|All Saints' Church, Cold Salperton|
A Victorian Restoration
SALPERTON AND ITS CHURCH
From the Cheltenham Examiner, Wednesday, March 11th, 1885
Three miles from Andoversford, and about equidistant between the high roads which, forking off there, run to Stow on the Wold and Northleach respectively, there is the little village of Salperton. Although thus remotely situated, there was a time, so antiquaries assure us, when the village occupied a far more important position. Long before the Roman hosts had made their appearance in Gloucestershire, Salperton was on a road, which came from Droitwich through Worcestershire, entered this county near Ashton-under-Hill, probably ran by Dumbleton and Toddington to Hayles, past Hawling, Salperton and Hazleton, crossed the Foss Way between North Leach and Stowell Park, crossed another Roman road, the Ikenield-street, at Coln St. Aldwyns, and then pursued a southward course to the coast of Hampshire. This ancient road is known by the name of the Salt Way, or the Salter`s Way : whether because it was used for traffic of salt from Droitwich is a debatable question. It is now visible only here and there ; one of its most conspicuous stretches is on the slope of the Cotswolds near Hayles Abbey ; but on a map published at the beginning of this century it may be traced pretty plainly. Nor is its former position on a British trackway the only connection which Salperton has with prehistoric times. Scattered about in its immediate neighbourhood are some long and round tumuli, made by those long-headed and round headed ancestors of ours, the former of whom, so far as we at present know, were the earliest dwellers upon our wolds. Close to Notgrove station, only a few minutes` walk from Salperton, is one of these interesting ancient burial places, in which Mr. G.B. Witts, on exploring it, found, among interesting relics, one of which is almost unique- a black oval bead, or amulet, which had adorned the neck of a woman about the hill-side at Salperton we don`t know how many thousands of years ago, but long, long before the dawn of the historic period. Just outside Salperton Park, too, there is a camp which dates back to ancient times. In his admirable *Archeological Handbook of the County of Gloucester*, Mr. Witts describes this camp as rectangular in form, measuring eighty yards by sixty yards, the defended area being close upon an acre. The intrenchments consisted of a single mound and ditch, now nearly obliterated, with the exception of the four angles and the whole of the north side. By whom the camp was built is a matter of conjecture ; its regular shape favours the idea that it was made by the Romans, but it may have had a British origin, for clever and industrious as the Roman invaders were in the construction of defensive works, they were not above adopting and adapting those which had been used by those whom they conquered.
It is not until we come to Norman times that the written record throws much light upon the history of Salperton. When the Conqueror called his "witan" together at Goucester in 1085, he had, we are told, a very "deep speech" with them about the land, how it was peopled, and so on, and afterwards he sent men into every shire, "and caused to be ascertained how many hundred hides were in the shire, or what land the King himself had, or what dues he ought to have in twelve months from the shire." The chronicler further tells us that the King caused to be written "what or how much each man had who was a holder of land in England, in land or in cattle, and how much money he might be worth ; so very narrowly he caused it to be traced out that there was not one single hide, nor one yard of land, nor even - it is shame to tell, though it seemed to him no shame to do - an ox, nor cow, nor a swine, left, that was not set down in his writ." Taken by itself there is little of interest in the Doomsday record of Salperton. The interest begins when we learn something of the people whose names we have but bare mention in the famous Survey. Gloucestershire with the exception, probably, of the Forest of Dean, was in those times within the See of the Bishop of Worcester, and his lordship held a good deal of land in the county, including the manor of Bishop`s Cleeve, of which, says the Doomsday Book, "one Ralph holds four hides in Salperton :" that is, he held about five hundred acres, or nearly one half the present area of the parish. Who Ralph was, we know not ; but about one owner of land in Salperton about this time some interesting particulars are given us by Mr. Alfred S. Ellis. This landowner was one Hugh l`Aisne, or, as his name is once written in the Survey, "Asinus," the latter a nickname by which he seems generally to have been known. Mr. Ellis tells that how Hugh came by his nickname does not appear, but "the Normans seem to have had a propensity for giving the most undignified epithets to persons who appear not only been exclusively known by such, but were obliged, for the sake of identity, to use these themselves in documents. The particulars of Hugh "Asinus" which Mr. Ellis has collected, and which he gives in his learned paper on "The Doomsday Tenants of Gloucestershire," are in substance these:
As early as 1046. twenty years before the conquest, William fitz Osbern had founded an abbey at Lyre, and we find 'Hugo Asino' witnessing the charter of William fitz Osbern, when Earl of Hereford, granting the monks their lands in England. He was also one of the witnesses to the charter of William confirming to the abbey of St. Evroult the gifts of Fulk, late Dean of Evreux. He was, in all probability, a feudatory of that baron in Normandy, and a man advanced in years at the time of the Survey. He was surviving 1095-1101, as his name as 'Hugo Asinus' occurs in the list of those who had tenants in the towns of Gloucester and Winchcombe. He evidently came over with William fitz Osbern and settled in the west under him,and on the Welsh marches was actively employed in the defence of the border under his lord, now Earl of Hereford. In the county of Hereford he held *in capite*, Kentchester and some twenty other manors, in which 'his original feoffer.' says Mr. Eyton, seems to have been William fitz Osbern, the Earl. At the date of the Survey he was claiming the great lordship of Radnor, then held by the king, declaring to the commissioners that when Earl William gave him the lands of Turchil, he also gave him Raddrenove. Hugh also held Knighton and Norton, which the survey included in Shropshire. Turchil, whose lands in Herefordshire were granted to Hugh, had held Brockworth, in Gloucestershire, of King Edward. This, Hugh acquired with the rest. He also obtained, in this county, the lands of Wluuard, in Shipton, Salperton, and Bagendon ; one Gilbert held of him the last named. He, probably, did not become a tenant in capite until the forfeiture of Roger, the second Earl of Hereford, in 1074. All we know about his family is that he had a daughter, who seems to have been a nun at the Abbey of St Mary, at Winchester, for that church held lands of him at Kennet, in Wilts.
Salperton Church, like the majority of the churches on the Cotswolds, had its foundations laid back in Norman times, and the present edifice contains several pieces of Norman work - the chancel arch, and two windows on the N. side of the chancel, and two windows on the S. now filled up with masonry. According to Atkyns, the Gloucestershire historian, Robert de Chando, who came over with the Conqueror, gave the advowson of the church to the monks of Lyra. Subsequently the impropriation passed into the possession of the Nunnery of Stodely, at the dissolution of which it was granted to Richard Andrews and Nicholas Temple. When Atkyns wrote it belonged to the College of Winchester, which also held the manor of Salperton. About a century-and-a-half ago, the manor was leased from the college by a W. Cossley, of Bristol, and he also became possessed of the impropriation. The latter he sold to the Earl of Westmoreland, from whom it was purchased by Mr. Thomas Browne, and for some generations past the impropriation and the manor have belonged to the Browne family. When the Chantry Commissioners visited Salperton in the reign of the "godd Kynge of Englonde, ffraunce, and Irelonde," Edward VI., they found a chantry existing there, certain land, of the value of two shillings a-year, having been given "to ffinde a lampe there," which money was distributed to the poor. The registers go back imperfectly to 1617. Among the entries we may mention Francis Cooke, aged 104, died March ye 18th 1712. 1698, ------, son of Mary Harriss, a poor travelling woman, was baptised May 8th. 1729, deceased, Thomas Toombs, an eminent member of the church.
A portion of the church - the chancel arch, and the windows in the N. and S. of the chancel- is, as we have said, Norman work. With the exception of two windows in the south wall, which are later, the remainder of the building is of fourteenth century date. Atkyns records that shortly before his time the tower was blown down "level to the church." It was subsequently rebuilt, but unless something is speedily done, that will be the only part of the church left standing. "The walls are unsafe, the roof threatens to fall in, as that of the porch has done, the woodwork of the tower is very faulty, and the stonework wants pointing ; the interior is equally dilapidated, and the rain comes through the ceiling." This is not an exaggerated picture : it is a plain, unvarnished statement of fact, quoted from an appeal, which the Rev. H. Kenrick Adkin, the recently appointed Vicar, is making for help towards the restoration of the church. A proposal to restore a church not unfrequently causes regret rather than arouses sympathy. But in this case restoration really means preservation as well as restoration. The Norman windows long blocked up and covered with ivy will be opened. The tower arch concealed by lath and plaster and a singing gallery will be restored to its original state. Never was a church in greater need of the services of architect and builder, and never was a stronger claim made for help than Mr. Adkin makes on behalf of a poor agricultural parish. The strictest supervision will be exercised in the expenditure, and a few friends have promised material assistance, among them being Mr John C.P. Higgs of the firm Higgs and Rudkin, architects, who has kindly volunteered his services as architect. The patron has also undertaken to thoroughly renew the roof, but, at least, £600 is required, towards which about £230 has been subscribed up to the present. With two or three exceptions every family in the parish has given something. All would rejoice to see the church put into a good state of repair, and many specially desire it because of the long period with which their families have been associated with it. In proof, and as showing how country people stick to their birth places, we may mention that such names as Anthony Oakey, William Freeman, Timbrell Curtis, Hart, occur all through the registers, their descendants either still live or have lived until a few years ago in the parish. "Will you kindly send a little help to a poor agricultural parish ?" is Mr. Adkin`s appeal in a circular which he has issued. The urgency of the appeal is eloquently emphasised by a visit to Salperton and its Church.
When, in 1246, Prior Jordan led twenty monks and ten lay brothers from the Cistercian Abbey of Beaulieu in Hampshire to found the new Abbey at Hailes in the Vale of Evesham, they spent their last night of the journey at Salperton.
RE-OPENING OF SALPERTON CHURCH
From the Cheltenham Examiner, circa November 1885
In the early part of this year it was our privilege to tell the readers of this journal something about the little church of Salperton, in that time in an extremely dirty, dilapidated, and even dangerous state, and about to be restored. With great labour and earnestness, the then newly inducted Vicar, the Rev, H. Kenrick Adkin, was collecting funds for the work. The small, poor parish could do little to promote it; and as a sum of £600 was required, there was no alternative but to issue a general appeal. In March, when we visited Salperton, the response was already sufficiently encouraging to justify the commencement of the restoration, and today the pious task of rescuing a most interesting and ancient building from destruction is happily completed; although a balance of the cost, amounting to £150, still remains to be raised. Certainly, as one compares the structure as it is at present, with its past, the contrast is very striking. Not that the restoration has been at all of that ruthless and tasteless kind which from time to time has called forth, and justly so, the loud protests of the antiquary ; on the contrary, it has been most reverent, and only the mellowing touch of a few short years is needed to blend into picturesque harmony the new work and the old. But while it is as beautiful as ever in its quaintness and simplicity, while it is as typical as ever of an antique rural sanctuary, those charms of decay which doubtless appeal very strongly to the artist, but are inconsistant with true reverence for the house of prayer, have disappeared; the rank luxuriant ivy covering the walls, the moss-grown tottering roof, the crumbling stone, have given place to strength and brightness - strength that shall endure for centuries, and afford safe shelter to generations yet unborn. Church restoration carried out in this spirit, and adhering as closely as may be to the original architectural lines must surely always commend itself alike to the sentimental lover of the past and to the utilitarian and practical instincts of the present.
The extent of the renovation will be judged from the nature of the delapidations when the Vicar issued his appeal. Then the walls were unsafe, the roof threatened to fall in, as that of the porch had already done ; the woodwork of the tower was very faulty and the stonework wanted pointing ; the interior was equally in need of repair, and the rain came through the ceiling. All this has now been remedied, and, indeed, much more has been done to improve the building and enrich the services, thanks largely to special gifts. The roofing is entirely new, the cost of the materials being defrayed by a bequest for the purpose by Mr. Gore Langton : the north wall, which was in an almost ruinous condition, has been taken down and restored with an Early English window, previously blocked up, and with a second similar tracery, removed from the other side, and now merely outlined in the stone : the windows are filled in with cathedral-tinted glass ; the ugly singing gallery at the west end has been removed ; the church has been reseated with plain pitch-pine pews. on wooden-block flooring ; the stone paving of the chancel and the rest of the church has been renewed ; and, generally, both externally and internally, dust and decay have disappeared in favour of their opposites. In the course of the work, one or two discoveries of some interest have been made, as for instance, the finding of an ancient almery in the bay of one of the south windows, and of the traces of frescoes on different parts of the walls, the most conspicuous of these being a rough representation of a skeleton Death, with his dart in one hand and spade in the other, which looks down upon you from the tower wall. This fresco, however, though sufficiently quaint, is not presumed to possess the interest of more than about a century`s antiquity. Among various gifts to the church in its present season of rejuvenescence, are an oak lecturn, given by the Vicar, the base being the work and gift of Mr. Thomas Fluck ; a beautiful set of church books, given by Capt. Philp ; oak Glastonbury chairs and door, by Mr. Bolton, sculptor, of Bath-road, Cheltenham; and cushions and markers by the Misses Tarleton. It should also be mentioned that Mr. John C. P. Higgs, of the firm of Higgs and Rudkin, kindly gave his services as architect ; and that, curiously enough, the masonry has been carried out by the descendants of a family who rebuilt the tower of the church some years ago - for the strictly moderate and modest sum of £40 ! Thus restored and furnished, the little building is once more worthy of its sacred office, and none can visit it without feeling that, however humble, yet it is an eloquent memorial of old time ; that it is even prettier and more picturesque than the majority of village fanes ; that it is a beacon among the wild desolate hills which it would have been a shame and a sin to have allowed to perish.
The re-opening ceremony took place on Friday, a day that was cold and damp and dirty. Nevertheless, there was a considerable gathering, including many friends of the Vicar from Cheltenham ; and when the three apparently-much-excited and decidedly unmusical bells had ceased to ring, the church was crowded to its utmost capacity. It was a charming sight, for in all the sills there was a wealth of simple growth, and window plants of the homeliest kinds, together with bunches of wild flowers and berries, nestled in soft beds of moss and ivy and yellow leaves. All this was noted and enjoyed ; but it was sadly cold. The proper name of the parish, by the way, is Cold Salperton : and on Friday, at any rate, it deserved its appellation. Yet, though the temperature was arctic, the service was warm. At about a quarter to twelve, the Lord Bishop of the diocese (who had walked from Notgrove), having robed in a neighbouring house, entered the church attended by a number of clergy, comprising the Revs. H. Kenrick Adkin (Vicar), W. H. Stanton (Rural Dean, and Rector of Hazleton), J. Sharpe (Vicar of Northleach), J. Tudor (Vicar of Compton Abdale), J. Alcock (Rector of Hawling), W.S. Fallon (Curate of St John`s, Cheltenham), T.K. Allen (Curate of the Parish Church, Cheltenham), A.C. Lawrence (Rector of Whittington), C. Spencer Bubb, and J.W.G. Hoghton (Curate of Aston Blank). Morning prayer was read by the Rev. H.K. Adkin and the lessons by the Revs. W.S. Fallon and W.H. Stanton, the Bishop reciting the prayers in the ante Communion service, and preaching the sermon. For this he took as his text, the words "Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood," Epistle to the Ephesians, 6th chapter, 12th verse ; preaching therefrom a very simple and impressive discourse. Before, however, dealing with the subject matter of the text, he said, I am very thankful, my dear friends -for the moment addressing myself more particularly to those of this parish- that I have found an opportunity of coming among you, and of sharing in your Christian joy in the fact of the restoration of this ancient church being now almost completed. We shall all see with interest the work that has been done. Most of us may observe that we are in a very old building, a building many hundreds of years old, and a building that, for a long time, I am told, has been in a state unfitted for the reverent worship of Almighty God. But now, by the energy of your good Vicar, and by the efforts you have all made, this house of prayer is restored to a state in every degree befitting its sacred character. So far as I can observe, the work has been done faithfully and well. there is much difficulty in dealing with a church which is very ancient and out of repair : great skill is needed in adapting the new to the old, and I venture to think that that skill has certainly been shown on this occasion. Both the chancel and the nave have been restored with due regard to what the church was in days long, long gone by. I am very thankful, therefore, to be present with you, and, I trust in God, we shall all of us help this morning in removing somewhat the debt which still rests upon the church. The offertory will of course be devoted to the fund for the restoration of the church, and will be collected, as all will wish, from the whole congregation, while I am reading the sentences in the offertory.
At the conclusion of the service (in which appropriate hymns had been sung), the Bishop and a large number of guests were hospitably entertained at luncheon by the Rev. W.D. Stanton, at Hazleton Rectory, and later on in the afternoon the company returned by carriage and rail to their several destinations. The sum realised by the collection in aid of the fund was £8 odd, leaving as has been already said, about £150 yet to be obtained. In addition to this, the Vicar earnestly wishes a further sum of £60 or so, to build a vestry ; and we would add upon our own responsibility, that a few more pounds to improve the warming of the building during these chilly months, would be money excellently applied.
Salperton is still a small farming village, tucked away in a fold of the Cotswold hills. The church is about a mile to the south, up on a ridge in the grounds of Cold Salperton Manor. The road from Cheltenham is still a narrow country lane and it is easy to imagine the Vicar making his way by pony and trap from his house in town for the morning service every Sunday. The church still serves the people of Salperton but since 1935 has had to share its vicar with a number of other villages in the area as part of the parish of Hazleton.
We have a scrap-book kept by James Knight-Adkin, which contains a wealth of fascinating information, newspaper cuttings, telegrams, old letters etc. The two newspaper articles and other cuttings and a copy of the appeal circular and of the final accounts were found in this treasury. The drawing at the top of column two was produced by the vicar`s father-in-law, James Peter Knight, to head the appeal.
Church photographs © Graeme Wall, 1996.
|THE REVEREND H. KENRICK ADKIN thanks most heartily the many kind friends who have enabled him to bring the above work to a successful conclusion in two years. The total amount spent on the Church and Sittings, &c., has been nearly £1000. A Brass with a suitable inscription (presented by a friend) has been placed in the Church. The balance which appears, will suffice to pay for Pulpit and Font, already ordered, and cost of printing this statement. A sum is still needed for the churchyard, and any contribution to it would be gratefully received.|
|22, LANSDOWN TERRACE, CHELTENHAM|
LIST OF SUBSCRIBERS
|£ s. d.||£ s. d.||£ s. d.|
|The Warneford Trust||75 0 0||Rev. A. Armitage||5 5 0||Major Howell||2 11 0|
|Two Sales of Work||69 0 0||Mrs Gillilan||6 0 0||Miss Mellersh (Collection)||2 7 6|
|The Diocesan Society||40 0 0||J. McLachlan, Esq.||5 0 0||Miss Wade||2 2 0|
|W. F. Gore-Langton, Esq.||40 0 0||Mrs. Parkinson||5 0 0||Rev. W. H. Stanton||2 2 0|
|Rev. H. Kenrick Adkin and Mrs Adkin||25 0 0||Miss Gillilan||4 4 0||Mrs Hodgkinson||2 2 0|
|Mrs. J. Beale-Browne||10 0 0||Miss Beale-Browne (Collection)||4 3 6||- Lilman, Esq.||2 2 0|
|Colonel Hodson||10 0 0||Mrs. and Miss Rae||4 0 0||Mrs. Barton||2 2 0|
|Mrs. Webb (Drawing Room||Rev. C. D. Beaufort||4 0 0||Mrs. Paton||2 2 0|
|Entertainment)||10 0 7||Miss Higgs (toy Symphony)||3 15 0||Rev. W. Wiggin||2 2 0|
|Miss Parkinson (Collection)||9 10 0||Mrs. Foster (Collection)||3 8 6||L. Dobbs, Esq.||2 0 0|
|Mrs. Hopgood||8 5 0||Major Rogers||3 3 0||- Tippinge, Esq.||2 0 0|
|Collection at Re-opening||8 4 8||Sir Brook Kay, Bart||3 3 0||The Misses Trevenen||2 0 0|
|Mrs. H. M. Wallington (Collection)||7 16 6||W. Hamilton Yatman, Esq.||3 3 0||G. W. Lloyd, Esq.||2 0 0|
|Miss Warner "||6 0 0||Mrs. Hill (Collection)||3 2 0||A. W. Marshall, Esq.||2 0 0|
|W. Bowl, Esq. "||4 0 0||Miss C. Tarleton "||3 2 0||Mrs. E. C. Turner||2 0 0|
|" "||5 0 0||Miss C. Parker "||3 2 6||Sir John Dorrington, Bart||2 0 0|
|Captain Philp||5 5 0||Mrs. Clift||3 3 0||Mrs. Hassell and Miss Barnes||2 0 0|
|W. H. Gwinnett, Esq.||5 0 0||Baron de Ferrieres||3 0 0||Rev. M. Smelt||2 0 0|
|Mrs. Bennett||5 0 0||Sir T. Crawley-Boevey, Bart||3 0 0||J. Walker, Esq. M.A.||2 0 0|
|Rev. H. Morgan||5 0 0||Rev. W Liddell||3 0 0||Mr. and Mrs. Higgs||2 0 0|
|The Late Earl Redesdale||5 0 0||Mrs. Greening and Collection||2 17 0||Miss Hodson||2 0 0|
|Mrs. Lawrence||5 0 0||The late Mrs. Waterworth||Sums under £2, Stamps, &c||270 1 10|
|The Lord Trevor||5 0 0||(Collection)||2 13 0||Total||£758 12 1|
|W. F. Gore-Langton, Esq., Roof of Nave and Chancel ; J. C. P. Higgs, Esq., his services as architect ; T. Beale-Browne, Esq., Stone for Building ; Captain and Mrs. Philps, Complete set of Books ; The Misses Tarleton, Markers, Cushions, Embroidery ; T.W. Boulton, Esq., Glastonbury Chairs and Door ; Miss Parkinson, Brass Credence Paten and Illuminations ; Miss Parker, Embroidered Credence Cloth ; through Miss Greening, Velvet Altar Cloth ; Miss Collette, Embroidered Pulpit Fall ; F. Hill, Esq., Memorial Brass ; Rev. H. Kenrick Adkin, Lectern ; J. P. Knight, Esq., Sketches of Church and Work.|
STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS
|£ s. d.||¦||£ s. d.|
|Subscriptions above £1||393 14 9||¦
|Restoration and Re-furnishing of Church|
Building and Furnishing of Vestry
|675 15 0|
|Ditto under £1 and Anonymous||180 15 10||¦||Postage on 18420 Circulars, Stamps and|
|Warneford Trust||75 0 0||¦||Postcards||46 4 10|
|Diocesan Society||40 0 0||¦||Stationery||2 16 9|
|Sales of Work||69 8 6||¦||Incidental Expenses||4 9 2|
|¦||Printing and Advertising||15 17 4|
|¦||Balance in Hand||17 6 0|
|£758 19 1||¦||£758 19 1|
|Audited and found correct--|
|25th April 1887||R. W. FRENCH,|