The History of Tewkesbury

By James Bennett

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2015

CHAPTER XXIII.

INTERESTING AND REMARKABLE OCCURRENCES

THE circumstances recorded in this chapter are for the most part such as could not with propriety be embodied in the general history, and which yet appeared to be too interesting, particularly to the inhabitants of Tewkesbury, to be wholly omitted. They are arranged in chronological order: the most remote events are principally copied from the Corporation Records, and from the Feoffees' and Churchwardens' Books. The precise words of the originals are in some instances preserved, especially where it was thought a deviation would probably alter the writer's meaning.

1470. - A commission was granted to the Bishop of Down and Connor, to re-consecrate Tewkesbury church, it having been lately polluted with blood.[436]

1484. - A remarkably high flood, in consequence of the waters overflowing the banks of the Severn. Many men, women and children, with great numbers of cattle and sheep were drowned.[437]

1531. - The abbot of Tewkesbury appears, from the following entry in King Henry the Eighth's Household-Book, to have contributed to the king's favourite diversion of

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hawking: - "July 27. Paid to the abbot of Tewkesbury's servant, in reward for bringing a caste of launners to the king's grace, xxs."

1559. - The oldest register of baptisms, belonging to Tewkesbury, commences in 1559, which is little more than twenty years subsequent to parish registers being first ordered to be kept; and from that period to the present they have been tolerably well preserved. The oldest registers of marriages and burials begin in 1595, but the most ancient of these are extremely vague and imperfect.

1576. - In this year was the free-school within the town began by the benevolence of the inhabitants, and finished in the following year, at the expense of £.16; of which £.8 was collected, and £.8 supplied by the chamber.

1576. - Mr. Whittington gave a silver chalice and cover, for the use of communicants in Tewkesbury church; in 1618, Edw. Alye, esq. gave another silver chalice; and shortly afterwards, Richard Dowdeswell, esq. presented a large silver salver.

1578. - Most of the printed descriptions of Tewkesbury state, that, in an old church-wardens' book, belonging to the parish, the following entries occur: "A.D. 1578. Paid for the players' geers, six sheepskins for Christ's garments"; and, under date of 1585, "order eight heads of hair for the apostles, and ten beards, and a face or vizor for the devil".[438]

1578. - A pestilence broke out in the town, before Michaelmas, of which thirty persons died in the course of six weeks. In the following year it again appeared, but by the timely attention of the bailiffs, in causing suspected houses to be shut up, "God stayed the plague", and five persons only died.

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1582. - In Lent, Her Majesty's justices came to the town, and ordered the belfrey tower to be covered and furnished for a house of correction for half the shire, and committed the building of it to the bailiffs.

1583. - The quay was in part newly paved, at the charge of the bailiffs and their brethren.

1586. - In consequence of the scarceness of corn, and a dread of famine, the bailiffs and magistrates of the town abridged the liberty of buying grain, and malting was entirely prohibited.

1586. - In this and the preceding year, the town-hall was built, at an expense of £.63. 17s. 7d.

1587. - On the 19th of July, a very great and sudden inundation of the rivers occurred. Some of the meadows were unmown at Bartholomew tide, and a great quantity of hay was spoiled and lost.

1591. - About Michaelmas, the occupiers of a house in Tewkesbury were believed to be infected with the plague, which at that time raged greatly in London and other places. In November, in the following year, it broke out in Barton-street, but the inhabitants of only one or two houses were infected. In the succeeding April, it raged very furiously, continuing all the summer, winter and spring following, until the middle of May, when it entirely ceased. There were upwards of one hundred and fifty houses infected with this dreadful malady, and at least five hundred and sixty persons died of it within the year. No market or fair was held in the town from before Whitsuntide until All Saints, and many inhabitants forsook the place in consequence of the sickness. The towns-people were strictly barred from entering any market town, and forced to carry with them certificates of their former duelling. Numbers of the inhabitants would have perished, if well-disposed persons in the neighbourhood had not sent provisions and money to the poor in the town.

1596. - The town was divided into five wards, over which presided two high constables: 1. Bridge ward. 2. Church ward. 3. Barton ward. These three had each a petty

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constable. 4. St. Mary's ward, with two petty constables. 5. The Middle ward, of which the high constables took charge.

1597. - Wheat sold for 12s. 6d. per bushel; barley, 8s.; beans, 8s.; malt, 8s.; vetches, 5s.; oats, 3s.; rye, 5s. and 6s.: these were excessive prices, considering the value of money. The citizens of Gloucester stretched a chain across the river Severn, in order that no vessel with provisions might pass beyond them. This remained for some years; but the inhabitants of Tewkesbury petitioned the lords of the privy council, and the chain was ordered to be taken down.

1598. - The plague again made its appearance in the town, and carried off about forty persons.

1599. - The church-wardens, after Michaelmas, intending of themselves to build a battlement upon the top of the church tower, offered to do the same by contract without any common charge, and for that purpose did set forth three stage plays, played in the abbey at Whitsuntide following. They afterwards made a further motion for a church ale,[439] but that could

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not be granted, except upon condition that accustomed abuses should be reformed. About Whitsuntide following the battlement was finished, and cost £.66. They also, with the help of others, joined in entreating the benevolence of the best disposed inhabitants, and thereby finished the free-school, by glazing the windows, boarding the floors, and making the galleries.[440]

1603. - No county quarter sessions were held in Gloucester, at Easter; but on the nineteenth of July following they were held at Tewkesbury.

1604. - The plague broke out again in Tewkesbury. It was occasioned by some trowmen of the town bringing it from Bristol. Twenty-three persons died of it; all of whom, to avoid peril, were buried in coffins of wood.

1607. - A great controversy took place in September, about choosing a parish clerk. The matter was laid before the bishop of the diocese, and was by him referred to the common council.

1607. - A large grey marble stone was discovered under ground in the church, thirteen feet eight inches long, three feet and a half broad, and nearly a foot in thickness. This was placed in the middle of the chancel, and used as the communion table until about the year 1730. In one of Mr. Gough's MS. it is called "the finest communion table of stone in the kingdom". A portion of it now forms the base of the font.

1607. - A severe frost began on 20th December, and continued until 18th February following. Malt was carried to Bristol by land, on pack-horses, and a scarcity of coal and wood caused great distress.

1609. - In the time of harvest, the plague raged extensively at Southwick, Tredington, and Fiddington.

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1612. - The bailiffs ordered, that all market horses, (which heretofore had stood in the market-place, to the great inconvenience of the inhabitants), should be put into stables, and that the owners should pay one penny for the standings of every three horses, without food; and one halfpenny for each horse that was fed.

1624. - During the summer, the town was again visited by a pestilence; but by the care of the bailiffs, in removing infected families into the Oldbury Field, where temporary houses were built for their reception, the malady soon subsided, and not more than twenty persons died.

1634. - In January there was the greatest fall of snow ever remembered; it was attended with such cold and tempestuous weather, that many people were smothered and frozen to death in returning from market.

1648. - The summer was so cold and wet, that harvest was delayed in the vale until Bartholomew tide. Wheat sold in Tewkesbury at 10s. rye at 8s. and malt at 6s. the bushel.

1655. - Wheat was sold in Tewkesbury market, on the 2d of June, at 17d. a bushel, and barley at 22d.

1673. - On Dec. 22, there was so high a flood, that the water came into the channel of the Church-street, at the Bull Ring.

1674. - On Jan. 4, a violent shock of an earthquake was felt at Tewkesbury. Similar occurrences happened on Oct. 1, 1683; in 1727; on Sept. 8, 1775; and on Nov. 18, 1795.

1677. - From an entry in the chamberlain's book, on Aug. 3, it appeals that one William Tomes, of this borough, was attainted and convicted of high treason; upon which the common council, by virtue of their charter, ordered all his lands, tenements, goods, chattels and debts, to be seized upon and applied to the use of the corporation.

1684. - The old bachelors and maidens of the borough presented a handsome silver flagon, weighing upwards of fifty-four ounces, for the use of communicants.

1687. - In December, the feoffees, or governors of the public charities of the town, were changed, in pursuance of the king's mandate.

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1688. - An expensive toll-cause, between the borough of Tewkesbury and the city of Bristol, was tried in London, and decided in favour of Tewkesbury.

1692. - The royal aid, for this borough, was £.347. 4s. 6d.; and the poll-tax, in 1694, was £.207. 7s.

1706. - Mrs. Elizabeth Dowdeswell gave £.80 towards the repairs of the church; and in 1723, she bequeathed a large silver flagon, for the use of communicants.

1721. - In June, there was so high a flood, that boats were used in various parts of the town.

1723. - An officer in the army was killed, in a duel, at the White Hart, and was buried in the church.

1725. - Mrs. Ann Hancock left by will to the church, a large silver cup and cover. These were exchanged, in 1730, for two silver plates, for the offerings at the sacrament. In her lifetime, she gave a massive silver salver to the church.

1726. - Mr. Thomas Tovey, of London, presented to the parish the two fine folio prayer-books which are now used in the communion service.

1727. - This year was remarkable for the number of floods of the Severn and Avon; there were not less than twenty, some of which did considerable damage.

1729. - Many persons died here, in the summer, of sore throats and fevers: those who were thus affected, were generally carried off in the short space of about twenty hours.

1731. - The Right Honourable Anne, Dowager Countess of Coventry, of Strensham, presented the finely-wrought communion table cloth and two cushions, which are in present use at the altar.

1734. - The Right Honourable Lord Viscount Gage made a present of a fire-engine to the corporation.

1739. - On Dec. 25, a very severe frost began, and continued till the 19th of February. The Severn was so frozen, that loaded waggons and horses passed over it at the Upper and Lower Lodes; and a whole sheep was roasted on the ice, above the quay bridge.

1743. - On Aug. 18, there was a most violent storm of hail at Tewkesbury: the damage sustained at the church was very

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considerable; and it was estimated that it cost £.400 to repair the windows which were broken by it in private houses within the town.

1745. - On April 2, a barge, in passing up the river Avon, was carried over the stanchard, near the Long Bridge, but received little damage.

1770. - This year produced the greatest flood ever known at Tewkesbury; it was occasioned by an immense fall of snow, succeeded by a heavy rain, which continued without intermission for three days and three nights. On Nov. 17, the water came up St. Mary's-lane and Gander-lane, and united in Church-street; and on the 18th, it rose so high, that boats were necessary in order to pass from the Hop Pole Inn to the Mason's Anns. In St. Mary's-lane, the lower stories of the houses were entirely under water, and many of the inhabitants were taken out at the chamber windows, with their beds and furniture. The flood was also in the church, so that divine service could not be performed. Two houses, near the mills, were washed down, but no lives were lost.

1771. - On Oct. 11, the tide flowed five inches perpendicular in the river Avon - a circumstance never before known.

1773. - In May, there was such an extremely high flood, that people feared a repetition of the scenes which occurred during the extraordinary inundation in 1770.

1776. - On Jan. 6, and three succeeding days, such a quantity of snow fell as to render the roads impassable. On the 9th, a severe frost began, and continued till Feb. 1, when such a sudden thaw occurred, as to inundate the neighbourhood, and the flood continued till the 13th of March.

1784. - Nearly four hundred of the townspeople signed an address to the king, expressive of their confidence in Mr. Pitt and his colleagues.

1788. - On July 16, our late most gracious sovereign, George the Third, with the queen, the princess-royal, and the princesses Augusta and Elizabeth, attended by Lady Viscountess Weymouth, Lord Courtown, and the Hon. Colonel Digby, during their residence at Cheltenham for the benefit of his majesty's health, honoured this borough with a visit -

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the king and his attendants riding on horseback, and the queen, the princesses, and Lady Weymouth, in carriages. They were received with hearty acclamations from a large concourse of people; and his majesty appeared to be highly gratified with the demonstrations of loyalty with which he was greeted. The royal party first rode through the town, alighted to view the tumulus at the Mythe, and expressed themselves extremely delighted with the prospects which it afforded. They afterwards inspected the interior of the abbey church, and were much interested with the sacred edifice. His majesty then mounted his horse, and returned with his family and attendants to Cheltenham. A general illumination took place in the evening, in honour of the event. - On the 24th of the same month, their majesties and suite passed through the town, in their way to and from the seat of the Right Hon. the Earl of Coventry, at Croome; upon this occasion, a neat triumphal arch was erected across the High-street, near the Swan Hotel, which was ornamented with the royal arms and suitable inscriptions, and decorated with flowers and evergreens. - The town was honoured with four other visits from the royal party, during their abode at Cheltenham; in all of which, the monarch, by his agreeable and condescending behaviour, appeared in the most amiable point of view.

1788. - The close of this year, and the beginning of 1789, were remarkable for a continued frost of eight weeks. The rivers were unnavigable for more than five weeks.

1792. - On April 19, there was such a great fall of rain, that the water rose in the Severn to the height of sixteen feet within twenty-four hours.

1793. - The floodgate pit, at the quay, was emptied, in order to obtain the contents of a boat, laden principally with iron, which had been sunk about a year previously.

1795. - On Feb. 8, there was a greater inundation than had been experienced for many years, the water being nearly as high as it was in the memorable flood in 1770.

1795. - On July 1, provisions being dear, a mob of women assembled at the quay, and seized a quantity of flour, in order

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to prevent its being sent off by water. Five of the most active of them were tried at the Gloucester assizes, and sentenced to six months' imprisonment each.

1798. - In April, during the heat of the French revolutionary war, the inhabitants of the borough formed themselves into an association, which they denominated "The Royal Tewkesbury Volunteer Infantry". His majesty's ministers, however, declined the tender of their services, inconsequence of the corps wishing to stipulate that they should not be required to go more than six miles from home.

1798. - On Aug. 14, the tide flowed in the river Avon, and carried a boat, laden with goods, a distance of more than a hundred yards. This was the only time, excepting in 1771, that the tide was ever known to affect this river.

1800. - Sir Richard Colt Hoare, bart. in his library at Stourhead, has a large folio volume of beautiful and accurate drawings in bistre, by James Ross, taken in 1800. They consist of twenty-nine of Tewkesbury abbey church, and one of Miss Colletts house. There are also thirty-three relating to Gloucester, viz. thirty-one of the Cathedral and its monuments, one of St. Mary de Lode church, and one of the south entrance to St. Magdalen's chapel.

1803 - A respectable troop of volunteer cavalry, consisting of a captain, a lieutenant, a cornet, and sixty privates, was formed by the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood. When the return of peace, in 1814, rendered their services no longer necessary, it was agreed by the corps, that their general fund, which had been accumulating during their service of eleven years, and amounted to upwards of £.600, instead of being divided among the members individually, should be applied to charitable purposes. To the Tewkesbury National School, Lancastrian School, and Lying-in Charity, one hundred guineas were respectively given, and the residue of the fund was presented to the Gloucester Infirmary. The officers of the troop were so pleased with this liberal conduct of the privates, that they invited the whole corps to a handsome dinner at the Plough Inn, where this fine troop

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of yeomanry assembled for the last time. James Martin, esq. was captain of this troop; Charles Edward Hanford, esq. lieutenant; and Henry William Harris, esq. cornet.

1803. - A corps of volunteer infantry was established at Tewkesbury; it consisted of three companies, of sixty men each, with a captain, lieutenant and ensign, to every company. A sum exceeding £.600 was raised by a voluntary subscription, for the purpose of providing clothing for the privates. In 1804, the ladies of the town and neighbourhood promoted a subscription for purchasing a pair of elegant colours, which were presented to the regiment on Shuthonger Common, on the 9th of May, 1805, by the lady of William Dillon, esq. of the Mythe; after which the corporation of the borough gave the privates a substantial dinner. This respectable corps was disbanded in 1808, when upwards of two hundred of the privates volunteered to serve in the Gloucester local militia.[441]

1805. - On Feb. 27, a serious disturbance took place at Tewkesbury, in consequence of the unpopularity of the inspector and surveyor of taxes. Effigies, representing the persons of James Hawkins, esq. the inspector, and Thomas Holland, esq. surveyor, were drawn through the public streets in a cart, in the manner in which criminals are conveyed to the place of execution, the church bell tolling as for a funeral; the figures were then torn to pieces, and thrown into the river Swilgate, to signify that the persons thus represented deserved that fate; the church bells afterwards struck up a merry peal, to denote joy at their supposed death. At the ensuing assizes

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for the county of Gloucester, William Martin, esq. a most respectable wine-merchant, together with James Attwood, John Sash, and Henry Ricketts, labourers, were indicted for conspiring together for the purpose of creating a riot, and vilifying the persons and characters of two of his majesty's officers. Mr. Martin, after a long trial, in which Mr. Erskine (afterwards Lord Chancellor Erskine) exerted his extraordinary talents in his defence, was acquitted of the whole of the charges; the others were acquitted of the riot, but found guilty of endeavouring to bring the inspector and surveyor of taxes into ridicule and contempt, and of having used calumniatory and improper language respecting them in their official capacities. Attwood was subsequently sentenced, in the Court of King's Bench, to be imprisoned for twelve months, and Sash and Ricketts for nine months, in the county gaol of Gloucester.

1807. - In Jan. there was a remarkably high flood, occasioned by a sudden thaw: it was nearly as high as that in 1795.

1809. - On Oct. 25, the jubilee, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the accession of King George the third to the throne of his ancestors, was celebrated at Tewkesbury with most fervent demonstrations of loyalty and attachment. The festival was ushered in by the ringing of bells, the shops were kept closed, and the body corporate, the volunteer cavalry, and most of the inhabitants, attended divine service. Five fine oxen, one of them presented by the Right Hon. the Earl of Coventry, and a proportionate quantity of potatoes and beer, were distributed among the poor. A large party of the most respectable persons in the town and neighbourhood dined at the Swan Inn, and a splendid ball took place in the evening. An appropriate medal was given by Henry Fowke, esq. the town-clerk, to the principal inhabitants and neighbouring families; and a loyal and dutiful address was presented on the occasion to his majesty.

1810. - At a public meeting, on Sept. 13, it was agreed, that a canal from Tewkesbury to Cheltenham would be highly advantageous to both towns; a committee was appointed in

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furtherance of the object, but the expenses of the undertaking prevented its being- carried into effect.

1811. - A society was formed for the purpose of supplying the town with sea-fish; but it was soon found that the demand for the article was insufficient to make the speculation a profitable one.

1811. - A society, denominated the "Tewkesbury Prince Regent Survivorship Society", was formed. It consisted of twenty respectable individuals, who agreed to contribute three pounds quarterly for ten years, and at the expiration of that period to divide the principal and interest among the surviving members. Only one member died during the existence of the society. The money was vested in the funds; and at the division, in 1821, the nineteen surviving members received £.169. 18s. 2d. each.

1814. - During a flood, in the spring, the water was so high in the meadows and upon the turnpike-roads, that persons sailed in boats completely around the town. This had frequently been done in former floods, but the roads are now so much raised, that there is no probability of its ever being accomplished again.

1814. - On June 23, the day on which the proclamation of peace between England and France was made, every poor man in the parish was presented with a shilling, and every poor woman with sixpence. The money was raised by subscription. There was also a public dinner, a ball, and a general illumination.

1816. - On Dec. 5, a town meeting was held, to adopt measures for affording employment to the industrious poor, during a temporary stagnation in the hosiery business. The directors of the poor reported, that three hundred and six parishioners, who, with their wives and children, made a total of eight hundred and fifty-three persons, received weekly relief; and that of this number one hundred and fifty-seven were frame-work knitters, and others employed in the manufacture of cotton hose, who were entirely destitute of work. It was therefore agreed to raise a fund, by subscription, for

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the purchase of cotton; which should, under the direction of a committee, be manufactured into stockings, during the winter months, by such parishioners as could not otherwise procure labour. Four thousand pounds was considered necessary for establishing a sufficient fund, and a sum considerably exceeding that amount was subscribed in a very short time, wholly among the inhabitants of the parish. When the manufactured stock was disposed of, the whole amount of principal and interest was returned to the subscribers.

1817. - On Nov. 19, the day appointed for the funeral of her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte Augusta, daughter of his present Majesty, and consort of his Serene Highness Prince Leopold of Saxe Cobourg, was observed with the solemnity which the melancholy occasion demanded. No market was held; all the shops, as well us the windows of most of the private houses, were kept closed; divine service was performed twice in the abbey church; the various dissenting places of worship were opened; and the whole population evinced such religious respect on the mournful occasion, as in no similar instance had ever been witnessed. On the following day, addresses of sympathy and condolence were voted to her royal father and her husband, on the severe loss which they and the nation had sustained by the decease of the

"Fairest bud of England's hope".

1818. - On March 4, several tons of lead were stripped off the roof of the abbey church, during a violent storm of wind.

1818. - A society, called the "Clerical Association of the Vicinity of Tewkesbury", was instituted, for the purpose of discussing matters relating to the established church, and for promoting friendly intercourse and communication among its ministers. The society ceased in 1828.

1820. - On Jan. 21, the representatives of the borough in parliament sent £.100 each, in aid of the subscription for the relief of the poor, during a most inclement season.

1820. - Jan. 31, on the arrival of the melancholy news of the death of "our good old king", George the third, the shops were immediately closed and continued partially shut until

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after his interment. Two days afterwards, his successor was proclaimed, in front of the Tolzey, by the town-clerk, attended by the corporation, and many of the most respectable inhabitants. An address of condolence, on the death of the late king, and another of congratulation, on his present majesty's accession to the throne, were subsequently voted by the corporation. Similar addresses were also voted by the inhabitants.

1820. - The surveyors of the bye-roads, having filled up a newly-made trench in the Oldbury, near the gaol, adjoining to the garden of the late Mr. Olive, without having given such a notice as the law requires, an action for trespass was brought against them, and the damages and costs awarded to the plaintiff, with the costs of defending the action, &c. amounted to upwards of £.520. The surveyors having neglected to call a vestry-meeting to sanction their proceedings, the parish refused to pay their expenses; but a voluntary contribution was made by the inhabitants of the town, towards reimbursing them their losses, in 1828.

1821. - On July 19th, the day of the coronation of George the fourth, every poor person in the parish was presented with a pound of good beef and a pint of ale, excepting children under fourteen years old, who were allowed half the quantity.

1822. - At the Michaelmas borough sessions, an appeal was heard against the accounts of the directors of the poor, on the ground that many of the charges were illegal and excessive. The recorder presided; and the judgment of the court was, that the sum of £.72. 1s. 2d. the costs incurred by the directors in a prosecution for child murder; and the sum of £.8. 19s. 2d. for the prosecution of persons for assaults upon the borough constables, must be disallowed, because the consent of the parish at a vestry meeting had not been obtained prior to the commencement of such prosecutions; that several items in the directors' accounts should have been paid out of a borough stock, and not from the poor's rates; that the charge of excess had not been made out, and that therefore each party should pay their own costs. A parish meeting subsequently ordered, that the above-mentioned sums should be

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re-paid to the directors, out of the first rate that should be collected for the relief of the poor. Since that period, borough rates have been regularly ordered at the sessions.

1825. - From a survey and admeasurement, made in 1825, there appear to be two thousand three hundred and thirty-three acres of land in the parish of Tewkesbury.

1827. - In July, the large floodgate pit, at the quay, was emptied. This arduous task was voluntarily undertaken by twenty-four labourers, with no expectation of reward, excepting what might arise from the sale of such property as the pit contained. It occupied them ten days and nights, but they were very poorly paid for their labour.

1827. - New standard weights and measures were obtained, for the use of the town, pursuant to act of parliament: they cost upwards of £.160.

1828. - An union of the My the Brydge and Road Trust with the old district of Tewkesbury Roads was attempted. At a general meeting of the commissioners of the roads, the proposition was negatived by a majority of fifty-four to three.[442]

1828. - An offer being made to light the town with gas, a piece of land, adjoining the rivers Avon and Carron, was purchased, with the intention of erecting a gasometer. The preparatory expenses however appeared so great, and the returns so uncertain, that the project was abandoned, and the land was disposed of.

Notes
[436] Magna Britannica Nova et Antiqua. - It is very probable that this date should be 1471, the year in which the great battle was fought at Tewkesbury.
[437] Holinshed says, that "several persons were drowned in their beds, children in cradles swam about the fields, and beasts were drowned even on the hills!" that, for a century afterwards, this inundation was called "the great water", or "Buckingham's water", from the circumstance of its having prevented that unfortunate nobleman from passing the Severn, with the Welch forces, who had risen against King Richard.
[438] There is not, at present, any book in the possession of the church-wardens, containing such memoranda. If indeed such entries now existed, they would only serve to shew the probability of mysteries or religious plays having been anciently performed in our church; of which no proof is wanting. The following item, copied from the accounts of the bailiffs of the borough, for the year 1584-5, serves to corroborate the statement in the text: "Laid out by them unto players, in wine to the justices, rent for their market-standing and to the clerk of the market, and in seneschal money, £.3. 15s. 8d.
[439] "Church-ales" owed their origin to the "wakes". The "accustomed abuses" of these revels had been a subject of general complaint, long anterior to this period; and it is a matter of astonishment that they should ever have been tolerated, after the vices and immoralities attendant upon them had become so notorious. Church-ales have long been wholly discontinued; wakes have changed their character, and in some parts of the country are almost forgotten. Strutt, in his "Sports and Pastimes of the People of England", thus describes church-ales: "The church wardens and other chief parish officers, observing the wakes to be more popular than any other holidays, rightly conceived, that by establishing other institutions somewhat similar to them, they might draw together a large company of people, and annually collect from them, gratuitously as it were, such sums of money for the support and repairs of the church, as would be a great easement to the parish rates. By way of enticement to the populace, they brewed a certain portion of strong ale, to be ready on the day appointed for the festival, which they sold to them; and most of the better sort, in addition to what they paid for their drink, contributed something towards the collection". - Richard Stubs, in "The Anatomie of Abuses", printed in 1590, says, "In certain towns, the church-wardens provide half a score or twenty quarters of malt, whereof some they buy of the church stock, and some is given to them of the parishioners themselves, every one conferring somewhat, according to his ability; which malt, being made into very strong ale, or beer, is set to sale, either in the church or in some other place assigned to that purpose. Then, when this nippitatum, this huffe-cappe, as they call it, this nectar of life, is set abroach, Well is he that can get the soonest to it, and spends the most at it, for he is counted the godliest man of all the rest, and most in God's favour, because it is spent upon his church forsooth".
[440] Tewkesbury Corporation Records.
[441] At the formation of this regiment, the following were the officers: Captains. - Samuel Trueman, Thomas Vernon and Robert Bennett. Lieutenants. - James Kingsbury, Omwell John Lloyd and James Gorle. Ensigns. - John Terrett, William Smith and Thomas Dawson Lewis. During the existence of this regiment, the following gentlemen filled the undermentioned official situations: Major Commandant. - John Pitt Nind. Captains.- James Kingsbury, James Gorle and Thomas Andrew Holland. Lieutenants. - Thomas Dawson Lewis, Charles Prior, William Smith, Nathaniel Chandler and James Peace. Ensigns. - John Richardson and Charles Banaster. Adjutants. - Austen Baker and Nathaniel Chandler. Pay Master. - Wm. Smith. Quarter-Master. - Chas. Banaster. Chaplain. - Rev. William Prosser. Surgeon. - Benjamin Holland.
[442] The most strenuous opposition was made to this proposal by many of the trustees of the old district of roads; particularly by Mr. Caddick, to whom the public is indebted for the most indefatigable and praiseworthy exertions, not only for continually promoting improvements upon the turnpike-roads, and guarding the interests of the mortgagees, but for assiduously aiding those measures which he considers calculated to advance the prosperity of the borough, or add to the welfare and comfort of its inhabitants. He published some judicious and excellent remarks on the subject of the union of the road trusts, and proved that, by acceding to the proposal, the funds of the old roads would suffer annually a loss of upwards of £.1700, besides contingencies. For the great and effective exertions of Mr. C. on this occasion, he deservedly received the thanks of his brother trustees.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in October 2015.

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