The account of
manorial government and parochial administration
given here includes information for that part of the
parish subsequently transferred to Nailsworth.
Manor courts were held by the lord of the manor
during the Middle Ages. (fn. 99) Cirencester Abbey, which
had been excluded from exercising view of frankpledge in the manor for 40 years, agreed with the
lord of the manor c. 1255 that its bailiffs should hold
the view there twice a year and the lord should take
the profits at a yearly rent of 13s. 4d. (fn. 1) Nevertheless
the two parties were in dispute in 1261 over the
method of appointing a tithingman for Horsley and
it was agreed that the office should be filled in the
manor court but before the abbey's bailiffs. (fn. 2) In 1332
courts were held four times a year, (fn. 3) and manor
courts and views of frankpledge were held twice
yearly in the early 16th century when two tithings,
Barton End and Nupend, were represented. (fn. 4) An
estate at Horsley was said to have fallen to the lord of
the manor by forfeiture through felony but no record
of any warrant granting such a right to the lord has
been found. (fn. 5) In 1630 by-laws were agreed for the
manor, which sought to fine persons responsible for
introducing paupers to the parish, and the manor
court elected two haywards to regulate the
commons. (fn. 6) The court was recorded in the earlier
18th century (fn. 7) but had apparently fallen into disuse
by 1793 when it was revived. (fn. 8) From that date courts
leet and baron were held which elected tithingmen
for Barton End, Nailsworth, and Downend, and a
constable and a hayward. (fn. 9) The court, which usually
met at the Boot inn, (fn. 10) dealt mainly with encroachments on the lord's waste but from 1815 only the
election of officers is recorded. (fn. 11)
Two churchwardens were recorded from the 15th
century. (fn. 12) The parish had two overseers, whose
accounts, with a few gaps, survive from 1765 until
1836. (fn. 13) The parish had a workhouse by 1726, and in
1728, when it was said to be so crowded that further
houses would have to be rented, it was described as
resembling a playhouse rather than a workhouse.
The number of alehouses in the parish was thought
to contribute to the cost of poor-relief at that time. (fn. 14)
About 1769 a new workhouse was built at Shortwood
Green, (fn. 15) and in 1771, when it was advertised for
farming, (fn. 16) it had 99 inmates, some of whom were
employed in spinning. (fn. 17) The old workhouse, said to
be situated near Horsley Cross, was probably still in
use by the parish in 1785 when it may have housed
the aged poor. (fn. 18) In 1803 the new workhouse was
managed by a governor who employed the 33
inmates in spinning. (fn. 19)
From 1772, in view of the industrial development
at the Nailsworth end of the parish, an attempt was
made to distribute the cost of poor-relief more evenly
by rating the stock in trade of manufacturers. In
1773 the poor were farmed for one year at £850 and
in 1806 a salaried overseer was appointed. (fn. 20) A
salaried surgeon-apothecary was appointed in 1782, (fn. 21)
a small-pox house was recorded in 1788, (fn. 22) and a
large proportion of the parish was vaccinated in
1810. (fn. 23) During the 1830s 27 a. of land was purchased
for allotments for the labouring population and 66
inhabitants were using them c. 1838. (fn. 24) In 1836
Horsley became part of the Stroud poor-law union (fn. 25)
and that part which was not transferred to Nailsworth
parish in 1892 remained part of Stroud R.D. in 1972.
Cirencester Cart. i, pp. 318-19.
||Ibid. p. 320.
||Glos. R.O., D 547A/M 4-13.
||Ibid. M 39.
||Ibid. M 29.
||Glos. Colln. RF 167.1 (30).
||Ibid. (1-70); Glos. R.O., D 547A/M 14.
Glouc. Jnl. 19 July 1802; Glos. R.O., D 547A/M 15.
||Glos. Colln. RF 167.1 (44-5); Glos. R.O., D 547A/M
||Hockaday Abs. xxii, 1498 visit. f. 29.
B. & G. Par. Recs. 171; Glos. R.O., P 181/OV 2/1-12.
||Glos. R.O., D 547A/F 14.
||Ibid. P 181/OV 2/1.
Glouc. Jnl. 20 May, 1771.
||Glos. R.O., P 181/OV 9/1; at another time in that year
69 inmates were recorded.
||Ibid. OV 2/4; and see ibid. 1, entry for 1766.
Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 180-1.
||Glos. R.O., P 181/OV 2/2; VE 2/2.
||Ibid. OV 2/3.
||Glos. R.O., P 181/OV 2/5.
||Ibid. VE 2/2.
Rep. Com. Handloom Weavers, p. 525.
Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. p. 524.