Is bounded, North by Worcestershire and Warwickshire; East by Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, and Wiltshire; South by Somersetshire; and West by the Severn, by Monmouthshire and Herefordshire. It is 65 miles long, and 25 broad, and is divided into 27 hundreds, namely, Berkeley, Bisley, Bledesloe, Botloe, Bradley, St. Briavells, Brightwell Barrow, Cheltenham, Cleeve, Crowthorn, Deerhurst, Dudstone and Kingsbarton, Grimbalds Ash, Henbury, Kiftsgate, Duchy of Lancaster, Langley and Swineshead, Longtrees, Puckle-Church, Rapsgate, Slaughter, Tewkesbury, Thornbury, Tibaldstone, Westbury, Westminster, and Whitestone. Rivers: the Frome, the Isis, the Severn, and the Wye. It has one city, and 27 market towns. It is in the Province of Canterbury, chiefly in the Diocese of Gloucester, but partly in that of Bristol; and is in the Oxford Circuit. Area 1,256 square miles, or 803,840 acres. Population, 431,383.
Source: Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850
The number of parishes in Gloucestershire, including extra-parochial places, is about 363; these further include 215 liberties, tithings, and hamlets, which have separate organisation for poor administrations or for highways.
The Cotswold or hill district forms a high land running through Gloucestershire from north-east to south-west. The Forest of Dean district is another high district to the west of the Severn. Between these uplands lie the vales of the Severn and Avon.
Gloucestershire is divided into East and West Gloucestershire.
East Gloucestershire includes the hundreds of
also the city and county of the city of Gloucester, the borough of Cirencester, and the parliamentary boroughs of Cheltenham, Stroud, and Tewkesbury.
West Gloucestershire includes the remaining portions of the shire, the hundreds of
The poor law unions that covered the Gloucestershire area were:
The Family Topographer, dated 1834, reports the population in 1821 as follows:
Hundreds, 27; Cities, Gloucester and Bristol; Boroughs, 4; Market Towns, 23; Parishes, 320; Parts of Parishes, 5; Houses, 63,436. Inhabitants. Males, 160,451; Females, 175,392; total, 335,843.— By the census of 1831 the number was 386,700. Families. Employed in agriculture, 23,170; in trade, 35,907; in neither, 13,079; total, 82,156.
Baptisms in 1820. Males, 4,988; Females, 4,755; total 9,743. Annual average of 1811 to 1820, 9,067.
Marriages, 3,192; annual average, 2,888.
Burials. Males, 2,929; Females, 2,822, total, 5,751. Annual average, 5,139.
1861, Males, 229,009, Females, 258,761.
Population per square miles in 1851 was 364.
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The produce of Gloucestershire is wheat, barley, oats, rye, beans, peas, potatoes, turnips, clover, vetches, sainfoin, flax, teasels, timber and wood produce, apples, pears, cider, perry, ale, beer, grazing produce, butter, cheese, wool.
Iron, in the Forest of Dean; lead, in every lime stone rock, but in small quantities; coal, in the Forest of Dean, Little Dean, and Lydney; lime-stone, of excellent quality, at Cromhall, Wickwar, &c. from the rocks called “white lays;” crow-stone, at Churchdown; Bristol diamonds, at Clifton; free-stone, on the Cotswolds; puff- stone, or tophus, at Dursley, of which Berkeley Castle was built; gypsum; pyrites. Timber; corn; turnips; apples, in the Vale and Forest of Dean; sainfoin, in the Cotswold districts. Sheep; swine, long, tall, and white. Salmon, at numerous fisheries from Oldbury-on-Severn to Tewkesbury; lampreys, eels, and elvers, in the Severn at and above Gloucester.
Woollen manufacture is carried on at Wotton-under-Edge, Stroud, Minchinhampton, Bisley, North Nibley, Ebley, Stonehouse, Eastington, Dursley, Cam, Painswick, Rodborough, and King’s Stanley. The Stroud valley produced broadcloths.
Hosiery was manufactured at Tewkesbury and silk at Tewkesbury, Stroud, and Bristol.
In 1834 the Family Topographer reports the manufactures as follows:
There are several paper mills in the County. At Bristol, glass, pottery, refined sugars, woollens, snuff, &c.; Cambridge and Coaley, edge-tools, and farmers’ iron-work, brass wire for pins, &c.; Cirencester, carpets, and curriers’ knives; Forest of Dean, cider and perry, the latter of which is said to be the basis of some of the wine sold for champagne in the metropolis; and much iron-work; Frampton Cotterell, felt hats; Gloucester, curriers’ knives, bells, and pins, the latter introduced in 1626, by John Tilsby or Tilsley, and the value of the pins sent weekly to London was at one time estimated at £.20,000; Newnham, verdigrease; Stroud, Painswick, Nailsworth, Chalford, Wootton, Dursley, Uley, and numerous adjoining villages, broad and narrow fine cloths, and the waters are peculiarly well adapted to the dying of scarlet, blue, and black cloth; Vale of Severn, cheese, of which about 12,000 tons are annually exported; Tewkesbury, cotton stockings and lace. Warmley, near Bristol, brass works.
Minerals found in Gloucestershire include coal, iron, lead, tin (at Lydney), calamine, iron pyrites, barytes, gypsum, limestone, sandstone, freestone, fuller’s earth, petro-silex, and Bristol diamonds. The Romans worked ironstone here, as did the early English before the Norman invasion. In the Middle Ages iron was wrought, and gold was reputed to be found. There are salt springs at Cheltenham and Gloucester, used for medicinal purposes, and hot wells at Clifton.
The two main ports on the Severn estuary were Bristol and Gloucester.
The Lower Avon was navigable to Bath. The Thames rises in Gloucestershire and was navigable from Lechlade.
The main canals include the Stroudwater, the Thames and Severn Canal, the Hereford and Gloucester and the Gloucester and Berkeley canal, which was a ship canal 16½ miles long.
Read more about Gloucestershire Rivers & Inland Navigation
The railways that passed through Gloucestershire we mainly of the broad gauge system and included the Great Western and the Midland railways.
The County Lunatic Asylum is distant about half a mile from the city of Gloucester; it stands on rising ground, from which some very extensive views of the surrounding country are obtained. The centre of the building is in the form of a semicircle, which, with the wings, originally extended 250 feet, but additional buildings have since been erected; the domestic offices are exceedingly good, and there are commodious apartments for all the resident officers; it was opened July 21, 1823. Dr. Williams, F.L.S., resident physician and superintendent; Francis Wilton, medical assistant; Miss Bishop, matron; Rev. Herbert Haines, chaplain; Robert Wilton, solicitor; James Medland, surveyor; John Jones, auditor.
Gloucestershire was within the Oxford circuit and the district of the Bristol court of Bankruptcy.
County assizes were held at Gloucester.
Coroners for the County (1863) — Wm. Gaisford, Esq., Berkeley (for the Lower division); J. G. Ball, Esq. Stroud (for Stroud division); Joseph Lovegrove, Esq., Gloucester (for the Upper division); James Teague, Esq., Hagloe house (for the Forest division).
County Gaol (Gloucester)(1863), Captain Henry Edward Cartwright, governor; Rev. W. C. L. A. Dudley, B.A., chaplain: Thomas Hickes, surgeon; Henry Morland Jeens, clerk and storekeeper; Miss Ellen Gillett, matron.
Hardwicke Reformatory, for juvenile offenders, under the management of Thomas Barwick Lloyd Bakers, Esq., J. P., of Hardwicke court.
The County Police Force consists (1863) of 1 chief constable, 1 deputy chief constable, 10 superintendents, 43 sergeants, and 219 constables. The chief station is at Cheltenham. There are 68 other stations.
481 At Gloucester, Hengist the Saxon leader was beheaded.
577 At Dyrham, the Britons defeated, and three of their princes slain, by Ceaulin King of Wessex, who took possession of Gloucester and Cirencester.
578 A battle fought between the Saxons under Ceaulin and Cutha, and the Britons, in which the former were successful. Cutha was however slain.
620 Near Cirencester, a bloody battle was fought between Cynegils and Kichelm, joint Kings of Wessex, and Penda King of Mercia.
628 Penda endeavoured to wrest Cirencester from the West Saxons, but was obliged to make peace after a very severe engagement.
687 At Campden, the Saxon kings met to consult on the best mode of prosecuting the war with the Britons.
804 A synod was held at Gloucester.
836 The Danes pitched their tents, and made themselves masters of Gloucester.
877 or 878. The Danes fixed themselves at Gloucester, and the following year removed to Cirencester.
893 The Danes marched along the Thames till they came to Boddington, where they intrenched, but were defeated by Alfred. A large tumulus, known as. “ The barrow,” marks the site.
896 At Gloucester, a Wittenagemot held.
940 or 941. At Gloucester, Oct. 26, King Athelstan died.
948 At Pucklechurch, May 26, Edmund I. mortally stabbed at a feast by Leolf, the robber.
964 Edgar resided at Gloucester for a short time.
978 Gloucester ravaged by the Danes, and almost consumed by fire.
997 The Danes appeared in the Severn, and ravaged and burnt Gloucester.
1016 The Danes routed at Sherston. — On the Isle of Alney, the proposed single combat between Edmund Ironside and Canute terminated by an offer from Canute to divide the kingdom.
1020 Canute, on his return from Denmark, held a council at Cirencester, which expelled Ethelwolf from his dominions.
1048 Edward the Confessor summoned his thanes at Gloucester, in consequence of the aggressions of the Welsh.
1051 Edward magnificently entertained his brother-in-law Eustace of Boulogne at Gloucester, and here considered of the oppressions of his brother’s servants at Canterbury.
1053 At Gloucester, Edward held a great assembly of his nobles.
1055 An army under Harold met at Gloucester to subdue the Welsh.
1063 Edward again at Gloucester, when he received tha head of the Welsh prince Griffith.
1072 William I. kept his Christmas at Gloucester, as he frequently did.
1084 At Gloucester, William I. held his court, and again the following year, when he summoned a Parliament.
1087 The insurrectionists in favour of Duke Robert did much damage to Gloucester.
1093 To Gloucester came Malcolm III. of Scotland, to treat with William Rufus.
1094 The Welsh, under William de Auco or D’Eu, did great mischief to Gloucester.
1099 William II. kept his Christmas at Gloucester.
1101 Gloucester nearly destroyed by fire; and again in 1122 and 1150.
1123 Henry I. held his court at Gloucester, on the feast of the Purification.
1138 The Earl of Gloucester took possession of Bristol Castle for the Empress, who on her arrival was received there, and at Gloucester the following year.
1141 In Bristol Castle, Stephen was confined for nine months, till exchanged for the Earl of Gloucester, brother to the Empress Maud.
1142 Cirencester Castle burnt by Stephen.
1172 Jorworth, with a large body of Welshmen, destroyed all the country with fire and sword to the gates of Gloucester.
1175 A great council held by Henry II. at Gloucester, to determine on the most effectual measures for quelling the insurrections of the Welsh.
1189 William the Legate, Protector of the kingdom in the absence of Richard I., held a synod at Gloucester.
1209 King John at Bristol, and issued a proclamation forbidding the taking all sorts of feathered game throughout England.
1216 At Gloucester, October 28, Henry III. crowned, being ten years old, and Lewis and his party excommunicated, He kept his Christmas at Bristol.
1233 Henry III. summoned his troops to meet at Gloucester, to proceed against the Welsh. Being defeated, he retreated back to Gloucester, but did not think it safe to stay.
1234 Henry held a Parliament and a court at Gloucester; where he was also the following year.
1241 In Bristol Castle, died the Princess Eleanor, commonly called “the damsel of Britanny,” after a confinement of forty years.— The King held his Court at Gloucester.
1255 Henry III. entertained at Berkeley Castle.
1263, Prince Edward, by stratagem, got possession of Gloucester Castle. The Barons took it from the royal governor Sir Maci de Beville the same year. Prince Edward regained it in 1264, but was besieged by Sir John Giffard till he complied with the request of the Barons.
1265 Simon de Montfort obliged to surrender Gloucester Castle to the Earl of Gloucester.
1279 At Gloucester were enacted by Parliament those laws connected with the statute of Quo Warranto, known as “the Statutes of Gloucester.”
1283 To Bristol, Edward 1. came from Wales about the middle of December, and kept his Christmas and held a Parliament here.
1285 Edward again came from Wales to Bristol.
1319 Edward II. came to Gloucester, and entertained by the Abbot. The following year he held a Parliament here.
1321 The Barons seized Gloucester.
1322 At Cirencester, Edward II. kept his Christmas.
1326 Bristol Castle besieged by the forces of Queen Isabella, and Spencer was compelled to an unconditional surrender.
1327 At Berkeley Castle, Sept. 22, the weak and imbecile Edward II. was most cruelly and foully murdered.
1378 At Gloucester, Richard II. held a Parliament.
1400 At Cirencester, a conspiracy against Henry IV. was suppressed, the Duke of Surrey and Earl of Salisbury being taken and beheaded by the inhabitants, in number 400, headed by their bailiff.
1403 and 1407. Parliaments held at Gloucester.
1420 Henry held a Parliament at Gloucester; the last summoned here by any monarch.
1430 At the abbey of Gloucester Henry VI. made oblations previous to setting out for France.
1446 Henry VI. at Bristol.
1456 Queen Margaret visited Bristol.
1461 Edward IV. at Bristol in September, saw Sir Baldwin Fulford pass to execution; the subject of “the Bristowe Tragedy” by Chatterton in “Rowley’s Poems.”
1470 The Duke of Somerset marched with his army from Bristol to Tewkesbury.
1471 At Tewkesbury, May 4, the Lancastrians totally defeated; the Earl of Devonshire, Lord Wenlock, Lord John Beaufort, nine knights, and upwards of 3,000 men slain; Margaret of Anjou, her son Prince Edward, and the general the Duke of Somerset, taken prisoners by Edward IV. After the battle, Prince Edward murdered by the Dukes of Clarence and Gloucester; and the Duke of Somerset, and nineteen knights and gentlemen of rank, beheaded.
1483 Immediately after his coronation, Richard III. came to Gloucester.
1485 Henry VII. came from Worcester to Gloucester on Whitsun-eve.
1487 Bristol visited by Henry VII.
1497 From Bristol sailed the expedition under Sebastian Cabot (fitted out by the inhabitants), which discovered America.
1534 Thornbury visited by Henry VIII. and his Queen Anne.
1535 In progress, the King visited Gloucester.
1555 At Gloucester, February 9, John Hooper, second Bishop of Gloucester, burnt. — William Stevens, a weaver, burnt at Bristol for heresy, and two others suffered the following year.
1574 Queen Elizabeth entertained by George Huntley, esq. at Frocester on the feast of St. Lawrence; afterwards at Berkeley Castle; and then, with great solemnity, at Bristol, where she was entertained with sham fights and speeches written by Churchyard.
1568 Bristol furnished four ships of war to the fleet which defeated the Spanish Armada; and Gloucester and Tewkesbury sent one.
1590 Richard Ferns, a waterman of London, sailed from that place to Bristol, in his wherry, in eight weeks and four days, a remarkable instance of skill and daring enterprize.
1592 Queen Elizabeth made her celebrated progress to Sudeley Castle.
1609 The Duke of Lennox, cousin to King James I., publicly entertained at Bristol.
1610 Prince Frederick Ulric of Brunswick, nephew to the Queen (Anne of Denmark), visited Gloucester and Bristol.
1613 Queen Anne came from Bath to Bristol, and was entertained for four days with mock water fights, &c. She afterwards went to Sir Henry Billingsley’s at Siston.
1642-3. In January, Sudeley Castle surrendered to the Parliamentarians under Colonel Massie. It was retaken by Prince Rupert. — January 1, the Royalists appeared before Cirencester, but soon retired. February 2, the town stormed by Prince Rupert, who took 1,200 prisoners and much plunder. — On the following day, the Prince summoned Gloucester, but being refused by Colonel Massey, retired towards Oxford. — Colonel Thomas Essex was in possession of Bristol, holding for the Parliament, but in treaty for surrender to Rupert, when Colonel Nathaniel Fiennes arrived with reinforcements. Essex was arrested, and sent away, and his design, which had brought the Prince with 4,000 horse and 2,000 foot to Durdham Down on March 7, was frustrated within an hour of execution. The Prince, perceiving this, retired to Cirencester and Oxford. — At Highnam, March 24, Major-General Brett, Lord John Somerset, and nearly 2,000 Royalists, surprised and taken by Sir William Waller, who carried them into confinement at Gloucester. — Waller, returning from Monmouthshire, in April, seized Tewkesbury, then garrisoned for the King by Sir Matthew Carew. — July 22, Prince Rupert and Prince Maurice came before Bristol, which was surrendered to him on the 26th by Colonel Fiennes, who displayed much weakness. — Gloucester successfully defended by Colonel Massey against Charles I. and Prince Rupert, from August 10 to 26, when it was relieved by the Earl of Essex. A particular account of “this siege was published by John Dorney, esq. then townclerk, entitled “A briefe and exact Diurnall,” and re-published in Fosbroke’s History of the City, and the ” Bibliotheca Gloucestriensis.”
1644 In February, Colonel Massey took by storm Sir John Winter’s house in the Forest of Dean. — March 29, a skirmish on Charing Down between Lord Hopton and Waller, in which the former was defeated. — When the King’s army retreated from Oxford, Sudeley Castle surrendered to the united forces of Waller and Massey. — Sir William Vavasour attempted to reduce Gloucester, but failed.
1645 March 21, Lord Aston defeated by Colonel Morgan at Donnington, which put an end to all hopes of preserving the King’s garrison at Oxford. — At Stow-on-the- Wold, a desperate engagement between the Royalists and Parliamentarians, in which the former, by an excess of numbers were defeated. Lord Astley and Sir Charles Lucas taken prisoners. — Bristol, under Prince Rupert, Sept. 10, after a feeble defence, surrendered to Sir William Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell. — Sir Charles Lucas surrendered Berkeley Castle to Colonel Rainsborough, after a defence of nine days.
1648 At Bristol, William Cann, the mayor, was the first who proclaimed “that there was no King in England, and that the successors of Charles 1. were traitors to the State.”
1663 Charles II., his Queen, James Duke of York, and his Duchess, with Prince Rupert, &c. splendidly entertained at Bristol.
1685 and 1687. James II. visited Gloucester in his progress through the kingdom.
1688 Lord Lovelace, on his march to join the Prince of Orange, attacked at Cirencester, by Captain Lorange of the county militia. Lorange and his son were slain, but Lovelace was overpowered, and carried to Gloucester castle.
1755 During the time of the severe earthquake at Lisbon, the water at the Bristol Hotwells became as red as blood, and the water of a common well as black as ink, and continued unfit for use for nearly a fortnight. The tide of the Avon also flowed back, contrary to its natural course.
1788 July 12, George III. visited Cheltenham, staying for some weeks at the house of Lord Falconberg. On the 24th he paid a visit to Gloucester; and made several journies to Tewkesbury.
1807 The Prince of Wales visited Gloucester and Berkeley Castle.
1831 October 29, on the arrival of their Recorder, Sir Charles Wetherell, then politically unpopular, the Bristolians received him with marks of indignity and violence. A terrible riot ensued, the prisons were thrown open, many public buildings and private houses were burnt, and a considerable number of persons killed and wounded.
Source: The Family Topographer; Samuel Tymms; 1834.