The Field Estate and William Cowle
a research project for the Museum in the Park

1873 Covenant

On this website:

Although our timeframe is 1873 to the 1950s, we have gone back as far as the 17thC for background, and snippets appear here. Our research was written up at different times so these links take you to specific sections. We are now (March 2012) re-arranging the essays into a better format, starting with this new Contents page. If you get lost please click the green button to come back here!

The 1873 auction

auction hammer

The auction catalogue

In which William COWLE offers 103 highly desirable building Lots for immediate sale.

1873 plans

The plans of the Lots

and how they came to be sold. The plans were drawn by William Henry Cox FISHER, local architect.

banknote from Gloucester Bank

The original Lot buyers

The Lots were bought by local tradesmen, builders, landowners, and a couple of convenient front-men.

Holy Trinity church built 1834, on land sold by JCCBPH?

The Field Estate before 1873

Until the 1860s, Granville Cottages and Holy Trinity were the only new buildings for 200 years. This page briefly describes the early owners.

1749 document

The Field estate lands in 1853

We found a description in an 1853 mortgage transfer. JCCBPH's many debts were only paid off in 1873.


The transcripts and images in our research archive are too large to be made available here (25Gb so far) so I have made PDFs or low-res images of key items for this website (may still be slow to download). When completed the archive will be available on DVD.

William Cowle signature

1873 Deed of Mutual Covenant

A transcript of the original Deed - mandatory for all purchasers; it still applies today.

Saturn sketch by Cowle

William COWLE's daybook

We carefully photographed this fragile scrapbook from the early 1890s. Here is a list of the contents, with some illustrations.


Exhibition and Book

Buy William Cowle of Stroud online, and find out about The Cowle Legacy exhibition.

the FEWC Research archive

The Field painting

Introduction and overview

Our archive holds © data, lent or donated by neighbours. This page explains how the project started and what we want to achieve.

WC 1884 lintel

Early development after 1873

In 2010 we switched our focus from the people to the buildings and the early development of the estate.

little girl's face

Stories from Title Deeds

In 2011 we collected title deeds, wrote up research notes, visited houses, found surprising facts about local people, and were given lovely old photos for the archive.


The FEWC archive mentions over 1,200 local people involved in the early development of The Field estate. Some of them have separate cameos - including George Holloway (founder of the Original Holloway Society) whose rent-to-buy scheme resulted in four pilot terraces here.

Maps and Directories

Ordnance Survey maps between the 1880s and 1950s clearly show the development stages of The Field estate. OS copyright restricts the free publication of modern maps but here are some that we have permission to display:

the Previous Owners

East India sailing ship


The HAWKINS, GREGORY, ARUNDELL families - and JCCBPH's awfully rich CALLAND relatives - are in another section on this website.

the Rescued papers of William Cowle


An astonishing gift

A researcher's dream - missing papers turned up out of the blue. Suddenly we had his wills, title deeds, and accounts from the 1873 auction.