Pilning with Severn Beach

Extract from Kelly's Directory of Gloucestershire, 1923.
Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2012

PILNING is a village and ecclesiastical parish, formed Sept. 2, 1881, from the parishes of Almondsbury and Henbury, comprising an outlying portion of the former parish together with the tithing of Redwick, and is on the Welsh road from Bristol to the New Passage, with a station 9½ miles north-by-west from Bristol, on the Bristol and South Wales section of the Great Western railway, and 122½ from London, in the Thornbury division of the county, lower division of Henbury hundred, petty sessional division, union and county court district of Thornbury, rural deanery of Stapleton and archdeaconry and diocese of Bristol. The river Chessel Pill flows into the Severn at this point.

The church of St. Peter, built in 1855, is an edifice of Hanham stone, with dressings of freestone, in the Gothic style, consisting of chancel, nave, south porch and a western turret containing 2 bells: there are sittings for 180 persons. The register dates from the year 1855. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £282, including 1½ acres of glebe, with residence, in the gift of the Bishop of Bristol, and held since 1914 by the Rev. John Hugh Homer Green M.A., L.Th. of University College, Durham. There is a mission hall belonging to the parish, and Wesleyan and United Methodist chapels.

In this parish is the eastern end of the tunnel under the Severn, constructed by the Great Western Railway Company to connect their main lines with their branches in South Wales, and to shorten the route from London, and opened Dec. 1, 1886; for this undertaking powers were secured in 1872, when the preliminary borings were commenced, and the operations were begun in 1879. The Severn is at this point 2½ miles broad, and an additional 2 miles of tunnel bring the lines to the levels: the extreme interior width is 26 feet, and height 24½ feet, or 20 feet from the rails to the roof: it is estimated that 640,000 cubic yards of earth have been removed, and that 70,000,000 of bricks line the tunnel; the main portion of the cutting runs through the Pennant sandstone or grit; the work, with one important exception, when it was completely flooded for twelve months, proceeded without serious hindrances.

The work was carried out under the direction of Sir John Hawkshaw kt. as engineer-in-chief. A substantial sea wall protects the low land from inundation. Hon. Mrs. Smyth, who is lady of the manor, Mrs. Cann-Lippincott and Mr. Fullerton are chief landowners. The soil is rich loam; subsoil, stiff blue clay. The land is chiefly in pasturage; a small portion only yields crops of beans, potatoes and wheat. The acreage and rateable value is included in that of Northwick; the population in 1911 was 929.

REDWICK was formerly included under Northwick, and was also a tithing of Henbury, but was made to form part of the ecclesiastical parish of Pilning, September 2, 1881.
[Kelly's Directory of Gloucestershire, 1923]

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