Minchinhampton

Extract from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England, 1831.
Transcribed by Mel Lockie, © Copyright 2010
Lewis Topographical Dictionaries

HAMPTON (MINCHIN), a parish in the hundred of LONGTREE, county of GLOUCESTER, comprising the chapelry of Rodborough, part of the chapelry of Nailsworth, and the market-town of Minchin-Hampton, 14 miles (S.) from Gloucester, and 100 (W.) from London, and containing, with Rodborough and Nailsworth, 7843 inhabitants. Shortly after the Conquest, the manor of Hampton was given to the. nunnery of Caen, in Normandy, and a church was founded here, and the grant of a market procured for the town, by the abbess of Caen, in the reign of Henry III.; hence it derived its prefix of Minchin from Monachina, a diminutive of Monacha, a nun. The town is pleasantly situated on the summit and southern declivity of an eminence bordering on the vale of the Severn to the east: it consists of a long irregular street, intersected by another, partially paved, and is abundantly supplied with water from springs.

There are several streams near the town, and in other parts of the parish, on which stand clothing-mills, the principal, employment of the inhabitants consisting in the manufacture of woollen cloth, which has long been extensively carried on in the vicinity. A small market for provisions is held on Tuesday; and there are fairs on Trinity-Monday and October 29th. The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Gloucester, rated in the king's books at £41. 13. 4., and in the patronage of Richard Harris, Esq. The church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is a large cruciform edifice, chiefly in the decorated style of English architecture, with an octagonal tower at the intersection; and at the south end of the transept is a very large window, with a rich wheel in the tracery. In the interior are some ancient monuments and statues, and an inscription to the memory of Dr. Bradley, Astronomer Royal, who was interred in the church-yard. Here are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyan Methodists.

At Seintlieu, or Sinckley, in this parish, is a free school for the instruction of boys in writing and arithmetic, founded in 1699, in pursuance of a benefaction of £1000 by Nathaniel Cambridge, a Hamburgh merchant, which, with some additional endowment, was invested in land, producing about £110 per annum, that sum, after deductions for taxes and repairs, being paid to the master, who has also the benefit of a house and garden, for which he is bound to receive all the boys belonging to this and the adjoining parish of Woodchester, but the average number of scholars is not more than thirty. There is a charity school for fourteen poor boys, endowed with £8 per annum, from a bequest by Ursula Tooke, in 1698, and about £25 from a bequest by Henry King, in 1699.

Several benefactions have been made for apprenticing poor children, and for other purposes. An ancient unendowed almshouse here having become greatly dilapidated, the late David Ricardo, Esq., of Gatcombe park, in the vicinity, built other almshouses for eight poor persons, who receive a voluntary allowance from Mrs. Ricardo. A dispensary is supported by subscription. Amberley, or Hampton common, a large tract of unenclosed land to the westward of the town, was given to the inhabitants by Alice de Hampton, in the reign of Henry VIII.: on this common is a very extensive intrenchment, supposed to have been a Danish camp; and near it a valley, called "Woejful Danes Bottom", where Alfred the Great is said to have obtained a victory over the Danes.

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