Churchdown Parish, Gloucestershire
By R. F. (Bob) Everett © 1998
Dominating the surrounding countryside in the Severn Vale on the edge of
the Cotswolds is Chosen Hill, standing on its own to a height of about
180 metres above sea level. On the top, the Normans built St.
Bartholomew's Church, with local stone, on the site of an older Saxon
The parishioners of Churchdown realized that its position did not meet
the needs of the parish, so services were held in the village schoolroom
for over 30 years and here the administration of certain sacraments also
took place. But it was decided to build a new church and in 1904, St.
Andrew's was opened. At the far end of the village, a mission church was
built in 1933, to be superseded in 1958 by St. John's Church. There is
also a Methodist and a Catholic one.
Churchdown is midway between Gloucester and Cheltenham in the north of
Gloucestershire and is a parish within the Borough of Tewkesbury. It was
for long a very small village. It is thought that it began to grow about
1896 when a smallpox epidemic raged in Gloucester and people wanted to
move out of the infected city. The population in 1901 was 989.
It remained at about 1,000 up to the time of World War Two, but by 1970
it had grown to 10,000 and is still increasing. This huge growth into a
town-sized parish has, in large measure, been achieved by development
within boundaries that have remained unchanged for hundreds of years.
The original village was centred on the Manor House and a mile away to
the north-east, in the early years of this century, development began off
the old Gloucester to Cheltenham road. On the large, open area between
the two, most of the growth has now taken place. Further, the Golden
Valley by-pass linking Gloucester and Cheltenham directly and the M5
motorway from Birmingham and the north of England and Scotland to Bristol
Exeter in the south pass through Churchdown, both sunk in cuttings
beneath the bridges which join parts of the village.
Churchdown is well-endowed for the education of pupils from a wide area.
There are two modern comprehensive schools, both with fine reputations,
accommodating together over 2000 boys and girls.
From the hill, there are great views in all directions. On the south
side, are some traces of terracing on which the Romans are said to have
established vineyards. Ermin Street from Gloucester to Cirencester is
just across the fields from the foot of the hill and there is a spring
known as Roman Well. The straight ledge of the hill overlooking
Gloucester is called Soldier's Walk and from it the Cavalier soldiers
could look down when the city was under siege during the Civil War.
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[Information provided by R.F. (Bob) Everett in 1998]
URL of this page: http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/GLS/Churchdown/Churchdowndesc.html