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Hunt & Co.’s Directory March 1849 - Transcription of the entry for Dursley, Gloucestershire Transcription



DURSLEY is a parish, and market town in the union of Thornbury, and county of Gloucestershire, distant from the metropolis, 110 miles W. by N., and from Gloucester, 15 S.W. by W. This town is said to have derived its name from some powerful springs which rise near the churchyard and are the source of a diminutive stream called the Cam; and also from the rich grazing lands by which it is encompassed. This derivation appears to us a reasonable one, as we find the Cambrian language for water is dwr, and for pasture land lega or lea, hence Dwr lega or Dwr lea, since altered to the more harmonious term Dursley. It lies at the foot of a steep hill, which is mantled with stately beech trees, from the base to its summit. The government of the town is vested in the hands of a bailiff, and twelve aldermen; and the homage jury present three candidates for the office of bailiff, at the annual court leet, from which the lord of the manor selects one, who, when the period of appointment arrives, becomes one of the aldermen, should a vacancy in that body exist. In the reign of Edward I., we find Dursley among the number of boroughs returned by the sheriff of Gloucestershire. From it are now made the returns of representatives for the western division of the county.

The manufacturing of woollen cloth was, at one time, carried on very extensively, and although the trade is materially diminished, it still affords employment to a large number of the inhabitants. In the neighbourhood are strata of the tophus, a soft, brittle stone, which, on exposure to the atmosphere, becomes hard and durable. Of this material the walls of Berkeley Castle are built, and though the crumbling hand of seven centuries has past over them, they betray no symptoms of decay. In the centre of the town is St. James’ Church - an elegant building - at the west end of which stands a tower, in the modern Gothic sty1e. The Independents and Wesleyans have places of worship here; and some extensive charities principally for the education of poor children, confer great benefits on the town. Edward Fox, bishop of Hereford, in the reign of Henry VIII. was born here. The markets are held on Thursday and Saturday; and the fairs, for cattle and horses, on the 6th of May and the 4th of December. In 1841 the parish contained 2931 inhabitants.

The neighbourhood of Dursley is picturesque and beautiful, and the views obtainable from the surrounding heights are varied and extensive. From Stinchcombe Hill, on a clear day, objects may be seen in fourteen counties.

BERKELEY is a parish and market town in the upper division of the hundred of its own name, union of Thornbury, and county of Gloucestershire; distant from London 114 miles N. by W., and from Gloucester 15 S.S.W. It is situated in the rich vale of Berkeley, on a gentle acclivity about two miles from the Bristol and Gloucester Railway and one from the river Severn, beside a tributary stream of that majestic river called Berkeley Pill, which is navigable to the town at spring tides for barges and small craft. The town is tolerably well built, and consists of four principal streets, with some intersecting minor ones. The trade, consisting chiefly in coals, timber, malt, and cheese, is greatly


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