Clifton Gloucestershire Family History Guide

Observatory, baths and library, Clifton, by W. Wallis
Observatory, baths and library, Clifton, by W. Wallis

Table of Contents

Clifton comprises the following parishes:

  • Clifton St Andrew
  • Clifton Christ Church

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

CLIFTON, a suburban town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district in Gloucester. The town stands on the right bank of the river Avon, nominally 1 mile or even 2 miles W of Bristol, but really connected with it by street thoroughfares, and mainly separated by Brandon Hill; and is within Bristol borough. It was once a distinct village; but it came into notice, about 1695, in connexion with mineral wells; and it is now a much frequented watering-place, a choice summer residence for strangers, and a permanent home of many of the Bristol merchants. A remarkable chasm at it, called the gorge of the Avon, has a depth of about 250 feet, and a width at the top of about 600 feet; and is flanked by rocks and hanging woods, in a manner magnificently scenic. Elegant ranges of buildings stand on the summit of the rocks, overlooking all the gorge, with Leigh woods beyond; other ranges of buildings, in streets, crescents, and squares, intermingled with trees and rocks, descend the slopes to the east; and others, around the mineral wells, occupy low ground at the foot of the cliffs on the south. A suspension bridge, 630 feet long, was designed by Brunel, to be constructed across the deepest and most picturesque part of the gorge; and some works for it, including the masonry of the piers, and a single suspending bar of iron, were set up at a cost of £40,000, but were eventually abandoned. The suspension-bridge, formerly at Hungerford-market in London, was, as noticed in our article on Bristol, removed to Clifton in 1862. Three eminences adjacent to the gorge are crowned by British or Roman camps. St. Vincent's rocks, in the same vicinity, consist of fossiliferous limestone, very interesting to geologists; and have yielded multitudes of quartz crystals, known as Bristol diamonds. West's observatory here, commands a very fine view; and a cavern, called the Giant's Hole, reached by a flight of steps on the rock from the observatory, gives a curious echo to a shout from the opposite bank. A beautiful ravine, called the Nightingale valley, strikes westward from the opposite bank; and is accessible from Clifton by the Rownham ferry. A picturesque tower, called Cook's Folly, erected in 1693, and adjoined to a modern castellated mansion, stands at the extremity of the hill, some way down the Avon. The part of the town around the mineral springs is called Hotwells. A Grecian building stands over the springs; has a rich Corinthian portico; contains a hall 117 feet by 55, and a ball-room 70 feet by 30; and includes a pump-room and baths. The water has a temperature of about 74c; and a pint of it contains 3½ cubic inches of carbonic acid, 1½ grain of carbonate of lime, 1½ of sulphate of soda, 1½ of sulphate of lime, 1 of muriate of magnesia, and ½ of common salt. The climate of the town is remarkably fine; the recreations, walks, and drives are choice and abundant; and these minister as well as the mineral water to the health of residents and visitors. A very pretty zoological garden is on Durdham Down; and serves for galas and athletic games. The Clifton club, on the site of the Old Royal Hotel, has a coffee-room, and is open to monthly subscribers. A proprietory hotel, on a large scale, to cost £20,000, was contracted for in the autumn of 1862. The town has a post office under Bristol; publishes a weekly newspaper; enjoys ready access to all the institutions and conveyances of Bristol; and has nine churches of the Establishment, numerous non-established places of worship, and several large educational and benevolent institutions. The parish church was built in 1822, and contains about 1,700 sittings. St. James, church was built in 1863, at a cost of about £3,500. All Saints' was built, but not completed, in 1868. A Wesleyan chapel was built in 1863, at a cost of £6,000; a Baptist chapel in 1868, at a cost of nearly £8,000; a Unitarian chapel in 1865, at a cost of £6,000. The Roman Catholic cathedral is an elaborate structure, and has attached to it the bishop's residence. Clifton college is a very handsome edifice, for the education of young gentlemen; and has an elegant chapel, built in 1867, at a cost of £5,500, in memorial of Canon Guthrie. The blind asylum is a building in the early English style. Hannah More lived some time in a house in Windsor terrace, and died there; and her protegée, Yearsley, was a native.

The parish comprises 740 acres. Real property, £127,239. Pop. in 1841, 14,177; in 1861, 21,375. Houses, 2,968. There are eight livings, Clifton-with-Dowry and St. James, St. John-Redland, Trinity, Christ Church, St. Paul, St. Peter, Emmanuel, and All Saints; and most are vicarages in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol. Value of Clifton-with-Dowry, £782; of St. John, £160; of Trinity, £254; of St. Peter, £80; of All Saints, £150; of the others, not reported. Patron of St. John-Redland, the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol; of Trinity, Trustees; of the others, Simeon's Trustees. The sub-district is conterminate with the parish. The district comprehends also the sub-district of St. George, conterminate with the parish of St. George; the sub-district of St. Philip and Jacob, conterminate with the out-parish of St. Philip and Jacob; the sub-district of Ashley, containing the parish of Horfield and the united out-parish of St. James and St. Paul; the sub-district of Westbury, containing the parishes of Westbury-upon-Trym and Compton-Greenfield, and part of the parish of Henbury; and the sub-district of Stapleton. containing the parishes of Stapleton, Filton, Stoke-Gifford, and Winterbourne. Acres, 29,475. Poor-rates, in 1862, £38,425. Pop., in 1841, 65,781; in 1861, 94,687. Houses, 15,838. Marriages in 1860, 639; births, 2,948, of which 74 were illegitimate; deaths, 1,662, of which 626 were at ages under 5 years, and 42 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 5,707; births, 26,904; deaths, 18,123. The places of worship in 1851 were 28 of the Church of England, with 19,185 sittings; 9 of Independents, with 3,160 s.; 8 of Baptists, with 2,440 s.; 2 of Quakers, with 418 s; 1 of Unitarians, with 190 s.; 19 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 4,672 s.; 4 of Primitive Methodists, with 993 s.; 1 of the Wesleyan Association, with 40 s.; 12 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 2,101 s.; 3 undefined, with 435 s.; 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 280 s.; and 4 of Roman Catholics, with 1,004 s. The schools were 47 public day schools, with 6,148 scholars; 135 private day schools, with 2,495 s.; 59 Sunday schools, with 7,387 s.; and 7 evening schools for adults, with 368 s. The workhouse is in Stapleton.

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

Clifton St Andrew

Clifton St Andrew is an Ancient Parish in the county of Gloucestershire.

Parish registers begin: 1538

Nonconformists include: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Independent/Congregational, Particular Baptist, Roman Catholic, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Parishes adjacent to Clifton St Andrew

  • Clifton Christ Church
  • Bristol St Michael and All Angels
  • Westbury-on-Trym
  • Bristol St George, Brandon Hill
  • King's Parade


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

Clifton Christ Church

Clifton Christ Church is an Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Gloucestershire, created in 1844 from Clifton St Andrew Ancient Parish.

Parish registers begin: 1844

Nonconformists include:

Parishes adjacent to Clifton Christ Church

Clifton St Andrew


  • County: Gloucestershire
  • Civil Registration District: Clifton
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Bristol (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Gloucester and Bristol
  • Rural Deanery: Bristol
  • Poor Law Union: Clifton
  • Hundred: Barton Regis
  • Province: Canterbury


Parish Records


Online Records (Free)

Census returns for Clifton, 1841-1891

Births and baptisms, 1833-1837 Wesleyan Church (Clifton, Gloucestershire)

Bishop's transcripts for All Saints Church, Clifton, 1868-1892

Bishop's transcripts for Holy Trinity Church, Clifton, 1864

Bishop's transcripts for St. Andrew's Church, Clifton, 1695-1868

Bishop's transcripts for St. John Evangelist Church, Clifton, 1842-1874

Bishop's transcripts for St. Paul's Church, Clifton, 1859-1869

Bishop's transcripts for St. Peter's Church, Clifton, 1856-1872

Church records, 1759-1972

England, Gloucestershire, Bridge Street Congregational Chapel, church records, 1785-1871

England, Gloucestershire, Clifton, All Saints Church, parish registers, 1868-1932

England, Gloucestershire, Clifton, Christ Church, parish registers, 1844-1932

England, Gloucestershire, Clifton, Church records for Blackboy Hill Wesley Hall Chapel, 1898-1917

England, Gloucestershire, Clifton, church records for Church of the Apostles Catholic Church, 1842-1928

England, Gloucestershire, Clifton, Church records for Grenville Place Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, 1839-1939

England, Gloucestershire, Clifton, Church records for Hope Chapel, 1811-1946

England, Gloucestershire, Clifton, church records for Pembroke Chapel, 1866-1922

England, Gloucestershire, Clifton, Emmanuel Church, parish registers, 1869-1932

England, Gloucestershire, Clifton, Holy Trinity Church, parish registers, 1864-1932

England, Gloucestershire, Clifton, St. Andrew the Less, parish registers, 1873-1932

England, Gloucestershire, Clifton, St. Andrew's Church, parish registers, 1538-1942

England, Gloucestershire, Clifton, St. Anselm's Church, parish registers

England, Gloucestershire, Clifton, St. John the Evangelist's Church, parish registers, 1841-1932

England, Gloucestershire, Clifton, St. Paul's Church, parish registers, 1859-1932

Parish chest records, 1708-1940

Parish register transcripts, St. Andrew, Clifton, Gloucestershire, 1538-1837

Parish registers for St. Andrew's Church, Clifton, 1538-1951

Parish registers for St. John the Evangelist Church, Clifton, 1841-1979

Parish registers for St. Paul's Church, Clifton, 1859-1944


Below is a list of people that were declared bankrupt between 1820 and 1843 extracted from The Bankrupt Directory; George Elwick; London; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; 1843.

Badham John, Clifton, Gloucestershire, cabinet maker, Dec 11, 1824.

Bowering John, Clifton, near Bristol, butcher, April 4, 1837.

Burton Richard, Berkley place, Clifton, Gloucester, victualler, Nov. 30, 1832.

Carpenter William, Clifton, Gloucestershire, medicine vender, Nov. 23, 1827.

Gatehouse Charles, Clifton, Bristol, surgeon, Nov. 23, 1841.

Grant Moses, Clifton, Gloucestershire, lodging-house keeper, Nov. 22, 1823.

Harman John. Clifton, Bristol, jeweller, July 1, 1836.

Hunter John, Clifton, Gloucestershire, wine merchant, Sept. 5, 1826.

James John, Clifton, Bristol, grocer and tea dealer, Dec. 6, 1836.

Kington William, Clifton, Bristol, builder, Nov. 22, 1839.

Lithaby Thomas, Clifton, Bristol, mason and builder, Jan. 16, 1833.

Mechelen Joseph, Clifton, Gloucestershire, publisher, Feb. 24, 1835.

Miller Joseph, Clifton, Bristol, cabinet maker, June 8, 1841.

Morgan Thomas, Clifton, Gloucestershire, painter & glazier, Sept. 25, 1827.

Warne George, Clifton, Gloucestershire, hotel keeper, Dec. 23, 1828.

Wheeler Ann Eliza, Spinster, Clifton. Bristol, milliner, March 19, 1841.