A lucky find on Westcote Hill

No, not a golden idol or even an Anglo-Saxon ornament! But an interesting find, nonetheless. Today the last set of form 37s for the Lloyd George survey were transcribed, for the parish of Westcote (Glos. Arch. D2428/2/171). Far Westcote, Nether Westcote and Church Westcote are named. Nineteen forms at the end were for ‘allotment land’ on Westcote Hill. Seven plots measured 27 perches, one was 24, one 22, two 21, one 17, one 16, two 14, three 8 and one only 3 perches. So they were rather various in size. All were occupied by their owners, and all had different owners,  though there were obviously several members of the same families owning strips.

‘Strips’ is the clue to the origin of these allotments on Westcote Hill. They are survivals of the ancient open-field holdings of medieval farmers. It appears that part of Westcote Hill had been enclosed in 1842, but not all. The strips were said to be farmed in the traditional way in 1905. There had been a demand for small holdings in the parish in 1895, and it may be that these strips were allocated as allotments in response to the agricultural depression being suffered at that time. The Victoria County History volume 6 page 176 (www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/counties/gloucestershire/publications) notes  that they were called ‘allotments’ on the Ordnance survey map of 1922. We know they were called that in 1909.

A few years ago the strips could still be seen running up the hill and separated by grass balks or banks. The separate ownership of the strips ensured that they survived for many years. Can any still be seen?



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About Anthea

At present mainly engaged with Gloucestershire Archives in leading the transcription of the material compiled for the Lloyd George survey of land values for 1909. Many volunteers involved, more welcome! Previously writer of some local history books: Tewkesbury, the Cotswolds, A thousand years of the Engiish Parish, Cheltenham A new history.

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