My dissertation is dedicated to the memory of my Grandparents May and Fred Bartlett of Cambray, Frenchay. S.A. Cairns
The area formed by the parish boundaries of Winterbourne and Frenchay lying to the north east of Bristol, whilst divulging little of historical importance, nevertheless, in terms of social history, has much to offer.
It is likely that the colliers disputes over the centuries, the siege of Bristol by Prince Rupert in 1643 and the subsequent loss of the city to Cromwell in 1645, did not pass unnoticed; indeed reports can be found of two notables, one of Iron Acton, and one of Stoke near Stapleton, who were accused and fined by Protestant courts for their alleged helping of Royalist troops during the troubles. Generally speaking though, a farming community before the 19th and 20th centuries would have had more than enough to cope with just to maintain their property, let alone to have dealings with politics and the intricacies of city life.
The interest in this particular part of the country lies in its origins as part of the Royal Hunting Grounds, and the restrictions that this purpose put on the daily lives of the farmers, its nearness to and involvement in the mining and quarrying industries, the attention paid to it by the Quaker fraternity, and the rise of Frenchay from a mean collection of dwellings scattered over the common land surrounded by wooded and hostile conditions, to a successful and affluent country retreat for Quaker families and business men.
The problem with writing the history of any town or village is an immense one. Generally speaking there are no published books about the area one chooses, (the very reason for beginning the investigation) because little work has been done in Britain on these subjects. Therefore it is impossible to judge at the start whether the task will be an easy one or not. I was unfortunate in that not only was there little written about Winterbourne, Hambrook and Frenchay, but also there were few of the maps and documents in the Archives office in Bristol and Gloucester that make a researchers job rewarding. Because of this, some of the following will be very careful supposition, the rest will be justified in some way. It should be mentioned that it is impossible to write such a history in the limited time allowed, I have skimmed thinly the whole historical length and presented what amounts to an introduction.