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Stroud in 1842

(CONTAINING : Stroud, Bisley, Painswick, Pitchcomb, Avening, Minchinhampton, Rodborough, Woodchester, Horsley, King's Stanley, Leonard Stanley, Stonehouse, Randwick, Nailsworth)

STROUD, a parliamentary borough in Gloucestershire. It includes an extensive district, comprehending the parishes of Stroud, Bisley, Painswick, Pitchcomb, Randwick, Stonehouse, Leonard Stanley (excepting a detached portion called Lorridge’s farm), King's Stanley, Rodborough, Minchinhampton, Woodchester, Avening, and Horsley ; and extending into the four hundreds of Bisley, Dudstone and King’s Barton, Longtrees, and Whitstone ; its greatest length is about 10 miles from north to south, and nearly the same distance from east and west ; its area and population, according to the returns of 1831, were as follows :

Bisley Hundred

Stroud : 3,990 acres ; 1,746 inhabited houses ; 165 uninhabited houses ; 33 houses building ; 1,859 families ; 8,607 persons
Bisley : 7,980 acres ; 1,264 inhabited houses ; 116 uninhabited houses ; 3 houses building ; 1,264 families ; 5,896 persons
Painswick : 6,510 acres ; 837 inhabited houses ; 118 uninhabited houses ; 0 houses building ; 886 families ; 4,099 persons

Dodstone and King’s Barton Hundred

Pitchcomb : 500 acres ; 43 inhabited houses ; 4 uninhabited houses ; 0 houses building ; 43 families ; 224 persons

Longtrees Hundred

Avening : 4,660 acres ; 500 inhabited houses ; 45 uninhabited houses ; 3 houses building ; 507 families ; 2,396 persons
Minchinhampton : 4,880 acres ; 1,116 inhabited houses ; 153 uninhabited houses ; 0 houses building ; 1,131 families ; 5,114 persons
Rodborough : 1,390 acres ; 431 inhabited houses ; 67 uninhabited houses ; 1 house building ; 436 families ; 2,141 persons
Woodchester : 1,180 acres ; 187 inhabited houses ; 23 uninhabited houses ; 1 house building ; 189 families ; 885 persons
Horsley : 4,480 acres ; 799 inhabited houses ; 125 uninhabited houses ; 13 houses building ; 836 families ; 3,690 persons

Whitstone Hundred

King's Stanley : 1,740 acres ; 464 inhabited houses ; 55 uninhabited houses ; 2 houses building ; 514 families ; 2,438 persons
Leonard Stanley : 910 acres ; 184 inhabited houses ; 12 uninhabited houses ; 0 houses building ; 184 families ; 942 persons
Stonehouse : 2,260 acres ; 516 inhabited houses ; 17 uninhabited houses ; 8 houses building ; 554 families ; 2,469 persons
Randwick : 1,260 acres ; 203 inhabited houses ; 29 uninhabited houses ; 0 houses building ; 215 families ; 1,031 persons

Totals for the borough of Stroud in 1831 :-
41,740 acres ; 8,290 inhabited houses ; 929 uninhabited houses ; 64 houses building ; 8,618 families ; 39,932 persons

From this is to be taken the detached portion of the parish of Leonard Stanley, which is excluded from the borough, but is not distinguished from the rest of the parish in the population Returns. It has an area of about 300 acres. In the Report of the Parliamentary Boundary Commissioners, it was proposed to include the parish of Eastington, but the Boundary Act did not include it. It adjoins the eastern extremity of the borough.

The borough of Stroud comprehends an important part of the west of England clothing district, drained by the branches of the Stroudwater, which joins the river Severn between Gloucester and Berkeley ; the peculiar features of the district are, the situation of the mills on streams in deep ravines ; the scattered and irregular manner in which the houses are built on the hill sides ; and the contrast between the high land (in many cases either wood or common, with few inhabitants) and the valleys studded with houses and thickly peopled. It comprehends the market-towns of Stroud, Minchinhampton, and Painswick. Stroud, which gives name to the borough, is 111 miles west by north of the General Post-office, London, viz. 81 miles by the Great Western Railway to Swindon, 18 miles by branch to Cirencester, and 12 miles from Cirencester to Stroud by coach road ; the distance by the coach road through Maidenhead, Henley, Abingdon, Faringdon, Lechlade, and Cirencester is 105 miles. Stroud is 9½ miles south of Gloucester. Minchinhampton is 4 miles south-east of Stroud ; and Painswick about the same distance north, on the road to Gloucester.

Stroud stands in a picturesque valley at the junction of two of the streams which form the Stroudwater (sometime's called the Frome), a stream celebrated as possessing superior excellence for the dyeing of scarlet cloth. This quality led to this district being early chosen by clothiers and dyers. The town has been greatly improved in modern times ; the streets are paved, and contain many good houses. The church is a large building of various dates ; it consists of a nave, chancel, and side aisle's, with a tower and spire at the western end. A new church has lately been erected in the parish capable of accommodating 1,000 persons ; and there are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyan Methodists. The market, which is on Friday, is well supplied, and there are two yearly cattle-fairs. It is one of the polling-places for the eastern division of the county. Petty-sessions for the division are held here. The living of Stroud is a perpetual curacy, of the clear yearly value of £132.

Minchinhampton and Painswick, as well as the village of Bisley, are described elsewhere.

Rodborough is a village one mile south-west of Stroud. The church, formerly a chapel to Minchinhampton, has a tower with pinnacles ; and a nave, chancel, and south transept : amidst many alterations, some ancient features remain. The Independents have a place of worship.

Nailsworth is a chapelry, partly in Avening and partly in Horsley parish. The village of Nailsworth is about two mile's south-west of Minchinhampton, and extends into Minchinhampton parish. It has several dissenting meeting-house's. A customary market is held on Saturday.

Horsley is about two miles south-south-west of Nailsworth, and six south of Stroud. It has a church and two dissenting meeting-houses, a national school, and a small house of correction. Petty sessions for the district of Longtree are held in turn at Horsley, Rodborough, and Tetbury, the last being out of the borough.

King's Stanley, three miles south-west of Stroud has some antiquities, as the remains of a Roman camp, and of a residence of the Mercian kings. Several Roman altars and other antiquities were dug up about two miles from the camp.

Leonard (or St. Leonard) Stanley, four miles west south-west of Stroud, has some remains of a priory of Benedictine's, dedicated to St. Leonard. The conventual church, now parochial, is partly of early English architecture. The convent kitchen is used as a dairy. Leonard Stanley was formerly a market-town ; it is now a scattered and irregular village, but has a considerable share in the clothing manufacture.

Stonehouse, four miles west of Stroud, has an ancient church which retains many of its ancient features, though much modernised : the north door is Norman.

Woodchester, two miles south-west of Stroud, was probably a Roman station. Interesting remains of a Roman villa have been discovered here, especially a large tessellated pavement, 48 feet 10 inches square, very richly and elaborately ornamented, and far superior to anything of the kind discovered in Great Britain.

The number of persons engaged in manufactures, almost entirely of woollen cloth, in 1831, was 2,539. The Stroud canal, or Stroudwater navigation, passes through the borough. It commences in the Severn near Framiload, between Gloucester and Berkeley, and runs eastward eight mile's to Wallbridge, near Stroud, where it joins the Thames and Severn Canal, which runs by Strood, 30 miles eastward to the Thames at Lechlade. The Stroudwater navigation was formed under acts passed between 1730 and 1776 ; the Thames and Severn Canal under acts passed from 1783 to 1813.

All the parishes in the borough are in the archdeaconry of Gloucester and diocese of Gloucester and Bristol ; and all, we believe, except Pitchcomb, in the rural deanery of Stonehouse : Pitchcomb is in the deanery of Gloucester.

The parishes comprehended in the borough (including the detached part of Leonard Stanley, which we have no means of distinguishing) had, in 1833, eighty-seven day-schools of all kinds, with 3,245 scholars, viz. 1,304 boys, 970 girls, and 971 children of sex not distinguished : six of these day-schools were also Sunday-schools, and were attended on Sunday by 480 children. There were forty-four Sunday-schools, beside the six just mentioned, with 6,132 scholars of both sexes.

The borough returns two members to parliament : the number of electors on the register in 1835-6 was 1,295 ; in 1839-40 it was 1,202.