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The Glebe

Alec Moretti

This is usually defined as 'a portion of land assigned to the incumbent of a parish as part of his benefice.' The use of the land by the parish priest would help improve his income in addition to the vicarial (or small) tithes which became difficult to collect. The extent and location of this land is defined in 'Glebe Terriers' drawn up from time to time. In Wymeswold's records there are terriers of 1674 and 1700 in the Leicestershire Record Office, and these describe a number of plots of land amounting to 10.5 acres in 1674 and 12 acres in 1700. There were 4 acres in West Field, 4.5 acres in Thorpe Field and 3.5 acres in Hardacre Field. (These fields were three of the open fields of the parish before the enclosure.)

Quite by chance, looking through the parish registers, I found the following for 1737:– 'Thomas Green, vicar of this place, purchased an estate in Gadsby( in this County) of Jn. Nicholl Esq. for the augmentation of the vicarage, consisting of an enclosure of 12 acres called called Dale Hill; another enclosure of 12 acres called Swine-Dale Hole; also five acres called Mouldy Bank Meadow. The purchase money was advanced in the following manner: – 200 from Queen Ann's Bounty ( a fund established to help the poorer clergy), – He obtained 50 out of some money left by the Revd. Carter late Rector of Wilford in Notts (for charitable uses), – 20 from Trinity College, – a good part of the rest was procurred from the clergy and gentlemen in the neighbourhood'

This more than trebled the extent of the glebe of Wymeswold. This must have improved the living of the vicar, but it should be noted that many of the vicars of that period were absentees and had several livings.

In 1757 by the Enclosure Act for Wymeswold the vicar was awarded much more land in lieu of the vicarial tithes which were commuted into land. The fields so granted were :–

- 7.75 acres in West Field (Glebe Field and the site of Alford House).
- 64 acres in Hardacre Field (South of Melton Road near Hill Farm).

The land at Gadsby was still part of the living of Wymeswold, but in 1818 a terrier shows that the glebe lands also included a house and barn and stable, and also tithes from the close called Upper Lilley Croft (site of the present school) and '17 quarters of barley, 1 quarter of wheat, 1quarter of peas' from Trinity College land. The total area was 101.75acres.

In 1874 The Glebe Commission arranged the exchange of the Gadsby land with a similar amount of land in Wymeswold which was located East of Wysall Lane and South of the entrance to Cripwell Farm. In 1976 by the 'Endowments and Glebe Measure' the Church Commissioners took over all glebe land to centralise its management and to distribute the income from it more fairly amongst the clergy.

Originally published in the WHO Newsletter 1996.

Copyright the author.

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