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HILL

Hill Church
CHURCH
Dedicated to St. Michael and dating, so it is believed, from the 13th century, Hill's pretty little country church with its spired western tower is situated in an idyllic setting adjacent to Hill Court, seat of the Jenner-Fust family.

PARISH AND VILLAGE
Located on the eastern banks of the Severn Estuary, Hill adjoins the parishes of Berkeley, Stone, Rockhampton and Thornbury by land whilst directly opposite across the River Severn lie the parishes of Aylburton and Woolaston. Despite the speedy pace of modern day life, the small rural village of Hill (in times past sometimes referred to as Hull), retains a sedate air of tranquillity. Over the years the landscape has remained largely untouched in this quiet spot. If your ancestors lived in Hill, there's a good chance that if they saw the village as it is today they would still recognise it.

Click here for a map of Hill.

THE MANOR OF HILL
The Manor of Hill was included in a grant of the Barony of Berkeley bestowed upon Robert Fitz Harding, a Bristol merchant, by Henry II after his ascension to the throne in 1154. Robert subsequently passed the lordship of Hill onto his second son, Nicholas, and so it continued to be transferred down successive generations of the family until, through Katherine, an heiress, it came into the possession of Robert Poyntz of Iron Acton in 1418. The Poyntz family gave up the Manor at the beginning of the 1600s, Richard Fust subsequently assuming the lordship in 1609. The male descendants of Richard's son, Edward, who became a baronet in 1662, eventually died out. Thus, in 1841, the manor descended through Edward's sister, to Sir Herbert Jenner, who, in accordance with the wishes of Sir. John Fust, the last of the Fust baronets, gained a Royal Licence allowing him to add the Fust surname to his own, thereby establishing the Jenner-Fust dynasty. Built in 1863, the present Hill Court, home of the Jenner-Fust family, replaced an earlier building thought to date from a much earlier period in Hill's history.

CATGROVE MURDER
On the night of 18th January 1816, a group of sixteen poachers were encountered by a party of gamekeepers belonging to Colonel Berkeley and Lord Ducie at Catgrove, a wooded area in the parish of Hill. The poachers, reeling from the fatal shooting of a fellow poacher, Thomas Till, an incident that had taken place near Berkeley in November of the previous year, were unnerved when unexpectedly confronted by the gamekeepers. Some of the poachers were in possession of firearms, others had sticks. A number of shots were discharged by the trigger happy rabble. In the melee that ensued, an assistant gamekeeper named William Ingram, a member of Colonel Berkeley's contingent, was shot dead. The poachers, all of whom had blackened faces, fled the scene. Most, but not all, were subsequently apprehended and taken into custody. One if their number, William Greenaway, a labourer at Moreton, eventually made a full confession and was granted a pardon in exchange for testifying on behalf of the prosecution in the trial which was held at Gloucester Lent Assizes.

The men who were apprehended and stood trial were:
John Penny, a labourer at Littleton-upon-Severn
William Penny, aged 24, of Littleton, mason, brother of John Penny
Thomas Collins, aged 30, of Littleton, farmer
John Allen, from Moreton, a farmer
Daniel Long, aged 23, of Hill, a small farmer
John Reeves, aged 28, of Moreton, labourer
James Jenkins, aged 21, of Thornbury, labourer
Thomas Morgan, aged 24, of Littleton, mason
James Roach, aged 24, of Thornbury, dealer
Robert Groves, aged 19, of Thornbury, who managed his widowed mother's farming business
John Burley, aged 19 of Moreton, step-son of William Greenaway

Four members of the poaching party absconded and were never caught:
William Collins, a farmer at Littleton (brother of Thomas Collins)
Anthony Barton, a farmer and pig butcher at Moreton
John and Thomas Hayward, sons of a Moreton farmer

It took the jury two hours' worth of deliberation to reach a "guilty" verdict. They recommended that John Penny and John Allen be executed, a sentence that was carried out on the Saturday following the last day of the trial. In October 1816 the remaining convicts, sentenced to transportation, boarded the "Sir William Barnsley" bound for Australia.