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Tewkesbury

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[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer (1868)]
"TEWKESBURY, a parish, market, and sessions town, municipal and parliamentary borough, locally in the hundred of Tewkesbury, county Gloucester, 10 miles N.E. of Gloucester, and 108 from London. It is a station on the Midland railway. The town, which is of great antiquity, is situated at the confluence of the rivers Avon and Severn, in the Vale of Evesham. It is the Teodechesberie of Domesday Survey, and has the remains of a mitred Benedictine Abbey, founded in 715 as a cell to Cranborne. In 1471 Edward IV. defeated the Lancastrians at Bloody Meadow, where Queen Margaret was taken prisoner, and her son slain.

In the civil war of Charles I. it was garrisoned by the royalists, but was surprised by Massie in 1644. The town consists of three principal streets, with several smaller streets running off in different directions, but all paved and lighted with gas. The houses are chiefly built of brick. The public edifices comprise the townhall, built in 1785 by Sir W. Codrington, whose portrait it contains; a new gaol, and house of correction; a market-house, on the site of the Tolsey; a mechanics' institute, library, and reading-rooms, a savings-bank, union poorhouse, house of industry at Holme Hill, a dispensary, three commercial branch banks, a small theatre, recently converted into a silk mill, and two iron bridges, the one over the Severn, of one arch, 179 feet span, and the other over the Avon.

There are manufactories of stockings, lace, and nails, also a tannery, corn mills, and malting establishments. It is a borough by prescription, and was incorporated by Elizabeth. Under the Municipal Act it is governed by a mayor, who is also returning officer, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors, with the style of "bailiffs, burgesses, and commonalty". The borough has returned two members to parliament since 1609, and was extended by the Reform Act so as to include the whole of the parish. The area of the borough is 1,890 acres, and the municipal revenue about £900.

The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, value £313, in the patronage of the lord chancellor. The Abbey church, dedicated to St. Mary, is principally in the Anglo-Norman style of architecture, with a tower rising front the centre 300 feet high. It was partly restored in 1796. The ceiling is of stone, groined and panelled, and the walls are decorated with a genealogical series of portraits of the Clares, earls of Gloucester, Despencers, Beauchamps, and other benefactors to the abbey.

There is besides the district church of the Holy Trinity, erected in 1837, the living of which is a perpetual curacy, value £140, in the gift of trustees. The Roman Catholics, Independents, Wesleyans, Baptists, and Society of Friends, have chapels. The grammar school, founded in 1576, has an income from endowment of £55. There are besides a blue-coat school, with an endowment of £40, National, infant, and Dissenters' schools. The charities, including the school endowments, produce about £600 per annum.

A mineral spring, similar to that at Cheltenham, occurs at Walton-Cardiff. In the vicinity are Towbury and other Roman camps, and at the house of H. Brown, Esq., M.P., is the Shakespeare cup. Market days are Wednesday and Saturday, the former being chiefly for corn and cattle. Fairs are held on the second Monday in March, the second Wednesdays in April, June, August, and December, the 14th May, first Wednesday after the 4th September, and a pleasure fair on the 10th October, also statute fairs on the Wednesday before and the Wednesday after 10th October."

"MYTHE WITH MYTHE HOOK, a township in the parish of Tewkesbury, county Gloucester, 1 mile N. of Tewkesbury. It is situated between the rivers Severn and Avon."

"PARK, a hamlet in the parish of Tewkesbury, county Gloucester, 2 miles from Tewkesbury. It is joined with Southwick to form a township."

"SOUTHWICK, a township in the parish and borough of Tewkesbury, county Gloucester, 2 miles from Tewkesbury. It is in conjunction with the hamlet of Park."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]

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Archives and Libraries

  • Original source material relating to Tewkesbury, and other parishes in Diocese of Gloucester may be found at the Gloucestershire Archives.

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Description and Travel

You can see pictures of Tewkesbury which are provided by:

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Directories

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Gazetteers

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Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Tewkesbury has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

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Maps

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SO887327 (Lat/Lon: 51.992538, -2.166023), Tewkesbury which are provided by:

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Probate Records

  • Tewkesbury Wills & Inventories 1601-1700, transcribed and produced for the Tewkesbury Historical Society by Bill Rennison and Cameron Talbot, and copyright 1996. Booklet containing complete transcriptions of Wills, and available in the Gloucestershire Archives.

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Schools

  • Here are two items on Tewkesbury Grammar School, both very kindly contributed by David Hawgood.

    The free grammar school was founded in 1576, and endowed with £20 per annum, by Mr Ferrers, payable out of the manor of Skillingthorpe, in the county of Lincoln, also with lands purchased with money left by Sir Dudley Digges, and with some chief rents; it is under the superintendence of the bailiffs, justices, chamberlain and town-clerk of the corporation, by whom the master is appointed: the room appropriated to it is supposed to have been the chapter-house of the abbey. The Blue-coat school is endowed with one-twelfth part of the rents of a farm in Kent, devised for charitable uses by Lady Capel, in 1721, and with £2.10 per annum given by Mr Thomas Merret, in 1724, being further supported by subscription: 40 boys are clothed and instructed in it. The National School, under the superintendence of the same master, was established in 1813; and a building for its use, and also for that of the Blue-coat school (the two establishments having been incorporated), was erected adjoining the churchyard, in 1817, at an expense of £1345. 8. 3¼. A Lancastrian school was established in 1813, for which a building had previously been erected, at the cost of more than £600, raised by contribution; the ground was given by N Hartland, a member of the Society of Friends: these schools are supported by subscription.
    [From the article on Tewkesbury in Lewis's Topographical Dictionary, 1835]

    Tewkesbury Grammar School was founded in 1576. It met in a chapel on the North side of Tewkesbury Abbey until 1862, when there were 32 boy pupils. In 1858 the Master, Mr Joseph Priestley, resigned because he was not given a free hand by the governing body. He started Abbey House School nearby. In 1899 the two schools were combined. It moved into new premises opposite the Abbey in 1906; they were designed for 50 boys but the school grew to 150 by 1952. The school then moved to new buildings in Southwick Park on the south side of the town. It closed in 1972 when comprehensive education was introduced in Tewkesbury. From 1910, the same board of governors controlled Tewkesbury Grammar School and Tewkesbury High School for Girls.

    The most famous old boy was Sir Raymond Priestley, born 1886. He studied at Bristol, Sydney and Cambridge Universities; went to the Antarctic as geologist to the Shackleton expedition 1907-9 and as a scientist in the Scott expedition of 1910-13. He served in France with the Royal Engineers during the 1st World War, becoming a major and gaining the M.C. He resumed an academic career, became Vice Chancellor of Melbourne University in Australia in 1934, then vice-chancellor of Birmingham University from 1938.

    [Tewkesbury Grammar School 1576-1972, by Paul Fluck (Grenfell Publications, Bristol, 1987)]

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Societies

  • Tewkesbury Historical Society. The Society's Woodard Database, described in their research section, will be of particular interest to Family Historians. Please note however the database is available for searching at Tewkesbury Local Library only, and is not online.