In England a hundred was the division of a shire for administrative, military and judicial purposes under the common law. Originally, when introduced by the Saxons between 613 and 1017, a hundred had enough land to sustain approximately one hundred households headed by a hundred-man or hundred eolder. He was responsible for administration, justice, and supplying military troops, as well as leading its forces. The office was not hereditary, but by the 10th century the office was selected from among a few outstanding families.

Hundreds were further divided. Larger or more populous hundreds were split into divisions (or in Sussex, half hundreds). All hundreds were divided into tithings, which contained ten households. Below that, the basic unit of land was called the hide, which was enough land to support one family and varied in size from 60 to 120 old acres, or 15 to 30 modern acres (6 to 12 ha) depending on the quality and fertility of the land. Compare with township.

Above the hundred was the shire under the control of a shire-reeve (or sheriff). Hundred boundaries were independent of both parish and county boundaries, although often aligned, meaning that a hundred could be split between counties (usually only a fraction), or a parish could be split between hundreds.

The system of hundreds was not as stable as the system of counties being established at the time, and lists frequently differ on how many hundreds a county has. The Domesday Book contained a radically different set of hundreds than that which would later become established, in many parts of the country. The number of hundreds in each county varied wildly. Leicestershire had six (up from four at Domesday), whereas Devon, nearly three times larger, had thirty-two.

Hundreds gradually dropped out of administrative usage, and by the 19th century several different single-purpose subdivisions of counties, such as Poor Law Unions, rural sanitary districts, and Parliamentary divisions, sprung up, filling the administrative role they had previously played. Hundreds have never been formally abolished.

The French brought the manorial system to England and areas of land under a lord were called a manor. The lords dwelling and his personal lands, his demesne, a small village and the lands of the villagers comprised the manor.

A parish, originally a defined area with a local church generally measured to determine the number of persons who could be assembled in the church or who formed an agreed on community. Gradually this area acquired civil status as the church was requested to keep records which interested the government. Parish boundaries were adjusted from time to time and the civil role kept increasing. Since 1894 every parish with 300 people or more has a parish council to deal with local government matters. It is not a religious body and can be equated with the role of a township.

Brightswell Barrow and Rapsgate Hundred

* A series of books on history of Gloucestershire was published in 1980s, copies are in major libraries. These notes are taken from that work. They are included in order to provide background information about the early times in which Eacott ancestors lived. Detailed references which may provide more detailed information are given in [ ]. These need to be researched.

Eycot Manor was located in Rapsgate Hundred but was legally a part of Bibury Hundred which was absorbed into Brightwells Barrow Hundred. Later Eycot was absorbed into Rendcomb parish and manor.

Brightwells Barrow Hundred was located a few miles east of Cirencester, starting at Bibury and circling to include Aldsworth, Eastleach, Lechade, Fairford. As part of Bibury Eycote was well out of the area in the middle of Rapsgate. Rapsgate was north of Cirencester east and west of the Churn River forming a triangle North Cerney to Chedworth to Elkstone and Syde.

Bibury Hundred

In 1086 Bibury manor included Aldsworth, Barnsley, Arlington, Ablington, Bibury and the more distant Eycot. It was assayed at 40 hides (5000 acres). In 1221 these places became part of Brightwells Barrow Hundred [ Pleas of the crown for Gloucester., ed Maitland 1884]. Eycot was included until the 14th century. [ record of Gloucester Subsidy Rolls for 1327, 14]
[ Exchequer, Kings Rememberances E 179-113-131a r 4 ]
A separate frankpledge continued for Bibury Hundred under jurisdiction of the Bishop of Worcester.
Brightwells Barrow Hundred was one of the seven hundreds of Cirencester given in 1189 to the church by the king.
[V.C.H. of Gloucester Vol XI pp 152-53]

A biannual hundred view of frankpledge (a meeting of citizens with the lord to settle local matters) was held at the junction of Droitwich Lechlade Saltway and a route from Fairford in the early 15th century.

The church at Bibury was established not far from the site of a Roman villa before 899 AD. The Bishop of Worcester had an estate of 15 Cassati ( hides ) by the river Coln and in 718-45 bishop Wilfrith leased 5 cassati to his daughter.

The next section deals with local government matters.

Bibury Hundred was placed under the lordship of Brightwells Barrow Hundred at the order of the court on a request from the vills including those of Eycot. The bishop however kept many liberties and a period of legal wrangling took place after 1276 about who could pass ordinances about bread and ale assize, view frankpledge, and regulate tenants. The duty of a free tenant to attend court was commuted (ended) in 1399. Edward II confirmed the rights of the bishop of Worcester to pass these rules. The Abbot of Cirencester complained about this decision. [Court Roles for Bibury survive for 1270, 1382-90, 1432-77, 1496-8 and later. Some may deal with Eycot.] The court was the court leet for tithings of Bibury and Eycot. It dealt with assize (standard sizes for bread, ale, pleas of debt, bloodshed, hue and cry, sale of meat, fishing, maintenance of roads and ditches, and tenurial matters. After 1626 fence viewers and sheep cleaners were also appointed by this court.

After 1151 the bishop of Worcester permitted Oseney Abbey to act and benefit on his behalf. The association of Eycote with Bibury fades away with the meshing of Eycot with Rendcomb. Thus from early times until after 1442 legal proceedings for Eycot are with the Bibury records.

The Churl who owned Eycote before Domesday had a hide of land (40 to 120 acres depending on the value) which before the Norman invasion classed him as a small free landholder. To qualify as a thane or lord he needed five hides.

Rapsgate Hundred

Rapsgate Hundred in 1086 consisted of Brimpsfield, Chedworth, North Cerney, Colesbourne, Cowley, Elkstone, Rendcomb, Syde, Coberley, and part of Duntisbourne. In all 78 hides, and 1 yardland. Rapsgate was also one of the 7 hundreds of Cirencester given in 1189. An exemption from frankpledge for Rendcomb was secured by the abbey in the 13th century. Thereafter the earls of Gloucester held a court which also included Calmsden and Woodmancote tithings.

The biannual view of frankpledge was held at Rapsgate on the ancient Cirencester Colesbourne road in the south of Colesbourne. Marsden had a separate frankpledge. Among other duties the tithings were liable for wardstaff which was replaced by a 3 shilling wake. Johannes Eycote is named in respect of this duty in the 1300s.

In Rapsgate Hundred we are interested in Eycot manor, Rendcomb, North Cerney and Woodmancote. It is here where the earliest records of the Eacotts exist.

North Cerney Parish and Manor

North Cerney parish has boundaries which existed in 852 AD [Saxon Charters and Field Names of Gloucester., G.B. Grundy 1935]

Gilbert, son of Turold owned the manor in 1086. At that time the woodlands were in the northwest of the parish by Woodmancote. Old Park was created later by the owners of Rendcomb.

In 852 Beorhtwulf, king of the Mercians granted Alfeah 12 hides in Cerney and Calmsden. The Manor of North Cerney was held by the bishop of York from 1086 to 1545 when it was exchanged to the crown. (Henry VIIIs dissolution) It was then sold in 1552 to Sir Thomas Chamberlayne, resold to William
Partridge in 1578 in whose family it remained until 1620-30 when William Poole purchased the manor. The Pooles owned it into 1700Pooles s.
Church records for North Cerney exist from 1568.

The population for North Cerney hamlet was 36+ in 1086. In 1327 twenty six were assessed for the subsidy. In 1381 forty five were listed for poll tax. In 1551 there were 145 communicants in the church and in 1563 there were 18 households. By 1603 there were only 110 communicants. In 1650
there were forty families. In 1710 there were 190 inhabitants and 42 houses. Currently there are 600 persons.

Sir Thomas Vyner 1588-1665 who became Lord Mayor of .London was born at North Cerney. Thomas Vyner was a brother and uncle to Eycotts. Lord mayor in 1653. (See Will of Thomas Ekott 1583) He was knighted by Oliver Cromwell. Sir Thomas (b. 15 dec 1588 - d. 1665) was a goldsmith of London and Comptroller of the Mint. He married Anne daughter of Richard Parsons, Honor, daughter of George Humble and in 1661 Alice Bat. He had four daughters by Ann and 2 sons with Honor. His sister Mary was wife of Samuel Moore, goldsmith of London and his half brother William Vyner of East Coope, Warwickshire, was father of Sir Robert Vyner (1631- 1688) who died at Windsor Castle. He was knighted at Whitehall in 1665, made baronet in 1666. He was sheriff of London at the time of the fire 1666. With his great wealth he bought and made the crown jewels of Charles II and furnished 300 000 pounds to the Restoration Navy.

The manor house at North Cerney was usually rented before 1500. Another part of the property, 7 hides, was rented for two marks and journey service to the king by the thegns, Eliaf and his brother in 1086. The lordship was held by Gilbert, son of Turold who subsequentlypassed it along with Rendcomb, Calmsden, Woodmancote to the earls of Gloucester. Most of the land of Woodmancote, Calmsden and Rendcomb was subleased to the De La Mares. By the early 1500s

North Cerney and Woodmancote were regarded as separate manors.
[ Inquisitions Post Mortems series II, C 142/80 no. 23 i - located in Gloucester record office].

Woodmancote Manors

Woodmancote began in the 1200's, in 1327 it had 7 taxpayers [Gloucester Subsidy Roll 1327, 10, list for Rencomb includes Woodmancote] [Ancient and Present State of Gloucester 1712, R. Atkyns]. By 1710 there were recorded a medieval chapel, 13 houses and two Woodmancote manors.

Woodmancote manor was sold to Thomas Taylor in 1566 but Mary, widow of Edward Stafford was named lady of the hamlet in 1608. [ Smith, Men and Armour - Names of all able bodied men fit for service in his majesties service in war in Gloucester compiled by John Smith in 1608, reprint 1902 - Complete Peerage XII (I) 184-5 ]

Later Woodmancote figures in with Rendcomb and North Cerney manors litigation between the Pooles and Guises.
[Gloucester Record Office - Guise family records of Elmore and Rendcomb. D326/L 11-12]

The Guises acquired 500 acres in Woodmancote and owned it as part of Rendcomb Park in 1837
[ Gl. Rec. Off. T10 and Bigland Papers - 3vs 1791-1889.]

Cerney House estate was formed as a new estate from lands leased on long term by Sir Thomas Rich, grandson of Baron Richard Rich, exchequer of Henry VIII, known as Green's and Vyner's. These farms were owned by Woodmancote manors. The Rich family held the land from the early 1600s to 1761 when Thomas Tyndale acquired it. The second Woodmancote manor passed to the De La Mares with Rendcomb before 1200. The land passed to the Leigh family by marriage. While at Cerney House Sir Thomas Rich's daughter Bridget was born in 1596. It is not clear why the Rich family lived at North Cerney since the family held land mostly in Essex.

An agricultural depression in the 1300s resulted in the tenants giving up their plots of land or perishing in the plague. There was a depopulation and drop in used land. In 1341 ten tenants had abandoned tenancies which had existed in 1291. Wool production was off due to murraine, a serious disease, and a shortage
of grazing land. All 11 small holdings had lapsed in rent to North Cerney manor. In 1341 there were 6 yardlanders, 4 half yardlanders, 3 Mondaymen, 4 cottars. Only four tenants leased land. There were 3 freeholders. [ Gl. Rec. Off. D621/M7 - Inquisition Post Mortem No. N rec. com. 409]

Later the lands were grouped into compositions of holdings and by 1713 there were 6 large land holders with 33 to 114 acres who held the land for 3 lives (99 years) and 9 cottages with statutory 4 acre holdings. [ Gl. Rec.Off. North Cerney man 1713-32, leases 1715-89]

The lands of the Earl of Stafford were mostly at Woodmancote with some at Rendcomb and North Cerney. In 1566 all the tenant lands still with the manor lay in four large farms at Woodmancote. [C3/260/29 G.R.O. : D 293/4; Inquisition Post Mortem Gloucester 1625-42, ii, 103-4]
Woodmancote had 4 open fields; Burcomb (west) Morcomb (north) and later 2 fields on the South slopes above the Churn. The meadowland was only 8 acres but was considered very valuable. (six times the value of arable land). Later this river bottom land was considered the best in the county. While sheep raising was important, crops brought in more money in 1535. The Tame family of Fairford and Rendcomb and the were big sheep raisers.

Rendcomb Parish and Manor

Rendcomb, was named after the coomb or three sided valley near the hamlet. It was isolated on the east bank of the Churn until 1824 when a road link was built across the river. Previously it only had a link to the White Way to the east. Rendcomb Park was established in 1544 and by 1676 held 250 acres.

In 1086 there were 39 inhabitants at Rendcomb and Eycot [ Domesday Book Rec. Com. i, 164v, 168v]. In 1327 there were 19 for the subsidy. In 1381 there were 36 for the poll tax.
In 1551 there were 61 communicants in the parish and in 1563 there were 12 households.
In 1650 there were 18 families.
In 1710 a total of 120 inhabitants.

In 1086 two estates at Rendcomb were owned by Gilbert, son of Turold. 5 hides had formerly belonged to Aluric and 3 to Walter, his son-in-law. These estates passed to the earls of Gloucester by the late 12th century, and were subsequently sublet to the De La Mare family. In 1255 Earl Richard de Clare reserved 2 plowlands for himself. That land became Rendcomb manor. From 1387 until 1503 the manor was held by Thomas and Robert De La Mare and their descendants. In 1503 Edmund Tame of Fairford obtained it and by marriage it passed to the Staffords in 1547. Richard Berkeley of Stoke Gifford obtained it in 1564. The Guises purchased it in 1635 but a Berkeley continued to live there until after 1661. During the period when the Berkely family held it Elizabeth I visited (1592). Sir Thomas Roe lived at Rendcomb during the
time his mother Dame Eleanor Berkeley owned the Manor (1608). As a rule the Berkely family were only visitors. The De La Mares and the Tames lived at the manor. The Guises built a new house there.


The parish church was built in the 11th century. In 1569 the rector of the church also held livings (a sum of money from collections, tithes etc.) at Rendcomb and Tetbury. One Rector was Richard Hawker and another was Hunphrey Horton.


Once known as Upper Rendcomb, this manor was at one time held by the Berkeley family. It is adjacent to Eycot on the north.
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North Cerney Charter 
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North Cerney