Hunt & Co.’s Directory March 1849 - Transcription of the entry for Dursley, Gloucestershire
facilitated by the vicinity of the river Severn, and the Berkeley and Gloucester canal which latter is navigable for vessels, of 800 tons register, up to Gloucester, 16 miles distant. In the reign of Edward the First, this town was a borough but the charter has been annulled. At the White Hart Inn, are held petit sessions for the upper division of the hundred. Berkeley was the birth and burial place of Dr. Edward Jenner, who introduced the practice of vaccination. The town is of great antiquity, for it was a place of great importance during the Saxon era, and from Doomsday-book we learn that it was a free borough, and a. royal demesne. The manor embraces nearly thirty parishes, and is one of the most extensive in the kingdom. William the Norman granted it to Roger de Berkeley, who built a castle at the south east side of the town; but Henry II. deprived his successor of the title and estates for espousing the cause of Stephen, and conferred them upon Robert Fitz Harding, who assumed the title of Baron de Berkeley. In this castle, after experiencing all the indignities which triumph could conceive, or cruelty perpetrate, the unfortunate Edward II. was inhumanly murdered by his keepers - two fiends in human form - the lords Gournay and Montravers. Above the steps leading to the keep is an apartment called the dungeon, still containing its original furniture and is shown as having been the spot where the horrid deed was perpetrated.
During the struggles between Charles the First and his parliament, the castle was garrisoned by royalists, who withstood a siege of nine days, when they were compelled to surrender. The noble building is now the residence of Earl Fitzhardinge, and presents to the eye, one of the finest and most perfect feudal fortresses in this kingdom, although it has experienced the repeated violence of angry elements for 700 years. Prior to the Conquest there existed here a religious house, which is mentioned in the acts of a Synod at Clovesho; it is doubtful. however, whether it consisted of Monks or Nuns.
The parish church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a large, and ancient stone edifice, in the early English, or pointed style of architecture, having a detached tower of more recent erection. The Independents and Wesleyans have, also, their respective places of worship. In 1840, a school for boys was founded on the British plan, and one for girls in 1842. They are supported chiefly by voluntary
subscriptions but the pupils contribute some trifle. The market is held on Tuesday, and fairs for cattle and pigs on the 14th
and the 1st of December. In 1841, the parish numbered 4405 inhabitants.
About two miles S.E. of Berkeley. and on the high road from Gloucester to Bristol, stands the agreeable village of NEWPORT, which, previous to the opening of the Bristol and Birmingham Railway, was a place of considerable thoroughfare.
CAMBRIDGE, or Cambridge Inn, is a village in the parish of Cam about four miles from Dursley, on the banks of the Cam, which, with the neighbouring bridge, gives the village its name. Here a memorable engagement occurred in the reign of Edward the First, between the Saxons and Danes, when the latter were completely routed. The parish lies low, but, from the occasional overflowing of the Severn, the land is materially fertilised; and the district is celebrated for the quantity and quality of its cheese.
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