In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Gloucestershire like this:
Gloucestershire, a west Midland co., situated upon the estuary of the Severn. and bounded N. and NE. by Herefordshire, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire; E. by Oxfordshire; S. by Berks, Wilts, and Somerset; and W. by Monmouthshire, Herefordshnire, and the estuary of the Severn; greatest length, SW. to NE., 54 miles; greatest breadth, NW. to SE., 33 miles; area, 783,699 ac.; pop. 572,433. The face of the county shows varied aspects, of which the most distinctive are the Cotswold Hills, in the E.; the valley of the Severn, in the middle; and the Forest of Dean, in the W. ...
Besides the Severn there are numerous important rivers, such as the Avon, Lower Avon, Wye, Thames, and Windrush. The canal system has been largely developed, and several important water-ways of that description pass through the county. Agriculture forms the leading occupation of the rural population; in the hills sheep-farming receives attention; while the rich valley of the Severn has long been famed for the superiority of its products. Its luxuriant pastures especially have originated and supported a great industry in the shape of dairy farms which produce the celebrated Glo'ster cheese. (For agricultural statistics, see Appendix.) In the W. of the county are 2 great coal-fields -- the Forest of Dean on the N., and the Bristol coal-field on the W. Other minerals are gypsum, barytes, quartz, limestone, and freestone. The mfrs. are mostly woollen and cotton stuffs, but at Bristol there are also large hardware mfrs. Gloucestershire comprises 29 hundreds, 387 pars. and parts of 4 others, the greater part of the parl. and mun. bor. of Bristol (4 members), the parl. and mun. bors. of Cheltenham (1 member) and Gloucester (1 member), and the mun. bor. of Tewkesbury. It is mostly in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol. For parliamentary purposes it is divided into 5 divisions, viz., Mid or Stroud, Northern or Tewkesbury, Eastern or Cirencester, Forest of Dean, and Southern or Thornbury, 1 member for each division.
For an overview of how the county has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern of Gloucestershire -- but you should check this covers the area you are interested in.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Gloucestershire | Map and description for the county, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 22nd May 2013
Click here for more detailed advice on finding places within A Vision of Britain through Time, and maybe some references to other places called "Gloucestershire".