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Gloucester and Bristol, Gloucestershire

Historical Description

Gloucester and Bristol, a diocese comprehending almost all Gloucestershire, the deaneries of Chippenham, Cricklade, and Malmesbury, and the parish of Marston Meysey in Wilts, the parishes of Bedminster and Abbots-Leigh in Somerset, the ecclesiastical parish of Lea, and parts of Holy Trinity, Dean Forest East, Gorsley with Clifford's Meane, and Preston in Herefordshire, and the ecclesiastical parishes of Little Compton and Sutton-under-Brailes, and parts of Welford and Weston-on-Avon in Warwickshire. Population, 744,757. Obscure history, more traditional than authentic, says that Gloucester was made an archbishopric by Lucius, the first Christian king of Britain, that a bishop of Gloucester existed in 490 or 522, and that the bishopric or archbishopric was suppressed by the Saxons about 570. A bishopric of Lichfield, including Gloucestershire, was erected about 657 by Edwy king of Northumbria who had subdued Mercia; that bishopric was divided in 679 into the five bishoprics of Lichfield, Dorchester, Leicestor, Hereford, and Worcester, and except that suffragan bishops of Gloucester appear on record in 1223 and 1534, the Bishopric of Worcester included Gloucester till the time of Henry VIII. A bishopric of Gloucester comprehending Gloucestershire was erected in 1541, was suppressed by Queen Mary, was reestablished by Queen Elizabeth, continued to exist till 1836, and was then conjoined with the bishopric of Bristol. Among the bishops of Gloucester have been Wakeman, Ravis, and Miles Smith, translators of the Bible; Goodman, who seceded to the Church of Rome, Frampton, Huntingford, Monk, and Warburton. The Protestant Bishop Hooper was, as is well known, burnt as a heretic in the reign of Mary, 9th February, 1554, and a statue to his memory was erected in 1861 in St Mary Square, Gloucester, on the spot where he met his death.

The bishop of the united diocese has an income of £5000, and resides in the episcopal palace at Gloucester. The Dean of Gloucester has £1500, and of Bristol £1400. The united diocese is divided into three archdeaconries-Gloucester, Bristol, and Cirencester. The archdeaconry of Bristol is divided into the rural deaneries of Bristol (city and rural divisions), Cricklade, North Malmesbury, South Malmesbury, North and South Hawkesbury. The archdeaconry of Gloucester is divided into the rural deaneries of Gloucester, North Forest, South Forest, North Stonehouse, South Stonehouse, North Winchcomb, and South Winchcomb. The archdeaconry of Cirencester is divided into the rural deaneries of Oiren-cester, Campden, Fairford, Northbeach, and Stow. There are cathedral establishments at Gloucester and Bristol respectively. That at Gloucester includes a dean, two archdeacons (Gloucester and Cirencester), five canons (one of whom is archdeacon of Gloucester), twelve honorary canons, a chancellor, and three minor canons. That at Bristol includes a dean, an archdeacon, three canons (one of whom is archdeacon of Bristol), eleven honorary canons, and three minor canons. There are 498 livings within the diocese.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Church Records

The Gloucestershire Parish Registers are available online at Ancestry, in association with Gloucestershire Archives.

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Gloucestershire is available to browse.