CHELTENHAM, Gloucestershire - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868
"CHELTENHAM, a parish, market town, municipal and parliamentary borough, in the hundred of Cheltenham, in the county of Gloucester, 96 miles from London by road, or 121 miles by the Great-Western railway. The Midland railway, which has a station 1 mile from the town, connects Cheltenham with all the N. and W. lines in the kingdom. Cheltenham derives its name from the river Chelt, which flows through the town. It appears from numerous antiquities found in the neighbourhood to have been occupied by the Romans, probably on account of its mineral waters, the knowledge of which was afterwards lost till the 18th century. The town is beautifully situated in a healthy spot, under the Cotswold hills, and was anciently a royal manor. It belonged to Edward the Confessor, afterwards to William the Conqueror, and was exchanged by King John for other lands; the abbey of Feschamp, and the nunnery of Sion successively possessed it, till the Dissolution, at which time it reverted to the crown. Cheltenham is a new borough under the Reform Act, and returns one member to parliament. The town is, governed by a high bailiff, constables, and board of commissioners. The population in 1851 was 35,051, with 6,356 inhabited houses, which in 1861 had increased to 39,693,with 7,012 inhabited houses. Cheltenham is a polling place for East Gloucestershire, and a petty sessions town, but has acquired its present importance from the celebrity of its mineral springs, with which it abounds, having no trade excepting a little malting business. The medicinal virtues of the Cheltenham waters were accidentally discovered in 1716, and a visit from King George III., who was directed by his physicians to try the waters, in 1788, established their reputation and brought visitors from all parts of the world. The "Queen of watering places" has since become a fashionable resort. There are four spas - the Royal Old Well, discovered in 1716, with its pump-room, rebuilt in 1803; the Montpelier spa, pump-room, and rotunda; Pitville spa, with its pump-room built in 1824, a very fine building; and the Cambray spa. The waters are all saline, and there are numerous baths. The principal street, the High-street, is about 1½ mile in length, and is interspersed with many handsome ranges of buildings. There are also numerous other streets, squares, crescents, and terraces, well paved, and lighted with gas. Cheltenham is famous for its magnificent hotels:- the principal one, the Queen's, was erected in 1836, at a cost of nearly £50,000. The town contains a theatre, assembly rooms, artists repository, horticultural society, and several libraries. There are likewise a county court house, three banks, a savings-bank, hospital, infirmary, dispensary, rural constabulary barracks, almshouses, and many local institutions for the benefit of the poor. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, value £500, in the patronage of Simeon's Trustees. The parish church, dedicated to St. Mary, was built about 1011, and is a fine old Gothic structure in the form of a cross. The square graduated tower, which contains a fine peal of eight bells, is surmounted by an octagonal spire, and it has a handsome circular window. There are also the following churches, the livings of all which are perpetual curacies viz.:- St. John's, value £250, in the patronage of Rev. W. S. Phillips for 40 years; St. Paul's, value £300, in the patronage of the Rector of Cheltenham; St. James's, value £250, in the patronage of the trustees for 40 years; Christ Church, value £400, in the same patronage; St. Peter's, value £150, in the patronage of the trustees; St. Luke's, value £350, and likewise one (Trinity) chapel, both in the patronage of the rector. There are also places of worship for Baptists, Independents, the Society of Friends, Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, Unitarians, Mormonites, Jews, and Roman Catholics. The principal educational establishment is Cheltenham College, situated in the Bath road; the building, which is in the Tudor collegiate style, was erected in 1843, with a pinnacled frontage of 240 feet, tower 97 feet, hall 90 feet by 45 feet, lecture room 40 feet by 32 feet, and the principal windows 35 feet high and 20 feet wide. The number of pupils in 1863 amounted to about 600. The government of the college is vested by the shareholders in a board of directors. The free grammar school, founded by Richard Pate towards the end of the 16th century, is situated in High-street. It has an income of about £800, with ten scholarships and exhibitions at Oxford, There is also a Normal Training College, built in the early pointed style, at a cost of about £12,000. From this college, masters and mistresses are supplied to schools in all parts of the kingdom, the colonies, and the East Indies. Many National and British schools flourish in this town. Thirlestone House, the seat of Lord Northwick, in the Bath-road, was once famous for its extensive and magnificent collection of paintings, but these have been recently dispersed, and the house is now closed. Bays Hill Lodge, then the seat of Lord Fauconberg, was occupied by George III. on taking the waters in 1788. Southam, anciently belonging to the De la Beres, is the seat of the Earl of Ellenborough; Charlton Park that of Sir W. Russell, Bart, M.P.; and there are other noble mansions about the neighbourhood. Mr. Jessop's nursery grounds, which occupy about 20 acres, and his aviaries, are a favourite place of resort. The town supports several newspapers. The present lord of the manor is Robert Sole Longwood, Esq., who purchased it in 1862 for £32,000. The Cheltenham staghounds hunt round here. Market days are Thursday and Saturday. Seven fairs are held during the year, in April, August, September, and December, for cattle, cheese, &c. The races are discontinued." "ALSTONE, a tything in the parish of Cheltenham, hundred of Cheltenham, in the county of Gloucester, less than 1 mile from Cheltenham. The Gloucester and Birmingham railway, passes through it. There is here a chalybeate spring. The chief residence is Alstone Villa." "ARLE, a tything in the parish and hundred of Cheltenham, in the county of Gloucester, close to Cheltenham." "DEDHAM, a hamlet in the parish and hundred of Cheltenham, in the county of Gloucester, 1 mile S.E. of Cheltenham." "NAUNTON, a hamlet in the parish of Cheltenham, county Gloucester, near Cheltenham." "SANDFORD, a hamlet in the parish of Cheltenham, county Gloucester, near Cheltenham." "WESTALL, a hamlet in the parish of Cheltenham, county Gloucester."
[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of
Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]