UK Genealogy Archives logo
DISCLOSURE: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we may receive a commission.

Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire

Historical Description

Stow-on-the-Wold, a small market-town, county court district and petty sessional division, and a parish in Gloucestershire. The town is governed by an urban district council consisting of nine members. The "Fosse Road " is the principal way by which the town is reached. It forms the western boundary of the town. The town appears from records to have been called Stow-the-old, Edwardstow, and Stow St Edwards. It is situated on one of the highest of the Cotswold Hills, has a post, money order, and telegraph office (S.O.), and a station about a mile S of the town on the Chipping Norton Junction and Cheltenham branch of the G.W.R. St Edward's Hall, in the Square, is a stone building in the Gothic style, erected in 1878; a handsome spire was erected over the main entrance in 1894. A petty sessional court, also used as a county court, was built in the town-the police station forming part of the building. An ancient cross stands in the market-place, and was restored in 1878, to commemorate the munificence of the late Joseph Chamberlayne, who was lord of the manor. The workhouse is situate in Maugersbury parish. A battle was fought here in 1645 in the Civil War, in which the Royalists were defeated. A weekly market is held on Thursday, and fairs on 12 May and 24 Oct. The market was granted to the town by Henry I., but it is thought that from the fact of Stow having been frequented by pilgrims and travellers, and from its central position, provisions and goods were collected here from time immemorial. The area of Stow-on-the-Wold is 33 acres. The ecclesiastical parish of Stow St. Edwards consists of Stow-on-the-Wold and its hamlets Donnington and Maugersbury. Population of Stow, 1204; of Donnington, 111; and of Maugersbury, 563. The manor belonged formerly to Evesham Abbey. Maugersbury Manor is still the residence of the Chamberlayne family. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol. The church is a large handsome edifice, ranging from Norman to Perpendicular, and consists of a spacious chancel, nave of three bays, two aisles, transepts, N and S porches, and a pinnacled tower. The church contains sedilia, a piscina, and hagioscopes, several memorials to the Chamberlaynes and the Hippisleys. A hermit of the name of Edward in the time of King Ethelred I. (866-871) is supposed to have been the founder of the church. It is said to have been rebuilt in the Norman style, and enlarged by Ethelmere or Aylmere, Earl of Cornwall and Devon, in the reign of the second Ethelred (979-1015). The south aisle was added in the period of Transition from Norman to Early English (about 1190), and some thirty years later a large transeptal chapel, now forming the north-east end of the north aisle, and a little later still the north aisle in the Early English style. Towards the end of the 13th century The church underwent extensive alteration, indeed was almost rebuilt, as also the chancel, which occasioned reconsecration, and King Edward the Confessor being at this time the most popular Saint in England, the dedication was changed from St Edward the obscure local saint to St Edward the Confessor. In the Perpendicular period further changes took place. The Early English lancet windows in the above-mentioned chapel, with the exception of one in the north aisle, were removed, and two large new Perpendicular windows in the chapel, and one in the north aisle, were introduced, and in the corresponding one in the still remaining one in the north wall of the aisle were inserted three lights, and tracery in the style of this period within the masonry of the original early English windows. This last-mentioned window is now restored in the Early English style, and filled with rich stained glass to the memory of Mrs Mary Hayward, who died in 1866. A clerestory also was erected, and other alterations took place. Between 1445 and 1476 the grand tower on the south side of the nave was built; it has a peal of six bells. There are Baptist and Wesleyan chapels in the town of Stow, and a Baptist chapel in the hamlet of Donnington.

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 parishStow-On-The-Wold St. Edward 
Poor Law unionStow-on-the-Wold 

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


A Cemetery of 2 acres, situated at the south end of the town, was formed in 1856, at a cost of £500.

Church Records

The register dates from the year 1558.

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


Church of England

St. Edward (parish church)

The church of St. Edward, said to have been rebuilt by Ailmore or AEthelmer, Earl of Cornwall and Devon, in the reign of Ethelred, is a handsome and spacious edifice of stone, in the Norman, Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, nave of three bays, aisles, transepts, north and south porches and an embattled tower on the south side, with pinnacles, containing a clock and 8 bells, each of the bells bears an inscription: the east and west windows are stained, land there are 17 other stained windows: in the chancel are sedilia and a piscina with canopy, and in the north transept is a memorial window to Major-General Raikes, d. 1880; there are several other memorials to members of the Chamberlayne family, descendants of the Norman family of Tankerville, including John Chamberlayne, 1677; John Chamberlayne, 1714; Rev. John Chamberlayne, 1756, and Joseph Chamberlayne-Chamberlayne, 1874: Captain Hastings Keyt, who was killed in a fight which took place at Stow between the Royalists and Parliamentary forces in 1645, was buried in the chancel: over the communion table is a large painting of the "Crucifixion," by Gaspard de Grayer, a Flemish artist, dated 1610, and presented to the church in 1838 by Joseph Chamberlayne-Chamberlayne esq.: the brass eagle lectern was presented in 1900 by Mr. Mark Hookham: the church has been restored since 1873, at a cost of £500, and new heating apparatus was provided in 1900 at a cost of over £200 by the late Capt. Piers Thursby: in 1901 a chancel screen was erected as a memorial to the late Mr. Paul Auberbin, and new oak choir desks were presented at a cost of £70 by J. H. Hewitt esq.: in 1903 a new organ was provided at a cost of £425: the church affords sittings for 600 persons.


Baptist Chapel

The Baptist chapel, erected in 1852, has 300 sittings

Strict Baptist Chapel

The Strict Baptist chapel, built in 1841, has seating for 50 persons.


Stowe Mission chapel

The Stow Mission chapel, for Wesleyan Methodists, was re-erected in 1863, and affords 150 sittings.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Stow on the Wold from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Stow on the Wold 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.