Tewkesbury Gloucestershire Family History


Last updated on September 3rd, 2017

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

Other places in the parish include: Mythe and Mythe Hook and Southwick.

Tewkesbury Ancient Parish

Parish Church: St. Mary
Parish registers begin: 1559

Tewkesbury Holy Trinity

In 1837 a new church was built in Oldbury Road and consecrated as Holy Trinity church. Due to opposition to the formation of a new ecclesiastical parish in 1849, Holy Trinity parish was not separated from the parish of the abbey church until 1893.

Nonconformists in Tewkesbury include: Baptist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Independent/Congregational, Particular Baptist, Presbyterian, Society of Friends/Quaker, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

Parishes adjacent to Tewkesbury

Historical Descriptions

Tewkesbury

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

Tewkesbury. – mun. bor., market town, and par., Gloucestershire, on river Avon, at its confluence with the Severn, 9 miles NW. of Cheltenham and 114 miles from London by rail, 2619 ac., pop. 5100; P.O., T.O., 2 Banks, 2 newspapers. Market-days, Wednesday and Saturday. Tewkesbury is famed for its fine parish church, a most interesting example of Norman architecture, and all that remains of the celebrated monastery of Tewkesbury, founded in 715. It is also famed as the scene of the great battle (1471) which placed the crown on the head of Edward IV. The mfrs., once considerable, have greatly declined; they are now chiefly cotton stockings, lace, and silk. The trade is mostly agricultural. Tewkesbury was incorporated by Elizabeth in 1574; it returned 2 members to Parliament from 1609 until 1867, and 1 member from 1867 until 1885.
Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

Tewkesbury (St. Mary), a borough, market town, and parish, having separate jurisdiction, and the head of a union, locally in the Lower division of the hundred of Tewkesbury, E. division of the county of Gloucester, 10 miles (N. N. E.) from Gloucester, and 103 (W. N. W.) from London; containing, with the township of Mythe, and that of Southwick with Park, 5862 inhabitants. This place, which is of great antiquity, is supposed to have derived its name from Theot, a Saxon recluse, who, during the latter period of the heptarchy, founded a hermitage here, where he lived in solitude and devotion, and after whom it was called Theotisberg, from which its present appellation is deduced. In 1015, a monastery was founded here by the two brothers Odo and Dodo, dukes of Mercia, and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary; which, after having experienced great injury during the Danish wars, became a cell to the abbey of Cranborne in Dorsetshire. After the Conquest, Robert Fitz-Hamon, who had attended William in his expedition to Britain, enlarged the buildings of the monastery, and so amply augmented its possessions, that the monks of Cranborne removed in 1101 to Tewkesbury, which they made their principal seat. It was subsequently raised into an abbey of Benedictine monks, and continued to flourish till the Dissolution, when its revenue was estimated at £1598. 1. 3. The last decisive battle between the Yorkists and the Lancastrians took place within half a mile of Tewkesbury, in 1471; on which memorable occasion, many of the principal nobility were slain on both sides, and not less than 3000 of the Lancastrian troops. Queen Margaret, who headed her own forces, was intrenched on the summit of an eminence called the Home Ground, at the distance of a mile from the town, east of the Gloucester road; while the troops of Edward IV., who had advanced by way of Tredington, occupied the sloping ground to the south, called the Red Piece. The victory was decisive in favour of the Yorkists, the defeat of the Lancastrians being ascribed to the treacherous inactivity of Lord Wenlock, one of their generals, whom the chief commander, the Duke of Somerset, struck dead on the field with his battle-axe. After their defeat, the Duke of Somerset, with about 20 other distinguished persons, took shelter in the church, from which they were dragged with violence, and immediately beheaded. At the commencement of the great civil war in the reign of Charles I., Tewkesbury was occupied by the parliamentarians, who were afterwards driven out by the royalists, by whom it was afterwards lost and retaken; in 1644 it was surprised and captured by Col. Massie, governor of Gloucester, for the parliamentarians, in whose possession it remained till the conclusion of the war.
The town is pleasantly situated in the northern part of the luxuriant vale of Gloucester, and on the eastern bank of the river Avon, near its confluence with the Severn. It is nearly surrounded by the small rivers Carron and Swilgate, both which fall into the Avon; and is handsome and well built, consisting principally of three streets, lighted with gas, and well paved: the houses are in general of brick, occasionally interspersed with ancient timber-and-brick buildings; and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water. Considerable improvements have taken place, among which may be noticed the ranges of building erected to the east of the High-street, on a tract of land called Oldbury; and the formation of a new street. An elegant cast-iron bridge, opening a direct communication between London and Hereford, was constructed over the Severn in 1826, near the beautiful hamlet of Mythe, within half a mile of the town, at an expense of £36,000; it consists of one noble arch, 172 feet in span, with a light iron balustrade. Near the division of the Worcester and Pershore roads is an ancient bridge of several arches over the Avon, which was widened and improved in 1836, and from which a level causeway has been formed to the iron bridge. A mechanics’ institution was established in 1838.
About the beginning of the 15th century, this place seems to have had a considerable trade upon the Severn. A petition was forwarded to the house of peers, in the 8th of Henry VI., stating that the inhabitants had been accustomed “to ship all manner of merchandise down the Severn to Bristol,” and complaining of the disorderly conduct of the people in the Forest of Dean, who are reported to have stopped and plundered their ships as they passed by the coasts near the forest. For the redress of these grievances an act was passed in the same year; and in 1580, Queen Elizabeth made Tewkesbury an independent port, which grant, however, was afterwards revoked, on a petition from the inhabitants of Bristol. The town formerly enjoyed a large trade in woollen-cloth, and was celebrated for the manufacture of mustard of superior quality. A principal branch of trade at present is stocking frame-work knitting. The manufacture of cotton-thread lace was established at Oldbury in 1825; a good trade is carried on in malt, and some in leather, and there is a factory for nails. An extensive distillery and a rectifying establishment were opened in 1770; the former has been abandoned, but the latter is still conducted advantageously. A very considerable carrying-trade centres here, in connexion with the Avon and the Severn, and goods are conveyed by land and water to all parts of the kingdom: on the bank of the Avon are large corn-mills, formerly belonging to the abbey. There is a branch railway, 2 miles and 10 chains in length, from the centre of the High-street to the Birmingham and Bristol railway at Ashchurch; the station has an elegant front. The market-days are Wednesday and Saturday, the former for corn, sheep, and pigs, and the latter for poultry and provisions. Fairs take place on the second Monday in March, the second Wednesday in April, May 14th, the first Wednesday after September 4th, and on October 10th, for cattle, leather, and pedlery: statute-fairs are held on the Wednesday before, and the Wednesday after. Old Michaelmas-day; and great cattle-markets on the second Wednesday in June, August, and December. The market-house is a handsome building, with Doric columns and pilasters.
Tewkesbury, which is a borough by prescription, was first incorporated in 1574, by Queen Elizabeth, whose charter was confirmed by James I. in the third year of his reign; from which time, other charters were bestowed by various monarchs. By the act 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76, the corporation now consists of a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors; the number of magistrates is eight. Several trading companies were incorporated under the charter, but the only one now in existence is the Cordwainers’. The town first received the elective franchise in the 7th of James I., since which it has continued to return two members to parliament: the right of election was extended in 1832, to the £10 householders of the entire parish: the mayor is returning officer. The recorder holds quarterly courts of session, for all offences not capital; a court of petty-sessions occurs every Friday; and there is a court of record for the recovery of debts not exceeding £50. The town hall is a handsome building, erected in 1788 by Sir William Codrington, Bart., at an expense of £1200; the lower part is appropriated to the courts, and the upper contains a hall for the meetings of the corporation, and an assembly-room. At the northern extremity of the High-street is the common gaol, house of correction, and penitentiary for the borough, built in 1816, at a cost of £3420, and since enlarged and improved; it has four wards for the classification of prisoners. The powers of the county debt-court of Tewkesbury, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Tewkesbury. The county magistrates hold a petty-session for the division every alternate Wednesday.
The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £313. The church, situated in the south-western part of the town, and formerly the collegiate church of the monastery, is a cruciform structure principally in the Norman style, with a noble and richly ornamented tower rising from the centre. The nave and choir, of which the latter was repaired in 1796, at an expense of £2000, are separated from the aisles by a range of cylindrical columns and circular arches, highly enriched with mouldings and other ornaments employed in the Norman style. The nave is lighted by clerestory windows in the later English style, inserted in the Norman arches of the triforium, and the chancel by an elegant range of windows in the decorated style, with rich tracery, and adorned with considerable portions of ancient stained glass. In the aisles and transepts the windows are of the decorated and later styles; and the large west window, in the later style, is inserted in a very lofty Norman arch of great depth, with shafts and mouldings richly ornamented. The roof is finely groined, and at the intersections of the ribs is embellished with figures of angels playing on musical instruments. The east end of the choir is hexagonal, and contains several beautiful chantry chapels, in the decorated style. The Lady chapel and the cloisters have been destroyed, but the arches which led to them may be traced outside the building, and on the north side are the remains of the chapterhouse, now used for a school. The church contains a fine series of monuments, from the earliest period of the decorated to the most recent period of the later style, among which are several to early patrons of the abbey, and to those who fell in the battle of Tewkesbury. In a light and elegant chapel on the north side of the choir, erected by Abbot Parker in 1397, is the tomb of Robert Fitz-Hamon, the founder, who was killed at Falaise, in Normandy, in 1107, and whose remains, after having been interred in the chapter-house, were removed into the church in 1241. An altar-tomb, inclosed with arches surmounted by an embattled cornice, on which are the figures of a knight and his lady, is supposed to have been erected for Hugh le Despenser and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of William Montacute, Earl of Salisbury. Near this is a beautiful sepulchral chapel, built by Isabel, Countess of Warwick, for her first husband Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Worcester, who was killed at the siege of Meaux, in 1421; it is profusely ornamented, and the roof, which is embellished with tracery, was supported on six pillars of blue marble, two of which are still remaining. Trinity church was erected in 1837, of red brick with stone dressings: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of Trustees. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyaus; and a Roman Catholic chapel.
The free grammar school was founded in 1576, and endowed with £20 per annum, by Mr. Ferrers, and has some land purchased with money left by Sir Dudley Digges. The Blue-coat school is endowed with one twelfth part of the rents of a farm in Kent, devised for charitable uses by Lady Capel, in 1721: the national school, under the superintendence of the same master, was established in 1813; and a building for the two schools was erected adjoining the churchyard, in 1817, at an expense of £1345. There are various charitable bequests for the poor; the late Samuel Barnes, Esq., erected a large almshouse in the Oldbury for 24 parishioners, which he endowed with land for their support. Near the entrance into the town from Gloucester is the old house of industry, a large brick building, now used for the poor-law union of Tewkesbury, which comprises 23 parishes or places, 16 in the county of Gloucester and 7 in that of Worcester, the whole containing a population of 14,957.
Of the monastic buildings, with the exception of the church, there are few remains: the principal is the gateway, which appears to have been erected in the 15th century, and is surmounted with an embattled parapet rising above the cornice. Roman coins have been frequently dug up in the vicinity of the town: in 1828, several were found near the church. One of the most beautiful and perfect specimens of the Ichthyosaurus, or fish lizard, was found on Brockridge Common in August 1841, measuring 6 feet 10 inches in length. At Walton is a mineral spring, whose properties resemble those of the waters at Cheltenham. On the south-west side of the town is a tumulus, from which the descent to the Severn is precipitous and abrupt, and which, from a visit of George III. in 1788, has obtained the name of Royal Hill. Alan of Tewkesbury, an inmate of the abbey, and the friend and biographer of Thomas a Becket, was a native of the town. Tewkesbury gave the title of Baron to George I., previously to his accession to the throne.
Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848

Mythe and Mythe Hook

Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales Circa 1870

Mythe and Mythe-Hook, two hamlets in Tewkesbury parish, Gloucester; 1 mile N of Tewkesbury. Real property, £1,647. Pop., 83.
Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Administration

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

Family History Links

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Tewkesbury Parish Register Transcripts by William Good

 

Credits

Photo of Abbey Church of St Mary by Robin Poitou, some rights reserved.

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