Winchcombe, a small market-town, the head of a poor-law union, petty sessional division, and county court district, and a parish in Gloucestershire. The town stands on the Isborne, amid the Cotswolds, 6¼ miles NE of Cheltenham. It was known at Domesday as Wincelcombe. A nunnery was founded by King Offa in 787, and a Benedictine Abbey was founded on its site in 798 by King Renulph. The latter was destroyed by the Danes, and rebuilt in 985 by Bishop Oswald. Winchcombe was formerly a borough by prescription, with two bailiffs and ten burgesses, but the corporation was extinguished in 1883. The town consists of one long principal street, and contains a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.), a modern town-hall, a reading-room and library, a large swimming bath, a cottage hospital, two banks, a police station, almshouses, and a workhouse. The church is a fine Perpendicular edifice, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave of eight bays, aisles, S porch, and pinnacled tower. It was restored in 1872. There are Baptist, Congregational, and Wesleyan chapels, and three cemeteries. The grammar school was founded and endowed in 1621 by Lady Frances Chandos. Markets are held on Saturdays horse fairs on the last Saturday in March and 28 July, and hiring fairs on the Saturday before and the Saturday after old Michaelmas Day. The parish includes the hamlets of Greet, Gretton, Postlip, Naunton, Framton, Abbey Demesnes, Coates, Cockbury, Corndean, and Langley. Acreage, 6720; population of the civil parish, 2864; of the ecclesiastical, 2868. There is a parish council consisting of seven members. Postlip Hall and Corndean Hall are chief residences. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol; gross value, £198. A chapel of ease and a Wesleyan chapel are at Gretton; a Norman chapel at Postlip, formerly in ruins, has been restored, and is now used as a Roman Catholic chapel.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Winchcomb St. Peter|
|Poor Law union||Winchcomb|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
A cemetery of half an acre, adjoining the old churchyard; and one of a quarter of an acre for Nonconformists, on the Greet road, were formed in 1857 at a cost of £700. The cemetery in Greet road was enlarged in 1890.
The Phillimore transcript of Marriages at Winchcombe 1539-1812, Gloucestershire is available to browse online.
The register, including Gretton and Sudeley, dates from the year 1539; and is one of the few original paper registers which was not destroyed when Queen Elizabeth ordered them to be copied on vellum.
The Gloucestershire Parish Registers are available online at Ancestry, in association with Gloucestershire Archives.
Church of England
St. Peter (parish church)
The parish church of St. Peter, erected towards the end of the 15th century by Abbot William of Winchcombe, Lord Boteler, and the inhabitants, in place of an old church then in ruins, is a fine embattled edifice of stone, in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave of eight bays, aisles, north and south porches and an embattled western tower, with eight crocketed pinnacles, containing a clock and 6 bells, all cast in 1693, and partly re-cast in 1759 and 1776: the nave and chancel are under a continuous roof, and the battlemented parapet of the clerestory is relieved by crocketed pinnacles rising from corbels: a singular alms box, with three locks, and dating from about 1547, is affixed to one of the pillars: the octagonal stone font, with cover, dates from 1634: in the chancel is a piscina with two shelves, and above it all embattled corbel supporting a projecting panelled ornament of three sides, adorned with the arms of Lord Boteler and the abbey of Winchcombe, and the keys and sword of St. Peter and St. Paul: there is also a monument with kneeling effigy, to Thomas Williams esq. ob. May, 1636, and memorial windows to Mrs. Dent, Mr. Adlard, the Staite family and Mrs. Smith Wood: the chancel and east ends of both aisles were rebuilt in 1690, and the roof repaired about 1850, and in 1872 the church was thoroughly restored, at a cost of £3,300, when the battlements of the nave and chancel were made continuous, the pinnacles renewed and the interior repaired: in the church are two stone coffins found in 1815 at the east end of Winchcombe Abbey church: there are sittings for 700 persons: the church plate includes a chalice, with cover, dated 1570, a chalice given by Henry Harvey in 1677, a paten dated 1686, a flagon presented in 1709, and a peculiar oblong silver-gilt dish, presented to the parish in 1737 by Mr. Edward Beall: in the churchyard stands a Cross, restored in 1897 in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Victoria.
Baptist Chapel, High Street
The Baptist chapel, built in 1811 had seating for 150 persons.
Union Chapel, Gretton Road
The Union chapel in Gretton road, erected in 1878, had seating for 300 persons.
The Wesleyan chapel, built in 1886 had seating for 350 persons.
St. James, Postlip Hall
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Winchcombe from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Winchcomb (St. Peter))
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Gloucestershire is available to browse.
Online maps of Winchcombe are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Gloucestershire online:
- Gloucester Citizen
- Gloucester Journal
- Gloucestershire Chronicle
- Gloucestershire Echo
- Cheltenham Chronicle
- Cheltenham Looker-On
The Visitation of the county of Gloucester, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.