Barnsley, Gloucestershire

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Near Church Farm, Barnsley - - 805929.jpg
Barsnley Village Festival in 2008
Grid reference: SP077050
Location: 51°44’39"N, 1°53’18"W
Post town: Cirencester
Postcode: GL7
Local Government
Council: Cotswold
The Cotswolds

Barnsley is a village in Gloucestershire, four miles north-east of Cirencester.

The 2011 census recorded a population of 209.


There was an Iron Age settlement in the parish, in what is now Barnsley Park. The site was later occupied, in the 2nd century, by a Roman villa. The main building was erected 350-60 AD, but the walls enclosure had been completed by 330 AD. Significant Romano-British occupation took place during the reign of Emperor Trajan. The 'Celtic Fields' so-called covered parkland of about 120 acres. There was a Roman road running through extensive earthwork fortifications northwards to Cadmoor.[1]

The current village may date from the Anglo-Saxon period: its name is from the Old English Bearmodesleag meaning 'Bearmod's glade'.[2]

The Domesday Book of 1086 recorded total heads of house or slaves as 24. It was granted to Magaret de Bohun, daughter of the Earl of Hereford by 1180, which she assigned to the monks of Llanthony Priory.

The name Bardesley is recorded in 1197. It became part of a Knights fee during the reign of King Edward I. From 1403 the demesne land was farmed; the large tenanted fields became common pasture, and were later known as Barnsley Wold of 169 acres for cattle grazing.

The village became royal property under the reign of King Henry VIII three hundred years later. Henry was known to let each of his wives solely enjoy the village by turns. During the time of the village's status as royal property, many of its inhabitants earned their living through agriculture, grazing sheep on the 'yardlands' of common mead, helping make the Cotswolds the centre of the wool trade.[3]

During the Reformation the old Barnsley Park was dismantled, the parker dismissed: the Bourchier family became the owners of the village in 1548, thanks to a reversionary grant, and held it for the next two hundred years. The family is responsible for building the village's Barnsley House, Church Cottage and parts of the Church farm. They lived in the centre of the village on the site of the former Nether Court.[4] But in 1700 William married the daughter of the Duke of Chandos, and with the dowry built a new mansion called Barnsley Park. Built in the Baroque style by Henry Perrot and Charles Stanley after Canons, Great Stanmore. Henry Perrot owned the parish in 1762 and enclosed it by private treaty, dividing the land into three farms.[5] By 1778 there were 1,100 sheep on the land and, in season 460 lambs.

Further road building took place in 18th century driving trade to the south of the village. In 1794 the Ablington Road was diverted: the original road went over Wayboll Hill. The Oxford Turpike from 1753 represented a connection with the Welsh Way on the same road to London. Cattle Drovers rested their herds overnight along this route in Barnsley House's field called Ten Acres.[6] But sheep-rearing dominated this part of the Cotswolds. During the 20th century the emphasis gradually shifted to grass and then arable, which came to predominate by 1975.

The village architecture was expanded during 1810-1820 when new cottages were built along the Cirencester-Bibury road when Brereton Bourchier was lord of the manor. Trade such as blacksmith, carpenter and shoemaker thrived with wheelwrights, a butcher and, a village Greyhound Inn. Barnsley's population peaked in 1821 at 318, yet agriculture continued to be the main occupation in 1831 for the 57 families. At that time the Poole family arrived to work as stonemasons.

St Mary's Church

The parish church, St Mary's, is a Grade II* listed building, of Norman origin but “with subsequent alterations of every century, including substantial restoration of 1843-1847”.[7] An authoritative modern source comments approvingly that, “The Elizabethan tower with its simple gables and finials look pretty by any standard, and the standard at Barnsley is high”.[8]

Barnsley House in 1992

About the village

One of the village's significant features is Barnsley House, with a garden designed by its former resident Rosemary Verey. Barnsley House was built in 1667 by Brereton Bourchier. On the owner's death, her estate was sold and the residential dwelling became The Barnsley House Hotel.

Brereton Bourchier also built the village's Church Cottage and the oldest part of what is now called the Church farm.


The Barnsley Village Garden Festival was inaugurated in 1998 and has since played host to many horticultural experts.[9] It is held in the grounds of the present Lord Faringdon's home, Barnsley Park.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Barnsley, Gloucestershire)


  1. "Ancient and Historical Monuments...". London: Her Majesty's Stationers Office. 1976. Retrieved 2017-12-24. 
  2. "Ancient and Historical Monuments in the County of Gloucester, Iron Age and Romano-British Monuments in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds". London: HMSO. 1976. Retrieved 2017-12-24. 
  3. Glos R.O., D 269B/F 34.
  4. Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1281-2, p.519; Inq. Post Mortem Glos, 1236-1300, p.135.,
  5. Rudder, Gloucestershire, p.260; G.D.R., T 1/15.
  6. Ex inf. M. Wykeham-Musgrave of Barnsley MS. Bodleian Lib., Oxford, 18th C lease 1690.; Glos R.O., D 269B/F 13.
  7. National Heritage List 1303501: Church of St Mary, Barnsley
  8. David Verey, Cotswold Churches (B. T. Batsford, 1976), at pages 130-131
  9. Yemm, Helen (2012-05-28). "A Visit to the Gardens of Barnsley, Gloucestershire". Retrieved 2017-12-24.