Woodchester (St. Mary)
WOODCHESTER (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Stroud, hundred of Longtree, E. division of the county of Gloucester, 2½ miles (S. W.) from Stroud; containing 908 inhabitants. This place is supposed to derive its name from its occupying the site of a Roman station, which appears to have been the residence of the propraetor, or perhaps of the Emperor Adrian. Among the antiquities that have been found are, foundations and ruins of buildings, fragments of statues, stags' horns, glass, pottery, coins of the Lower Empire, a coin of Adrian, one of Lucilla, and a noble tessellated pavement, of which an engraving was exhibited to the Society of Antiquaries by Samuel Lysons, Esq., F.S.A., who published an elaborate account of these relics in 1797. The village is on an eminence forming part of a range of hills which inclose a beautiful and fertile vale. Spring Park, in the parish, is a splendid residence finely situated, and combining a variety of picturesque scenery; and the Priory, an old mansion near the church, also forms a pleasing object in the landscape. The manufacture of woollen-cloths is carried on extensively; in the neighbourhood of the village not less than eight mills are in constant operation. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £10, and in the gift of Lord Ducie: the tithes have been commuted for £265; there is a parsonage-house, and the glebe comprises 30 acres. The church contains a fine monument to the memory of Sir George Huntley. Here is a place of worship for Baptists. Robert Bridges, in 1722, bequeathed £500, of which the produce, £50 per annum, is appropriated to the clothing and apprenticing of boys.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.