Gloucestershire 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
Crowthorne and Minety
Dudstone and King’s Barton
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
Gloucestershire Poor Law Unions
The poor law unions that covered the Gloucestershire area were:
Cheltenham Poor Law Union
Chipping Sodbury Poor Law Union
Cirencester Poor Law Union
Clifton Poor Law Union
Dursley Poor Law Union
Gloucester Poor Law Union
Newent Poor Law Union
Northleach Poor Law Union
Shipston-on-Stour Poor Law Union (Worcestershire)
Stow-on-the-Wold Poor Law Union
Stroud Poor Law Union
Tetbury Poor Law Union
Tewkesbury Poor Law Union
Thornbury Poor Law Union
Westbury-on-Severn Poor Law Union
Wheatenhurst Poor Law Union
Winchcombe Poor Law Union
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.
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.
Canals, Rivers and Ports
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.
The railways that passed through Gloucestershire we mainly of the broad gauge system and included the Great Western and the Midland railways.
Hospitals and Asylums
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.
Law and Legislation
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).
The County Prison, on the banks of the Severn, was built from a design of the great philanthropist Howard, on the site originally occupied by Gloucester Castle, the ancient donjon or keep of which had been used as a prison previously. It was erected in 1791, and considerably enlarged and improved in 1850, and is now considered as good a model of the kind as any in England. It is used as a penitentiary as well as a prison, and contains both county and city prisoners, the latter being contracted for, the city prison having been taken down.
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.