The area around Amberley first appears as part of the Woodchester Estate of Ethelbald of Mercia early in the 8th century. This was mainly woodland, but mention is made in his Charter of Senkley as Sengledeah, meaning a burnt clearing, as an island of cultivation in a wilderness of forest, a possible suggestion of a small settlement or township.
By the time of the Norman Invasion, this area had been split into two Manors both called Woodchester, one on the north side of the valley stream, the other on the south. The future Amberley Parish together with that known today as Rodborough, made up the northern Manor of Woodchester. Later the whole of this was amalgamated into the greater Manor of Hamptun (Minchinhampton) and included with it when that was given to the nunnery of Caen in Normandy by William the Conqueror.
Although that part of the Parish was administered with Hamptun Manor, it retained its identity, being henceforth referred to as the Tything of Rodborough. For the next 500 years Rodborough and the areas which now constitute modern Amberley Parish, were linked for local government under one officer known as a Tything man, with full responsibility to uphold the law in the whole Tything. It is during this period that historical facts are extremely difficult to find, making the next stage of the development of the Parish difficult to relate.
However, the fact that there are still various buildings and dwellings in the Parish from this period gives a firm impression of gradual habitation during the period from the 14th to the 18th centuries. There are several examples of old weavers' and estate cottages of the later middle ages in Watledge, Theescombe and St. Chloe and somewhat larger houses in Houndscroft, Pinfarthings and Theescombe, while beginnings of industry were emerging in mills along the Nailsworth stream boundary in the Woodchester valley during the same period.
The western area of the Hamptun Parish was developed mainly in the later 18th and early 19th centuries when the building of cottages on the hillsides at the edge of the Common greatly enlarged Box and produced another sizeable village at Littleworth and smaller settlements at St. Chloe, Amberley, Theescombe and Pinfarthing. Most of the seventy or so cottages built on former Common land that paid rent to the Lord of the Manor in 1809 were in those places.
The building of the new Churches at Amberley in 1836 brought considerable change to the ecclesiastical part of the old Hamptun Parish. The end of an incumbency saw the dismemberment of the benefice by the creation of new ecclesiastical districts, both for those Parishes and for the ancient Church at Rodborough which had been served in later years by a priest who was regarded as a curate by the Hamptun Vicar. These changes, together with the one at the end of the 19th century which saw Nailsworth created a Parish from parts of Hamptun, Avening and Horsley manors, created different boundaries for the civil and ecclesiastical parts of the newly formed Parish of Amberley.
Click to expand this original notice of Dedication of Holy Trinity, 1836
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