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Tetbury (St. Mary)

TETBURY (St. Mary), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Longtree, E. division of the county of Gloucester, 20 miles (S. by E.) from Gloucester, and 99 (W. by N.) from London; containing 2982 inhabitants. The town is pleasantly situated on an eminence at the southern verge of the county, bordering on Wiltshire, and near the source of the river Avon, over which is a long bridge or causeway, leading into the main road to Malmesbury. It consists principally of a long street, crossed at right angles by two shorter ones, with a spacious markethouse near one of the intersections. An act was obtained in 1817, for paving and lighting the town, the expense of which was defrayed out of funds in the hands of trustees appointed in 1814 under an act for inclosing waste grounds; £1000 were appropriated from the same source for the repair of the market-house. The poor are chiefly employed by woolstaplers, and the market was formerly noted for the sale of woollen-yarn, but the introduction of machinery has put an end to the trade. The market is on Wednesday; and fairs are held on Ash-Wednesday, July 22nd, and November 10th, for corn, cheese, horses, and cattle. A bailiff and a constable are elected annually at the court leet of the manor; and petty-sessions for the town and hundred take place here. The parish comprises 4384a. 1r. 7p.

The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £36. 13. 4.; patron, T. Staunton, Esq.; appropriators, the Dean and Canons of Christ-Church, Oxford. The great tithes have been commuted for £240, and the vicarial for £800; there is a parsonage-house, and the glebe contains about 50 acres. The church, having been undermined by a flood in 1770, was, with the exception of the tower, which is surmounted by a fine modern spire, rebuilt in 1781, in the early English style, at an expense of £6000. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyans. A grammar school was endowed by Sir William Romney, a native of Tetbury, and sheriff of London in the reign of James I., who bequeathed a lease for years of the weights of wool and yarn, tolls, and other profits within the town, with the proceeds of which certain lands have been purchased. Another school is partly supported by an endowment of £30 per annum bequeathed by Elizabeth Hodges in 1723, and partly by subscription. The poor-law union of Tetbury comprises 13 parishes or places, of which 11 are in the county of Gloucester, and 2 in Wilts; the population amounts to 5891. In Maudlin meadow, which belongs to Magdalen College, Oxford, and is situated north of the town, is a petrifying spring, impregnated with calcareous earth. A fort is said to have been built here before the invasion of Britain by the Romans; and ancient British coins, and fragments of weapons, have been found within the area of a camp in the vicinity, of which all traces are now obliterated.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.