The Living of Viney Hill, Gloucestershire

Viney Hill is a village situated on the edge of the Forest of Dean, to the north of the Severn. It lies in the hills above the A48 from Gloucester to Chepstow.

The church of All Saints, Viney Hill, was built in 1865–7 in memory of Charles Bathurst of Lydney Park by his widow Mary. The architect was Ewan Christian. The parish around it was created from portions of the parish of St. Pauls at Parkend (with which the living has now been amalgamated). Mary Bathurst and her brother-in-law William Bathurst created an endowment to secure a stipend for an incumbent.

The living was vested in William Bathurst, himself, and descended to his grandson Charles Bathurst, later Viscount Bledisloe, who came up to University College in 1886. He enjoyed a successful career in politics and the civil service, eventually becoming Governor-General of New Zealand in 1930–5. In 1935 he was elected an Honorary Fellow of the College, and then in 1936 he chose to present the living of Viney Hill to his old College.

The College made its first presentation to the living in 1950; however, none of the incumbents of Viney Hill had any links with the College.

Perhaps the most famous event in the church’s history took place in June 1957, when Xavier Petulengro, more generally known as “Gypsy Petulengro”or “the King of the Gypsies”, a famous British Romany writer, astrologer, and broadcaster, was buried in its churchyard. The funeral was attended by a large congregation and even filmed by Pathe News.

Of the papers in this collection, UC:E27/D1/1 was transferred from the Estates Bursary to the archives in July 2002 as part of Accession No. 378; all the remaining items were found in the archives during the stocktaking of 1996.

Catalogued in June 2016.


UC:E27/C1/1    Jan–Mar 1936
    Bundle of correspondence addressed to the College’s solicitors about the donation of the living of Viney Hill to University College. Correspondents include A. B. Poynton,


UC:E27/D1/1    6 Feb 1936
    1.    The Rt. Hon. Charles Viscount Bledisloe of Lydney Park, Glos.
    2.    The Master and Fellows of University College, Oxford.
    Property: The advowson of the church of All Saints, Viney Hill.
    Consideration: None.

UC:E27/D1/2    6 Feb 1936
    Copy of the preceding conveyance.

UC:E27/D1/3    6 Mar 1936
    Copy of application from University College to the Registrar of the Diocese of Gloucester concerning the transfer of the living of Viney Hill to University College.

UC:E27/D1/4    6 Mar 1936
    Copy of declaration made by A. B. Poynton in support of the preceding application.

UC:E27/D1/5    17 Mar 1936
    Invoice from the Registrar of the Diocese of Gloucester to University College with regard to the transfer of the living of Viney Hill.