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Painswick, Gloucestershire

Historical Description

Painswick, a small town and a parish in Gloucestershire. The town stands on the declivity of Spoonbed Hill, adjacent to a small affluent of the river Stroud, 3½ miles NNE of Stroud, and 6 SSE of Gloucester; is regularly built of a peculiar white local stone; and has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Stroud. Markets and fairs were formerly held but have been discontinued. There are large pin factories, a bank, and a convalescent and training home. The parish comprises the tithings of Edge, Sheepscombe, Spoonbed, and Stroud End. Acreage, 6104; population of the civil parish, 4134; of the ecclesiastical, 1630. For parish council purposes it has a parish council consisting of eleven members, divided into the following three wards-Painswick ward with seven members, Sheepscombe two, and Slad two. A portion of the Slad ecclesiastical parish (being also a portion of the civil parish of Painswick) has been separated into a new civil parish under the name of Uplands. The manor bore the name of Wiche at Domesday; belonged then to Roger de Lacy; and passed to Pain Fitz-John, the Kingstons, and the Jerninghams. Court House was the scene of a court by Charles I. in 1643, and is a good example of Elizabethan architecture. Painswick House, The Grove, and Paradise House are the chief residences. Spoonbed Hill commands a very extensive view of the valley of the Severn; was occupied by the troops of Charles I. after the siege of Gloucester; and is crowned by a well-preserved, double-entrenched Roman camp, where Roman coins and weapons have been found. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol; net value, £314 with residence. The church is ancient, chiefly Perpendicular, with additions in the Classic style. The " classic " S aisle was altered in 1891 into a style similar to the old part of the church, and at the same time a S aisle to the chancel and vestries were added. It was restored in 1879, It was struck by lightning in 1883, when great damage was done to the tower, &c., necessitating further restorations. It contains an altar-tomb of 1540 of Sir William Kingston, Constable of the Tower. The N chapel also contains altar-tombs and a fine modern reredos. The church is famous for its splendid peal of twelve bells. The churchyard is remarkable for the number and grouping of its yew trees, and there are some stocks still standing near the church. There is a cemetery, occupying 4 acres, on Spoonbed Hill. There are Baptist, Congregational, and Primitive Methodist chapels. The parish also contains the ecclesiastical parishes of Sheepscombe, Slad, and part of that of Painswick Edge.

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 parishPainswick St. Mary 
Poor Law unionStroud 

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


A Cemetery, on Painswick Hill, occupying 4 acres, was laid out and mortuary chapels erected in the year 1863, at a cost of £1,300.

Church Records

The Phillimore transcript of Marriages at Painswick 1547-1812, Gloucestershire is available to browse online.

The parish register dates from the year 1552.

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


Church of England

St. Mary (parish church)

The church of St. Mary is an edifice of stone, chiefly in the Early Perpendicular style, and consists of chancel, with aisle or chapel, nave of five bays, aisles and an embattled western tower, with spire, containing a clock with chimes and 12 bells: the chancel is fitted with oak stalls: the north chantry chapel is used for daily service: the south aisle, erected in the 18th century, was restored in 1891: the font dates from 1661: in the north chantry, beneath a groined canopy enriched with elaborate fan-tracery, is an altar tomb of Purbeck marble, erected to Sir William Kingston K.G. constable of the Tower, ob. 1540, and Elizabeth, his wife; it is now in a dilapidated state, and the brasses formerly on the upper slab are lost; and on the tomb are now placed alabaster effigies of John Seaman LL.D. chancellor oof the diocese, ob. 1623, and his wife, which have been removed from their original site in the chancel: during the restoration of the church, brasses, dated 1571, were found under the flouring of the nave: at the back of the pulpit is a double hagioscope of unusual type, and in the belfry are various tablets recording some of the wonderful peals rung at different times by the celebrated "Painswick Youths"; the work of restoration was begun in 1878-9, when the galleries and high pews were removed, the floors levelled and the interior reseated at a cost of £2,250: in 1883, on Sunday, June 10th, the church was struck by lightning during a violent storm, and great damage done; and in addition to the repairs necessitated by this calamity, the chancel was renovated, a panelled roof erected, new choir stalls and fittings introduced, and other improvements effected under the direction of Messrs. Waller, architects, of Gloucester, at a cost of about £1,944, and in 1891 further restoration was effected, and vestries and an organ chamber erected at a cost of £2,060: there are 600 sittings: the churchyard contains 104 yew trees, all regularly planted and uniformly cut.


Baptist Chapel, New Street


Brethren meeting house, Bisley Street


Winter Memorial Congregational Chapel, Gloucester Street

The Winter Memorial Congregational chapel here is supposed to be one of the oldest in England, having been founded in the 16th century by the Separatists and early Puritans, and rebuilt in 1803 by the Rev. Cornelius Winter, the eminent divine.


Primitive Methodist Chapel, Bisley Street

Society of Friends

Society of Friends Meeting House, Bisley Street

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 Painswick from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Painswick 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.

RegionSouth West
Postal districtGL6
Post TownStroud