Bisley Gloucestershire Family History Guide

Bisley is an Ancient Parish in the county of Gloucestershire.

The parish includes also the tythings of Avenis, Bidfield, Oakridge, Steanbridge, Throngham, and Tunley

Parish church: All Saints

Parish registers begin: 1547

Nonconformists include: Independent/Congregational, Particular Baptist, Primitive Methodist, Society of Friends/Quaker, Swedenborgian/New Jerusalem/New Church, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Parishes adjacent to Bisley

Historical Descriptions



Bisley, a parish, (formerly a market town), in the hundred of Bisley, county of Gloucester, 11 miles (S.E.) from Gloucester, and 97 (W.) from London, containing 5421 inhabitants. The town is situated partly on the acclivity of a hill, and partly in the vale beneath it, which is watered by a small stream. The streets are irregularly formed, and contain few houses of respectable appearance. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in the manufacture of broad cloth, which is carried on to a considerable extent. The Thames and Severn canal passes through the parish, and, near the extremity of it, enters a tunnel, through which it is conducted for nearly two miles and a half under Salperton hill. A market was formerly held here, but it has been discontinued: the fairs are, May 4th and November 12th. The town is within the jurisdiction of a court of requests held at Cirencester division of the county, for the seven hundreds of Cirencester, established by an act passed in the 32nd of George III., for the recovery of debts under 40s: constables and other officers are appointed at the court leet of the lord of the manor. The living is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Gloucester, rated in the king’s books at £19. 10. 5., and in the gift of the Crown. The church, dedicated to All Saints, is a spacious and handsome structure, partly in the decorated, and partly in the later style of English architecture, with a tower surmounted by a lofty spire: among other interesting monuments within it, is a statue of one of the family of Nottingham. In the church-yard there is an octagonal cross, handsomely pannelled in trefoil, and surmounted with an ancient font, erected over a well, in which a man having been drowned, the cemetery was placed under an interdict for three years, during which time, the dead were carried to Bibury for interment. The free school is supported by a portion of the produce of lands left for the repair of the church, the payment of the clerk, and the salary of the school master, who receives at present £13. 14, per annum. A blue coat school for clothing and instructing ten boys, endowed in 1820, by Mr. Taylor, has been incorporated with the free school, and the master receives a salary of £12. 12. per annum, for instructing the boys. The common, then consisting of one thousand two hundred acres, was given to the poor of this parish by Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, in the reign of Edward III. ; a considerable part of it has been enclosed. At Lilly-house, a hamlet near the town, a vaulted chamber was discovered, with several adjoining apartments, having tessellated pavements, and niches in the walls ; some other relics of antiquity, supposed to be Roman, have also been found at Custom-Scrubs, another adjacent hamlet.

Source: Beeton’s British Gazetteer 1870. Ward, Lock & Tyler, Paternoster Row, London.


Bisley, a decayed small town, a parish, a subdistrict, and a hundred in Gloucester. The town stands 1¾ mile N of the Cheltenham and Great Western Union railway, in the neighbourhood of the Sapperton tunnel, and 3¼ miles E of Stroud. It has a post office under Stroud; is a polling-place; and long carried on a considerable manufacture of woollens, which now is nearly extinct. A weekly market used to be held on Thursday, but now is merely nominal. Fairs are held on May 4 and 12 Nov. The parish includes also the tythings of Avenis, Bidfield, Bussage, Chalford, Oakridge, Steanbridge, Throngham, and Tunley. Acres, 8,033. Real property, £14,277. Pop., 4,692. Houses, 1,166. The property is much subdivided. The manor belonged anciently to the Mortimers; and was held by Edward Duke of York, afterwards Edward IV. A common of 1,200 acres was given by Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, to the poor of the parish; but has been much curtailed by enclosure. Roman remains have been found at Custom-Scrubs; and a Roman pavement and vault at Lillythorne. The living is a vicarage, united with the p. curacy of France-Lynch, in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol. Value, £527. Patron, the Lord Chancellor. The church is decorated English, of the time of Edward IV.; was recently restored; and contains an ancient Norman font, a monument of a crusader, supposed to be one of the Nottingham family, and a brass of Catherine Sewell. A stone cross, believed to be of the 13th century, octagonal and finely panelled, is in the churchyard. The vicarages of Bussage, Chalford, and Oakridge are separate benefices. There are four dissenting chapels, endowed schools with £56, and other charities with £242. The subdistrict is conterminate with the parish; and is in the district of Stroud. The hundred contains seven parishes. Acres, 27,003. Pop., 18,483. Houses, 4,163.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

The Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1851

Bisley, a market-town and extensive parish in the hund. of Bisley, union of Stroud, county of Gloucester , 97 miles west of London, and 3}½ east by north of Stroud, intersected by the Gloucester and Bristol railway, and the Stroudwater canal. The parish includes the chapelry of Chalford. The market-day is Thursday, but from the difficulty of access it is little attended. Fairs are held on May 4th, and November 12th, for cattle, sheep, and horses. The inhabitants are much employed in the manufacture of woollens. In 1838 there were 3 woollen mills here, employing 70 hands. The electors vote for the members for East Gloucester. Living, a vicarage in the archd. of Gloucester, and dio. of Gloucester and Bristol, valued at £19 10s. 5d.; gross income £528. Patron, the Crown. The church is an elegant building, in a mixed style of architecture. In the church-yard is an octagonal cross surmounted by an ancient font. The Independents have a chapel here. Here is a free school with an endowment of £13 14s. per annum, the master of which also receives £12 12s., for the education of ten boys, who are also clothed on an endowment given in 1820 by Mr. Taylor. There are thirteen other daily schools in this parish, two of which are partly supported by endowment, and five Sunday schools. Charities connected with the parish produce about £88 per annum. The common was given to the poor of Bisley by Roger Mortimer, earl of March, in the reign of Edward III.; it consisted at first of 1200 acres, but has been in a great measure inclosed. Several Roman antiquities have been found in the parish. Pop., in 1801, 4,227; in 1831, 5,896. Houses 1,264. Acres 7,980. A.P. £7,683. Poor rates, in 1837, £1,911.

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

Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Bisley, 97 m. W. London, and 3½ m. E. Stroud. Mrkt., Thurs. P. 5339

Source: Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850.



Avenis, a tything in Bisley parish, Gloucester; 4 ½ miles E of Stroud.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].


Universal British Directory 1791

Chalford is two miles from Bisley, but in the same parish: it is a narrow but pleasant vale, the Thames and Severn canal running quite through it, with a large stream of water besides, on which are erected a great many mills for dressing of cloth, as the place is very noted for making of all sorts of broad cloths. The situation of this place is singularly romantic, and uncommonly pleasing. Here is carried on the woollen manufacture in different branches, and here are eight fulling mills, with tenters, &c. Its church has been new paved. It is lofty and large, with a nave and two aisles, and a high spire; in it are some ancient monuments.

Source: Universal British Directory 1791

France Lynch

Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales Circa 1870

France-Lynch, a chapelry in Bisley parish, Gloucester; near the Cheltenham railway and the Severn and Thames canal, 3 miles NE of Minchinhampton. Post-town, Stroud, Gloucestershire. The statistics are returned with the parish. The living is a p. curacy, annexed to the vicarage of Bisley, in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Parish Records

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Bisley (inc. Chalford) Universal directory 1791

Historical Newspapers

The following newspapers cover the area.

Gloucestershire Newspapers

Cheltenham Chronicle (The British Newspaper Archive)

Cheltenham Examiner (The British Newspaper Archive)

Cheltenham Journal and Gloucestershire Fashionable Weekly Gazette (The British Newspaper Archive)

Cheltenham Looker-On (The British Newspaper Archive)

Cheltenham Mercury (The British Newspaper Archive)

Cirencester Times and Cotswold Advertiser (The British Newspaper Archive)

Gloucester Citizen (The British Newspaper Archive)

Gloucester Journal (The British Newspaper Archive)

Gloucestershire Chronicle (The British Newspaper Archive)

Gloucestershire Echo (The British Newspaper Archive)

Stroud Journal (The British Newspaper Archive)

Stroud News and Gloucestershire Advertiser (The British Newspaper Archive)

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard (The British Newspaper Archive)


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