Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for TEWKESBURY

TEWKESBURY, a town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a hundred, in Gloucestershire. The town stands on the river Avon, at its influx to the Severn, and on a branch of the Bristoland Birmingham and Gloucester railway, 10 miles NNE of Gloucester; took its name from the Saxon hermit Theokus; rose around a monastery founded, in 715, by Odo and Dodo, dukes of Mercia; belonged, after the Norman conquest, to the Conqueror's wife Matilda and to R. Fitzhamon; was known at Domesday as Teodechesberie; passed to successively the Clares, the Despencers, the Beauchamps, Warwick the king-maker, Henry VII., and the Seymours; is noted for the great defeat of the Lancastrians, in 1471, by Edward IV., at the Gastons about ½ a mile to the S., followed by the capture of Queen Margaret and the murder of her son; is noticed by Shakespeare, both in connexion with Prince Edward's murder, and for the manufacture of "Tewkesbury mustard;" was ravaged by the plague in 1592-3; suffered from the conflicting forces, both royalist and parliamentarian, in the civil wars of Charles I.; was visited, in 1788, by George III.; had the dramatist Estcourt for a native, and Archbishop Secker, Bishop Butler, and Dr. Chandler as pupils at a Presbyterian academy in it; and gives the title of Baron to the Earl of Munster. Its ancient monastery was the burial-place of Britric, king of Wessex; became annexed, in 980, to Cranborne abbey; was rebuilt, by R. Fitz-hamon, soon after the Norman conquest; became then the head-house of the Cranborne monks, and one of the greatest Benedictine abbeys in England; had long the privilege of sending its abbots to the upper house of parliament; was given, at the dissolution, to T. Strowde, W. Erle, and J. Paget; suffered then a demolition of its Lady chapel and its cloisters; and is now represented by its church, its chapter-house, and a gatehouse. The church is now parochial; measures 293 feet from E to W, and 124 feet along the transepts; measured 417 feet in length before the destruction of its Lady-chapel; has a central square tower, 46¾ feet along each of the four sides, and 132 feet high; exhibits beautiful features of Norman architecture in most parts, and of early English, decorated, and perpendicular, in other parts; and shows a very striking W front, 132 feet by 80.

The town comprises three principal streets, with a number of lanes and alleys; contains a few specimens of ancient houses; and has, of late years, been greatly improved. The town hall was built in 1788. A handsome, one-arched, iron bridge, 176 feet in span, over the Severn, was built in 1824. The music-hall was formerly a Quakers' chapel. The theatre has been converted into a silk-mill. A range of buildings, for the manufacture of patent renewable stockings, with a shaft 125 feet high, was erected in 1861. Trinity church was built in 1837. The new cemetery, a little to the S of the town, comprises 7 acres, contains two chapels, and was opened in 1857. There are three dissenting chapels, an endowed grammar-school with £52 a year, national and British schools, a dispensary, a workhouse, several suites of alms houses, and other charities £456. The town has a head post-office,‡ a telegraph station, two banking offices, and a large hotel; is a seat of sessions and county courts, and a polling place; and publishes two weekly newspapers. A weekly market is held on Wednesday; great markets, on the second Wednesday of June, Aug., and Dec.; fairs, on the second Monday of every month except Oct.; and the manufacture of stockings, bobbinet-lace, nails, and leather is carried on. The town is a borough by prescription; was first chartered by Elizabeth; is governed, under the new act, by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors; sent two members to parliament from 1609 till 1867; was reduced, by the reform act of the latter year, to the right of sending only one; and is regarded, both municipally and parliamentarily, as conterminate with the parish. Corporation income, about £836. Amount of property and income tax charged in 1863, £1,498. Real property, in 1860, £18,130,-of which £880 were in canals, and £300 in gasworks. Electors in 1833, 386; in 1863, 383. Pop. in 1851, 5,878: in 1861, 5,876. Houses, 1,268.

The parish, though nominally conterminate with the town, includes the hamlets of Mythe and Southwick. Well-preserved remains of a Roman road are at Mythe, and near the Severn; and fine mineral springs, similar to those of Cheltenham, are in the adjoining parish of Walton-Cardiff. The head living is a vicarage, and that of Trinity is a p. curacy, in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol. Value, of the former, £313;* of the latter, £300. Patron, of the former, the Lord Chancellor; of the latter, Trustees.—The sub-district contains 4 parishes. Acres, 10,339. Pop., 7,709. Houses, 1,657.—The district comprehends also the sub-districts of Overbury and Deerhurst, and comprises 38,918 acres. Poor rates in 1863, £7,846. Pop. in 1851, 15,131; in 1861, 14,908. Houses, 3,290. Marriages in 1863, 78; births, 482,-of which 37 were illegitimate: deaths, 291,-of which 86 were at ages under 5 years, and 20 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,033; births, 4,680; deaths, 3,081. The places of worship, in 1851, were 21 of the Church of England, with 6,193 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 800 s.; 4 of Baptists, with 970 s.; 6 of Wesleyans, with 1,116 s.; 1 of Bible Christians, with 40 s.; 1 undefined, with 80 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 170 s. The schools were 17 public day-schools, with 1,118 scholars; 23 private day-schools, with 415 s.; 21 Sunday schools, with 1,964 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 26 s.-The hundred excludes T. parish; includes 14 other parishes and 2 parts; and is cut into two divisions, lower and upper. Acres, 11,731 and 13,415. Pop. in 1851, 2,567 and 2,044; in 1861, 4,529. Houses, 1,013.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a hundred"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Tewkesbury AP/CP       Tewkesbury Hundred       Tewkesbury SubD       Tewkesbury PLU/RegD       Gloucestershire AncC
Place: Tewkesbury

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