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Newnham, Gloucestershire

Historical Description

Newnham, a small town, the head of a county court district and petty sessional division, and a parish in Gloucestershire. The town stands on the river Severn, 11 miles SW of Gloucester. It was the place where Earl Strongbow and Henry II. met in 1171, and the place whence they set sail for Ireland; it received from King John a sword of office, which is still kept in perfect preservation; it received also a charter from King John; it sent a member to Parliament in the time of Edward I.; it afterwards got exemption from this privilege on account of poverty; it was at one time a borough, but is now governed by a local board of twelve members. A castle was built at it soon after the Norman Conquest; was garrisoned by Wyntour for Charles I.; and was surrendered to Col. Massie. Some remains of fortification may still be traced, and a long raised ancient fosse has been converted into a pleasant promenade. The Severn here is nearly a mile wide, shows beautiful scenery, and has a ferry at high and low water. The town has a head post office, a station on the Gloucester and South Wales branch of the G.W.R., two banks, a town-hall, and a police station. A clock tower, 60 feet high, with a short spire, was erected in 1873. The church stands on an eminence at the S end of the town. The original church, which was destroyed by fire in 1881, was Norman and Early English. The present edifice consists of chancel, nave of four bays, south aisle, north porch, and an embattled western tower with low shingled spire; it contains some stained windows and a Norman font. A clock with playing chimes was placed in the tower in 1895. There are a Congregational chapel and a, cemetery. Fairs are held on 11 June and 18 Oct.; a considerable commerce in bark, timber, slate, and coal is carried on, and there is a large tannery. A branch railway runs to a wharf at Bullo Pill, and tram railways go to collieries and iron-mines in Dean Forest. The parish comprises 1937 acres; population, 1401. There is an urban district council consisting of twelve members. The Haie is the chief residence. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol; net value, £120 with residence. Patron, the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol.

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 parishNewnham St. Peter 
Poor Law unionWestbury 

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


A burial ground of one acre was added to the churchyard of St. Peter's in 1875, at a cost of £800, and a further two acres were added in 1911 at a cost of £1,000.

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

St. Peter (parish church)

The church of St. Peter, standing on an eminence at the south end of the town, was originally in the Norman, Early English and later styles, and after being enlarged and restored in 1875, at a cost of £4,600, was destroyed by fire in 1881, but rebuilt in fac-simile, at a cost of about £4,430, and now consists of chancel, nave of four bays, south aisle, north porch, sacristy, vestry and an embattled western tower, with spire and a turret at the south-west angle, and containing 8 bells and a set of chimes: the east window and seven others are stained: the pulpit is of Bath stone, with shafts and panels of alabaster, and there is a Norman font, carved with figures of the apostles: there are modern brasses to the late John Hill, who died at Streatham, London, 22nd March, 1894, and to the late John Stratford Collins, 36 years surgeon of this parish, who died in 1880: there are sittings for 500 persons.


Congregational Chapel

The Congregational chapel is a building of stone in the Gothic style, with sittings for 300 persons.

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 Newnham from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Newnham 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:

Visitations Heraldic

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

DistrictForest of Dean
RegionSouth West
Postal districtGL14