GLOUCESTER, Gloucestershire - Extract from National Gazetteer, 1868
"GLOUCESTER, comprises the parishes of St. Mary de Lode, St. Michael, St. Catherine, St. Owen, and others; it is a municipal and parliamentary borough, the seat of a bishopric, and the capital of Gloucestershire, is situated in the hundred of Dudstone and King's Barton. It is distant 49 miles from Bath, 54 from Birmingham, and 114 from London. It is a station on the Birmingham and Bristol branch of the Midland railway, and on the Cheltenham branch of the Great Western railway. This city, one of the most ancient in the kingdom, was a settlement of the Iberians, who called it Glevum; by the Ancient Britons it was known by the name of Caer Glow. At the arrival of the Romans it became a military station, being strongly fortified to resist the Silures, who inhabited the western side of the Severn. In 577 it surrendered to the West Saxons, and was designated by them Gleaucestre, hence its present name. It was one of the cities forming part of the Middle Angles, or Mercia, and was of great note owing to its position on a navigable river. It was a favourite resort of William I. and his Norman court. In 1087 Gloucester was nearly destroyed during the contest between William II. and his brother Robert. The empress Maud took refuge here (1141) on her escape from Devizes, and was aided by this town against Stephen. In 1263 it was the scene of many struggles between Henry III. and his barons, owing to his having appointed a foreigner as constable of the castle. In 1278-9 Edward I. held a parliament here, which passed the "Statutes of Gloucester"; and Richard II. and Henry IV. also held parliaments here. In 1483 Richard III. came to this city after his coronation, and gave the order for the murder of his two nephews. In the wars of the parliament it opposed the Royalists, and bade defiance to the king, for which, at the Restoration, its walls were totally destroyed. Gloucester is situated on the banks of the Severn, and is surrounded by a large and fertile district. Its whole appearance exhibits at first sight cleanliness, comfort, and wealth. The streets are lighted with gas and well paved. Of the public buildings by far the most important is the cathedral; it possesses not only the charms of antiquity and beauty, but also affords many specimens of various styles of architecture. The most ancient parts are the crypt, the chapels surrounding the choir, and the lower part of the nave, built in the 11th century. Its tower is surmounted by four pinnacles of most delicate workmanship. The choir is considered as an almost unrivalled specimen of the perpendicular style of architecture. Its extreme length is 427 feet, breadth 154 feet, and its tower in height is 223 feet. In the interior are monuments of Robert, son of William I.; of Edward II., Robert Raikes, and a marble statue of Dr. Jenner. The episcopal palace adjoins the cathedral at the W. end. The parish churches are: Christ Church, St. Mary de Lode, St. Michael's, St. James, St. Mary de Crypt, St. Aldate's, St. Mark's, and St. John's. There are also several places of worship for the Baptists, Independents, Jews, Roman Catholics, Quakers, and Unitarians. There are three schools - the college school, the blue-coat, and the free grammar school of St. Mary de Crypt; there are also British and National schools. Among the benevolent institutions are the County Infirmary, Kimbrose Hospital, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, St. Margaret's Hospital, A lunatic asylum, an eye hospital, and a house of industry. The chief public buildings are the county hall in Westgate-street, where the courts of sessions are held; the county gaol, consisting of a penitentiary, bridewell, and sheriff's prison; the city gaol; the savings-bank; and the cattle market. There are also a working man's association, literary and scientific association, agricultural, horticultural, and medical societies, a choral society, theatre, public libraries, and reading-rooms. Assizes are held in the town, and the South Gloucestershire Militia have their head-quarters here. The approach to the city has been greatly improved by the Gloucester and Berkeley Ship canal, by which the shallowness of the Severn is avoided. There are two handsome bridges over the two channels of the Severn, connected by a paved road called Over's Causeway, which extends through the rich pasture land of the Isle of Alney. Gloucester has been represented in parliament since the 23rd of Edward I. At a very early period it was constituted a county in itself; it is also the head of a Poor-law Union, and of new County Court and registration districts. It returns two members to parliament, the municipal and parliamentary limits being co-extensive. In 1851 the number of inhabited houses was 2,843, and the population 17,672, which in 1861 had declined to 16,512, while the number of houses had in the decennial period increased to 2,854, showing a considerable improvement in the condition of the people. The city is divided into 3 wards, and is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 town councillors. It has a large trade with the Baltic and other foreign ports, and imports corn, timber, wines, and spirits; and has an export trade in iron, salt, malt, coal, bricks, and pottery. In the town are breweries, soaperies, steam flour and saw-mills, brass and iron foundries; ship, boat, and barge building; tanneries; marble, slate, and millstone works, &c. Gloucester in noted for its musical festivals, which are triennial; and for its saline chalybeate spa. Two newspapers are published in the town - the Gloucester Journal and Gloucestershire Chronicle. It does not appear that this city was erected into a bishopric with dean and chapter till 1641, in the reign of Henry VIII. In 1836 the diocese of Bristol was united to Gloucester. It is in the province of Canterbury, and extends over Gloucestershire, the city and deanery of Bristol, and portions of Somersetshire and Wiltshire, and consists of 429 benefices. It is divided into 2 archdeaconries - Bristol and Gloucester. The chapter of Gloucester comprises a dean, archdeacon, 5 canons, 7 honorary canons, 3 minor canons, and a chancellor. That of Bristol the same, with the exception of one more canon, and honorary canon. The corn market is in Eastgate-street, and its market day is Saturday. The cattle market is near the railway station, and its usual market day the third Monday in each month. The fairs are held on the 5th April, 5th July, 28th September, and 28th November, the three first for cattle and the last for cattle and pleasure. Numerous Roman antiquities, including some fine specimens of tesselated pavement, and a statera, or Roman steelyard, have been discovered at various times, particularly in the suburb of King's Holm, supposed to have been the site of the Roman settlement." "COLLEGE PRECINCTS, an extra-parochial place in the city of Gloucester, in the county of Gloucester." "LANTHONY PRIORY, in the parish and county of Gloucester, near Gloucester. It was founded in 1187 by Milo de Gloucester as a cell to Llanthony Abbey, in county Monmouth." "NORTH HAMLET, (and South Hamlet) extra parochial places adjoining the parish of St. Mary-de-Lode, hundred of Middle Dudstone, county Gloucester, 2 miles from Gloucester." "NORTH-HAMLET, an extra parochial place in the upper division of Dudstone hundred, county Gloucester." "WOTTONVILLE, an extra parochial liberty in the upper division of Dudstone hundred, county Gloucester, three-quarters of a mile S.E. of Gloucester. It adjoins the parish of St. Mary-de-Lode."
[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of
Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]