Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

The de Stinchcombe Family


Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The Early Years

Less than 100 years after the Norman Conquest, references to the “de Stinchcombe” family start to appear in the Berkeley Castle records.  The earliest (c.1150-1160) refer to Roger and Harding.  Roger is also mentioned c.1170-1190, as is Ralph.

Image of a 14th century knight
French Knight, 14th Century, by Paul Mercuri (1860) Rawpixel original lithographs by rawpixel

The men who gave Piers Court its name

The Name of “Peter de Stinchcombe” now appears in the Berkeley Castle records from the early 1200s to the early 1300s. 

John Smyth’s A Description of the Hundred of Berkeley in the County of Gloucester and of its Inhabitants Vol III Sir John Maclean (ed) p354 says that Piers Court took its name from three or four men called Piers, Peter or Pierse who lived there.  He remarks that, as far as he can remember, the last male in the line was Thomas.  Smyth claims that Piers Court passed to the Bradston family during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377), but he does not know whether this was by purchase or by marriage.

Alleged Dark Deeds

The Origins of the Stinchcombe Families website  refers to there being a petition against Peter de Stinchcombe ( Piers de St Combe) in 1330.   A few years later, in 1337, he is charged with a major felony. 

Recently, I found some more information on the petition in a book called Petitions and Strategies of Persuasion in the Middle Ages edited by Thomas Smith and Helen Killick.  A chapter by Gwilym Dodd refers to a French language petition from the people of King’s Barton, near Gloucester, against Sir Thomas de Bradeston (Breadstone).  De Bradestone is accused of allowing his wife to harbour his valet, Piers de St Comb, who has murdered his own wife by burning her in her bed.  Piers is supposed to have buried the body in the garden for 7 weeks and then tried to dispose of it in the River Severn.

Piers’ other alleged crime involved William de Melksham of Melksham Court.   Sadly I haven’t discovered any more about that yet.  I suspect there is something in N. Saul’s book Knights and Esquires: The Gloucestershire Gentry in the Fourteenth Century.  Accordingly, I’m on the look out for a reasonably priced copy.  Although Piers seems to have been acquitted, there are no further references to de Stinchcombes in the Berkeley records after 1327.

A More Illustrious Family Member

That last reference to the family locally relates to William de Stinchcombe.  Lord Berkeley (Thomas III) grants this “hopefull Scholer, five pounds a year for his better maintenance until hee shall be promoted to a benefice of twenty pounds a yeare”. If William was a young scholar in 1327, he must have been born when the de Stinchcombes still owned Piers Court.  We do not know who his father was or if he ever lived there.

A William de Stinchcombe, probably the same one since the name, dates and profession all fit, went on to become first the Chaplain at Westbury and then the Rector of Taynton, near Newent..  Various references have been found for the period 1327 to 1377.  These occur in the Calendar of the Patent Rolls , the Calendar of the Close Rolls and the Inquisitions Post Mortem Edward III.

  • search British History On-line (hint: use the archaic spelling Styntescombe or less commonly Stintescomb in searches)

A Recent Find

We were happy to hear through our metal detectorist contacts that a handsome silver seal matrix belonging to William de Stinchcombe had been found in the Newent area.  He would have used this to make an impression on wax seals to authenticate documents and prevent tampering.  Even better was the news that the find has been properly reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme.  A full description and images are included on their website

Stinchcombes around the World

Regrettably, there are currently no Stinchcombes in Stinchcombe, unless you know different, but there are people of that surname elsewhere in the world, from nearby villages to distant countries. From time to time one of them contacts the History Society – only last December I heard from a college student in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He was researching Stinchcombes in World War II for a course project.

Most of these Stinchcombes descend from later inhabitants of the village rather than from the first holders of the manor of Stinchcombe.  Before surnames came into widespread use people would often be identified by their town or village of origin.

We are always glad to hear from anyone who shares the name of our village, no matter how they acquired it!


  • Wonderful stuff! Im actually looking for a Coat of Arms or family insignia for the Stinchcombe line, I haven’t been able to find one in searches and hoped you could perhaps help? Would there have been one installed at Piers Court?
    Your help would be a great help for my family tree and lineage. Plus my dad Dennis, is a rather famous Bristolian Stinchcombe, recipient of MBE, Legend of Bristol Awards, Royal Society of St George Chairman…the list is extensive, yes, he is a remarkable man of many talents!!

  • I’m glad you enjoyed the article, Sean. The closest we have to a coat of arms is the image on the seal matrix referred to in the article. The house now called Piers Court is not old enough to have been the home of the 14th century de Stinchcombes. Possibly there was an earlier building on the same site. We’re on the trail of some translations of very old Latin documents relating to the manor of Stinchcombe so there may be more information in due course.

    Thanks for telling us about your father. I’ve just googled him – certainly a distinguished bearer of the Stinchcombe name!

  • This is an interesting article, thanks for sharing. I am a Stinchcombe by marriage, my husband Alan is originally from Hillingdon, Middlesbrough and his father hailed from Acton. Alan’s grandad lived above a shoemakers shop in Acton High Street, they then retired to Frome in Somerset in early 1970s. We have not been able to trace back any further as yet.

  • Thanks for your comments, Paula. I think I’ve spotted your family tree on . There are a few other public trees that look as though they might include “your” Stinchcombes and help you go further back. Do let us know if you manage to link them to this area.

  • I have set up a family tree search on Ancestry and will return to it when I have some free time. It’s interesting to hear there are some public Stinchcombe trees I will have a good luck. Thank you for the information and I will be in touch with any interesting results.

  • I just want to say thank you for the research you have done. It is very interesting to learn about my family’s history. I hope to visit my homeland one day.

    I currently live in Maryland.

    Chaplain (MAJ) Wayne Stinchomb, (Ret)

  • Hello, My name is Robert Stinchcombe. I’m born & bred in Nanpantan, just outside Loughborough in Leicestershire. I’ve always had an interest your village (obviously with having the same name !! ), and have visited on a couple of occasions, diverting off the M5, on way to holidays etc. Always wondered if our family had, or has a connection to the village ? My late father was born in Leicestershire, as was his farther. But I understand his father, my great-grandfather, came from Wotton-Under-Edge, which I believe is not too far from Stinchcombe. My dad told me that his Grandfather looked our family history many years ago, (probably in the 1920’s or 30’s), and he thought there might be a French connection !
    I have no idea, as I’ve never done any research myself. So it would be interesting to know !
    Also of interest, I used to work with a Derek Stinchcombe.(recently passed away). He had a very strong resemblance to my father, and I always thought there may be a family connection from way back. He was born in, or near Dursley, but moved to Leicestershire, when quite young.
    Don’t know if this is of any interest to you, or you could shed any light on any of it, but it would be great to find out !
    Robert Stinchcombe.

  • Robert and I have been in touch by email. Users of have traced his line of the Stinchcombe family back many generations in this area. Before they lived at Wotton-under-Edge they were at Hawkesbury going back at least to the early 1600s. It looks as though they may have lived at Tortworth prior to that. There are Stinchcombes recorded there as long ago as the mid-15th century.

    I’ll update the webpage at some stage in case other people with the surname Stinchcombe are interested.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Skip to content