry Barnes, William, Walter, Edward, Thomas, and Ferdinando Stratford, the only surviving sons of Walter Stratford paid out of the Estate 400 due to an indenture of the 1st of October 1747.

The latter is the last time the Stratford's are mentioned in the Deeds to hand, regarding the Manor, and Estate of Farmcote.

Baptisms at Farmcote and Guiting Power.

Eleanordaughter of John1530
Anndaughter of George10 02 1610
Anthonyson of George12 04 1612.
Annedaughter of William25 01 1628
Hesterdaughter of William07 03 1629
Williamson of William26 04 1635
Georgeson of William17 07 1636
Johnson of William20 08 1637
Tracyson of William04 03 1640
John Overburyson of Walter and Frances08 04 1713
Williamson of Walter and Frances08 09 1715
Walterson of Walter and Frances07 07 1716
Thomasson of Walter and Frances09 06 1717
Edwardson of Walter and Frances12 07 1718
Ferdinandoson of Walter and Frances04 07 1719
Anthonyson of Walter and Frances17 02 1720
Francisson of Walter and Frances14 01 1722
Georgeson of Walter and Frances02 07 1724

Burials at Farmcote.

Annewife of William07 11 1656
William 13 09 1682
William 23 07 1711
Tracy 24 09 1711
Franceswife of Walter04 12 1747
Walter 01 07 1753
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Data transcribed by Colin Hinson from:
A document written by
Gerald H. Stratford in 1988.
Reproduced here by permission
Gerald H. Stratford.


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