Fairford, Gloucestershire Family History Guide

Fairford is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Gloucestershire.

Parish church: St. Mary

Parish registers begin: 1617

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Independent/Congregational, and Roman Catholic.

Parishes adjacent to Fairford

Historical Descriptions

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1851

Fairford, a market-town and parish in the hund. of Brightwell’s Barrow, union of Cirencester, county of Gloucester; 24 miles east-south-east of Gloucester, on the post-road from Cirencester to Farringdon, at the foot of the Coteswold hills; about 3 miles distance from the grand canal which unites the Severn with the Thames, and on the eastern bank of the river Colne, over which there are here two neat stone bridges. Acres 4,220. Houses 317. A. P. £6,301. Pop., in 1801, 1,326; in 1831, 1,574. Living, a vicarage, formerly in the archd. and dio. of Gloucester, now in the archd. of Bristol and dio. of Gloucester and Bristol; rated at £13 11s. 5d.; gross income £482. The church is a beautiful Gothic structure erected in the reign of Henry VII., by John Tame, a merchant in London, who acquired possession of a captured vessel bound for Rome, and in which there was a great quantity of curiously painted glass. In order to exhibit this glass to advantage, he and his son Sir Edmund Tame, Knight, built Fairford church with 28 large windows, in which are represented the most striking passages in the Old and New Testament. Albert Durer, to whom the greatest improvements in the art of painting on glass are attributed, designed these beautiful paintings. Some of the figures are so finely finished, that Vandyke said the pencil could not exceed them. Several of the pieces were afterwards mutilated, but they are still unrivalled, excepting by the windows in the chapel at King’s college Cambridge: to prevent further injury, a lattice of wire was fitted to each window in 1725. Here are chapels for Independents and Baptists. The Independent church was formed in 1744. There are in this parish two Sunday and daily National schools, and a handsome free-school, at which 60 boys and 60 girls receive instruction, and which was first endowed by the Hon. Mrs. Farmor, in 1704. It has since been further endowed by others. In 1817 the school-buildings were greatly enlarged; and others, besides those gratuitously taught, are admitted upon paying one penny each per week. The annual income of the school is about £140. A sum of money, now producing £98 10s. a-year, was given by Lady Jane Mico, in 1676, to be laid out in land, for apprenticing poor boys of the town. Other charities amount to about £22 per annum. Poor rates, in 1838, £611. The town consists of 2 streets neatly and regularly built. The market-day is Thursday, and two annual fairs are held May 14th and November 12th, for sheep and cattle. Many medals and urns have been dug up here, and several barrows, in the fields, probably commemorate war like actions which are not recorded in history.

Source: The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales; A Fullarton & Co. Glasgow; 1851.

Lewis Topographical Dictionary of England 1845

English: Fairford: Market Square (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FAIRFORD (Virgin Mary), a market-town and parish, in the union of Cirencester, hundred of Brightwell’s-Barrow, E. division of the county of Gloucester, 24 miles (S. E. by E.) from Gloucester, and 80 (W. by N.) from London ; containing 1672 inhabitants. This place derives its name from the convenience of its ford across the river Colne, on which it is situated, near its influx into the Thames. About the middle of the ninth century, the manor belonged to the kings of Mercia; at the period of the Norman survey, to Maud, consort of William I.; and after various changes it came into the possession of Henry VII., who sold it to John Tame, a merchant. The town, which is on the road from London to Stroud, and also on that from Oxford to Bath, consists principally of one long street, irregularly formed; there are several good detached houses, and its general appearance has been much improved of late ; the inhabitants are supplied with water from springs, and from the Colne, across which are two neat bridges. The manufacture of agricultural implements is carried on to a considerable extent. A market is held on Thursday, by charter obtained about 1668 ; and there are fairs for cattle and sheep on May 14th and November 12th. The parish comprises 3803 acres by measurement. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king’s books at £13. 11. 5 1/2.; patrons and appropriators, Dean and Chapter of Gloucester : the tithes have been commuted for £482. The church is an elegant and spacious structure, in the later English style, with a central square embattled tower, strengthened by panelled buttresses, enriched with canopied niches, in which were statues, and crowned by crocketed pinnacles; the windows of the church are all of stained glass, and the whole edifice is one of the richest specimens of its style. The erection is attributed to John Tame, Esq., a rich London merchant, who, in trading to Italy about 1492, captured a Flemish vessel bound for Rome, on board of which was a quantity of splendid stained glass: having purchased the manor, he commenced building the church in 1493, but his death taking place in 1500, it was finished by his son, Sir Edmund Tame, Knt. There are places of worship for Baptists and Independents. A bequest of £1000 was made in 1704, by the Hon. Elizabeth Farmer, daughter of Lord Lempster, to be expended in land, for the maintenance of an afternoon lecture every Sunday in the church, and for the foundation and support of a free school, which is also endowed with a subsequent bequest of £500 by her cousin, Mrs. Mary Barker, besides other benefactions; the schoolroom was erected in 1738 : the total annual income is £136. Fairford gives the title of Viscount to the Marquess of Downshire.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis Fifth Edition Published London; by S. Lewis and Co., 13, Finsbury Place, South. M. DCCC. XLV.

Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland Gorton 1833

Fairford, co. Gloucester.

London 80 m. W b N. Pop. 1547. M. D. Thurs. Fairs, May 14; and Nov. 12, for cattle and sheep.

A market-town and parish in the hundred of Brightwell’s Barrow, seated at the foot of the Cotswold Hills, near the river Colne, over which it has two neat stone bridges. The town consists of two streets, neatly and regularly built; the inhabitants are for the most part employed in the clothing-mills, this being the very centre of a large clothing district. The charter for the market was obtained in 1668; but the attendants are now very few in number. At about three miles distance from hence is the grand canal, which unites the Severn to the Thames.

The living is a vicarage in the archdeaconry and diocese of Gloucester; valued in K. B. 13l. 11s. 5½d.; patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester; the church, ded. to St. Mary, is a fine Gothic structure, with a handsome tower, and is remarkable for its fine painted windows, twenty-eight in number, the subjects of which are chiefly scriptural. John Tame, a merchant of London, having taken a prize-ship, bound from a Flemish port to Rome, discovered it to contain a collection of beautifully painted glass, and determined to build a church for its reception; having purchased this manor of Henry VII., he immediately carried his determination into effect. In this church are many monuments; one to the founder, who died in 1500, with his effigy in white marble, and several to other branches of the same family.

Fairford has a handsome free-school endowed for sixty boys, with many other charitable institutions. Here was formerly a manorial residence erected by the Earls of Warwick, called Beauchamp and Warwick Court; this was pulled down many years ago, and the present manor-house erected with the materials; in sinking the foundations several Roman coins and urns were discovered. This seat is situated in a pleasant park, surrounded by fine plantations and diversified scenery.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of Great Britain and Ireland by John Gorton. The Irish and Welsh articles by G. N. Wright; Vol. II; London; Chapman and Hall, 186, Strand; 1833.


Marriages at Fairford 1619 to 1837

Gloucestershire Parish Registers. Marriages. Edited by W. P. W. Phillimore, M.A., B.C.L., Vol XVI. Issued to the Subscribers by Phillimore & Co., 124, Chancery Lane, London. 1900.

Author: Phillimore, W. P. W. (William Phillimore Watts), 1853-1913, ed; Blagg, Thomas Matthews

Marriages at Fairford 1619 to 1837 – Archive.org

Marriages at Fairford 1619-1837 – UK Genealogy Archives


Fairford Marriages 1832 to 1837

Fairford Marriages 1825 to 1831

Fairford Marriages 1819 to 1824

Poll Books

Fairford Poll Book 1834 – Google Books


Fairford Gloucestershire Principal Inhabitants Universal British Directory 1791


  • County: Gloucestershire
  • Civil Registration District: Cirencester
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Gloucester (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Pre 1836 – Gloucester, Post 1835 – Gloucester and Bristol
  • Rural Deanery: Fairford
  • Poor Law Union: Cirencester
  • Hundred: Brightwells Barrow
  • Province: Canterbury