Berkeley Gloucestershire Universal British Directory 1791

Pleasantly situated on a branch of the Severn, is a very ancient corporated town, under the government of a mayor and twelve aldermen: is has also a court for the recovery of small debts, held every three weeks, by the steward of the lord of the manor.  The castle of Berkeley is a noble Gothic structure, and has been for several centuries the residence of the Earls of Berkeley.  It was begun to be built in the reign of Henry I and finished in that of Stephen, and was enlarged and repaired in the reign of Henry II.  Its hall is very large and much admired.  It stands on a rising ground among the meadows, commanding a delightful view of the surrounding country and river Severn.  In the civil wars it suffered considerably; as it did a few years since by an accidental fire.  The present building consists of a range of apartments round an irregular court.  The room in which king Edward II was imprisoned is still to be seen.  The town consists chiefly of one street of mean buildings. – The church is a large handsome edifice; the tower, which is new, stands at a distance from it.  In the church are some elegant monuments of the Berkeleys, who now have a vault built for the family.  The Severn, for almost 6 miles, runs by this parish, which lies so low, that it is reckoned neither pleasant nor healthy, but it is famous for producing good cheese.  The town carries on a considerable trade in timber, coal, malt, and cheese: it has a weekly market on Tuesday, and an annual fair on the 14th of May.  At one mile distant is the village of Newport, through which passes the great road from Bath, Bristol, &c. to the North of England, via Gloucester. At Newport are three good inns, (particularly the Lion inn and post-office,) well provided with accommodation for travellers.  Post in and out every day; Christian Halling, post-master.  In this parish are very extensive linseed-oil mills, the property of John Cave, Esq. of Bristol.  Berkeley has several sloops that navigate the Severn, but none that are any ways constant in their passage to or from any particular place.  The living of Berkeley is in the gist of Earl Berkeley; it is worth about 300l per annum.  It is the largest parish in the county.  The name of the place is derived from Berk, a beech, and Leas, pasture: it consists chiefly of rich meadow-grounds; and above 30 parishes depend on this manor, for which a fee-farm rent was paid, in king Henry II’s time, of 500l 17s 2d which shews the vast extent and value of this estate.  Berkeley is distant from London 113 miles, Bristol 18, Gloucester 16, Dursley 5, and Thornbury 8.  The following are the principal inhabitants:


Bromedge John Hooper, Gent. (F.)

Bick John, Gent.

Croome James, Gent. (F.)

Cox John Gent. (F.)

Cornock John, Gent. (F.)

Cornock William, Gent. (F.)

Cornock William, Gent. (F.) Wick

Hickes Nicholas, Esq. (F.)

Hickes Nathaniel, Gent. (F.)

Hickes John, Gent. (F.)

Jenkins Stivard, Esq. (F.)

Pearce Edward, Gent. (F.)

Pick James, Gent. (F.)

Webb Thomas, Esq. (F.)

Wiltshire Anthony, Gent. (F.)


Hupsman Rev. Aug. Tho. (F.) Vicar

Jenner Rev. Stephen, (F.) Clerk


Hands John Cornelius, Surgeon

Jenner Edward, F.R.S. (F.) Surgeon


Cox John, (F.) Attorney

Hickes Nicholas, (F.) Attorney

Pearce Thomas, (F.) Attorney

Traders, &c.

Andrews Thomas, (F.) Smith

Black Mary

Clutterbuck Thomas, (F.) Grazier

Croome John, (F.) Tanner

Clark John, (F.) Builder

Clark Robert, Builder

Chandler Richard, Hatter

Davidge George, (F.) Plaisterer

Grafton William, Taylor and Draper

Gwynne Thomas, (F.) Soapboiler

Gillman Elizabeth

Hickes Thomas, (F.) Cheesefactor

Halling John, (F.) Brewer

Hopkins John, (F.) Taylor & Draper

Joynor Wm. (F.) Merchant & Coroner

Jones Thomas, Mealman

Irish Sarah, Butcher

Kingscote Elizabeth, Mercer

Latche Sarah, Mercer

Long Francis, Smith

Luce Lawrence, Peruke-maker

Merrett William, Coal-merchant

Marklove Daniel, (F.) Clothier

Marklove John, (F.) Cheesefactor

Neale Jane, Innkeeper

Neale Thomas, (F.) Salesman

Nicholas John, (F.) Schoolmaster

Niblett Richard, (F.) Glazier

Pearce Thomas, (F.) Merchant

Pearce James and Thomas, Smiths

Pearce Daniel, Collar-maker

Pearson James, Woolcomber

Parslow William Law. (F.) Grazier

Parslow John, Shoe-maker

Phillips John, Glazier

Russell James, (F.) Merchant

Russell John, Baker

Sheppard George, (F.) Maltster

Spillman William, (F.) Cheesefactor

Summers John, Mercer

Smith Mary, Innkeeper

Smith Richard, Butcher

Smith George, Butcher

Sidney Elizabeth, Innkeeper

Wallington Charles, Innkeeper

Winterson William, Innkeeper

Whitfield Jonah, Mealman

Woolright Tho. (F.) Timber-merchant

On the right of the road is Stanley, a little market-town, where was formerly a priory, the ruins whereof still appear.  The church is built in the form of a cross, with a tower in the middle.  A noble improvement has been made in these parts; for the Earl of Berkeley has finished a great bulwark at Frampton-upon-Severn, near this place, called Hock-Crib, the design of which is to enforce the river Severn, by Art’s-Point, into its former channel.  From Frampton the flowing tide runs in a straight line for about four miles in length Westward, with such rapidity, that, on its reaching the foot of an hill, on the left side of the ancient forest of Dean, and turning round to the Northward, it gathers into a head, that looks like an high weir across the river’s breadth; bearing every thing before it, till it comes to Newnham’s Nob, a natural bulwark, which turns the torrent so to the Eastward, that, when it reaches the North of Frampton, the land between the two parts of the river is but about a mile in breadth.

Source: The Universal British Directory of Trade, Commerce, and Manufacture 1791. Vol. 2.