Henbury (St. Mary)

HENBURY (St. Mary), a parish, in the unions of Clifton and Thornbury, partly in the Lower division of the hundred of Berkeley, and partly in the Lower and Upper divisions of the hundred of Henbury, W. division of the county of Gloucester, 4¼ miles (N. N. W.) from Bristol; containing, with the chapelry of Aust, and the tythings of Charlton, Compton, King'sWeston, and Lawrence-Weston, 2439 inhabitants. This parish is supposed to have derived its name from the Saxon Hean or Hen, Old, and Byrig, a fortified place. It is bounded on the west by the Severn, and on the south-west by the river Avon, which falls into the former at the Swash: the estimated number of acres is about 12,000, chiefly meadow and pasture; the surface is partly flat, and that portion of it in which the village is situated is gradually rising ground. The village is remarkably pleasant, and, from its vicinity to Bristol, is the residence of many of the opulent citizens. There are two passages of the Severn in the parish; the old one in the hamlet of Redwick, and that at Aust, where the river is nearly two miles across. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £30; joint patrons, Viscount Middleton, Sir S. Smyth, Bart., E. F. Colston, Esq., and the Rev. C. Gore; impropriator, H. C. Lippincott, Esq. The vicarial tithes have been commuted for £838. The church is a spacious and handsome edifice in the early English style, with decorated and later insertions: the churchyard is surrounded with ivy-mantled walls, and enlivened with numerous evergreens. There are chapels of ease at Aust and Northwick. A free school, or hospital, was founded in 1623, by Anthony Edmonds, and endowed by him with the proceeds of certain lands: the income, augmented in 1736 by a bequest from Christopher Cole, Esq., is about £130; but the charity has been suspended since 1815, in consequence of great injury done to the property by an inundation of the Severn. In 1756, Robert Sandford bequeathed £1500, the proceeds to be employed in instructing poor children. Here are the remains of an old chapel dedicated to St. Blazius, a Spanish martyr, near which is a castellated summerhouse, called Blaize Castle, commanding a most delightful prospect; and upon the hill whereon the building stands is an encampment, with triple ramparts and two deep ditches, having two entrances at the opposite angles, on the line of the ancient Fosse-way: this work is commonly ascribed to the Britons, but the discovery of coins and other relics evinces its occupation by the Romans.

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

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