Leonard Stanley

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

STANLEY (ST-LEONARD), a parish (formerly a market-town) in the lower division of the hundred of WHITSTONE, county of GLOUCESTER, 4 miles (W.S.W.) from Stroud, containing 757 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Gloucester, endowed with £700 private benefaction, and £400 royal bounty, and in the patronage of Mrs. Cumberland. The church, dedicated to St. Swithin, is an ancient cruciform structure, partly in the early, and partly in the later, style of English architecture, with a low tower in the centre, singularly constructed with double walls, and a passage and recesses between them; it formerly belonged to a priory of Benedictine monks, founded here in 1146, and dedicated to St. Leonard, as a cell to the abbey of St. Peter, Gloucester, which at the dissolution possessed a revenue of £126. 0. 8.

There are considerable remains of the conventual buildings, of which, the kitchen has been converted into a dairy. Stanley, before 1686, when a great fire destroyed most of its buildings, was a considerable town, with two fairs, on St. Swithin's day and November 6th, which are still held, but the market, which was on Saturday, under a grant of Edward II., renewed in 1620, has been discontinued. There is an extensive manufacture of woollen cloth in the village; the houses in which are now scattered and irregular. Thomas Vobes, in 1708, bequeathed certain lands, which, with sundry smaller bequests, now produce an annual income of about £41, for the education of forty children. There is also a Sunday school, erected and supported by voluntary contributions.

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