Woodchester, a village and a parish in Gloucestershire. The village is 2½ miles SW of Stroud, and has a station on the Stonehouse and Nailsworth branch of the M.R., and a post, money order, and telegraph office under Stroud. The parish comprises 1206 acres; population, 867. Woodchester Park, Woodchester House, the Priory, Park Hill, Atcombe Court, The Lawn, and Chesterhill House are chief residences. Remains of a fine Roman pavement are near the site of the old church, and remains of a Roman villa are in the gardens of the priory. The manufacture of broadcloths, flock and shoddy, and pins is carried on. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol; net value, £231 with residence. The church was rebuilt on a new site in 1864, and contains some ancient monuments removed from the old church. There are Baptist and Roman Catholic chapels, and an endowed school. A Dominican priory, large and handsome, with a Roman Catholic chapel attached, was erected in 1850, and educates candidates for the priesthood. A Franciscan convent, also with a chapel, was erected in 1859, and has about forty nuns. An orphanage in connection with the convent was established in 1862, and educates, feeds, and clothes forty children. There is a Baptist chapel.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Woodchester St. Mary|
|Poor Law union||Stroud|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The register dates from the year 1563.
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, erected in 1864, is a building of stone, in the Gothic style, consisting of chancel, nave of five bays, north aisle, south porch and a tower, with spire containing a clock and chimes, presented by Mrs. and the Misses Cholmeley at Christmas, 1877, and 6 bells; there are seven stained windows, erected from designs by the late Mr. S. S. Teulon, architect, of London: the stained west window, a memorial to George Paul, who died 14th April, 1880, was erected by his son, Edward John Dean Paul, 1886: a number of ancient monuments were transferred from the old church: these include two monuments to Nathaniel Peach, d. 1719, his son, d. 1780, and his wife, d. 1765: in the baptistery are life-sized recumbent effigies of Sir George Huntley kt. ob. 23rd Sept. 1622, and Eleanor (Winter), his wife, surrounded by figures of nine children: there is also a monument to Robert Bridges, d. 1722: the church affords 500 sittings: underneath a portion of the old churchyard and an adjoining paddock are some very beautiful remains of an ancient Roman tesselated pavement.
The Dominican priory of the Annunciation, erected about 1850, is a large building of stone, in the Gothic style: the attached mission church, erected at a cost of £9,000 by the late William Leigh esq. of Woodchester Park, is a fine building of stone, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, chapel, or chantry, and a turret with spire about 120 feet high, containing 3 bells: the entire building is elaborately decorated, the high altar, reredos and screen being beautifully carved, and there are several fine stained windows: over the chancel arch is a large painting of "The Last Judgment," by Henry Doyle esq. and the church also contains a tomb of alabaster, with recumbent effigy, to William Leigh esq. the founder, executed by Mr. Richard Boulton, of Cheltenham, and another effigy of stone to Archbishop Nicholson, bishop of Corfu, who died whilst on a visit to Mr. Leigh, and who was interred in this church: arranged round the walls of the aisles are fourteen carved stone groups representing the stations of the Cross: there is a cemetery adjoining the church.
The Franciscan Convent of the Immaculate Conception, founded in 1859, is a large building with chapel attached, and had an abbess and 24 sisters: the sanctuary and chapel were decorated by William Park esq. of Preston, and a stained window was erected on the occasion of the jubilee of the abbess in 1888.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Woodchester from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Woodchester (St. Mary))
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Gloucestershire is available to browse.
Online maps of Woodchester 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.