Gloucester, Gloucestershire Family History Guide


Gloucester comprises the following parishes:

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

GLOUCESTER, popularly Gloster a city and a district in Gloucestershire. The city stands on the river Severn, and on Ermine and Ryknield-streets, 37½ miles NNE of Bristol, and 102 by railway, but 107 by road, WNW of London. The Severn is navigable past it; a ship-canal gives aid to its commerce; a canal connects it with the Thames; and the Bristol and Birmingham, the Great Western, and the South Wales railways give it communication with all parts of the kingdom.

History.—The original town on the city’s site was called, by the ancient Britons, Caergloeu, signifying the “bright fort;” by the Romans, Glevum, which was a corruption of Gloeu; and by the Saxons, Gleawancester. Gleawecester, or Glewcester. The ancient Britons were doubtless the founders of the original town; but at what date is not known. The Romans took possession of it soon after the invasion under the emperor Claudius, in 44; and they established here a great station, with a colony called Colonia Glevum, to check the incursions of the Silures, who inhabited South Wales. The natives, after the withdrawal of the Romans in the 5th century, suffered severely from internal dissensions, and from incursions of the Picts and Scots; insomuch that they became a ready prey to the Saxons, and are even said to have invited their protection. The Saxons took possession in 577; and they included the place in their kingdom of Mercia. King Wulphere rebuilt the town in 679; and Athelstan made it the site of a mint and a royal city. An abbey, a bishop’s seat, and a royal palace were now in it; and these magnified its importance, and made it a centre of events. The Danes plundered it in 836, 877, and 997. Kings Edgar, Edmund Ironside, and Edward the Confessor resided in it. Edmund Iron-side and Canute made a treaty here, in 1016, dividing all England between them. Edward the Confessor gave magnificent entertainment here, in 1051, to the Earl of Bologne, who had married his sister. William the Conqueror often held his court here; always spent the festive seasons here, attended by the principal nobility and clergy of the kingdom; and made great extensions of the city’s fortifications, for defence against the Welsh. William Rufus drew disaster on the city, in 1087, by contest with Count Robert, the brother of the Conqueror; and he here, in 1093, met Malcom III. of Scotland, for adjustment of differences on the English and Scottish borders. The citizens, about the 12th century, struck boldly for the cause of the empress Maud, and made strenuous but vain efforts to overpower Stephen. Henry III. was crowned here, in 1216, at the age of ten years; and his rebellions barons, under the Earl of Leicester, afterwards took possession of the town, but were dislodged, in 1263, by his son Prince Edward. The citizens, in the civil war of Charles I., took firm part with the parliament; made extraordinary exertions to strengthen their fortifications; resisted a siege, by an army, under the personal command of the king; were pronounced by a parliamentarian orator of the time, to have turned the tide against the royal cause; and incurred such anger on the part of Charles II. that, in punishment of their successful bravery, the fortifications of the city were entirely demolishes soon after the Restoration. Synods were held here in 804 and 1189; wittenagemotes, in 896 and 1053; and parliaments in 1234, 1278, 1320, 1378, 1403, 1407, 1417, and 1420. The parliament of 1278 is notable for the passing of acts concerning the liberties and franchises of the nation, known as the ” Statutes of Gloucester. ” William II. visited the city in 1099; Henry I., in 1123; Henry II., in 1175; Henry III., in 1234; Edward I., in 1278; Edward II., in 1319; Richard II., in 1378; Henry VI., in 1430; Richard III., in 1483; Henry VII., in 1485; Henry VIII., in 1535; James II., in 1685 and 1687; George III., in 1788; George IV., when Prince of Wales, in 1807; and the present Queen, when Princess Victoria.

Site and Structure.—The city stands in a beautiful valley, sheltered on the E by a range of hills; and it occupies a gentle eminence rising from the Severn, at its division by the Isle of Alney. The surrounding scenery, and the various approaches, are, for the most part, highly ornamental. Gardens, orchards, parks, and elegant villas adorn the environs; and pleasant villages, agreeable hamlets, well-conditioned farms, and many pieces of good close scenery are in the neighbourhood. The approach from Cirencester is the line of Ermine-street, and has, for a considerable distance, been planted with houses. The suburb of Wootton is there, containing some of the public buildings, and subjected, in 1861, to a new extension; and another suburb, called California, entirely modern, and forming of itself a little town, is on the south. Views of the city, from the best vantage-grounds in its vicinity, show the summits of its rich ecclesiastical architecture, striking upward from surrounding wood, in a magnificent group of towers and spires; whilst the near sheltering hills, cultivated to their tops the most conspicuous being “the famous hill of Robin Hood” display unusual variety and ornature.

The main streets of the ancient city are four, in cruciform arrangement, leading toward the cardinal points, and named Eastgate, Westgate, Northgate, and South-gate; but all, except Westgate, have been prolonged far beyond their original terminations. Numerous modern streets and lanes branch off; other streets, a handsome square, a number of villas, and the general features of a fashionable quarter, arose in the S after the discovery of a spa there in 1814; a new street from Southgate to the docks, an enlargement of the docks themselves, the formation of a new basin, and the erection there of several large warehouses and many new dwellings, followed the previous extension, and took great impulse from the opening of the railways; and a sweeping course of improvement throughout the ancient city, and all around it, in the removal of nuisances, the effecting of drainage, the demolition or renovation of old buildings, and the erection of numerous new structures, both public and private, has gone on till the present day. The general appearance of the city has been completely changed; the old houses, built of wood, with projecting stories, have, for the most part, entirely disappeared; the old streets, which formerly were very narrow and disagreeable, though still irregular and far from straight, are now, in general, broad, well-paved, picturesque, and pleasing; and the atmosphere of the place, which formerly was foul and noisome, is now kept pure by means of good drainage and a plentiful supply of water. The architectural remains of the middle ages are numerous and extremely fine; the architectural features of the modern edifices, on the whole, exhibit considerable variety and no small taste; and the architectural aspect of the city, in a general view, though possessing much breadth of plainness or worse, is very agreeable. The building material, in the new smaller works and private dwellings, is chiefly bricks; but in large works, where ornament is introduced, is chiefly stone. Improvement and extension, for some years, almost rose to a mania, and checked themselves; but they afterwards recovered tone, and went briskly forward. An instance of the rise of value occurred in the autumn of 1861, when a plot of ground, which had been purchased in 1815, for £70, was sold for £2, 000.

Public Buildings.—The city walls, and other fortifications, destroyed after the Restoration, were partly of high antiquity; and the eastern and north-eastern portions of them most probably included masonry of the Roman station, which was at Kingsholm. Roman coins, urns, coffins, beads, lamps, and a very fine steel-yard have been found there. The gates of the city were four; stood at the terminations of the four ancient streets; were allowed to remain after the demolition of the walls; and did not disappear till last century. The south gate suffered destruction during the siege in 1643, but was rebuilt in the same year; and an inscription was cut, in capital letters, round its arch, “A city assaulted by man, but saved by God.” A castle was built by William the Conqueror, on the site now occupied by the county gaol; and made a main figure in the military events down to the time of Charles I.; but has left no vestiges. The royal palace, inhabited or visited by so many kings, stood at Kingsholm. An octangular cross, 64½ feet high, stood at the intersection of the four chief streets; was erected in the time of Richard III.; had eight niched statues of monarchs, and a column supporting a globe; and was taken down in 1749. An ancient conduit also was in the city; but has been removed to a private garden. A gate, of the Tudor period, stands at the ancient entrance of the Cathedral precinct; and is near a bridge of five arches, built in the time of Henry II. The New Inn probably occupies the site of a very ancient hospice; was built by John Turning, a monk of the 15th century; served for the accommodation of pilgrims; belongs now to the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester; and has “two tiers of galleries leading to dormitories, still fit to receive an audience of Chaucer’s pilgrims, or display the mummeries of a band of Shakespear’s carriers.”

The Tolsey, or Town Hall, occupies the site of the Roman capitol; is an edifice of red brick, with stone dressings; has a decoration of the city arms; and serves, in its lower storeys, as the post office, in the upper parts, for the business of the corporation and the magistrates. The Shire-hall, in Westgate, was built in 1816; is an edifice in the Ionic style, 300 feet long and 82 feet wide; has a tetrastyle portico, with columns 32 feet high; and, besides two court-rooms and other rooms for business, contains a spacious room for balls and concerts. The city gaol was built in the latter part of last century, and afterwards enlarged; but was recently taken down. The county gaol was erected in 1791, at a cost of £35,000; stands in North Hamlet, on the site of the old castle; has arrangements similar to those of the model prison at Pentonville; and has capacity for 338 male and 59 female prisoners. The court of probate was erected in 1861, after designs by Fulljames and Waller; is a heavy edifice of mediæval semi-Italian character; and has an enormous roof. The registrar’s office adjoins this; was built previously to it; and is of similar style. The corn exchange is a new and handsome structure. A cattle-market was constructed in 1821, at a cost of more than £10,000; and a new one, in lieu of this, with suitable offices, was constructed in 1863. Two handsome bridges give communication across the Severn; and a new iron one was projected, in 1862, to take the place of a previous wooden one. The railway stations are commodious; but they suffer the disadvantage of the difference of gauge between the Birmingham and Gloucester and the Bristol and Gloucester, the former 4 feet 8½ inches, the latter 7 feet. The spa, discovered in 1814, possesses considerable medicinal virtues, and gave occasion for the erection of a handsome pump-room, and hot, cold, and vapour baths; but it is not much patronized, on account of the proximity of the more fashionable town of Cheltenham. There are also a theatre and assembly-rooms. A monument to Bishop Hooper, on the spot of his martyrdom, adjacent to the church of St. Mary-de-Lode, was erected in 1863; resembles, in a general way, the crosses erected by Edward I. to the memory of Queen Eleanor; is in the early decorated English style, of three stages, 18½ feet wide at bottom, and 45 feet high; has a gable and crocketed canopy, supported on pinnacled buttresses and clustered columns; and contains, under the canopy, a Portland stone statue of the bishop, in the attitude of preaching. Other public structures will be noticed in subsequent paragraphs.

The Cathedral.—Gloucester cathedral was originally and long a monastic church. The earliest ascertained building on its site was a nunnery, founded by Wulpher king of Mercia, in 679; and this was carried on and finished by his brother Ethelred, who became a monk The first superior of it was Kyneburg, Kineburg, or Knieburg, wife of Aldred, king of Northumbria. It flourished only till about 767; was then, in a time of war, abandoned by its nuns; continued to be unoccupied and neglected till about 823; and was then restored. King Canute, in 1022, converted it into a Benedictine abbey; and Aldred, bishop of Worcester, soon afterwards extended it, and rebuilt its church. The new minster was burnt in 1087, by Robert Duke of Normandy; and either a restoration of this was done, or a new one was erected, by Robert bishop of Hereford, in 1089. This also suffered from fire in 1101, and at more than one subsequentperiod; but it underwent successive restorations and extensions, till it acquired all the parts of the eventual cathedral about 1498. The abbots had great wealth and power; and sat in parliament as peers. The number of resident monks, so early as 1104, was a hundred. The murder of Edward II., at Berkeley Castle, gave occasion to a vast increase of the abbey’s celebrity and wealth. The abbots of Bristol, Keynsham, and Malmsbury refused to receive the king’s body; but Abbot Thokey of Gloucester, marshalling his monks and retainers in grand procession, went to Berkeley, brought away the royal corpse beneath a gorgeous pall, buried it in the abbey, and erected over it a magnificent tomb. Edward III. made a visit to the tomb, founded a chantry there, and presented gifts for enriching and extending the abbey. Thousands of pilgrims afterwards resorted to the shrine, made costly offerings, and thereby added to the abbots’ means for increasing splendour. The church, with its appurtenances, rose, in consequence, to great magnificence; so that it stood possessed of all the characters of a suitable cathedral, at the time of the institution of the bishopric by Henry VIII.

The cathedral stands in a secluded enclosure, and occupies one side of an area, called College Green. It consists of a south porch, a nave, a transept, a choir, a Lady chapel, and a central tower; and has cloisters and a chapter-house. The nave is 174 feet long, 84 feet wide, and 67½ feet high; the transept is 128 feet long, 43½ feet wide, and 86 feet high in the S, 78 feet in the N; the choir is 140 feet long, 34½ feet wide, and 86 feet high; the Lady chapel is 92 feet long, 24 1/3 feet wide, and 46½ feet high; the tower is 42 1/6 feet in one direction, 40 1/3 feet in the other direction, and 225 feet high; the cloisters are 146 by 145 feet long, 19 feet wide, and 18½ feet high; the chapter-house is 68 feet long, and 35 feet wide; and the entire edifice is outwardly 423 feet long, inwardly, 400 feet. The west front was built in 1420-37, by Abbot Morwent; has a large nine-light window, with memorial-glass to Bishop Monk, placed in it in 1858; shows, over the window, a pierced parapet and panelling; and is flanked by pinnacled turrets. The south porch is of the same date as the west front; forms the chief approach; is of two stages; has six canopied niches over the door-way, angular turrets, and a pierced battlement, all richly worked; and contains, in the aisles, three windows with very fine geometrical tracery. The nave is of various periods, from 1089 till 1437; has seven bays, with plain massive piers, a Norman triforium, and a later English clerestory; is vaulted with work of 1228-43, done by the monks’ own hands; and shows indications, in the proportions of its piers and arches, that a design was entertained, at its formation, to raise it to a height which was practically impossible. The transept, the choir, and the Lady chapel differ from the nave as much as if they formed a totally separate pile; and, by their graceful ornature and elaborate traceries, present a contrast to its solid simplicity and massive grandeur. The north transept was partly built in 1329-37, but includes an early English chapel. The south transept was built in 1310-30; and contains an elaborate, later English, stone confessional, flanked with colossal figures of angels. The choir was finished so late as 1514; extends, by one bay, into the nave; is remarkably symmetrical, eminently ornate, and powerfully imposing; has been described as presenting so “ingenious a transformation, that the eye can scarcely realize the fact that, here over the solid parts, at a distance from their surface to soften and enrich, has been dropped a network of mullions, arches, and tracery, like a veil of lace-work drawn over some stately figure, or gossamer tangled in bushes that tuft themselves in solid rock;” and contains a great east window, of eight orders and fourteen lights, 78 feet high and 35 feet wide, glowing with 2,798 square feet of stained glass of the richest tints, and renovated, in 1862, at a cost of £2,000. The Lady chapel was built in 1457-98; is partially seen, through screen-work, at the back of a modern reredos; is cruciform in plan, and elaborate later English in character; and has an east window, of four orders and nine lights. A whispering gallery, 75 feet long, 8 feet high, and 3 wide, is in the triforium, between the choir and the Lady chapel. A crypt extends beneath the transept, the choir, and the Lady chapel; appears to be of the same date as the nave; was restored by Waller; and, with the chapels in the triforium and choir aisles, forms a series of three chapels above one another, similar to the triple church of Assisi. The central tower was mainly built in 1455-7, and afterwards completed by Robert Tully, who became bishop of St. David’s; is of two stories, at once massive, ornate, symmetrical, light, and elegant, and has in each face of the two stories, two canopied two-light windows, surmounted by a pierced and embattled parapet, and flanked by square turrets of open work, crowned with perforated spires.

A general restoration of the cathedral, under the super-intendence of Fulljames and Waller, went on for several years; and another general restoration of it, under Mr. Scott, at a cost of about £45,000, was done in 1866-9. Several rich memorial windows also have recently been added. The organ-screen was erected, by Smirke, in 1823; and the organ was built by Harris, in 1670, and improved by Willis, in 1847. The chief monuments are a statue of Dr. Jenner, and a monument of Robert Raikes, in the west end of the nave; effigies of a knight and lady, said to be an earl and countess of Hereford, in the south aisle of the nave; a monument to Mrs. Morley, by Flaxman, on the north wall of the nave; a bracket with corbel-figures of masons, to the memory of the builder of the choir, in the south transept; a chantry and effigies of Abbot Sebroke, on the south side of the organ screen; a bracket and effigies of Abbot Serlo, in the south side of the choir; a chantry and effigies of Abbot Parker, an elaborate canopy, chantry, and effigies of King Edward II., and tomb and effigies of Viceroy Osric, in the north side of the choir; an oaken effigies of Robert Duke of Normandy, in the north-east chapel of the Holy Apostles; and a statue of Judge Powell, in the Lady chapel. The cloisters were commenced in 1375, and finished before 1412; they exhibit, on their N side, a surpassing richness and amount of tracery; and they have sculptured recesses, constructed for the writing of manuscripts, in as complete and fresh a state as when first erected. A door at the north-east angle leads, through a groined early English passage, into a small cloister; and east of this is part of a later English infirmary chapel. The chapter-house was mainly built in 1088-95; has an east end and vaulting, added in 1242; is of oblong form; and was converted, in 1826-7, into a library, which now contains nearly 3,000 volumes. The episcopal palace stands in a very quiet part of the city, not far from the cathedral; was rebuilt in 1860-3, at a cost of nearly £10,000; occupies the site of the previous palace, retains its great hall, and includes much of its material in the masonry; forms two wings, eastward and westward of the great hall; measures 180 feet in length, and 60 feet in width; and is in several varieties of pointed architecture, with tracery windows in two styles, and some other parts in other characters. The deanery was the abbot’s house.

Ancient Monasteries.—Monastic and other religions institutions were anciently so numerous in this city, as to give rise to a monkish proverb, “As sure as God is in Gloucester” A priory in honour of St. Oswald, king and martyr, was founded in 909, by Ethelred, Earl of Mercia and his countess, the Princess Ethelfleda, daughter of King Alfred; contained the remains of St. Oswald, brought to it from Bardney in Lincolnshire, in consequence of their being exposed there to the fury of the Danes; was afterwards converted into a college of secular priests, exempt from episcopal jurisdiction; was given by William Rufus to the Archbishop of York, in lieu of some claims in Lincolnshire; appears to have been much enlarged and beautified during the Norman period; was pulled down and rebuilt, at large cost, with repair of St-Oswald’s tomb, by Thurlstan, Archbishop of York; went into neglect and decay during the subsequent periods of disturbance and war; and is now represented by only the E and S walls of the chapel, and a few crumbling walls and disjointed stones of its other parts. An Augustinian canonry was founded, in the neighbourhood, at Lanthony, in 1187, by Milo of Gloucester, as a cell to Llanthony abbey in Monmouthshire; had about seven inmates, at the dissolution; went through the Scudamores and the Porters, to the Duke of Norfolk; and is now represented by a cruciform barn, a 15th century stable, and part of the gatehouse. A Carmelite friary was founded in the city, by Sir Thomas Berkeley, in the time of Henry III.; had, for one of its abbots, Cantelupe, a native of Gloucester; but has left no vestiges. There were likewise monasteries of Dominicans and Franciscans; but these also have disappeared.

Parishes and Churches.—The parishes within the borough are Holy Trinity, St. Aldate, St. John-the-Baptist, St. Mary-de-Crypt, St. Mary-de-Grace, St. Nicholas, and St. Owen, and parts of Barton-St. Mary, Barton-St. Michael, St. Catherine, St. Mary-de-Lode, and St. Michael. There are also, within the borough, the extra-parochial tracts of College Precincts, Little-worth, Pool-Meadow, and part of South Hamlet. Pop. of Holy Trinity, 539; of St. Aldate, 710; of St. John-the Baptist, 3,682; of St. Mary-de-Crypt, 953; of St. Mary-de-Grace, 251; of St. Nicholas, 2,348; of St. Owen, 830; of the part of Barton-St. Mary, 810; of the part of Barton-St. Michael, 383; of the part of St. Catherine, 1,270; of the part of St. Mary-de-Lode, 950; of the part of St. Michael, 1,372. Pop. of the whole of St. Catherine, 2,478; of the whole of St. Mary-de-Lode, 8,616; of the whole of St. Michael, 3,687. Pop. of College Precincts, 217; of Littleworth, 501; of Pool-Meadow, 62; of the borough part of South Hamlet, 1,634, of the whole, 2,248. The livings in the city, or connected with it-all in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, are the rectory of St. Aldate; the rectory of St. John-the-Baptist; the rectory of St. Mary-de-Crypt, with All Saints and St. Owen; the rectory of St. Michael, with the p. curacy of St. Mary-de-Grace; the vicarages of St. Mary-de-Lode-with Holy Trinity, St. Catherine, Twigworth-St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Nicholas-with-St. Bartholomew, and St. James; and the p. curacies of Christchurch, St. Luke, St. Mary Magdalene-with St. Margaret, and Mariners’ Church. Value of St. Aldate, £200; of St. John-the-Baptist, £150; of St. Michael-with-St. Mary-de-Grace, £231; of St. Mary-de-Lode-with-Holy Trinity, £284; of St. Catherine, £70; of Twigworth-St. Matthew, £300; of Christ church, £135; of St. Mark, £150; of St. Nicholas-with-St. Bartholomew, £116; of St. James, £300; of the others, not reported. Patron of St. Aldate, of Twigworth-St. Matthew, of St. Mark, and St. James, the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol; of St. John the Baptist, St. Mary-de-Crypt-with-All Saints and St. Owen, and St. Michael with-St. Mary-de-Grace, the Lord Chancellor; of St. Mary-de-Lode-with-Holy Trinity, the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester; of St. Catherine, the Dean and Chapter of Bristol; of Christ church, St. Nicholas-with-St. Bartholomew, and St. Mary Magdalene-with-St. Margaret, Trustees; of St. Luke, the Rev. S. Lysons; of Mariners’ church, not reported.

Eleven ancient parochial churches, besides the cathedral, the chapels of monasteries, and other ancient chapels, were formerly in the city; but a number were either destroyed at the siege in 1643, or afterwards taken down; and only the ancient parochial churches of St. Mary-de-Crypt, St. Michael, St. Mary-de-Lode, and St. Nicholas, now remain. The church of St. Mary-de-Crypt stands in Southgate; is cruciform, and later English; has a neat, lofty, central tower, with pinnacles and other ornaments; contains a finely carved font; and was restored in 1845. The church of St. Michael is said to have been connected with the ancient abbey; has two aisles of unequal dimensions, with western square tower; shows, on its east side, the Lancastrian rose; had anciently two chantries; and contains a curious brass of 1519. The church of St. Mary-de-Lode stands near the cathedral; has an ancient square tower, with pinnacles; is itself early English, but was almost rebuilt in 1826; and contains an effigies, fabled to be that of King Lucius. The church of St. Nicholas stands in Westgate; exhibits various characters from Norman downward; comprises nave, aisles, and chancel; has a truncated steeple, which formerly rose into a beautiful spire; contains some mon – uments; and was renovated in 1865. The church of St. Aldate is modern and neat. The church of St. John-the Baptist occupies the site of an ancient church, ascribed to King Athelstan; and was built about 1760. Another church stands near the spa; is a handsome edifice; and was erected in 1823. The churches of St. James, St. Luke, and Christ church are modern and plain. The church of St. Mark is in Kingsholm, and was built in 1847. A church in the suburb of Wootton was mainly Norman; became so ruinous in years preced ing 1860 as to require to be disused; was then partly taken down, and partly converted into a cemetery chapel; and retains some beautiful portions of Norman work. St. Catherine’s church was built in 1868.

There are two places of worship for Independents, three for Wesleyans, and one each for Lady Huntingdon’s Connexion, New Connexion Methodists, Presbyterians, Plymonth Brethren, Baptists, Quakers, Unitarians, and Roman Catholics; and most of them are neat and convenient. An Independent chapel, after designs by Mr. Medland, and built in the course of a recent extension of the city, is a handsome edifice. The Roman Catholic chapel, in Northgate, was rebuilt in 1860; consisted then of only chancel, Lady chapel, confessionals, and about two-thirds of the nave; was intended to have the rest of the nave, with a tower and spire, as soon as requisite funds could be obtained; and is in the decorated English style, after designs by G. Blount.

Schools and Institutions.—The College school, or Henry VIII. ‘s grammar-school, was founded by Henry VIII.; occupied what was previously the library of the abbey; and was recently rebuilt. The Crypt grammar school was founded and endowed by Joan Cooke, in the time of Henry VIII.; occupied a later English edifice in Southgate; was, for some time, called Christ’s school; had, for a master, the theologian Corbet, a native of Gloucester; has two exhibitions, of £10 a year each, tenable for eight years, at Pembroke college, Oxford; and now occupies an edifice in the Italian style, of red brick with stone dressings, in Barton-street, built, in 1862, at a cost of £1,660. Rich’s blue-coat school, or hospital, in Eastgate, was founded in 1666, by Sir Thomas Rich; was rebuilt, in 1807-9, of brick with freestone front, at a cost of £4,000; has an endowed income of £1,153; and lodges, maintains, and clothes for three years, and afterwards apprentices, 30 boys. The poor working charity school, in Northgate, has an endowed income of upwards of £100, and is attended by about 200 poor children. A circular building, known as the Round House, in Worcester-street, used originally as a riding-school, then as a circus, afterwards as successively a theatre, a corn-ware-house, and a Wesleyan chapel, was taken down in 1861, to give place to a suite of Wesleyan schools. British schools are in Hampden-place; a national school, in London-road; schools on the national system, in connexion with the several churches; and an industrial school, in Deacon-street. Gloucester was the cradle of the Sunday-school system; which originated with Mr Robert Raikes, the proprietor of the “Gloucester Journal.”-There are a literary and scientific association, a museum, a workingmen’s institute, free library and reading-rooms, and agricultural, medical, ornithological, gymnastic, choral, and debating societies.

St. Bartholomew’s hospital, near Westgate bridge, dates from a remote period, not later than the time of Henry III.; was rebuilt in 1809; is a neat and convenient structure, with stone front and fore-court; has an endowed income of £1,441; and gives residence and maintenance to 26 men and 30 women. St. Mary Magdalene’s or King James’ hospital, without the city, beyond the site of the N gate, was anciently a religions house, apparently a cell of Llanthony abbey; underwent new fronting and repairing in 1823; retains a Norman chapel of the time of King Stephen; has an endowed income of £197; and expends this in the alms-house maintenance of men and women. St. Margaret’s hospital, at Wootton, appears to have been a religions institution in connexion with the Benedictine abbey, now the cathedral; has an endowed income of £235; and expends this in alms-house maintenance. Kimbrose hospital, in South-gate, was founded, in the time of Henry VIII., by Sir Thomas Bell; has an endowed income of £534; and ex-pends this in the same manner as St. Mary Magdalene’s and St. Margaret’s. A new suite of alms-houses for these three hospitals, was built, in London-road, in 1861, at a cost of £4,000; serves for the three hospitals, under one roof and one management; is on a rectangular plan, in the Gothic style, with central courtyards, and two gable-towers; and contains rooms for thirty poor persons, two nurses, and a master. There are also a house of industry, there was a penitentiary, and there are nearly £500 of minor charities.

The county infirmary, in Littleworth, was built, in 1755, by voluntary donation; is a plain but commodious and well-arranged edifice; has an income, from sub-scriptions, and the interest of funded property, of nearly £3,000; and extends its benefits to a vast number of patients. The lunatic asylum, on an eminence in Wootton, was erected in the present century, at a cost of nearly £50,000; is a semi-circular edifice, with two wings added to the original structnre; and contains accommodation, with good arrangements, for 600 patients; and had, at the census of 1861, including officers and servants, 578 inmates. An hospital for the insane, at Barnwood, had, at the same time, 37 inmates. The reformatory school in Hardwicke, 4 miles to the SW, may be regarded as connected with the city; and had, at the census, 43 inmates. The workhouse for Gloucester district is in St. Catherine parish; and had, at the census, 176 inmates.

Trade.—Gloucester has a head post office, telegraph offices, four banking offices, and ten chief inns; and publishes three weekly newspapers. Markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays; a cheese fair, on the third Monday of every month; and other fairs, on 5 April, 5 July, 5 Sept. and 28 Nov. The manufacture of cloth was anciently prominent and famous, but has long ceased. The making of pins began about 1626, and was at one time so great as to employ about 1,500 persons in 9 establishments, but afterwards declined. Bell-founding was carried on for five centuries, but ceased about 1848. Several kinds of manufacturing industry, particularly in soap, chemicals, malt-liquors, agricultural implements, cordage, brushes, articles of brass and iron, coaches, and bricks, still employ many hands; but the chief employments have connexion with commerce, railway-transit, and country business. The city is a head port, and has Lydney and Beachley for sub-ports. The harbour comprises large docks and excellent appliances; and was proposed, in 1869, to be improved, by extension of the ship canal and formation of basins, at an estimated cost of £150,000. The customs rose from £12,717 in 1825 to £93,211 in 1847, and amounted to £56,783 in 1867. The chief imports are corn, wine, spirits and timber; and the chief exports, iron, coals, malt, salt, bricks, and pottery. The vessels belonging to the port, at the beginning of 1863, were 279 small sailing-vessels, of aggregately 7,756 tons; 72 large sailing-vessels of aggregately 9,097 tons; 5 small steam-vessels, of aggregately 129 tons; and 2 large steam-vessels, of jointly 154 tons. The vessels which entered, in 1862, were 169 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 43,720 tons, from abroad; 425 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 78,484 tons, from abroad; 4 British steam-vessels, of aggregately 1,043 tons, from abroad; 1,396 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 59,048 tons, coastwise; and 30 steam-vessels, of aggregately 1,837 tons, coastwise. The vessels which cleared, in 1862, were 49 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 12,786 tons, to British colonies and foreign countries; 67 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 17,648 tons to British colonies and foreign counties; 3,525 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 139,700 tons, coastwise; and 30 steam-vessels, of aggregately 1,833 tons, coastwise. A musical festival is held triennially in the cathedral; and fancy balls, concerts, lectures, and other amusements take place.

The Borough.—Gloucester was made a borough by King John; acquired additional privileges from Henry III.; got a charter from Charles II., which was the acting one till the Reform; and has sent two members to parliament since the time of Edward I. It is now divided into three wards, and governed by a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen councillors. Its municipal and parliamentary limits are identical. It is the seat of spring and summer assizes, quarter sessions, and a county court; the election-place and a polling place, for the E division of the county; and the head of an excise collection. The electors in 1868 were 1,846. Borough income, in 1855, £9,302. Real property in 1860, £73,720; of which £14,596 were in canals, £25 in railways, and £2,433 in gas-works. Pop. in 1841, 14,152; in 1861, 16,512. Houses, 2, 854. The city gave the title of Earl to Robert, son of Henry I.; and that of Duke to Thomas, son of Edward III. Abbot Cantelupe, of the white friary; the monk Benedict of Gloucester; the monk Robert of Gloucester, author of a metrical chronicle of English history;Osbernus, and Osberne the scholar; Rastell, the Jesuit; Corbet, Crowley, and Wintle, the theologians; Miles Smith, one of the translators of the authorized version of the Bible; Harris, the physician; Taylor, the water poet; Whitfield, the founder of the sect of Calvinistic Methodists; Powell, the judge; Capell, a writer; Wood, the banker; Moore, the arch-bishop; and Raikes, the founder of Sunday schools, were natives.

The District.—The registration district or poor-law union of Gloucester comprehends the sub-district of St. Nicholas, containing the parishes of St. Nicholas and Holy Trinity, part of the parishes of St. Mary de Lode and St. Catherine, and the extra-parochial tracts of College-Precincts and Pool-Meadow; the sub-district of St. John the Baptist, containing the parishes of St. Mary de Grace, St. Aldate, St. John the Baptist, St. Mary de Crypt, and St. Owen, and part of the parish of St. Michael; the sub-district of South Hamlet, containing the parishes of Hempstead, Matson, Upton-St. Leonard, Brockworth, Whaddon, Quedgeley, and Elmore, parts of the parishes of St. Mary de Lode and St. Michael, and the extra-parochial tracts of South Hamlet, Littleworth, and Prinknash Park; and the sub-district of Kingsholm, containing the parishes of Lassington, Maisemore, Ashleworth, Sandhurst, Norton, Down Hatherley, Churchdown, and Barnwood, part of the parishes of St. Mary de Lode, St. Catherine, and Churcham, the ville of Wotton, and the extra-parochial tract of North Hamlet. Acres, 32,222. Poor-rates in 1863, £11,384. Pop. in 1851, 32,045; in 1861, 34,950. Houses, 6,349. Marriages in 1862, 407; births, 1,305, of which 73 were illegitimate; deaths, 731, of which 237 were at ages under 5 years, and 15 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 3,953; births, 11,248; deaths, 7,459. The places of worship, in 1851, were 32 of the Church of England, with 9,588 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 730 s.; 2 of Baptists, with 771 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 300 s.; 1 of Unitarians, with 250 s.; 5 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1,625 s.; 1 of Lady Huntingdon’s Connexion, with 400 s.; 1 of Brethren, with 65 s.; 4 undefined, with 840 s.; 1 of Roman Catholics, with 150 s.; and one of Latter Day Saints, s. not reported. The schools were 27 public day schools, with 2,821 scholars; 53 private day schools, with 1,203 s.; 30 Sunday schools, with 3,166 s.; and 3 evening schools for adults, with 520 s.

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

Corn Exchange Gloucester Morris Gloucestershire Directory 1876

The Corn Exchange is a handsome building in Southgate Street, and was erected in 1856-7; it is entered through a corridor 13 feet 6 inches in width. The room is 52 feet long by 52 feet wide, and to the top of the lantern 45 feet high; it is adapted for balls, concerts, lectures, entertainments, &c.

Source: Morris & Co.’s commercial Directory & Gazetteer of Gloucestershire with Bristol and Monmouth. Second Edition. Hounds Gate, Nottingham. 1876.

County Lunatic Asylum Gloucester Morris Gloucestershire Directory 1876

The County Lunatic Asylum, which was opened 21 July, 1823, is about half a mile from the city, on an elevated site, commanding some extensive views of the surrounding country. It has from time to time received many and considerable additions, and will now accommodate nearly 700 patients.

Source: Morris & Co.’s commercial Directory & Gazetteer of Gloucestershire with Bristol and Monmouth. Second Edition. Hounds Gate, Nottingham. 1876.

County Prison Gloucester Morris Gloucestershire Directory 1876

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.

Source: Morris & Co.’s commercial Directory & Gazetteer of Gloucestershire with Bristol and Monmouth. Second Edition. Hounds Gate, Nottingham. 1876.

Infirmary Eye Institution and Dispensary Gloucester Morris Gloucestershire Directory 1876

The Infirmary, in Southgate Street, is a plain brick edifice, which was opened in 1755; it is a commodious and well managed establishment, and every attention is paid to the sufferers who seek assistance within its walls.

The Eye Institution, in Market Parade, is supported by voluntary contributions, and was established in 1865.

The Dispensary, Longsmith Street, was established in 1831, for the purpose of giving medical advice and medicine to poor people properly recommended, and to vaccinate all applicants free. The institution has recently been re-modelled on the “Provident Insurance” system, and is very successful.

Source: Morris & Co.’s commercial Directory & Gazetteer of Gloucestershire with Bristol and Monmouth. Second Edition. Hounds Gate, Nottingham. 1876.

Provision Market Gloucester Morris Gloucestershire Directory 1876

The Provision Market is in Eastgate Street, extending from thence to Bell Lane and is well supplied with meat, vegetables, and provisions of all kinds. It was erected at the same time as the Corn Exchange.

Source: Morris & Co.’s commercial Directory & Gazetteer of Gloucestershire with Bristol and Monmouth. Second Edition. Hounds Gate, Nottingham. 1876.

Shire Hall Gloucester Morris Gloucestershire Directory 1876

The Shire Hall is a spacious and massive stone edifice, extending from Westgate Street to Bear Land; the front in Westgate Street is a copy of a temple on the Ilyssus; the portico is supported by four Ionic columns, 32 feet high, resting on an elevated base, which is reached by a flight of steps the whole breadth of the building. It was opened 26 August, 1816, and is 300 feet long and 82 feet wide, and is used for the assizes, county courts, and other county business, for which it is well adapted.

Source: Morris & Co.’s commercial Directory & Gazetteer of Gloucestershire with Bristol and Monmouth. Second Edition. Hounds Gate, Nottingham. 1876.

Tolsey Gloucester Morris Gloucestershire Directory 1876

The Tolsey, or Town Hall, at the corner of Southgate and Westgate Streets, is built on the site of the old Roman Forum; the upper portion being used for council meetings and other city business; the ground floor fronting Westgate Street is occupied by the Post Office, and the remaining portion in Southgate Street by the Corporation. The Council Chamber contains portraits of his late Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, a former Duke of Norfolk, and several others of local eminence.

Source: Morris & Co.’s commercial Directory & Gazetteer of Gloucestershire with Bristol and Monmouth. Second Edition. Hounds Gate, Nottingham. 1876

Bankrupts

Gloucester Bankrupts 1820 to 1843

Recommended Books

Historic England: Gloucester: Unique Images from the Archives of Historic England (Historic England Series) Paperback – 15 Jun 2018
by David Elder (Author), Historic England (Contributor).
This illustrated history portrays one of England’s finest cities. It provides a nostalgic look at Gloucester’s past and highlights the special character of some of its most important historic sites. The photographs are taken from the Historic England Archive, a unique collection of over 12 million photographs, drawings, plans and documents covering England’s archaeology, architecture, social and local history. Pictures date from the earliest days of photography to the present and cover subjects from Bronze Age burials and medieval churches to cinemas and seaside resorts. Gloucester’s history stretches back to the Romans and the foundation of St Peter’s Abbey by the Anglo-Saxons. In the Middle Ages Gloucester played an important role in the country, becoming a wealthy borough and a centre of royal power. As a port on the River Severn it benefited from the wool trade as well as other industries, and this wealth continued in later centuries. Today the city is a fascinating mixture of old and new, with its imposing cathedral – one of the homes of the Three Choirs Festival – redeveloped Docklands area, and numerous historical buildings from various centuries found alongside striking modern structures. This book will help you to discover its remarkable history.

Gloucester History Tour Paperback – 15 May 2015 by Rebecca Sillence (Author). As an important crossing point of the River Severn, Gloucester has played an important role in history from Roman times to the present day. It was founded in AD 97 under Emperor Nerva and has a rich and varied history, reflected in its architecture and the stories told by its people. Gloucester is a cathedral city and capital of its county – a richly historic place worthy of a visit. Gloucester History Tour takes the reader on a journey of significant places of interest within the city, including the beautiful cathedral, celebrated docks (newly renovated) and its noteworthy streets.

Secret Gloucester Paperback – 15 Oct 2015 by Christine Jordan (Author). Sheltered by the Cotswolds, the streets of Gloucester hide many secrets. Using vast knowledge Christine Jordan explores the rich heritage that can be seen embedded throughout the streets of this historic city. From visually obvious fragments of the past that still line Gloucester’s streets to those lesser-known facts there is something here to suit anyone’s tastes, such as the sale of wives in the eighteenth century, to hidden Roman ruins. Varying from the momentous to the outlandish, this little book brings together past and present to offer a taste of Gloucester. Written by someone who knows what makes Gloucester tick, the author highlights that Gloucester is, indeed, no ordinary city. From locals looking for a nostalgic look back into their district to touring visitors, this book provides an excellent alternative view into the clandestine aspects of Gloucester city, and perhaps even those who think they know everything about their hometown will discover something new and fascinating.



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