Jerry Hibbert

Thyme Travels into History Part Five - Civil War and The Macaronis

by Jerry Hibbert At Thyme 10 Jul 19

Southrop Manor Farm House was built in 1623, and its Tithe Barn would have been built around this time too. The little holes in the walls of the Tithe Barn would have been partly for ventilation and partly for owls to enter to eat any mice inside. The beams are original at the eastern end, but two western beams were replaced by scissor beams in the 19th century, probably to accommodate heavy lifting gear.   

The English Civil War broke out in 1642 and was a series of armed conflicts over, principally, the manner of England's government. The first and second wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament.

Southrop seems to have seen a fair amount of fighting during the conflict. Some battles were held in the fields to the south of the Manor, now known as Big Gore and Little Gore after the bloodshed.  In 1643, Cirencester fell to the Royalists who then went on to besiege a Roundhead garrison at Gloucester. The Cavaliers plan was to pound the garrison with artillery, and to this end brought up a huge new gun from the south. Due to ineptitude on the part of the Royal Artillery, the gun exploded on its first firing, and by the time the artillery had pulled themselves into some sort of order, the siege was relieved by Parliamentarian troops sent from London. In those days, troops would forage locally for their food, and as the tide of war washed back and forth, it would leave the peasants robbed of much of their livelihood.  More wealthy owners of larger properties would hide any evidence of their support for any one side, depending on who was in local control at the time. This involved the swapping over (and hiding) of paintings, documents and trophies.

The wars eventually ended in 1651 with Oliver Cromwell as the Lord Protector and Charles II in exile, but in 1660 Charles II was restored to the throne.

The world's first horse racing club, The Bibury Club, was formed and held race meetings on what were later called Macaroni Downs above Bibury village. These continued until the early part of the twentieth century.

Macaroni Woods are a mile west of Southrop. The Macaronis were young Englishmen who adopted feminine mannerisms and highly extravagant attire, and were therefore deemed even more effeminate than most dandies. They were members of the Macaroni Club in London at the height of the fashion for dandyism, so called because they wore striped silks upon their return from the Grand Tour - and a feather in their hats. The Macaroni wig became contemporary slang for foppishness. They also wore two fob watches: "one to tell what time it was and the other to tell what time it was not" ran their joking explanation. Their love of horse racing at Cheltenham and Bibury can still be recognised today in the names of Macaroni Farm and the woods near Eastleach.


The term ‘Doodle’ first appeared in the early seventeenth century, and is thought to be derived from the Low German 'dudel', meaning “playing music badly” or Dödel, meaning 'fool' or 'simpleton'. The American army used flutes to lead the troops. The 'Yankee Doodle' was also sung by British front line troops to mock the American revolutionaries during the War of Independence insinuating that their enemies were fops and 'womanish'. It is from 'doodle' that Americans now call each other 'dude'.

Main Image: The Big Gore, Southrop Manor Estate
Additional Images: ‘The Macaronis and Dandies of Macaroni Downs’,


This is the fifth of six installments of Jerry's history of Southrop, the manor, the farm and its buildings. 
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