Thornbury

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

THORNBURY, a market-town and parish in the lower division of the hundred of THORNBURY, county of GLOUCESTER, 24 miles (S.W.) from Gloucester, and 124 (W. by N.) from London, containing, with the chapelries of Falfield, Oldbury upon Severn, and Rangeworthy, and the tythings of Kington, and Moorton, 3760 inhabitants. This town, which is of considerable antiquity, is situated on the banks of a small rivulet, two miles westward of the Severn, in the vale of Berkeley, and consists of three principal streets. The chief object worthy of notice is the remains of an old castle at the end of the town, begun by Edward, Duke of Buckingham, in the year 1511, but left in an unfinished state; th outer wall is still in good preservation, and over the arched gateway, which formed the principal entrance, and is greatly admired, is an inscription in raised letters, recording the date of its erection: these ruins command a fine view of the river Severn, which flows on the western side of the parish, and the remote landscape of South Wales.

Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn were sumptuously entertained here, for ten days, in 1539. The clothing business formerly flourished, but has been long discontinued, and there is now no particular branch of trade. The market is on Saturday. Fairs are held on Easter-Monday, August 15th, and the Monday before December 21st, for cattle and pigs. The corporation, now merely nominal, consists of a mayor and twelve aldermen, with a serjeant at mace and two constables. A manorial court leet is held annually, and occasionally a court baron; also a manor court for the surrender of admission to copyholds. A court for the recovery of debts under 40s., for the hundred, is held once in three weeks, on Thursday; and a court of record, for pleas to any amount, for the honour of Gloucester, is also held every three weeks, on Tuesday.

The living is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Gloucester, rated in the king's books at £25. 15. 10., and in the patronage of the Dean and Canons of Christ Church, Oxford. The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, is a spacious and handsome cruciform structure, in the later style of English architecture, with a lofty tower with open-worked battlements and eight pinnacles; the north and south doors are of much earlier date. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyan Methodists.

A free grammar school was founded and endowed, in 1648, by William Edwards, its funds having been augmented by subsequent benefactors; the present income is £57. 3. 6., and twelve boys are instructed on the foundation Another free school was founded, in 1729, by means of a bequest- of £500 from John Atwells, and endowed with lands in 1789; the income is £70 per annum, and twenty-four boys and twelve girls are educated. Here are six almshouses for fifteen poor people, founded by Sir John Stafford, in the reign of James I.

FALFIELD, a chapelry in the parish, and lower division of the hundred of THORNBURY, county of GLOUCESTER, 4 miles (N.E. by E.) from Thornbury, containing, with Moorton, 844 inhabitants.

KINGTON, a tything in the parish and lower division of the hundred of THORNBURY, county of GLOUCESTER, half of a mile (W.N.W.) from Thornbury, containing 831 inhabitants.

MOORTON, a tything in the parish, and lower division of the hundred of THORNBURY, county of GLOUCESTER, 2 miles (N. by E.) from Thornbury. The population is returned with the chapelry of Falfield.

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