Monday, 17 December 2018


    Our next meeting
March 20th 

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Meetings 2019

Talk Title
February 6th
Vice and Virtue:
Old Market through the ages
Michael Manson
March 6th

March 20th        
From Pillar to Post: Street Furniture in and around Bristol

Our own event

Cyril Routley
April 3rd

April 17th

May  1st
Riots of 1831

Excavations at                                        
Bath abbey

Our own event

Alan Jocelyn

Cai Mason
May 15th

Ration books to Rock in Roll
Terry Merrett Smith
June 05th

July 3rd

Kings Weston House

Our own event

Mr Martyn
August 07th

Sept 4th

Traditional Festivals of Britain 

Trip to Oakham Treasures
Professor Ronald Hutton
September 18th

October 2nd     

The end of Bristol Trams

Our own event

Peter Davey
October 16th
Avon Wharf, Bitton,
The Dramway
Jim Pimpernell
November 06th

November 20th

December 4th

It’s beginning to look like Christmas

Our own event

Christmas Meal

Mike Britton

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Greenbank Rd / Herring Lane

My Dad always called it Herring Lane. He was born in 1899. CH Painter in his book ‘A Short History of Hanham’ refers to this old name and he was of the same generation.

They knew the name but not the meaning, and they surely thought it odd, not to say ‘Fishy’.

It must have been for this reason that it was changed. We first see Greenbank on the OS Map 25-inch 2nd series dated 1904.

Today the ‘lane’ is suffering blockages due to the Housing development at the House of Faith sports field. However I would like to take you back not 100 years but over 600 years to a time when another ‘blockage’ upset the local population. ~

          The year was 1385 and the day was the second Tuesday after Easter. This day was the old festival of Hockaday. The custom was to have a fair and day of leisure but because it was not a ‘working day’ it was convenient to have the local assize court meeting when miscreants had no excuse to avoid attending.

The court charge sheet says [in Latin] ~

“And that the miller of Hanham unjustly took money (overcharged - or Short-measure?), and that the ditch in Herynge Lane [Greenbank Rd] is blocked, and despite Maurice Taylor’s promise of early repairs he will be subject to a fine”.

This report shows the Miller of Hanham who is Wilielmus Heryng. His windmill was at the top of Heryngeslane at the site of the Cross Keys Pub. ‘Heringe Lane’ is referred to on Maps of Kingswood Chase of 1610 and 1672, and in the Government Survey of 1652.

If Greenbank Rd was already known as 'Heryngeslane' in 1385 it seems likely that the Heryng family had lived there and held the mill for many years.

    So Heryngeslane is eponymous to the Heryng family (Millers). The surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin.

The land on the east side of the road drains to the south and west into the roadway. From this I infer that the blockage must be a problem with the ditch on the east side because an owner on the west would have protected himself by clearing any blockage on his own side of the road. He and all users of the road would have problems from a blockage on the east side. So I am guessing that Maurice Taylor lived on the east side and maybe in the very place that is today the cause of a detour that we hope will soon be eradicated.

As for the name of the development ‘Abbotts Croft’ we must say the site never belonged to an Abbott nor was there as far as we know a Croft. If it belonged to an estate other than the King it would have been Barr’s Court

                                    Map of Kingswood Chase dated 1610

Roger Williams November 2018

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Hanham Court Estate

Hanham Court Estate [From the Normans to the Creswickes]

[My understanding of the land records as quoted by Fosbroke, & Ellacombe]

1.  The Domesday Survey of 1086 established how the land that William had promised to his lords was now held, and what they owed him for it.  -  Yes they would owe him taxes, but more importantly, some of them were becoming uppity and fractious and William needed to have a firm grip over their entitlement to land and their fealty with a duty to military service.

2.   Once the Land Register was established, land and its owners’ duties to the King could not be transferred without his written permission. This permission was called Royal Licence. There are clear examples locally where, - when Royal Licence had not been granted, land was confiscated from the purchaser and re-allocated. Thus a Baron could not allow parts of his Barony to be sold beyond his control without the King’s permission.

3.   After a long time the operation of the Royal Licence system became cumbersome and ways were devised to avoid the legal rigmarole and expense.   However the Statute of Mortmain of 1279 was a specific ban on transferring property to religious orders without a Licence.

4.  One way that was devised to transfer ownership as a sale was to set up a fictitious legal case that would record an agreement of recompense to the previous owner.  The final Judgement was called a finé. - Written copies were made for the parties also a court record. [See following page]

          These court copies are called ‘feet of fines’. And so we see that a purchaser held land ‘by a fine’.

The Manor of West Hanham

          John of Saltmarsh was a very young baby when he inherited the Manor of West Hanham He was a descendant of the De Hanham family who held the manor from the Lords of Berkeley. Two neighbouring Lords, The Blounts of Bitton and De la More of Oldland wished to control the Estate and fought a court action [1272] as to who should acquire the wardship of the manor during his minority. De la More prevailed.

          In 1287 when Saltmarsh attained 15 years [the age of discretion] he took court action to oust the guardianship of De la More. However De la More proved that by his lineage Saltmarsh held the Manor by a Knight’s Fee, which was a military duty and he could not do so until he reached the age of 21.

          If he had held it under an ordinary tenancy called soccage he would have been able to sell the manor later without much trouble. But when he came to sell it in 1329 the Knight’s Fee was an obstacle to a regular sale. ~ It seems likely that he would have approached the ‘Superior Lord’ to see what could be done about it.   -   The Knight’s Fee was part of the Baron’s duty to the Crown which could not be removed without considerable trouble and expense. It was clear that the Berkeleys could not allow a sale that might let it fall into the hands of another Lord unless they sought the king’s permission.   ­-    They would have to specify the prospective new owner who would take on the Knight’s Fee.

          The Berkeleys had founded the Abbey of Keynsham and over time had given much to it.  -  It is recorded in Sir Robert Atkyns’ ‘History of Gloucestershire’ that William de la Grene held land in Marshfield for the Abbey of Keynsham [1326]. He and John de Bagworth would have been known to the Berkeleys as commissioners for the Abbey.

          When Saltmarsh wishes to sell the manor in 1329 there remains this obstacle to a sale in the open market. However the Berkeleys do have a way to help Saltmarsh by arranging the sale to William de la Grene and John de Bagworth who will apply for a Licence under the Statute of Mortmain to give it to the Abbey.  This will extinguish the ‘Knight’s Fee’.  -  It then seems obvious that the Berkeleys would have funded de la Grene and de Bagworth to make the purchase. Then the expected conveyance to the Abbey took place within a year.  It was in fact another gift to their favourite Religious Order.   A previous suspicion that the commissioners were a ‘front organization’ appears doubtful as they took the proper action by licence. Only the money source and amount are not vouchsafed to us. - I doubt there was any subterfuge involved.

     The estate transferred at this time is listed as: -

One Capital messuage, [Hanham Court]: One carucate [about 120 acres of arable]:

6 acres of mead & 4 acres of wood:  Estimated 60 acres tenanted @ 10 shillings from Wm. de la More;    a Water-Mill:  3 acres of mead and 6 acres of wood from Thomas de Berkeley:   and 1 virgate [30acres] at Beach [Upton House] from Bath Abbey.

After the dissolution of the Monasteries (Keynsham in 1539) the estate sold to John Lacey had grown to 1470 acres, and Ellacombe completes the story via T Colston to the Creswickes as follows: - Queen Mary In 1553 had sold West Hanham to Rowland Hayward. He in 1555, to John Reed and he in 1566 sold the manor house and 1470 acres to John Lacy of London and Bristol.

In 1633 The Laceys sold to T. Colston, who in 1638 sold it to Francis and Henry Creswicke, whose family held it until 1842

R. J. Williams 15.06.18

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

John Chiddy's Gravestone

Hanham Local History Society are pleased to confirm that they are funding the replacement of the missing and damaged memorial stones on the grave of John Chiddy at Christ Church, Hanham.  In 1876 John died while saving the express train, the Flying Dutchman, from disaster. The stones were replaced in 1976, one hundred years after Chiddy’s death, by C H Painter life long Church member, local undertaker and historian.  Every effort has been made by the society to contact all known descendants of John Chiddy and we are grateful that neither they nor the church have raised any objections to this replacement.  When the new stone is installed, a rededication service will take place, at which time children from several local schools will be in attendance.  The society acknowledges the valuable assistance of T M Broodrie of Summers Memorial Masons, St George in this venture.  We also register our thanks to our parish councils and the local councillors for their continued support, especially in respect of the research and documenting of local heritage issues carried out by the Society.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Hanham War Memorial gets it’s own Quick Response Code

South Gloucester council have teamed up with volunteers from South Gloucestershire museums, heritage centres and local history groups in an ongoing project to place QR codes next to each war memorial across South Gloucestershire.

By downloading a QR app to a mobile phone, information can be obtained from the website about the named people on the memorial  plaque, tablet or statue.

South Glos council have a list of war memorials which are open to the public across our area, and as the project continues more and more information about the named people will be available.

Hanham now has its own QR code sited on a post alongside the war memorial.
All the information was supplied by our society