Stow on the Wold

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

STOW-on-the-WOLD, a market-town and parish in the upper division of the hundred of SLAUGHTER, county of GLOUCESTER, 25 miles (E. by N.) from Gloucester, and 82 (W.N.W.) from London, containing, with the hamlets of Donnington and Mangersbury, 1731 inhabitants. This place was the scene of a battle between the royalists and the parliamentary forces in the great civil war, on which occasion the former were put to flight. In old records the town is called Stow St. Edward: it is situated on the summit of a steep elevation; the houses in general are of stone, but low, irregularly built, and of ancient appearance; and it is so indifferently supplied with fuel and water, and having no common field attached, that it is vulgarly remarked, it has only one of the four elements, namely air.

There is little trade, except a small woollen business; it was formerly noted for the making of shoes. A charter for a market was procured, in the reign of Edward III., by the abbot of Evesham, then lord of the manor: it is held on Thursday; and fairs are held May 12th and October 24th, for the sale of hops, cheese, and sheep, of which last twenty thousand are said to have been sold at one fair. The inhabitants were incorporated by Henry VI., but at present the town is governed by two bailiffs, who are appointed annually at the manorial court leet. The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Gloucester, rated in the king's hooks at £18, and in the patronage of the Rev. H. Hippesley.

The church, dedicated to St. Edward, is a spacious edifice, in the ancient English style, erected at different periods in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The tower is conspicuous at a great distance. There is a place of worship for Baptists. A National school for children of both sexes is supported by Voluntary contributions. An almshouse for nine poor persons, on the south side of the churchyard, was founded, in the 16th of Edward IV., under the will of William Chestre, and subsequent endowments have been given for the maintenance of its inmates. A park, house, and garden, named St. Margaret's chapel, at a place called Merke in this parish, constituted part of the estates of Charles I. and his queen. The Foss-way intersects the town and the northern part of the parish.

DONNINGTON, a hamlet in the parish of STOW-on-the-WOLD, upper division of the hundred of SLAUGHTER, county of GLOUCESTER, 1 mile (N.) from Stow on the Wold, containing 201 inhabitants. A battle was fought here in 1645, in which the royalists under Lord Aston were defeated by Colonel Morgan; this victory occasioned the surrender of the king's garrison at Oxford, and hastened the termination of the protracted war.

MANGERSBURY, a hamlet in the parish of STOW on the WOLD, upper division of the hundred of SLAUGHTER, county of GLOUCESTER, 1 mile (S.S.E.) from Stow on the Wold, containing 226 inhabitants. The old Roman Fosse-way passes through this place.

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