In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Fairford like this:
FAIRFORD, a small town, a parish, and a sub-district in Cirencester district, Gloucester. The town stands on the river Colne, at the foot of the Cotswolds, near the boundary with Wilts and Berks, 4¼ miles WNW of Lech-lade, and 8½ E by S of Cirencester r. station; is neatly and regularly built; has a post office‡ under Swindon, a chief inn, cloth mills, two bridges, a church, three dissenting chapels, a lunatic asylum, a reading room and library, a charity for apprentices with £69, other charities with £254, and fairs on 14 May and 12 Nov.; and is a seat of petty sessions. ...
The church was built in 1423, and following years, by the family of Tame; is a fine specimen of perpendicular English; has large windows of painted glass, inferior only to those of King's College chapel, Cambridge; and contains a table-tomb of John Tame, and brasses of other Tames. An Independent chapel, in the Gothic style, was built in 1863. The lunatic asylum was formerly a public institution, but has been converted into a private establishment. The parish comprises 3, 879 acres. Real property, £8, 262; of which £60 are in gas-works. Pop., 1, 654. Houses, 361. The property is not much divided. The manor belonged to Earl Bithric; was held by the Crown at Domesday; passed to the Clares, the Beauchamps, the Nevilles, the Tames, and others; and came to the Barkers. The ancient manor-house stood near the church, but was demolished by Andrew. Barker, Esq.; and the present one stands a few furlongs farther north, was built with the materials of the old, and is a spacions edifice. Roman coins and urns were found in the cuttings for its foundations; and several barrows occur on the neighbouring lands. Fairford gives the title of Viscount to the Marquis of Downshire. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol. Value, £432. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester.The sub-district contains twelve parishes, -one of them in Wilts. Acres, 26, 198. Pop., 6, 148. Houses, 1, 338.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Fairford has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Cotswold. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Fairford and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Fairford, in Cotswold and Gloucestershire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 25th May 2013
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