Cirencester Universal British Directory 1791

Is a large populous market and borough-town, situate near the borders of Wiltshire.  At this place three of the ancient military roads of the Romans met, i.e. the Foss-way, the Irmin-street, and the Icknild-street.  The chief trade of the town is woolstapling, and the manufacture of heavy edge-tools, which are generally much esteemed.  From the junction of the Thames with the Severn a cut has been made to Cirencester, by which means it has the advantage of water-carriage to most parts of the kingdom.
This town is by some reckoned the largest, as well as the oldest, town in the county.  It is said to have been built by Cissa, one of the Saxon vice-roys.  It was of great note, both under the Romans and Saxons, of whom it is said, the latter built the abbey here, of which two old gate-houses still remain, as does the abbey-barn.  Its abbot was mitred.  King Canute, the Dane, held a general council here, anno 1020.  It was formerly two miles round, but suffered so much by the Danes, the baron wars, the civil war, &c. that not above one-fourth of that compass is now inhabited.  The air is remarkable healthy.  Coming into the town from Gloucester, a great part of the street is a hollow-way, where a portion of the river Churn runs, which empties itself into one of the arms of that river at the second bridge.  Tradition says, the river formerly ran through the town.  The Stroudwater navigation has communication with this town, from which great advantage cannot but arise.  It had also three parish churches, though now but one, a large and beautiful building, supported by two rows of pillars; whose tower is forty-four yards high, wherein are twelve bells and chimes.  The chapels, of which there are five, have some good monuments, and those of St. Mary and St. John stone roofs.  The windows, now mutilated, were formerly of painted glass.  The altar is without rails, but paved with black and white marble.  It has a stone pulpit and two fonts, one modern of marble, and an old one of stone on a pillar.  St. Laurence’s church is now converted into dwelling-houses.  The south porch of St. John’s church is a fine Gothic structure, 38 feet broad, and 50 high.  Over this porch is the town-hall.  There are several grave-stone with very ancient dates.  It has its name from the river Churn, that passes by it towards the Thames, and the word Cestre, i.e. castle, it having been fortified by the Romans, and is the Corinium of Ptolemy, and the Durocornovium of Antoninus.  King Henry III took its castle from the barons and demolished it.  Henry IV gave it a charter and several privileges, and Queen Elizabeth gave them another, by which it was incorporated, with a steward and bailiff, but it is now governed by two high-constables, and fourteen wardsmen over the seven wards, appointed annually at the court-leet.  The lower part of the Tolsey is now converted into a grocer’s shop, and the rooms over it into a dwelling-house.  It is observed, that in this town the first act of rebellion was committed in 1641, and that here was the first blood shed at the memorable revolution in 1668.  the foundation of the old wall is visible in many places, and on examination, in 1774, was found to be eight feet thick; built with hewn stone.  Antiquities, especially Roman, are dug up here every day, as  was a fine mosaic pavement, particularly in a tract of ground, now converted into a garden, &c. called the Leauses, where great quantities of ancient carvings and inscriptions are dug up.  A Roman building, supported by brick pillars three feet and a half high, was discovered near this spot in 1723, and several sepulchral stones, some with, some without, inscriptions.  In 1780 the ground was opened, and a building that had extended upwards of forty-three feet explored; it consisted of three floors, supported by pillars, and evidently appear to have been the remains of hypocausts, or subterraneous ovens.  A tesselated floor was found in a garden in Dyer-street, under the shambles at Boot-hall; and another in digging a cellar in Mr. Cripps’s house.  The coins found were chiefly of Antoninus, Dioclesian, and Constantine.  There is a piece of ground on the South-west of the town, just without the city-wall, called the Querns, full of large heaps of stones, but now covered with herbage, within which is a plot called the Bull-ring, which very probably was a Roman theatre.  Here are several hospitals and alms-houses, besides a charity-school for twenty boys, that are clothed in yellow, and taught to make stockings; and another for twenty girls, who are put out apprentices.  And a legacy of 80l was here left by an old taylor, to be lent to young tradesmen, for two years, without interest, to set them up, upon giving good and sufficient security to repay the same.
Cirencester has sent two members to parliament since A.D. 1568.  Although there have been many resolutions of the committees of the house on the right of election for this borough, yet none of them have received the sanction of the house of commons; the right is consequently at present undefined.  The only resolution upon the journals is the general one of the 1st of May 1624, which neither excludes any part of the borough, nor any description of householders; but the returning officer, at the last general election in 1790, rejected the votes of all the householders in the Abbey, the Emery, and the Spiringate-lane, in consequence of a resolution of the house of commons, in 1709.  The influence has for many years been in the family of earl Bathurst, who has the appointment of the returning officer at his court-leet.  The number of voters is about 600.
Here are two good weekly markets on Monday and Friday, and three annual fairs, viz. Easter-Tuesday, July 18, and November 8.
Cirencester is distant from Bristol 36 miles, Bath 33, Oxford 34, Gloucester 17, Tetbury 10, Cheltenham 14, and London 90.  The London mail-coach arrives every morning at ten o’clock, and sets out at four in the afternoon.  A stage-coach sets out Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, evenings, at six o’clock, from the Swan inn.  There are wagons to London, Bristol, and Gloucester, weekly.  The principal inns are, the King’s Head, Ram, and Swan.
The bankers are – Messrs. Pitt, Croomes, Bowley, and Brown, who draw on Messrs. Smith, Wright, and Gray, London; and Messrs. Bedwell and Williamson, who draw on Messrs. R. and T. Harrison and Co. London.

The following are the principal inhabitants:

Gentry, &c.
Austin John Jervis, Gent. (F.)
Bathurst Right Hon. Earl
Blandford Mrs.
Cripps Edward, Gent. (F.)
Cripps John, Gent. (F.)
Cripps Joseph, Gent. (F.)
Coxe Mrs. Catherine
Cripps Mrs. Mary
Church Mrs.
Hill James, Gent. (F.)
Master Thomas, Esq. (F.) M.P
Master Richard, Esq. M.P.
Pitt Joseph, Gent. Bailiff of the Borough
Rawse Mrs.
Ready John Chaunler, Esq. Steward of the Manor
Sandford Robert, Esq. (F.)
Selfe Richard, Esq. (F.)
Sheppard John, Esq.
Small John, Esq. Distributor of Stamps
Small Miss Jane
Small Miss Frances
Shellard Mrs. Catherine
Smith John, gent.
Timbrell Robert, Esq. (F.)
Timbrell John, Gent. (F.)
Turner William, Gent. (F.)
Wilbraham Mrs.
Yarnold Thomas, Gent.

Clergy.
Kilner Rev. Joseph
Matthews Rev. William
Miles Rev. Henry
Washbourn Rev. John, D.D. (F.)
Willes Rev. William Shippen, (F.)

Physic.
Brooks John Wallis, Surgeon
Harden Thomas, Surgeon
Lawrence William, (F.) Surgeon
Mount Thomas, (F.) Surgeon
Smith John, (F.) Druggist

Law.
Carter John, Attorney
Jones Thomas, Attorney
Lediard Thomas, Attorney
Pitt Joseph, (F.) Attorney
Ready John Chaunler, (F.) Attorney
Whatley David, Attorney

Traders, &c.
Archer David, (F.) Weaver & Dyer
Ballinger John, Carpet-maker
Barton Robert, Victualler
Baskerville Samuel, Grocer
Bedwell and Williamson, Mercers
Bingham Daniel, Cabinet-maker
Blake Joseph, Stocking-maker
Blackwell Nicholas, Victualler
Borton Joseph, (F.) Grocer and Wine-merchant
Bowley Daniel, (F.) Maltster
Bowley Samuel, (F.) Woolstapler
Bowley William, (F.) Maltster
Bowley Devereux, (F.) Woolstapler
Bown Jacob, Baker
Boyce Mr. Mercer
Brewer Joseph, (F.) Maltster
Brewer Edward, Grocer
Brewer George, (F.) Sadler
Brewer John, (F.) Chair-maker
Brown John, Soap-boiler
Brown Joseph, Innkeeper (Swan)
Brown Joseph, jun. Grocer
Brown Thomas, (F.) Distiller
Budding William, Baker
Burroughs William, Wool-comber
Canter John, (F.) Plumber & Glazier
Canter Samuel, (F.) Victualler
Chappel Job, Cabinet-maker
Cherrington John, Ironmonger
Cleveland Joseph, Woolstapler
Clutterbuck James, Carpenter
Coates John and Wm. Watch-makers
Cole William, (F.) Shopkeeper
Colen Thomas, Baker
Coxe Charles, (F.) Edge-tool-maker
Coxe Thomas, (F.) Edge-tool-maker
Cox Thomas, Woolstapler
Croome Rob. And Wm. (F.) Cheese-factors
Crossley Thomas, (F.) Plumber and Glazier
Daby Israel, Grocer
Dadge James, Baker
Davis Richard, Baker
Deighton John, Edge-tool-maker
Edwards Maurice, Cornfactor
Evans James, School-master
Field Amelia, Boarding-school
Fisher Thomas, Currier
Fletcher Richard, (F.) Wheelwright
Flux Thomas, (F.) Painter
Flux Thomas, Carpenter
Flux William, Carpenter
Forder Thomas, (F.) Baker
Fox John, Victualler
Franklin James, (F.) Stone-cutter
Fryer Richard, Shoemaker
Gale Mary, Innkeeper (King’s Head)
Gardiner Mary, Mercer
Garlick William, Shoemaker
Gardiner John, Baker
Gardiner Samuel, Weaver
Gardiner Samuel, jun. Grocer
Garland John, Grocer
Gegg Joseph, (F.) Hatter
Gegg Samuel, Stocking-maker
Gibbs Jasper, (F.) Soap-boiler
Gillman Samuel, Whitesmith
Godwin John, Worsted-maker
Greening Henry, Sadler
Griffin Thomas, Cooper
Hall and Jasper, (F.) Rectifiers
Hall Richard, Surveyor
Hewer William, (F.) Brewer
Hill James, (F.) Coal-merchant
Hill John, Whitesmith
Hill William, (F.) Wheelwright and Salt-merchant
Higgins Thomas, (F.) Basket-maker
Hoare Mr. Woolstapler
Howse Thomas, Brazier
Ivin John, (F.) Mason
Ivin Solomon, (F.) Meal-man
James William, (F.) Glover
Jenner William, (F.) Mercer
Jenkins Thomas, Cheesefactor
Jenkins Mary, Butcher
Jones William, Grocer
Lawrence George, Farrier
Lewis James, (F.) Mercer
Ludlow James, (F.) Shopkeeper
Masters Daniel, Cheesefactor
Masters John, Baker
Masters Thomas, (F.) Carrier
Maisey John, (F.) Shoemaker
Manning Samuel, Shoemaker
Matthews Richard, (F.) Hair-dresser
Miles James, Plumber and Glazier
Mills Anthony, Mason
Mills John, Mason
Milton John, Woolcomber
Milton Samuel, (F.) Shopkeeper
Moisson Julian, Dancing-master
Newcombe Joseph, (F.) Maltster
Newcombe William, (F.) Woolstapler
Osborne Joseph, Victualler
Parslow A. and M. Milliners
Parsons Charles, Post-master
Pitt James, (F.) Woolstapler
Poulton Michael, Woolcomber
Radway Giles, (F.) Timber-merchant
Radway Thomas, (F.) Woolstapler
Reynolds Bryan, Baker
Richardson Mary, Mercer
Richardson Mary, Brewer
Rose Anne, Tea-dealer
Roberts John, (F.) Ironmonger
Rudder Samuel, (F.) Printer
Russell John, Butcher
Sainsbury Mary, boarding-school
Saunders Mrs. Boarding-school
Sanger John, Ironmonger
Saunders John, (F.) Innholder
Saunders William, (F.) Innholder
Selby Anne, Innholder
Scott Edward, Maltster
Smith and Tuck, Milliners
Smith Joseph, Brazier
Smith Mr. Currier
Stevens Timothy, (F.) Bookseller
Stevens Thomas, Baker
Stevens William, Watch-maker
Stephens and Co. Milliners
Stacy John, Hatter
Stronge Thomas, Mercer
Smart William, (F.) Mealman
Tarling Richard, Butcher
Thompson Robert, (F.) Maltster
Tipper Mary, Wheelwright
Tombs Thomas, Glazier
Tovey Robert, (F.) Slater
Townsend Thomas, Baker
Tully John, Joiner
Turner Thomas, Mercer
Turner Wm. Coal and Salt-merchant
Turke Mr. Staymaker
Tyler Robert, (F.) Innkeeper (Ram)
Veisey Thomas, (F.) Maltster
Waight Henry, (F.) School-master
Waters Samuel, Mercer
Wavel Henry, (F.) Draper
Webb Samuel, Maltster
Webb William, (F.) Sadler
Whatley George, Organist
Wheatley Jarvis, Glover
White John, Cutler
Wilkins John, (F.) Woolstapler
Wilkins John, (F.) Butcher
Wilkins Wm. (F.) Edge-tool-maker
Wilkins Stephen, (F.) Woolstapler
Wood John, Glover
Wood William, Roper
Young Mr. Butcher

The following gentlemen (all freeholders of the county) reside in the neighbourhood of Cirencester: – Estcourt Cresswell, Esq. and the Rev. Mr. Somerville, at Bibury; Rev. Charles Coxwell, at Ablington; William Tyndale, Esq. the Rev. John Alleyne, and Mr. William Kimber, Gent. at North Cerney; Rev. Mr. Daubeny, at Stratton; Rev. Mr. Findon, at Dunsborne; Rev. Mr. Chapman, and Giles Haynes, Gent. at Daglingworth; Charles Westly Cox, esq. at Kemble. – Adjoining the town is the noble mansion and beautiful and extensive plantations called Oakley-park, the seat of Earl Bathurst. – Not far from Cirencester, is Badminton, the seat of his grace the Duke of Beaufort.  This magnificent mansion stands almost in the centre of a large tract of ground, inclosed by a wall near ten miles in circumference, within which are several distinct parks for red and fallow deer; in these parks are many large and beautiful plantations of firs and forest-trees.  The grand approach is though the park, from Worcester Lodge, which is a fine lofty free-stone building, with iron gates: this stands at the distance of two miles and three quarters from the house, by the road to Cirencester.  Here is a fine collection of paintings, done by some of the most eminent of the old masters; also several marble, &c. antiques.  The library is very noble, and contains a vast number of valuable books.  Here is likewise a beautiful cabinet, made of lapis lazuli; an many curiosities, well worth attention.  The parish-church adjoins the house, and was lately built at the Duke’s expence.  It is a very handsome structure; the inside is light and airy; the wood-work is of Dutch oak, not painted over, but highly varnished with copal, and looks very beautiful; the altar is richly decorated; and upon the pavement, with the rails, are the arms of Beaufort, with supporters, &c. done in mosaic, composed of lapis lazuli and other curious forts of marble.  Here is a fine picture representing Christ disputing with the doctors; also two superb marble monuments, one erected to the memory of the late duke, the other to his father: these were made in Italy.

Source: Universal British Directory 1791

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