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Bisley, Gloucestershire

Historical Description

Bisley, a decayed small town and a parish in Gloucestershire. The town stands 3½ miles E by N of Brimscombe station on the G.W.R., 2½ E by N of Chalford, 4 E of Stroud, and 102 from London. It has a post and money order office under Stroud; telegraph office, Chalford. This town formerly was famous for its sheep fairs, and a considerable manufacture of woollens was long carried on in the parish. There is a court-house, used for the meeting of the local Board of Health, and containing also a library and reading-room. A weekly market used to be held on Thursday. The parish includes also the hamlets of Bidfield, Bussage, Chalford, Oakridge, Eastcombe, Elcomb, France Lynch, Througham, and Tunley. Acreage, 7399; population of the civil parish, 5171; of the ecclesiastical, 1687. The manor belonged anciently to the Mortimers, and was held by Edward, Duke of York, afterwards Edward IV. The old manor-house, Over Court, belonged to Queen Elizabeth before her accession to the throne. A common of 1200 acres is said to have been given by Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, to the poor of the parish, which has now been enclosed. Roman remains have been found in various places, and ruins of a Roman villa at Lillyhorn. The stone called "Bisley rag," which has been largely used in the construction of the churches in the county, was obtained in this parish. The living is a vicarage, united with the chapelry of France-Lynch, in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol; net value, £122 with residence. Patron, the Lord Chancellor. The church belongs to the Decorated and Perpendicular Periods, was restored in 1861, and contains an ancient font and a monument of a crusader, supposed to be one of the Nottingham family. A stone cross, believed to be of the 13th century, octagonal and finely panelled, is in the churchyard. The vicarages of Bussage, Chalford, and Oakridge are separate benefices. There is a Baptist chapel at Eastcombe, a Wesleyan chapel at Oakridge, and Congregational, Baptist, Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels at Chalford.

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


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyGloucestershire 
Ecclesiastical parishBisley All Saints 
Poor Law unionStroud 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1547.

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


Church of England

All Saints (parish church)

The church of All Saints is a building of stone in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave of three bays, aisles, south porch and a western tower with spire, containing a clock and 8 bells: the church was thoroughly restored in 1862, from the designs of the Rev. W. H. Lowder M.A. curate here, 1860-4 and has sittings for 500 persons.


Wesleyan Chapel

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Bisley from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Bisley are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Gloucestershire online:

Villages, Hamlets, &c


Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of the county of Gloucester, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.

RegionSouth West
Postal districtGL6
Post TownStroud