Thornbury in 1838
Thornbury, a borough and market-town about two miles from the river Severn, and 21½ miles south-south-west of Gloucester, principally consists of three streets, dispose form of the letter Y, 'having first one longe street, says Leland, 'and two hornes goyne out of it.' The buildings are in general old ; the church is a large handsome structure, surmounted by a lofty tower ornamented with rich open-worked battlements and eight pinnacles.
At the end of the town are the ruins of the unfinished palatial castle of Thornbury, begun by Edward Stafford, duke of Buckingham, but left incomplete when he was beheaded in 1522. Even in its present dilapidated state it shows the magnificence of its design, and is a good specimen of the last gradation of Gothic architecture, in the application of that style to castellated houses. The whole, when completed, was to have formed a quadrangle inclosing an area of two acres and a half. Leland describes it at as having the principal front towards the west nearly finished, and another towards the south completely so. From a survey made in 1582, it appears that the whole of this latter side, consisting of several chambers of fine dimensions, was then habitable. In the reign of Elizabeth the principal timbers were taken away, and time has since continued the work of ruin. Within the circuit walls twelve acres were inclosed ; around the walls were attached small rooms intended as barracks for soldiers. This circumstance, it is said, roused the jealousy of the king, and confirmed him in his suspicions of the duke's traitorous intentions.
The population of the parish of Thornbury in 1831 was 4,375 it contained 833 houses. The town has two free-schools and several charities.