According the the Heralds’ Visitation of Gloucestershire 1682, George Gwynedd left his home in the Gwynnedd district of North Wales due to religious persecution during the reign of Queen Mary. Mary was on the throne between 1553 and 1558. Did George and his family travel directly to Gloucestershire or did they stop somewhere else on the way?
Some mid-sixteenth century records exist of Gwinnetts in Shropshire, mainly linked to a Lancelot Gwinnett, but no connection has been found with the Gloucestershire branch and the naming pattern is quite different. The earliest record of George Gwynedd found so far in Gloucestershire relates to the late 1570s, but he does state in the document that he has been there ‘for a great time’.
George, his wife Eleanor and their son, Richard settled in Shurdington in the parish of Badgeworth. Neither Eleanor‘s surname nor the date of her marriage to George is known; presumably they married in Wales but that is just guesswork. It would seem that George and Eleanor had only the one son, called Richard. These two names, George and Richard, were to be repeated in all the early generations of the family.
The earliest documents which have been found relating to George Gwynedd are three Consistory Court documents, (Gloucestershire Archives Reference: GDR/B4/3/62-64). It seems that, by 1578, George Gwynedd was acting as the ‘farmer’ for the perpetual vicarage of Badgeworth. In those days, the term ‘farmer’ applied to the collector of tithes and it was in this capacity that George took various people before the Bishop of Gloucester’s court for non-payment of tithes.
The first case, in 1578, names Walter Bubb as defendant; the second case, a year later, names Robert Kerbie and the third case, in 1581/2 names John Merry. Details of these cases can be seen below.
On a more personal note, on the 20th August 1593, Gyles Bridges, otherwise Lord Chandos and Baron of Sudeley, leased the farmhouse of Crippetts, in Badgeworth, to George Gwinnett, his wife Ellinor and their son Richard Gwynnett. (Gloucestershire Archives Reference: D151/T1/1) (Transcript below)
The property, all in Badgeworth, was rented at a cost of £30 8s 2d and consisted of:
- Crippetts farmhouse
- 1 yard land of arable land
- Byddles Haye
- Cow Leasowes (20 acres)
- Forty Pence Leasowe with grove (1 acre)
- Over Broad Hale (5 acres)
- Eelme Hayes
- New Leasowe (1 acre)
The family were to make Crippetts their home for many years to come.
George Gwynett was buried on the 5th December, 1604 in Badgeworth Church. No will has been found for him. His wife, Eleanor, had been buried a few years earlier, on 12th May 1600..
A summary, (to the best of my understanding), of the document with G.A. Ref: GDR/B3/3/62
Walter Bubb, an honest man, states the enquiries made by George Gwynet, farmer of the vicarage of Badgeworth, to be answered by the witnesses:
- Each witness will be asked if there was an existing custom until this date for the payment and offering of tithes of lamb.
- The custom states that every householder in Badgeworth, shall pay a tithe for the lambs born to his sheep; his sons, daughters and servants, having sheep on the householder’s land, shall pay the tithe for their own lambs, even if the householder has kept and fed them.
- If the witness has spoken against Walter Bubb and against the custom of tithing lambs, he is to explain his reason. If he has so spoken, is he aware that anyone has broken the custom, stating when, where and why.
- Does he favour the defendant or the plaintiff? And if he was judging, who would he support?
- Has he been bribed or promised anything for his testimony?
- Has anyone coached him in what to answer?
14th December 1578
George Gwyneth’s response to Walter Bubb’s comments:
- & 2. George Gwyneth says they are the law and he refers to that.
- & 4. George states he does not believe these to be true.
- He does not believe it to be true.
- He does not believe this to be true.
Before Thomas Powell, the Bishop of Gloucester’s principal Consistory Court official, the honest man, George Gwyneth, against the layman, Walter Bubb, or anyone else intervening on his behalf, states the following:
- Walter Bubb is from Badgeworth so is a subject in your jurisdiction.
- George Gwyneth was and is the lawful farmer of all the tithes and ecclesiastical rights of Badgeworth vicarage, and has been so ‘for a great time’. He is lawfully and publicly acknowledged as such.
- Since the foundation of the Badgeworth vicarage, it has been the custom to take tithes of lambs born and raised in the parish for the vicar, by the farmer, currently George Gwyneth. So it should be in the future
- Also, all the vicars and their farmers were in possession of the right of collecting the tithes of lambs from time immemorial and have done so. George Gwyneth, the present farmer, has done so, except as below.
- In 1577, Walter Bubb had 10 lambs or 8 lambs or at least 7 lambs, and in 1578, 42 or 30 or at least 20 lambs born and bred on his lands, under one shepherd.
- Walter Bubb, a layman, ‘completely unmindful of the safety of his soul’ has stopped paying George Gwyneth for the tithes of lambs for either year, to the detriment of George Gwyneth.
- The true value of each lamb, is estimated at 3s 4d or at least 20d and Walter Bubb should state the sort and value of his lambs, and how many he has.
- Walter Bubb has been asked often and insistently, either by George Gwyneth or another on his behalf, but has completely refused to do so.
- All the customs are true and well-known.
George Gwyneth has sworn to do whatever is lawfully demanded of him and craves justice. He asks that Walter Bubb shall be made to pay him the lambs tithes plus George’s expenses made in bringing the charge against him.
Having made his deposition, George Gwyneth asks that the case be heard and decided directly.
1578 November 4th
Held before Edward Grosse, clerk
Walter Bubb answers the charges brought by George Gwynett, current farmer of Badgeworth vicarage, as follows:
The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th articles are true.
To the 5th and 6th charges he replies:
- That he had about 8 lambs born in Badgeworth in 1577, and he paid Gwynett for their tithes.
- In 1578, he had only 10 lambs of his own born, his son John had 22 lambs born, his son Thomas had 7 and his daughter, Jone, had 3, all of which were born in his field; they were worth 3s apiece and George Gwynett was offered the tithe for them, according to the parish custom.
- For his 10 lambs, Walter Bubb offered the farmer one lamb as a tithe.
- Likewise, his son John offered the farmer two lambs and 2d for his 22 lambs
- His son Thomas also offered him one lamb or its value for his 7 lambs
- His daughter, Jone, offered the farmer 1d for the birth of her 3 lambs, all according to custom
- Each person was paying for his or her own lambs born, although they had all been kept in the same field.
To the 8th article, Walter states that he has always offered to pay for his lambs’ tithes.
To the last article, he confirms that was he has said is true and well-known.
In the case of George Gwynett, farmer of the tithes of Badgeworth vicarage, against Walter Bubb, of Badgeworth, held before Thomas Powell, Principal Official of the Consistory Court of the Bishop of Gloucester,
- George Gwynett should not gain in any way from the charge, on account of the uncertainty, obscurity or insufficiency of the charge
Also, by both common and ecclesiastical law, payment of tithes should be as has long been prescribed by custom of the parish, as follows:
- That every householder in Badgeworth, having sons, daughters or servants living with him, any of whom having sheep in his pasture, under the control of his shepherd, or indeed any stranger keeping his sheep there, each shall pay the relevant tithes to the vicar, his farmer or his deputy, i.e.
- if the householder has ten lambs born, he ought to pay one lamb
- if the son has seven lambs, he shall pay one lamb and have three ½d back
- if any of the daughters have four lambs born they should pay four ½d to the vicar and no more
- if the servants have 3 lambs born in the same field, they ought to pay the vicar three ½d
- if any stranger has two lambs born in the field, he should pay two ½d
- for all the lambs born, their tithe and likewise of their fleeces, all in one field and all under one shepherd, belonging to the householder, shall be charged and answerable to every person and not by the householder himself.
And this is the lawful custom for payment, offering and satisfaction of tithes and other ecclesiastical rights for the parish of Badgeworth and in this way, the vicars, farmers or their deputies have been accustomed to and are used to freely accept the tithes without contradiction.
Also, the parishioners of Badgeworth and Walter Bubb have been and are in possession of the custom from time immemorial until this litigation was begun.
Walter Bubb has, according to custom, paid or offered to pay the farmer for the tithes or ecclesiastical rights; and will do so, promptly, in future.
He states that all the customs were and are true and well known, which has been publicly agreed.
Walter Bubb, having sworn to the truth, craves justice in the customs be granted to him. He also requests that George Gwynett be pronounced to have recklessly and unjustly summoned, vexed and impleaded him.
Walter Bubb asks for the charges to be dismissed and to be absolved of any further impleading by George Gwynett. He also claimed his lawful expenses of the case.
A summary, (to the best of my understanding), of the document with G.A. Ref: GDR/B3/3/63
The case, overseen by John Herberte, commissary of William Awbrye and William Clerke, for the Archbishop of Canterbury, there currently being no Bishop of Gloucester, concerns the withdrawal of tithes.
- The plaintiff is George Gwynett, present farmer of the vicarage of the parish of Badgeworth in the diocese of Gloucester
- The defendant is Robert Kirbye of Badgeworth:
Robert Kirbye alleges, against George Gwynett, as follows:
- Firstly, that the charge brought by George Gwynett against Robert Kerbie cannot be upheld because it is uncertain, lacks quality, is obscure, inept and insufficient.
- That by any law, whether ecclesiastical, common or statute law, relating to the payment of tithes and other ecclesiastical rights, should remain as has been accustomed
- Within the parish of Badgeworth, the tithes and rights, from time immemorial until now, have been as follows:
As to the tithes of lambs:
- the custom has been and is for lambs titheable being under the number of seven in one year, to pay one halfpenny apiece for every such lamb.
And as to the tithes of calves:
- For calves titheable being under the number of seven in one year, the custom is for every calf weaned and bred up, likewise to pay one halfpenny apiece. And for every calf under the number of seven being sold or killed by the owner, the custom is to pay the shilling penny of the price or value of every calf sold or killed.
And as for the pasturing of sheep:
- for sheep being taken to tack or wintered in the said parish, commonly from Saint Martin’s tide unto Holyrode Day in May, the custom has been and is to pay one half penny for a piece.
And as for offerings:
- the custom is every householder to pay at Easter for his and his wife’s offerings yearly 4d.
And this is true, public and well-known, he states.
Also that the parishioners of Badgeworth and Robert Kirbye, in particular, were in full and peaceful possession of the said custom for time immemorial and all were and are tithed in this manner, and upon the payment and satisfaction of the tithes and other ecclesiastical rights, were exonerated and immune until the time of this litigation being moved.
Also, that the vicars of Badgeworth and their tithe collectors, before George Gwynett, have been accustomed to accept and approve the payment and satisfaction of the tithes and the ecclesiastical rights, for lambs, calves, sheep and offerings, until now. In particular, Robert Kirbye had paid the relevant tithes or at least offered payment. He denies that he has not paid or offered to pay the tithes, according to the custom.
Also, he states that all the premises were and are true, public and well-known in Badgeworth.
Having sworn to the truth, Robert Kirbye craves justice for himself and the Badgeworth parishioners, that it should be decreed that George Gwynett’s charges were rash and unjust and he asks for the charges to be dismissed.
The personal answer of Robert Kerbie, made to the charge given in court against him, by George Gwynett, farmer of the Badgeworth vicarage, is as follows:
- To the first article, he confesses the same to be true
- To the second, he knows not what right the said George Gwynett has, but that he is accounted and commonly taken for the farmer
- To the third and fourth, he believes the same to be true, according to the custom used for the payment of such tithes within the said parish and not otherwise
- To the fifth, he states that, in the year 1576, he had five lambs for which he offered 2d (one ½d each) and he wintered, from St Martyn’s-tide unto Holyrode Day in May, 14 ewes belonging to John Flookes and John Flookes also had 14 lambs and paid one tithe for them to the farmer; for the four odd lambs belonging to Flook, the ewes being pastured in his (Kerbie’s) pasture, he paid 2d (one ½d apiece) according to the custom.
- In 1579, Kerbie had 2 ewes from St Martin’s-tide until Hoyrode Day in May, belonging to Edmund Sherles, wintered in his pasture and he offered the farmer 1d for the two lambs from the ewes, i.e. one ½d for each, according to the custom
- In 1577, Kerbie had 4 calves born and he weaned and bred three of these for which he offered the farmer 1d, i.e. one ½d a piece for the births; the other calf, which he believes worth 5s, he killed for his house, for which he offered 5d, being the shilling penny, according to the custom of the parish.
- In 1578, Kerbie had 4 calves born, of which he bred three and killed the fourth, valued at 5s. He offered the farmer 1d for the calves he reared and 5d, the shilling penny, for the calf he killed.
- In 1579, Kerbie had 4 calves born; he bred one, sold two for 8s and killed one for the house which was worth 5s and no more. He is ready to pay the farmer all that is due according to custom, i.e. ½d for the calf he bred, 8d for the calves he sold and 5d for the calf he killed.
- In 1578, Kerbie had 9 sheep wintering in his pasture from St Martin’s-tide until Holyrode Day in May, belonging to Sherles for which he was willing to pay 4d. For 1577 and all former years, up until last Easter, Kerbie stated that he paid the farmer, for him and his wife, 4d yearly. Since Easter, he has also offered the farmer, his and his wife’s payment. And so, in conscience and upon oath, he has paid or offered to pay all duties according to the ancient and laudable premises. So he denies anything else is due.
- To the sixth, he said that requisition has been made contrary to their custom and therefore he takes the said to be void in law.
- To the last he believes the same according to the tenor of his former answers and not otherwise.
A summary, (to the best of my understanding), of the document with G.A. Ref: GDR/B4/3/64
John Warde clerk, rector of the parish church of Farmington in the diocese of Gloucester, and Philip Jones clerk, rector of Weeforde in the diocese of Gloucester, commissaries &c. to our beloved in Christ, Thomas Brade, our apparitor, greeting.
Whereas in a certain cause of withdrawal of tithes or other ecclesiastical rights which was sued before us between:
- George Guineatt, plaintiff, on the one part, and
- John Merry of Badgworth, diocese of Gloucester, defendant, on the other,
rightly and lawfully proceeding, a sum is declared in which, amongst others,
- we have condemned the same John Merry for lawful expenses had and to be had on behalf of the said Guineatt in this behalf, and
- we have also decreed that the same John Merry be cited to appear at the day and place following and in manner and form following for judgment:
- we therefore commit and command thee to cite the aforesaid John Merry to appear before us in the consistory of Gloucester on Tuesday, to wit, the 6th day of March instant at the customary hour so as to give reasonable cause (should he have any) why the expenses should be taxed according to the statutes and the laws, and
- to hear the review of the same;
- and to further do and receive what shall be just in this behalf. And thou shalt duly certify us on that day that which you have done in the premises at the said day and place, together with these presents.
Given the 1st day of March aforesaid in the year of the Lord, according to the computation of the English church, 1581.
Lease of the Farm for Three Lives, Crippetts, 1593
This Indenture made the twentieth day of August in the five and thirtieth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lady Elizabeth by the grace of God of England, France, and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith, etc., between the right honourable Gyles Bridges, Lord Chandos, Baron of Sudeley of the one part and George Gwinnett of Crippetts in the parish of Badgeworth within the county of the city of Gloucester, yeoman, Ellenor his now wife and Richard Gwynnett, their son, of the other part
Witnesseth that the said Gyles Bridges, Lord Chandos for the fine of twenty marks of lawful English money to him the said Lord Chandos by the said George and Richard before the asealing of these presents well and truly contented and payed,
And for other the considerations hereafter in three parts expressed, hath demised, granted and to farm, let and by these present, doth demise, grant and to farm, let unto the said George Gwynnett, Ellenor his wife and Richard their son,
All that his messuage or capital house commonly called the farm house of Crippetts within the said parish of Badgeworth, together with all houses, edifices, barns, stables, courts, backsides, gardens, orchards, rooms and easements whatsoever to the same adjoining used or belonging; and also one yard land of arable land be it more or less.
And one little close commonly called Byddles Haye adjoining the said farm house, two leasows commonly called the Cow Leasows, containing by of estimation twelve acres, one lesser leasow commonly called the Forty Pence, with a little grove thereunto adjoining containing about one acre, one meadow commonly called the Over Broad Hale containing about five acres, one other meadow commonly called by the name or names of Broad Hale, Crippett’s Mead and Elme Hayes lying together and within one hedge; and one acre lying with a late enclosed ground of William Lawrence of Shipton called the New Leasow under Rackley, together with all such common of pasture and other grounds and appurtenances as the said George Gwynett hath heretofore had, used or occupied to or with the said messuage or farm house and premises, as parcel(?) member or belonging to the same within the field or parish of Crippets, Shurdington Magna or Badgeworth or any of them. (Great trees of oak, ash or elm fit for timber and free ingress, egress and regress in to and fro the demised premises at all times excepted and reserved unto the said Lord Chandos, his heirs, officers and assigns). All which demised premises are situate, lying or being on the parish of Badgeworth aforesaid and within the county of the city of Gloucester. And now and heretofore have been in the tenure and occupation of the said George Gwynett.
To have and to hold the said messuage or capital house with all houses, edifices, barns, stables, court rooms, gardens, orchards, arable land, closes, leasows, meadows, groves, common of pasture and all other the above demised premises with all and singular their appurtenances, offices and yearly increases whatsoever (except before excepted and expressed) unto the said George Gwynett, Ellenor his wife and Richard their son and to the survivor of them, full, fairly and severally, in manner and form following but not otherwise:
That is to say, first unto the said George Gwynett and his assigns from the day of the date of these presents for and during the natural life of him, the said George Gwynett, solely and entirely, and secondarily, from and immediately after the death or decease of the said George, unto the said Ellenor and her assigns (if she the said Ellenor be then living) for and during her natural life in like sole and entire sort. And lastly, from and immediately after the death or decease of her, the said Ellenor, (surviving the said George, her said husband) and from or immediately after the death or decease of the said George (surviving the said Ellenor) unto the said Richard his assign or assigns for and during the natural life of him, the said Richard.
Yielding and paying therefore yearly during the said term and terms unto the said Gyles, Lord Chandos, his heirs and assigns the yearly rent of thirty pounds eight shillings and eight pence of lawful English money at two usual feasts in the year, that is to say, at the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel and the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Saint Mary by equal portions.
And also yielding, paying and delivering therefore yearly during the said terms unto the said Lord Chandos, his heirs and assigns, at his now mansion place, called Sudeley Castle, within the county of Gloucester, the full number of sixteen quarters of good sweet, clean winnowed and marketable wheat according to the ordinary measure now used in the City of Gloucester. The same wheat to be delivered yearly between the said feast days of Saint Michael the Archangel and the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Saint Mary and within eight days next after warning given to the said George, Ellenor or Richard or any of them at any time between the said feast days by or from the said Lord Chandos, his heirs or assigns or any other officer or servant for providing or bringing in of the same.
And if it shall happen the said yearly rent of £30 8s 8d or any penny thereof to be behind or unpaid by the space of eight and twenty days next after any of the said feast days wherein it ought to be paid (as before) or the said sixteen quarters of wheat or any part or piece thereof to be undelivered by the full space of 8 days next after such warning given for bringing in of the same as before is proscribed; that then and at all times thenceforth, it shall and may be lawful to and for the said Lord Chandos, his heirs and assigns into all and singular the above demised premises to re-enter and the same and any part and piece thereof be repossesed, enjoyed, and have again as in his or their former estate for these presents or anything herein contained to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
And the said George Gwynett, Ellenor his wife and Richard their son, for them and any of them and any of their executors, administrators and assigns do covenant and permit to and with the said Giles, Lord Chandos, his heirs and assigns by these present the aforesaid messuage or capital house and all other the houses, edifices, buildings and premises above demised in all and all in and of necessary and convenient reparation from time to time during the aforesaid term or terms at their proper cost and charge ; well and sufficiently to keep and uphold, sustain and maintain (the said Lord Chandos, his heirs and assigns, allowing and assigning convenient great timber only for the farmer.)
And the same sufficiently and jointably repaired, maintained, seased, ingrounded and inclosed shall leave and hold up part the end of the said term or terms. And the said Giles, Lord Chandos, for him, his heirs, executors and assigns doth covenant and grant to and with the said George Gwynett, Ellenor and Richard, and any of them and the assigns of any of them, by these present, that it shall and maybe lawful to and for the said George, Ellenor and Richard and any of them or any of their assigns, in or during the time of his or her being sole tenant of the premises (as before) to lop, cut, fell, shred and carry or take away convenient and necessary, hedgeboot, houseboot, fireboot, ploughboot, and cartboot, growing or to be growing in or upon the said premises or any part or piece thereof for his or her necessary and reasonable use, employment and expending in and upon the said premises and not elsewhere.
And further the said Giles, Lord Chandos, for him, his heirs, executors and assigns, doth covenant, promise and grant to and with the said George, Ellenor and Richard and any of them and the assigns of any of them, by these present, the said demised premises and any part or piece thereof with all and singular their appurtenances (except before excepted) unto the said George, Ellenor and Richard and any of them and to the assigns of any of them according to the terms, purport and true meaning of these present, for and during the foresaid term or terms, against him, the said Lord Chandos and the Lady Frances, his now wife and their assigns and against all others relying for, from, by or under them or any of them to warrant and defend by these present.
Provided nonetheless (as well by the full intent and meaning of the said Lord Chandos), as by the voluntary and free consent and assent of the said Ellenor, that if she, the said Ellenor shall happen to survive and outlive her said husband, the said George, and then shall at any time after his decease, she espouse, marry or contract herself to any other husband or person whatsoever, that then and immediately after such her espousing, marrying or contracting of herself, all such her estate, right, interests and benefits which she the said Ellenor is to have or may claim or challenge of in or to the said demised premises, or of in or to any part or piece thereof by virtue of these present demise and grant, shall cease, determine and or utterly void and extinguished, to all intents and purposes as though she had now been party to the same, forgoes present indentures or anything herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.
And finally, the said Lord Chandos (for the perfecting and establishing of these presents and the estates and premises thereby granted according to true meaning) hath constituted and appointed and by these present doth constitute and appoint his faithful servant William Webley, his lawful attorney and deputy for him and in his name and stead to enter into the possession of the demised premises and after quiet and peaceable possession thereof by him to his Lordship’s use had and taken then peaceable and quiet possession thereof or of some part thereof in the name of the whole for him and in his name and stead to give and deliver unto the said George, Ellenor and Richard according to the purport, intent and true meaning of these present.
And what he, the said attorney, shall do in the premises that the said Lord Chandos doth and will by these present doth hold firm and stable and also ratify, confirm and allow in as large and ample manner to all intents and purposes, as if his Lordship were personally present at the doing thereof and did the same himself.
In witness whereof either of the said parties to these presents interchangeably have put their hand and seal given the day and year first above written.
Sealed and delivered in the presence of us:
- Thomas Child
- John Overton
- John Ladbrok?
- Ellis Griffiths
Possession and season taken and delivered by the attorney within named and according to the intent, purpose and true meaning of these presents. In presence of us:
- Walter Cucke?
- Eadmunde Solwud?
- By me William Webley
The 9th day of November in the year of our Lord 1593.