Bisley (All Saints)

BISLEY (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Stroud, hundred of Bisley, E. division of the county of Gloucester, 4 miles (E. N. E.) from Stroud, and 11 (S. E.) from Gloucester; containing 5339 inhabitants. The parish, according to survey in 1841, comprises 7912 acres, whereof 864 are common. The town or village, to which the privilege of a market was granted by James I., is situated partly on the acclivity of a hill, and partly in the vale beneath it, which is watered by a small stream; the streets are irregularly formed, and contain some houses of respectable appearance. In Lypiatt Park, amidst beautiful scenery, is situated the manorhouse of Bisley and Stroud, noted as the place where Guy Fawkes and the other conspirators met and consulted, prior to carrying their evil designs into effect: the apartment which they used is still shown. The inhabitants of the parish are chiefly employed in the manufacture of broad-cloth, which is carried on to a considerable extent; silk is also manufactured, and stone is quarried for building and for pavements. The market has been discontinued; but fairs are held on May 4th and Nov. 12th, chiefly for sheep.

The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £19. 10. 5., and in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor: the great tithes, belonging to T. M. Goodlake, Esq., have been commuted for £1204, and those of the incumbent for £748. 15., with a glebe of 17 acres, and a vicarage-house. The church is a spacious and handsome structure, partly in the decorated and partly in the later English style, with a tower surmounted by a spire 130 feet high, which forms a conspicuous landmark: in the churchyard is an octagonal cross. At Chalford is a district church; and a chapel of ease has been built at Oakridge, containing 380 sittings. At Bussege is a beautiful little church, erected at a cost of £2000 by twenty students of different colleges of Oxford; it is in the decorated style, is dedicated to St. Michael and All Angels, and was consecrated in Oct. 1846. There are places of worship for Independents, Baptists, and Wesleyans. The free school is supported by a portion of the produce of lands left for the repair of the church, the payment of the clerk, and the salary of a schoolmaster; with it has been incorporated a Blue-coat school. The common is reported to have been given to the poor by Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, in the reign of Edward III.; it then comprised 1200 acres, but a considerable part of it has been inclosed. At Lilly-house, a hamlet south of the town, a vaulted chamber has been discovered, with several adjoining apartments, having tessellated pavements, and niches in the walls. Some other relics of antiquity, supposed to be Roman, were found at Custom-Scrubs, another hamlet, in 1802; and in Oct. 1841, near Lillygate, was discovered an extensive range of Roman chambers, whose communications with each other were distinctly marked, and of which a part exhibited the supports and bases of tessellated floors. Many fragments of glazed pottery, antique glass, implements, stags' bones, sacrificial knives, &c., were found, as were also 1223 coins of various emperors, some in a state of cohesion.—See Chalford.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.