Price family of Tibberton Court
|Title:||Price family of Tibberton Court|
Title deeds and estate papers
|Held by:||Gloucestershire Archives, not available at The National Archives|
6942, 7305, 8363
The Price family have been associated with the Tibberton Court estate from 1837. At its largest, in the early 20th century, the estate consisted of property in the parishes of Tibberton, Taynton, Rudford, Bulley, Churcham and Newent and was several times its original size. By the 1960s the estate had contracted again: the Ploddy farm estate in Newent, purchased in 1924, was sold in 1958; most of the property in Bulley and Rudford had been sold by 1967, although some farming land and Bulley and Rudford woods remained part of the estate. The title deeds preserved in this archive trace the history of the estate from 1627 to 1878 and relate mainly to property in Tibberton, Bulley, and Rudford (although information can also be gleaned about property in the parishes of Badgeworth, Barnwood, Churcham, Gloucester, Longford, Longhope, Newent, Twigworth, Upleadon, Upton St Leonards, and parishes in Middlesex and Surrey). The records of estate management span the period 1841-1974, with the majority of papers dating from the mid 1950s. Unlike the title deeds, these also relate to the Grove estate, containing several farms and several hundred acres of land, which was purchased by the family in 1911.
The manor of Tibberton had been part of the Duchy of Lancaster until 1624 when it was granted to Edward Ramsey and his brother Robert by King James I. Having passed through several changes of ownership it was given in 1764 by Hester Haynes (daughter and heiress of Peter Haynes) to her nephew Edward Elton in exchange for an annuity. Elton sold the manor and estate to William Griffiths in 1795; Henry Pocklington purchased the manor and estate in 1799, selling it on to Richard Donovan eight years later. Following the death of Richard Donovan in 1816 the manor and estate passed to his daughter, Caroline Ann, who married Captain (later Admiral) James Scott. Scott sold the estate in 1822 to Thomas Wallis and in 1837 merchant William Price, a founder and director of the Gloucestershire Banking Co, bought the manor and estate of Tibberton. His son William Philip Price inherited the property the following year.
William Philip Price purchased the Hyett family's manor and lands in Bulley in 1871. The Hyett family had been lords of manor since the 18th century. In the early 18th century the manor of Bulley was owned jointly by Mr Morgan, Mr Burgess and Mr Webb. Nicholas Hyett Esq was lord of manor by 1779, followed by his son Benjamin Hyett (d. 1810) who was succeeded by his nephew William Henry Adams, who took the name and arms of Hyett in 1813. The deed of conveyance for Price's purchase is not amongst the deeds preserved in this collection. However, a draft copy exists in the Hyett family archive (D6 E38) along with correspondence and other papers concerning the transaction. The deeds listed below do include a schedule of deeds and documents relating to William Henry Hyett's lands in Bulley, drawn up in 1868 (listed as D2176/1/2/24) and documents which appear on this schedule are cross-referenced from their catalogue entry.
Part of Tibberton, Taynton and Bulley comprised a separate manor which belonged to the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester (passing to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in the mid 19th century). As is clear from many of the deeds listed below, this comprised a mixture of copyhold and leasehold land. In Tibberton (according to Samuel Rudder, writing in 1779) Hawker's Place was leasehold, in the possession of Daniel Ellis as lessee but almost all the other lands were copyhold of inheritance. In Bulley, most of the Dean and Chapter's lands were leasehold and during the early 19th century James Wood, the wealthy Gloucester banker, held over 100 acres of land as The Dean and Chapter's lessee. When Wood died in 1836 irregularites over his will led to a lengthy court case. John Chadborn, William P Price's father-in-law was one of Wood's executors and beneficiaries and was thought to be implicated in the affair. Wood's freehold, leasehold and copyhold lands were held by representatives for several years but were eventually partitioned in 1843 (see D2176/1/2/20 below)
Property in Rudford appears to have been acquired piecemeal by William Philip Price during the 1840s, 50s and 60s. The manor and most of the lands in Rudford were owned by the Church from the 12th century until the 19th century, having been granted to the abbey of St Peter's, Gloucester by William II and then passing to the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester at the time of the dissolution. (Samuel Rudder, writing in 1779, held this responsible for the fact that, with the exception of the manor house, there was "scarcely an inhabitable dwelling in the village"). Edward Holder was the lessee of the manor during the late 18th century and early 19th century. Some lands were copyhold and some, such as Rudford Mill, acquired by William P Price in 1865, were leasehold. Lands in Rudford had been enfranchised during the first half of the 19th century (by 1859) (although apparently lands in Tibberton remained copyhold according to notes made by Morgan Philips Price in 1965 based on a document then in his possession).
Although the records in this collection span five generations of the Price family, the majority have been generated by the activities of three individuals: William P Price (d.1891), his grandson Morgan Philips Price (1885-1973) and M P Price's son William Philips Peter, (always known as Peter), Price, (1922-1987). William Philip Price was the eldest son of merchant William Price. He was head of the Gloucester based timber firm Price and Son, (later Price, Walker and Co) and was MP for Gloucester between 1852-1859 and 1865-1873. He married Frances Ann Chadborn in 1837 thus becoming son-in-law of the wealthy Gloucester solicitor John Chadborn. He inherited Tibberton Court estate as a young man and, as the title deeds in this archive show, added to it over many years.
Morgan Philips Price was, like his father (who died when M P Price was only a year old) and grandfather, a politican (being MP for the Whitehaven district of Cumberland from 1929-1931 and later for the Forest of Dean) and was director of the timber firm Price Walker and Co. After graduating from Cambridge, where he studied science, he travelled extensively in central Asia, Siberia, Persia and Turkey on geological expeditions and on behalf of the family timber firm which obtained much of its raw material from Russia. (He later became the Manchester Guardian's special correspondent in Petrograd during World War I). He had a particular interest in the study of forestry which found a practical application in the management of the woodlands on his own estates and became an authority on the subject. He was at one time the Labour Party representative on the Forestry Commission and was chairman of the Gloucestershire branch of the Royal English Forestry Society during the 1960s. His interest is reflected in the files on woodland management listed as section D2176/2/5 below. M P Price preferred the house at the Grove, Taynton (which he himself had purchased) to Tibberton Court and so the family moved there during the 1930s. Henceforth, the Grove became the centre from which farming operations were directed although Peter Price lived for many years in a flat in Tibberton Court. (A full account of the house at Tibberton Court can be found in The Country Houses of Gloucestershire Vol 3 by Nicholas Kingsley and Michael Hill, Phillimore, 2001).
Peter Price, like his father, was educated at Cambridge where he founded the Cambridge University Film Society. After graduating he gained an apprenticeship at the Strand Film Company on the strength of a film he had made of a visit to America during a college vacation. He returned to Gloucestershire around 1954 to take over the running of the family estates when his father was in his late 60s. The majority of the estate management correspondence files (listed as section D2176/2/6) date from this period and many reflect his efforts to modernise the estate properties and to improve the productivity of the estate farms. However, as the estate correspondence files and other records show, productivity remained a problem for the estate and the early 1980s Peter Price decided to stop farming, selling up the farm land and keeping only Tibberton Court, the Grove and five or six workers' cottages in Tibberton village. He died without an heir in 1987 leaving his estate to the Tibberton Court Association Co Ltd. The Association had been established in 1956 with Peter Price and his sister Margaret Tatiana (known as Tania) as directors. The original purpose behind its formation was to provide a way in which Peter Price could avoid inheriting the house at Tibberton Court, which could thereby pass to the Association rather than to him on the death of his mother (Morgan Philips Price having made it over to his wife). The Association continues to this day (2001), managing and maintaining Tibberton Court, a grade II listed building, now the home of nine families. There is still a connection with the Price family as one of Peter Price's two nieces is a director of the Association and his sister has a flat at the Court.
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