Left in the house was an old photostat of the history of the woods, from their first appearance in the Domesday Book.
Archive Information for Hazel Wood ST89/19 ST 863 990
From Domesday Book compiled in 1086 there is the information:
“In Longtree Hundred, Brictric also held Avening… Woodland 2 leagues long and 1/2 league wide. A Hawk’s eyrie.” (1)
This is in all probability a reference to Hazel Wood.
c 1154 – 1189 the Custumal of Avening tells of the anger of parishioners that Hazel Wood, here called ‘Hesel holt’ is being destroyed by assarting and by the sales of wood and actions of charcoal burners:
“de tenamento de aveniga
homines de aveniga dictum iuramertum suum bosci de aveniga…
hesel holt…. revimgedene sunt destructi plus demediarate. In quibus boscis poterant mille poric pasci quin pessun vemebot tenet temporis et in nec pussunt pasci v.ad.et in quaotr locis sunt essartet. quid computant. xij acras,…. xvi marcas et plus et hoc damnum factum est per cendrarios et per vendicions et per dona.” (2)
Concerning the dwellers of Avening
The men of Avening say under oath about their woods in Avening… Hazel Wood…(unclear) more killed and destroyed. In which woods they were able to feed one thousand pigs and now they are not able to feed them. V and in far places they (the woods) are assarted which amounts to 12 acres,…. and 16 marks or more. And this damage has been brought about by the charcoal burners and by sales and by gifts.”
The contents of the wood were protected by legisaltion as can be seen from a court roll of the first and second years of Edward II’s reign, 1272 – 1274:
Bartholomew of Avening in mercy for cutting three branches in Haselholt, etc…. (3).
By 1330, the minister’s accounts for Minchinhampton for the period Michaelmas 1329 to Michaelmas 1330, tell of the number of sheep pastured at Gatcombe Wood and Hazel Wood, here again called Hazel Holt:
“idem de ccc.x ovis de consuetudinem Gatecombe et haselholt….” (4)
By 1462 the minister’s accounts dealt with the wood sales (of both wood and underwood) from Hazel Wood, marking a change from a passive pasture usage to marketing the wood for profit. The Minister’s accounts for the period of Michaelmas 1460 to Michaelmas 1461 read as follows;
“verdic bosci et de xxxvijh.vijs.vjd. de venidicie subbosci ibidem prostat in boscis forenc vidett in… Hasilholt.. sic vendit per Thomas Badlaum venditorem.” (5)
“for the sale of wood and £37.7s.6d for the sale of underwood thrown down in the woods seen in… Hasilholt as sold by Thomas the Bailiff.”
In 1504 Hazel Wood is listing in the Minister’s accounts of Henry VII as ‘Haslwood’ (6)
In 1519 the accounts of Henry VIII list Hazel Wood as one of the woods of the demsene of Minchinhamton, calling ‘Hasel Wode.’ (7)
In 1540 Henry VIII cleared of all his demesne woods of big timber. The list of his sales to Sir Thomas Wyatt and other includes:
“Hasellwoods Common, 200 acres at £3.3.4d… £633.6s.8d.” (8)
In 1576 wood was still being sold from Hazel Wood, although it was briefly called ‘Hasgrov’. (9)
In 1577 the earliest map evidence available, that of Saxton, depicts woodland on the area now covered by Hazel Wood but gives it no name.
1635 the court roll of Avening gives the entry for ‘Nostrum Silvarum’ (our woods) as follows: (10)
Hasellwood in Avening 225A. 02R. 11P
Hasellwood coppiced in Avening 104. 03.03.
The wood was obviously regenerating and being managed as a profitable concern.
In 1651 an indenture exists which attests to the continuing existence of Hazel Wood. The Earl of Arundell granted to Thomas Pinfold, of Longford in the parish of Minchinhampton,
“…one close of pasture lying in the said parish of Avening called Hentalls by estimation three acres ajoyning to Hazelwood…” (11)
In 1777 the wood is present but unnamed on Isaac Taylor’s map of Gloucestershire.
In 1830 Hazel Wood is named in the first edition of the Ordinance Survey Map.
In 1838 the tythe map of Avening gives Hazel Wood an area of 236 a. 1r.5p.
Hazel Woods is one of the few woods to have suffered little alteration in size, at least since 1635. Its earliest use was for pasture, originally for pigs and then for sheep. It was managed for wood sales and by charcoal burners, which come into conflict with pasture rights, and it appears that this type of wood managment became that which was followed 14-17th century, during the 16th century the wood was managed by two Tudor dynasties, for profit. It seems likely that prior to 1777, Hazel Wood joined to its neighbour Brand House Farm Wood.(12)
(1) Domesday Book 15 Gloucestershire, ed & trans JS Moore (Chichester 1982)
(2) GRO MF 339/5 ff 52 & 53
(3) Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archeological Society Vol. 54 for 1932, ‘ The Minchinhampton Costumal and its Place in the Story of the Manor’ CE Watson p227
(4) GRO D67 Z11
(5) GRO D67 Z12
(6) GRO D67 Z13
(7) GRO D67 Z12
(8) op. cit CE Watson p363
(9) GRO D67 Z14
(10) GRO photocopy 956
(11) GRO D1168/1
(12) See Brandhouse Farm Wood Archive Report